I ask my kids at school a big question when they are at a crossroads. It’s not anything major. It’s not even original. Some of them roll their eyes. Some of them spout out some ideas about what that might look like. Some of them go inside themselves and really think on it.
Last Spring I asked an 8th grader the question.
“This is your one life, what do you want it to be?” and while he sat there wrinkling his nose and rubbing his buzzcut, I thought to myself, “My one life. my one LIFE. My ONE life. MY one life. MY ONE LIFE!!!!!!!”
My life? It’s kind of amazing. It doesn’t fit into a box, but it’s kind of amazing and I want it to continue to be amazing and I want to continue to grow and change and be excited and feel grounded and laugh my head off and love deeply and be moved by encounters with strangers and have adventures in places that rock me right to my core.
And, then, I remembered that the kid sitting across from me in my office was still there. He wasn’t sure what he wanted his life to be yet but he knew that there were things he wants to do and that someday he’d like to have his own car and go to a real NFL game. And that made me remember that there are things that I’ve always wanted to do that I haven’t done yet and I’d better get to it.
Last Summer I felt my heart beating faster when I started thinking about a new adventure. In Autumn I felt myself light up inside when I’d look at the world map that hangs above my desk at work. This Winter I took the plunge and accepted a job offer at an international school in Chennai, India.
And today it’s snowing and I have never seen anything quite so beautiful.
That’s what happens when I do what is real and right for me. Everything becomes more beautiful.
I walked in the snow just now thinking about how this might be the last blizzard I see for awhile. About how my life in Hartford is so rich. I thought about my dad’s kitchen table that he made out of the tiles from the kitchen in our old house on Annawan St. and how much I love to sit at that table with him. I have love and comfort and stability and the waitstaff at the coffee shop hug me when I come in. Hartford is my home; my people are here.
And because of that love and comfort and richness and that little 8th grader with the buzzcut, my wings emerge. I choose to do what moves me. What makes me feel alive. What challenges me and takes me out of my comfort zone and enables me to grow into a different space.
Being grounded is about how you stand on the earth no matter where on earth you stand. I am moving to India. I am following my heart and my dreams and my gut. I am moving on from an amazing job that has allowed me to grow in ways that I never could have imagined. I am letting go of things that I thought that I needed that no longer serve me. I am moving away from people that make my life amazing. I am trusting that love will transcend time and space and challenges and that the people who love me will love me through this.
My one life…I am flying with the feeling of following through on something that I have always dreamed of. The discomfort feels comfortable. Strangely, I feel grounded as I take flight.
And these wings? They look pretty good on me.