From a young age I can recall the distinct notion of not wanting to live a conventional life. While my understanding of "conventional" has ebbed and flowed over time, I don't think it's uncommon for individuals to encounter this in one manifestation or another. Perhaps you thought you'd be an artist, or travel the world, or write a book, or play a prominent role within a social movement. "Someday" aspirations are always grounded in significance, meaning, and purpose. But as the story goes, the large majority of us get caught along the way, moving further and further from the dream, occupying habits that have more to do with expectation, comfort and responsibility than essence.
The older I get the more I've come to realize how limited most people's view of reality is. I myself slip into this, the ease of swimming downstream, of working to rise to the top of a well known and defined existence, of drawing the line between good and good enough. It's quite easy to let your weaknesses lead you, and even easier to allow your strengths to find the path of least resistance, under the guise of guaranteed return. For me the dream wasn't always present, and even when present, it hasn't always been clear. But it's there, and has always been there, just beyond my peripheral vision.
The initial years after Ben and I married were good ones. We lived in a community we loved, worked jobs we appreciated, attended a church that helped (re)build our faith, spent hours upon hours with family, found richness in the outdoors, and stole away for a vacation or two. We watched our eldest move through her first year of life and all the while kept wondering whether this was it, whether we'd grow old in this way, in a rhythm that generally met our needs but left us a little numb.
Ben and I spent months considering our day to day, thinking about the culmination of those hours and whether they were amounting to something meaningful. We wondered about our routines, the motivation behind a sequence of endless action.
The mile markers become clearer still; individuals or situations or connections that gently nudged us to where we are today. I have no doubt such circumstances are arranged by someone much greater than Benjamin or myself, the implications of which are profound... One doesn't have to craft or create the narrative, only become a willing participant in it.
Who knew a few subtle detours would eventually lead to such a bright and beautiful experience.