Finding Myself in My Forties

My life quickly fell into Full. A deep fullness in which I completely got lost; and perhaps a little found.

I found the wife and the mother. She was hardly someone I’d aspired to be or dreamt of as a child, but somehow, she emerged. Within her, I was submerged. Full, to beyond my eyeballs. For years, I sank, or swam, depending whom you ask. I found both rolls frightening. Neither of these rolls had been given much thought or prepared for, and I suppose, I should have. But like most of us, my life just happened, somewhere after childhood, I became.

I’d never realized how women get assimilated and regurgitated as something new when these rolls consume you; and trust me, if you want to be these things, these rolls to some extent, will consume you. If you are not consumed by them, I actually believe, you should maybe have not bothered becoming them in the first place.

Every day I lived in the trenches. Just when I thought relief was in sight, a new battle rose, thick misted and unknown, foreboding, on the horizon and the war got bloodier, more intense, more brutal. Sleep deprivation lead to years of murkiness of mind and borderline depressions. Exhaustion was more like full throttled burn out, yet still, when you’re a full time, over time, beyond-the-realms-of-time mother, you just keep going.

This year marks a massive milestone: all five of my children will be in school.

One high school graduate, returning for another year of Mandarin, another in her final year of high school, one entering Junior high, two in elementary, the youngest of which is beginning kindergarten. I’ve never, since I had my first child, eighteen years ago, been at home with no kids. Someone has always been home with me. This past semester, three including the preschooler as we figured out some health issues for two of them.

So who is this woman I am left with?

The time without kids has no short list of uses: cleaning, cooking, baking; of course those are at the top of the list. I find myself always tho, eager to embrace something new and uncharted.

I have focussed much time in recent years on writing, which was always a thing for my younger self to express through. I enjoy painting and sketching, but find them less enjoyable than writing.

I’ve taught myself to knit & crochet, both of which I find a fulfilling crossover of creativity and productivity. I love refinishing furniture, but can’t  find the workspace available to do it year round, and it’s back breaking too. Not something I think my body will enjoy too much in a decade from now.

I think on that perhaps more than I should—aging, and how it correlates to the things I want to learn to do, who I am now, so many years into raising this family. I also think of legacy.

Legacy for me, is what is left behind of me for those who follow me, what can I give them—memory is inaccurate. Memory dies. Added to Legacy, is selfishness. What do I enjoy? What do I actually want to do and be proud of myself for taking on?

Musically, I’ve always been a solid natural, with little education. For me, music is like writing, in fact, they are basically the same things. I tend toward writing lyrical. But I never believed myself talented enough to say, pick up and learn a guitar. Why, I don’t know. The evidence that I could, was always there. I can think and feel in harmony and rythym simultaneously, relatively easily. I can sing within reason, tho I’m far from marketable. Funny how we are ingrained in youth to devalue ourselves before we’ve even begun to know what our talents are—that we’re not good enough to invest or bother with something because it won’t become a career. What a ridiculous notion.

One thing I know for certain, I was not nor have ever been naturally inclined to home making. Yet, depending on who you ask, I’m great at being a wife & mother. If you compare me to someone who aspired to be the best wife & mother from her early childhood when she started planning her wedding to her unknown Prince Charming, and planning the genders and names of her future children, complete with their future weddings and children, well ya, I suck. I really never planned this lovely life. I’m not by nature a planner.

But I have learned, I’m capable.

When my desire to do something and my self belief align, I become a force. I find myself much more likely to do things when I approach them like a ‘high note.’

Do you know how to approach a high note?

You drop down on to it.

No hesitance. You hear the notes in your mind even higher than the one you are striving to hit, and like a bird of prey, you drop down swift and clean upon the one you are singing. The greatest mistake you’ll make is a gentle sharp which can be trained out of your tendency with practice. That is how I must approach everything I set my mind to.

I see, envision, the beyond. I aim for a reachable yet high goal, by looking at it from an attainable point of view.

For me the attainable view, is usually that I am equal to another who does the thing I want to do.

If I want to knit a sweater, I see another who does this remarkably well and perceive it as, ‘we are no different.’ At some point in that individual’s life, they were not knitting beautiful sweaters. They learned, bit by bit, growing to achieve.

This is how I have learned everything in my adult years. Now I may just have a little more time to devote to learning.

So my latest endeavours and goals, my finding myself in my forties after many years just barely functioning and at maximum capacity, are being approached from this ‘achievable’ point of view.

(And with that, she picked up her guitar)(and placed her fears of failure where they suited her best)(in the grave of their past)(non existence.)

(Once upon a time, I was never afraid.)


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