For some unknown reason, I felt called last week to revisit a book that was near and dear to me during my Do-Over! some 20 years ago. An Unknown Woman, by Alice Koller, is the classic memoir of a woman who retreats to a deserted winter beach house to re-evaluate her life. I trust the reason it has beckoned me will unfold in due time. . . In the meantime, here’s an excerpt to inspire your day (and maybe even your own Do-Over!):
“I feel that I’m about to burst a prison. Nothing except my own will-lessness can prevent it. The life that is beginning now is the one that will make sense of all the other ones. [... ]
“Each thing I do during the course of a day is something I’ve been told to do, or taught to do. I have to replace all of it with what I choose to do. I have to learn how to choose one thing over another, one way of doing something over another way. That means I have to want one thing, or one way, more than another.
“My stomach tightens. Want one thing more than another? What will I use as a criterion? I don’t know. I know only that I have to uproot all of the old while I’m learning what I want. Tear out every habit, every way of responding to people or to things. Or to ideas. Look at it without mercy and ask: Is this mine? Mine as the specific human being that I am. Do I do the things I do because I’m Alice Koller? Or do I do them for reasons that I don’t yet know?”