A very long time ago, between The Boy From 30 Years Ago and the person who would become my ex-husband, I knew (and loved) someone else. He was lovely. And brilliant. And funny. And perfect for me in so many ways.
Sadly, it was not meant to work out between us for the long-run, as things are sometimes not meant to work out for the long-run, but it was an important relationship in my life -- and in his, I think.
He said something to me once that stayed with me, and which has, over the years, made me stop and think and wish and, sometimes, be sad. He said,
"You are one of the most alive people I've ever known."
I laughed. Truth be told, I wasn't at all certain of what he meant and though he tried to articulate it, I waved his explanations off. I didn't need them. He was lovely and brilliant and funny, and he was smiling when he said it, so I took him at his word.
And I went on being alive in the relationship...
Until it ended.
And then I was sad. And I felt not quite so alive for a while.
But Life went on.
As it does.
All the things that happen to other people happened to me, too... things like other relationships, work, work, and more work, friendships, moves, travel, a marriage, a child, losses, a divorce, illness, etc.
There were many good things. And many bad things. And through all those things, good and bad, Life never stopped moving.
At times I ran with it... at times I trudged along... at times I was flat-out dragged behind Life, unable to do anything but just hold on by my fingertips.
And after a while -- after 25 years of running, trudging, and being dragged -- I took a look back and realized I wasn't feeling quite so alive.
Then I saw a quote somewhere, from Alice in Wonderland (not my favorite book, I have to say):
"You're not the same as you were before. You were much more "muchier." You've lost your muchness." (Said the Mad Hatter, to Alice.)
When I read it, it hit me that Muchness was what that lovely, brilliant, funny person was trying to articulate all those years ago... it's what he saw in me when he said I was alive.
Muchness is that spirit, that spark, that imagination, that energy, that optimism, that greatness which comes with youth and quick metabolisms.
And though I believe there are people who retain their muchness, I realized that I've lost it. Well, I've lost much of my muchness.
It happens, doesn't it? To lots of us (most of us?). Life happens and we wear down with responsibilities and worries and fears and stress and guilt and just plain old being tired.
And our muchness gets lost.
I talked to an old friend today -- someone who has known me a long time and knows me well. And my friend assured me that my muchness isn't, in fact, gone... that it's there when I need it...
I'm not sure I believe that. At all. But I do think we can get our muchness back. It might look different at 48 than it did at 25, but I think we can get it back...
Or maybe my friend is right and it's not really gone... maybe it simply needs to be rediscovered...
So, I'm going to be looking for mine -- for my muchness.
What about you? Have you lost your muchness?
If not, how did you keep it?
If so, what will you do to find it?
I'd love to know...