Friday, November 6, 2009


Photo by RL Valde (my Dad)

This week's chapter of The Joy Diet, "Play" has helped me bring some things into focus. I have been blessed in that I have known what my "real career" is for nearly all of my life. What I do is where I feel at home, where I feel connected and where I feel joy. It has been where I play and it has also been where I work. That has been part of the challenge for me throughout my life, to allow it all to remain play even though it is my job. That hasn't always been easy.

Another great blessing I have enjoyed is the surprise of being a mother. It has been play and it has been an immense joy. For something I had never planned on doing, being a mom has felt so natural. It has the same feeling about it that singing has always had - it is instinctive, I feel called to it, and (most days) it's fun.

All of this is in flux at the moment. My daughter entered middle school this year and as several of you already know- it's a huge change. The rules are all different now and for the first time, I feel unsure of my mothering skills. Some days I'm just one step a head other days I'm two steps behind.

I'm feeling the same way about my performing as well. I won't bore you with the details here. I will just say that until recently, I felt on track. I had switched trains but I was still on track. Now, I'm not sure where I'm going.

I think this what some would call a "midlife crisis." That phraseology seems a little dramatic for my situation. However, everything is changing, my body, my role as a mother, my "career." I have been gathering in, quietly feeling around the edges of all this newness and moving toward what is next without really knowing what that might be. From the outside, I'm sure it looks like I am standing still. I thought I would be settled and rock solid by the time I was this age. I wasn't at all prepared to be in this place so it is a little disconcerting. There is a part of me that wants to get some mind numbing job just to fill the time. But, thanks to a phone call with a great friend (thanks Patricia) and a question Martha Beck poses in this chapter, I know I can't do that.

Martha asks, "what did you do after 9/11?" I, of course, connected with family and friends. But, I remember the two things that seemed crucial to me at the time. 1). loving my daughter and helping her obtain the skills she needs to blossom into the incredible woman I know she will be. 2. bringing comfort to others in the way I had to offer - through my voice. So often I have been told "you have a gift" and I say to myself "yeah, a 'gift' that cost as much as medical school." But, at that time it truly did feel like a gift. I actually had something of value that I could contribute and it felt like a gift.

So, although I'm not sure where I'm going, I know it still somehow involves these two things. This Chapter has been a great reminder to me to stay true to myself and to maintain my sense of play as I go through this transition.


Lawendula said...

I am very critical with the 9-11-thing. I think, this does not work at all. Just like the enemy-thing.

Great for you, that you know what your real career is! I am one of the lucky ones too. The only problem: how can I make money. But in fact, this was the best of this chapter, the sentence about career.

WrightStuff said...

I prefer to think of it not so much as a mid-life crisis but more a shift in perception and direction. Who says we have to do the same thing all our lives, as we grow older we learn and as we learn we want to experience different things - to use that learning I suppose. Here's to the mid-life 'shift'! I'm enjoying mine even if it does feel like a scary rollercoaster some of the time!

Ginny said...

How wonderful that you are able to share your gift with others and bring them joy. I find that as we go through the different stages in life we do have to stop and think about where we want to go and what we want to do next. I'm not sure we ever have all of the answers but maybe finding them is part of the fun.

Amy said...

You are blessed. Remember to always stay true to yourself!

Valli said...

Oh middleschool. You will survive, I promise. I've done it twice now. Stay grounded in who you are, it gives much foundation to those in Middle School.
Instead of thinking of it as a mid-life crisis think of it as a mid-life evolution. You are on your journey and it just unfolds. If you think of a headlight on a car, it just lights up a little bit of the road but we trust the road is there. That's sort of how life is too. It's so fantastic that you have found joy in music and nurturing others with it. Best wishes to you.

GraceGal said...

The last word in your post was on my mind the whole time I was reading. Transition. And there is nothing wrong with standing still. One of my favorite books(which I can't recall the name of at this minute:) talks about this transition of midlife. The author says in many cultures, women give themselves a year or more to pull in and lie fallow, preparing for the next joyful stage of life.
As for dealing with a middle school child, you are right there with the rest of us mothers, trying to find the right balance. there was a time in my life when I was so tempted to move ahead and just do something( which is good sometimes) but I kept hearing the words, "Stand still in the empty place." It is hard work to stand still :)

becky n said...

Oh, Kim, I'm not at all surprised that having your daughter go off to middle school has made you start questioning yourself! That is THE toughest age for girls, I think. It can be joyful, but it can also drive you crazy, scare the life out of you, make you wonder if you know anything at all.

How wonderful that you've been able to follow your career most of your life! I think these things do change from time to time - in terms of what we feel called to do with particular gifts - wishing you gentle days of discovery.

I enjoyed your post very much.

gemma said...

Middle school is the hardest time for both kids and parents. Both are changing physically.That added along with peer pressure is tough.
Lucky it doesn't last long.
One day at a time.

Kim said...

Thank you so much everyone for your wise and supportive words. I'm honored that you all took the time to leave such thoughtful comments - they've been a big help to me.

Karen D said...

thanks for sharing your journey with play this week. How great that you have been living your real career!

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