Multiple Lives to Live

I've had big thoughts lately. Like meaning of life stuff. What is success? What things are the most important? What brings happiness and fulfillment? What do I need for self care? What do others need from me and what should they do themselves? What dreams are worth pursuing? What is a balanced life? 

Obviously the makings of a mid-life crisis. 🤪 I'm kinda wondering how long my mid-life will last, because I'm definitely partial to having things figured out. 

Since the last time we talked:
I explored New Orleans and went to a fun concert. 
And then I did a quick tour of Europe from Istanbul to Copenhagen to the countryside of Bulgaria

Nobody can say I'm letting my flight benefits go to waste! We can definitely say that the itch is being scratched. 

But there are still plenty of days where I wonder what in the world I'm doing. Part of my problem (read: guilt/discontentment/self-doubt) is that there are just so many different things I would like to do. Over-achieving has sent me into burnout before. Finding satisfaction in the midst of rest and what might feel like non-productivity is probably a gift of growing older. I'm feeling drawn to discovering my true passions and finding the things that matter more than anything else in life. That is not easy.

Almost every week I find myself wishing there were just more hours in each day, more days in each week, more energy in one human being. There are so many things I want to be doing, but also so many limiting factors. Here's a sampling of the variety of meaningful lives I would like to live:

Life #1: Professional musician playing in an orchestra or band, with free time for reading and gardening, cooking and baking

Sometimes I really miss playing my clarinet in band and my violin in orchestra. The camaraderie and emotional power of group performance is really fun. Maybe I would have free time for fun things? 

Life #2: Full time sponsored travel, writing posts, sharing photos and video content

Similar to what I'm doing now, but with financial backing and more specific tasks perhaps... Or maybe the freedom I have now to either make content or not make content is better? At my current stage, I just don't always feel like there's any audience, which takes away from the meaningfulness and satisfaction of the job. 

Life #3: Humanitarian traveler and influencer, helping with emergency aide and sustainable recovery 

Another way to travel with purpose, this time with a super strong dose of meaning and fulfillment. Each time I have traveled with mission groups, it has felt like I'm fully alive, doing something good. But in certain situations, I later learned that there was more to it. Sometimes there's a dark side to humanitarian work. It can be hard to help. 

Life #4: Outdoor enthusiast -- skiing, biking, hiking, backpacking, paddling, camping, all sponsored by brand partnerships so a 9-5 isn't necessary. 

This is similar to life #2, just more local. These are things I always want to do, but it feels like they need a whole life of their own!! 

Life #5: Teaching preschool or kindergarten, playing guitar, children's book author

Of all the teaching experiences I've had, my favorite was preschool/kindergarten. If I had just the right opportunity and enough energy, I could love this life. And I've always wanted to write books for little kids, but I have imposter syndrome. 🤪

See why it's so difficult for me to live just one life??? And right now I'm working at the airport 16-24 hours each week, which is very fun and I love it, but that leaves less time for ALL the things I would love to do. And when I do zoom around traveling, trying to take good photos, trying to get some video content, trying to figure out how to make it all worthwhile...I end up pretty tired and wondering if my life is out of balance. 

Queue family time, cooking/baking, exercise, music, reading... Trying to fit it all in again. 

And please don't remind me about the laundry and the dishes. That and catching up on missed sleep!! 

And so we're full circle...back to the wisdom that comes with age: learning how to do only the very most important things. I can only hope to get it all figured out! So far, not so good... I'm just bouncing around from one life to the other, feeling dissatisfied. 

May brings birthdays!! I'm forty-one now, Tim is forty-six, and the kids are seventeen and fifteen. All our lives feel like the middle somehow. The kids haven't come out on the other side of adulthood quite yet, and it feels like when they do, maybe Tim and I will have a bit more clarity about what the rest of our lives will look like. 

So we're in the messy middle, but there are plenty of happy parts. RC planes are making Ezra very happy lately. And programming synchronized lights (this time with dancing people) continues to make Peter very happy. 😁

I'm not riding my bike or playing the piano enough (or at all lately)... Please see above treatise about not enough time. I think not even accountability is enough at this point. 

And so. I'm writing this on a very long layover in the Vancouver airport, once again heading out on another adventure and missing the ones I left at home. Is this the meaning of life? 

That you just can't have it all?!

I imagine the next post will have something to say about the beauty found in the Philippines and hopefully I'll be able to share a better understanding of what things I'm going to prioritize going forward. 

Thanks for listening and hanging out with me in my middle ages...