Hey friends, I’m still here. Not that you wondered where I was…I’m sure you haven’t been anxiously waiting for yet another installment of Rachel’s musings on life. But still, on the off chance that my thoughts do interest you, I’ve got something to say that’s been brewing for years. Probably for most of my adult life, if I’m honest. It has been so frustrating to chew on it, to work it over continually, but never to be able to digest it fully and properly. Darn thing can’t manage to go down. I guess that’s one of the reasons I write. I need help processing my thoughts and emotions.
What’s With the Term, “Aging Gracefully” Anyway?
The years seem to be passing much quicker as I get older. I just celebrated my thirty-fourth birthday and while it makes sense (I’ve definitely been there for every moment), it’s also mind-boggling. I’m in my mid-thirties now! My mother was younger than I was when she had her eighth and last child at thirty-one. I have sisters in their thirties. My husband is over forty and my kids now look at me as the totally uncool mom with the weird sayings and bizarro dance moves. Even the head coach of the Los Angeles Rams at the Superbowl last night was a year younger than me. It’s happening; I’m well on my way towards being middle-aged. As I take stock, I see that life isn’t exactly turning out the way I pictured and it’s all my fault. Maybe it’s because, along the way I didn’t attempt to picture anything for the future. I never saw actual scenes of marriage or motherhood or friendship or the workplace or leisure. I’ve always lived in the moment. And this has caused me to be blissfully content for many years. Problem is though, it’s also brought dissatisfaction as well. I often think I’m not doing enough to realize my desires or nurture my talents. My situation in life requires me to put my nose to the grind day in and day out. I don’t know about you, but for me this confuses the heck out of my dreamer self. Dreaming and thinking take so much time. Lost in thought much? Yeah, that’s me constantly. Reality cannot compare to the random ideas that pop up and require so much of my brain’s energy. Sorry, not sorry.
To Everything There is a Season
Do you think this is true? Are we allowed to be dreamers in our youthful years but have to let it all go once adulthood arrives? Are we to give up our most energetic years to the business of child-rearing and retirement planning? Popular thought in my circles is that you must sacrifice for your loved ones. These sacrifices include your hopes and dreams, your time, and your future plans. I mean, don’t get me wrong. It does ring true and just for the most part. The problem I have with this mentality is that there ends up being no balance. You can easily be content as a parent or a worker for years, and then just as easily become dissatisfied with the amount of time spent on those endeavors. Because if you give up parts of yourself, you’re at risk for becoming someone else. Because if you let them go, maybe they’ll end up being gone for good. Sometimes with a little luck and maybe a high amount of willpower, you can pick them back up and infuse new life into them down the road. I’ve had several adult music students over the years who picked up lessons they’d stopped as a kid. And I’ve watched my husband finally become a competitive mountain biker after sacrificing himself for his family for so many years. Even I stopped merely dreaming about writing to starting my first novel at age thirty. I’m not saying it’s impossible. Just, difficult. And no matter what, it never feels like enough. There are places to see, people to meet, and new horizons to cross. Sometimes, I want to drop everything and cry out, ready or not, here I come!
So, What’s the Solution?
Here’s the thing. Even if there was a solution to this problem, I don’t know if I’d implement it. I still don’t take advice on time-management. Helpful hints like: “do the laundry on Monday, the shopping on Wednesday, and the cleaning on Friday” don’t work for me. My character flaws have been blamed countless times on ADD and I suppose it’s highly likely. But if it is, it’s a functioning ADD. So how can I learn to be more satisfied with my life as it is? I have no problem being content—as a wife (this has been a journey), as a mother, as a family member, as a friend, and in my work. But satisfaction in these areas? This happens infrequently. There is always the, “yeah, but if I did xyz, it would be better.” It’s an incalculable burden at times. My imagination does not like to take a backseat to what can seem like a hum-drum hustle and bustle of life.
Perhaps satisfaction comes from doing. From improving. From getting out of our own way and finding the path to embracing the dreams we hide whether big or small. In any case, it’s such a personal journey that, if not shared, it can eat you alive even as you attempt to swallow it down.
In Conclusion, One Thing Works Every Time
When I remind myself, true satisfaction only comes from what inspires me to take a different perspective:
Philippians 4:11: “Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.”
1 Timothy 6:8 “But if we have food and clothing. with these we will be content.”
I am struck by the wording in this translation. (ESV) “I am to be content” and “we will be content”. It seems almost as if the author is exhorting themselves or their following to enter into this state of mind, not that they had actually attained it. It gives me hope in a way. Even those Biblical giants experienced their fair share of dissatisfaction.
Thankfully, my contentment is a constant due to the source of my deep-rooted faith—Jesus Christ, who sacrificed everything and is a living example of fulfillment and joy.
As always thanks for reading, friends! It’s so tough to find the courage to share…I get so lost in my own mind. But in order to stay true to my mission of transparency and countering the bad with my weird version of positivity, I’ve got to try. I hope you can relate in some small way. Keep on keeping on!
Until next time,