(Because this is where my mind is at these days)
It's funny, I was just getting ready to drop you a note, and here's one from you! I've been pondering the haiku, and wanting to write one, but my head is just not there right now. Jasper, my oldest cat at 18, is, I believe, in the last throes of dying right now. I'm mostly okay with it - she's ten days older than God, for crying out loud - but it's still the end of an era and kind of depressing, to watch her "go gently into that good night" before my eyes, leaking her life on towels laid in strategic spots. Not my best poetry writing kind of mood (although it's apparently good for prose!), unless I'm going for the teen angst type, ya know? So I'm going to owe you a haiku, as soon as the funk clears.
I was thinking of the question you put to me, the other night - what do I do? I never feel like I answer that question very well, not because my life isn't full or busy or satisfying, but because it's hard to explain that money isn't part of my equation for happiness, especially since we as a culture have come to think that one equals the other. I don't deny that I blew my academic chance, that I shoulda coulda woulda done more with what potential I was given. I never had the tools necessary to do well in school - hell, I never did homework, never wrote a paper any sooner than the morning it was due, and what a chip my parents gave me about the educational system! Nonetheless, as an adult, and as a parent, I can see where I went wrong, and decide to not make that same mistake with my own kids. I always knew I would have children, even though I was ambivilent about having them. I think I was 34 when The Professor was born - not exactly a career mom, starting that late (and there are more than a few sagas to fill in that time). But I had always felt that if I was going to have kids I wanted to really be a full time mother. Art did take a back seat to mothering, but I've often thought that maybe I'm just not crazy, or self absorbed, or driven enough to really be a serious artist. I mean, doesn't it seem like a lot of the career ones are kind of wacked and unbalanced? My childhood was such a roller coaster ride that unbalanced doesn't really appeal to me.
So back to the question: what do I do? I am:
> a full time mother, who really loves being that to it's fullest sense.
> an educational volunteer with 2nd-5th grade children 6+ hours every week.
> a history researcher, family historian and history buff
> a writer, of both family history, and a blog, where I try to hone my literary skills in a forum with more accountability than journalling.
> an artist on hiatus, though that is changing as the kids get bigger and I have more time.
These are all things that make me happy doing them, but I understand, that to the corporate world, I am considered to be a failure; that working without monetary compensation equals failure. It bothers me sometimes, that I don't measure up, but I realize also that I've never wanted to measure myself by the same yardstick as the rest of the world, which does make it easier to thumb my nose at the negative nay-sayers.
I had a vision as a child. It was a dream, but it's portent has never left me. I wondered for years why a dream at the age of 4 would haunt me into my adult life, and then I read "Black Elk Speaks". Black Elk had a vision dream when he was a small child that defined, for him, his purpose for living, and upon reading his story I knew what my dream had meant. The things I do, the things that define who I am are all expressions, or fufillments of that dream. I might not measure up to the warped standards of a consumer-driven society, but I am whole.