All my life I have identified as someone’s daughter, sister, cousin, wife, mother, single parent, aunt, as well as student, acupuncturist, homeowner, teacher. And for most of my life, each of those roles has been played out for many years. Who would I be without those identities? Without all the labels of family and career, who am I, and is it consistent with who I know myself to be?
Two years ago I made a decision that has had an effect, even an earthquake kind of effect, on most of those identifiers. All my life I was obedient, responsible, dutiful, professional, and dedicated to being the best I could be at each of them. As I held many of those roles concurrently, of course I wasn’t perfect, and I knew where I stood among the surrounding relationships and what my connection and responsibilities were to each of them. As a would-be drama major in college, I knew how my part needed to be played and how each line, each movement, each decision and action would affect the other players, and knew that any change, ad lib, unexpected action or utterance could affect every other performance in the play.
The similarity between aspects of a play and my life at the moment has become crystal clear. As I have shaped and honed and clarified how I want to play my part in life, who I am on this one life’s journey, and how I want to play it out for the remaining years of it, I am seeing that my decision is having an effect, in some cases a major one, on the others who have, so far, accompanied me. My decision to sell my home; divest myself of my “stuff;” leave this country for a year, or more; and go to fulfill my dream to live in France, is, actually, forcing an action, or reaction to it by friends, family, co-workers, clients, and others. I have seen everything from joyous celebration and support, to anger and tears. I have experienced people’s doubt, amazement, jealousy, sadness, admiration, and separation from me. How they play their roles in this drama being played out, now must necessarily shift, because there will be a perceived change in the dramaturgy of their lives.
Truthfully, I believe that for anyone to find and be able to follow their heart’s desire in their life, is a blessing. As the quote in an earlier post suggests, (“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life”- Mary Oliver), if we are lucky enough to even know what dream or desire we want to pursue, we MUST do it! Life is short, and definitely precious. Knowing my dream and being at a time in life where I can free myself and others in this drama whose parts are so intertwined with mine from predictability and dependency, I am receiving fully this gift of another adventure. Who knows how many we will be granted?
Have I had doubts, concerns, fears, guilt, sadness, and grief? Of course I have. Every day there’s a new challenge, a new upset, another anxious moment; I have been exhausted, thwarted, frustrated. And, through it all, my spirit is strong and the pursuit of this dream grows more determined. It is happening, and that has made my confidence soar!
So, to all of my friends and family for whom this shift in the play’s direction is causing a tremor in their own ground or footing, I say, “Live, love and laugh fully, for today’s dream can be tomorrow’s reality. It is up to you. You will lose no one or no thing, and you will gain a full life, a fulfilled life, which will be a gift to everyone on the stage with you!