This is what happens when you live in the future.
I’m not sure what I want to do. I don’t even know if I want to write a book anymore. I’m just not a solitary person. I’d rather be out with the hubs and friends, or taking T Junior to the beach, than hunched over my laptop writing the beginnings of stories that I’ll abandon a few thousand words later.
Blogging is different. It provides instead feedback and sparks conversation. I enjoy that.
Maybe I’ll write a book when I’m older; when T Junior’s in college.
And, I don't know about the marathon either. My shin splints aren't going away and I wonder if maybe I'm not made to run 26.2 miles.
Running a 5K is different. For obvious reasons.
Maybe I'll run the full mary when I'm older; when T Junior's in college.
Over the three-day weekend, we (me, Mr. T and T Junior) went to a friend’s house on Lake Chelan with her family and another family. While it wasn’t exactly relaxing (we brought the dogs, there were young kids), I, we, had a great time (despite one argument with Mr. T, which often happens when we are out of our regular routine).
My favorite parts of the trip? Sitting on the beach, digging my toes into the sand, chatting with my friends, and watching our kids play together and explore the lake. And that actually was relaxing until T Junior went sprinting into the water.
Mr. T’s best friend was waist-high in the lake teasing his 4-year-old son with Doritos: “Come and get it!” T Junior wanted some neon-cheese chips pretty bad, I guess, and accepted the challenge. Of course, he was surprised when he went down in the frigid water, but Mr. T was right there to pull him out. He was fine after a few minutes, some Annie’s chocolate bunny crackers…and a chip.
Anyway, that night I had a hard time falling asleep. Mr. T breathed in and out slowly on his pillow to my left, Bennie snored carefree and exhausted in his crate and T Junior finger-sucked loudly in his Pack ‘N’ Play to my right. But the night noises weren’t what was keeping me awake.
Thoughts of the elusive marathon ran through my head. Then, the guilt of not writing; not working on my “book.” Next, I wondered why I wanted those two things so badly.
The answer was not new to me. I’ve always known it: Just to say I did it.
Then I asked myself a question that sort of hurt my feelings: Why can’t you just be happy where you are? Why do you have to constantly be striving for things that consistently make you feel like a failure?
The urge to cry almost overcame me, but I continued the conversation in my head. I have a wonderful family, a husband who loves me (even though I can be difficult), a thriving son, a nice house, some money in the bank, a safe car to get me to a job that I like. I am healthy, I am getting fit. I have lots of great friends (who continuously forgive my often-flaky behavior). I’m pretty damn lucky, in fact.
Why do I feel like I need more, more, more? To BE more, more, more.
I mean, who cares? Who cares if I’m a marathoner or an author? Besides me, of course. My husband loves me as I am now. My son loves me now. My parents love me now. No matter what. Why do I feel this drive to impress myself and other people all the time? Most of those people I don’t even know.
It’s like I’m trying to keep up with the Jones’s, except with accomplishments instead of with possessions.
I always thought I was a “dreamer,” dreaming up who and what I wanted to be and do in the future. Always thinking about the future. Never content with the present, that's me.
I decided to see what being a “dreamer” actually means, and I looked it up here. I took their personality test and found out I may not be a “dreamer” after all. According to the test, I am an “advocate.” Here’s what that means, according to the site:
“ENFPs (Extraverted, Intuition, Feeling, Perceptive) are introspective, values-oriented, inspiring, social and extremely expressive. They actively send their thoughts and ideas out into the world as a way to bring attention to what they feel to be important, which often has to do with ethics and current events. ENFPs are natural advocates, attracting people to themselves and their cause with excellent people skills, warmth, energy and positivity. ENFPs are described as creative, resourceful, assertive, spontaneous, life-loving, charismatic, passionate and experimental."
I specifically like this phrase: “They actively send their thoughts and ideas out into the world as a way to bring attention to what they feel to be important…”. Ahem, blogging.
Reading about ENFPs didn’t answer anything for me, but it was interesting anyway.
The thing is, I do care if I’m a marathoner. And I do care to be an author. But maybe that’s not going to happen as fast as I want it to. I want it now, like Veruca Salt. Maybe I just need to slow down. Not be in such a hurry to reach my goals.
Making myself happy is a good thing, but not if I’m miserable (or making others miserable) trying to get there. Not that I’m unhappy, but I often feel that I've failed somehow. It’s too easy to compare myself with others.
But I made up my mind (gasp! a decision?!) when I was drifting off in Chelan that night to slow down on my dreams. Take it easy; enjoy the journey of reaching my goals instead of clawing my way there.
Besides, there are some other things that have to be done in the here and now. I’m signing T Junior up for swim lessons this month. I’m going to make more date nights with Mr. T. I'd like to finish some scrapbooks. I think it would be fun to go on vacation more often with my family. I want to hang out with friends and watch trashy TV and drink wine. I'd like to enjoy running and working out and buying cute jeans. I want to read more. I want to keep blogging.
I don’t want to feel guilty about writing, or not writing, toward my author dream. I don’t want to feel panicked about running, or not running, toward my marathon dream.
I recognize that it's going to take some self-reminding. Upon returning home, I immediately got caught up in my usual "what's next?" mentality. But I really I want to be here now. I don't want to live in the future.
That's why, I decided, I’m going to be an advocate for the present.