Throwback Thursday! Found this in my drafts dated back to early January 2013! We’ve come a long way baby!
Picture this: It’s early January and you have just finished a long day at your new job. This job is incredibly exciting because it’s your first ‘big-girl-real-world’ job after completing your Masters degree. You travel seamlessly through the motions of driving home in the new car that you purchased over the summer with a combination of your own hard-earned money and graduation gifts. This year-end model is quite the upgrade from that ’96 you had been driving around for the last ten years. Eventually, you pull up to your 3-bedroom/3- bath, colonial home and light is glowing from the inside. You catch a glimpse of your husband chopping up vegetables for dinner as you walk up the pathway. While he finishes dinner, you busy yourself with putting away the groceries you stocked up on during your lunchtime errands. After dinner and dishes, you pack up lunch and lay out your clothes for the next day (which are all supremely organized by style and color in your walk in closet). You spend a little time unwinding with TV and a bit at your desk to get some of your bills in order. With things ready for the next day, you slip into bed with your pups and, eventually your husband joins you. He watches TV and you read until it’s your typical bedtime which will allow you a solid eight hours of sleep. Weekends are spent at Home Depot picking out new throw pillows or tile for the bathroom and scheming up how to structure the patio that is planned to be put in come spring. Your biggest irritation in life is your husband’s incessant dirty socks that are inevitably discarded at the end of the couch, or how his shotty vacuuming skills leave the corners of every room untouched and piled with dog fur.
How perfect does that sound? Granted one could argue that it’s a tad dull when this routine is put on repeat, but isn’t the average day always a little dull anyways? Otherwise, it wouldn’t be considered “average,” right? And when you account for all the people who are starving, homeless, dying, or being abused, you think to yourself: how much more can one want out of life than this?
I’m not sure, but I guess I did. Want more, that is. Because this was my life. Two years ago, this was me. Structured and secure. Stable and smooth. And for a while, I’ll admit, I liked it this way. I liked the unexpected, well organized-albeit numb-and quiet nature of my life. I felt in control and triumphant of all I had achieved and crossed off my Life’s To Do List.
But yet somehow, I still chose to leave all of this behind.
I’ve struggled with the question of “why wasn’t this enough” for almost two years, now. I feel that I finally have some (albeit, perhaps, erroneous or inaccurate) answers that have a lot to do with lack of genuine love, lack of goals that fed my soul and not just my pockets or ego and the need for perfection and validation. And mostly, lack of sense of self.
So now, when I look at this scenario, it’s not so much the idea that I walked away from my somewhat cushy, and definitely stable, life that closely mirrored the picture of the American Dream, that bothers me. What bothers me most, is the missing person that is myself.
What happened to the girl I was back then? Because the girl in January 2012 was methodical and motivated; hard working, responsible and saturated with orderliness and domestication (while still retaining her feminist ideals, of course). My middle name practically could have been “Organization.”
Now, today, things are different. The picture of my life could not even be summed up in a short little paragraph likened to the one at the start of this post, because it’s so different day to day and week to week.
In some regards, this change is good. Obviously, I found the life outlined above to be less than fulfilling. But where is that girl? It’s one thing to feel empty or numb inside because you are lost or down, it’s another to feel as though your entire being and core are missing a la Invasion of the Body Snatchers. It’s one thing to feel you have changed lives, it’s entirely different to feel as though have changed people.
Now, come the end of 2013, I am a person of chaos, disorganization and forgetfulness. Aren’t we supposed to get better over time?
At work my desk is full of clutter and deadlines are always far expired before most tasks are completed. I often forget assignments or meetings, and essentially do enough to avoid getting in trouble. I’m not necessarily a slacker, but, a far cry from the star player in the office.
At home, my apartment is hardly decorated and what little is decorated has been done after a whole year of living here by my retired mother. Dishes are always piled high for at least a week. Any cleaning really, is avoided for a month or more. Discarded clothes cover my bedroom floor, as if I were 16 again. Bills often miss their deadlines, which is not surprising since I really only go through my mail once a month. Credit cards are maxed. Groceries are something I procure once every other month or more when I have a moment of clarity that I can’t subsist on Annie’s Instant Mac and Cheese and wine for 6 straight nights. Doctors appointments lapse. I don’t get enough sleep regardless of if it’s because I’m out, acting 21-years-old at a bar, or if it’s simply another Netflix binge night. The girl who was once the most mature, focused, together person of anyone her age is now the most tangled, lost, mess. The truth of the matter is I was far more together at 23 than I am at 26.
That all withstanding, the reason that I am in the state of affairs that I am in is due to my divorce. But, where does it end? It’s a bipolar feeling, really. I want to find the girl who had a balanced check book, clean clothes and a good reputation at work. But I’m terrified that if I’m working my way back to my old self, and while my old self had many virtues, including a pristine credit score, that skin obviously didn’t fit quite right. How do I know that I won’t find someone to settle down and start right back up with the Leave It To Beaver life, only to find myself running away to rebel once again after 7 years of domestication. How do I know when I’ve struck that balance?
Life as a whole is unpredictable, unstable and ever changing, which makes it damn near impossible to know when you’ve hit the sweet spot and life is as it should be.
And that’s where I’m at.
At least for today.