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  • Writer's pictureClaire Hamilton

Gone Wildeing

Updated: Aug 4, 2022

What is the difference between living, and existing?

Obviously living is doing more than just grinding it out, going through the motions. And all the powers that be know how easy it is to get caught in that trap. If it is, indeed, a trap…because isn’t that how we survive? Gotta eat. Gotta work to have the money to get the food to eat. Et cetera ad infinatum world without end amen.

As I was so caught up in tending the children, I admit I was doing a lot of existing. Encouraging them to flourish, to be the very best selves they could be, I lost sight of my own plot. I did not wither, but neither did I thrive.

I blame no one but myself for this. I neglected to store some energy I was expending on raising them for myself.

What was I missing? If you would have asked me then, I would have given you weary eyes, and said: Sleep. Money. Energy. Time.

Looking back, I can sum it up better.

What I was missing was Passion.

Oh, now. Get your mind out of the gutter. (There is a time and place for that, but this isn’t it. Oscar Wilde and I can talk to about that, but later.) I don’t mean passion in the sexual definition. Four children makes a definitive statement: I was getting along with my husband very well, thank you very much. Hubs and I often joke if my body would not have thrown in the towel, we would have had a soccer/football (depending on what part of the world we were in) team of our very own.

No, what I mean is I did not have a hunger, a longing, a fierce desire for something that was my very own. I had let those things slide. And that was wrong of me.

Now when I find young mothers (and when I say “young” what I really mean in many cases is “new”) and I find them beset with all sorts of unsolicited advice, that is mine: Always hold onto something for yourself. Something that is yours. Something that makes you excited, that holds your interest, keeps your mind engaged.

I dislike using the word “hobby” in this context because by its very nature it seems pejorative:

hobby: (noun) an activity done regularly in one's leisure time for pleasure

No. It should be more than that. You deserve more than that.

You deserve something that makes you feel, and come alive.

At this point in my life it used to be writing, but I had let that part of me die until Christine, a dear friend from the past, rediscovered me and began to shake, challenge, and nag me. I kept telling her “I have nothing to say.” I was not able to begin writing again until after her death in 2018. I am convinced it is she who found an unemployed Muse, and sent her to me in 2019. I began writing when I was poked incessantly by a “What if…?” that would not grant me peace until I began to write the words down in hopes of getting some mental bandwidth back…and before I knew it, I had over 50,000 words written, and over half of my first novel in decades. (One day, Christine, I will have it edited to my satisfaction…but until then, LOOK, CHRISTINE! I DID A THING…)

She knew better. As did my hubs, my best friend and most ardent supporter.

And this summer, I went Wildeing for the very first time in my life:

I went alone (save my faithful co-pilot, Baby Yoda—yes I know what his “real name” is) with hundreds of other MINI Cooper enthusiasts I had never met. We drove down the East Coast, delighting in the beautiful scenery, and the camaraderie of others who really enjoyed owning MINI Coopers. (We’re a special breed. The vehicles themselves can be as inexpensive or pricy as the owner wants. The modifications are what bring us together…and yeah, the cars themselves are bit quirky. Just like the drivers.) I made friends from all over the United States, and gloried in simply…being myself. No need to have a facade. No one to impress.

I just went Wildeing. I was alive. With my music blaring, seeing the beauty of Skyline Drive in the Blue Ridge Mountains (and being beset by a group of free-minded deer that ended up giving me the nickname “Baby Driver” for my, uh, unique avoidance techniques), tearing up the Back of the Dragon (new nickname, “Lightening McQueen”);

and best of all, avoiding any of the dreaded “Motoring Badges” (code for speeding tickets—because when you have anywhere to over 600 to over 1000 cars leaving one single destination en masse…you know the state troopers and local authorities are lying in wait…)

And I came home and wrote. And wrote. And wrote.

Because the drive filled me with so much inspiration I have to get it out.

You were right, Christine. I do have more to say. And while you are no longer here besides me to see it, I know, as you predicted, you are still with me, and reading over my shoulder.

Christine LIVED, every moment she had.

I did not go Wildeing until I was 53 years old.

Do not wait that long to find your passion.

Think about what makes you want to get out of bed. If you don’t know, think about what will give you that driving passion, the desire to move. Is it dancing to the beat? Do it in your kitchen. Is it singing? Do it in your shower.

Read. Write. Sing. Move. Find your Drive.

Live. Go Wilde.

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