While I’ve still been on my babymoon, there has been a lot of wonderful down time. I’ve gotten to relax and reflect a lot, which is good since I’m like most 25 year olds and full of introspective questions. You’d think being married and having three children would by now make me feel somewhat stable and settled but I’m really just like most other post-college soul searchers. To be honest it’s even a bit harder when you’re a stay at home parent because your ambitions become so vague that it’s hard to even articulate them to people. “What do you do all day?” is one of the most difficult questions in the world to answer. I can’t quantify my success like a lot of other people can and I have no boss or authority figure to reassure me I’m doing a good job. That’s a really difficult thing after being under the guidance of adults for my entire life. One of the main reasons I chose to homeschool my children with a very free form style is because I think a lot of young adults really struggle with being autonomous people. We were spoon fed and guided through the academic system for so long that it becomes difficult to develop your own opinions, goals, and motivation.
There always seems to be this cloud looming…this giant pair of T.J. Eckleburg’s eyes…over every thing I do. It demands of me to account for my days, to spend them well, to find perfection in something. Find a fulfilling career, it says. Maybe you should go back to school, it says. Learn all you can about being a perfect mother, it says. It has caused me so much internal stress, trying to figure out who I am and what in the world I’m doing. I tell my husband I want to live a purposeful life, I just can’t figure out what my purpose is, what I’m working towards. I count the days and hours, working toward any little goal I can. Lets get the house in perfect shape for when so and so comes over. Lets do lots of schoolwork all day to prepare for this state required test. Lets fix this and change that and work towards this.
But I am awakening to the fact that what I want to have more than anything is an unintentional life. I don’t want to look back on my life and see progress, I want to look and see happiness. It seems so hedonistic to live your life being swayed by base emotions of what you want right at this moment but it isn’t living an individualistic life as much as living a circular one as opposed to a linear one. What do I mean by that? I mean that life doesn’t need to be a series of “lets get through this” so we can do whatever comes next. I’m tired of asking what comes next, I’m tired of planning for it, I’m tired of always looking toward the future. I want more than anything to spend every day with a sense of involvement, not productivity. I want to feel secure in the fact that every day is a repeat of the last. I want that internal clock to stop ticking, to stop warning me of the limited time I have to do every thing. Some people daydream about the things they want to buy but I daydream about all the things I wish I could give away. I want to be distracted by less, to have less on my list. All that seems to matter is spending time with my husband and children.
When I think about it, it’s really just a reversion to childhood. I miss summers seeming endless because you had hours of unoccupied time. I miss being able to lay in the grass without a timer reminding me I need to get up soon. And the most brilliant thing I’ve realized is that you don’t have to be a child to live like this. Responsibility and freedom are not mutually exclusive, despite what we’ve heard. After all, look at the most primitive of our ancestors. Life as a hunter gatherer was full of responsibility but because they had so few distractions they had endless amounts of time. Even people up to the time of the Industrial Revolution really had ample amounts of free time to think, to be with each other, to do what they wanted. So it shouldn’t be too surprising that I want to live in the past. I want the freedom of mind, of time, that people used to.
To be like the heroine of an Austen novel and spend hours writing in a journal and taking reflective walks. To be like the hunter gatherers and spend most of my days with the only pressing thought being food. To rest at a table like Jesus and his followers and spend hours talking and being with each other. That is how I will finally find myself.