Essay: Waiting for my Life

Dec 4, 2020

Waiting for My Life

Years ago I found a book of poems by Linda Pastan with the title, “Waiting for My Life.”  How did she know?  I’d been waiting for my life forever.  Waiting for an answer, for an affirmation.

If only I could find the right book or have the right conversation.  Meanwhile, I kept busy with daily activities, convinced that my real life, the one with significance and purpose, would eventually arrive.  Pastan’s poem described it this way:

“Sometimes my life coughed and coughed:
a stalled car about to catch,
and I would hold someone in my arms,
though it was always someone else I wanted.”

Always someone else, something else.  Not what I had, but what was missing.  Finally, I began to wonder if my mistake was looking outside myself for answers and affirmations?  Was it possible that I could answer my own questions?  Affirm my own worth? 

No one had encouraged this, not my parents or preachers or professors.  They had given me their answers and affirmed me only if I agreed with them.  At last, I was ready to disagree.  To embrace the partial answers and temporary affirmations that came from inside. 

Maybe they were enough—and always had been.