Saturday, June 18, 2016


I was once told that I would "never be happy". It was not a passing comment, or a prediction, it was just a factual statement told to me by someone who knew me well and who was trying to make me understand. Understand why I was always frustrated and anxious, why I could never relax, be satisfied, be content.

Content. That is a state of being I have never mastered. Always looking forward, wanting more, planning something, daydreaming of what could be. A dreamer, yes, but a functional dreamer. A girl who could work 40 hours at a soul-sucking job and seem completely at ease in the world, all while feeling completely empty inside.

In my 20's. . .oh my 20's. . .I heard so often, from everybody. . ."you'll grow out of it". Grow out of what? My dreams? My wanderlust? My hunger for the new, the weird, the fascinating? It was always there. I gave in, occasionally, and went off to Spain, to Latin America, to Africa. Never for long, never as long as I wanted. I always came back, fearful, scared, unsure. Surrounded by people who didn't understand, didn't get it, just didn't think like me. It was before social media, before you could sit down and search in Facebook for "Wanderlust" and instantly be connected to 10,000 people around the world who also googled searched flights to India just for fun. No, back then you had to meet people the old-fashioned way, and the people I met had mortgages and kids and blouses from Ann Taylor and my conversations with them were forced and unnatural. When I did meet someone who understand, when I found a kindred spirit, I tended to jump, attach, seek fulfillment, declare them soulmates, blind to anything else.

The mistakes made. The emotions wasted. The path that brought me here.

"You will never be happy."

Recently, I read a book about creativity, and the author shared her belief that ideas - ideas for books, art, poetry, movies, whatever - that ideas exist outside of humanity and sort of float around aimlessly until they find a suitable vector, a physical being to inhabit in order to make itself a reality. If the physical being does not recognize this idea and does not allow it to manifest itself, to come into creation. . .in other words, if the chosen human does not write that book or create that art installation, the idea will pick up and leave, will float around, will find someone else.

At the time, I thought that was the dumbest thing I have ever read, but obviously it has stuck with me, except for me, it's not an idea or inspiration that inhabited me. . .it was this feeling, this notion, this energy, this drive, this absolute truth that I was meant for other things. For great things. For adventure. For a creative life. For far-reaching connections with humanity. For a different path, the rocky uneven path through the heart of the rainforest. The things that excited me, that thrilled me, that awakened me. Where I was natural, where I shined. Where I was surrounded by people who felt the same way.

I was inhabited by an all-encompassing hunger for the unknown.

This spirit, energy, whatever you want to call it, dwelt with me for years. It gave me every chance to embrace it, pursue it, manifest it. I never did.

Now it is gone. I awoke one morning a couple of months ago and felt its absence. At first, I thought it would be back, that it had just shrunk down, maybe cocooned itself for a bit. But no, it's gone.

I'm fine. That dull, meaningless word. Fine. I'm not happy or unhappy. I just am. Is this contentment? Folding laundry on a Saturday morning? No plans, no one to talk to, no excitement in the day? No longing to take out a kayak and lose myself in the mangroves? No wistful glances at my dust-covered passport? Drinking coffee, walking the dogs, going through the motions, no real desire for anything?

"You will never be happy."

Maybe he was right. Maybe this is as good as it gets for me. It's not depression, it's more an acceptance of what life is and what it will be. 38, kid, mortgage, 9-5 job, pets, bills, car, packing lunches, driving to school. Debt. Home repairs, dryer making a weird sound, broken glass in the door, kitchen needs new caulking, pressure washing, toilet scrubbing, on-call, work, life.

"You'll grow out of it" - No, I didn't grow out of anything. The "it" outgrew me. The "it" got tired of waiting. The "it" moved on to someone else.

I hope it moved onto my child. If Max ever comes to me, with a light in his eyes, and says to me, "Mom, I don't know what to do, I'm just not happy, I want to. . .go somewhere. . .try something new. . .this just isn't me". . .I will look at him and say just one word. The word I wish I would have heard a million times over. The word that should have been my mantra. The word that can set you free.


Wednesday, June 15, 2016


My dream last night:

Sitting in a cafe on a lovely, foggy street. Obviously in Europe. . .just obviously. Across the street I see the ocean and tiny islands scattered in a line to the horizon. It is chilly out, a mist in the air, waves breaking onto rocks. I run over with a camera to take a picture, and notice a carnival - quaint, retro, the rides shimmering in the fog. All bright pastels against the grays. One ride catches my eye - it is a spinning carousal that lifts high into the sky, back and forth, the laughing children on the ride appearing and disappearing. I pick up my camera and take a photo right as the ride is above me and it is perfect - the kids with a 1,000 different expressions, the colors of the ride pink and green, the ocean crashing at just the right moment. A woman comes up behind me and points at the photo on my camera and shakes her head while smiling "I've been trying to get that shot for years" she said before walking away.

I cross back over the street and return to the cafe. My friend sits there with his coffee. I am excited, I say "Let's go! We've never been to Copenhagen, to Amsterdam, to Berlin. . .let's just go, like we used to!"

He sadly shakes his head. "You have no shoes" he says. I look down at my feet, dirty and bare, and realize he's right. I can't go. I don't have any shoes. Suddenly, the joy is gone and the dream fades away.

It was the sort of dream that left me feeling rather sad this morning.

Other things I dreamt about last night:

Arriving at a yoga class only to find out it was over and watching the people stream from the classroom, holding their mats, all with that slightly dazed, glowing expression that only an hour of yoga can produce. I felt so alone and forgotten.

Trying to take Sammy to the vet only to realize that he has a new owner who had come to take him away from me. He was an old man, white hair and beard, looked like a psychology professor. I cried as he took my dog, but I knew I had no choice in the matter. The old man told me to "leave now" and I did.

There is one more, but it is too fuzzy in my head, I didn't capture it quickly enough. I just have vague images of sitting on a patio with two women drinking coffee while someone was trying to break down the door to get to us. None of us seemed overly concerned.

Time for coffee, dog walking, and another day of training for my new job. It's one of those mornings that I am having trouble shaking off the world of dreams, the grey fog that followed me through each dream still surrounds me. It's one of those mornings I wish I could sit here and write, work on (one of) my books that exist in fragments scattered through piles of notebooks and random Word documents. Someday they will all come together. Maybe someday. Today, however, I have to shake the fog and return to reality.

(I really wish I had been wearing shoes. . .)