Recently I have been plagued with this overwhelming feeling that everything in life is too rushed. I often feel that the world around me (myself included) can be so consumed with tomorrow and what it will bring that we rarely ever stop and enjoy today. The funny thing is that tomorrow never comes. If you are always chasing the future, you will never enjoy your present and once the past is in the past your memories cannot be remade.
I understand that in life we have goals, aspirations, and things you must plan for in order to obtain, but do you allow all of those things to consume you? I imagine that it was the expeditiousness of my daughters first year of life that has me brooding like a 17th century philosopher. Instead of allowing myself to rush forward and accomplish the next thing on my Life To-Do List, I find myself... contemplating my next move with extreme patience, wisdom, dare I say a mild amount of hesitancy and a huge dose of awareness.
So far the life I had planned on having when I was growing up has pretty much been given to me on a silver platter. I realize now that this is something I have taken for granted. When I was in High School my dream was to go to San Diego for college & find a husband. I applied to SDSU, I was accepted and I attended. Met Hector that first weekend. Graduated after 4 years. Married Hector two weeks after graduation. Got my first "real job" two weeks after we were married. Planned to have kids after 4-5 years and our daughter was born almost exactly 4 and 1/2 years later. We own a condo, drive a nice car, rent a house in our "dream" location, live near some of our best friends, vacation as often as possible and for all intents and purposes are extremely smitten with our life. I truly want for nothing.
Yet I have realized that its all too easy to become complacent with the life you have. Even when its mind-blowingly amazing. I find myself all too often trying to keep up with The Joneses and its a completely pointless aspiration because lets be honest there will always be someone out there who has a life that seems to be bigger, better and more wonderful then yours. And your life can be snatched from you in a matter of seconds. Mere seconds and without your approval.
So I find myself refusing to acquiesce to this "ideal" of life.
Instead of trying to keep up I am eagerly falling behind. I am letting go of the pull that the world has around me. Even the people with the purest and loveliest of intentions - our family & friends - I am choosing to turn a cheek and carve a path of my own. Regardless of their open mouth gasps, idiotic stares and ever abundant opinions, that what we may choose or not choose to do is going against the grain.
The odd thing, is that its not like my husband and I want to sell all of our belongings and move to the Maldives (although that is tempting), its more that neither one of us is allowing our life to be guided by this unseen timeline that apparently society has tried to impress on us.
And this timeline isn't necessarily black and white, but instead its cloaked in those all-too common questions that I find radiating through every mind on the planet. It's the questions people ask after a big life event occurs. You know like how at weddings the first thing people want to know is when the couple is gonna have kids? And then next when said couple has a kid every wants to know how many and how soon they want to have the next one? And then someone buys a house and all-too soon people are wondering when they are gonna buy a bigger house to accommodate all those kids they keep questioning them about? And then its when are you gonna buy a bigger car? What about getting a better, more-high-paying job? When are you gonna move to a safer neighborhood? and BLAH BLAH BLAH. Its seriously exhausting and mind-numbing and I am totally guilty of asking all of them.
But I have had it. I am done asking. I refuse to nag people into rushing into the next step of life. Regardless if the questions are out of love or simply curiosity, its sickening that we seriously cannot take a step-back and just enjoy life for what it is. We are all like functioning drug-addicts, waiting for our next hit, because we cannot enjoy the current high we have long enough.
Before I got pregnant with E I remember being upset about some friends of ours who hadn't even been married for 6 months and got pregnant. I actually had the audacity to believe that I had more of a right to have children then she did because I had been married longer. When in reality I was just upset that they had the ability to push aside that invisible "timeline" and by-pass all those middle steps and jump straight to having kids. I was jealous. Needless to say I got pregnant only 4 months later.
Eliana is 14 months now and I always thought having kids close was the only way to go. I had planned on having my kids no more then 2 years apart. I thought that would make the "perfect" family. Now I find myself for the first time changing my preconceived life plans and its.... exhilarating.
For the first time ever I am realizing that the invisible "timeline" isn't real and I will no longer allow it to have any bearing on my future choices. Whether I want my kids 3 or 10 years apart is my decision. If I choose to go back to school at 35 and get my Master's in Counseling because I realized I no longer want to do Event Planning is my decision. If we want to move abroad for my husbands job and leave everything we love and hold dear for 3-4 years is our decision. There is no right or wrong way to live your life. For me there are the choices you make yourself and the choices you let others make for you.
I want to enjoy every single stage of life without worrying and trying so hard to move on and accomplish the next one. I know this will be a major mindset change and I know I will still find myself moving forward too quickly, before I have had enough time to stand still and enjoy whats in front of me. But I am willing to work at it. I am willing because I want to live a life where I don't have to look back at the past in order to enjoy it. If I enjoy it enough today then looking back all the time won't be necessary.
A friend of mine posted this link on her facebook. It sort of was the tip-of-the-iceberg as to what pushed me forward to write this post. Truly inspiring :)