Walking out in the backyard yesterday, my husband told me I reminded him of a Japanese tourist. I was sufficiently chastened. Time to spend more time seeing the world through my own eyes. Still...one or two photos a day. I'm addicted.
Yesterday I finished a book called "Traveling With Pomegranates" co-written by Sue Monk Kidd (author of "The Secret Life of Bees") and her daughter Ann, a young woman looking for her path in life. My cousin recommended it to me since it seemed to cover a lot of the same territory I've been writing about. She was correct. It was kind of amazing. We could have been writing from the same rubric - turning 50, struggling with the approach of "old womanhood", the rocky path to becoming a writer, the changing relationship of a mother with her daughter who has become a young woman, the search for self-definition, goals, travel, altering perspectives. There was enormous comfort in sharing someone else's similar journey.
In an interesting coincidence, I am about to embark this morning on a 5 day journey with my youngest daughter with thoughts of Kidd's book in my head. We're going to look at colleges that have accepted her, that she might attend. T is retreating and embracing me at the same time. We are going on a trip so she can find the home that will nourish her being for the next four years or so. It could be a place that will follow her for the rest of her life, preferably in a positive way. Pretty big deal, but a bad idea to make too big a deal out of it in the moment.
My plan is to drop her off on these college campuses and leave her on her own. She needs to be with herself, discover herself and her surroundings, make her own judgments and responses to new environments on her own. I'd like to see these places too, but I'll do it on my own, out of sight.
But I'll also be around as a chauffer in between times, and we can talk. I'll try and nudge her along, encourage her to put conscious thought into her analysis of each place and how she feels in it. I'll ask her to think hard about who she is, what makes her happy, what makes her think, what challenges her, what engages her attention, what elements in life are essential to her peace of mind and her vitality and drive. Is it the people around you? The natural environment? What you read? Writing? Creating? Adult mentors? Personal relationships? Group bonding around creative endeavors? Big city dynamism? Being in a happy crowd?
But maybe I'll ask her all these things in a letter. Conversations can become too much like lectures, or descend into debates.
Time to hit the road.