Even though this summer is dragging on mercilessly, I can feel change in the air. With the kids back to school this week, I feel like the world is at my fingertips once again.
Don’t get me wrong, I looooooove my kids and I consider it a calling and a privilege to be a SAH Mom. For a long time, though, it was simply duty that bound me to my “daily chores”. A robot could have done what I was doing with the same level of enthusiasm. I was in a rut, big-time, and I knew I had to get out before it was too late.
I realized what was missing from my life was Me.
I was nowhere to be found in my own life. I was a Believer, a Wife, a Mother, a Volunteer at my kids’ school, a Worker in my church, and a Friend to many. However, when I wasn’t performing any of those roles, I was at a loss for…well, everything. For so long, I had been everything to everyone and I didn’t know who I was anymore.
I began to think about the things I used to enjoy, and began to incorporate them into my life again. Music, travel, reading, and crafting were huge parts of my life pre-kids, so I began to seek those things out.
And that’s when I started enjoying life again. Living rather than just existing.
I had never “minded” cooking for my family before, but after I reintroduced some Me into my life, I found out that I love to cook. Searching for and trying out new recipes gives me a little thrill. Now when I cook, I turn on the tunes, pour a glass of wine, and have some fun while preparing my family’s dinner.
Cleaning is a necessary evil that I don’t know if I’ll ever consider “fun”, but I tell ya, it is a whole lot more enjoyable when the house is empty and I crank up the tunes and rock out while doing it.
Watching and hearing live music was a huge part of my youth. I asked for, and got, a subscription to XM radio in my car and Hubs started taking me to concerts again. I have discovered the joy of Pandora. I can’t believe I went so long without the simple joy of listening to music on a daily basis.
I let go of the guilt about needing to “get away” and rekindled friendships that I had let slide. I began to meet up with friends for dinner or coffee or just general girl time, and it was a nice reminder that people like me simply because I am Me. They don’t need me to do anything for them. I can just Be.
Choosing reading over watching TV was something I had a hard time with. Brown-Eyed Husband winds down at night in front of the television, so if I want to spend time with him, that’s what I have to do. I did it for a long time because that’s what “good wives” do, right? I fiiiinalllly explained to him that TV doesn’t relax me like it does him and that I needed my own way to wind down, and he doesn’t get offended when I choose to read in bed instead of watch the tube on the couch with him.
And crafting. Oh the crafting. I have sooooo many ideas and not enough time to do execute them. I have made jewelry, stationery, lampshades, and tote bags. I have embellished clothing, cross-stitched, knitted (badly), crocheted, and most recently, embroidered. Basically, you name it, I’ve done it. I have always had a desire to create things, but never focused on just one thing. These days, writing and photography is taking precedence over everything else, which are both things I’ve done since I was a child.
I was always the “girl with the camera”. I was never on the yearbook committee or anything, I just always had a camera in hand and documented life. I made collages to hang on my wall before I knew what the word meant. I would cut scraps of magazines out, with sayings that I liked, and put them around pictures in my albums. I scrap-booked before it was de rigueur.
Writing has always come easily to me, but I’ve not really considered it an interest to pursue until lately. I remember the first time I stayed up all night writing a paper in high school. I remember the feeling I had when I finished the paper. I just “knew” it was finished. And I knew it was kick-ass. In confirmation of that, I got accused of plagiarism by my English teacher, and I had to defend my paper to her and the Vice Principal. After they were satisfied that my paper was original, the product of my own noggin, I was given the Outstanding Senior English award at the end of my senior year. In college, what English and Composition classes I didn’t clep out of, I enjoyed. At the time, though, I didn’t realize that writing could be a job or even a hobby. That’s a shame, but hindsight is 20/20 and all that hoo-ha…
This notion of reminding yourself of who you are has gotten a bad rap from the term “Mid-Life Crisis” because so many people have left marriages and abandoned children with the excuse of “finding themselves”. I don’t think it is necessary to take it to those extremes. However, I do think the basis is the same no matter what you call it: WHO AM I WHEN I AM JUST BEING ME? WHAT DO I THINK WHEN I DON’T HAVE ANYONE ELSE’S OPINIONS IN MY HEAD?
It’s an assessment we are all faced with at some point in our lives, and I think it’s vital to take the time to figure out what’s what. There is no recipe to follow or anyone you should emulate; the important thing is to do what you can to answer those questions. Thankfully, while I was searching, I never questioned my belief in God or my marriage or my family. I never wanted to see who I would be without those things in my life. Those are the unshakable foundations of Me.
I just wanted to reintroduce some Me back into my life.
Ever since then, I have found joy in aspects of life that I never thought possible. I have found that what I bring to the table is not only valuable but necessary; that being involved in life is better than simply being present. I have looked at myself with new eyes, eyes that are trying to see the person that God created me to be, and sometimes that has meant accepting things about me that I used to consider flaws. But it has also meant embracing things that I never considered gifts.
It hasn’t been all rainbows and unicorns, but am so very grateful for the life that God has blessed me with. And this is my attempt to chronicle my journey.