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Posts Tagged ‘future’

‎I just finished a book and when I turned the last page I sighed a sigh of disappointment, as I often do. I wish I was disappointed because the book was so good and I didn’t want it to end but sadly that was not the case.

I like to think I read a wide range of books but if I being honest to both myself and the more book-knowledgeable people in my life, I tend to gravitate to a certain type of book. I like books about people, people with lives just dissimilar enough to my own so that I can feel like I’m experiencing new things, but not so dissimilar that I can’t find a piece to relate to. I like story lines that make sense and are at least somewhat based on reality; I can imagine certain things, but my logical Virgo brain can only be expected to bend so far. And, I like a little love. Not Harlequin love or Danielle Steel love or Fifty Shades love, but a little romance, a few wistful glances across the room and a little work along the road to the happily ever after.

‎But more and more I find myself dissatisfied with the endings, happy or not. I get to the last page and I feel cheated, short-changed, bamboozled. I find myself asking, what now, what next, what happens after?

And I’m slowly beginning to realize that maybe I feel that way because that’s where I am now, in my own life. I’m in the ‘after’ and I don’t know what I’m supposed to do next.

What happens after you find the guy and fall in love and buy a ring and buy a dress and get a house and pee on a stick and bring home a baby and ‎fantasize about a full nights’ sleep and clean up spit and clean up toys and pee on another stick and bring home another baby and get a bigger house and send one off to school (finally) and breath a small sigh of relief and clean up more spit and more toys and then send the other one off to school (finally) and then sit down and look around and realize you’re now in the part no one talks about?

They have books about what to expect up to a certain point, but not for the ‘now’ that I now live in. Where’s the ‘what to expect when your kids are pre-teen and spend most of their day rolling their eyes at you’ and ‘what to expect when you’re neither a miss or a ma’am’ or ‘what to expect when you have 30 more years until retirement.’

I get that, in theory, the answer is that I can do whatever I want, that the book doesn’t end on the last page it’s just up to me to figure out what to write but I’m tired and lacking in imagination. I feel like there is a plan for the first part, and a plan for the last part but the middle is just a vast, open space for me to wander through aimlessly, putting in time.

I blame myself completely because I know I’m the one who put myself here. I know it’s my own fault for planning only far enough to get me through to here and not having the forethought to extend the plan further, but it pointing the finger isn’t helping me find an answer.

I just feel like I’m now too tired to plan any more; that the very act of getting to this point has taken all of the imagination and initiative I could muster and that now it’s about maintenance. Just stay the path, don’t rock the boat, bounce from minor crisis to minor crisis and keep your head above the water.

And I feel like no one else is having this issue. I feel like we’re getting better at talking truthfully about the difficulties of motherhood and how our lives change when kids arrive, but now I want to have a conversation about what happens when it gets a little bit less difficult and how our lives can change now that the kids have been here for a while, but I can’t find anyone having that discussion. It’s like the early days of motherhood when I felt I was the only one. I eventually realized I wasn’t and I hoping that’s the case again. As Dear Sugar would put it (much more eloquently than I), I am once again looking for my tribe.

‎I’m ready for the parent-tot groups that focus less on the tots and more on the parents. I’m ready to sit down and read a story that doesn’t end with happily ever after but digs deeper, goes further, looks harder. ‎I’m ready for someone to take my hand and help me find what comes next, and to show me the way to what happens after.

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For years when my kids were really little I felt like I would never get a break. Their needs seemed constant, unending, crucial; so much more important than anything else I could or should be doing.

Their needs were physical. Things I needed to do for them, get for them, make for them. Over and over it went. I honestly thought it would be like that forever. For me, early motherhood was about the short term, the immediate, filling what was empty, fixing what was broken, finding what was missing.

It was always a matter of “what now?” I would finish one thing and look around for the next. If I was lucky, I would have five minutes to try and anticipate, guess which ball was going to fall out of the air next. Of course there was never actually enough time to avoid it; but rather just enough time to see it coming.

But slowly, so slowly in fact that I didn’t notice at first, things started to change. The needs are now less physical and more emotional. Less skinned knees and more hurt feelings, less “play with me” and more “watch what I can do,” less cuddling and more getting out of the way.

Of course, they still need me and I hope, to a certain extent, they always will. But something has shifted and just as when they were babies and I wondered if I would ever adapt to the new normal, I am once again feeling lost, uncertain, unbalanced.

I have time for me, and I don’t know what to do with it. I can’t remember what I used to do, what I used to enjoy, what I used to dream about. I have forgotten how to imagine without being realistic; forgotten how to plan without being prudent. There are spaces in my life and I don’t know how to fill them, or even if I should.

And there are some decisions to be made that have nothing to do with them and everything to do with me; how I see myself, and where I see myself going in the future.

Only now I don’t know how to make them.

I don’t remember how to plan ahead further than the next moment or minute or inhale and exhale. I don’t remember how to look ahead further than the next ball coming at me. Everything has changed from “what now” to “now what?”

Now what am I going to do?

Now what do I want to do?

Now what am I going to be?

Now what?

And to be honest, I’m afraid. I’m afraid that I’m going to choose unwisely, make a bad decision, or, perhaps even worse, that fear will keep me from making any decision at all. I fear that I will accept the status quo as the best I can do, so unsure of myself that I will ignore the possibilities and instead be resigned to simply accept the realities.

There was no instruction manual for becoming a mother, and now I’m discovering that there’s also no map for finding my way back to the person I was, and no compass to lead me to the person I’m supposed to become.

I find myself just as lost as when my children were babies, only now it seems that I’m the one who needs to grow.

If only I can figure out how.

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When I was younger I spent a large portion of my time daydreaming.  Staring out the car window, doodling in a school notebook, lying in my bed.  I would make up intricate, detailed stories and scenarios depending on what was at the forefront of my mind at the time.

Luke Perry coming to my house on his motorcycle to tell me I’m the one (the original 90210 played a huge role during my formative early teen years).  Traveling to Venice, Paris, London, going to the Olympics as part of the Canadian women gymnastics team, and on, and on, and on.

When I got a bit older I would daydream about going away to university and all the wonderful adventures I would have; then meeting and falling in love, not with a fantasy man but rather with someone to spend my life with; then what our life together would look like, engagement, marriage, kids.

After my daughter arrived, there was no time for daydreaming.  Every moment of the day and night was taken up with her needs.  When I would finally fall into bed I would be too exhausted to daydream; too spent to do anything but close my eyes and hope for sleep to come.  My mind would be full of thoughts of the coming hours – when will she need to eat again? What else can I try to get her to sleep longer? Do we have enough diapers to get through tomorrow? Did I remember to put water in the sterilizer before I put it in the microwave?  I couldn’t look past the next feed, the next nap, the next breath.

I’m past all of that now.  My kids are old enough to entertain themselves and sleep through the night (most of the time) so, theoretically, I now have time to once again get lost in my day dreams.

Only I think I’ve forgotten how.

My sense of realism often gets in the way of my daydreams.  I critique myself for wasting my time creating stories in my head.  When I was 14 it never bothered me that Luke Perry was probably not going to show up at my house, the idea of daydreaming about it was because it was fun, not because it was realistic.

But now I can’t seem to get past it.  I try and daydream about trips I may or may not take, jobs I may or may not get, books I may or may not write, and my inner voice feels the need to jump in and tell me it’s never going to happen.

Except then I remind myself that sometimes daydreams to come true.  I dreamt about moving away to go to school and it happened.  I dreamt about meeting “the one” and having him love me back, and it happened.  I dreamt about getting married, having a family and the home we would live in together, and it happened.

My life is proof that sometimes daydreaming isn’t about creating stories that will never happen, but is instead about laying out plans for what I want the future to look like; making a plan for what to strive for.

It’s time to start daydreaming again.

Maybe it won’t end up looking just the way I’ve imagined it, but maybe it will.  And wouldn’t that be pretty great?

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I stumbled across a sign like this in a store yesterday.

I should have bought it.

Actually, I should have bought ten of them so I could put them throughout my house as a constant reminder.

It’s time to stop waiting for someone to tell me that now is the time; the time to do something; to do anything.

Time to realize that I need to stop waiting for someone else to answer the questions.  Time to start making my dreams come true all on my own.

If I was waiting for a sign, I guess I found it.

No more excuses.

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