What’s Next?

You may find yourself living in a shotgun shack
And you may find yourself in another part of the world
And you may find yourself behind the wheel of a large automobile
You may find yourself in a beautiful house, with a beautiful wife
You may ask yourself, “Well, how did I get here?”

And you may ask yourself, “How do I work this?”
And you may ask yourself, “Where is that large automobile?”
And you may tell yourself, “This is not my beautiful house”
And you may tell yourself, “This is not my beautiful wife”

Once In a Lifetime – The Talking Heads

I have mentioned before the weird post-marriage phenomena of not recognizing my own life. That whole “Well, how did I get here?” feels particularly relevant some days.

Now, as the school year has started, and I have made promises (only to myself so far, but promises nonetheless) that we will move at the end of the school year, all of the WTF of making many many grown-up decisions all alone is hitting me over the head.

I have this weird cognitive dissonance thing going on.  A war within.

Day to day I am living a Groundhog Day-like existence.  With minor variations, nothing changes. I get children ready and deliver them to school. I do my work. I entertain my dog. I cook, eat, feed, clean up.  I watch Gilmore Girls – because finishing that series is seriously the only forseeable achivement that doesn’t scare the bejesus out of me.  I sleep.  And then I wake up and do it all over again.

I look for a new, real, permanent job.  I scan real estate listings.  I obsess over my credit score.  But none of these things are in a place to DO what comes next –  (except the credit score, which is excellent, thank goodness.)

Change is coming.  I know it is.  But not now.  Not yet.

The impatient parts of my brain are saying “Let’s get this show on the road.” The impatient parts of my brain are loud.  And whiney.  Shut up, brain.

The change-averse parts are in total denial.  They keep telling me what a nice yard I have.

The achievement-oriented parts are asleep.  They wake up to write some kick-ass article and then take a nap while I flip through my Google Reader for hours on end looking for tidbits of exciting stuff for my clients to share.  I have fallen off the ball.

Hell, I think I lost the ball.

I can see a glimmer of the light at the end of the tunnel.  Just enough to be distracting.  Just enough to be disconcerting.

Just enough to make me want to get off the tracks.

Do you know that feeling where you are winding down something and getting ready to move onto the next thing?  The last week at your old job?  The last month before the new baby comes? The days before you start school?  Those last few days of the old feel like throw-aways where you are just going through the motions so that you can get to what’s next.

That’s what I have felt like every single day of the last year. Every. Single. Day.

This isn’t real, this isn’t permanent.  This is the old. The real and permanent is coming around the bend…just ahead…

It’s a heck of a long bend. And I can’t keep throwing away the days.

These are important days.  Every day is an important day.

I used to have a little sign that said:

What I do today is important
because I am paying a day of my life for it.
What I accomplish must be worthwhile
because the price is high.

I need that reminder.  I need to make the days matter and not let them disappear into the black hole of what’s next.  

What’s here now matters more than what isn’t here yet.  This needs to be my new mantra.

I should revel in the experience of powering through mid-2000s family dramas.  I should clip recipes and enjoy my screened porch.  I should take my dog for more walks.  I should play more board games with my kids.  I should learn to knit. I should go out to lunch more often.

I need to ignore the stupid light.  It’s coming anyway – but watching it with great dedication isn’t going to get it here any sooner.

No matter how much I wish it would.

About Kristen

Me: Kristen, more than 40-something (don't make me face the number), suburban mom of 2, working girl, therapeutic writer, proprietor of an emptying nest Addictions: Iced Coffee, FOMO resulting in twitchy compulsion to check FB/Instagram/Pinterest in an unending loop, texting, hugging my one child while Snapchatting the other and yelling at my dog

5 Responses

  1. Cousin I think our brains run over time in sync. Not saying it’s good. I am glad to hear that there is a tiny, flickering light at the end of the tunnel. It’s a start. Keep hanging on. I, too, believe that good things will come my way…in time. Hopefully sooner rather than later.

  2. Janey

    Great mantra ! So many people forget to enjoy the now, waiting for the next thing which will supposedly be better/more exciting, etc. Awesome post… I know you are going through a really hard time, so. I hope you are successfull in living to your new mantra !

  3. I’m at the opposite end of your dilemma of what comes next. Retirement hasn’t been all it’s cracked up to be over here. There are a lot of unknowns and we will always have them. It’s a problem for those of us who seek to wrest control over our lives.

    The best advice I have is, don’t get caught up in the shoulda’s. Try to make each day it’s own little present. The rest will work itself out in whatever way it’s intended to. We don’t have the control we wish we had.

  4. Johnny O

    You are such an amazing writer!!! You know all of these blogs can be combined into one hell of a book about life… Just sayin’

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