I’m awash in teens right now. I want to be all clever, with an apt metaphor. But I tell you again that the poetry people speak to me more loudly in the early morning. It’s late morning here and I’m remembering a conversation with my oldest. How when I said her, all the chatter is about identity issues, she replied, yeah: we’re teens.
All my mistakes from my teenage years seem so much sweeter as I listen to my girls tell me their stories. I can see myself so clearly at age 16: black leggings and a light blue dress, standing on the basketball court of the camp I loved. That alive feeling pushes right out of my memory bank. It asks me to be that alive right now. As I’m restocking our house with groceries and battling deadlines and navigating icy streets.
About a year ago, I was scared that I would never feel as alive as my 16-year-old self. It seems all the aliveness was there for my daughters, while I got to adult and get older. Lovely, right? There’s an essay in there about that. One that I haven’t had time to write. See: adulting.
Or maybe I haven’t made time to write it. A few versions of a similar question keeps coming to me from many sources lately: why? And: what do you want? I’m trying to place those questions before me so I can be as intentional as possible with my time. While still taking care of my loved ones and working. While working, I’m wondering what work will look like as my kids get older.
Then I dream about that job question at night. Holly, my supervisor from my job at Seattle Magazine from when I was in my mid-20s, is in the dream. She’s my supervisor now. I’m happy to have a simple job, no big brain thinking. But no one will tell me how to do my simple job. So I wonder the hallways which lead to small rooms with people stuffed in them. Every room has a door that leads to another room stuffed full of people sitting on too-small furniture. I can’t get out. Until I do and I’m in an old, empty grocery store with a dancer and broken dancer mannequins.
So, you know, whoosh. What do I want? Not that. Identity: it’s a question we come to again and again and again. My teens are talking about it all the time, it’s true. But I’m not done thinking about it yet, either.
What do you want? Why? Ask yourself why 4 more times. What is underneath the want and the why? Now go finish putting away those groceries and be in the now.
See you tomorrow.