Monday, August 6, 2012

Dreams of Reality

 Recently, over a few glasses of afternoon wine, my girlfriends and I discussed the image we'd had of ourselves as almost thirty-somethings and where we actually are in our lives. I thought this was quite interesting, because none of us were living the lives we thought we'd be living at this point. But, we wondered, is it better? Worse? Or just unexpected?

Also, in my dreams, I was a cute preg Asian lady
If you had asked me when I was 12, 15, 18, or even in my early 20's, if I thought I'd someday be 29 years old, unmarried with no children, working for a not-for-profit agency promoting higher education, and living in Owensboro, KY, I probably would have answered with some colorful four letter words.

Why did this image come up when I
googled 'modern working woman?'
I just...there are no words.
But, the question is, where did I think I would be? I can remember imagining my life as a teenager and young adult--hold the effing phone. Am I no longer a young adult? When the hell did that happen?--and having two distinct ideas of what my life would be. The first one was living in a big city, working for some cutting edge agency, possibly in advertising or as a writer at a fashion magazine. Every day, I'd wear some ridiculously fashionable dress, stilettos, and have my cell phone (those totally didn't exist in my fantasies) constantly glued to my face talking about the upcoming deadlines I had to meet, or better yet, tell my staff to meet. This fantasy was akin to Samantha in Sex and the City, only with fewer curse words and bedfellows.

I don't understand. You're not Asian in all of your dreams?

The other image was being a happily married working Mom. Hustling my kids out of the house in the morning to rush to my job as a counselor, where I could leave if one of my six children got sick at school or needed to come home from daycare because they missed their working mommy a little too much. Relieving the nanny, I'd stroll into my large, beautiful home in a quaint town to cook dinner and wait for my hard-working husband to get home from his equally busy and glamorous job. (Plus tell me why the most disturbing part of this blog so far is the fact that I thought someday I'd want to cook???)

Let's talk about where my life really is. At 29, I'm almost a year into a relationship with a wonderful man/business-owner. At this point, we're not so close to the marriage dream. And although we I want children badly, things keep ringing through my mind like, "well I don't want to be knocked up when we go to Florida in Sept/celebrate Destiny's birthday in December/celebrate my 30th in February/celebrate Jo's bday in May/during the summer/on weekends/on holidays/on days that end with y." I work for a non-profit agency that gives me 15 hour days and months worth of 6-day work weeks. While I'm comfortable on my salary and in my career, it definitely doesn't afford for ridiculously fashionable dresses (hell, I'm flying if I don't wear the same outfit every day for a week!), stilettos, high-rises in New York, or huge houses with bedrooms that sleep my six fictional children. We live in the town we both grew up in and find joy in grilling dinner at the farm or watching movies in bed most nights.

I wouldn't give this guy up!
And it really makes me wonder would I be happier had those dreams become my reality? Would I feel fulfilled? More exciting? Or would there always be something missing? Would I always wonder what life would be like if I lived closer to home or did important work rather than lucrative work?
Perfectly happy in this life

My guess is that's the eternal question. Where could I be? Where would I be? I do know that had I moved to a big city after I graduated college and sought a job at a fast-paced, cutting-edge agency or married young and birthed six children right away, I definitely wouldn't be the person I am today. I never would have found passion in higher education and outreach, I never would have met and fallen in love with Joel, I'd never get to have slumber parties with Jaxon or see his Christmas plays, my family wouldn't be a five-minute drive away, and I never would have met half of the friends who mean the world to me now. So, while it's fun to think about the woman in stilettos working in an office with all windows or the woman feeding organic chicken to her yup-lets, when it comes to reality, I'm perfectly happy right here at home.

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