I have recently been reading a mediocre set of fantasy novels. They are not well written, in my exacting opinion, though neither are they terrible. But one topic that almost always comes up in Victorian-era female-protagonist books is the place of women in such a society, molded into a version of perfection with almost no opportunity to choose for themselves.
Strangely, reading these books follows the beginning of my own exploration of my choices, and finding that unlike they say, there really aren't as many choices as they sell you when you are part of the "rising generation." Only a few weeks ago, I realized that I no longer know what I want out of life. Once upon a time, I wanted a career as a veterinary surgeon. But when I finally graduated, I realized that what I wanted more than anything was to serve the Lord. I decided that I couldn't continue a career path that would require so much debt when I hoped to have a family.
When I was twenty-five, I married someone I thought loved the Lord. Due to circumstances beyond my control, it ended only a few long years later. In the time since, I have realized that despite the difficulty of parenting alone, I will probably not have the opportunity to marry again. Also, the need to provide for my family closes the scientific career path I had hoped to pursue. So, I am left with no more personal goals.
I have failed at the task I have been set by the Lord to be a wife, and I have failed at my own desires to be a scientist. So I don't know where to go. Though I am still young, I am at the end of my journey.
It has been hard to accept that the rest of my life may be defined almost completely by my role as a mother, though I love being a mother. My girls are more important to me than I can describe. They are bright and beautiful, and I love every minute of the limited time I have with them.
Yet, my time is limited. I can't let myself be nothing else. I have one weekend out of two where I can't be a mother. Half my holidays are spent as me, not as Mom. And I'm realizing that while "me" has been reborn from the ashes, my desires have burned away.
Perhaps some close friends could help me through that, help me again discover something to reignite my passion. While I have some friends and really great family, they have lives of their own. They can't tell me what to want out of life, especially when they have never had the type of divided life I have inherited.
Of course I have turned to the Lord many times, but without an answer. He is leaving this one entirely up to me. And I have nothing. I immerse myself in many interests, there are hundreds of things I like to do, but nothing that gives me purpose, nothing that excites me.
For the first time in my life, I just am, with no idea where to go.
The corseted women of history had a very proscribed role. They may have chafed against the mold they were expected to fill, but they knew what was expected of them. I have the opposite problem. I have found the entire world open to me, with no more expectations that I have any chance of filling. Without those expectations to squeeze me into a pleasant shape, I have no idea what to do or who to be.
Within intermittent frustration with this limbo of my life, there is light. I am learning how to be still, how to not always have to keep moving. With nowhere to go for the first time in my life, I am drifting, and soaking in what is rather than fighting for what will be.
It is not in my nature to completely enjoy this. I have no idea what I want, who I want to become, where I want to go. And it drives me CRAZY. But for that, I am also grateful.
Listen to The Paradox of Choice, it's a great start to getting the wisdom you need to be satisfied with limitations.