I think I might be entering a new phase. In the early years, I was forever fending my children off, looking for escape. But now they don’t need me like they used to, or at least not in the same way. They occupy themselves for long stretches of time. Their interests are becoming more specific and independent of me. As a result, I have more space, both physically and mentally.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m still fully engaged with homeschooling and running a house (and I have absolutely no desire to toss these involvements aside), but the fact is, gardening, reading, hosting, cooking, cleaning, writing, shopping, homeschooling, blogging, visiting, etc. is just More Of The Same. It’s constant and it’s predictable (even when it’s not).
When I get in these moods, lines from Ecclesiastes plod monotonously through my brain. There is nothing new under the sun…nothing new under the sun…nothing new under the sun…nothing new…
But this time something feels different. It’s not a normal dry spell. There’s a weightiness to this one. And it’s in the shape of an extra-large question mark.
I’m a thrill junky, this we know. I’m always up for a challenge, the wackier the better. But right now I’m not sure what that challenge looks like.
I’m incredibly picky, plus I have a husband to consider. He’s already put his foot down about fostering, and he’s not too fond of my idea to move to Kenya or to travel around the country with Mennonite Disaster Service (he’d lead the work teams and I’d manage the team logistics, feed everyone, and homeschool the kids—wouldn’t that be great?). We’re talking about getting a milk cow, but that’s a long way off. We have two Fresh Air kids coming this summer, but again, that’s a long way off (plus, the kids only come for seven days—it’s a thrill fix, yes, but only of the band-aid sort). Maybe I should go back to school? Start a business? Open a girls’ home? Run away to Hollywood? (I told you I was desperate.)
What I wish is that someone would tell me, “Hey, you’d be awesome at (fill in the blank)” and, amazingly enough, they’d be right. Suddenly I’d know exactly what to do and how to do it. Excitement, inspiration, and fulfillment would be mine for the having.
I’ve been calling this most recent bout of malaise my “midlife crisis” which irritates my husband to no end.
“Don’t say that,” he snaps. “It makes you sound old. Besides, you’re not midlife yet, so stuff it.”
And then he points out that spring is just around the corner. Change is coming.
He’s right. It’s been a long winter and the change in seasons will be a relief. But still, the change in seasons is nothing new. It happens every year.
I get the feeling that Opportunity is lurking right around the corner. The suspense is making me crazy.
To keep myself from screaming and running in circles, I think. I talk. I whine. I go for walks and peer (figuratively speaking) into the crevices and crannies of my brain—what am I NOT thinking of?—in hopes that fresh oxygen will help solve the mystery.
I employ all sorts of tactics to help myself deal with this awkwardness.
1. I call it “a stage.” Stages aren’t for forever (hallelujah).
2. Boredom is good., right? This fallow time simply has to be a breeding ground for creativity.
3. Growth is uncomfortable. Love the pain. (Or at least endure it gracefully, snort.)
But the mystery remains.
Do other people spend excessive amounts of time scheming and searching for something meaningful to sink their claws into? Or has everyone else found their Life Work and the Energizing Contentment that accompanies it?
Is this an age thing?
Is this a side-effect of intentionally living life on the slow side? Maybe if I jumped into the rat race, I’d be too busy to notice the futility and sameness of everything. Or maybe people in the rat race notice it, too?
Maybe I’m giving too much weight to what might simply be a raging case of cabin fever. But I don’t think so. Like I said, this feels different. New possibilities and freedoms are looming, I just know it.
If I only knew what they were…