Writing, living, and wild dreams

So, the final installment of the marvelous anniversary questions … I have saved the big questions, the ones I really struggled with, for last.

How has writing changed my living?

Certainly writing here, and in other places, has made me pay more attention to the details of my life.  There is no question I’m more mindful – I even meditate sometimes, which those of you who have known me a long time will find hilarious, even shocking.  In some ways, however, this is just another manifestation of an essential trait.  I was always slightly removed, the official photographer, and I still am, hovering a bit at the edges, watching, observing.  I still take a lot of pictures, but I’m often composing sentences in my head, paying close attention, trying to engrave the details of a moment on my brain.  So while I think there has been a change, for sure, I think the basic tendency always existed.

Has writing improved my ability to linger in the moments?

This is a hard one.  I think it’s improved my commitment to do so.  For sure.  Writing has made crystal clear for me that my life is right here in the moments, and has thus shown me how critically important it is to really live them.  But has it made me better at doing so?  I’m honestly not sure.

Does writing about the heavy stuff take it off my chest or result in more pondering?

To the extent that writing helps me figure out what it is I’m thinking about, it takes things off of my chest.  But the truth is I’ve always got heavy thoughts with me, weighty stuff sitting right over my lungs.  I never shed that, or rarely, so I’m not sure it makes a huge difference, writing through it here.  That said, I’m not sure my goal is to get rid of it, either.  I think it’s just part of who I am, a component of what beats through my veins as surely as the stuff in my blood.

What are my dreams, and what does the wild inside of me dream of?

I’m shocked by how hard this is for me to answer.  I dream of writing and publishing a book.  I dream of my children growing up happy, content, and knowing who they are and what road they want to take.  My sister’s sojourn in Jerusalem is awaking a long-buried desire for adventure, so I dream of finding ways to incorporate that in my life with my family.  I’m a little ashamed that I can’t answer this more completely or compellingly.

Do I talk about these questions with my friends and family? Do I live my life this deeply?

I talk about these questions with certain dear friends.  There are a few, and I do mean a few, native speakers with whom I discuss these topics.  Mostly, truthfully, I fear that the contents of my heart and mind are a bit too weighty for the average friend, and I fear scaring them off.  So if I don’t have these conversations more often, it’s in large part because I don’t think it’s wanted by the other person.
Do I live my life this deeply?  I think so.  I have written before about how the person in this blog is the authentic me, and the in-person me is still figuring out how to entirely embody all that I know I care about and intend.  So nothing here is artificial, and given that I write about what it is to live a life I think it follows that I do live this deeply.  But I’m curious, to those who know me (if any of you are still reading), what you think of this.  Do I?


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9 Comments

  1. Posted September 26, 2011 at 5:23 am | Permalink

    Thank you all three sets of answers, Lindsey. I’m just nodding and agreeing with all of it.

    Dreaming is really hard for me, too. I wonder if the tendency to be committed to living in the present has something to do with that?

    Thanks for your transparency here and every day.

    XOXO

  2. Posted September 26, 2011 at 7:33 am | Permalink

    Thank you so much for this, Lindsey. I love your honesty too. It’s so refreshing.

    I’m especially interested in the question ‘Does writing about the heavy stuff take it off my chest or result in more pondering?’

    Writing helps me to think things through too. It also helps me to make sense of things that might not otherwise make sense.

    Getting it out there on the page doesn’t, as you say ‘get rid of it,’ but somehow it seems to take another shape, one that often feel easier or different in some way.

  3. Ana
    Posted September 26, 2011 at 7:40 am | Permalink

    Thanks for answering all these (I realized after I submitted mine that it didn’t come out quite right, but I like your answer anyways). I have to agree, also, that the dreaming question always stumps me. I think it is really really hard to allow myself to go there, even in my thoughts….because I do put such an emphasis on trying to stay in the present tense—whether living it or thinking about it.

  4. Posted September 26, 2011 at 9:41 am | Permalink

    Love these questions, and these answers. I don’t know the “in-person you,” which of course lends me the luxury of believing I know the “real” you. I find your thoughts and the other commenters’ answers on dreams very interesting. What is it about midlife that puts a very real pause on our thoughts about ourselves and our futures? I feel lucky that I’m very my-dream-oriented (to the negative, perhaps; ask my son and my ex to elaborate), and have managed in my life to surround myself with other women who live the same way. I want to support that for you, the way others have supported it for me, in this wildly difficult transition I’ve been going through. So maybe when I meet the “real you in person” we can have a chat about what’s next in your heart. xxx

  5. Posted September 26, 2011 at 10:36 am | Permalink

    “So if I don’t have these conversations more often, it’s in large part because I don’t think it’s wanted by the other person.”
    This sentence is helpful to me because, while I live and think similarly “heavy” thoughts, I have many friends who don’t want to have those conversations. This sentence sounds so easy, like no biggie. Those people aren’t interested in that just like some people don’t particularly care for anchovies. But there are other things we have in common like laughing or skiing. And that’s fine.

  6. Posted September 26, 2011 at 5:50 pm | Permalink

    Living deeply. Oh, my greatest gifts in life have been finding native speakers who understand my need to delve, my love of ideas themselves, my passion for talking through them. But these are rare finds indeed. In thinking about what I still want in my not-so-new home town, finding people that are beyond the surface is still a huge priority.
    Your answer about dreams is honest and nothing to be ashamed of. I don’t know how I would put words around my wild dreams, and somedays it seems I only have tame ones. Like to finish the dishes and put away all the clothes. Pathetic. Or maybe my eyes just are focused on the near distance right now? I hope to be far sighted again.

  7. Posted September 28, 2011 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

    “Mostly, truthfully, I fear that the contents of my heart and mind are a bit too weighty for the average friend, and I fear scaring them off. So if I don’t have these conversations more often, it’s in large part because I don’t think it’s wanted by the other person.”

    I could have written this. It is so, so validating and hopeful when I read blog posts by you that seem like they could have come from inside my own head: a reminder that I am not alone.

    There are very few people whom I think understand the depth of my thoughts, especially the darkness and heaviness of some of them, and therefore I too just don’t bring it up. Which then keeps it inside of me. Which makes it even stronger. Do you ever feel lonely that so few people understand? Or want to hear? Or really GET it?

    Long way of saying, thank you, as usual, for putting the thoughts into words! xo

  8. Posted October 4, 2011 at 8:57 pm | Permalink

    Well said, I can very much relate to the last bit. I think that I am just beginning to live deeply. Now, the key is to be able to express this deep life without sounding like Nixon.
    Thanks for the thoughts.
    Always, Bumby

  9. Posted October 6, 2011 at 9:40 pm | Permalink

    This last bit really got me. In two places:

    1. “Mostly, truthfully, I fear that the contents of my heart and mind are a bit too weighty for the average friend, and I fear scaring them off.”

    2. “I have written before about how the person in this blog is the authentic me, and the in-person me is still figuring out how to entirely embody all that I know I care about and intend.”

    Yes. Yes. Yes. and I think that is at the heart of it the reason I love writing so much too. I get to uncover those places that my soul longs to share but is afraid are unwelcome. And somehow I feel more real, more true, for doing it. It’s as if a part of me (except for to a very small handful of people)has been mostly hidden until I began to write “out loud”.

    Thanks so much for being you and the writer that you are.