September 17, 2008

on the reality of things...

Do you ever notice where you are in life and realize that it is so not what you had in mind? Not necessarily in a bad way, but it's just different than you had projected in your mind at the age of twelve, looking forward to yourself at the age of twenty-four.

And I must say, before going any further, that I'm not unhappy, per se. I am happy. I have moments of being deliriously happy, even. I have days where I'm all, "Someone punch me in the face, because there's no way life can be so fabulous for one undeserving person!" Seriously. It's true. I'm very blessed. Perhaps I don't always stop and realize it enough, but I know I am.

However, at the same time, this isn't where I thought I'd be, in some respects.

I guess that my vision of this point in my life always circled around my own idealistic view of how it should be. One huge part that seems so wrong, is the fact that my husband and I are here in California, while both of our families are two states away. And another big one is the reality that neither Jay nor I work a regular 9-5 job, neither of us with weekends off. Lately, I miss my family so much it hurts sometimes, and I'd love to have more than a couple evenings a week to spend with my husband. Sometimes I want to shake my fist in the air and cry out to nobody in particular, "THIS IS NOT HOW IT'S SUPPOSED TO BE, PEOPLE! STOP MESSING WITH MY FREAKING CHILDHOOD FANTASIES OF ADULTHOOD, DARN IT!"

For some reason, I always figured that once I was married we'd be having weekend barbecue's with our families, that I'd be escaping down the street to my older sister's house for a glass of wine when I needed someone to talk to, that our schedules would work out like they were "supposed to" - and we'd both be home in the evenings to sit down to a delicious meal that I'd prepared with my mad kitchen skills, that we'd spend weekends together, sleeping in and making banana pancakes (okay, so maybe that one was somewhat inspired by a Jack Johnson song), that my husband and I would have huge arguments every holiday season over who's family we'd spend what holiday with or how we'd weasel out of them all together if we just wanted Christmas evening to ourselves, that children would come a couple years after the wedding, that when we had kids they would easily be able to spend a weekend with either set of Grandparents, that we'd have our first home within a few years, and so on and so forth.

Those types of things. Regular things, or so I figured, in this unassuming little head of mine.

I know that often times, my worst habit is not being able to appreciate a situation for simply what it is. I have to over-analyze, I have to notice what it is lacking, I have to think of what would make it better. I'm still not sure where this part of me came from, because I honestly can't remember being like this when I was younger. But regardless, here I am now. In all my glory. And I know that I need to work on this, and learn to appreciate. I need to remember that there is a reason for things being the way they are right now. It's not always obvious, but there's a reason.

Whatever happened to my blind faith? I hate that I've become less trusting and more cynical, as the years go by.

I need to remind myself not to feel short-handed when things don't turn out exactly as I'd planned. Especially when things are just fine the way they are! There is no reason for me to feel anything but happy. And as I've mentioned before, I am working towards being more happy; working towards being that optimistic girl that I once was more familiar with.

I need to just let myself be happy in this exact moment, exactly where I am.

20 comments :

  1. I can completely relate. I've been struggling with being content with my current situation. And why shouldn't I be? We're comfortable with our finances, I'm in a happy wonderful marriage, I have a job that I'm really good at, and we live in a great area.

    Oh maybe that I work too long (eleven hours today), I want babies more than ever, I don't know how long I can wait for Cale can finish school and become a fancy-pants lawyer so I can possibly stay at home someday, I wish we didn't live in an area where houses don't go for less that $300k (and that's for a one bedroom), my family lives four hours away but it feels like ten, and my goodness if I could just have some dear friends nearby to sip wine with.

    Le sigh. When will our lives ever pan out the way we thought they would??

    I definitely understand how hard things are for you. Two states away is a long way for family to be. What is keeping you from moving closer? Jobs? I hope you find a way to reach your ideal dream life.. just think of all the learning and growing we're doing now that we will look back on, hopefully in a positive light.

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  2. oh my gosh I'm fired. That was way too long!

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  3. I have been feeling very ungrateful for a while now, and haven't been happy about where I am, instead wishing I was where I was supposed to be (you know, in my head?). Reality can be such an eyeopener.

    I'm 29 and I was convinced I'd be married by now and have at least one child. I'd have certainly moved out of the family home because I'm an adult and all that, and would be a doctor. Well, I don't have any of these things and instead of whining constantly as friend after friend leaves me as the only bachelorette, I need to embrace myself and this time and revel in it.

    It's hard sometimes to make yourself live in the moment but I think that's very good advice. Because chances are, you will miss this moment you're in one day, and wish you could get it back, if only for a day.

    Thanks for encouraging the introspection!

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  4. I'm 29, I live with my parents because rent/mortgages on the East Coast are most likely as high as they are in CA, and I work not one, but TWO, jobs because I've yet to get a classroom of my own and can't live on a teacher's aide pay.

    So yeah, working at Target part-time when I'm thisclose to 30? Not having my own place?

    I understand how you're feeling more than you could ever know.

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  5. It's hard to focus on the little things when the big picture just seems so... big.

    You guys are making sacrifices NOW so that you won't have to LATER, and that's a pretty admirable thing. You're doing what's best NOW, gritting your teeth and getting through it because you know things are going to get better in the long run, and they are.

    i was pretty convinced that by 24 i'd be married and have a kid by now. (seriously, my plan was to get married by the time i was 23, enjoy a year and have a baby when i was 24. i kid you not). but sometimes, life just doesn't work out how you've got it planned in your head, but that doesn't mean that where you are instead is wrong.

    xoxox

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  6. Creepy. I feel like you popped inside my head and ripped this post right out. It's a "forest through the trees" kind of deal and every once in a while its a good idea to stop searching ahead or over analyzing, and take stock of what you have. I am soooo feeling you on the missing your family thing, too. We just moved to FL about 6 months ago and I've only seen my mom TWICE. I miss my family like crazy right now and sometimes I want nothing more than to hug my mom and know she'll make it all ok.

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  7. This is a really hard one – I work a 9 – 5, but I also work freelance & blog a lot, and my fiancĂ© travels with work quite a bit. Generally there is a lot of that banana pancake feeling – but it’s in glimpses between exhaustion, wedding planning, cleaning up puppy poop, and trying to finish all the house projects before the winter. Both of us struggle with how to stay present and energized with these schedules, and some of the time I’m not sure there is a way to.

    I think that the important thing is to do what you say here, be grounded and be thankful – and go visit your family!! = ) If you miss them and they’re a couple states away, load up on a road trip or hop a plane when you have the chance, or help them set up a web cam the next time you’re there and you guys can video chat like you’re an astronaut.

    It’s a hard one, but I think this whole time of our lives is mostly about challenging and adjusting

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  8. My birthday is on Saturday. I'll be turning 24, and my life is not at all what I imagined. I'm not married (heck, I don't even have a boyfriend anymore), don't have kids, and don't live in a cute little house in the suburbs. I feel like I'm so behind on life that I'll be trying to catch up for years. I think we all just need to learn to be happy in the moment. Otherwise we'll drive ourselves crazy.

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  9. this is exactly what i've been dealing with.

    i just thought my "love life" and and job opportunities would turn out completely opposite to how they are now.

    oh life, and your topsy-turvy ways.

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  10. I'm a little older than the other commentors here, but I can relate to what everyone is feeling. But being older and wiser (ha ha) I do have to echo your post in saying that everything happens for a reason.

    If anyone would have told me that I would get married at 29 to a man that had four children I would have told them they were nuts. There has been soooo much learning,growing, groaning and questioning in the 10 years of my marriage it's not funny.

    But the one thing I know is - my husband is my solemate and I know that I will grow old with him. The twists and turns our life has taken is obviously the only path that was planned for us, for whatever reason. I choose to think it will make us stronger and closer and together in the end.

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  11. isn't adulthood a bust sometimes? i think that one of the hardest parts of growing older is to not let life experiences turn you into the cynical, unappreciative crazy cat lady at the end of the street (ok... that's just me, but you get the idea). seriously, i think we all need to take a step back now and again (and again and again and again) and remind ourselves that this is life and life is good. even if it's not what we expected it to be.

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  12. oooh i know how you feel in regards to not being where you thought you'd be. not having life work out how you imagined it.
    but like you said, you just have to enjoy what you have, and be happy in the present.

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  13. When I was 12, I imagined myself going to NYU for theater and being a famous actress. Oh, and marrying Zac Hanson.

    Suffice it to say - NONE of that has happened, and my life is much more like the life you're dreaming of - family all around, cookouts and gatherings every weekend, and the ol' 9-5 grind.

    And you know what? I'm jealous of you. You make beautiful things and take gorgeous pictures. You have real skill, my dear.

    That's not to say I'm unhappy - I'd have thought that by age 24, I'd be in a career that I LOVED. I'd know what my future held. Financial stability would be within sight.

    I have no idea what I'm doing with my life and it looks as though Mike will be in school for several more years.

    Sigh.

    I tell myself that having kids would make me happy, but what if that's not true? Ay.

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  14. I sometimes feel like my life is an out of body experience. Like, is this it? Am I really living this?

    My husband works retail, and has the opposite schedule of me. I don't mind being alone 1/2 of the time, it's hard though when other people constantly ask, "Where's Ian?" or having to go to social gatherings alone, and explain that my husband is at work.

    Life is weird, I don't get it 1/2 of the time, but I keep clockin' in day after day to find out what happens!

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  15. I am only eighteen and this entry made me think a lot about my future, about where I see myself in six years, when I'm twenty-four. I never really had the husband, children, house with white picket fence vision. I mean, don't get me wrong, I want to find a love that lasts forever and have kids and have weekends off and spend as much time with my sister as I can. But honestly, the most important thing to me is that I will hopefully be genuinely happy, and it seems that you've achieved that :)

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  16. I'm definitely in the same mind set as you. I'm 26.

    And, well...I'm NOT married. I thought by 25 I'd be married. And by the time I was 29, I'd already have had a baby. It's so frustrating...

    I started seeing someone new lately...who reminded me lately about not trying to rush life. Have faith that God knows what he is doing...

    I'm trying to be happy...I am...

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  17. i keep feeling like this too every once and a while. maybe it just comes with this age, haha.

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  18. Seriously, why wasn't I warned more about the quarter-life crisis? 24 is hard, folks! I totally know what you mean ... often I am struck with the green bug of jealousy ... jealous of other people and that I'm not in their current life situation -- why can John and I have our own house now? I'm so sick of living in an apartment next to annoying neighbors -- we could maybe rent a house right now but then we'd use up all of our savings and that would suck -- and do I want to rent a house/keep saving for to buy a house or travel the world? Why can't I have both? WHY?! And what about the dream career, whatever that is? And will I ever want kids? Will I be less/more happy when I have kids? And although right now I live 10 mins from my parents -- should we pick up and move so we don't stay in the same exact place all of life? Oh man... Yeah, for sure, I need to learn to be happy where I'm at! When you figure out the secret, please let me know! :)

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  19. I seriously could have written that. I could elaborate but you said it all.

    Thank you for verbalizing what I could not seem to sort out in my mind. You just helped me to move two steps forward!

    You are the best!

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  20. Great entry. I totally agree, and am in a similar place right now...
    Im Adding u to my blog page, cause you know... your awesome!

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