Thoughts on Transience
My mother will attest to the fact that from the second I entered the world, I was a very independent person. I loved my family but I didn't know the definition of "homesick." I was enthusiastic about every possibility life had to offer. Every person I met was a potential friend, every career was an option, every city was a place I could see myself visiting or living. I was always a bit of a dreamer.
My friend Leah and I used to say that we knew without a doubt that someone could drop the two of us off in a random city anywhere and we'd be able to secure jobs, a place to live, and set up house by the weeks end. We were confident that we could handle ourselves---there was no fear that we weren't capable of most anything we set our minds to.
I have never been so impulsive as to be dangerous. I've always carried caution and adventure together in tandem. I had no fear of getting on an plane alone and flying to a strange city---but I made sure there was a friend on the other end to guide me, a place to stay, and enough money in my bank account to ensure I eventually returned home safely. I was practical in so many ways, but that didn't keep me from splurging, exploring, and experiencing all that I could. By the time I was 22 I'd visited several U.S. cities and foreign countries, and I'd lived on my own.
Basically all the way up to college graduation I felt I had no 'set' path in front of me. I've never had a whole lot of direction in life. It's not because I don't think I'm capable, it's the burden of loving everything and not wanting to miss out on anything. I didn't want my identity to be tied too tightly to one thing or another. I wanted the freedom to do new things and lots of different things without being labeled and only seen as valuable in one area. In many ways I have always regretted that attitude. Dabbling leads to having potential in many areas, but excelling at none. It leads you to a place where you wonder if you really add any value to the world.
There was one thing, though, that was always a constant desire. More than anything else, I wanted someone to share my adventures with. I wanted a family. I wanted to be a wife. I wanted to be a mother. There were points that I feared maybe that wasn't my future. There were many hours of questioning the whole business of marriage---which was not entered into lightly or with an unrealistic idealism. And even after I was sure that was the direction my life was heading, there were many questions that had to be answered about the proper timing of all that. But this was the one dream that I never questioned. It was my one constant hope.
Marriage and motherhood is my reality now. It's changed me and it has limited me in some ways. I'd be a liar if I tried to claim I had the same freedom now that I had back then. I see friends living in big cities and traveling the globe and I know that is not something that I could do right now. Some days I'm a bit jealous that they still get to live that transient lifestyle. When I see friends fulfilling lifelong dreams, when I see their adventures, talents, and achievements happening---there is a part of me that longs for those things. But I can say with sincerity that there is never any true regret.
I know I've been formed by a culture that is restless and values personal fulfillment and happiness above all over things. I question those sentiments even as I wrestle with feeling them. I've had enough tearful conversations with old friends to know that the realities don't always match up to the picture presented. I know what it feels like to be lonely and depressed, to question every decision you've ever made, to be hurt and let down by people you love. But I also know that contentment is not really about the circumstances. I know that true peace and happiness has very little to do with location or finances.
I have a lot more life to experience---some of which may be visiting new places, and others of which may be the simple moments of happiness you feel when you come home to a one year old who races to greet you.
Whatever dreams I have, I know that John Paul and August must always be apart of them. I know that I would sacrifice any notions I have about my life for their sake and I have no resentment about that. I'd do it again and again. I can't imagine my life without them. I hope that I'll never have to face a life without them. And you know what? I don't actually want to live my life for myself---I want to live it for God and for others. I want to appreciate all the moments of my short life, both good and difficult, with a sense of awe and thankfulness for the opportunity to live it. It's always changing, it's always beautiful.
Have you noticed that I always feel introspective on Mondays?