In the past, I’ve envied those people who have a strong sense of what they want to do with their lives. The ones who set out to be a doctor or lawyer or singer even before college and who haven’t stopped even though they know the journey is long and hard. It just feels like those people are so much closer to living their purpose and everyone else is mostly wandering.
To be honest, I’m not totally over my envy and I go between two emotions. One is contentment, where I’m happy with the path I’m on, my career, my environment, my choices. Another is lack, where I wonder if I’m disconnected from my dreams somehow.
I feel lack when I visit my friends’ homes. That’s when I remember that I was supposed to be living alone at this point. When I imagine it, it’s like Jennifer Garner in 13 Going on 30. She’s got a big, beautiful, well-lit apartment that can host whatever parties or men she chooses. I’m not really a big fan of rotating parties or men through my home, but I guess I envy the option. The freedom is really where it’s at, the freedom to make mistakes, to falter, to learn yourself without the extra protection of a roommate.
I feel lack when someone asks me where I see myself in 5 years. Sometimes I just freeze up. Once, a guy I was strongly considering handing my number asked me that question and ruined my whole night. He could tell I shuttered, so he tried to clean it up, something like, “You don’t have to know what you’re going to do, just what you’re interested in doing.” It was too late, I was so flustered that my self-confidence plummeted and I took my first opportunity to hide. It was like I had been exposed. Twenty something and lost as hell. That’s me.
I feel lack when I see couples who are so in love. If I were totally honest with you, I’d admit that finding true love has been one of my dreams since I was old enough to have one. My favorite characters in Sailor Moon were Serena and Darien for goodness sake! Everyone else likes Mars or Pluto, and I’m just in love with the main couple. Confession: I skip to the extra romantic episodes when possible and struggle to watch the last season where Darien’s basically missing because I just love love. And now I’m just sitting around in this real world like, “where is he?!”
And I have vivid images of me in exotic places. Me at the pyramids in Egypt, me in a rainforest in Costa Rica, me at the Grand Canyon. I’ve never been bitten by the wanderlust bug, I don’t want to be constantly on the go, but I don’t want to live this Earth without seeing God’s greatest creations. It’s frustrating that I’m in a near perfect position to travel with only two things holding me back – a companion and PTO. Or maybe it’s just one thing: guts.
Fortunately, a better part of me realizes that every journey is different and there’s no straight path anywhere. Even though my steps aren’t clearly marked, it doesn’t mean I’m not moving in the right direction.
One of my friends with the nice single apartment told me she wanted a dog, a big dog. Laying right next to me is one of two. My Doberman is one of the greatest gifts God has given me and I couldn’t be more grateful to have her in my life. If that means I have to put a pause on living independently, I can deal with that.
I might be able to afford a big house of my own if I saw myself working my way up the ladder in some cushy, high stakes position. Truth is? I love my job. I get to do a lot of creative projects with kind, like-minded people, and at 5’o clock I get to dump my work brain and get back to my own projects. It’s not going to top the list of glamorous, high-paying jobs, but it makes me happy. Who’s to say that’s wrong?
And while I’m waiting for love to find me, I’m doing an excellent job of loving myself. I spend my spare time chasing the things that bring me the most joy, and I can’t lie, sometimes I’m pretty glad I only have to be responsible for my own happiness (besides my dogs’). There’s a lot I can accomplish while I’m waiting for the right man, and they say you can’t rush perfection. 😉
So, you see, it all depends on your perspective – how you frame things. The very things that could make me feel lost and miserable are the very things that remind me of how blessed I am. Sometimes I dream of the flashier things in life and that’s okay because a little discomfort challenges you. But I’m already on my way to my most important dream, to be happy.
“When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down ‘happy’. They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life.” – John Lennon