Monday, July 21, 2014

When The Great American Dream Hits The Great Reality

As my husband and I say, "I've been in a funk lately," or a midlife crisis, if such a thing is permissible in your early 30s. " restless craving to realize your potential which peaks as you approach each decade of your life." Apparently, it is. So, what do you do when you feel shadowed and don't know exactly why? What any average American does (at least those that can't afford counseling). You Google it. Which takes me to this article and I start checking off the list, "yep...yes... hmmm... okay, maybe they have something here." Upon discovery, my nature usually takes me to deep contemplation and excessive outward the mercy of my fore-bearing husband and mother. But sometimes a person just needs to take their own garbage to the curb. Actually, I guess you are walking to the curb with me...sorry for the smell. You aren't obliged to keep going. This is really just for me.

When all those childhood dreams meet the monster of the adult reality, disappointment sinks deep claws. A grief seeps out of me and pools at my feet, making it hard to keep trudging through the day... for that's what life feels like now--trudging. Dream balloons are popped plastic and a person starts to wonder, "would any of these actually gone anywhere?" The one actualized dream realized has left you disillusioned and guilty. God, didn't I want a family?  But these kids...whew, what am I doing? I'm not mom material and quite frankly, I'm not having any fun. They whine, fight, argue, rebel, and never seem to listen. Honestly, God, I'm pretty miserable. Is this the life I wanted? Is this as good as it gets. 

Running away from home is becoming my biggest fantasy. 

What is wrong with me?
I hate this quotation. It's not true. And like so many other Santa-Claus visions, we teach these lies to our kids. "You can be whatever you want to be."  Really? My daughter may want to be an opera singer. God love her, she has many extraordinary talents, but singing doesn't appear to be one of them. You can train and try without rest, but your efforts can only carry you so far beyond your God-given talent.  How much should we encourage our kids.  At what age do we gently say, "Ya know, I think you are actually more gifted in this area. What if we pursue that a little?"

You may possess a Master's degree in writing, but never see publication (despite all your attempts). You may apply for every job but never even see an interview.
You may read every how-to and take every course and still not master the art of public speaking.
You may dream of being an NBA player and even practice till sunset, and never make the team.
You may paint every portrait and still be seen as nothing more than mediocre.

For every one that makes it, there are millions that don't.

Dreams don't guarantee reality.  Sadly, not even hard work does. BUT we live in America--the land of freedom and dreams come true.  And we can make anything happen that we want to.  Forgive the expression, but that narcissistic view is just bull crap. We can't control our circumstances; life isn't a buffet where we can pick and choose.

So, how do you get on with the life you have? I'm not sure.  All I know is that some of these dreams I'm holding onto are like trying to restrain a disobedient Great Dane.  He's not going to sit and wait, and you can't make him.  So, you either run with the leash or you let him go.

One thing I do know is that this grieving process is infecting my kids.  At dinner tonight, our oldest merely stared at her food. My husband asked her what was wrong. Her reply, "I don't know. I just feel weird." How so?
 "Like you and Mommy aren't really here."

I haven't been. I've been letting the bitter intoxication of "over there" distract me from here and now. Do I want to be here and now? No. Emphatically, no.  But aside from abandoning my family--which I won't do--I have to be here. Whether I want it or not, this "it" is it for me.  Self-pity and disappointment aside, I have to quit having an affair with my ideal-life fantasies.  Few people achieve them, and even those that seem to have "made it" feel a secret grind.

Okay, now for the spiritually-mature conclusion--the bow on top. Sorry, my bow is a little smashed. Honestly, I'm a little frustrated with God right now. But that's not really your concern. I guess what I need to do, and you can as well (if any of this mess applies to you), is ask Him to give you a dream for your reality.  Give me a dream that lines up with my current situation.

Because this dual reality of my hopes and feelings vs. my here and now is tearing my spirit in two. And I want to feel whole again.

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