Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Even Moms Need to Live Fully

And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.
Anaïs Nin (1903 - 1977)

Fear tends to paralyze me. I tend to avoid taking risks and hide under the covers, in a futile attempt to avoid bad things happening. Risk-taking, however, does not always lead to tragedy; sometimes wonderful things happen. And sometimes bad things happen even when you're home sitting on the couch -- or because you're home sitting on the couch! You may be doing something routine and familiar, and when you least expect it...WHAM-O! Yet what at first seems like a catastrophe may turn out to be the best thing that ever happened to you... or at least a rewarding learning experience.

Ever since I became unexpectedly pregnant at the age of 23, I have been mostly conservative in my ways (especially compared to the wildness that got me pregnant in the first place). Since fate hit me over the head with that surprise sledge-hammer, I have been mainly self-protective, sedentary, housebound, and hiding from the world that so shockingly side-swiped me. Children are a blessing, of course, and I "took the high road" and dedicated my life to being a good mother, but what a devastating shock when I was just a child myself!!

At times I've reached out from my Cancerian shell, only to scurry back into my safe haven at the first sign of adversity. I attempted to pursue a graduate degree, for example, when my son was in preschool, but gave up because I felt I was shortchanging him by being gone too much. The biggest risk that I have always been unwilling to take is to be a "bad mother." My own mother went back to work 80 hours a week when I was 9, and I swore I would never do that to my own children. So anything I've tried to do that risked my prioritization of parenthood has been short lived at best.

And now I'm 40, half my life is over, I've spent the past 16+ years playing it safe, and where has that gotten me? The kids are fine, and they'd rather interact with their computers and their friends than with me. Meanwhile, I'm middle-aged, with two chronic, incurable illnesses, and a very boring, pedestrian life that isn't much fun, isn't fulfilling, and doesn't really suit me at all! I've been living for the children, waiting for my turn to come first. If not now, when?

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.
-- Mark Twain.

Of course, I'm not going to abandon my kids or my husband, and I don't advise throwing the proverbial baby out with the bathwater. I'm not advocating stupid risk-taking, like having unprotected sex with strangers, ignoring your doctor's advice, or binging on junk foods. Take care of yourself, and act consciously and conscientiously. But even if you are ill, or have five kids, or had a run of really bad luck that made you scared to leave the house, get up in the morning and live your life to the fullest.

Each day is precious, and no one is getting any younger. Remember what you liked to do when you were young and carefree, and add some of that excitement back into your hum-drum life. I like: art, dance, music, writing, reading, nature, sunshine, travel, walking, hiking, biking, taking classes, learning new things, exploring, creativity, lovemaking, cuddling, flirting, talking, listening, communication, touch, spirituality, yoga, meditation, being near water, boating, playing with kids, making something new, working, playing, resting, balance and harmony. What do you like, that you haven't done in awhile?

Dare to Live Fully
Say Yes to What You Want
Experiment and Explore
Don't Be Afraid
Hiding Won't Protect You
Risking Won't Hurt You
Life is To Be Lived
Keep Your Eyes, Hands, Mind, and Heart Wide Open
Apply Yourself
Let Nothing Go To Waste
The World Needs All of You at this critical time in history.

SHINE Your Light in the World

1 comment:

Chrissy said...

Kitchen Table enlightenment is possible. You can take the journey of your lifetime without ever leaving home. This is true because we already posses everything we need. We simply need to remember who we truly are.
I learned this from Kristen White's book, Mystic in a Minivan. She even has a workbook online that is amazing.