My middle son (9 years old) and I have been discussing the purpose of life lately. It’s been an interesting discussion that has brought many things to mind for me, especially with the way that life has been going lately. We determined that the purpose of life, in the most general sense, is to go forward. To keep going forward. There’s a lot of implications in that and there’s a part of me that wants to defer to a Pixar movie and start singing “just keep swimming” but I digress…
Because my life is ruled by adventure (second in command only to babies,) my family and I are in the midst of traveling across country. This is move I make on my own with the children as my husband must continue to work in order to support this move and to get us stable once we arrive at our destination. The full force of that has yet to strike me (repression?) but, thankfully, the trip is going as smoothly as it can.
This is a gentle trip, a slow trip. A trip focused more on “where are we now” rather than “how long until we get there.” It is a trip that has been filled with moments of random beauty, and moments of realization that have only pushed me further forward, mentally and emotionally. I’m growing as a person but in ways that are not readily seen. I worry about the things that were cut away to get here, about the things that I’ve left behind. Yet, at the same time, this feels not so much like growth but of tempering, of being forced to fully own decisions I’ve made, desires I have, and to bring them to fruition. On the one hand, this brings comfort as it is an indication of not being at the beginning of the journey nor of being in the midst of the toughest struggles, rather I am closer to the end goal (which we all know is nothing more than the beginning of that calm before the next trial…) On the other hand, that I will never see my grandmother again troubles me greatly.*
It will be a few weeks yet before we arrive at our destination. For now, it is all about the journey, about the process, about becoming.
*I was raised within a strong family community structure: big Polish family with everybody knowing everything going on in everybody’s lives at every given moment. The positive aspects of such a structure are great (huge family get togethers with so much food, always someone to talk to, always a birthday party to look forward to that month) but the negative aspects are more insidious (shunning, multigenerational physical abuse as the norm, cult-like behavior with strong suspicion of others, prolific racism, blatant manipulation and control, direct sabotage to keep someone from doing something that “we don’t do,” etc.) There are good reasons why no one but my husband and children know where we are, but that my family, en totale, now consists of just seven people is a fact that leaves me feeling deeply ungrounded. I have lost my connection to the past.