This Magic Moment
by Karen Kritzer
I once knew who I was. I was a young girl, full of hope, curiosity and candor. I grew into the teenage good girl – the leader of the the pack – the don’t look back babe who marched fearlessly forward. I was indeed a Leader – baton in hand, more like a magic wand because I knew I could be anyone, do anything, go anywhere as long as I used my intelligence, passion, honesty and focus. I felt strong and it felt good to be me.
Then the forward motion began to waiver. Yes, life rolled along and the years passed, but my focus dimmed, my expectations of myself diminished and I seemed to sleep walk through my 30’s. I never followed the traditional path of husband and children, but I was an Aunt like nobody’s business. I made it my mission to show my nieces and nephews that a better life could be had through education, travel and living life with a sense of purpose. I became caretaker to many, and none to myself. I lived outside of the box, but had mentally fenced myself in.
I quit my career in my 41st year of life, finally saying adios to an abusive boss who I’d been tied at the hip to as an Executive Assistant for 14 years. I swore I’d never let a job consume me anymore – that I’d rather work for the paycheck than for the purpose and enjoyment. I succumbed to complacency. I let anger tip the scales of my usually balanced life and questioned all those years of a job that I had let define who I was. It’s a story told over and over again by women. Same story, different panties. What the hell had happened to me? Who was I?
Middle age meandered in and my caretaking role has since consumed my life. It is my 57th year and it goes without saying that we start to look back. My Mom is my baby, and it is a role I cherish as her caretaker. I have been blessed in this lifetime to have had two Moms. My grandmother raised me and my Mom reclaimed her traditional role somewhere along the way. I have no issues with the way I was raised and am so grateful to have had twice the love some children never experience even once in their lives. I could never do enough to repay either one of these women for their love and guidance and home spun honest love.
But where am I? What happened to the eager to live anything goes kid? Where’s the ring leader from the neighborhood? What happened to my magic baton? Is everything I was, everything I had hoped to be, piled in one of the boxes in my closet that houses all the keepsakes of those in my family who have gone before me? Am I just another box waiting to be filled with my own letters, my pictures, my keepsakes? Who will be the keeper of my box I ask myself late at night.
Late at night. That’s when it gets the most scary. The “What if…” and “When this happens…” scenarios. They play on a loop until I quiet the mind and sadly drift off into sleep. I search in the early morning hours for the songs of the birds to beckon that another night has passed and a new day will dawn.
Every damn morning I claim that today I WILL reclaim myself. I repeat the “I am all that befalls me” speech, knowing full well I am in control of how to think, how to live and how to infuse passion back into my day. I lay in bed and search my soul for the qualities that make me who I am. The Leader, rather than the Manager I have become. The curious rather than the complacent. The magician rather than the make-believer. The dauntless rather than the doubter. The passionate rather than the pushover. The lover rather than the loner.
Each moment, every thought is a reclamation of self. It is one thought better than the last. It is the now, rather than the last night or the next day. It is a struggle at times, but it is a war within self worth fighting for. So today, right now on paper I claim myself once again. This is my magic moment.