black and white light at the end of the tunnel on a covered bridge

what are you waiting for?

I woke up today to a blog post from my minimalist friends asking me a simple enough question: “Is this what you’ve been waiting for your entire life?” Or else it seemed simple enough. I read through their post which challenged me to pose that very question, I chewed it over for a minute and then asked myself if my life is (deep breath) where I wanted it to end up at this point.

I could almost feel my brain squinting a little bit in discomfort as I rolled the question around…looking at it from all angles, approaching it cautiously like a rabid animal that might suddenly lunge toward me…And I decided that there are a couple areas of  my life that are headed in the “right” direction, not that there is anything right or wrong about it- wait, let me rephrase- there are aspects that I am moderately satisfied with. But the more this notion of “Is this what I’ve been waiting for?” brewed around inside my head, the more it bothered me…and it came back throughout the day and continued to haunt me, over and over….is this what I’ve been waiting for….is THIS what I’ve been waiting for?

Much to my discontent, the answer that echoed throughout my insides when I looked at the bigger picture was……..NO.

And that’s pretty heavy. Along with it comes the realization that a) I’ve apparently been asking myself the wrong questions or else I would have surely come to this conclusion sooner, and b) what am I going to do to change it?

I would challenge all of you to do the same thing: Ask yourself that question, and be ready for the answer. Then take an honest look at what you need to do to get there, so next time you ask yourself, “Is this what I’ve been waiting for?” the answer is a resounding, “YES.”

There are several main things to consider that make up the elusive big picture (in my humble opinion, and I’m sure these differ for everyone), so let’s lay them right out there:

  • Relationships/Social
  • Career/Professional
  • Living Arrangements
  • Finances
  • Family

So the first step is to realize that maybe “this” isn’t exactly what I had in mind, which begs the question, “Yeah, but what does that actually look like?” In case anyone is curious, I’ll share my own musings on where my life is, and where I want it to be. After relaxing my mind enough to not overanalyze it, images of the life I picture for myself started drifting into focus. I saw that what I’ve been waiting for looks something like this…

I want a stable, playful, supportive relationship with an equal that I feel connected to on an entirely different level. I want to share my life with that person- all of it- the good, the bad, the ugly….and at the end of the day, know that that person accepts me for exactly who I am and what my life is all about, embracing our life together in its entirety. Sound idealistic? Yep. But I’ve had enough mediocre relationships to know there’s no point wasting time on anything less than what I deserve.

I want the coolest little old house in the city, with hardwood floors, exposed brick, a fireplace in my bedroom and a little backyard. I honestly can’t wait to get rid of half of my stuff so all that’s left fits perfectly into my happy new-old house, and we feel snug and perfect together, like a shoe that was waiting for the right person to come try it on for size. (Yes, there will be notice given when it’s time to come shop at Annie’s Pre-Moving Everything-Must-Go Extravaganza…)

I want to invest exactly the right amount of money and time into my business to have it stabilize and grow, so it can provide not just the personal satisfaction that keeps me hanging on, but the financial security I need to stop this “fight or flight” response I’ve had brewing for the past 6 years. It’s been exhausting trying to decide whether or not to hold onto the business for dear life, or whether to cut and run and go get a paying job with sick days and a retirement plan. I so badly want to make the business successful- and at times I feel like I’m on the brink. If I could just do x, then y……but I need to figure out how to even out the financial teeter totter, and get the business to grow enough to support my personal and professional goals and fit into the bigger picture I’ve painted for myself.

I want to make more time to write and shoot. We all have passions, and two of mine are writing and photography (as you may have noticed)…But I haven’t made much time for photography lately and that needs to change. Period.

Next up: family. This is sometimes the hardest to grapple with because it’s the least likely to change. Family is exactly who they are going to be. There’s typically no acceptable exit strategy if relationships head south…And let’s face it, sometimes people act crazy. Sometimes they hold grudges for long periods of time without any real reason. Sometimes they don’t make an effort. The good news (and bad news) about family is that you’re under no obligation to really like everyone in your family – but you’re stuck with them regardless. I think what I hope for most with my own family is that everyone just does what makes them happiest. I’ve given up on the idea that my family is going to magically turn into The Family Stone and since that’s not likely (and everyone seems to be going their own way and scattering in the wind more or less), I just hope that they all follow whatever it is that makes them feel whole. That’s the idea here anyway, right?

Last but first, always, is my son. I want him to grow up to be the kind of person who is strong even through the painful experiences life throws at him, generous even when he has very little to give, and kind even to those who may not be kind to him. I want to provide the kind of environment that will allow him freedom to grow on his own, protect him from harm, and give him the confidence to do anything he can dream up. I want to nurture him, but not shelter him, encourage him without demanding results, and praise him without false compliments. I want to surround him with people, influences and opportunities that allow him to become his own authentic, amazing person.

Alright, I’m rambling at this point but I thought this topic was worthy of a post- and it got me thinking pretty hard so I decided to share with you all. I’d love to hear input on where your lives are going, and how you’re going to get there. I guess I’m just tired of picturing in my head a different life than the one I have… I’m going to do something about that. Starting now. 🙂 As always, thanks for reading….

5 thoughts on “what are you waiting for?

  1. i feel compelled to point out the one time that you did actually encounter a rabid animal (in re: paragraph two above) you ran screaming from the woods and had grandpa H kill it with a shovel.

    Just seemed relevant.

    1. There was no killing of any animals, and it’s “normal” to run screaming from the woods when one spots a wolverine in a tree looking rather menacing…

  2. I also feel doubly compelled to point out that you called a clear and loud bullshit on me 4 years ago in Italy when I made the same observation that we don’t always have to like everyone in our family. You actually got pretty pissed off about that comment, if I recall.

    What changed?

    1. What changed? I decided our family is bat shit crazy. 😉 And I believe your comment was something about being able to choose your wife, but not being able to choose your family….(I think that was Mom’s best mother’s day ever, if I recall….)

  3. Point the first, it was not the woodchuck in the tree i was referring to, but the rabid one that grandpa brained with a shovel by the compost heap. 🙂

    And yes, I did make that comment as well, but also pointed out that if you were going to force someone to choose between the family they were born into and the family that they made for themselves, you might be surprised to find out that we don’t all grow up to love everyone in the family we are born into.

    Oh, and of course our family is bat shit crazy. its what makes us all so friggin’ awesome.

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