Eroding in the Right Direction

imagesI think often of what comes next for me. What the rest of my life will look like when my focus can shift from diapers and laundry and meal prep. It’s not because I crave escape (though some armchair psychologists might say that’s what my writing is), it’s mostly so I don’t lose myself to the thousands of little demands of life with two young children. I think stay at home motherhood is a lot like being a coastal California cliff side. Life crashes against you day in and day out, shaping and eroding you a bit at a time, until you’re a thing of beauty that looks much different than how you started.

Still, I’d like to make sure I’m eroding in the right direction. I don’t want to end up with grown children and no earthly idea of who I am or what I want from my life, because as long as each day can seem, I’m all too aware of how fleeting this phase is. There will come a day (Lord willing) that my kids will be independent and won’t hang on my pant legs any more and I’d like very much to ensure that phase of my life doesn’t freak me the heck out.

On Sunday, I was struck with a sudden craving to play my clarinet so I dusted the old girl off and made my way through some scales. I need new reeds and my chops are so weak I made it about fifteen minutes and had to stop, but it felt really good. Especially when Wes brought his acoustic guitar down and we made up some songs together. He’s always encouraging me to be a musician. We have this discussion often, about how he’s a musician who is original and creative and capable of making new music, and how I’m just a trained monkey who knows how to play the notes she sees. I’m a better sight-reader than he is, though, so I guess I have that.

Once I got the cobwebs cleared out of that part of my brain, playing music felt just right. Different, but similar enough to how I feel when I write that I can couch the two loves in the same sentence without feeling too weird about it. I think that whatever I end up doing in the next phase of my life (when I have no marketable job skills because I’ve been out of the workforce for twenty years) is going to have to involve music. And writing, of course.

Maybe I can be an author by day and a member of an amateur symphony by night. Or I could go back to school to realize my adolescent dream of becoming a music teacher, and spend my free time writing thriller books that make the parents of my students nervous because they’re somewhat violent.

It feels good to think about these things. My day dreams remind me that this is not going to be the sum total of my existence, that there are miles upon miles of life to be lived beyond the day to day demands of my current occupation (loving and teaching my two tiny humans). ¬†As for how to get there, I can’t really say yet. I suppose it’ll depend on what happens between now and the future.

I’ll just keep writing where and when I can, playing where and when I can, and hope that what comes next contains more of the same.

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