The ideal and the real…

  • Mom’s pin-curled hair, now loose and blowing in the March Wisconsin winds as she applies the clothes pins to the wet laundry on the clothes lines strung through the backyard by my father.  Four children, I the oldest at 8 years, followed by three more all two years apart.  Her life.  Her busy and full life.  Many fighting for her lap and her attention.  “Mama”,  “Mom”, “Mary” …my mother and many mothers’ lives in the 1950s.  It was a different time.  Another time.   Or is it?

    I watch my young friends, juggle work schedules and a variety of enrichment classes for multiple children.  They are having their children closer together, like my parents generation did.  And they are having larger families.  As I sit on the large patio of the local city golf course looking out …and back in time…I am struck with the cycles of life.

    When I was in that jam-packed family and house-holding phase of my own life, I missed time to read, time for me, time for museums, brunches and gallery walks.  Now I have much time for all of these things.  And I miss the sound of “mom” “momma”.  I miss being sought after and adored.  I miss the fullness.  The busyness of it all.  Truth be told each phase of life has its exquisite beauties AND the places it falls short.  I advise a young client who currently has no romantic love in her life to enjoy this time because when love finds her again her life and time, will no longer be primarily about just her and her own preferences.  But do I heed my own advice?

    Not so much…Do I wake up excited about being the sole person I get to please and care for today?  Somedays.  Today, this day, I glance back and wish that I understood 20 years ago that to everything there is indeed a season.  Such a life-long challenge for this visionary, this midwife of change and possibility, to fully embrace whatever cycle I am in, rather than lean into the next “ideal” vision, I glimpse.  For too often that “ideal” arose out of an anxiety or sense of lack.  Years back, when covered over in motherhood, I wondered if there would ever be time for me again.  Would there be enough?  Was I enough?  And when I thought that thought I was leaning away from the reality of my life without deeply embracing it for its particular beauties and flaws.  So often the inner dialogue then was “I better…”  “I need to…” “and I have to…”

    So now when I hear myself say “I better______”  and note an anxiety that time is running out, or that something negative will happen if I don’t act now, I breathe and question that thought.  Same thing with “I need to______”.  or “I have to_________.”   And often I discover that these thoughts have fear-scarcity-lack or some sort of anxiety lurking at their base.

    For example, today I could say to myself  “Nancy you need to appreciate your current state of being single.”  And if I respond to that inner command it is ultimately a lack-based response.  Ditto, if I say “Nancy, while you are still single you better enjoy and make the most of it.”  But, what happens, if I say to myself,  “Nancy, lucky lady, you get the privilege of a low maintenance life with enough time to focus on those things that you set aside during the years you were raising your children”?

    Shift is what happens.  Shift inside of me.  Shift to a deep gratitude and a wholehearted embrace of the life I have been given.

    July 2nd, 2013 | admin | Comments Off on The ideal and the real… | Tags: , , , , , , ,

About Nancy


Nancy C. Wonders is an interior designer. The “interiors” she designs are psychological, not physical, space -- a client’s personal interior landscape, or the emotional barometer of a team, or an entire organization. Nancy’s office includes a “design bar” where clients have a chance to re-invent how they see themselves and/or their organizations. These re-structurings result in discovering what is fresh, new and alive. This discovery prompts profound, immediate change, on both the inside and in interactions with others. Read more»

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