I suppose it's having reached a sort of milestone birthday this year that's doing it to me--turning me philosophical and introspective. Something about that 0 at the end, the odometer rolling over, that is getting me thinking about where I am and where I'm going. How did I get where I am? Where will I be five years from now? Ten years from now?
As I was writing about birthdays past on Wednesday morning, I smirked to myself as I wrote about 1998. I have a picture of Brian and me sitting together at Surf Bowl that night. If someone had told us that night that in ten years we'd be married and have a little girl, I don't think we would have believed them. But five years ago, I would have been so pleased by the news. My best friend had a little boy a year before and when I'd held him at Christmastime, I already knew that I wanted to have a baby some day, but when he fell asleep snuggled in my arms after dinner, that was when the first seed was planted that grew into the idea of quitting work to stay home with my baby.
I do sometimes wonder how I got here. I read about the incredible work someone I knew way back when is now doing (usually on a Facebook profile)(that's where I read it, not where they are doing incredible work), and realize that while they are helping people in developing nations to have better lives, I am at home changing diapers and baking pies. "Well, it's what you chose," a friend told me unsympathetically, when I mentioned it. Well, yes, it is, and as cranky as I was to hear it at that particular moment, it is true and it is good for me to remember that. Other friends comforted me by reassuring me that I am doing what's right for my family, that I am with my daughter, and that is what is important. And I do believe that, but hearing the unsympathetic truth was what was important. It's what you chose. I am lucky. I am in a place that is exactly where I chose to be. And while I sometimes lament the neverending piles of laundry and wonder how many times I can read Stellaluna in a single day, I am exactly where I want to be, and if I remember that I can more easily remember what my yoga teacher used to tell us: that every little action, even the most mundane, is important and should be done with respect.
And what about five or ten years from now? Where will I be when I am 35, an age that sounds terribly adult to me now? What will I be doing when the odometer rolls over again and I turn 40? I am a planner by nature. I like to know what's going to happen when and be in control of everything. It's a trait I sometimes try to let go of, but most of the time I just try to be aware of it and know that I will sometimes be disappointed. And yet this is something I am willing to let out of my control for a moment. I hope to be in control of the smaller decisions along the way, to continue to make the choices that I want to make, but I don't need to know everything right now, or to plan every turn mapping out the way. My goal is simply to take things as they come, respond with love and with strength, and hope that when I get to where I'm going I will still be able to say, It's what I chose.