A real life exchange between my youngest daughter and me last night on Face Book. I guess this says it all.
I’ve been thinking about you lately and I wonder sometimes if you're fulfilled?
I know how I get when I want something more in my life, but I can't put my finger on it. When you know you want something and you don't know what it is…
I don't know, maybe I'm completely off base here and, perhaps, you are perfectly happy and content with where you are in your life.
I just see that you have so much to offer. You're smart, compassionate, driven and, Lord knows, you have love coming from every action in your life. But passion without an outlet is wasted. Sometimes I worry that you might be lonely or even just bored.
I think about Danny and Julie and how after their children grew, they did what they had always wanted to do. And how when Grammy and Grandpa retired they moved to the beach. How Carol traveled the world. Now, I'm not saying leave Dad and move to Italy, but I feel like it's about time you did some soul searching and found your thing. Your next great something.
I have a theory that in the past twenty years you devoted so much of yourself to a husband, your children and a household that you may have trouble defining yourself without those things.
I think it's time you regained your individuality. What do you want? Don't think it is just you! For example, try to imagine Dad as retired. Everyone faces the dilemma of what's next. But… I feel you might be stuck between chapters.
As always… I love you and like you. I only want you to be as happy and fulfilled as I know you can be. Perhaps you are fulfilled and, if that is the case, ignore this as just a daughter’s concern.
I love you and J and I are looking at phone plans. So, I'll call as soon as I can.
Ha! Dear S,
I couldn't have expressed it any better than you did. Stuck between the chapters of my life. That's a perfect description. It's like you're in my head.
You've always been the most perceptive of all of us. I do need a "something." And, don't worry, I'm not going to leave Dad and move to Italy. Although, going to Italy sounds fun.
Yep. I guess the best way I can explain myself is this...It's like I've been working this great job for 25 years, done well, loved my work, took the challenges with the rewards...And then? And then, someone walks into my life and says, "Job well done. Moving on. You're too old for this now and we don't need you in the capacity you've been in." And then they just walk out. It feels like the rug has been pulled out from under me.
I remember all of your faces when you were just graduating high school. Everyone said, "It's a big world. You can do anything you want now. Just figure out what that something is." I remember seeing on your face something like, "Oh Shit. It's a big world and I don't have any idea what I'm going to do now." It is a very big world, indeed.
I remember the year you spent working at the music store. How important it was that you took the time to just "be." And plan. And build up your courage before you jumped into your life. That's where I am now. I know I have to be very careful not to stagnate and become less of who I am. I need to find a passion.
What will that passion be? I can honestly tell you this. I have no earthly idea. I haven't been very aggressive in my search yet. And yes, I am starting to get bored. My back is soooooooo much better now. I have no real excuse NOT to begin my discovery.
In some ways I am very excited by what is in front of me. In other ways, I'm scared. I'm not nearly as brave as you are, S. For whatever reason, I have this fear of failure. I'm not sure where that comes from but I have this deep seeded fear of looking foolish...just typing it sounds silly to me. But, it is there. That's my main challenge, I think. Getting over my fear. That and the fact that change is never easy for me.
I do know a few things though. One, I am very fortunate. I have the support of your dad. Emotionally and financially, to do anything that makes me happy. He genuinely wants whatever I want for myself. How many women can say that, I wonder?
Two, I'm pretty capable. I'll be able to do something, anything really, until I find that passion...that "thing" that wakes me up in the morning and drives me until bedtime.
Three, I isolate myself. For all my extroverted tendencies, I still tend to hide. I was thinking about how that's not good for me. I need to meet some good people. Make some interesting friends to share with.
Dad is the love of my life but there are many things I want to get out and do that he's not interested in doing. A long time ago we decided, on lots of levels, we are very different people. But, that's okay. It's not healthy to depend on one's spouse for all of our happiness. I know that too.
I like very much to have something to look forward to in my life. I need to adjust my thinking and begin looking forward. I've run a few scenarios through my head...working mentoring young adults or back to special education? Both, I know I’m good at but would that be going backwards? Starting an adventure travel group for women my age? I’m sure there are many women my age, like me, who dream of outdoor adventure but have no one to share that with. Perhaps going to travel agent school would be an important step in that direction? Although, to be honest, school...uugh... Travel writing? Travel writing would be a dream job. That pie in the sky. And then I think, but...would I be able to do that alone? That's when I get scared. Alone...I've not been alone for a very long time. I don't know how I'd be.
So...Dad and I are going to NYC for a week. He'll work during the day and I'll see the city. We'll meet up at night, go to dinner, and sleep in the same bed, nice and cozy. I'm giving this thing a test drive in a way. I'm planning on taking pictures and journaling and, hopefully, put it all together when I get home. A "NYC for the woman of a certain age" adventure.
Dad's plans have leaned towards consulting in his "golden years." He's always said that if I go with him then he won't mind traveling for work. He has always hated sleeping alone in hotel rooms. We'll see how this trip goes.
Anyway, baby steps, right?
Hey, by the way, thanks. Thanks for the letter. It's good to know you think about me like I think about you. And, Yeah! Phone plans are good :)
Dad says Hi! Be careful shredding the gnar and give J a big hug for me. Tell him that it's toffee season. I made the first batches last weekend and they turned out pretty tasty. You guys get the next batch!
I love you S. I'm always thankful for you. Always. And, like I said before...you are one of the greatest joys of my life.
***Update: Hubby just called and the show is a no-go. So, thanks to everyone who offered up visits and info on seeing NYC. Looks like I'll have to take you up on your kindness at a later date. Oh, well...there's always a next time.