Scene 1: “I’m not jealous of her, but I feel like she has the exact life that I want,” she managed to get out in between her tears. We sat in her car and I just listened.
Scene 2: It was a little past 8am and I answered the phone, it was unlikely that she would call me this early. What began as an angry call fueled with frustration and hurt, turned into pockets of tears with a muffled release of, “I’m embarrassed that I am a master’s degree educated woman and this is what my life looks like.”
Scene 3: “I took a job at Starbucks, so I could have time to pursue what I really want to do.” The white conversation bubbles on my iPhone read: “I’m not interested in wasting anymore time. I’m broke, but I feel happier and more at peace than I have in a long time.”
…and cut! Actually, let the film roll— these are real time and real life conversations I’ve had with three of my best friends over the last few weeks. Although expressed differently, they all share the same theme: ‘I’m not satisfied with where I’m at in my life.” Ditto. Ditto. Ditto. I know you have your life all put together and this is not your struggle, but please see to the virtual attendant and check your coats of judgments while the rest of us try and figure this thing out. Thanks!
Ok, come on camera man, follow me…
I am yet to figure life out… But, if you have, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org . We’ve all seen those kinds of articles that give us the 10 steps to our perfect life, right? In a nut shell they all say the same thing…Follow your dreams. “Of course, duh! follow my dreams. Why didn’t I think of that?” Rolling my eyes.
Someone please hold the tip of this football while I get ready to punt all those articles into the pile of “<I can’t think of a word>” Some days I wake up and that’s exactly how I feel, like I can’t articulate what’s going on in my life, but I’ll try for the sake of this blog. I’m 20 something….a few years shy of 30 and this isn’t the life I pictured in my tween-eyed years.
Here’s what my life should have looked like by now —My husband, 3 children and I would be living in a two story home (something a few square feet shy of a mansion—so that I could maintain my humility of course) out in a California suburb. I’d have a private jet to fly between home and my high-end NYC job (where I’d be 2 positions shy of CEO) roughly 3-4 days a week. My kids would be straight A students, the best in their respective after school hobbies… Ok CUT! Clearly, this isn’t what it’s looking like. I’m not married, no kids, no home and I’m not at my dream job.
Let’s focus in and zoom that camera into a more accurate picture of my life… Dating (had to do that a few times before I finally came across a beau worth keeping around)— no children. Living at home with Mom and sis— it’s cool— except for the days I go into the fridge to get my Naked Mango Smoothie and IT’S NOT THERE! MMMMOOOOOOMMMMM!!!! <Insert scene from the Barber Shop where Eve is smacking her gums and rolling her neck asking–“Who drank my apple juice?”> Oh how I empathize with Eve now! lol I’m not at that high-end NYC job… more like at a non-profit in a neighboring state. Well,at least the private jet part worked out for me—His name is Jet Blue and I share him with 200 something other passengers every now and then, I have to go through that annoying security line and wait for them to call my row and then struggle to get my unnecessarily heavy purple Samsonite carry-on into the overhead bin <I could’ve left my flat iron and 2 curling irons at home to lighten the load….but I won’t—And I got my rollers too…lol> Ok moving on… You get my point.
So, what do I do with this life that isn’t exactly turning out the way I had hoped? I live.
I went to the eye doctor in February for the first time in years. He told me I had 20/20 vision, but then offered me a prescription. Even though my vision was good, there was opportunity for it to be better (There goes that iPhone99s theme again-lol)..and really, when I looked through the sample glasses, I felt like I had 32inch high definition flat screens in my eye sockets.
What am I saying? I am telling myself that it’s ok to identify the things in my life that aren’t where I had hoped, but it’s better for me to point out the things that are working out. Like— my mom who didn’t kick me out when I ran her phone bill up to $1,000 that summer I came home and my sister who so graciously replaced my Naked Mango Smoothie that mama drank. Like—my friend who attempted to calm me down as she pressed a cool damp towel over the breakout of hives on my back… who knew KFC’s popcorn nuggets would leave me topless and in tears…lol. And what about the friend in college who gave me her car keys at 2am and told me to chase love after my boyfriend and I had an argument over the phone—ahh the memories! And as for my job, yeah my co-workers are 10 to 30 years my senior, but guess what? It means they are way ahead of me in life and I glean so much wisdom from their life experiences and most days they don’t really give me a hard time..I repeat most days <Side eye>.
Some of you might call what I just did, being grateful…and it is. However, gratitude does not mean sucking up everything life throws at me and never expressing that perhaps I may want something different. I’m not giving myself permission to complain and I’m not asking you to bring chips and dips to my pity party. I’m asking you not to stick a “be grateful” sock in my mouth the moment I begin to express desires that the FedEx guy forgot to deliver the last time he came to my house.<I’m off my soap box, moving on…>
I wish I could tell you — or even myself for that matter— here’s the key to that perfect life… but I don’t know it. I can tell you that my friends whom I quoted above, and myself, are being intentional with the areas of our lives that aren’t what we had hoped they’d be by now. We are launching our own enterprises, attempting to walk out the vision we have in our hearts…and let me tell you, it’s not for the faint of heart! And about the “American Dream”, No–it is not ‘as seen on tv.’ I feel like I missed the last course right before college graduation, the one that told me, ‘ a college degree does not guarantee that your dream life will be at your fingertips.’ Say What? After I walked across the stage of that stadium and into reality, life hit me hard! There isn’t a handbook to tell me what happens next—so, I am figuring it out as I go along… and along the way, from my toddler-esque eyes, I tug on the pant legs of a few grown-ups who seemed to have figured life out and I ask them to hold my hands as I wobble in my new pair of life legs.
As I sat across the table from my beautiful <Halle Berry prototype> wise and matured mentor, who was now a Vice President at one of the largest investment firms in NYC and in the world, I asked her— How did you get there? She smiled and shared her journey.
She’s in her 60s…and when she was my age, she worked as a journalist for the Chicago Tribune. From writer to investment banker— I totally see the connection! <can you sniff my sarcasm> lol. I left that conversation encouraged that although I had this big plan in my head, I had no idea where life would place me 40 years from now. My guess is that life is a little bit more than a marriage, mansion, fancy cars and a dream job. I’m sure we can name a few people in our lives who seem to ‘have it all’, yet are still not satisfied. I hope that when I’m in my Golden Girl years, I can sit across from the 20 something year old so eager to map out her perfect life, and encourage her to just “Trust The Process.”
So folks… let’s trust and let’s live.
It’s easier said than done… I know… I am in this thing with you… <raising my glass> here’s to living one day at time.
The Naked Writer
PS. Thanks for journey-ing through life with me! If you know someone who might enjoy this, share my heart with them and remember to subscribe so we can keep in touch (top right corner)! Oh yeah and comment (top left corner)! It makes me so happy when I hear from you!
See you soon 😉