Sunday, January 22, 2012

Happiness is not a fish you can catch...

I realize that I've used this song title as a blog entry title before but after spending the last half hour reading through some of my past stories, I'm reminded of this truth.

I have tried hard to let go of my twentynine something blog. I wanted to believe that it's no longer who I am but I'm clearly wrong. Much of what I've written, I still feel at times. And even a year after our big life change, I'm still hurting. Still wondering. Still hopeful.

My relationship with my mother has improved, although I do find myself focusing on the positive changes in my professional life. When I'm asked about our decision to move, my immediate reaction is that of my children's happiness. They are happy. Right now, that's what matters most to me. My husband's business is going well...I'm still searching for signs of passion. But maybe I need to realize that not everyone needs to feel passionate about what they're doing. I have a hard time buying into that but I suppose it could be true.

Myself, I'm caught in a job that has great potential...for me to expand my capabilities and impact on the greater good...but one that makes me question the bigger picture I have for myself. My freelance is at an all-time high, which now I wish I had more time to work on it. And I have a few fun volunteer opportunities that again, I wish I had more time to pursue.

I feel like this is the same story, eighty-second verse. I just can't grasp why I feel so indecisive. So unsure. And at the end of the day, am I really just creating the unhappiness myself because I'm scared of how happy we could be?

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Does free time lead to indecisiveness?

I've been working from home for about four months now. In a tiny house and without a real desk for half of that time. Really, I bought the desk to try and help boost how I was feeling about the whole work from home thing. And I do love it.

Here's my issue: I work (usually) 40 hours a week for both a contracted employer as well as some freelance gigs here and there. Oh, and I'm sort of writing a book. I have no big pressure to move into a larger home. No major deadlines right now. All my balls are high up in the air. And yet, I find myself struggling to even decide what to have for lunch most days.

I have learned that all of this alone time with my own thoughts has lead to some shyness and added insecurity. But it also seems to be resulting in a whole lot of blah. It's like I don't care enough about much of anything to push myself in any confirmed direction. I've honestly been claiming that I'm lazy...something that I'm not sure I've ever been. And I'm not quite sure that's the right word. It's more just blah. I'm surrounded by it. It's pretty darn heavy and hard to move.

At this point, I'm just hoping this indecisiveness or blah isn't a permanent change to who I am.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Can dreams really change?

The saying goes that girls spend their adolescence dreaming and planning their wedding. Every detail, from the man to the dress and flowers. Myself, I remember spending much of my time dreaming of getting away from the farm I grew up on. Moving to a city and pursuing some career as part of corporate America.

Don't get me wrong, I didn't have a terrible childhood. I was loved and well taken care of. I learned a ton about work ethic and making your own success. And I appreciate the earth and the value farmers provide to our society, as well as the charm of rural life. Even still, my thoughts were always on the concrete and fast-pace of the city...or as close to it as I could get.

Today, I'm living in a small rental home that is old and half the size of where I came from. I have no office to go to; just a desk in my living room. I have no reason to wear fun clothes or even wash my face if I don't want to. And as part of my compromise with this move was to spend more time with my children in the hope of eliminating the guilt I was feeling of choosing my work over my children for the past five years. But now, I see how little people value mothers that spend time with their kids while others are at work. I feel less valuable and less intelligent and less confident.

I feel that marriage and life in general is about relationships and compromise and working together to create an overall better life/higher quality of life for those you care about. But at what point does that compromise turn into sacrifice...I haven't figured that one out yet and I'm not sure how to find that answer.

The temporary answer from everyone, including myself, is to give it time. But there's another much time? How long does it take to figure out if this limbo will lead to a wonderful end? So while my husband will continue on in his oblivious state, I'll go on in my never-ending worry and heartache for that dream I had a million years ago that I just let go of four months ago.

It's what I'm lovingly calling Identity Purgatory.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Lightening Up

I attended a jewelry party over the weekend and, while it was very uncomfortable, it forced me to step back a little bit. The questions all began with: How are you adjusting to small town life?

Although I answered it many times over in a two hour time period, I've been thinking about it ever since. And I also realized that this could be a good time to reflect on what I've learned so a fun, entertaining way:

1. A majority of men I've met are named Jim or Jerry...and maybe a few Larry's.
2. Everyone knew my name before I arrived; which makes it even harder to remember theirs.
3. There's a funeral every week...ten days max.
4. Most people seem to be related in some way, or somehow they have the same last name but claim to be unrelated.
5. If you have a 23-county or 26-county license plate, you wave at them.
6. At 31, I'm considered "Young People" (and I eat it up every time)
7. High school girls, even if they're 16, still babysit.
8. I haven't met anyone who doesn't own a 4-wheel drive vehicle.
9. People sit in the same spot every Sunday.
10. People go out of their way to help me find a job in my field...stopping by our house with emails, calling or telling my in-laws to share the information.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Uppers and Downers

I haven't been writing that much lately because, honestly, I'm spending my time trying to sort out this new schedule, my new goals and my new role as a mother, professional, wife...

I have to admit, it's been a continuous up and down journey. I have some really great weeks where the stars seem perfectly aligned and then one thing, one tiny thing happens or is said to cause them all to scatter. So here I am, behind deadline, behind on sleep and struggling.

My parents came to visit last weekend. The hostess in me was excited and counted the minutes before they arrived. The daughter in me was scared. Our temporary home is less than ideal. I knew the questions and questioning would be coming. The judgment in her eyes. Disappointment. Resentment toward my husband. To the outsider, it would look like I was trying to punish myself.

And it came shortly after the pizza and breadsticks. Making me frustrated, so frustrated that I had a hard time speaking coherently. Had a hard time making sense. All I could hear was the screaming child in my head asking my mom to just stop and be supportive. To give me a hug and assure me that everything would be fine. That they believe in me. Believe in this man I chose to love. And to stop seeing things through their own life choices but in mine and mine alone.

After seven months of this, I know better. I know not to expect anyone to be open minded. I know that a majority of my family, who by definition, loves me unconditionally and doesn't 'really' judge me. And at the ripe age of 31, I realize it's all bullshit. Family is quite possibly just these people you so happen to share genes with. They may or may not love you more than your friends. And they probably judge you more than any of your critics. I laugh when I think of how many times my friends have commented on being jealous of my relationship with my family. Now, I just smirk when I think about it. To me it's a reminder of how hypocritical we all are. The lines between real and fake are so blurred, it's a wonder any of us stay in any sort of relationship for very long.

And as I prepare for a weekend with my sisters, mother and my aunt who my mom shares everything with, I wonder if it's worth going. Or staying very long. I'm still treating my wounds from a week ago. And I spent half of the night planning my exit strategy. It really is sick and sad in its own way, but for now, avoidance is my safest and easiest defense.

I only hope that as I mature and watch my children grow, that I can find a way to separate my own choices and consequences from theirs. No two people, nor their goals and wants in life, are the same.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Fast forward to January.

Wow. Not only has it been forever since I've blogged, but my mindset has changed a great deal as well. The last six weeks of my former life were hard. But I don't think I cried as much (until the night before I moved). I was more filled with anxiousness about the unknown. Would I be working? Would my kids make friends? Would my relationship with my husband move in the right direction?... the list could go on for miles.

We're a month into it and I'm still not sure I have the answers. But I've slowed down. I'm giving 'take one thing at a time' a shot. And so far, I'm enjoying most of it. My biggest unknown at this point is my job. I'm working 30 hours a week for the same agency I was at. It's going fairly well but I'm having a hard time believing that it'll last a long time. I also made a connection for some freelance writing work, still in the marketing realm. But I'm haunted by the notion that this is a real opportunity to start over. Reinvent myself.

It's true that I've always been passionate about advertising and about writing. But it does feel very different when you're not surrounded by people driven by the same thing. And the bigger picture is that I'm not making a real difference here. And I'm not sure I'm okay with that.

Maybe I have some hidden talent that I could love and make other people happy by doing it. Maybe I should be spending even more time being a mother and a wife. And Lord knows my husband could use some help with the business side of his new endeavor.

Who knows. Again, it's only been a month. I need to sip my coffee, watch the snow melt outside, and just appreciate this moment. What I'm learning is that humans (or Americans) are wired to want more. And whether that means more money, more fame, more respect...I can't escape it. And yet, I'm ashamed of it. Even here where no one knows me, let alone cares what I'm up to.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Walking a snails pace.

My family is moving. And I feel as though my clothes are snagged on the fence, unable to move forward or back.

This snowball of a life change started a few months ago when my husband was offered a chance at a real career...yes, up to this point I did consider what he does a job. (When you leave home every day and come home unhappy and unfulfilled, I have a hard time believing that you're in a career.) Anyway, as we were discussing our options, I was reminded of the 'vow' I made over six years ago. When I fell in love with this man, I had this overwhelming urge to make his happiness a priority of mine. I silently vowed to help and urge him to discover a passion and go after it. I truly believe that the challenges we face throughout life make us stronger but I also believe that everyone deserves a chance to find happiness.

This was Corey's chance.

So here I am, alone on this fence. After days and days of crying, worrying, talking about the good, bad and potential ugly (and potential greatness), I took a three-day break from my life. I felt I had hit my lowest low a week or two earlier and needed a fresh perspective. So a friend and I headed to Vegas...the land where nothing is real and that's okay.

I came back tired and maybe a little hungover, but I had rediscovered a piece of myself that I've been neglecting. I was ready to face this thing head-on. Two days after landing back in the Midwest, I journeyed up to our new area of residency. We rented a small, older home. I began thinking of what I needed to put in storage and what I need to leave out in order to make this feel like home to our children. I was once again filled with a sense of family that I've been missing since my husband's been gone. It was verging on peace and comfort...and then the waiting game officially began.

Now I'm here, working two jobs. Two jobs that I love dearly. With people that I genuinely care about. And I have six weeks to say goodbye. It's what I asked for. And yet, I'm a little afraid it's going to hurt worse in the long run.

This is one big-ass band-aid that I seem to be pulling off millimeter by millimeter.