I want to simplify, but cluttered chaos trails after me like smoke after a comet. I want to be consumed by one vocation, but my mind and body pull to a rotating half dozen callings of hands and head. I want to revel in contentment, but my soul can’t stop reaching toward something higher, a loftier goal.
I want to walk across miles and miles of earth. I want to climb up mountains and listen to the secrets that hum within them. I want to feel sturdy, fertile earth beneath my feet. I am tired of shifting sands. I am tired of changing winds. I am tired of the sea and its moods and its restless motion and its incessant noise.
I am tired of the sea.
I’ve promised my love five years. Five years in this town by the sea, five years in his job, five years of payments on this mortgage in this house.
I wish we could take the house and, if he liked, his job with us. This town by the sea is not for me.
When he and I met, we marveled at how hard we had tried before to make the wrong people, the wrong relationships, work. We had struggled and fought and tugged and surrendered far more than we could stand to lose. And then, when we met, we learned that love did not call for such sadness.
That’s how I feel about this town. I feel we have spent four years struggling for friendships, fighting for a place, tugging strangers together to form community. He sees nothing but potential, but growth, but the light of dawn just beyond the horizon. I am too buffered by sea winds and disappointment; certainly we have made progress, but what if we can’t ever win?
This morning I was inspired.
Inspired to petition BCBSMA and all MA insurance companies to cover home births as part of their policies, inspired to put together my husband’s birthday gift, excited about the running I’ve been doing and will do. I was making plans for a little shop online to sell wrist warmers and quilts and french press cozies (things to hold in the much-needed warmth). The coffee shop job is smoothing out and the farm starts soon and there’s been a little blip of editing after a few weeks without. I was finally feeling like things would all work out, like I could let go of the worry for a second and just enjoy being excited.
But then there was a talk with one of my bosses feeling hurt that I have two other jobs I’m trying to balance along with the one I do for her because hers is only a seasonal job and I need money all year long since I cannot hibernate and ignore the world and food and heat and necessities for half of the year. And a walk along the edge of misunderstanding with my in-laws blooming into a talk with my husband about whether we are taking advantage of them, whether he (my husband) will be able to continue his dream position volunteering at a local brewery even though I work two shifts a weekend. And suddenly my contributions and my efforts seem so small.
If only I could sell one of the novels I have kicking around for a $5000-10000 dollars. If only I could get a job tutoring and make in two hours what I make in ten serving coffee. If only, if only. If only I tried harder, pinched the pennies tighter, tighter. If only I hadn’t gotten that one take-out pizza last month. If only I hadn’t gotten that celebratory bottle of wine the month before. If only I could get an editing job I could do from home. If only we had inexpensive national childcare. If only money grew on trees. If only money were no object.
Mothering is enough, they say. You work hard enough raising a child; it is enough. But what about when it isn’t?
I read about John Muir walking 1,000 miles through the southeast United States. “I should do that,” I think.
I find the website of a quilter who makes a living creating beautiful, simple, classic quilts with hand-dyed fabric. “I could do that,” I think.
I watch friends work outside the home three days a week, stay home the rest of the time, but with big girl jobs, jobs with salaries, jobs that require brainpower, and think “oh, how I wish I had that.”
I’ve been running lately. I’ve been a runner for ten years, but it’s off-and-on, only when necessary, a post of its own.
I consider the life of a middle school math teacher, the beautiful balance of numbers all day, the (to me) extravagant salary, and I can’t wait for that to be an option.
How do you choose just one thing? How does the universe decide who is fortunate enough to have a single, consuming passion in life? How do you devote yourself to just one thing?
I can’t decide. I want it all.
Writing hasn’t been one of those wants lately. It’s spring. Spring fever means a life outside, under the sun, in the rain, walking on sand, running on dirt roads, sprawling on grass. It means grilled vegetables and a hasty pot of beans for dinner. It means that my house in unswept and untidy (oh, wait, that’s all of the time…). It means freckles and dirty fingernails and tulips in the front yard. It means wanting more – more vegetables, more sun, longer walks, more time with friends. It means dreaming of less – a tiny house, a bare-bones closet.
No mention, I know, of a little boy. He is fine. He is lovely. He is napping. I just need a moment to be me.