I think I was a bit negative in the first part of Sunday evening’s blog post. The “Should/Don’Wanna” inner dialog is so familiar to me and perhaps to others as well. But what I didn’t include, in fact I removed it from the title line, was: “D’ruther”. And that omission is important because that’s what was really stumping me. The question is/was: “What would I rather do, instead of the Shoulds?” It’s all well and good to whine and rebel against the (perceived) Shoulds with a petulant ‘Don’Wanna. It’s childish, but perfectly understandable from time-to-time.
But the grownup me, the one that has learned its okay to refuse some Shoulds, some of the time, (see 4/2/14 post…) is involved in a larger life lesson about choice. What do I want to do? To quote the esteemed and astonishing poet Mary Oliver: Tell me what it is YOU plan to do with your one wild and precious life? Might be the best question ever. But… Here’s the thing; at age 60+ it no longer seems like a question of planning, at least not long term planning. It’s about today and now.
Today is when my wild and precious life is happening, and choices abound. Forgive me if I have previously shared this quote from another esteemed writer, Ellen Goodman (formerly of the Boston Globe). Some years ago, I believe it was on the occasion of Hilary Clinton’s 50th birthday, she wrote these words: “Pick carefully and boldly… Triage what you want to do and what you want to quit… Live intentionally.”
Live intentionally; that’s what I want to do. Goodman’s essay also included these words of encouragement: “Leap and the net will appear.” Hmm. In my last post I stopped my self at the brink, before plunging into the dark abyss. But if I rotate my self, my perspective just slightly, the view is quite different. I see that I am on the brink of a new choice; standing on the ledge of possibility, not hopelessness. Really, why bother with hopelessness at my age? Isn’t existential angst for the young? Elders want to fly, or at least leap.
So, its time to face the D’ruther question head on. When I was unexpectedly and unwillingly unemployed five years ago, I presented myself with three possibilities: Study homeopathy, Start a business or Write. Sometimes I think that I have been spinning in circles ever since. However, as I whirl around, I haven’t drilled a hole in the ground. I’ve traveled a small distance. I think the famous dervishes also travel across the floor; and I’ve read that their spinning takes them into an altered state of consciousness.
I know how to write. I have always written. I cannot imagine my life without writing. I have (reluctantly) been working to acquire and strengthen some necessary skills: self-care, along with diminished care-taking of others; the urgent and delicate art of triage; saying ‘no’ and pushing through resistance (sometimes known as discipline), to name a few. I’ve even experimented with ‘reading until I am bored’, something I did not think was possible. These efforts have helped me to clear the space, literal and hugely figurative, to make writing a focus.
Now I seek the magic to maintain a belief in my self worth, that I have something to say and the ability to say it. Or when I occasionally (ha!) lack that strength, to rally my stubbornness and write anyway. I do know what I want to do. I know. I’m just scared.