It's hard to remember the exact order of events, now that I come to think about it. Can't say when it all started changing, or the reason why it did at all. However, it's done and it will be quite hard to look back. I think it started this year. Might I dare say, it has to do with me turning 30.
Let me slow the narrative down a bit and put things into perspective.
Like many other women, I've had the fantasy of the perfectly balanced life. Go to college, get a well earned degree, move to the city and get a fancy office job. Climb the corporate ladder and have a six figure salary. Sure, find love along the way, have beautiful babies, a gorgeous house, two dogs, a boat and take vacation somewhere exotic every year.
Sounds like a fairy tale right? But that was what I believed would make me happy. Who I thought my husband wanted by his side, and what would make my parents the proudest. In the meantime, my big life started to hurt. To not make sense. Women are socialized to swallow pain with a smile. We are taught to put ourselves last and others first, to make dinner and then serve ourselves the worst cut. Not that my husband, parents or friends wished that for me, but for some inexplicable reason society got to me. It rubbed off even when I dared not touch it and whispered in my ears at night when I though I wasn't listening.
The other day, I was talking to my co-workers about relationships. Family, friends and significant others. Then one said, "I am worried about my friend." and the reason was she was in a relationship with a guy that can't afford to support himself, and even though she loves him, he can't give her what she so dearly desires. A family, a house, a comfortable life. For some reason this bothered me. Not to say that my co-worker is in the wrong, or that her friend should feel guilty for loving someone with no monetary means. It's the misconception that men are supposed to take care of women and that career and money makes you a more desirable person, that rubs me the wrong way.
A big life has love and compassion. It's based on human relationships that see past bank accounts and social status. Whether you're on top or on the bottom. It's way more important than spending uncountable hours in the office trying to get somewhere in your career. It took me a while to realize this. I've always thought what I did would define me. That I would look better in the eyes of others. That being smart and well educated would make me a more desirable fit.
Why is it that we care so much about what others think? I get it, as humans we crave for acceptance, community. Even if that means swallowing your true thoughts, pain and frustration. But I have redefined what I believe my big life could be. Should be. No matter how much I achieve, how many stamps are on my passport and how much money is in my back account, it's not enough. It's not what fills me up nor what pushes me forward.
Some people may be happy with all the above and may think I am a fool to think otherwise. I'm not here to say they are wrong. I'm not here to say what is right for everyone. What I do reckon is that in the end, for me, it will be all about the connection and very little to do with achieving. It will be about whether I looked up and touched the sky. Whether I felt the lush feeling of the summer sun on my skin. And if I was fully there to hold the hand of the person beside me.
This is where I am. Where I choose to proceed. No looking back. Just a warm feeling of letting go.
Hope you come back soon,