“No more asking permission…whose life is it anyhow?… Haven’t you learned by now that no one ever pushes you toward freedom. You need to take that for yourself.”
– Joan Erikson in A Walk on the Beach by Joan Anderson
As of June 2nd just one year ago, I became a citizen of the Green Mountain State of Vermont, and what have I figured out in the past year? Well, quite a bit and not much.
What I have figured out is that getting settled in a new location and a new home with new routines takes a lot of time. You would think that after all of the times I’ve moved locally and from one state to another, that I would have remembered that even if twenty years had passed since the last move. But for some reason, this move into this new home required lots of attention mainly because we came up here with little furniture from the past and started almost from scratch. I couldn’t have imagined how much time picking out stuff and waiting for it to be delivered would take. Now that we are winding down the interior process, it looks pretty darn good and feels like the home we’ve always wanted.
Now, we get to start on the outside and a yard that’s pretty large and needs some loving attention. The beautification process is getting started now and I know that it will take several years before it has the feel of the gardens I left behind in Baltimore. They had turned into my oasis and I anticipate the day that the new gardens are in their glory.
So the interior and exterior of the house are taken care of. There’s only one other big project to work on… and, that’s me. I realize it’s an ongoing, evolving project but the impatient side of me wants everything figured out so I have something to show for it. I keep envisioning my old friends saying, “What the hell is she doing up there? Nothing??? Why doesn’t she do something? How can she just let everything fizzle away and become boring?” Yeah, those fricking monkeys that talk to me occasionally have introduced those thoughts more times than I care to admit.
I do hate to admit it, but I’m still trying to figure out my next act. It’s not like the clock is ticking, but shouldn’t I have it figured out by now? Well, yes and no, I believe. The one thing that keeps coming up for me is that I want to grow older gracefully and in good health and that I want to grow deeper. I want to blossom during what Queen Mama Donna Henes calls our “Queen” years before I hopefully move into that Crone stage. Queendom sounds good to me now.
And, I am not alone. Many of the women I am meeting have that same desire – an ache almost to live their life as who they really are with the gifts they have to offer. Many have scratched the surface here; some have not even attempted to discover who they are. But the desire is there and the time is now.
So, maybe my next act has something to do with that. Not necessarily a “business” or a job, but something that involves a gathering of women. The Queens of Vermont? Well, maybe. Perhaps encouraging other women and giving myself permission to jump into this stage with all it has to offer without looking back on what we’ve left behind or who we used to be. It’s time.
This poem struck a note with me:
Either you will
go through this door
or you will not go through.
If you go through
there is always the risk
of remembering your name.
Things look at you doubly
and you must look back
and let them happen.
If you do not go through
it is possible
to live worthily
to maintain your attitudes
to hold your position
to die bravely
but much will blind you,
much will evade you,
at what cost who knows?
The door itself
makes no promises.
It is only a door.
– Adrienne Rich
Whatever stage of life you’re in, what’s calling you? What door is waiting to be opened? Ready to go through?