It is bitterly cold here today, so cold that I skipped a hat and went straight to the hard core head gear of a balaclava. Wearing one makes me feel like my head is in a little cave, hidden from the elements.
I feel a bit like hiding today. I’ve got big things on my mind, a slushy mix of fears and plans and hopes and wonderings. The effort of talking to other people, a thing that I have to do about 87% if the time in my normal work day, feels like a rude interruption of the internal processing I want to do. The nerve of people, wanting time and energy from me when I am trying to figure out who I am going to be for the next 35 years of my life.
Good thing I keep my mental problem solving to totally manageable things, right?
I keep getting stuck on a question about how much of who I am/how I act/what I want is situational and how much is just who I am now. Like if I used to be “X” but am now “Y” , how much of why I’m so “Y” is because of my current job, my current status of parent with young kids, etc versus that I am just a “Y” person now? If I want to be more “X” than “Y”, how do I get back to that?
That may not make sense. Let’s try a concrete example. Let’s see…
I used to be a swimmer. I was obsessive about it. I LOVED it. I would feel seriously upset if I had to skip practice for any reason. I trained myself into the ground in some ways, but swimming was a huge part of my identity. And now I rarely swim. And I don’t seem to have that burning interest in doing it anymore.
Is it because I’m busy with other things and it takes effort to schedule swims around work and sleep and kiddos? Because I am out of the habit? Or is it because I am, at some basic level, just not a swimmer anymore?
I find myself wondering where to put the effort in. Do I work hard to get back to being “X” (a swimmer) or do I spend my time trying to figure out how to be a better “Y” (say, to keep going with the fitness stuff, becoming a Zumba fanatic or maybe just deciding exercise/fitness stuff isn’t my thing right now and reading is instead)?
I feel like sorting through identity stuff is challenging for me at this stage of my life, when it feels like there are so many competing demands on my time and energy and all of them feel valid. The kids need me, the job needs me, the marriage needs me…sometimes I’m spending too much time in the Dark Playground (I nodded my head about 9000 times reading that article) because I’m just overwhelmed at the gap between where I am and where I want to be.
Well *brisk clap* this is cheerful, no? I’m sure you’ve enjoyed this opportunity to gaze at the inside of my navel as much as I have. You’re welcome.