It is never too late to be what you might have been.
My life is good. No, actually my life is really good. I have great love, a cozy roof over my head, more than enough to eat, the health of my family (both the humans and the furry ones) and moments of bliss. I have everything I need and most of what I want, but when I look at the big picture, I realize that it can be better. I can make it better.
I’m not talking about a perfect life; I am suspicious of “perfect” people. Perfection doesn’t leave any room for failure. If you stretch yourself outside of your comfort zone, you will, occasionally, fail or at least find that the new place you’re in is not to your liking. But sometimes when you take a chance on something new the results can be transcendent. And that’s what I’m looking to do, to make more time and room in my life for those moments of bliss I mentioned above. I’m trying to figure out how to balance the have-tos (work, laundry, supper) with the want tos (creating, reading, exploring). There are so many different things that fascinate and inspire me: food and wine, books, movies and music, style, design and beauty, culture (both high & low), technology and spirituality and on and on and on! Just thinking about it all gets me excited. There is a selection of blogs that I read daily and dozens more that I dip into when the mood strikes and while I often come away with something new to think about or admire or try none of them speak in my voice, directly to the heart of me.
First, there’s the point of view issue. You see, I’m not a twenty-something living in Brooklyn and working in publishing or a thirty-something stay-at-home-mom from Seattle. Chronologically at least, my twenties and thirties are past and physically at least, my home is a small industrial city in the Deep South. There’s not an Ikea or Whole Foods in sight. And as much as I love reading about them, art galleries and farmer’s markets are not part of my day-to-day reality. Next, I’m decidedly out of step with the prevailing conservative values of my community. It’s not easy being green not to mention a liberal, SBNR, indie-movie loving, NPR listener in the heart of the Bible-belt. Finding like-minded local friends is, to put it mildly, challenging. What I’d love to do is make a connection with other women who share some or all of my interests, to build a community of kindred spirits. In the meantime I’m more than happy to listen to the echo of my own thoughts and converse with the crickets.
I’m also looking for a way to hone in on those things that will bring me the most joy. My tastes are eclectic and wide ranging and while that can make for a rich life tapestry it can also produce an overload that results in a lot of noise. I need to learn when to follow a shiny new thing that catches my eye and when to shed an experiment that didn’t fit. I want to pare down in some areas to make room for more fullness in others. To embrace the new and polish up the old. To sample and explore and learn and grow and figure out what I want to be when I grow up now that I’m grown up. I think a diary of what I try and find and see and experience and what I like and what I don’t will help me do that.
I also want to more fully recognize and appreciate what I do have and already love. It’s so easy for me to get caught in what’s next that I lose sight of what’s in front of me. I want to be more grateful, more mindful, more here in the now. Striving for a more fulfilling life without appreciating the wonderful world I already inhabit will only make me busier, not happier. I want a place to remind myself of the little moments of beauty that might otherwise be lost to the turning of the day’s page. I need a documentation of what’s good and true and real in my life so that when I forget, and I will forget from time to time, I can read back and know that even if I’m tired or cranky or overwhelmed at that very moment, that brightness has visited me before and will come back again. I struggle with my moods, we all do, I over think things and sometimes I just feel swamped by the activities of living and a judgment-free chronicle of when I triumph and when I flounder will help me see the path I need to take. A chance to re-read and say “Ah! That’s where I went off the rails,” could be really beneficial to me.
Maybe that’s a lot to expect from a diary, for that’s really what I think this is, but it never hurts to think big. Let’s see: stylebook, gratitude journal, design folio, diary, to-do list, coming attractions, community, yearbook, book reviews, confessional, recipe box, aspiration file, humor log, therapy…and whatever else comes to mind or seems right as I go. No right, no wrong, all me. Sounds about right.