I dropped off my girls at daycare and school, came home, shut the door behind me and just stood there feeling the stillness of the house. It had been two full weeks of one or both of the girls being home sick. Two weeks of working at home and from home with kids buzzing around me, snotty nosed and needing more attention than usual.
What to do first? The pile of dishes? Get onto my business to-do list? It was such a beautiful, unseasonably warm, and sunny day and I hadn’t had any time alone in so long. My whole body ached for some solitude. I grabbed my stuff and went outside to the kid’s trampoline.
I hopped up and felt the sun heating my back, the warm but crisp wintery air on my cheeks. I tuned in to my breath and let it guide my body through some organic movement until I felt like getting still for meditation. Every time my mind got busy I was brought back by the magpies in song. Ideas started flowing for my business and I opened my eyes to begin writing. I stopped and lay in the sun a good long time. With my eyes closed I could see the sun through my lids and feel the ever deepening crinkles around my eyes squinting, but I felt like a kid again, not a care in the world. In the next moment I was brought to a memory of being a twenty-something on vacation, only responsible for myself. It was hard dragging myself off that trampoline and back into the Realm of Responsibility.
A few nights later I was off to meet up with some American friends in the city. On the train ride into Adelaide I listened to part of a course I’m taking online. When the train pulled in to the city I switched over to Spotify and clicked on the playlist I had titled “Fun.” Waiting for the tram I listened to Missy Eliot and Pink. My mind got quiet again as I stepped off the tram and into the city streets. My step quickened with the beat of the music. I looked down and realized I was wearing the jacket I bought in Milan eight years ago, now too small around the bosom because of breastfeeding these past 5 years. I was transported back to that time when I explored new city streets alone at night. The walk to the restaurant was almost too short. I wished I could walk right back into that old life.
To be alone again. Care free. No responsibility.
There was a time in my life when I was single and living alone that I had many lonely nights. Many nights I wished for companionship other than my cats. Many nights of isolation while everyone else had plans. I reminded myself often that I should cherish this time because I knew so many mothers of young children who would love just one night in my shoes. Alone. But those thoughts didn’t stop the lonely feelings.
All these years later and I look back on how life has changed—how I’ve become what I swore I never would. Someone who throws some clothes on haphazardly, gets the kids in the car to take them to school and suddenly realises she hasn’t eaten when her stomach starts rumbling. Someone who promises herself she’s going to start walking again, but never follows through. Someone who swears she’ll take a break to walk the 200 meters down to the bench overlooking the ocean, but forgets while getting lost in Facebookland instead.
That’s me. Someone who’s lost connection to her Self. Someone who’s lost herself in Motherhood.
Though lately I’ve been listening more to the voice inside that tells me I can’t keep going like this. The longing for silence has gotten louder. I can no longer ignore the desire to go inward to get to know this new version of myself—the Mother, the Wife, the woman letting go of her youth and going into middle age.
Though the question is not so much “who am I?” Because I am the child soaking up the sun. I am the twenty-something vacationing at the beach. I am the thirty year old walking through the streets of Europe. I am the Mother, the Wife, the Aging Woman. The question is more: “How am I going to get back in touch with my Essence every single day?”
So often when Life sweeps us off our feet and we get carried away, we lose connection to that part of ourselves that is timeless. But it’s always there. That is the journey I’m on. The journey back to that which was never lost.