When I am truly, unflinchingly honest with myself, the truth is that most of my decisions are not well thought-out. Impulse is very attractive to me. Carelessness too. Long-term plans don't figure greatly in my moment-to-moment choices. Or the monumental ones, either.
It's a sloppy way of living. Though it has led to some unspeakably beautiful adventures and a few great insights, I can see where a plan or two might be in order.
I realized today that although a series of, for me, carefully weighed decisions led to my life here (in this 12x12 dwelling, but also, in the larger sense, here) I cannot remember in the slightest what they were. I forget that was my choice to live in a small space. That it was my choice to abstain from cars. That I chose motherhood (really? well, at least with the first one, I knew it was a possible consequence...) So why, then, does my life feel so defiantly foreign to me?
I think it is because most of my choices are really just slushy compromises between convenience and fear. I know what I'd be doing if I weren't so worried about what the world thought of me, or whether or not my skills are developed enough. I would be in the woods, practicing tracking, setting traps with cordage I twisted myself, making music late into the night under stars visible even before the full setting of the sun. I would be writing letters---real letters---to people of strong minds and convictions all over the world who were trying, in a courageous acceptance of responsibility, to forge a better way forward. I'd be thinking, living, creating in ways that matter. Rather than trying to fit inside the ill-fitting but accepted shadow of an upper-middle-class suburban Citizen. It. Just. Doesn't. FIT! Why have I been trying so long to "pass"? I never once wanted that life. What am I so afraid of?
Well, basically, the thing I would be abandoning this pseudo-life for is a phantom. It doesn't really exist, it is intangible and untried and really freaking scary. What if life out there is just as meaningless as life over here? What an unbearable thing to discover. Or worse yet, what if I actually got out there and found that the only others like me-- the ones who in my rosy dream form a worldwide community of doer/thinkers, the vanguard of our generation--found me utterly unworthy? Then I would be lonely. And probably itchy (from the mosquitoes) too.
I have lived similarly to the way I described, in the past, and know honestly that it is the right way for me. But even then loneliness was a constant obstacle. And now there are children. Children that know what "Youtube" is. Yeah, THAT's gonna go over well.
I've been making plans to go study wilderness psychology in Boulder. It's a plan---a real PLAN!--that brings many of my dreams together and seems to be a responsible move as a mother and a Citizen. But when I am really listening I hear from very deep "it is a plan, yes, but it is also a COPOUT!"
There is some part of me that has always known that wisdom and education are two very, very different things. Acquiring further "education" instead of getting out there in the dirt and really KNOWING things through experience is just a very fancy, very socially acceptable form of stalling. At least for me, at least at this stage, at least in this situation.
But good, mentally stable people don't just haul off and trot their family into the unknown, do they? Maybe after 8 weeks of needlepointing I will know. Doing, though, that's another matter entirely.