My life has taken a slower pace lately.
I’m roasting an actual whole chicken this evening for dinner. I even brined it yesterday, with fresh herbs I (mostly) grew myself this summer. Also in the oven: a roasting root vegetable medley with savory fall flavors currently swelling my kitchen.
I unloaded the dishwasher and I just about made a homemade apple crisp for dessert, until I remembered my oven is already stuffed full of other home-cooked goodness. Before I got dinner started, I spent some quality time with our little one before folding a week’s worth of laundry (not yet put away of course – I’m not a superhero). And that’s just the list from the last two hours.
When I noticed all of this, I thought to myself, “Holy crap, I have morphed into some sort of domestic goddess.”
A Slower Pace
I mean, who am I? I barely recognize the woman I am right now. Honestly, I’m learning to love my life now, just as it is. Learning, being the keyword there. Because this slower pace is a change of trajectory from where I thought my life would be.
From childhood on, my friends and family would describe me as driven, ambitious, and always striving to achieve the next big goal. All while being slightly impatient with every aspect of my life. And it’s all true.
Not only did I have giant dreams and persistent ambitions, I also wanted to get it all done immediately. The next step or challenge could never come soon enough. And, I had always had a really hard time with the slower pace others seemed to live.
I am still driven and still have goals, they simply have changed. Lately I have not been feeling that pulling, nearly nagging, desire to better myself or my life, because I think my life is pretty freaking good. This could partially be because when I think of my list of dreams I had set for my life, I have achieved many of them. But another reason is my list of goals has changed.
Aside from my pretty regular daydream of getting another graduate degree, my goals are less about me as an individual and more about me in relation to my family. Now my goals are about the values I want to teach my children. And my personal career goals have become more about supporting the vision we have for our family.
When I look around me, I feel that many of my goals have been achieved and I feel peace with this slower pace of life.
Meeting My Own Expectations
For a while, I thought this peaceful feeling was me “settling.” But that’s not it. Then I thought, maybe with maturity comes the slight death of dreaming. But I don’t buy that either. So instead, maybe it has simply taken me 30 years to figure out that who I am right now is who I want to be.
Achieving small, slow, simple goals within this life might be the type of achievement that makes me happiest. Perhaps instead of constantly striving to tackle some arbitrary challenge, being present in life’s daily wins is more meaningful. Some of those monstrous challenges I used to chase were probably set by someone else or societal pressure, anyway. Maybe I never even wanted them in the first place.
I would be lying if I said I am fully at peace in this slower pace each and every moment of the day. I’m not. Some days I am exhausted and exasperated. Especially on the days filled with disagreements and the harsh realities of life.
And there are days where I feel my identity as an individual has become superseded by my role as a wife and mother, without my consent. But those hard days always end, and a perfectly normal day comes along. Those ordinary days, I have found, are the very best days, filled with many extraordinary moments.
Loving My Life As It is
I am still me, just with a shift in focus. This doesn’t mean I am settling for a lesser life. Rather, it is a reprioritization. It is appreciation of my life as it is now. This is me learning to savor a slower pace and to see the beauty in everyday life.
I see our three-year-old’s pure delight at life’s simple pleasures, like eating ice cream, and it fills me with joy. As I see each of his achievements, my pride increases. And it has been so rewarding to watch the man I love so love being a dad.
And whenever I feel that nagging voice in my head telling me I need more, want more, and should do more, I simply look around. I see what I have already achieved and I feel content.