“It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.” – E.E. Cummings
I have been practising ‘Mindfulness’ for a while now. I refer to the psychological version which is based only loosely on the Buddhist practice; a meditative process whereby you allow your thoughts to arise and let them pass without judgement.
It is a simply lovely idea. Problem is, I sometimes have a little issue with the non-judgement bit. Far from decreasing my anxiety, I think I caused some new ones.
Case in point, it turns out that some part of me honestly believed I would one day grow up to be a colonial pioneer.
Yes. I know. Let me explain…
You may have seen a Nicholas Cage film I particularly enjoyed called The Weatherman. Nick (may I call him Nick?) plays a character who realises that our youth presents us with an endless hallway of options, each door leading to a different person whom you could turn out to be. As time passes and more of those doors slam shut, you end up with a single reality – the “you” that simply is. It is not as depressing as it sounds.
Anyhoo, apart from finding it charming that I still thought (at 30) that I would “grow up” to become anything, I was a bit disturbed by the “possibilities” (and they belong in parentheses) I was mourning the loss of. They were quite specific and often characterised by the clothing involved.
Which brings us to the moment in which I realised (with some genuine shock) that I wasn’t going to, at any stage in my life, be a colonial pioneer.
I could see it all… a dusty, brown dress made of serviceable fabric, with my hair twisted severely into an obedient bun. I would be standing purposefully on the wraparound verandah of a homestead, mixing something in a porcelain bowl…
Some small part of me truly believed that this was in my future. Not a tree-change to the bush in the modern era, mind you. Federation Australia. Like a Frederick McCubbin painting.
Another scenario (and outfit) saw me needing black “geek chic” glasses, donning an angular all-black outfit with a signature dash of red. This “me” would enjoy haiku, modern plays, non-fiction books and would be some sort of semi-professional (psychologist perhaps?) with an inner-city practice looking out onto a Zen garden. A ZEN GARDEN. And this person didn’t have kids. Even my poor addled brain must surely realise that you cannot grow up to not have kids that you already have – and I must stress that I wouldn’t want to – but there it was…
So when these thoughts floated up from the Magic 8 Ball of my mind, I was finding it hard not to judge myself for dreams that involved a Tardis and/or a completely different set of life choices. What kind of whacked-out careers fair was my subconscious attending?
Eventually, I suppose, I have learned to enjoy this improbable bucket list. I still think it might be fun to be a Tudor courtier and I might from time to time almost seriously rehearse my audition song for The Voice, but for now the sensible part of my brain thinks, “Hmmm, maybe a freelance writing career could be pleasant”.
I haven’t picked out the outfit yet, though.
What is the strangest thing your inner voice has revealed to you?