Lately my daughter has been musing aloud about what she might like to be when she grows up. Maybe an artist. Maybe an astronaut. Maybe a scientist who cures cancer. Maybe the owner of a luxury dog hotel (?). I love listening to her talk this way. I don’t want it to change– I want her to continue to dream, to ponder all the possibilities. But one of the things that happens to all of us (or maybe just some of us?) is that the number of options available to us, of who we are and what we can do, shrinks over time. And then it shrinks some more. It’s almost bound to happen. We make one decision, and it means not choosing something else. And we continue choosing as we go along, until what’s left is incredibly narrow and specific.
I’ve been wondering lately if I haven’t overshot this— this narrowing focus. The problem with this paradigm is that it makes change so hard. So much harder than it needs to be. And it makes it so hard to stay open to growth, to new ideas, to new possibilities.
Not long ago, I told a much younger relative that “part of being an adult means learning to live with regret.” What kind of thing is that to say, anyway? She gave me this look that was part confused, part amused, and completely disbelieving. As though I had just told her that I have scales under my clothes. And I gave myself a smug little internal nod, thinking, Just wait and see. Just wait and see what? Just wait until you find yourself so entrenched in one way of being, one way of thinking, that you have to choke down regret just to get on with things? That’s not a better story. And it’s definitely not more fun.
And so that’s where I find myself now– poking at limitations, trying to figure out which ones are real and which ones are imagined. While I am going to take astronaut off the table (not with my motion sickness), I am trying to be open to what else could be. I suspect that for all of us there are so many more possibilities than we realize.
On that note, friends, I will be off adventuring next week and don’t plan to post. Thank you, as always, for reading. xx