This post originally appeared on my blog, Mandarin Mama.
I know I say it a lot, but it bears repeating. How is time flying by so fast? And why does it always seem as if I am treading water and accomplishing nothing?
I know it's not true. And yet, it always seems as if my ambition outpaces my willingness to work (and work hard). I could blame the children, but let's be brutally honest. I highly doubt I would be busy working hard on my ambitions even if I were without family obligations.
I mean, seriously. What did I do before I had kids?
Nothing. A fat lot of nothing.
One could argue that it was the forced break from things that having children required that finally shook me out of my farce of being a financial advisor. And then, even a few more years of being a SAHM that made me really consider what I wanted to do.
Would I actually spend all day writing and hustling after paying gigs if I were unencumbered by my kids? Or would I do what I always did? Fritter away all this precious time with the usual suspects?
I have my money on me pissing away my time like I always did. Because although past performance does not always predict future performance, it's a good indicator.
Is this what a mid-life crisis looks like? Albeit, a bland, milquetoast, non-explody kind that doesn't detonate an H-bomb in the midst of my family life?
Don't get me wrong. I'm not UN-happy. I am pretty OK with the way things are going.
But is that all we are made for? To be OK with things? To be floating along on the river of our life in an inner tube of contentedness?
Not that there is anything wrong with contentedness.
In fact, I thought I was content with my life until this moment. That is not true.
The absence of unhappiness is not the presence of happiness. And as I was about to write, "the absence of discontent is not the presence of contentedness," I had to stop because I realized that I am discontent.
I have been discontent for a long time. Perhaps for always.
Discontent doesn't mean that I'm not happy. I am often happy. I am even content with most areas of my life.
I AM MAKING NO SENSE.
I feel disintegrated. Scattered.
I have been going to my therapist for two years now. Maybe three? And yet it always seems to circle back with what Dr. T mentioned that first appointment. She thought I was in there to speak to her about my identity - and I laughed at her.
But it's so true.
Who am I and what do I want? And once I figure that out, will I do what I can to get it?
I am afraid to want so many things.
I feel as if I just started going after what I want - and instead of being satisfied, it opened up a giant maw. A gaping mouth. A hole in my soul demanding to be fed.
That's why Roxane Gay's book, Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body, struck such a chord inside me. She hungered for so many things.
I hunger for so many things.
I feel greedy. Ungrateful.
I feel as if I am just like my father. Always grasping. Always lusting. Always leaving.
But that's the lie, right?
That's The Lie.
It's okay to want things. It's okay to pursue things. It's okay to hunger. To want.
It is okay. And it is human.
It is in the how of things where it can go awry.
How do I fill this hunger? How do I fill these wants? And do I fill these wants? Or do I do what I always have and shove them down, deep down, burying them in the minutiae of daily life?
For me, I am choosing to be different than I have been.
I seem to be constantly choosing this. Constantly blogging about this.
It seems as if I will always be stuck.
I tell myself that changing directions in life is not a one and done.
It's like changing directions in a large battleship cruiser at full speed. You can't just make a sharp turn and then expect to be in a different direction. First, you have to decelerate to a safe speed and then turn, slowly, and then re-accelerate.
Making change in life is not just ONE decision to change your life. It is a constant series of small decisions. Seemingly insignificant decisions.
Do I go to sleep early or stay up late to work? If I stay up late to work, will I actually work or will I Facebook or watch TV or read or goof off? If I will actually waste time instead, am I okay with that or should I just go to sleep instead?
Do I stay at home and work or do I leave the house? If I stay at home, am I okay with my children constantly interrupting me? If I leave, am I okay with spending money or burning through the time with commuting? In all instances, am I going to actually work or am I going to procrastinate even more?
A million little choices.
Our dreams are made or broken from a million little choices.