February 10th, 2010

peacock-eyes

NOT RAISING THE BAR, JUST HOLDING IT UP AND LOOKING PAST IT

Are you getting what you want out of life? Do you even know what you want to be when you grow up?

Have you settled?

When you were a child and the future was open wide, did you fix your dreaming eye upon a goal and never waver? There were so many choices then, so many things we could become, so many things we could do, so many places we could go. What items do you add to your list when you've crossed off the ones you scrawled in crayon once upon a time? Some people seem to know instinctively what they will do with their lives from an early age; others flounder forever with no direction.

When did you figure it out, if you did? Are you still heading toward that goal or have you reached it? Has your journey taken a swerve that you didn't expect?

I never had a plan, but I was never a dreamer either. I was content to bob along, moving forward if not toward any particular goal. I got lucky, I think, not once, not even twice but several times over. I'm in a good place, with a good person, and a good life. The choices I made led me here though I don't think all of them were conscious or even agonizing. I think, when I think about it at all, that my only goals were to have a good life, a relatively easy one and to fill it as much as possible with joy and laughter and friendship. It's not over yet, but I think I've managed to chalk off those low-bar ambitions.

I'm not saying that I didn't make any bad choices, and I'm not saying that I didn't have any jinks in the path that my life has taken because I have, but overall I think it's been pretty smooth sailing. Now I find myself wondering if that is all there is. Shouldn't I be doing more with my life? Is raising 2 healthy happy children enough? Is keeping a relationship together for this long enough? Shouldn't I want more?

I have a good job but I don't want to climb higher on any corporate ladder. I have a nice house and I don't want to move* because I love it so much. I don't want more kids, and I'm not particularly interested in charity work and my idea of making the world a better place is to live the best life I can, while being as generous and kind as I can manage without compromising my principles. But sometimes I look around me and see what other people are doing and what some of my own friends are doing and think: I could do more. Is this all there is?

I don't want to mess with the status quo, basically. Some days that's enough. And some days it leaves me feeling as if I'm cheating both myself and the world of something I don't even know I have to offer.

You get what you settle for, it's said. Have I settled or am I just getting started?

*That's a lie. My military brat-brain DOES want to move. I would consider moving if I didn't have to leave my house. Or if I could take it with me.

Makes You Think: One Cubic Foot