On my 40th birthday I went for a very long walk. It doesn’t take much to put me in a contemplative mood, and the prospect of celebrating two score trips around the sun definitely sufficed.
I carried with me the same questions that had been fluttering around my heart for months. What do I want to do with my time? What do I want this next phase of my life to look like? What is it that I’m trying accomplish? What kind of life do I want to craft? I walked mental circles around these quandaries, allowing them to expand in my soul, lodging in the creases and folds.
You see, after nearly two decades in the blissful, exhausting trenches of motherhood, I looked up and realized that no one needed me to tie their shoes. After years of wiping noses and spoon feeding, my children were gaining independence. I found myself with the tiniest sliver of time.
Quite frankly, it scared me to death.
My culture had a ready answer to my existential crisis. It proclaimed loudly the virtues of filling up my time. It promised the comforts of acceptance and prestige if I crammed every minute full of activity and action. Empty time, like empty space, it told me, is a dangerous affair. Voices everywhere urged me to find answers in acquisition and in hustle.
It would be so easy to slip in to the current of busy, with its promise of societal validation. But, there was just enough caution in my soul to resist the impulse. A tiny voice whispered that more isn’t the only option. It wondered if maybe there’s something to be found in releasing and in rest.
I took a tiny step toward less. I walked in the direction of slow. That tiny voice gained courage as I chose to go deeper, instead of farther. It strengthened as I read stories of others asking these same questions.
This conversation uses phrases like sustainability, slow living, intentionality. But, those are just words. As disembodied ideas they’re impotent. Their power comes in the mess and struggle of grappling with them in a real, lived experience. It is a sticky, circular process made up of a million tiny moments.
That’s the story I share here. It isn’t the air-brushed, magazine-ready version of unhurried living. It is the profoundly everyday version. I don’t write because I have all the answers. I write because I have an awful lot of very interesting questions. I write because I know you do, too. I write simply as an act to stand and say, “We are each on our own path, but we are not alone.”
Hi. I’m Micah. I’m a mother of six and a long-ago graduate in philosophy. Those two facts are more interrelated than one would initially expect. I am a writer, a maker and a serial expat. With my family, I’ve lived in Japan, Kuwait, the Philippines, and now, Poland. This blog tells my story, and you’ll come to know me in its pages. But, if you want a good place to start, here are a few pieces: