Motherhood robbed me of my ability to be interesting at parties.
I used to be a very interesting person. I travelled the world. I did stupid things. I did dangerous things. I met rockstars, movie stars and athletes. I went on wild adventures. Did a lot of things that could have killed me. I tried all the drugs. I’ve had all the hallucinations. I’ve stayed up for days, adventured in unknown coastal terrain, swam with sharks, seen mountainsides slide away, tropical storms roll in, crocodiles swim by in murky brown river waters.
My stories were limitless and filled with adventure, fear and excitement. Motherhood changed that.
I first noticed this after the birth of my first born child. My attention was all on my glorious newborn. I was enthralled by her little half smiles, the number of times she blinked, the texture of her skin. I was happy to leave the adventures behind and be with this new being. We would spend all day appreciating the little things. The smell of her breath, the temperature of her skin, the light of day, the breeze when we walked. We took joy in the monotony. We enjoyed our dog walks, the naps, the trips to the grocery store. It all felt satisfactory.
Then my husband would come home. He would share the bare minimum about his day of heli-skiing, the near death experience, the explosion and the rescue efforts of his day out filming. He’d ask how my day was and in great desperation I would exume with effort……..”avocados were on sale today.” I would scramble for a new story…. “and she rolled over for the first time!”
Silence. Fake smiles. How strange how I went from complete satisfaction to being humbled and desperate for attention. My day was not exciting. Not in the normal sense.
How does one shift from constant external stimulation as a means to joy….to joy from just being?
Well, it took time, and practice, my friend. This transition was not easy for me, and it’s not easy for many. At least for those who had an adventurous backbone pre-children. For those who lived a more sheltered “first life,” the change to motherhood may not have been so extreme.
But for those who know….my women friends who were mountaineers, bmx racers, surfers, world travellers…..you know. A mix of joy from simplicity, and grief of what was.
None of this is to say that you can’t have it all or that your pursuits are not available to you at a later date…..but that things change…..and that change is challenging. Night and day. Yin and yang different. And that is shocking sometimes. Expected maybe…but shocking nevertheless.
I know deep down inside that I am more interesting than avocados. I know this through and through. But here I am, scraping together a story of my day based on avocado sales. I feel defeated.
I’ve been a mother now for 11 years and I’ve got to say it took until now to really own where I’m at. I don’t try to impress anyone anymore. I know where I’ve been, where I’m at, and where I’m going. I see the impermanence of everything. I see the puzzle pieces being laid out in perfect order. I see the meaning. There is no regret. There is no longing….just perfect harmony of what IS.
To those that are worried about what was, all I can tell you is what IS, and what is to come, is more beautiful and impactful than anything that was. Stay open and you’ll come to understand that all the puzzle pieces are fitting in perfectly.
The most gracious blessing I have ever received, is learning how to love what is. To learn how to love where I’m at. To love the simplicity of daily tasks. To remove myself from the busyness of the world….and notice for sometimes the first time, the real specialness of my life. Known only to me.
The chaos of life can be a cloud covering our eyes. Joy is found within, not out. Stimulation is not joy, it’s just stimulation. Joy is an ever-present state that we need to uncover. It’s already here. The noise of life covers it. Children helped me find it again.
That joy is something that I can only experience for myself. It’s not something I can share in a story, or at a dinner party. My wild adventures may have taken a back seat for now…..but my new found joy is so much larger.
P.S. if you give you give me a week in mexico, a music festival or a powder day….I can show you I still got it. I just don’t feel about it anymore you know?
Here’s to learning to love what is, whatever season you may be in.
With grace and grit,