I try to recognize everything in my life that I should be grateful for whenever I realize that aside from the obvious – I am fairly unhappy with myself. I am grateful for Joe, my amazing husband who loves me exactly the way I always hoped a person would; I am grateful for two children that are complete opposites and yet each such a perfect reflection of who I had hoped they would be; I am grateful for the time I have to spend with my father and get to know him before the opportunity fades; and most of all I am grateful for realizing at such a young age that being grateful for material things is a complete waste of effort and emotion.
I have always had this concept of what I needed to be happy and yet each time I achieved the goals that were suppose to make me happy – I would still not be happy. It is an exhausting cycle. I have tried to take the road less traveled whenever I had the opportunity, I have tried to be the model employee, the quintessential wife, the doting mother, the ambitious entrepeneur and yet – I still feel so empty at the end of each day.
I am only 30 and have a fairly impressive resume and a stable future in an industry that has wide, welcoming and open arms. I have all of the things that on paper – should add up to success and happiness yet, there is still something missing and a growing anxiety that I have completely lost myself somewhere along the way.
I think I might have stumbled on what I’ve been looking for but I have no idea how to get there from here. Let me begin with what recently dawned on me. Against all odds and a fierce sense of independence – I have a real knack for making someone or something else’s issues my own. For example, I tend to treat every job I have ever had as if I were the owner. So at night – I worry about how things are going, I notice every penny that is overspent, I sacrifice my own time with family and happiness so that whatever I am a part of can be successful. Kind of like the girl who has no idea how she likes her eggs to be cooked because with each relationship whatever the other person prefers is what she decides is absolutely a suitable replacement as her favorite.
I guess what I’m getting at is that I’m ready to decide how I like my eggs cooked without the influence of anything or anyone else and I’m perfectly fine with whatever consequences occur. I’m ready to just be an employee and not internalize things that I cannot change. I am not going to give 500% towards anything or anyone that is not going to reciprocate the gesture… and I don’t mean with a carrot that dangles out in front of me. I don’t even like carrots.
I spent most of the morning asking myself for the first time in my life – what I wanted, what I liked, what made me happy, what I wanted my story to be at the end of my life. I can honestly say that I only have a few answers and that it will take a lot of time and change in behavior to figure out the rest. I know that I want my children to know me as something other than the mom that worked all the time. One of the saddest moments I can remember is my son bringing home a project from school where he had to write a story describing who his parents are – and he totally wrote a story about someone I didn’t want to be, nor want him to grow up thinking was his mother. He missed all the good stuff. He missed that I’m funny, outgoing, spontaneous and artistic. He wrote that I worked a lot and was tired all the time. Who wants that legacy? Not me.
So here is my bucket list at 30:
1. I want to go to Italy and spend a month or two getting to know my family there. I think that getting to know them and the country of my heritage will help me find out who I am.
2. I want to spend more quality time with my kids. I am tired of acting like working on my laptop in the same room where they are playing equates to quality time with them.
3. I want to go on dates again with my husband on a regular basis. I don’t want to forget how much fun we have together.
4. I want to write a book. I’ve always known this but I never felt like my story was worth telling anyone else. Now I’ve just reached a point where I don’t care if anyone else wants to read it. I still want to write it.
5. I want to go to NY. My mother was born there and I have this fantasy in my head that when I get there I will understand her in a way that I never did when she was alive.
I’ve spent a lot of time and energy convincing other people to follow their dreams. Case in point – Joe was a very successful Bose store manager with a very good future when I convinced him to pick up his passion for photography and build his own Destin Photographer business. I thought I had done that for myself, but really I was too busy chasing carrots to realize that I was looking for self fulfillment in all the wrong places.