Come play in my world for awhile!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009


Not the television show.

And before any of my smarty-pants family members jump out of lurking status, let me just say that I am not referring to my abysmal sense of direction. So cork it!

I'm talking about being lost in the sense that I don't have direction in my life, and it's seriously starting to freak me out.

When I was young I felt as though my life was governed by expectations. It was expected that I would do well in school, make the right decisions, go to college, get a good job; and I did. I didn't mind those expectations, but I felt as though I was working from a list and checking boxes.

After I checked all those boxes it was my turn. I got to set goals, and I did. As a result, I got a job, a marriage (which is ironic because I'd sworn myself to the single life), a graduate degree, a consulting gig with a big name company and all of the travel and perks that went with it, pregnant, and then pregnant again, and again...

And then it all changed. I was too old to be saddled with expectations. And goal setting? Most days my goal was to make it through without being carted off to the loony bin. If I had to label this phase I guess I'd call it my fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants phase. I'm still flying by the seat of my pants on a fairly regular basis, but change is in the air. The kids are in school all day. I sleep through the night. Every night. I have enough down time to easily manage the home front and still have time to spare.

And herein lies the problem: My free time is only going to continue to expand as the kids grow more independent. Don't get me wrong, I know there's still a lot of mommy-ing left to do and I'm up for the challenge, but what about me?

I don't have a play book for what comes next. I had so many kids so fast that I never really thought beyond the immediate demands of caring for them. I have no expectations to fulfill ... no goals to achieve... no idea what to do with myself... I've been aware of this for some time and thought that by letting it fester subconsciously that I would come to some sort of conclusion. And I haven't.

I casually mentioned this to a friend the other day and the helpful person to whom I was speaking offered me this, "You are in the most enviable situation in the world. You have your whole life ahead of you and you can be anything you want." I walked away from that conversation with a spring in my step. What's not to love?

My future is wide open.

Except somewhere along the way a little bit a huge chunk of myself went missing. I'm so tied to my family that I no longer know what it is that makes me happy. I tell myself that I relish this because I have a closeness that can't be achieved without this level of symbiosis. And yet...

I think I'm lost.


Nocturnal Queen said...

I know how you feel. I've been feeling the same way for a few years now. I sometimes blog about it. The dreams I have of doing something different, while still being a wife and mother, of course. :-) I just don't know what it is I want to do yet. *sigh*

Kathy B! said...

Okay folks. I've gotten three phone calls about this post. Seems people think I'm going to throw myself over a cliff. NO WORRIES! I didn't mean it to sound so dark. I was just feeling introspective yesterday as I was contemplating the kids' return to school today.

And I didn't post that at 3:00 AM (another thing that freaked everybody out)-- I just can't figure out how to change the flippin time stamp on Blogger and my blog, apparently, still thinks it lives in California. I actually wrote this post yesterday, and then proofread it this morning before sending the kids back to school.

I'm going to have to be serious more often. The minute I stop clowning around and being silly people think I'm coming unglued!


Sarah Clapp said...

Great post! I feel as I'm heading toward 40 I'm a bit stuck in a rut and can't get out of it, despite having my career (for now, layoffs looming) and my own intrest and friends.

evenshine said...

Firstly, glad to know there's no cliff-diving in your future! :)

Secondly, give yourself a break! Every time I feel like this, I know something awesome is just around the corner. While it's certainly hard to figure out what's "Next", don't doubt that there IS a next.

Thirdly, this kind of time in my life is when I take the initiative and send out feelers (usually involving a spa and some pampering) to see what my silence says to me. Spend the day in the park, or (if you're seriously serious) try a weekend in a monastery or retreat house. Those quiet spaces are so essential to hearing the small still voice that guides.

Fourthly, try something you've never tried. Make pottery. Dance salsa. Write actual letters to real people (with stamps!). Wander the library and see which section speaks to you.

Fifthly- and this ALWAYS works for me- do something totally unexpected for someone else. Or many someone elses. You might already do this sort of thing, but helping out where it's needed is the surefire way to stop worrying about tomorrow.

There. That's my bandaid for your cough! Feel free, too, to send this right back to me when you see my own "Lost" post.

Cheers, Lady B. said...

Oh, KathyB!

I can feel your frustration in your post. I can also tell that you are a motivated person. Even if you can't figure it out NOW you'll find yourself in time.

In the meantime you promised to tell us about the time you locked yourself out of the house... keep writing your good stories at let the rest sort itself out... said...

That sounded selfish of me! I meant that you shouldn't obsess over it. I meant that blogging is probably like therapy for you, and that if you don't try so hard to figure it out it will probably come on it's own :)

That's better!

Seeker said...

I can relate. BUT WAIT....there is good news. Remember your dreams? and if you don't ..get some. Hobbies can be pursued. Volunteer at your favorite charity. You can think and do anything you want to. The world is open to more possibilities than you can imagine...GO GET 'EM GIRL.

Seeker said...

OH an fanks fo da reminda of da choclad..(drool)..wif da floers....its gud...

Gibby said...

Not that I am morbid or anything, but this is one of my favorite posts of yours. Obviously I enjoy the funny stuff (like falling into the pool, I still laugh about that one), but this post is so honest. You have hit the nail on the head for so many women, me included. I know this day is coming for me, but like everything else that I don't have answers for, I shove it into the back of my mind to deal with another day.

What will we do when we aren't needed as much anymore? I know I don't want to go back to what I did before, because it would just be too much. Plus, I kind of feel like, been there, done that. But we can't just sit around, right? I'd love to write all day, but who am I kidding? That's not going to pay the bills!

Anyhow, I know you will figure it out. You are a planner and right now you don't have a plan. But you have time and you have the spirit. Hone in on what you LIKE to do and go with it.

Oh yeah, and if you figure all this out, PLEASE let me (and the rest of us!) know how you did it!

P.S. I think it's hysterical that you received so many calls today! Can't a girl lament??!!

happeegrrrl said...

Don't worry, KathyB! We're all in the same boat together so don't fret! I can't figure what I'm going to do in the next chapter either so I guess we should just all consider our selves to be in good company!!!

Lana said...

What a great post. How lucky you are to be able to put into words what so many cannot. (like me!)
Good luck in your endevours to become un-lost. ☺ ☺

Minxy Mimi said...

Yes, this is also a fave post of mine, it is very honest and raises questions all of us mommies have sometimes. I am sure you will find a new gaol in life... maybe mentor some children, volunteer for animals or elderly, or just make it a goal to read a whole shelf of books in the library. Remember tho, we are here for ya!

Kathy B! said...

Thanks ladies!

I think Gibby nailed it when she said, " You are a planner and right now you don't have a plan."

That's really it. I plan for everything, and am rarely caught off-guard. Well, I am completely off guard, and I don't know how to even go about creating a plan for something so vague and undefined.

And to that end, I'm going to take evenshine's advice and try her third and fourth suggestions.

As a bonus I'm going to stuff my mouth with enough chocolate (a la Seeker's comment) that I won't be able to hear the little voice in my head reminding me that I really shouldn't.

Chocolate always makes me feel better:)

ck said...

I so know how you feel.

Be sure to look outside of your personal "norm" when you send out the search party for yourself.

When I finally resurfaced, it was in the most unlikely place - 4:30 in the morning. Which is when I now get up in the mornings to write.

As a recovering late, late sleeper this was not at all where I expected to be.

But here I am.

And I love it.

You'll see. Reuniting with yourself is always worth what it takes to get you there.

Anonymous said...

Are you worried about your root canal?
Things will look beter when you get home. Love you, MOM

ck said...

Ummmm...your anonymous mom is kinda awesome.

Zeemaid said...

I know how you feel. I once saw a life coach and he asked me what do I do for me that makes me feel fulfilled etc.. What?!?! I was at a complete blank. I didn't go back. *L* Even now I seriously can't think what would be the one thing in the world that I would want to do most of all if you know one of those shows happened to ask me and was going to grant it to me.

Anonymous said...

Crap. I have to do that again! I got out of college and realized I didn't kill over with an early heartattack like my great-grandpa, and oops, I didn't expect to make it this far what now. So I got married and got pregnant. Yeah, my dad wonders what happened to his smart daughter.

Once I did this cool project in college. You meditate on a quesiont like, what do I want, what's my future, whatever. Then you make a college (perhaps you should have the materials ready before you meditate.). Then when you're done, your subconcious has given its answer. But I think other people gave better advice.