REVERB 14, Day Three; Loving What IS. What Can You Love About Where You Are Now?
I’ve had the good fortune, over the past few months, to reconnect with an old friend–like, knew me in junior high, pre-braces, pre-contacts, pre-developing into a person, old—via email. Of course, it was Facebook that facilitated the initial contact, and through a series of messages, which ultimately became letter-like emails, we’ve managed to fill in the spaces of the intervening years for each other and catch up in a leisurely way that I’ve found quite a bit of joy in.
We knew each other and were close during those awkward tween and teen years, so the rhythm that we fell into was quite natural when it came to discussing this place we’ve found ourselves in now, namely, our mid-thirties; a space that in those early years, would have been considered ancient, and purportedly, completely GROWN UP.
As I was replying to one of her responses, I was drawn to admit something that I’d begun mulling over in April, when I turned 35, and that is, I’m kind of okay with where I am.
I mean, if you’ve been following this blog at all, or know me in any capacity, this year’s Reverb is going to startle you–because this year turned almost everything that I know/knew about myself on its head. Sometime, over the past two-ish years, there was a shift in my thinking. My life, up until this point has been kind of defined by my maniacal search for my own space, every day spent wishing and hoping for something better, for fulfillment, for worth…for a definition of myself and my accomplishments that was worthy of the span of time spent and the potential owned. I pined incessantly and lamented exhaustively; I was supposed to be SO MUCH MORE. There was supposed to be more money made, more professional accomplishment, more travel, more indulgence in lust for life. Everything was supposed to be BIGGER than it was.
And then, that roar for more and better and grander quieted. I’m not sure when it happened, but I do know, that as I took stock at the marker for my 35th year, I realized, I’m kind of all right…and it stopped me in my tracks. I was unemployed, pregnant, and friendless in a new city. I mean, you look at that picture from the outside, and it’s like Welfare City from an emotional standpoint. It’s literally every life nightmare from my past come to fruition. I was bombarded with messages from friends: “How are you DOING?” “Are you OKAY?” “What are you doing to COPE?”
And yeah, there were for sure moments of despair. The Old Man was traveling every week and I was pretty much alone, sending out resumé after resumé and being rejected interview after interview because, well, no one wants to hire the pregnant chick. There was morning sickness keeping me from the outdoors and then days on end of grey, drizzly rain. Friends were busy working, or, by virtue of time zones, sleeping when I was awake and in most need of a chat. But, in the end, I was doing okay. My life of lament had sort of prepared me for this. Three times before I’d started over in new cities. Three times before I’d changed professional trajectory. Three times before I’d made friends in unlikely places. The prospect of doing it again wasn’t so daunting this time.
And yeah, then there was the little issue of MY issue…the little seed and egg who would become and is now the Littlest Yawps. The biggest and most unbelieveable change of all. And this is where I am writing from now. I am someone’s Mom. Each day I am navigating this space that, years ago, would have been inconceivable. I am turning all past convention on its head. And what’s more? I am enjoying it. I am reveling in this space and taking the time to fold it around me in a way that I’ve never done before. I am working with a calm and assurance that I never believed myself capable of.
Maybe it’s the hormones. I don’t know. But what I do know, is that I have my little job which has the potential to grow for me in the years to come, and I have my little family which HAS grown for me in countless ways, and I have a new store of patience and peace that is as calming as it is surprising. No, I haven’t turned into some Zenmaster Jen floating through life with all the answers. I still have moments of panic and despair. But for the most part, I CAN love where I am right now because for the first time ever, I’m taking it day by day, and living it the way it’s supposed to be lived, up close. I’m squeezing these moments for all that they can give me; it’s really pretty lovely