I stare out the picture window at the gentle, trickling water. Lush, emerald green pine trees closing in on it, with nothing but blue sky serenely peeking through the needles. Well groomed flower beds with fresh bark flank the perimeter of the house. It’s perfect, and I know I can’t have it. I’m crushed.
But also relieved.
Because I don’t know what I want. Or maybe, more accurately, I don’t know what I don’t want. I want it all. And yet, I still try to argue my husband into making an offer on the drive home.
The elusive “they,” which is a conglomeration of many writers and speakers, told me if I could dream it, I could do it, have it, be it. Just picture yourself living the life you desire, every day… think good thoughts… it’ll come. Caviar wishes and champagne dreams.
I’m not sure I’ve manifested anything yet, other than a major sense of FOMO frosted with desperation and lingering discontent. Although, I did pray for big boobs all through elementary school. They don’t tell you that you need to keep praying for them to stay after pumping out and breastfeeding three kids. Now I wear training bras again.
It’s not that I don’t enjoy the current state of my life, but I’m so busy picturing what it could be, I often feel an emptiness billowing beneath the surface- trapped by my own constant state of yearning. Disenfranchised by all of the “successful” people, the books, the podcasts, chirping in my ear about what’s possible. Why shouldn’t I be able to bring in millions of dollars in passive income? Tim Ferriss… I simultaneously love and hate you. You’ve created a couple of insatiable monsters named Sean and Angi. 4 Hour Work Week my ass.
In spite of feeling at peace in a way that I never had before, I started a business 6 months ago. Why? Because of the pressure to perform, to hit big, to be impassioned, and to immerse myself into something/anything. To add to our family income so that we can do all the things. You know, travel the world while we churn out a few email responses each day to keep the bucks flowin.’ I won’t go into the human aversion to stillness. That’s another blog.
I’ve learned a lot from this business. And I’m grateful for all of it, but the problem with owning something is that it’s never enough. There’s always a next step. It’s like taking a test in college. Post exam, you’re totally relieved for a day or two and then you remember you have to study for the next one. That vague sense of relief gone as quickly as your celebratory beer. Nothing is going to grow itself. What are you willing to do to get there? How many followers are enough on Instagram? How many staged pictures of your faux life do you have to post to win a sale? How many new products do you need to come up with to be fresh enough to satisfy the second long attention span in today’s world? How many heart emojis are adequate to express appreciation of a comment? I don’t want to think about this shit. It feels incredibly trite and inauthentic. But, that’s the buy in, the trade off for the alleged American dream at the end of the tunnel.
The “Tim Ferris conundrum,” coupled with the infinite level of pressure to perform while simultaneously feeling like a failure, because it will literally never be enough, has turned me into a certifiable nut job. There’s always the next new thing to keep up with. What you’re left with is a desperate housewife who feels like she can’t control a damn thing, right down to her own kids, cuz can anyone??? After gaining weight from eating too much kale, because I’m 41 and that’s my life now, I went grain and sugar free for one month and then keto for 2 more weeks and weighed more afterwards than when I started. I've been doing an intense weight training program for 45 minutes per day, 5x per week for 6 months and there is literally no perceptible difference in my “progress pics.” F progress pics, btw. My baby stopped napping a year ago, and I haven’t been alone for more than a few minutes since. So, basically my body, my business, and my children have decided that I can’t be trusted with myself, and they’ll make the decisions for me from here on out.
I think this must be what a midlife crisis is. And, the kicker is that I don’t actually have a problem, aside from those 7 pounds, which are more of a nuisance than an actual problem. I don’t want to buy new pants people. Well, I do, but not bigger ones.
The real problem is me. My thoughts. My expectations. My lack of feeling in control. My unrealistic longing, and Tim Ferris. Goddamnit Tim.
I have a lovely home, in a lovely neighborhood, in a lovely town that people come to for vacation. My children are happy and healthy and relatively complication free. My husband and I are solid and in love. I’m healthy and strong and get to stay home with my 3 year old except for a random Saturday or two. My business could go away tomorrow, and we wouldn’t be worse for the wear. We eat organic food and take a cool trip each year. Life is fucking good.
I just need to let it be, take my paws out of everything and breathe easy. I need to let this be enough, to take respite in the adequacy, because while I’m busy upping my game, my kids are growing at lightning speed. The sun is shining outside, and I’m not basking.
We live in an age of possibility and if we can’t contain it, we’ll be destroyed by it. While we make vision boards and picture what could be, what is takes leave. The moment, the only time we own, no longer belongs to us, because we’re in a faraway place plotting and scheming about how to be “better.”
It’ll take some mental exertion with lots of checking in and personal accountability, but let’s flip the world the bird and want what we have while keeping our ambitions manageable. Save the daydreaming for the millennials. And Tim Ferriss.
(I’m sorry for those of you who don’t know who Tim Ferriss is. He’s an amazing, brilliant, childless, 40 something year old man with more business savvy in his pinkie than the rest of us have in our whole bodies. He’s filthy rich, uber driven, and penned the book “The 4 Hour Workweek.” In spite of my constant jabs, he’s incredibly impressive, and I wouldn’t undo any insight I’ve gained from him. Everyone should read his books.)