Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Simple Pleasures

Sunshine, a breeze, and a view: Natalie has it figured out, yet I resist! This need of mine to have the other is so persistent. I imagine a different life, different circumstances, a fantastic mélange of all my favorite people and places and music and food. I drove up to Flagstaff a couple weekends ago and knew as soon as the highway climbed out of the valley that this road trip was long overdue. Phoenix rising is the end of the story, but there's all that heat and ash and dying that takes place first, and then takes place again. It's stifling. Perhaps I've said it here already but I remember staring out my kitchen window in Taiwan, stunned by the events of my own life, wondering if the Phoenix was afraid of fire. I knew there was nothing easy about the road ahead.

Maybe that foreknowledge is what still lingers. I stepped into the ring expecting to go the full nine rounds, and while I'm grateful--no, proud--that I've managed to stay on my feet this whole time, I have to admit that I'm a little unsure what comes next. I see more challenges on the near horizon, and I continue to look over my shoulder waiting for someone to question the decisions I've made. Artie would tell me to identify the hazards, and frankly haters from my past don't make the list. So step one: face forward.

I have a cozy home under blue skies, a big shade tree out front and a garden whose quiet welcome makes up for its lack of bounty (one limequat and counting). I know nice people. I have kind and clever children. There's food on the table and gas in the car, and sometimes I get to meet a kindred spirit in the course of my work or studies. It's also true that I feel alone, and stuck, and I'm pretty sure I dropped my compass about five miles back. I spent years mastering how to make the best of things, but now I hesitate to get back on that particular horse. It was hard to know when to get off it last time. No, that's not true. I knew exactly when, but then I felt stupid for staying on so long. I need to leave all that behind. Step two: brush it off.

I'm a full-time student and a full-time mom. My house is cluttered and my guitars and art supplies are gathering dust. I don't do things perfectly but I am trying new things and trying to make up for lost time. I'd love to know what I'm supposed to do, what would make me happy or bring some sense of security. I should be wrapping up my degree about this time next year, but then what? I want to find my niche, the place where I make a difference and find satisfaction in my work. I still feel like a kid, imagining all the things I might be, not sure which paths to pursue. Time is running ahead of me and I'm reaching for the baton but never quite getting close enough to grab it. So I panic. Step three: breathe. Exhale. Don't try to measure the air around me. The next breath will take care of itself.

Tomorrow I'll take my blanket out to the grass and curl up with Natalie and a book, listening to the birds and the breeze through the leaves. I will move forward, but I need to spend a little more time in the now so I can leave it on good terms. No regrets.