Monday, April 22, 2013

This is real life

I may have written about this before, or at least shared it personally with some people who are reading - but it's worth saying again.

Have you ever noticed that in school, the reason you're given for most things is "to prepare for X?"  I remember hearing in elementary school that I had to do well to be prepared for junior high; needed to work hard in junior high so that high school wasn't overwhelming; required to be studious in high school to be accepted to and survive at a good college; needed solid college performance so that you could get a good job; needed a good that what?  I mean, obviously, there's a lot to be said for a satisfying career, and for financial stability.  But I do think our culture has set us up a bit for a collective "is this all there is" because we start in Kindergarten to race towards a perpetual rat race.

I think I was so caught up in that culture of preparation that I was too busy to stop and enjoy my life.  Granted, I had good times and great friends in high school and college.  But, if I go back and read letters that family members sent to me, they often have the tone of "hang in there" - implying that there were a lot of frustrations I was communicating (but thankfully don't completely remember).  I was often too busy preparing to be successfully happy to actually just be happy.  Even when I was working, it felt like I was still just waiting for something else to happen.

When I saw this picture, taken today, I thought about all of this, and realized that I think all the preparation has paid off.  I finally feel like I'm living the life I prepared for all those years.  Ironically, I'm professionally utilizing very little of the academics to which I was a slave for 16 years (they didn't teach parenting in school!), but I think the lessons that I learned beyond the rote subjects are serving me well.  I feel comfortable in my own skin, probably for the first time in my life.  Instead of defining myself by what I'm getting ready for, I'm just me. 

This is probably one of the posts I'll read later and cringe, for my apparent arrogance and the portrayal of a perfect life.  It's not a perfect life - after all, it's life.  But, it's my real life, and for that I am so very grateful.  

1 comment:

  1. Beautifully said, Emily. And I can relate. I can remember one of my postpartum, joyful tear-fests to be the result of realizing that I FINALLY felt I understood and was living my vocation in life. Glad you're there, too!