When I was 24 my life changed forever.
I wanted to be a poet. Well, a poet and a mother. And one of those things had finally come to fruition: I had a baby.
Now this baby left me blindsided and sputtering, a swimming-type gasp for air, as I realized the impossibility of doing anything by myself or for myself (first and foremost) ever again. Eventually, this was a wholehearted blessing—a real gift. The sort of thing that was good for me in the way vitamins were good for me and joyful to me in a way I had never understood joy before.
Ten years (and four kids) later I’m all about my present circumstances and not so much interested in my possibility. I’m often troubled by my seeming lack of drive and feel blessed but worried by my utter contentment with motherhood. What will I do when my kids are grown and gone? Will I finally be that poet? Or will I be a new something else?
And what happened to my dreams? To lofty goals? I have to be convinced that they’re still there, somewhere. Like the full moon or the stars in a night full of cloud cover: I see light enough to know they exist beyond, but the actual contours of a milk-saucer circle and pinpoints of light are invisible to me. Am I without celestial navigation? And should this worry me? Because rather, I’m pleasantly adrift on sublime waters and want for no destination.
Still, I know eventually I will shore up on something. Eventually things will change. Eventually I will be empty-nested and face to face with a 24-year-old girl, pre-children, and she and I will have to reconcile ourselves to each other and figure it out. Will we?
How did you? How have you set and achieved goals for yourself? Do these goals feel exclusive from motherhood? How have you balanced writing careers and books and college and other pursuits with raising a family?
And, if you could achieve one dream without failure, what would it be?