So, I am reading a book right now called Something More: Excavating You Authentic Self by Sarah Ban Breathnach and I am trying to put into practice the underlying idea of discovering what it is that I am supposed to be doing in my life. I have felt for a long time that there must be something more to my life than working at a job that I no longer love (but did once upon a time). I feel like I work just to pay the bills. My work is not making a difference in anyone’s life except the creditors, of which I honestly don’t have many. Between my husband and me, we have a home mortgage, a travel camper, a couple of small credit card bills, and the regular utilities that everyone has. It has gotten to the point (again, this year) that I dread going back to work on Monday mornings.
Sometimes I feel that I don’t even make a difference in my own children’s lives. I feel stretched too thin, without enough time to truly enjoy the moments I get to spend with my babies (ages 10 and 18) before they are grown and gone. The pressures of working to provide the insurance for my family, to pay half of the bills, and to be present in the home with cleaning and cooking and everything else that needs to be done in a day can be too much sometimes.
So, what is this Something More I am longing for? Religious people will tell me it is the peace I can feel from knowing Jesus Christ. Well, I do know him. We have daily conversations (usually as I am walking into my building before school starts asking for strength) and I am still longing for something more. I don’t think it is the selfless act of doing for others because I do things for others now without making it obvious. I’ve learned the selfless principle and practice it. I think I honestly have not learned how to be selfish, to look out for myself and make sure that I am well taken care of. I know I have set aside dreams in my life to put others first. It has been a choice for me because I chose to be a mother and a wife. But now I want to choose to do things for myself: to write a book, to take a nap in the middle of the day, to start a business, to change my name back to Roberts as a way of reclaiming my original self.
I also went to see Eat, Pray, Love. What a fascinating movie (book) premise! To dismiss everything safe and comfortable in your life to embrace the unknown in hopes of finding that Something More you’re craving. If I even thought about doing that, someone in my life would point out how irresponsible it would be for me to just drop everything and seek out my Something More. How could I leave my children uninsured? How could I not pull my weight in my marriage by paying my half of the bills? How could I give up teaching when it was what I went to school for? I’m way too smart for that, to just give it all up and seek out what it is that I am searching for, right? Or is it more irresponsible to give up on dreams, passions, longings? Langston Hughes described very vividly what happens to dreams deferred: they rot, wither, explode into something unrecognizable.
Is that what has happened to me? Because now, the question I always seem to come up with is: what is it exactly that I want to do? What, other than teaching, did I want to do when I was younger? I know I want to write my books, but I seem to never have time. And what if no one wants to read them and they aren’t successful? I guess I could write them for me, but I really want to share them with others who I think would enjoy them. I also want to create curriculum of contemporary novels for high school teachers that they could teach in their classrooms, but I don’t exactly know where to begin, or which novels to choose, or if they are even appropriate for classroom instruction. I mean, if I was given leave to read what I wanted with my students, I certainly wouldn’t choose a novel that was published over a hundred years ago. It is irrelevant to their lives today, regardless of the “universal theme.”
So, this still leaves me with the question: What do I want to do now with my life?