More than once I have thought “this isn’t what my life is supposed to be.” You know what I mean, don’t you?
It’s something about the dreams you left behind. You made plans. You had a timeline. You were certain point A would lead to point B.
And then it didn’t. Things got messy, complicated. The checklists disappeared. Months turned into years. Suddenly you looked around and couldn’t remember how you arrived here, how things had gotten so far off track. The child who constructed that initial timeline felt like a distant memory, a stranger. Who was that young, hopeful girl? Where did she go?
Sometimes I just want things to be different, in every way. I want my life to change. I want to pick up and leave it all behind.
What I want isn’t much. The way I’d like to go on living in this world wouldn’t hurt anything. I’d just find some little spot to call my own, though I know it would never really be my own, and I’d spend my days strolling through the natural world, exploring, reflecting, writing about it. More than once I have felt that is the life I’m supposed to be living. More than once it has tugged at my heart. “Go. Now.”
I know several lives worth living. This is only one. Another is my own, on days when I’m wise enough to be grateful, when I’m not so foolish as to get caught up in the “supposed to be,” when I am brave enough to let go of the timeline without sacrificing the dreams.
I am a dreamer. It’s part of me, like writing and loving and kindness. It runs through my veins. It is in my blood. But we live in a world where that can sometimes be painful. Because it’s nice to dream, but it’s also important to survive. I can’t just walk away. I can’t just begin again. Not without giving up more than I’m willing to. There are things, so many things, worth keeping.
It’s easy to feel trapped by life. It’s easy to feel stuck by relationships, by money, by work, by obligations. It’s easy to feel as though you’ve reached a point of no return. But there exists, always, possibility. There are always choices to be made – perhaps not easy ones, or ones that can be deemed right or wrong. One choice always leads to another and what waits for us there are only more choices. It can feel exhausting, but it is also one of the greatest things about these lives of ours. They change. They grow. They evolve.
There are ways to improve. There are grand gestures that forever change the course of our plans, but there are also small daily choices that matter more than we realize. They are worth realizing. They are worth cherishing.
What I mean is, cherish them. Breathe in and breathe out. Smell. Taste. Hear. Listen. Touch. See. Stop and stare at the moon. Hug someone before they need to ask for it. Smile at strangers. Dream.
Happiness doesn’t always come roaring in. Sometimes it is just about taking one small step, and then another. Life doesn’t wait for you. Months become years. Things get messy, complicated. All I can do is keeping walking forward.
But every once in a while, if I’m wise enough to look for her, that young, hopeful girl shows up. She smiles. The world becomes wonderful around us. She points to the future, brimming with life and choices and possibility. She tells me “Go. Now.” My life is exactly what it’s supposed to be.