From: Maria M. <email@example.com>
Date: Thu, Mar 29, 2018 at 10:20 PM
Subject: The Reframe
This year has me thinking about home and legacy. Is this an early 30’s thing? Buying a home has never been a pressing priority for me, but this is the first year where I’ve felt pangs of something, yearning maybe, for a more “permanent” space. I’m not in a place to buy anything yet, at least not in Seattle, but I’m trying to think more creatively about how I can manifest a space that feels more my own. When I mentioned this to someone recently who is navigating a similar shift, she told me, “We will find our forever homes when they are ready to be found.”
Earlier this year, I read a piece by a 27-year-old woman who died from a terminal illness. Her overarching message to let things go and focus on what’s important wasn’t groundbreaking, but what stood out about it was her application. During her illness, she reframed hardships as things that will pass and focused on being grateful for being alive even in the annoying and inconvenient moments. As things tend to do once you notice them, the concept of reframing started to sprout up all around me.
At a recent yoga class, the instructor confessed he didn’t want to leave his cocoon at home until a friend texted him from another country to share that child’s pose is referred to as “shell pose” there. It was a chance to reframe, he said. A quarter-turn shift changes the picture. And so I started to ask myself what needed reframing. The stress of figuring out logistics and finances for multiple events at the beginning of the year was reframed as the privilege of not only having resources but of having so many cherished ones to celebrate. The trepidation of the “whether I should/want to have kids” question I’ve been pondering on was reframed as an intentional choice I get to make that takes into consideration my roles as an aunt to my niece(s) and nephew(s) and my desire to spend more time writing, traveling and creating.
It is not a perfect formula, but what I took from this young woman’s message is to acknowledge when things are hard but to let them pass by without holding on too long. Even in this crazy world with this batshit president, there is still so much to be grateful for – being able to breath fresh air, being healthy enough to exercise and move, the gloriousness of slowing down. Sometimes I let the winter darkness blot out the bright spots. “Be ruthless for your own well-being,” the young woman wrote.
Still, I’m feeling a sense of urgency I haven’t felt before. The questions of the future have come into greater relief. Perhaps it’s because more of my friends have kids now or are expecting, even the ones who said they never wanted them. This is where the legacy question butts in. I wonder at times what my life will look like if I make it another 10, 20, 30 years without “having kids.” Where will I find myself? I’ve never understood the rationale of having kids to then have them take care of you, at least in this modern age. But of course, there’s more to it than that. It’s an ongoing process. I’m approaching it with curiosity, which has allowed me to reframe what legacy means and looks like if I choose to not have kids: 1) perhaps I can be an example of a fully embodied woman without kids for the younger people in my life; and 2) perhaps I’ll have more space, energy, and time to write.
I would love, as always, to hear your thoughts.