Lately

by Kim on May 4, 2016 · 18 comments

hiking with Juniper

Hiking with Juniper on a recent trip to the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Lately I have been enjoying life without the book hanging over my head while at the same time feeling guilty for not writing more (My brain screams: Write something! Anything!) I have been running (slowly) and taking evening walks with Brian and the baby. I have been cooking healthy food and keeping up with the laundry. I have been taking beginner yoga classes. I have been doing the things I fantasized about doing when the only thing I was doing was working on my book.

I have been busy with mom things because OH MY GOD I AM A MOM NOW (when will this cease to surprise me?) and in my quiet moments I ponder the big things. What comes next? What do I want, as a soul with a temporary lease on this not-so-perfect yet phenomenal body? What do Brian and I want for our family? We sneak the conversations in when we can: In the car, on our evening walks. We sometimes make very monumental decisions over text message. We do not have as much time to belly gaze as we did when we were traveling. I feel like my path to enlightenment has a few bulbs burned out. But I say thank you every single day because, to paraphrase Meister Eckhart, if the only prayer you ever say is thank you, that is enough.

I wonder if I’m trying to hang on to an older version of myself- the version that always wants the biggest and most wild adventure she can dream up. If I truly let myself want what I want what would that want want to be? (Existential tongue twister right there). There are so many choices. Do we say screw it all and buy one-way tickets somewhere? Do we convert a campervan and visit the U.S. National Parks? How about settle down in the mountains, plant a big garden and let Juniper run around like the barefooted wild child I always imagined she’d be? At night I send my prayers into the universe. First, thank you. Second, I’m ready for what comes next, please send clues.

But in the meantime I read. I pot plants. I take hot showers and feel grateful for warm water. I kiss my daughter and feel grateful for a healthy baby. I watch my husband sleeping and I think we have everything. I try to ignore Facebook and politics. I really have to talk myself down from a ledge about politics. I start to worry about what comes next and then I remind myself not to take it all so seriously. I laugh. I still yearn and question and hope. But goddamn it if I do not laugh more than I have laughed in a very long time, lately.

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{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

Rhonda May 4, 2016 at 9:17 am

A lovely, if questioning, post Kim. But then, that is many of us in a nutshell isn’t it? Always questioning the next act. Good for you for focusing on the NOW and being grateful for the amazing life and family that you have.
Rhonda recently posted..Coming Home

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Kim May 12, 2016 at 8:14 am

I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t question everything. It’s a part that I both like about myself and yet also wish I could… umm… what’s the word? Tame? Dull? I think I am worried that contentment is “settling” but that’s ridiculous.

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Cindy May 4, 2016 at 9:48 am

This made me smile – I’m 55 now & still ask myself what’s next – what do I want to be when I’m a grown up ? Always end up with more questions than answers : )
Love your writing Kim – it’s thought-provoking, compassionate, insightful & always quietly optimistic.
Like you I feel very lucky – I have 4 wonderful adult children, a great husband & a nutty but extremely loveable labradoodle pup who is a great reminder to wring every last bit of fun out of every single moment.
We’ve just bought a motorhome & are having so much fun exploring the gorgeous Scottish countryside. We plan to travel in it to France this summer and as we get nearer retirement to travel much more. After that … who knows ? Sometimes the not knowing is great !

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Kim May 12, 2016 at 8:15 am

I love this 🙂 Yes, I’m sure I’ll *always* be asking what’s next. I heard on a podcast once that the definition of being alive is wanting to know what comes next. So it’s a good thing.

Congrats on your motorhome. That is in the future for Brian and I and Juniper… and I can’t wait!

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Patti May 4, 2016 at 9:51 am

I think it happens in so many stages of our lives, the wondering of what’s next? I think we’re a bit alike in that neither of us likes the feeling of complacency so we’re always thinking one or two steps ahead while trying to remind ourselves to be in the moment. It’s a constant wonderful, dizzying, twirling and sometimes challenging dance and I wouldn’t trade it for the world. I bet you wouldn’t either. Right?
Patti recently posted..The Fathom Experience: Reforestation ~

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Kim May 12, 2016 at 8:16 am

You’re right, I wouldn’t. It does make life a lot more adventurous!

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Angie Stegall May 4, 2016 at 9:57 am

I hear you on those questions. And I love, “At night I send my prayers into the universe. First, thank you. Second, I’m ready for what comes next, please send clues.” We’ll be thanking and asking together. Rest now.
Angie Stegall recently posted..A mini float trip on the French Broad River

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Kim May 12, 2016 at 8:16 am

Yes, we will 🙂

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Andrea May 4, 2016 at 10:30 am

Great post! First, I found with a 9 & 7 yr old I never stop reminding myself, ‘wow, I am a mom!’ I think from the day I became pregnant I was worried about losing myself, trying to find ways to keep the ‘old me’ in the equation. Today I eased up on the ‘what was’ and try to stay present with what’s in front of me. It’s about incorporating the desires, passion, work I did along side being a single mom. It’s not always easy, some days I feel guilty for wanting more. But I found if I walk each day in gratitude and remind myself of at least ONE thing daily, it makes it all a little easier to accept and find peace and gratitude with where the journey is taking me tomorrow.

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Kim May 12, 2016 at 8:18 am

I have MAD respect for single moms. I always knew that was a tough job but until I had a baby of my own (and I have tons of help) I had NO IDEA. It is definitely more of a struggle to hang on to the most meaningful parts of yourself but I always remind myself that I want to be a model for my daughter- so she sees that living life in a way that fills her up is possible.

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Alyse May 4, 2016 at 11:34 am

Beautifully articulated as always Kim! Having many of the same thoughts recently (sans baby and book of course!) but I’m starting to think that it all boils down to loving and owning where you are, wherever that is. Thanks for sharing xx

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Kim May 12, 2016 at 8:19 am

Yes, you are right. It is totally about owning where you are even if you aren’t in the exact place where you want to be. We so rarely are in that place– that’s the way life goes, but we can *always* love the place we are (knowing that, like everything, the place will change).

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Galen May 4, 2016 at 11:40 am

Kim, your honest self-questioning and writing are actually soothing. Maybe you don’t know how much your words resound with us, your readers, and connect us together.
I’m trying very hard to be content and grateful and live in the moment…. But, I still want more and I want my goals to be clear to me. Now. Btw: I’m 65….

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Kim May 12, 2016 at 8:19 am

I have no doubt I will be the same at 65 🙂 Thanks Galen.

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Andi Wahyudi May 12, 2016 at 5:49 pm

You’re right, and I’m proud of you. I think we have to ignore unimportant things, and focus to our family. A good mother will always notice her husband and kids. Thinking how to survive the family life is something amazing to do. Politics or whatever is not really important.

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Same day taj mahal tour May 14, 2016 at 5:09 am

Great article, You are looking cool mom, I appreciate you, Everyone has lot of responsibilities, Some manage their work some are focus on family, but few of them are focus and take both responsibilities equally, You are one of them. Thanks for this article.

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Dale June 12, 2016 at 12:00 pm

You might be interested in reading up on some Eastern philosophy/religion (Hinduism, Taoism, Buddhism, etc.). While the whole mindfulness trend right now is primarily focused on stress relief, the original purpose of cultivating mindfulness to achieve enlightenment by understanding that there is no future or past, just a series of present moments. The future and past are created in our minds to create a sort of cohesive narrative about who we are and how we “progress” through life. When something doesn’t fit that narrative (like when you transition from adventurous traveler to a slightly less mobile parent), we become disturbed.

Thus, the best strategy according to Eastern thinking is to become somewhat detached from our cultivated narratives. Now that you’re a mother, do the best you can do at being a mother, but realize that this is just one identity that you’re living now, one that might become less strong when your kids are grown and have their own kids at which point you’ll try out another identity.

I recommend reading “The Book: On the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Truly Are” by the late Allan Watts. Very accessible book explaining how Eastern philosophy contrasts with Western culture on the subject of identity. Here’s a gem from the book:

“For unless one is able to live fully in the present, the future is a hoax. There is no point whatever in making plans for a future which you will never be able to enjoy. When your plans mature, you will still be living for some other future beyond. You will never, never be able to sit back with full contentment and say, “Now, I’ve arrived!” Your entire education has deprived you of this capacity because it was preparing you for the future, instead of showing you how to be alive now.”

Keep up the good work!
Dale recently posted..Wonder

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Kim July 12, 2016 at 6:40 am

Thank you so much Dale! I will look in to all of these resources. I appreciate it.

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