Off all the areas that I have recapped these past several days, this one of personal growth feels the least successful. Since we moved here in October 2009 I have felt adrift, with no purpose and no sense of direction to my life.
I know that some of my disquiet this past year was moving so far away from family to an area I never anticipated living in. But I believe I have mostly adjusted to the separation and am content in the here and now of Arizona. Don’t get me wrong: I don’t think Arizona is ever going to feel like home and I would gladly move back east in a heartbeat, should the opportunity arise. But life isn’t all bad here and there are even some things that I really like about living in Arizona.
No, my disquiet has more to do with the inner me than where I am. The last few months I have come to realize that what I am searching for has nothing to do with location. Instead, I have to look within. Without children to mother, without children to homeschool, I do not really know who I am. I’ve lost my sense of identity. If I’m not a mom, who am I? If I’m not a homeschooling mom, who am I? I’m not even a Grandma now on a day-to-day basis as I was for so long when Miss Munchkin was living with us.
I had hoped this past year would answer some of these questions, but instead it has just intensified them. Recently I have been following The Dao of Doing, a blog by two women who are experiencing a similar inner exploration. Their “doing” is providing me with some inspiration to face some of my questions and work to find a new direction for my life.
One area of noteworthy success this year was my joining a clogging class. Clogging provided me with some great exercise, both for the brain and body. It also frustrated me to no end, as I thought I should be able to master it much more easily than I did (sometimes I think it mastered me!). Clogging classes begin again in another two weeks. My original intent was to clog for one year and then try something else, as I wasn’t really enjoying the clogging the way I thought I would. But due to a knee injury in September, I have not participated in classes since then, so I think I will try again for a few more months. Maybe the few months rest will have rejuvenated my brain and body to the point where I will have fun dancing instead of working hard dancing.
Another success this year has been the renewed connection between Bill and me. Without the strains of raising children, our relationship has become much closer and in many ways we feel like newlyweds again. Definitely a positive!
Two things that I wanted to learn to do when I turned 50 were play the guitar and speak Italian. In less than five months I will turn 52 and I still have not learned either one. This past week I picked the guitar up with renewed focus and have been practicing each day. My fingers are not strong enough yet, nor flexible enough, to practice for more than a few minutes at a time, so I am doing two or three small sessions a day, hoping to build up strength. By my birthday in April I hope to have made playing the guitar a daily ritual and then can add in some Italian lessons!
I have been contemplating what other type of group I could join this coming year (maybe a book club or a crochet group), but with only one vehicle to share, transportation is a problem. And I like my evenings at home with Bill, so I am not sure I want to join something that meets at night. But I know that getting out and meeting people is an area where I need to push myself, so I will have to see what I can find. I definitely need to insist that we go square dancing every week, no matter what. Bill and I both need the exercise and I need to get out of the house and see someone besides family.
Areas for improvement in 2011:
1. Quit wasting time on mindless games / procrastinating
2. Keep in better contact with my siblings & parents via phone
3. Put myself “out there” in more ways, more often
You might think #2 would be an easy one, but I hate calling people on the telephone (I’m always afraid that I am calling them at a bad time) and I hate talking on the telephone (I tend not to remember conversations so well on the phone as I do in person). I much prefer email, but a few of my relatives don’t do email well. So #2 will be as much of a challenge as the other two items.
Wish me luck! I will be giving progress updates via an End-of-the-Month Highlights Reel over the coming year; hopefully a way to keep myself accountable to myself!