Thursday, January 18, 2007

Failure

I've been having some troubles lately staying, if not happy, then at least not depressed. I've been in a funk since Christmas, which is fairly typical. I can't deal with holidays. I always have these unrealistic expectations and the reality always falls short, and then I feel shitty. So, yeah. I hate holidays. This year's Christmas was marked by me stomping upstairs to hide in my room, my MIL leaving the house in a fury and staying out for an hour, my SIL locking herself in the bathroom and crying, and my children behaving hideously. Delightful.

Then I went back to work for all of three days before quitting. The Bear was miserable in her new daycare, and I just couldn't handle leaving her there one morning. She was crying, and so I went to work and walked right into my boss's office and told him I had to leave. That was my last day. Now I'm unemployed, wondering what I can do that can possibly bring in enough money to feed the family, much less get us the new roof we need and replace our rapidly failing HVAC system. So, stressful there, too. What the hell was I *thinking*?

We've all been sick. Me (sinus infection since December 16th), the Bear (sinus infection/bad cold/compounded by asthma since January 6th), Mouse (flu since last Friday - rivers of green snot), my mom (flu/bronchitis), and Husband (the sniffles, although he'll tell you he's dying). So that's five very sick (well, four very sick and one very wimpy) people in the same house, iced in since last Friday. We finally dug out on Monday, but only because we ran out of Kleenex. It took a pot of warm water and a butterknife to break into my car, and it took two people together over an hour to scrape it to a driveable state. We have cabin fever and we're all ready to just kill one another.

But all that together isn't really what's bothering me. It's just that I have Christmas Syndrome - when I start something, anything, I have all these wild delusional ideas about how fabulous it's going to be. It will be great! Fabulous! I will be wildly successful! Most of all, this will finally be it - the one thing that will make me happy. And it never does. It's never the thing that can make me happy. And that makes me so fundamentally *un*happy that it's worse than before. When the reality falls short of the dream, I tend to fall apart. Everything in my life, with a few notable exceptions, has been that way. Marriage, parenting, work - it never lives up to my expectations, and so I just give up. I realized today, as I was trying to talk through this with Husband, that I have been a failure at pretty much everything I've ever tried.

I was reading one of those "ladies' magazines" that are all about the middle-aged mom lifestyle - quick recipes, family togetherness, balancing work and home, lose those ten pounds and keep them off - you know the kind. My MIL gets them for me. Anyway, I was reading this article about living your dreams, and making time for your dream in your life, something that's just for you, and I realized that I don't have a dream. At all. I don't want to sing in a rock band or own my own art gallery or design... things. I just don't. I have no dream. Is that normal? Do you all have dreams? What are they? My dream was always to get married and have a successful career and be madly in love with my husband and live happily ever after. That was it. And now that one has been all shot to hell, and I don't know what to do. Marriage is *not* what I expected. At all. I know I had unrealistic expectations, but I haven't been able to reconcile the reality with the way I always imagined it would be. Motherhood is the same, but worse. I just can't seem to accept that this is my reality. What happened to the way things were supposed to be? I can't seem to be happy with what I have, because it's not what I wanted. Why is that? So, I have no dream. Can I get one now? Is it too late?

2 comments:

julie said...

I'm not a dreamer, either. In college, my friends all knew what they wanted to be -- teachers, scientists, musicians. I couldn't decide, so I went to work for Big Bad Corporate America while I figured it out.

The thing is, while I was figuring it out, I got good at the job. And I met the Jellyman, and I had babies who are delightful and exhausting and hilarious and horrible.

And my friends all want to be me -- the single ones want to be married, the married ones are struggling with infertility and want desperately to be parents.

I still envy their ambition and their ability to combine who they are with what they do -- I still hope for that someday. But, though it sounds horrible, it makes me feel way better about my life choices to know that they're a teeny bit jealous of me.

Even though your life doesn't look like the picture you had, it probably still looks pretty good from a distance. Can you step back a little and see it?

Ninotchka said...

I have no dream. Anything "great" I've ever done has either been by pure coincidence and really, kind of easy. It does concern me sometimes that my life is pretty directionless. I feel like I'm in limbo most every day even though I *do* things (raise my children, take care of my home, make our lives fun and enriching)...but when it comes to ME, I don't stick to much and if I do, it doesn't feel like it's much to brag about. Does that make sense? Anyway, my advice is focus on and find joy in the small things. I cannot face life on a grand scale. I have no idea what's going to happen in the "future" (which to me, sounds so ominous) so I break it down into small, easily chewable, digestible pieces. lol And I'm constantly looking for what feels good TO ME. As selfish, as it sounds.

I don't think anyone has a life that is positively divvy 100% of the time.