Monday, January 3, 2011

Next Installment - Will we really change our lives? pt. 2

(If you missed part 1, here)

Is it possible that I have become so detached from my current life that I would leave it?

Not my family, my husband and kids. Only for them would I stay, actually. There's no doing anything without them.

But this life. Does it have to look like this? Do we have to participate so fully in creating and reinforcing systems that are clearly wrong-headed and generated from an utterly hopeless illusion of self-interest which is ultimately inescapable in each of us? What did I just say, anyway? Who is this person?

A calling. What's a calling?

My mother-in-law told me, over Christmas, how one of the nuns at her high school called each girl into the office, individually, attempting to convince them that they had a calling to the sisterhood. When my mother-in-law politely said that she'd rather not, that she wanted to have a family, the nun told her that she would pray for her vocation. My mother-in-law politely declined. If I have a calling, I want it to come from me, she said.

Am I called to a middle class lifestyle?

Am I called to dust my small corner and smile, content with my lot?

I worked to get here, and here I am. It looks much the same from this point on the hill as it did from the bottom. I was wrong about what I thought I'd see from here. I'm just more sure, I can pick out details that once all looked like scenery.

Every day I face it, my ingratitude. Each night I choose one thing in my life that I'm grateful for to focus on before bed. It's made me very ashamed. This life should be good enough. I should be satisfied to do what is needed to keep this life going, just as it is, as long as humanly possible, because it is just that good.

Yet the urge is strong. Not to drop out, as my husband likes to put it, but to drop in. Drop back into the world by dropping out of this placid, rarefied, perfect life to try to actually experience. Whatever that means. Do we become hobos? Join a commune? What options are there, exactly, for people who want to try another way of living? Is there a handbook?

What do we really need? What is a happy life? What do we most want to maximize and minimize, and are we even trying? Are we living by rote, doing what's done, choosing for lack of choice in front of our noses? Do we ever even think about it? We're in a place where these questions need some attention.

I'm reminded of my little girl self, cowering in my nook in the woods while others were playing the game (read here). I'm hiding out in my perceived safe place (but is it, really, a sustainable safety?), writing a little from back here and hoping we can hang to what we have through the next set of challenges.

The game is rigged, and there are lots of carnivores out there.