Sunday, January 22, 2012

To every season

I had this idea when I was younger that a time would happen when I would know who I was. That there would come a day when all the pieces of my personality would some how mesh into a solid pattern, like carbon atoms achieving the perfect matrix of a diamond.

My whole life, there have been all these different parts of me that I could never successfully coordinate. There's the scholar part of my personality, and the geek part; there's the nine year old girl who is obsessed with owls and hedgehogs and gnomes; the tailored classic country clubber and the crunchy earth mother; the planner, the list-maker, the organizer; the dreamer with a stack of books and a garden swing; the maker who tries different crafts and hobbies every three months or so; the mother; the lover; the naturalist seeking simplicity lives cheek by jowl with the girl who lusts after expensive leather purses and sparkling stones.

For so long this felt like I was unfinished. Trying to reconcile the contradictory parts of my personality into one finished piece of art - trying to cross "grow up' off of my life's to-do list - has never felt within my grasp.

Last night, I was looking at a picture that reminded me of the images you see through a kaleidoscope. One of the great things about kaleidoscopes is that the image is never fixed. You can always give it another turn and see what happens. Sure, diamonds are pretty and sparkly and reflect the light, but they are always the same. Kaleidoscopes are much more fun. You are always creating new beautiful arrangements. Diamonds all have flaws, fixed within them, that are permanent. Kaleidoscopes don't have that problem. All the inclusions are a part of the beauty. What takes center stage in one scene will fade into the background with another twist of the viewer, and then merge together with another image to form something greater than the sum of the parts in a third image.

I think life is more like a kaleidoscope than a diamond.There isn't one right configuration for all of my elements. They mix together and create different patterns for my life at different times. For someone who gets bored easily, that's a benefit and not a drawback. My life has been pretty stable for the last few years. I've seen certain parts of my life take a dominant position, and some have faded so far into the background that I have almost forgotten them. I've turned my kaleidoscope, and I have a feeling I'll keep turning it for the next year or two trying to find a new pattern I want to look at for the next phase of my life. But I'll always remember that when I want to, I can turn it again, and a new pattern will emerge.


Sarah said...

I like this analogy. I may have to go buy me a kaleidoscope to play with as a reminder of what you just wrote. Besides, I really like playing with them and who couldn't use some beauty in their life?
Keep sparkling on...

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