Backyard Poppy Brilliance
Could it possibly be that I am fifty-five years old and finally beginning to understand 1) what state of mind makes me happy, and 2) that in order to be in that state of mind I have to trust my instincts on much more subtle levels than I ever imagined? What I mean is, could it be true that if I don’t think a choice is going to actually make me happy—let me say that again: actually make me happy—I shouldn’t make it?

Backyard Being-Born Peonie, Leaning into the Camera Like a Puppy
Here’s the thing: I’ve always known that “someday” I wanted to live in a quiet place where there’s so much sand that sometimes you can’t help but track it into the house between your toes. I’ve always wanted to live among the flowers, the trees, and the birds. Also, I’ve always known that when my work situation was anything but calm and spacious, I was miserable. Often I’ve worked at a frantic, frenetic pace, driven by frantic, crazily driven people who wanted something that I could provide at the expense of my own well-being.

Brand-New Backyard Lettuce
The point is, that it was me making this choice, without really grocking that it was a choice. I felt compelled to strive and compete and climb a ladder that got me somewhere, but not here: not to my precious here where I’ve always wanted to be but didn’t know I could be.

Today I was feeling one regret on this score: that I modeled for my daughter the other way—the frantic struggle, the long hours and stressful misery of one frightening deadline after the other for years and years. The first thing I did when I got home when she was little was check my messages (which drove my husband crazy). I wish I’d done that differently. And yet, I guess, given a chance, why would I change a thing?


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