Yesterday I sat in front of my computer and stared at the screen, hoping, deeply, for some sort of spontaneous combustion. In that moment I needed to have a revelation about what I want to do with my life. I’ve always struggled with defining some sort of “set path” or “life plan” and god forbid–some kind of passion. I thought about my current life and other peoples’ lives and then I thought about dinner and my soul-searching came to an end.
It always comes to an end. I can’t remember the last time I finished something I started. I mean really finish. And I guess I also mean really start. Today, for example, I decided that I’m actually going to put some effort into freelance writing. I signed up for a blog that gives useful tips on sending queries to magazines. I got excited. Queries! Ah, yes, queries! I hadn’t known about that before, and now, I do. A start.
And here I am, popping my second bag of popcorn, telling my cat to stop pawing her food out of her bowl, and praying for my wine bottle to auto refill. I assume that I can freelance tomorrow. Right? “Freelancing” isn’t going anywhere. I lick the salt off of my fingers. What even is freelancing? I stare down my cat. Do I want to do that? I finish my wine. Eh, maybe not.
People ask me what my dream job is. If you could do anything…and I just stare blankly at them. Guess what? My dream job is not having a job. Does that make me lazy? Impractical? Yes! Yes, it does. But I’m not going to fake some kind of dream work. I imagine that that would be far worse than not wanting to work at all.
Ok so yeah: I would like to live on a beach or on a mountain and I guess I’d like to brew my own beer and I’d definitely like to write about all of that and take breaks to pet my dog and cat and do some yoga and hang out with people I like and read loads of books and then write some more. That’s my dream job.
You can see why I’m having trouble with your question. My answer isn’t a job. It’s just a dream.
I think, and talk, and write about balance. There’s nothing revolutionary about discovering that you need to balance your life. But how do you balance your aspirations? And really, how do you balance really fuzzy aspirations? I think I know some things I’d like to do. But how do I do them? How do I really know? There’s always the most important factor for anyone in an emotionally unstable, fiscally stable life: can I afford to make a change?
I would love to teach mountaintop yoga but who the hell’s gonna fund that?
I’m going to make a sweeping generalization and say that our society is so intent on the urgency of now, now, now, that we forget to pause and see what now could even be. What’s the rush? For someone with general anxiety about…everything, this is hard for me to ask myself. Because I want to say: well the rush is today! I have to do this and this and get to this and do that and figure it all out and be happy of course. And before I know it I’m rushing to bed and lying awake at midnight wondering if I should be doing something else. I wake up wondering if I’ve woken up into my passionate life yet.
The rushing, I’ve decided, right now, right this instant–is exhausting. So here’s another start: for now, I’m going to tell myself that fuzzy daydreams are okay.
I do not doubt my ability to fling myself into something new, raw, and powerful. I know I can do that. No one wants to get stuck in a life that is just okay. But, shit, what if just okay is just that–okay? It’s okay. That’s not bad at all.
We strive to be greater and do bigger because, well, that’s what we’ve always been taught to do. We’re also human. We have desires and we have resources and a lot of times these things come together and we change our lives. And…we’re also human. We question ourselves and we get comfortable where we are (even if it’s not where we want to be) and we really, really don’t know. We don’t know anything.
I have a full time job and an apartment and food and a car. If you asked me, five years ago, what I wanted in my post-college life, I would have gotten real doe-eyed and said “just to be happy.”
That’s all I’ve ever wanted. In my moments of clarity (when I’m not daydreaming or bitching or trying to combust into something greater than myself), I see that I have the luxury of seeking more happiness because I have a solid foundation. If I were dead broke–not “can’t afford happy hour” broke, but more like “can’t afford rent” broke, then I don’t think that I’d ever dream about mountaintop yoga. I would just try to get by. I would be happy with a room to rent, and I’d figure the rest out.
I know the happiest night of my adult life. I was moving into my house my last year of college and on that first night I put together a metal loft bed all by myself. I drank a three dollar bottle of Walmart wine and I screwed the bed together with my fingers. It took me hours and hours. I couldn’t stop. I set down the empty bottle and I looked up at the shaky metal contraption and I was content.
I could analyze the hows and whys of that deeply joyous sensation, and why I felt it on that particular night. But I don’t think I need to. Sometimes, when I’m doing something I love (writing, reading, drinking wine–cheap wine’s clearly fine too), I feel that sensation again. I am happy. We are all capable of changing our lives, and when we feel the strong urge to push in a new direction, we should cling to it, and run with it, and go bravely into the future.
Until then, though, we can’t forget to live our lives. We must remember that we can be happy in a tiny bedroom on a hazy night in the peak of our uncertain selves.
If fuzzy daydreams make you happy, why rush towards anything else?