Houston, we have a problem.
Janelle is out of shit to say.
NOOOOOOO!!!!! (voice fades off into the distance…)
There’s no way.
OR, she has so much to say she doesn’t know where to begin.
Enough with the third person.
Ever feel like your life is one giant holding pattern? Only you don’t know what it is exactly you’re waiting for?
For things to settle down, maybe. Get stable. Easier.
For more money to come around. For the real career to begin. For the kids to get bigger.
(Even though you nearly cried when your boy showed you his first loose tooth yesterday.)
For life to start fulfilling you all the time, for the vision to become reality. For the image you held of adulthood to become what IS.
I’ll take some of that.
And I know what y’all enlightened people will say… “Live in the moment, Janelle. Wake up! Be present! Be conscious! Don’t waste your life!”
But none of that self-talk changes the fact that this shit is really hard. And sometimes it appears REALLY QUITE MEANINGLESS.
I mean check it out. We get up. We go to work. We drive around. We do shit. We eat. We sleep. We have fun occasionally. We work and work and work again. My husband works and works and works, pretty much 7 days a week.
AND FOR WHAT?
So we have a house and a car and food and some “savings” and retirement money and an occasional vacation somewhere, so my kids have an opportunity to misbehave in a new environment.
And my kids go to school so they can become good working Americans.
And we go to work so my kids can go to school to become good working Americans.
But what about living?
When do we do THAT? When do we get to just BE? When do we get to stop struggling for the bigger house and bigger car and better clothes…For the time and date when we look around at our lives and say “Sweet. We have ARRIVED.”
I lived in Barcelona for a year (studied abroad in college), and my Spanish friend told me an expression they use over there: “Spaniards work to live. Americans live to work.”
I’ve never forgotten that. And I saw it when I was there. I thought those Spaniards just didn’t have any drive – I thought they lacked ambition, the way they just kinda hung out and worked as little as they could, spending much more time in cafes and bars with friends…not really concerned with getting ahead or getting rich…leaving work at 3pm in the summer cause it’s just too damn hot, taking 2 months of vacation a year…closing their businesses for the afternoon siesta…every day.
But even then, I had to admit: those people seemed HAPPY.
I’m not trying to stereotype an entire nation. Those were just my general observations, of a culture I was living in for the first time.
But I think they have a few things figured out. I think their priorities make sense: do what you have to do to enjoy your damn life. Then, enjoy your damn life.
Because this is it, folks. This is the only chance we get.
THIS IS LIFE.
Am I going to give a shit how big my house is when I’m 80 and dying? How nice my cars were? How much money my kids make?
I will, however, probably feel it deeply if I wasted my life in the ego-driven pursuit of STUFF, buying into the well-established fallacy of the American Dream, at the cost of my contentment, my time, my joy.
Part of me wants to fuck this whole deal, move elsewhere (Borneo, perhaps?), run some goofy dive shop or café and just live. Let my kids run around. Let my mind run around. Stop seeking earning running.
Sit in cafes with friends. Make enough money to get by.
Work to live.
Clearly it’s too hot. I’m losing my damn mind.
Or, I’m ready for a change. I think I’m on the brink of change.
I just don’t quite know what it is yet…
what it is exactly I’m waiting for.