I turn forty-three years old today, but not so gracefully. This same month, The Sojourner, my metaphysical shop, turns eight years old–which is ancient in shop years–and I’m just as surprised as anyone else that this is still my job.
Back in 2009, as the doors opened to the public for the first time, we were so worried about living out the 3 year lease, we didn’t even consider what year eight would look like. All my wildest estimates for a five-year business plan seem like a joke at this point. I’ve been clawing my way up this hill for so long that I might have lost my perspective.
<cue the midlife existential crises>
Over the Hill?
They say that 40 isn’t “over the hill,” and “50 is the new 40” but my mom died suddenly at 59, so if I live into my eighties I will consider it a great gift. I can’t say that I’ve found the top of any hill yet, but there IS this daunting precipice to which I’m still clinging.
I am in the heart of the “fixed energies” portion of the triplexity cycle in my life, and it surely does take a lot of hard work just to sustain the status quo. Here is the existential question, though: Is this status the quo?
Am I providing enough opportunity for my children?
Am I investing my prime years living up to my potential?
Is this life I find myself living what I actually want, or just the corner into which I am painted?
This uncertainty at forty-three is not what I had in mind when I left home at eighteen. After I finally grabbed that brass-ring of legal adulthood, I took off like a firecracker of ambitions. I made all sorts of cocky declarations about the kind of woman/mom/citizen I’d never become. Ahhh….the absolutes of youthful idealism… Its a miracle anyone who knew me then still talks to me.
I suffered under a very specific delusion about where all this hard work of adulting and hill-climbing would land me by now, and I gotta say that “wildly-over-leveraged, under-prepared, over-worked, under-paid, out-tech’ed and divorced” wasn’t in that teenager’s forecast. <le sigh>
Yet, here I am. Every day I feel like The Fool, throwing my head back, and naively taking each step, right over a cliff.
What I’m Trying to Do
A while back, someone (previously) important to me, said that they “respect what I’m trying to do.” They were speaking in regards to my life as a single mother of two school-aged children, who works full time both outside and inside the home, owns and maintains both shop and house, far from the help of my extended family, and that it must be very hard to accomplish everything by myself. You know, because they can barely handle the same stresses WITH their spouse and parent’s help. This came right before their “concerned” appraisal of all the ways in which I am failing to make the grade, per their conventional opinion.
This person (who should know better) then suggested ways of reducing my “burden” by giving up custody time with my kids, even more than I’m obliged by the court to share them now.
<Cue the offended white-hot rage>
What I’m trying to do… trying? Not doing? Not succeeding? What am I trying to do here beyond play the hand that life dealt to me through hard work and perseverance? How is this different from what anyone else is doing?
As with all opinions, they are relative–and what other people think of me is none of my business. If I purposely make unconventional life-choices, take that road less traveled by, so that I can be the change I wish to see in the world, dine on the chicken soup for the soul, and stop sweating the small stuff, then I’ll also have to learn to give no fucks about how other people regard my life.
Yes, I have made compromises. I am not the person I once was, and that is a happy thing. When you take a hard left and leave the mainstream parade behind, all those conventional folks out there still choking on the bitter pill of ego-driven materialism, and flapping about like stressed-out decapitated chickens, can no longer be my problem.
Maybe this precipice that seems so treacherous from one angle, is more like the fulcrum of my life, and thanks to its pointedness, I can now expect to gain some leverage? The view surely is more clear from up here:
I look back over the track behind me, and I see lots of wandering around lost in the trees, getting distracted, falling in with monsters wearing charming disguises. I can see the demons I’ve vanquished, and name the demons still dogging my heals.
I see where I dropped my self-respect, and I see where I picked it back up again. I see the fields of battle where I finally stood my ground; some were victories, some tragedies. I see what I’ve built, and I see what was torn down into ruin.
I see the haunted grounds where I’ve buried the bones of many a precious loss, but I also see the fields I’ve sown, and I’m reaping a golden harvest. This harvest of an eight-year old metaphysical shop may have not yet taken the form of an actual living wage, but the intangible-benefits package is highly desirable.
Do or do not; there is no try.
Today I plunge into the unknown of my next solar year–by myself. I am aware that no matter how many souls travel with me, my journey is ultimately a solo trip. We come into the flesh on our own, and we will leave the flesh in same way. Sure… Maya…the illusion of separateness…yadda yada. I get that in the greater Spiritual context, but while I’m in the flesh, I face my lessons on my own.
Whatever I try to do, succeed or fail, no one else can be blamed, nor praised, but myself. For better or for worse, my sickness or my health, my poverty or my wealth, as long as I live, it’s all me.
That being said, I intend to invest my energies into meaningful work, into being happy through healthy relationships, and nurturing my children. Regardless of how my critics judge my life-choices, I refuse to measure my success by the contents of my bank account. Nor will I value the quality of my character by the quantity of dust bunnies that occasionally get a reprieve at my house, because I have more exciting things to do.
No one said that it would be easy to live a well-examined, sovereign life. If transcending beyond a materialistic, fearful state of mind were easy, surely more people would do it. I knew that openly living a witch’s life, and opening a metaphysical store, would require a few sacrifices, but witchcraft itself is like an instruction manual on how to roll with those punches.
Since I am no fool, and this isn’t the beginning of my journey, I will instead choose to hold out the lantern of my own inner light, more like The Hermit, ignoring the chattering voices of critics, and I’ll knowingly dive deeper into the coming darkness to find my own way, wherever that may lead.
Like Yoda said, “Do or do not; there is no try.”
Happy Birthday Blessings to all my fellow Pisceans!