Almost four years to the day after I wrote it, I was cleaning my studio and I found a list of wishes in an old blank book from 2007. Four years ago I was home all day caring for a baby and a three-year-old. I was just emerging from the hunting and gathering phase of our new life in Brooklyn (that Phyllis promised me would not last forever; as always, she was right) and I was starting to get the last of the boxes cleared out of the apartment.
Four years ago I didn't know many people in New York, and I didn't have much social energy to spare. Four years ago I had a dream of writing, but no assurance that I was on the right track at all or that writing was even worth doing. No idea if anything beyond half-filled journals would come of it.
This old blank book seems to have been forgotten, aside from some knitting notes from a Debbie Bliss workshop I attended back in Colorado and this exercise in which I was to list ten wishes in six categories of my life. Just reading through them was like suddenly having a time capsule in my hands, and I had that strange sensation in which one feels the past and the present coming together and meeting.
My lists had items like:
Wear good shoes.
Be well rested.
Go to the Met without the kids.
There were also a few like these:
Write things that make other people feel less alone.
Start conversations that make a difference in the world.
The last page was the most interesting of all.
Someday get a sense that my journey is heading somewhere.
And just like that, I could feel that place four years ago. The hiddenness, the unknowing, the stumbling through a thick fog with only these sonar-like intuitive pings to guide me.
Learn to live like it's not all up to me.
When I read this one I slammed back to the present, and I thought, That's what's happening. Right. Now.
I'm learning to live like it's not all up to me, to treat the limits of my capacities with gentleness instead of with scorn. I'm learning to ask for the kind of partnerships I dream of, and how to wait patiently until they find me. How to recognize them when they are given like sweet gifts of providence. I'm learning how to let go, to do less, to lay down and stare at the ceiling and to sit down and stare out the window. I'm learning how to listen, how to ask and how to receive. I'm learning gratitude for the earth that supports me and all the arms that happily link inside of mine.
And it is all I wished that it would be.