I thought my life would be different.
Not better. Just different.
When I was a kid, I thought I would go to college, meet the love of my life, get married, have my first child by 24, work part-time while my well-to-do husband worked full-time, have one or two more kids…and that was it.
That was where my dreams stopped. I never really imagined beyond the white picket fence.
Today, I’m 34. I have one kid. Her father and I – while committed to each other – are not married.
We may not have another child.
I did go to college and I am working part-time but that’s about where my dreams and reality collide.
I am not the mother I thought I would be. Don’t get me wrong…I’m a great mom and I own that. But I’m not very good at planning birthday parties or making Easter baskets or doing anything remotely Pinterest-like.
I hate packing my daughter’s lunch – because she won’t eat anything but cereal and noodles – and cooking dinner is my least favorite thing. (Odd since I used to be a food blogger, huh?)
I really don’t like playing, I’m bored out of my mind half the time, and it takes a lot of mental power to keep from turning Netflix kids on every day.
Now, like I said, I’m a great mom. There are just a lot of things I thought I would do differently. I always thought I would want to be a stay-at-home mom. Turns out? Not so much.
I thought I would want at least two kids. And maybe in a year or two I will. But right now? No. I want me time. I want to do yoga. I want to take walks in the woods and write and meditate. That’s where I’m being called. (And just you watch, the second I press publish and publicly say I don’t want another child, I’ll get pregnant. Isn’t that how things work?)
I thought I’d marry a man who would go off to the office every day and do God knows what to bring home the bacon (always looking for a knight in shining armor…).
The reality is somewhat different and the bacon is much smaller than I imagined.
When I started my business, I thought I would catapult to internet stardom and become one of those elusive six figure earners. I don’t know how I thought I’d do that since I never had a plan – just winged everything – but I did.
Again, the reality is different.
There is an intersection between dreams and reality, and I’ve found that for me, that crossing can be filled with anxiety.
It is all too easy for me to look on Facebook and Instagram, and let worry take over. It’s all too easy to think, “I have to make my dreams reality or else…” and, “Everyone else has done it! Why can’t I?”
Reality check: Everyone else has not done it, whatever it is. Don’t let the internet fool you.
When I start to get stuck in anxiety, I have to stop myself and acknowledge the dreams and hopes I had that didn’t come to fruition, the mother I thought I would be, the business I thought I would have, and the goals I thought I would have accomplished.
And then I sit with what is.
And find the peace in that. The beauty in that.
I am a big believer in dreams. I always think we should reach for the stars.
I am also a big believer in accepting what is and finding beauty in it.
It’s a bit like learning to let go of dieting and love your body just as it is.
Only then can you really honor your body.
Only then can you really listen to it and find out what it wants.
And only when you accept where you are in your life and the reality of what is can you really listen to spirit and find out what your life wants for you now.