On Choosing the Threads to Weave your Life Tapestry.
How to make plans for one year, five years, or even twenty.
*In my Women Who Sail group a young woman in her twenties asked for some life advice. Her question caused me to reflect and this answer poured out. I’ve edited some and added further reflections at the end.
When I was 21 and 22 I was living in France and working as an English assistant. I fucking loved my life for that year. I had such good friends there. I loved the tiny town I lived in (Rouen in Normandy). My employment contract was about to run out close to my 22nd birthday and one of my younger sisters needed to leave home and live with me (lots of reasons, but we had grade A dysfunction in our family home and she needed a safe place to go.) I used these two reasons (contract ending & my sister needing to come live with me) as a reason to not try harder to find another job/a way to keep living and working in France.
I wish I had tried harder.
I wish I had made it work to find a job that would have allowed me to stay and a way for her to come live with me there. Maybe I wouldn't have been able to but I wish I had tried harder.
I think a lot about that life thread, of how much I loved living in France and the friends I had there. I think about where my life would have led if I had found a way to make that thread work.
I didn't. I came back home (to San Diego) and got a job that paid enough to cover rent and amenities for us and worked for years in a profession that didn’t fulfill me (real estate development).
I eventually found a new life thread and my current life would not be what it was without the choices I made by going back to San Diego. I wouldn't have met my husband. I wouldn't have had my two daughters. I wouldn't have become a sailor and a liveaboard. I wouldn't have founded Women Who Sail! I can follow each step and see that where they landed me ended up really good...but.
But I think back a lot to that age and wonder what would have happened if I'd chosen a different path. I think the thing that trips me up the most is how happy I was to have a place, a job, and friends I liked, and how I left them. It's like dreaming about an alternate reality and I can get lost forever in the 'what ifs.'
How would life have been different if a trusted friend, or older/wiser person in my life had asked me what I really wanted to do at that juncture? Or challenged me to keep pursuing a path that I loved? I don't know. I'll never know!
This solstice I’ve been thinking about life threads and where I’m weaving myself towards next. I’m 41. What do I want to do for the next year? The next five years? The next twenty? In about a decade, my girls will be adults. I don’t want to be scrambling for new things and fresh starts once my kids are grown when I can reach for and plant seeds for those new things now.
And just what are those new things?
I’m reflecting on these questions this solstice and with this Great Conjunction. If the juncture I faced back in my twenties is happening again, what advice would I give myself right now? In which direction should I start to weave my life tapestry? What would I tell myself to try harder for? What should I tell myself to set down?
I hear similar wonderings from friends and acquaintances. The Covid19 Pandemic has also been called the Great Pause and it’s left many pondering their life and how they want to live it.
Are you wondering and reevaluating? Are you planting seeds for a future with a vaccine in the world and where you will you go from there? I wish you luck in this period of winter (for those of us in the northern hemisphere) hibernation and look forward to what we all start growing come spring and summer.
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A Note to Readers
The Rebel Heart crew has a new adventure - we’re calling it Dusthaven. Dusthaven will be an off-grid, sustainable homestead in Nevada on the eastern side of the White Mountains. You can follow our progress on Instagram and Facebook.