Tuesday, May 6, 2008

I used to have ideals

"What happened to you?" A simple question, or a statement, in the midst of a discussion around growing sprouts and making my own yogurt. Yes, I used to do those things. I used to cut the lawn, cook homemade dinners, bake, run triathalons, be a vegetarian. I joined Amnesty International and went to rallies for world peace, to stop nuclear war, and protest government actions. I used to vote passionately - including putting the unpopular NDP sign on my lawn. I used to believe I could make a difference. I breastfed my children, made my own baby food, and chose an alternative school system for my children. So? What happened to me?

I got tired. Tired of struggling up-hill, swimming up-stream, always being on the wrong side of the issue. Oh, I am still always on the wrong side of the issue but I seem to be quieter about it, or maybe I am trying to do what Gandhi said. "Be the change you want to see in the world." But I am not really. I am active in the school, which is very counter-culture, but I am not so much passionate about it as I am consumed by it. Perhaps that is where the fatigue comes from.

I have ideals, but it seems that the ideal life I think I want I don't have the physical ability to see through. I want a nicer yard, more maintained house, but I don't have the energy to put in the labour. Sometimes even the thought of doing the dishes, or getting the bottles to the recycling depot is over-whelming.

So, my ideal life. Away from the rat race, the stuff, the stores, the advertising. Living somewhere where I don't have to rely on a car with cats and a dog, a garden and knitting. Somewhere close to the ocean, close to a beach with tidal pools and waves. Somewhere I can swim in the summer and watch the storms gather in the winter. Somewhere where a wood fire isn't an evil, but a cosy necessity.

Somewhere I don't have to be afraid. Afraid for my health, afraid for my children, afraid for my husband. I am tired of being afraid, I am tired of being tired.

I had ideals. What happened to me? Why did I give up those ideals? Or, did they transform. I never liked sprouts anyways, I can buy organic yogurt now, which I couldn't when I lived up north 30 years ago, and being a vegetarian was hard on my health. My knees make it hard to run triathalons, and when I am not consumed by work I actually do housework, and cooking, and yard work.

What happened to me? I became consumed by an educational system that I believe makes a difference. I got older. I got tired.

So, dear boy, I still have ideals. I am glad you are being driven by yours. Ideals are never to be given up lightly. Because perhaps in 30 years someone will ask you what happened to yours. And God willing you will point to your life and say "I am living it."

My ideal was to have children and to be a good mom. I spent this weekend in close relationship with my family. It was glorious. My life is far from perfect, but as for my children and my relationship with them, and to them....it is ideal to me.