The truth: I’m in this interesting, in-between place. Personally. Professionally.
My girls are growing like weeds and becoming more independent. We are just back from a ski vacation where all three girls took to the slopes with startling gusto, morphing from shaky-legged novices to determined, not to mention skilled, little skiers. On the plane there and back, they sat contentedly with their iPads and snacks, barely requiring any attention from us and it strikes me that things are changing, have changed; civilization, albeit imperfect, is returning. My role as their mom is shifting, as it should. The questions I’m asking, the dilemmas I’m having, are new ones. Time thrums on.
My book is out in the world. People are buying it and reading it and responding to it. And this is amazing. Each time I hear from a reader, I feel a brilliant jolt, a zap that reminds me that my novel is no longer just a dream, or a mess of pages, but an actual thing that exists on its own, apart from me, on shelves and on screens, in hearts and in minds. Wow.
And the storm that is book promotion is quieting a bit, as is natural, and I have mixed feelings about this. I’m tired and in true need of a breath and a break, but I’ve genuinely loved the zigzagging around, the controlled chaos of hopscotching from place to place, locking eyes with book-lovers, speaking about my story that was a private thing for so long.
And now I find myself faced with the glorious and gutting question of what’s next, a question that stirs in me both profound optimism and dizzying anxiety. Both. Depending on the moment, I’m giddy about the prospect of choice or paralyzed by it. I suppose the theme I’m feeling most deeply now is uncertainty. How do I want to spend my next months and years, particularly with the knowledge that my daughters are growing so fast and furiously, that life is fragile.
Context: A friend died last week. A mom of one of my kids’ good pals and a beloved alumna and teacher at my former school and my kids’ current school. I didn’t know this woman as well as I would have liked; our connection was on the new side, but flourishing because our girls love each other, and I was deeply enthralled by her, her incandescent spirit, her twinkling positivity even in the face of her own mortality. And now she is gone. I got the news of her passing when I was in Aspen. It was our first day there and it was morning and the five of us were just walking around, exploring the streets of a new place and I read the email and it was surreal and just so impossibly sad. She was only 43 and leaves behind a wonderful husband and two young children.
So, uncertainty. And this can be hard, but it can also, I’ve decided, be brilliant. To be wedged in a pocket of time where edges aren’t determined, when options exist, when questions swirl, demanding to be asked, can be its own wonderfully powerful privilege. This is where I am now and I imagine some of you are too? What I’m trying to do is to feel as settled and secure as possible in this frank uncertainty, to heed my instincts, to think big, to take deep breaths and hug the people I love lots and lots and lots.
Life is big and beautiful and messy and sad sometimes, but to be alive in the world is a gift, isn’t it?
Not sure what this is exactly. These words. Maybe it’s okay not to know. Maybe it’s just a Monday morning ode to the exquisite uncertainty in life, to the murkiness that can be meaningful and magical if we let it be, to the not-knowingness that is so central to what it means to be human.
Anyway, happy to be here. Writing. Wondering. Wandering.
Happy Monday, guys.
Are you experiencing any uncertainty in your life?