I’ve wasted so much time in life trying to please other people, trying to be civil, trying to be kind, trying to be generous and accommodating. I’m so shocked at how much time I’ve squandered in this way, even thinking I wouldn’t be like that anymore, and then continuing to be accommodating, as though my life depended on it. Because I think I did believe my life depended on it. It’s a hard habituation to even see, let alone break and change. I read this article in the Guardian today, about Sam Walker and her mother, “My mum only had a few months to live. So we rented a van and took a road trip”. And while my children are not old enough to take me on a road trip, I could see both my mother and myself, in her mother, so much time determined by the needs of others, passing so many doors but no time to open them.
As each day ends now, with more light as we move through February and spring becomes a reality despite the snow and cold temperatures, I feel that each day which ends is a day I’ll never get back. Where do the days go?
What I know, and what anyone reading this knows, is that in this room as the wind blows and I click away at the keyboard, is how enormous the groan of decades can be.
And what I know is that I want these days now to be different. Is this living life on your own terms? Is this taking up space, making space? These days I cower behind doors. These days I wonder how life cowed me like this.
What I know is that it is different now, with my wonderful family, my children and husband, how much support I have, and that at least now, I do feel like a desk which has been up-cycled, and there are worse things to feel like than a gorgeous writing table, built to last, beauty joined with practicality, elegance with purpose, age with endurance.
I also read an article about Dr Anne LaBastille, “Adventuring while female: why the relationship women have with nature matters.” Dr. La Bastille lived in the woods in a small cabin on a Twitchell Lake. It was true wilderness living, unlike Thoreau’s faux attempt at living alone on Walden Pond. And yet she is largely unknown. Why are the lives of women so quiet, even when they’re not?
Everyone knows and no one knows. It’s always this way, isn’t it, that we think everyone can see right through us, right inside, and then we realize that actually, no one is even looking.