“They say you find yourself in your 30’s.”

Slow Sunday

I’ve been having a lot of conversations with myself lately. Not the kind I normally have; they’ve evolved into something quiet and still and full of observation without words. They come instead with color and texture and movement and breath. With messy hands and a messy kitchen. With exposed shoulders and wisps of hair. With clutter and cleaning. My hands, my feet, my heart….they all want to be moving.

My husband said something that is hanging with me as maybe what is going on: “They say you find yourself in your 30’s.” And then I had to ask him how old I was, because I couldn’t recall if it was 31 or 32.

But I can recall my 20’s. My years of building structures, and tearing down walls. My years of rummaging through old photo boxes I kept locked in my mind, only to find the elements had damaged most of the images, yellowing and blurring the edges and the faces, leaving the rest to fit like a soggy puzzle, missing the most important pieces, the corners and the middle. Instead I found edges, lots of edges that I used to keep things in while I sorted it all out.

Art journal/mixed media page for #documentedlife project

They say you find yourself in your 30’s.

But only after you do all the searching in your 20’s. The mapping and packing and traveling on bumpy roads and through dark alleys and over beautiful landscapes where you think you want to stay awhile. But if there is one thing I learned from traveling these last 3+ years, it’s that the road always calls you forward. You can’t stay in one place or your tires start to lose their air and cobwebs starts to form around the wheels and then you make the mistake of feeling bad for displacing spiders that didn’t belong there anyway.

This finding of yourself comes with making peace with the blurred photos or missing pieces, when the parts you can’t quite fit together no longer need to go together, no longer seem as though they are missing anything, no longer register in your periphery as an obstacle or a thorn, and instead become part of the pile of ephemera you use to make your own beauty.

And then the most surprising thing is when you thought you were done sifting through the attic of self-discovery, only to uncover that you were only cleaning out those cobwebs and displaced spiders, discovering the things that didn’t belong, sorting it into a pile of Unnecessary and Unneeded and Unhelpful. And then you turn around to see that through a process of elimination, you have a second pile waiting and it’s full of Yes and Useful and You.

And that my friends, that one leaves you cross-legged on the floor, looking on in wonder, poking through with curiosity, and utterly bewildered at how you missed all this good stuff.

Things don't have to be wrapped up with a bow on top in order to be opened with delight. #artjournal #messhappens #stillatpeace

I’ve spent my last month(s) making art, and sorting through the last remnants of my Searching Piles, organizing what used to work from what currently works, following the rabbit down the rabbit hole, making spaces that Nature abhors and tries to fill for me. It’s been an interesting challenge to unravel the web-work that’s been decorating the walls of my Monday-Sunday. I thought it would look another way by now, but I’m noticing it takes a little more time to transition mindfully than I expected.

Mixed media/art journal page for the Documented Life Project

Chunky cowl from SpiderWomanKnits pattern on Ravelry

But at the same time it’s transitioning. I’m transitioning. Creating. Writing (even if it’s only five lines on the back of my hand). Painting. Playing. Preparing. Staying home. Building and staining. Cooking. Cleaning. Taking weekends off and hunkering down with yarn and music.

And all the while observing the piles dancing, shifting, moving of their own accord. Listening as it tells me I’ve done the job of meeting it halfway. Now it’s time to let it do its own thing for awhile. Now it’s time to revel in what’s left. Maybe to let my 30’s find me, instead of the other way around.