Today is the winter solstice: the shortest day of the year and the longest night. The most darkness, the least light. I’ve always found the winter solstice to be a beautiful time to pause and reflect on the ways we humans need to burrow inward, into our personal unexplored areas seeking learning and growth, before we emerge into the light.
This particular solstice however, I am feeling apprehensive about the dark. Apprehensive about what I'll find there.
People of my generation often talk about imposter syndrome – a deep feeling of inadequacy and not-good-enoughness, a doubt that derails and impedes forward momentum. Dreams and goals are crushed by this self-imposed imposter syndrome.
In my time of transition within transition – the ending of a partnership with Joel that was a key part of this journey – I am wading into a new dimension of imposter syndrome: I feel like an imposter in my own life. I feel doubt about the things I thought I knew. I feel embarrassment about the certainties I shared with so many people. Certainties that have now changed.
Reading over a post from a little over a year ago (this one), I marvel and cringe at the list of things Joel and I knew we wanted in our future home.
I end the piece with, “In this temporary home we will continue to grow, expand resources, and prepare – in a multitude of ways – for the life we now envision so clearly and - at long last - feel ready for.”
Cringe. Marvel. Cringe.
That version of me was clear. That person was “ready.”
Am I still clear? Am I still ready?
In a year of seeking truths around home, place, work, and self, I’m feeling extremely awkward and exposed. Am I an authenticity #FAIL? I felt that I was being genuine with everything I shared during the Growing Home journey and yet, here we are, and so much is different. Actually, even that requires an edit: here I am, and so much is different.
I’m confused about the parts of the story – those moments of certainty and clarity – and if they still get to be true.
If the truth changes, then what?
As I wade through memories from the trip and envision a future independent of the one Joel and I were dreaming up, I feel like a fraud. I feel like a huge imposter. The right now has a surprising amount of “now what?” Or at least, surprising to past tense me, who was so confident in a specific future me. Now I'm questioning the past, the present, and the future.
I wanted to live my life thoughtfully and share the journey with friends, family and strangers. I have done my best to be honest - to share these reflections and new understandings "in real time." I opened myself up to being vulnerable, to sharing the beginnings and the ends, the questions as well as (what I thought were) the answers.
Here I am.
As I go inward, on this darkest day of the year, I wonder what this essay will mean to me in the morning…next month…a year from now? Will I cringe? Will I marvel? Both?
Many wise humans have reminded me that all I am experiencing - all of the seeking, imagining, resting, doing, being - shares only one thing in common: it’s all impermanent. “That nothing is static or fixed, that all is fleeting and impermanent, is the first mark of existence. It is the ordinary state of affairs. Everything is in process,” writes American Tibetan Buddhist, Pema Chödrön.
Here is different than what it used to be or what I thought it would be. The present is different than what I previously stated with confidence was my path forward. I shared what felt real in that moment. And, realities evolved beyond what I was able to imagine.
As I prepare for the return of the light, I am certain of one thing: I am still in process.