I got a little crazy a few weeks ago and checked out 4 or 5 books from the library. And read them all in about a week. I obviously needed a good distraction. One of those books (I am aware this is going to sound ridiculous) was a book about raising an only child. I figured if I was going to get my emotions under control and come to terms with my life, I might as well find out as much as I can about only children. The book totally depressed me...no offense to any only child who might read this one day. But that's beside the point, really. I found this in the book:
"When does the yearning for more stop? It never stops. It doesn't stop with a husband. It doesn't stop with a better job. It doesn't stop with more money. It doesn't stop with a second child. This is life."
- a mom named Diana
I guess I liked it because I can relate to it. I remember thinking my problems would probably be solved when I found the man of my dreams. Then I thought owning a house and having a yard would cure me of my yearnings. Then I wanted grass in my dang yard. Then I wanted a kid. You get the idea here. We all do it, right?
I'm not sure the yearning needs to necessarily stop, because it's great to have dreams and look forward to the future. But I for one need to stop obsessing about how great my life will be when I finally have everything I want. I can be happy now. I can look at what I have and enjoy it.
A while back when I was feeling sorry for myself, I decided to make a list of the things I have in my life that make me feel rich and fulfilled. Here are a few:
The sound of my son's laughter
Healthy, yummy food
Simple luxuries (microwaves, flushing toilets, my fridge, etc)
Learning something new
NPR and PBS (I'm a nerd for this stuff)
Growing my own food (and learning to preserve it)
Naptime. Oh glorious naptime.
I put this list right next to my bed where I'm sure to see it every day. That way I can re-read it and feel so blessed and rich and full. I want to focus on what's good about now. My life will never be exactly like this ever again.
I made this for dinner last night (minus the chicken and about half the pepper it calls for) and I don't have words for how much I loved it. My dear friend Amy introduced this to me years ago and I've only made it like twice. It is soooo easy, super inexpensive, and seriously delicious.
I was trying to find this quote for my first post but couldn't remember where I'd put it.
"To be without some of the things you want is an indispensable part of happiness."
I've been thinking about this today. When I first read this quote I thought it was the dumbest thing I'd ever heard. How can I possibly be truly happy until I've realized every dream, purchased everything I want, and become who I want to be? Happiness has always felt like something to be achieved. I've never been good at finding joy in the journey.
Then I thought about it more. I recently read this great book by Malcolm Gladwell called David and Goliath. At one point the author is telling of an interview with a very successful Hollywood producer (or something like that) about being a parent. This guy was spilling all his worries about raising super rich kids. According to recent statistics, the most at risk group for stuff like anxiety, depression, drug use, suicide...is upper class white teenagers. Kids who have everything. They don't ever learn what it means to save up for something or wait until the time is right or not have instant gratification every second of every day. And apparently they are miserable.
Then I had this other thought....what if I could eat sushi every day? I LOVE sushi. I only eat sushi about 3 times a year because it's really expensive - especially in the amounts I like to eat. But part of the glory of finally eating sushi (or really good Indian food or going on a really awesome vacation or buying something big I've been needing or wanting forever) is the anticipation. If I could have sushi every day of my life, I'd be so bored with it. It would lose some, or most, of it's appeal. Part of the reason I love to eat sushi so much is that it's always a special occasion when I do. I save up for it, I imagine how good it's going to taste, I enjoy every bite :)
Silly example, I know, but I think it could be applied to lots of bigger things in our lives. If I could magically make all my dreams come true tomorrow, that would sort of be lame. I for sure wouldn't enjoy things the same way if I got what I wanted when I wanted it. The wanting and hoping and dreaming and working and anticipating are actually good things. If I didn't have something to look forward to, then what would I really have?
I don't know. Maybe I'm wrong. And maybe that guy that said it is wrong. But I'm trying to dissect it and believe it and know that it's ok to be without.
My life has not turned out to be what I expected it would be. Not that I had any huge dreams as a little girl, and not that I don't have plenty to feel grateful for right now...I just have days where I wake up and start my day and I look around and think "Well this isn't quite how I pictured it all going."
It's been two weeks since I had another miscarriage. Having one miscarriage was devastating. Having another one nine months later was, at first, a huge shock. And then devastating all over again. But today I took my son to story time at the library and then to Great Harvest to get a loaf of bread and a free slice. We sat by the window and I ate my cheese bread while he ate his cookie. He asked me questions and we laughed and played and I realized that if I had a baby in my arms right then, I wouldn't be having this moment. It was nothing big. But I'm starting to see that all these small moments I'm having with him...right after he wakes up from his nap and we snuggle for a few minutes, while I'm making dinner and he wants to be right next to me, every time he says, "Mommy, will you play cars with me?" and I actually stop what I'm doing to play cars with him...this is what's making up my life. It might not be what I originally pictured for myself as a 31-year-old stay at home mom, but it's simple and it's sometimes fun and I want to soak it all in. In a couple years, having his mom play cars with him will be the last thing he'll want.
I debated about making my first post about such intimate details of my life, but it was right after I had a good cry about this second lost pregnancy that the idea for this blog came to me. Even though I don't have everything that I want, and even if I can't afford to buy everything that tv commercials tell me I HAVE to have, and even though life can be heart-wrenching at times, I can learn to live with less and have more. AND be happy. I don't NEED everything I want. And when I don't get what I want, it gives me an opportunity to look around and see what I DO have. One kid instead of two is not what I wanted right now, but I have more of some things because I have less of what I thought I wanted.
This blog will be my thoughts on how I can have a richer life with less of what I thought I wanted. I'm sure it will also be mixed with vegetarian recipes and quotes from books I'm reading and photos of sewing/craft projects and other randomness that I want to share :)
Might as well end with a quote from an awesome book by Tammy Strobel that I just finished.
"Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned, worn, or consumed. Happiness is a spiritual experience of living every moment with love, grace, and gratitude." -Dennis Waitely