By the end of the day last Monday, I was completely exhausted and I’d learned a few things.
- I neeeeeeed more bright colors in my current wardrobe. I’ve always liked bright colors, but I seriously underestimated how much joy it brings me to wear them.
- I felt prettier than I’ve felt in a very long time trying on all my dresses and heels.
- It turns out, this whole thing was never about the clothes at all.
When I first started putting things on, I felt so happy! All my bright, beautiful clothes felt like old and much-missed friends I was seeing again for the first time in a awhile. But pretty quickly, memories of all that I was and all that I did back then began pouring in.
I did important, fulfilling work in those clothes. I had great conversations with smart people who cared about the same big problems I did. I got to contribute to the personal and professional growth of people I respected, cared about, and was (still am) so very proud to know. I had conversations and made decisions that impacted every citizen in my state . . . I lived a completely fulfilling life.
I miss that. I miss working on problems bigger than my home and family. And, I hope this won’t be misunderstood, but I am not completely fulfilled by motherhood. The part of me that is fulfilled by motherhood is the part of me that wanted children, loves my children, and enjoys the process of coaching them into adulthood. The mom part of me is fulfilled and the wife part of me is fulfilled by my life as it is . . . but all those other parts have been languishing for years.
On some level, I’ve been aware of this, I know, because I’ve been working on bringing other parts of myself to the fore for the past couple of years. But putting on all those colorful, old clothes and remembering my life before really put it in black and white for me.
I am not fulfilled. Something is missing from my life-something that has to do with community, important work, and my purpose outside my family. I used to think it was writing, now I’m not so sure. Writing always has, and always will be, part of who I am and what I do, but lately its the sharing of my work, the messages I get and conversations I’ve had with strangers and friends about life, grief, healing, fear, growth, and so much more that have given me little tastes, here and there, of that fulfillment I’ve been seeking. So now I’m thinking it’s more to do with connection.
Most importantly of all, in this moment, I’m ready to actually take literal steps toward figuring out what it is and making it part of my life, or rather making my life part of it.
A daunting, but exciting prospect to be sure. : )