Last weekend was a throwback to our lives of about five years ago; our house was full of people and bustling with non-stop activity. Andrew spent a few days visiting, and Emily’s friend spent the night here on Saturday night. I took a day of vacation on Friday, but there wasn’t a moment of quiet until late on Sunday afternoon. While that was my normal life five years ago, the past weekend was a shock to my system. Our lives have become quiet, peaceful, and ordered. As much as I miss a busy household, I have come to appreciate the down time at the end of the day. It makes me realize how much has changed over the past two years. So much.
T and I took a walk early Sunday evening. It was the first time we had been able to have a conversation alone in days. We talked about the past weekend, and we talked about the future. Where are we headed? What is the next step? We’ve made so many changes with our jobs, our home, our location, and we’re still trying to figure out exactly where it is we have landed. Or have we really landed at all? Is this home or is this still part of a larger transition?
Making this move was the right thing to do. My motives were not pure, though. I’m not sure if I was running to something or away from something. Maybe a little of both. Thankfully, this move has been good for my family. The kids are all happy. We are able to spend more time with the boys, and the girls have adjusted beautifully. T is happier than I have seen him in years. He loves his new job. He’s made friends, and he has more free time than he’s had in years. A few weeks ago, he told me that he feels like he’s semi-retired. Considering he works over 40 hours per week, this shows how much he really needed this change.
As for me, I’m not quite as happy or well-adjusted as the rest of the family. I am unsettled. I’m stressed out. I’m not sleeping well, and I don’t know what I want. If I take a step back and think about what in my life has made me happy in the past, none of those things are available to me at this point in my life. I can’t go back to the time when I was home raising my children. The band I once played with is no longer together. Those were good times, but I’m not able to time travel or recreate those years.
I often wonder if I am destined to always be a step ahead or behind of really being content. I get frustrated with myself for not just being satisfied. We want for nothing. We have a lovely home in a nice neighborhood. Shouldn’t these things make me happy? Yes, I should be happy, but it all seems kind of two-dimensional. I feel like a sitcom family. I have become the kind of person that I had always been secretly proud NOT to be.
I have spent a lot of time thinking about this situation over past few weeks, and T and I have spent a lot of time talking. How much of myself do I really want to give to my career? This job has become all-consuming. I’m spent and exhausted at the end of each day. Too many weekends involve some kind of work-related event. I am overwhelmed, and I don’t feel like I am making a positive impact. I don’t know if it’s even possible for one person to make an impact here. I’m discouraged. In the past, I didn’t let hurdles get in my way, but this time, I think the hurdles may be too large for me to move out of the way. I lay awake at night analyzing and planning strategies, and I can’t seem to find a possible solution. I am one person, and I may be in a situation that is impossible to change. This situation is complicated, political, ingrained, illogical, and unkind.
The illness of my friend Glenn has shaken me. Life is too short too spend time being unhappy. In the time I have known Glenn, I have often wondered about the logic of some of the choices he has made. He has turned down work opportunities if they would have infringed on his time with his children. He lives in a small apartment, yet he took his kids on yearly vacations, concerts, and weekends of fun adventures. I’m ashamed to say that I often saw those expenditures as a waste of his money. I see it differently now. Glenn has only a short time left to live, and I’m sure that he treasures the memories he has created with his family much more than anything he would have bought with the money he spent. Glenn’s life may be cut short, be there is no doubt in my mind that he didn’t squander the time he has had. He has been happy, and he loved well. I’m not sure I could say the same thing about my own life, and that has caused me to take a step back and assess who I am, where I am, and where I am heading.
I am not unhappy; I’m just tired and stressed out. I am discouraged. I have been chasing something that I’m not sure I even want. There’s no passion in my life, just empty acquisition.
Today I spent hours alone my car. I listened to music as I drove. There were memories attached to so many of the songs that played. Some songs I remembered playing with a band. I thought of musician friends, smiles, shared jokes, camaraderie, and good times. Other songs brought back memories of loved ones, times and places from the past. What was special about each of those memories was what I felt in my heart. My memories were connected to my life in a way that is not present in this drone-like life I am now living. That makes me sad.