If she got really quiet and listened…

If she got really quiet and listened, new parts of her wanted to speak. ~Sark

I am trying so hard to be quiet and listen to myself this season. Autumn is a time for slowing down, for reflection, less for doing and more for just being. As I seek a better understanding of who I used to be – who I want to be now – and who I want to become – I feel as though the season reflects my mood.

Lots of thinking and reflecting and remembering…when am I most myself? When have I been most joyful, alive… when have I forgotten time? Perhaps it’s not that new parts of me want to speak, but rather, parts of me that have been silenced for too long.

I long for adventure, and new experiences, but ones that I want to pursue. I want to take a solo road trip. I want to explore this area of the country, this part of the world that feels more like home to me than the place where I grew up ever did.

As I settle into my new job, as I figure out who I am and who I want to be in this season of life, how do I honor who I have been for the last 10 or so years, without losing sight of what I want to gain back from who I was before? I don’t want to ditch everything I’ve been so completely; there are certainly things about myself now that I think I like. I love my job… I love that I get to do what I do on a daily basis. I love where I live, and how determined and persistent I have been. I have goals – and I want to maintain those. But I want to get parts of me back that have been silenced for too long. I want to regain my independence, my sense of adventure, my yearning to learn new things, see new places, and find adventures that speak to me.

The hard part is that, while my husband does just fine with this, pursuing his own interests and ensuring that he has “him-time” to do so… I have not. I need to own this, to admit that I need this in my life – that I need to do this for me, and by myself. That this is not a joint pursuit, but is necessary to me not losing my self in the me I have become. Because I think for too long, as I have changed, grown, and evolved, I have tamped down the elements that make me, me. The pieces of me that are unique, and special, and that I really liked about me. And I have turned instead to those things that others choose for me. Why should I be limited by others’ ideas and preferences? I have room in my life to bring more of me back into it. This passive deferral to others is not me – it’s not who I ever was. I have been independent, and freethinking, since I can remember. I have rejected others’ ideas of who I should be, what I should do, and where I should live. I have owned those choices and they have been the best for me.

And yet I’ve lost that in the last few years. Probably – again – since my arm surgery (good grief, nearly 6 years ago now) and have taken the less-intense route of follow others’ wants and dreams and ideas.

It is time to dream again, to seek adventure again, to live again.

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