I don't do New Year's resolutions. I mean, I'm sure I did once, like, a million years ago, but nowhere in my memory is a New Year's resolution. But even without a specific memory, I can tell you how any such event would have played out. I'd have done really, really well for a few weeks, maybe even a few months, and then, slowly but as surely as the sun will rise within just a handful of hours of my typing this, I would slip, falter and then fail utterly. I'm great at starting...and godawful at finishing. It's been my biggest personality flaw my whole life.
And yet, tonight I am filled with a sense of wanting to begin again, to try my faulty resolve and, for once, find it not wanting. I've been contemplating this last year as we're prone to doing at this time and finding myself ready to turn the page on this trying chapter of my life, but I find myself wondering what comes next. Not like the big mystery of what does the future hold, but the question of what will my life be about. The last ten years that question has been easy to answer. My purpose has been my family, my daughter and my now ex girlfriend. So I knew that whatever else I might do, my life would revolve around them.
To some extent, even with the disappearance of the girlfriend from that picture, my purpose will still by my family...my daughter and, of course, my larger extended family, but the reality is that every day my daughter grows older and the days until she is a woman on her own deciding where her life story will lead her are getting fewer in number every day. And my goal, as is every parent's, is that I will have raised my daughter to be a capable adult who will have her own life, and her own family and while I always intend to be close to her, at some point, living every moment of my life for my daughter will not only be unnecessary, but also wholly unhealthy for the both of us. In the past, of course, the idea was that the girlfriend and I would ride off into the sunset and grow old together and be grandmas and all of that.
I've always defined my life by my relationships. When I was a teenager, my friends were my life, as a young adult, my daughter became my life. So, I've always thought of myself as someone's daughter or sister or friend or lover or mother, and rarely as an entity into myself, and while I will still continue to be all of those things to various people, it's clearly time to be Laura, the woman...who also happens to be a mother and a daughter and a friend and a lover. I know that, for the time being and the foreseeable future, I am not in a position to add partner or wife or girlfriend to that list (okay, so never, ever on the wife thing) and frankly, I really don't want to look for that now. Not until I know where I want to place the focus of my life.
It would be far easier if there was one thing I was more passionately interested in than I was in any other thing. But, as has always been the case, my interests are wide and very little can hold my attention to the exclusion of other things for long enough that I can really make a life out of it. I love so many things: cooking and history and social causes aplenty. There are many things that strike a chord in me, but none so deeply that I really want to devote myself to it. Once upon a time, before chronic illness became my bosom buddy, I thought I had found it...I worked for a time as a Certified Nurse's Aide and wanted to become an RN and devote myself to nursing because it was something I could care about, something that I could feel good about, that would hold my interest due to it's ever changing nature. Now, of course, physically and emotionally, nursing is too much for me.
And chronic illness is going to truly complicate this search, because any work too strenuous, whether physically or emotionally taxing, is out of the question because it will hurt my health and make any part of my life impossible.
I have some plans, some educational plans that will be set into motion in the very near future, but they aren't long term plans and it's not something that I can see myself doing for the rest of my life without wanting to gouge my eyes out with pointy sticks.
So...while I hesitate (out of superstition, lest I jinx myself) to use the term resolution, it appears that I have one. While I go about my short term education goals that are going to give me the financial ability to be independent, I am also going to start exploring my interests, my skills...and finding that thing that's going to give my life meaning when my daughter is grown and happily finding her own path.