I haven’t been online much lately; I needed some time to myself, and this is a good thing. I’m back now, and this is also a good thing, but I’ll share with you what’s been going on:
A few people have asked me if I’ve begun to relax now that I’m on summer vacation, and that short answer to that is “yes.” I am now as relaxed as I’ve ever been while on school break. But that is not the same thing as being relaxed- I’m still a little keyed up because I know that I’ll be going back, and I get caught up in the challenges ahead. To a certain extent that is ongoing even now. Although I’d prefer not to think about school, to a certain extent I have to because I have some decisions to make about grad school in the spring. These decisions are long past due, really, but I’ll get there.
Right now, however, my thoughts are elsewhere.
I wrote a couple of weeks ago about how biting into a fresh string bean brought back a flood of memories from my childhood. These were the best sort of memories, filled with picnics, berry-picking, hikes, trips to the ocean, sitting on the porch with family snapping beans or shelling peas. I’ve been recalling days in and on the water: swimming, inner-tubing or canoeing on rivers or lakes, the wind lashing my hair as I water-skied, jumping the wake. I’ve thought about rock-climbing trips to Oklahoma, the groundhogs popping up and the buffalo crossing the street. I once turned a corner on a trail and came face-to-face with a buffalo, just inches away from me. Scary, and exhilarating at the same time! I used to go camping with my family in the forests or beaches of Connecticut, or by lakes and in plains in Texas. The last was made more exciting by the coyotes howling in the distance at night. I loved sitting by campfires, singing, talking, roasting hot dogs or marshmallows, telling ghost stories. The only time I tried shark meat was during a camping trip near the ocean. It was good, but it somehow seemed wrong to be eating something that should, by rights, have been eating me. I love sharks and once swam with one, albeit unknowingly until people on the beach told me afterward. They had tried to call me in, to warn me, but I swim underwater so much that I never heard them cry out. Oh well… no harm done, and it’s kind of cool to think about.
All of these things, and more besides, have been playing through my head and I remember how good it felt. These things are a part of me, forgotten for years. I’ve been locked inside my head for so long, shut away from everything, that I’ve closed large parts of myself off. The way my life is structured, and certain physical limitations, mean some of these things are unlikely to occur again. But there are other things I can do, and would like to do. I have to think about this some more, find ways to include this part of who I am into the person I’ve become. I want more of it. I want to create more of these memories.
So am I relaxed? I suppose so. More importantly, I’m exploring who I am apart from the roles of wife, daughter, sibling, friend, student. Who am I away from the trappings of the things around me and the jobs I’ve worked at? I’m finally officially unemployed as of last week, and I’m okay with that for now. The bookstore waited for me for over a year, but I couldn’t return; they were more than fair. So that’s been stripped away for me. It’s another crossroads time, and I’m embracing it. I’ll let you know how it goes…