Do you ever feel like you have lived many lives? I’m not talking about reincarnation. I’m thinking several lives in one… more like a cat. I’m not sure that I have had exactly 9 lives, nor have I experienced death, but when I look back over my life it seems that many different lives encompass the one I am experiencing now. I think about my childhood, high school years, college, early marriage, Emma’s birth… All these points in my life seem so very different and so very long ago. I’m not even sure I identify with the person I was during those specific points in my life. That person, for better or worse, is not who I am now.
Have all the experiences in my life led me to this one? While I’m sure they have, I wonder if my new experiences in a different culture, a different society, a different world will motivate me to look back and feel as though I don’t recognize the person I am now. I’ll admit I’ve been reading Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert and am stuck in the Pray section when she delves into spirituality and reflects on her life, but honestly, I didn’t start thinking about it until a long dinner with my husband last weekend. We began discussing our life and the fact that it took us so long to get here. Here, being the threshold we are about cross, the leap of faith we are about take, the doorway of new experiences we will soon embark upon. I think about all the small steps we have taken in order to “figure out” what we want out of life. Sure there was a time when we assumed money would make us happy. I have no basis with which to measure this one, but I am sure it helps with some forms of happiness! I mean who would be opposed to shopping sprees, nice restaurants, and the overall security money provides (okay so spending large amounts of money always makes me feel guilty afterward, like I’ve cheated on my wallet). We’ve also been through the "just be happy with the simple life" sort of attitude, and it’s nice, but Casey and I have always been the think big, follow your dreams, change the world sort of people.
Some people wouldn’t necessarily see our move to China as that big of a deal, but for us this is only the beginning. It’s the beginning of a life filled the kinds of experiences, challenges, and learning we have yearned for, for many years. Maybe I will look back on this point in my life and see the same nativity I see when I look at the person I was years ago. I’m not sure, but it is my hope that this experience will change us all in ways that make us grow individually and as a family.
After having passport photos made Sunday, Emma remarked in the car, “I almost cried.” I immediately asked her why and she responded “We are about to start something new.” She then burst into song, trying to replicate a performance in High School Musical while capturing a moment I’m sure she’ll always remember. Although I knew she was serious, I laughed along with her. It soon hit me we are all about to start something new and, most importantly, we are doing it as a family. We’ll look back TOGETHER one day and discuss how we have transformed, what we have learned, and all the different lives we have shared.