About 10 years ago, I started keeping a day planner. Rather than fill it up with appointments in advance, I used it to jot down what I did during the day, for fear that I would never remember. I kept the entries brief: the name of the person I'd had dinner with, the name of the book I was reading or the the movie I went to see, the general mood of the day—"cloudy; cranky."
The tradition came to a screeching halt about the time I had my son. After four days of labor, an exhausting surgery, weeks of recovery, and endless feedings, I couldn't bear the thought of keeping track of those days: Couch. Boob. Couch. Boob. Couch. The repetition was maddening, the routine exhausting.
Since then, I've been pondering the age old question: What am I going to be when I grow up? Despite struggling with the topic for 35 years, I thought that by writing about it I would somehow find the answer faster. Not so. In fact, putting it out there has only magnified the pressure I put on myself to find that one true thing.* This year, this summer, I've felt lost.
|The September Issue, among the other september issues.|
On my nightstand, I had amassed a pile of books that I'd back-burnered, borrowed, or bought for myself, and September was my month to power through them. It was a lofty goal for me, but I was determined. And then, just before the first of the month, the postman delivered a special package—a copy of my friend Christina Rosalie's new book, A Field Guide to NOW, and I found myself lost once again. This time by choice.
|(en)Light bedtime reading.|
I wanted to be that good friend that devoured the book in one day and reported back about how amazing I thought it was—and how I wasn't sure I would be able to look her husband in the eye at the coffee machine at work anymore, now that I knew so much about him... But I didn't. Truth be told, I couldn't. I would find myself reading a couple of pages and before I knew it, my mind would wander to my own life and the things I dearly value. I pondered the days I felt I'd lost—either from lack of memory or lack of drive—and made a decision to make a change. To focus on living in the moment.
|Mad River, Waitsfield, VT|
I ordered a set of the most perfect, pocket-sized notebooks and picked up where my planners had left off two and a half years ago. From there, I committed to engaging in life in a way that would warrant the honor of being written down. I discovered new places to visit just down the road from home. I reveled in Monday night library jaunts and Saturday afternoon dates with my son. I popped over, unannounced, to friends houses and whisked them away on unexpected adventures. I took a step back from the chaos and consternation that comes from building a new house, and watched from afar as my amazing future emerged from a pile of dirt.
|Harvest Festival, Shelburne Farms|
I've yet to finish Christina's book. There's no rush, especially since I'll likely forget the details from it that have so enriched my September days. I've yet to figure out where I and in turn, this blog, are headed. What I do know, is where I am now. I'm on my couch—yes, that very same couch—sitting next to my husband, writing what I know and what I care about. My guess is that everyone involved is just fine with that.
*Spoiler alert: There is no one true thing. At least not for me.