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Thursday, April 27, 2017

I suppose it would be unusual for me to NOT have an identity crisis.

Two years ago I knew who I was. I knew what I did. And I figured, even if I couldn't predict it, life would be good for me.

I was a musician. I taught music professionally at the university and privately in my studio. I performed regularly. I consulted and referred. I judged festivals and contests.

I was a tax preparer and financial consultant. I had lots of clients. I understood the ins and outs of tax law and investing and being audited by the IRS. I went to seminars and did continuing education.

I was a webpage analyst. I browsed assigned sites and collected information about what types of things were found there, judged the quality of the page layout and content, and remarked if spam, adware, viruses, or other uglies were lurking.

I was a transcriptionist. I listened to lectures, court cases, insurance investigations, sales pitches, and sermons. And I typed everything that was said. I was quick, efficient, and accurate. I transcribed accented English from different places within the U.S. and from different countries.

I was a mom. I had raised three children to adulthood. I had supported them as they went through accidents, sickness, surgeries, bullying, and unfortunate drug side-effects. I tried to teach them to think critically. I taught them the things I knew about God and love and life. Then I told them to make their own decisions and find out what they believed. I taught them to love flowers and stories and music and bugs and birds. I told them they should always eat beautiful food with lots of colors and that cookies and chocolate were very important.

I loved people. Even when they made me really aggravated, I still tried to love them. Even when I felt abandoned or misunderstood or forgotten, I couldn't stop loving them. Love felt easier than self-pity or resentment. Love felt like who I was.

I planted things. Never from seeds, because the seedlings would get all spindly and break before I could transplant them. I just went to the greenhouse and bought big plants. I bought tomatoes and basil and rosemary and oregano and thyme. I bought as many flowers as I could fit in-between the herbs and tomatoes. And I watered them. And we ate the things that grew that were edible.

I was a runner. I ran because it made me happy. In the spring I saw butterflies and tiny wildflowers blooming close to the ground. As the days passed, I ran through vividly blue flax flowers and prairie grass. I hopped over beetles and stinkbugs and wolf spiders. Grasshoppers hopped over me. And above it all, the sky stretched. Sometimes clouds floated across the expanse. Sometimes storms brewed on the horizons. Always, there was a cool breeze

And now?

What am I now?

Who am I now?

I am no longer a musician. More than a month has passed since I played anything I could not sightread. There is no compulsion to practice out all the imperfections of a new piece. I don't want to teach. I don't want to learn.

I prepared taxes this year. I advised tax clients. I did it because I had committed to do so, not because I wanted to. I still have not filed my own taxes.

I was informed when I moved that there was no webpage work available to me in my new location.

I still transcribe. I don't love it. I don't want to. It pays bills.

I'm still a mom. But my children are grown. They no longer care what I love or teach or believe. As they were taught to do, they have learned to be independent, critical thinkers who take care of themselves. They love me. They now have their own lives.

I still love people. My capacity to feel a return of that love is gone.

I haven't planted things for more than a year. I have the opportunity to do so now. I don't know if I will. I don't know if I can.

I run sometimes. Not as often as I did, nor as often as I should. I'm in a good place, a lovely place. There is no excuse for not running. But sometimes I just don't.

I am baffled. I did not know I could be reduced to this.

A long time ago, a friend, when faced with something he did not want, said to me, "This is what happens."

Perhaps he was right.

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