Shake It Up
My 5 year old imagines her future—a husband, three kids (two girls and a boy) living in an “upstairs house.” And it strikes me that her plans for a stable future are not all that different than what mine were. I was fortunate enough, somewhere along the way, to add my own career into that mix so I’d never be financially dependent on anyone. I spent the better part of my life setting that dream into fruition. And I’ve been happily married with a solid job for over a decade. I changed my mind about the number of kids and the desire for a two-story house. And All I Ever Wanted has been checked off my list.
And we’ve lived happily ever after.
In an often-times monotonous way.
Some days the monotony so thick in the air it is numbing.
Then I want to take my apparent picture-perfect world and shake the crap out of it like it was a snow globe letting the white flecks of perfection fall where they may. I want to get so stinking drunk that the room is spinning and the roar in my head is all I can hear. And then if I were to focus really hard, I would make that roar sound like the waves on the shore; and the spinning room look like the stars in the sky over the ocean. And in that chaos and destruction I know I will find the appearance of peace in the very ALIVENESS of my being. The numbness will be gone. My very skin will be vibrating.
But then I am honest with myself. I can no longer manage the bad hangover from hard liquor let alone the aftermath of truly turning my life upside down just to feel what I think must be a more ALIVE life. And so I drink another beer and not a shot of tequila knowing my world won’t spin off its axis no matter how much beer I consume. And I go another day. And another. Biding time on going on that bender.
But then I am presented with a week where illness is all around me in folks I care about but aren’t too close to shatter my world; where financial ruin challenges others in my world, and where there is just an all-around absence of love in the world for so many of us. And I become confident anew in the decisions that have led me to my place in this world, realizing I need not shake that snow globe of that little life of mine. It will get shaken all on its own and I will be fortunate if it isn’t smashed to smithereens in the process.
There’s a price I’ve paid for my dream of a stable and calm life. And it’s good to be reminded that that price was NOT the cost of my soul. It is the human condition never to be satisfied for any length of time. You set goals. You meet them. You set new goals. Or you become vapid and lazy. The irony of having All of Your Dreams Come True is that it isn’t the Coming True part that matters. It is the striving to accomplish one’s goals that make the difference. And so now I have set new goals, new dreams. And that numbness has abated, even if just until my next dream comes true. And I’ve come to believe that I don’t need to destroy all the dreams I’ve accomplished just to feel alive.