Any Road Will Get You There...

"If you don't know where you are going, any road will get you there." Lewis Carol
I do not know where I am going right now. 

The road I am on is one that I am finding as I go. Sometimes I can see clearly ahead of me, other times, there is a bend, just ahead of me and I do not know where the path is headed...

When I was a child, I thought I might want to be a nun. Or a famous actor. (And I still think either of those options sounds pretty neat, actually!)

As a teenager, I dreamed of being an opera singer (I was one of the choir geeks, but my voice is more suited to folk music or choral work than opera). Or a writer.

As an older teen, I thought I would have to be a teacher. And then one summer as a camp counselor, I got every single bug those cute four year olds brought to camp with them. And because I'm asthmatic (with a completely shot immune system) that didn't seem like a very solid path for me anymore. 

I also thought about giving up on college and going to Europe to work as an au-pair (single children don't produce quite so many pathogens and I had been babysitting since I was 11). And then I met my husband. We were 19 that summer and we were absurdly certain that we were meant to be together forever, pretty early on. (Well, it was only absurd because we were 19. Now that we're in our late 30s, it doesn't seem quite so absurd anymore, does it?)

And we did end up going to Europe together (twice so far). But instead of giving up on college permanently, I took two years off and then went back to get my degree in Creative Writing from the University of California at Riverside. 

Now, a degree in poetry (even a summa cum laude degree) isn't worth much in the real world, so I flirted with teaching middle/ high school as a substitute after I dropped out of grad school, but middle schoolers spooked me. (Or rather, I spooked them and it took a lot of effort and I realized my inner resources are best marshaled in support of individuals and not classrooms because all I wanted to do after that first day was drink myself into oblivion and that is also not a very life-affirming life choice, I don't think). I wanted to write, but I have to admit, I flubbed it, badly (by not actually writing -- see the opening scenes of Limitless. It wasn't quite that bad, but still. I can relate). Instead, I found flylady, got my house out of chaos and found a belly dance troupe to dance with.

And then we moved to Canada, and I eventually started teaching belly dancing, which was a lot of fun (good use of my inner resources) but also maddening at times. Group dynamics and all that jazz. 

And then we moved to Alabama and finally (FINALLY!) got pregnant and I had a high needs baby who ended up being diagnosed with a pediatric stroke and autism (and is doing great, thanks for asking). And that kinda made up for all those earlier years I spent as an artsy dilettante because it was hard ass work, to be a mama in those first years of my son's life.

"Not all those who wander are lost." J. R. R. Tolkien

And now? I still want to make a difference*. And while I believe that is the road I have always been on, right now I just want to expand my horizons a little bit and make a difference to more people, through this blog and through my photography and through my writing. (And through mothering, although it is infinitely more noticeable when I am making a difference in mothering and when I am not.) Through any means necessary, actually. Even if it's merely smiling at people who aren't usually noticed.

But I right now I don't know what lies ahead of me. (Am I going to write ebooks? Am I going to start coaching? Workshops? A photography business? A short film? Where do I turn my creative aspirations?) 

And I am OK with that, because I believe I am making a difference, right now. Just in living my life and speaking with my voice. And I know these decisions will get made, as I make them. I am learning and growing and finding my tribe of people (and if you are reading this, I thank you, for you are definitely part of my tribe).

Where are you? Are you currently wandering (but not lost)? Or are you sure of your path (for at least the next little while)? Or somewhere in-between? Do you have any advice for me (or suggestions on where you'd like to see me evolve in this space?) Leave me a comment here, or on facebook.

* If you haven't seen this video of Taylor Mali's poem that's been going viral on facebook once again, I highly recommend you click the link and watch the man speak.  Because it is the BEST in us that he's speaking of cultivating in students. And that is just as amazing and possible for a teacher as it is for a parent as it is for a lawyer as it is for a poet as it is for an artist, though he is speaking specifically here of teaching. And look! He has a poetry blog! And is doing NaPoWriMo, too! Which starts tomorrow**, aaaahhh!) 

** This is my second year participating and I'm very excited! A poem a day is decidedly easier for me than writing 50,000 words of a novel. (I have written a novel in three days and 50,000 non-fiction words in the month of November, but I've never actually written a novel during NaNoWriMo.) But let's not jinx it: I know writing a poem every day, even a haiku a day, will be tough. But I am up for the challenge again!