They say things change the more they stay the same. Sometimes this is reassuring, but more often than not is just depressing as hell.
I’ve been going through about 60 pounds of cards and letters that I wrote to my parents during college and my post-grad years. Reading through my collegiate musings reminded me of some interesting things from my past that I’d forgotten, like the fact that I sure did have a lot of boyfriends, and I sure was into Jesus, and I sure was a darned good daughter for writing all these newsy letters.
But the big OMG moment was seeing how really very little had changed: how I am still just as clueless about the purpose of my life as I was at 20. This fascinating and hugely disconcerting thought arose as I sat on the floor of my office in my pajamas at 11a.m. opening letters that I penned (in lovely cursive) 30 years ago. That’s right. 30.
Now, wondering about one’s purpose and direction in life in one’s senior year in college is one thing. It’s another thing entirely to be asking the same questions at 50. Or maybe not, I don’t know.
I’ve always wanted to know What I Am Supposed To Do and I still wonder from time to time. Okay, all the time. I wonder despite being an author, columnist, life coach and mother of two children. I post profound things on Facebook like, “Your purpose is to love others and love the Earth,” which I believe is true and I try to fulfill that particular purpose, but somehow it just doesn’t quite satisfy. There’s more, and I know it, and it drives me nuts.
Just after graduation I had my first astrology reading in which I was informed that career would be elusive and that I would have many interesting but unrelated jobs, and that is precisely what happened. A few years later I saw a career counselor who informed me that I was “raised to be retired.” (She said this like it was a bad thing; I thought it sounded rather pleasant and Downton Abbey-like.) When I was 35 I saw a witch—really, she was—who told me in no uncertain terms that I was a healer but that I didn’t know it, and I wouldn’t know it until I hit 50. At the time I thought, Jesus, Mary and Joseph, 50?? You’ve GOT to be kidding me.
She wasn’t kidding.
In two months I will turn 52 and I confess, somewhat sheepishly, that I am fervently praying that Witchy Poo was right, and that Something Big is about happen. Good things come to those (late bloomers) who wait. This is what I tell myself. And besides, the venerable Molly Means, my local psychic-du-jour, confirmed that “It” is coming, and “It” won’t come one minute too early or too late, and there’s nothing I can do to hasten or halt “It.” I just have to remain open. So there you are.
But what sort of coincidence is it that the trajectory of my life has silently and persistently angled toward one of self-inquiry and a quest for The Meaning of Life explored through graduate school, two decades of therapy, copious study, psychic readings, multiple journals and a published book?
Not. Not a coincidence. There are no coincidences, just slow, neurotic people who refuse to accept what’s right in front of them and waste a lot of precious time imagining that they are doing something wrong, or not doing enough. Sad, really.
This life review has inspired me. I’m going to stop saying, “I don’t know.” I’m switching-up my m.o. and I’m going to say that I do know: I know who I am (at least in part) and I know where I’m going (at least today) and it’s all awesome, because it is.
There are lots of purposes for all of us, many stars in each of our heavens. It’s a shame not to enjoy them all, reaching for just one distant and perhaps poorly-imagined one.
I think I’ll write a letter back to Past Kate and say, “Stop trying so hard. It’s ALL good. Enjoy the journey.”
KATE INGRAM, M.A. is many things, including a soul-centered life coach. If you’d like to make an appointment, or if you’re interested in joining her Women’s Support and Spiritual Development Group, please call 541-840-0359.