Tuesday, January 1, 2013

My New Year's aspiration

Gosh!  It's been a while.  I have been somewhat - somnolent, I guess, over the past months.  Living at less than full-speed, full-scale, full-consciousness.  Some dragging from health issues, some fuzzy-headedness from sleep issues, some overload from teaching on top of a full-time job.  But also some uncertainty about What I Want To Be When I Grow Up - which, having just turned 62, seems a bit late in the game to worry about.  The question shifts to: what do I want to do after compulsory paid employment?  (Though the end may be years away, given the economy.)

I always wanted my paid employment to coincide with something I was passionate about -- teaching, scholarship, creative writing -- but couldn't muster the inner power to make it happen, or circumstances didn't line up.  Not that many years ago, I thought I could still switch to something more core and creative to make a living, but now I don't expect that.

Not complaining!  I've had a good run of things, good people around me, work that adds some value to the world, no significant financial or health concerns, no tragedies among those close to me.  Yet.

A good friend, whose significant health impairment led to his death a few years ago (muscular dystrophy), quipped that the world is made up of folks with disabilities and folks who are temporarily able-bodied.  He started a second career in higher education when his first globe-trotting career in fashion buying was curtailed from the disease, and he went through his graduate education and his years of being an academic adviser in a wheelchair, gradually losing his abilities (driving was a big loss).  Yet he kept showing up, finding new efficiencies, and purchasing the latest electronic gadgets to stretch his abilities and find new sources of entertainment.

In contrast, I have found myself tempted to shut down, feeling that I'm heading in a downhill direction when I experience physical challenges.  I wonder: who am I now?  I feel like a stranger in my life.

So my challenge today, heading into the new year, is to reconnect with the vital channel of my life, that deep current that has been flowing beneath the trivial and no-so-trivial events, that has shaped my choices as well as the unlooked-for opportunities that come my way.  May I be aligned to it, may I be attuned to it.  May I stop moping around and let it tug me from the shallows, full of sticks and mud, out into clear, open water.