“Lawrence understood. It seemed to him that every time he made one choice in his life, he said no to another. All of those things that he could not do or be were huddled inside of him: they might spring up at any moment, and he would be hobbled with regret. “
I am currently reading “The 12 Tribes of Hattie” and this excerpt jumped out of the book and cold, body slammed me into recognition. This is where I find myself every waking minute of my day. Some days I am overwhelmed with the weight of responsibility that life demands while other days I am simply delighted and inspired by the infinite possibilities that it holds. Nonetheless, whether high or low this correlation between choice and consequence ruminates within my head nonstop – to the point that I am at a stand still. I don’t want to make another move. It feels incredibly dangerous.
I am 26 years old. I have created a small enough life’s history that I can reflect on and claim responsibility for. It’s different when you are 21 and you reflect on four years prior. You reflect with a seasoned mind’s eye, more steps have been taken in the stride of an adult. You are no longer protected by the excuses of adolescence, naivity or reckless indifference.
When I was younger I lived and moved from my heart. I was always down for experiences whether good or bad because I felt that I had the time to reconcile, learn and grow from them. I remember the freedom in being 21 and throwing up my hands, buckling my belt and letting it ride out “to have the experience”. Thoughts such as, “I know he is not the one for me, but I am just going to see how this goes” or “Ill just get this degree. I may not use it but I need to be doing something!” were plentiful in my early years. I wanted to feel shit. Like really feel like I was living and loving unencumbered by fear, worry and society’s timeline. Traveling, learning a new language, alternative lifestyle apprenticeships, consuming love affairs, late nights, laughing, eating, dancing while all the while slightly committing to the notion of a serious career via classes at Temple kept me engaged and excited about my life. I yearned for the rarity and spiritual impression of really loving life over a 401k, white house and picket fence any day. My focus was always to engage my heart spontaneously and genuinely rather than train my mind to arrange the logistics for “setting up my life”.
My heart has always been a victor over my head because 23 and pregnant, I submitted to the dictates of it and decided that “ready or not”- a child was going to come.
Now my head is playing catch up and tries to figure out how in the hell I got here. “Hold the fuck up Shanti! How in the hell? I thought we were going in the right direction? I had us enrolled in college. You were doing well! I mean I knew you weren’t really sure what the hell you were learning and why but we both knew it made sense for your future. We were gonna figure it out later! How am I going to fix this. Why didn’t you listen to me???????”
So now I find myself stuck. Decisions have to be made about what my next steps will be. I have choices in my life that demand that I either listen to my dutiful head, be pragmatic and bite the bullet because it is “safe” or risk being directed by a short sighted heart that only knows of the beauty of the here and now. God knows listening to my heart has shown me things that have brought me to my knees due to the pain and beauty that were laid upon me. But I am older now and I can not so easily snap back. My desire and need for safety and security keep me anxious and needing focus.
I can’t seem to reconcile the two. I don’t want to live a life dominated and created by the cold, pragmatic mind which may look like it’s all together but is deprived of love, real freedom and soul stirring impressions. Nor do I want to end up with nothing…but good memories.
Who is leading your lives ladies? Your heart or your head? Which do you prefer lead?