Sometimes life kicks you right in the poodle.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Your Fantasy Life

Level with me, people.  You have a daydream about that other PATH in life.  You know:  that cliché-ish, magical, mystical place called

THE PATH NOT TAKEN

It's weird that I've been pondering this a lot lately, and my friend B. at Say Yes or else!! has coincidentally posted The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost.  Hm...maybe there's something to these later days of summer which makes a person feel nostalgic, and makes us think of the turn to harder seasons.  Hm...who knows?

Even if you appreciate your life, and love the people in it.  Even if you like your house, and your pets.  You still think about other realities sometimes, don't you?  Don't you have fantasies about other things you might have done with your life?  Regrets?  Yearnings?  Career paths you wish you'd taken? 

This can be a tricky subject, because nobody wants to admit that they wished they'd just plain done something else (not in a loud voice anyway).  Nobody wants any implications that their children are of anything less than tantamount importance in their lives. 

So, you're the STAY AT HOME MOM.  You get up each day to continue working on what you left off last night.  You didn't finish everything last night, because it was 9:00, and you were tired, and if you don't PUNCH THE CLOCK at 9, you won't get any time to yourself.  Ever since you parted with your old life, and started caring for people round the clock, time to yourself is more precious than anything else.  So, that load of laundry getting more wrinkly in the dryer can wait till tomorrow to fold. 

Because you're never really going to complete a task anyway.  It's hard, non-stop work, and it's not always very satisfying--let's be honest.  You don't get any praise for getting the stains out of the whites, for rotating efficiently through pasta, rice and potatoes during the week.  There is no yearly BONUS for your efforts. Nobody leaves a five dollar bill on the table after eating. You get verbally abused by your children every day because they have behavioural problems, or developmental problems, and it is exhausting.

or,

You're the bread winner.  You had to settle on a career that you never envisioned for yourself, because it pays really well and has good benefits.  You can't switch to another career, because you'll be starting at the bottom of the ladder, and your family can't afford that smaller salary.  You have to work long hours, and be accountable at nearly all times, and it's funny because you always thought you'd get a job in animation.  You never imagined you'd become a spread-sheet master.  Oh, and don't mention that commute.  It's tedious, and traffic-crammed and it nearly does you in by the end of the week.

So,

What's your fantasy?  When I'm at the sink with another pile of dishes, sometimes I imagine I didn't go to university IMMEDIATELY after finishing highschool; that I took some time to think about what the hell I wanted to do, instead of fumbling forward without direction anyway, hoping I'd just fall into what I was supposed to do.

I'd have saved money and gone AWAY to school, instead of staying local.  In my fantasy, I'm a registered dietitian.  I have an amazing job that I'm actually interested in.  I have a tidy little apartment, and my bedroom is really pretty, and I have a fluffy white cat and no children.  I date when I have time, but mostly I go on really fantastic trips when I take vacation time.  I go to places like Norway and Luxembourg, which I once heard has more castles than anywhere else.

Oh, but you're prickling over this scenario.  No children? How could she have a fantasy with no children and no husband???  Doesn't that mean that she doesn't truly love them? 

To this I say, relax.  It's only a fantasy.  I've already figured out that 99% of humans can never be truly satisfied with anything anyway, so we all know I'd be lonely for a steady man, that monstrous biological urge to further the species would never be quiet, and the white cat would drop fur balls all over the place. 

The travel would probably be great though...if I had the nerve.

Still, don't you have one of those friends on facebook?  She's never been married?  She has no children taking up her time, and she has amazing pictures of places around the world she's lived and worked in, because hell, she had no attachments, so she can just pick up and take that risk.  She looks rested and happy and smiling in every picture and you envy her...just a teeny bit??? 

Meh--she's probably not that happy either.  I'm telling you:  none of us are happy : )

That being said, level with me:  I want you to tell me your other life fantasy.  It's okay:  we're all friends here.

26 comments:

  1. I'd have gone to college as originally planned and would be a teacher right now if that worked out. Lately though, I'd love to have my own business doing something with my hands, like furniture making. I have no idea how to do it, but the idea of it sounds so good to me. In my fantasy world, I'd also be successful at it.

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  2. i would not have taken psychology in university, if you don't get a PhD, you will probably get a job where you ask'paper or plastic'.i would have taken something that i could use,insted i paid thousands of dollars for a piece of paper.if i only knew the outcomes of kids[for me,huge weight gain,post partum anxiety, all the operations to correct problems due to a c section]not to mention hardley any time for my awsome hubby, travel and ME,then yes i would have remained childfree.but when you know them, well, i can't say that i wouldn't have them.

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  3. I really enjoyed this in a depressing sort of way. Thank you. Seriously. This is not sarcasm. As the breadwinner who just took on a much, much, much longer commute this was cathartic.
    I'm starting to sound like an idiot I think but I have to say this post made me feel less alone.

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  4. i have a good friend from high school who is that single woman you described. she even flies me out to visit her across the country every couple years & then i stay in her beautiful house & silently covet her life and she does the same with me. she gets to go great places, but always tells me that she'd rather have a faithful husband & a kid & not have to go to work every day.
    i think in my fantasy life i went to college for writing and i have a career writing a collumn sort of like carrie bradshaw. my opinions matter to someone, i have enough money to shop and dine out & i'm always dressed fashionably.

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  5. I have gone through so many.

    i love my wife and kids. But, I do have this fantasy of teaching elementary school in Key West, writing great american novels at night, and taking my women out on the Gulf of mexico in a catarmaran on the weekends.

    you're awesome karen w a lowercase K

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  6. In my fantasy life, I'm a writer with a regular column, perhaps in a magazine. I live in New England and surround myself with history and take lots of walks through orange leaves in the fall!

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  7. In my other life I kept going as a professional musician, didn't let the birth of my son stop that path.

    Oh, and I am 30 pounds lighter. And my hair never needs touching up.

    :-)

    Pearl

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  8. George, that sounds like a great fantasy life. Maybe you should start building some stuff! Start now!

    I'd be an idiot at building things. I can just feel it.

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  9. Oh Paula, thank you. That is the stupid thing about most uni degrees: if you don't go beyond the basic degree, it does squat for you in the work world. That's why I would have waited: so I KNEW what I wanted to "be" and then those thousands of $$$ wouldn't have felt like a waste.

    I enjoyed your honesty about having children too. I love my kids so much, but who knew how hard on the body it would be to have them!!!!

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  10. dbs, I don't think you sound like an idiot at all. I think it's taboo to admit that maybe we all yearn for something else at times, even though we are supposed to be continuously thankful.

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  11. Yes Sherilin--dressed nicely!!! Word, girlfriend. See? Even though it seems like your friend has an enviable life, she yearns for the life she doesn't have.

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  12. why thankyou Lance Romance. I wanted to pester you with vitamin talk, but don't have your email. Don't be afraid. I will eventually yap at everyone about vitamins and food, etc.

    The great American novelist has a very appealing ring to it. I see also that you've fashioned yourself in this fantasy as a Hemingway of sorts.

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  13. oooo...A&A, I lurv that fantasy. I'm going to imagine me in something like that the next time I'm doing dishes :)


    Come to think of it, a lot of these are very realistic, grounded 'fantasies.' Why is it so hard to attain them? Is it because wisdom really only does come, for the most part, with age????

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  14. Pearl: AMEN, WOMAN; re HAIR ROOTS. I'm sick of my hair colour choices so don't even get me started. That could be a whole post.


    Musician is a cool thing.

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  15. You're going to make me have to philosophize, which is something do so much of that as a result I require lots of fiber, fruit, and sleep to escape.

    I've blogged about this endlessly.

    Simple put every path is dozens of closed doors no matter how much you choose to think your chosen path is the best.
    So basically we live on the basis of the here & now no matter what. The future is NEVER EVER NEVER EVER is as perfect as we imagined it to be so all we can do is accept it, and enjoy what we have at the moment.
    If you choose to see that as bleak - fine, or if you choose to see it as beautiful fine also. The point is to cherish the here & now, no matter what, because..oh look!, its gone now. Its another here & now.

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  16. Bennet! That was surprisingly upbeat of you. It's a good point, of course, and should be obvious--that's why it's sometimes a very hush-hush subject; this idea that we think of alternate realities.

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  17. Karen, but I thought your fantasy was to study hard for 5 years, write 4 days of final professional exams, do 2.5 years of grunt-like articling work for less than cashier's pay, move far away from family and friends and culminate it all in a crisis of life and hope.

    Oh wait, that was my 'fantasy'. And I lived it. 20 years ago.

    Yup. Squeezing the joy out of the present. That's the key. Every stage has it's golden aspects and horror stories.

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  18. Matt, your crisis of life and hope doesn't sound too different from my stint in suburban hell after 4 years of uni for a useless degree and then a job in retail. Ah, real life, so filled with twists and turns!

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  19. Followed you here from Suni's place.

    She has got the coolest friends.

    Where did all of you come from?

    And today? She's got another awesome guest poster.

    What am I doing wrong????

    You are the original coolgirls' club.

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  20. ...and I'm following the Empress. My other life? I have so many. In one, I am a SAHM who somehow also has time to finish novels. In another, I drop out of college altogether and go run a smoothie shop at the beach.

    All in all though, I do like my life. ANd my job. I'm even happy. Sometimes.

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  21. That girl from my high school is, in fact, a dietician. From her FB comments related to her job, she essentially tells people to eat their veg and not eat so much junk food. They listen to her at about the same rate our kids do. But, she doesn't have to cook for them. Or clean up. Or wipe their butts. And they do have to pay her.

    And those of you who think your bachelors doesn't matter? In a way, no, it didn't. There are a slew of job descriptions that require a generic degree which really, not as important as common sense might be. But those of us with only the common sense can't even apply. And in these days of on-libe apps and automated sorting, you'll make the first cut. I never will. So, it's worth Something.

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  22. That was refreshingly honest, thank you for that. In our fantasy we would have probably gone to Chicago or New York or San Francisco and written and produced random theatre projects and would probably still be living on someone's couch, so our fantasy would not have turned out well. But we knew that, which is why we stayed in LA and write screenplays at night while working normal jobs during the day. :)

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  23. Thank you Empress :) Where did we come from? Well, I just came from upstairs putting the kids to bed with muchos fighting.

    I've graduated from a member of the whiny babies club to the cool girls' club?!? MIRACLE!

    I missed Sue's last guest post. I'd better get to catching up....

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  24. Amber, why does a smoothie shop at the beach sound so freaking ZEN?!? It's like capturing the best moments of teenager-hood but having an adult's discernment! Hooray! Thanks for joining the fun!

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  25. Thanks Nil Zed, that was both inspiring, and somehow reminded me not to complain about everything :)

    I still say the best course I ever took in school was typing.

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  26. Well keep going with those screenplays 2girls!!! That was very inspiring. I need some inspiration right now. My face is shiny and I'm wearing yesterday's shirt.

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