Today I spent a happy time with 3 other women over lunch. We talked of many things, and sometimes all at the same time, but the theme that wound its way through all our conversations, was the ‘how’ of living. How we each manage it.
Some of us walk a steady, even path, although it wasn’t always so steady. Another is young, and she will take many paths, mainly out of youthful curiosity.
Do we lose that curiosity I wonder? Or have we found that it doesn’t only kill cats?
The way we germinate the seeds of our own personal existence, it seems to me, is decided by the choices we make as we live out our life. But if we felt we had no choice, or if choice was made on our behalf, does that mean that those seeds never grow and bloom?
There is a theory that we make our own choices, whether it looks like it or not. Actually, I do agree with that theory, but I also hate it at times. It is so much more pleasant to present myself as a victim of circumstances, or of some overbearing ‘other’ in my life. After all, I could have been this or that, had I been allowed to make my own choices.
When you live like I do, on a daily roller coaster, you are allowed to cast envious glances to those marching steadily along their level path of choice. It’s fine when I am riding on point break, towering over the world and shouting ‘Woohoo, Look at Me!’ but quite another as I sink into the troughs and nearly drown. And I do it every single day. It is, in a word, exhausting to be me, but I am me and that’s that.
So, Me, how are we to accept that we made this choice very early on in life? Our sisters seem very sorted, our brother too, and we all came from the same nest. What, or who decided that we would think too much about every flaming thing, lifting up the carpet of life over and over again until the tacks give up and ping off into the unknown, leaving a permanent curl for everyone else to trip over?
I have found that my first important decision each day lies not in what I do, or where I go, but in how I see what I see. This doesn’t mean I should spend all my time looking inward but quite the opposite. When I have heard that someone is off to find themselves, in India or some such place, I have to conceal an inner snigger. In order, it seems, to feel ok, no, better, good about being a volatile lunatic, like I am, is to look at the world of which I am an essential part. I know that sounds a bit cocky, but to be honest, it works for me. If I can tell myself that I am here for a specific purpose, just as I am, with my own seeds to nurture and grow, then my roller coaster begins to make some sense. After all, I can see higher and lower than the ones on the steady path. I can spin among the clouds and swim in the deeps and I can use those powers of observation to help another. I can take what looks like a heavy load and call it a gift. And I need to do this exactly where I am, because to flip off to India would be fine, but only if I could leave me behind.
Which I cannot.
If I am the one who has to surf the biggest waves, then let me learn how to surf. If it is I who must sink into those troughs, then I must learn to be a cork.
And then, let me have the presence, the absolute engagement with where and who I am, to find one who fears their own sinking, and to show them that they can do it too.