As a kid, I always took time to daydream and imagine life when I was ‘grown up’. The daydreams varied on the day and what my latest hot button was. Some days I wanted to be a gymnast (until I realized I was too tall by at least a foot!), others I longed for a life as a famous model working the Paris runway (in this case too short). I tried my hand at writing songs, mostly silly ones with only a few repeating lines. And I loved to draw and create art of all kinds.
But as I grew older my daydreams changed and I realized that I wanted to do or be so many different things–how could one person possibly do it all in one lifetime?
I can honestly say this hasn’t changed much as a ‘grown up’. We built our dream home 3 years ago and as we were in the process of building, I was certain nothing could compare to the beauty we were creating. That is, until it was finished and I started looking around and noticing things about other homes that I liked equally as much and wishing I had built a home like that one. It wasn’t even that I was unhappy with my new home, but I realized that as a person I am a schizophrenic. I want and like so many different things, and feel this pull to experience my life in many different roles. It’s almost like I am different people living in the same body.
Part of me would like a life in a big city with an apartment with the busy activity of the city and the energy and excitement that comes with it.
Another me longs for the solitude of a mountain life where you are surrounded by nothing by nature and quiet and a simple life without the complications of the modern hectic chaos, where I can contemplate, write and find stillness.
Yet a different me wants exactly what I have right now, living as a soccer mom in the suburbs where my afternoons are filled with carpools, homework, potluck dinners and PTA meetings.
So how to reconcile all of my many selves? The yoga sutras teach that true inner happiness rests upon feeling content with who we are right now. But I also believe that part of that contentment comes by letting all of my many selves be expressed so they can come together as my one true Self.
It will look different for all of us, but perhaps for me it is as simple as retreating the mountains regularly for that quiet solitude. Or scheduling regular jaunts to the city to enjoy the hustle and bustle. Registering for an art class. Or maybe even a bigger shift like spending entire summers in a different setting.
The reality is, we can have it all, but we can’t do it all. At least not all at once. And while I can never go back and take that flight attendant job I was offered out of college, or make the choice to go to cosmetology school like I talked myself out of, I can start right now by seizing the opportunities in front of me to express all of my many selves. And what calls to me now is studying, practicing and teaching yoga and letting it change me into a person who is content, non-attached to things, and at peace with who I am.
‘The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes’. Marcel Proust.
My landscape my never change, but as I change my eyes will change and the world will be truly at my doorstep.