Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Life These Days.

The Grand Tetons

It feels like life these days is a series of snapshots, moments, that I play back in my mind, looking back and wondering how in the world it is that it goes by so quickly in the long-run, and yet so slowly in the moment.  The rollercoaster of daily chores, the beastlings, the random outings and busy-ness we create for ourselves revolve around routine meals interspersed with playtime and children's shows.  If Matt and I can get in a good conversation, have a laugh, a drink and get in an episode of a fun show, I call the day a success.  This is not the wild adventurous life I imagined for myself, in plain terms.  It is intense in very different ways than I'd thought it would be (everyone chronically underestimates the utter madness and reciprocating joy of parenthood).  But it's wonderful.  Better in so many ways than I ever thought.

Despite this, up until about six months ago, I clung to the absurd tendency to construct my views of what my life should be like based on the idealized life of 26-year-old-me: newly married, adventurous, unfettered and with decent amounts of disposable income to fulfill my dreams and whims (generally interchangeable).  So many of those things are no longer true, sadly in two cases and happily in all the others:
- I'm so glad to no longer be a newlywed despite the happy expectation, promise of that time period in my life.  
- I'm still adventurous despite having very different outlets for that personality trait than I did ten years ago.  
- I am quite fettered - this we know, and we love (though they may drive me crazy half the time).  
- And the disposable income, while not overrated in its ability to add to the quality of life, it is neither here nor there in this rumination, really (except that I will say that it is shockingly expensive to raise three kids).  

Six months ago a bubble burst.  I had to redefine those stubborn, outdated "perfect life" terms as something more realistic based on what I needed, and not necessarily what I wanted.  That didn't sit well with me and I fought it, with frustration, desperation, jealousy, annoyance and denial.  There were so many things I wanted - and why shouldn't I have them?  

- I wanted to travel as much as 26-year-old me.  I can't. Not yet anyway. 
- I wanted to live in a very specific beautiful place that I love - my living, breathing watercolor, as I like to think of it; a place that inspires me daily, despite my husband having little chance of finding a good / fulfilling job in that place, and despite it being a somewhat arbitrary obsession.  I can't.  
- I wanted to be independent, not have to lean on people like family or friends.  I can't.  
I desperately need the support of my family and people I care about, in ways I never knew or admitted before.  And it seems that for ten years I've refused to admit that until that need literally grabbed me and shook me and looked me in the eye and said, "Why are you still pretending you're not desperate to go home? Why are you still pretending you don't know where home is?"

I don't know.  I don't know why I do that.  It makes no sense.  And so this impending manifest destiny leading me home has washed over me like a warm, unstoppable wave.  At first I was dragged, kicking and screaming, until I saw that it was inevitable.  Suddenly, the reality became a positive one; rather than fighting the current, I went with it and actually found I was excited.  Right now, I'm at the crest of the wave, happy but impatient because I am waiting to crash down into a whirlpool of change and upheaval, with only the promise of landing on a distant but familiar shore at the end.  At lease there will be many familiar hands waiting to lift me up when I do, unlike every other time I've ever crashed into a new life.

I am trying to enjoy the view, enjoy the feeling of being suspended in the air, on a beautiful ride.  I'm looking around, trying to absorb what I see and experience and feel from this perspective that will soon be gone.  It feels good to accept this new reality, finally.  There's not much to let go of, practically speaking, here in Utah.  And there is charm and magic in suddenly taking on an adventure I never foresaw wanting to take on.  But it's hard and it's frightening and I oscillate between excitement and being overwhelmed. One day I'll look back on this first voyage of my life as grown-up-me and think how beautiful it was, with all its stops and wanderings, and amazing discoveries (no matter how much I hated or complained about them in the moment).  I'll think of all the interesting things we did, and how lucky we were to do them.  Because one day soon, I'll be in my cozy new house on that new shore, finding new things to be inspired by.  But this time, I won't be on an island.  I'll be surrounded by familiarity and people and that will make all the difference.  Because a life worth living is a life shared with those you love.  It is neither here nor there - it's not any "where."  It is in the moments and memories and happiness suspended between you and the many souls that love you - an invisible tie that doesn't bind.

*  *  *

Here are some impressions of life over the past six months in random order.  It has been busy and beautiful but I'm ready to leave Utah when the time comes!

Antelope Island views

Sparkly little birthday boy.

Impressionistic Bison.

Ogden Valley sunsets never get old.

Needs, not wants.

The world did not end that day.


Hygge Home.

Frozen salt flats.

Snow swimming.

Peachy porch time.

Millions of peaches.  Peaches for me.

Unidentified beautiful sky.

The serendipitous discovery of pop cream / ice corn at the zoo.

Big western sunrises too.


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