Monday, April 24, 2006

Long Road to the Ideal.

*Postscript: This is not a pity party post and I think it's come out more melodramatic and sad then I wanted it to. It's just a thought I've been pondering and curious on the outlook of others.

I have been wondering about my ideal life lately. Is the ideal all I make it out to be or does it just seem so good cuz it's not what I have right now? I have been wondering about ideals lately. I've been wondering if they're worth the pursuit.

When I daydream I see an ideal life for me. I know how many kids I'd like to have, the type of house and the plot of land I'd like it on, the sort of city and the daily things I would do. I see people's faces from my past and present that amalgomate in my daydreams into my ideal life even though I know that for sure that part of ideal will not happen.

Somedays I just daydream about this life, and some days I sit at my computer researching how to get there. But recently I was faced with the reality of having to let my daydreams go. I have to be open to not living what I consider ideal. I know that I could spout a bunch of lip service about how as long as I'm in God's will my life will be perfect for me regardless of how much it looks like my ideals, but I'm not into lip service. The truth is I'm fairly attached to my ideal.

The last two years have been a rollar coaster that have left us in a bit of a low. Now I would tell you how low, but it involves money and no one talks for real about money, so I'll just leave you to wonder how low that low is. It's also a real physical and emotional low. Not because we're sad and unhappy and miserable in our life, but because grad does not symbolize the end of the road for us, it's just a turn to another longer road and we're tired from the first trek! It's hard to get up your gumption for the turn when you're still exhausted from the last leg. I know for a fact I would not make it as a triathelete.

Last month we paid off one of Nick's student loans. I have no idea how much it was to begin with as he's been paying it off since before we were married and sucks at keeping important papers, but we received that glorious letter where the line reading "balance owing" is $0.00. We put it on our bulletin board and looked at it every now and then dream of paying a mortgage and not rent, of owning a car instead of leasing it, of having a house full of the family we dream of.

And for a moment the road looks a bit shorter and we keep on going. But then you see how long it really is and you start to wonder, is the road worth traveling? Is the ideal all I make it out to be or does it just seem so good cuz it's not what I have right now? I have been wondering about ideals lately. I've been wondering if they're worth the pursuit.


karen said...

(sorry about the long comment)

My Mom sent this to me back in 1999 as Travis and I were preparing to get married. It has stuck with me since, though I still have to consciously remind myself of it often. I too, get carried away by planning, and thinking, 'life will be better when....' but really, life is to be enjoyed NOW, isn't it?!?
(I like the last paragraph best!!) :)

The Station
by Robert J. Hastings

Tucked away in our subconscious minds is an idyllic vision. We see ourselves on a long, long trip that almost spans the continent. We're traveling by passenger train, and out the windows we drink in the passing scene of cars on nearby highways, of children waving at a crossing, of cattle grazing on a distant hillside, of smoke pouring from a power plant, of row upon row of corn and wheat, of flatlands and valleys, of mountains and rolling hills, of biting winter and blazing summer and cavorting spring and docile fall.

But uppermost in our minds is the final destination. On a certain day at a certain hour we will pull into the station. There sill be bands playing, and flags waving. And once we get there so many wonderful dreams will come true. So many wishes will be fulfilled and so many pieces of our lives finally will be neatly fitted together like a completed jigsaw puzzle. How restlessly we pace the aisles, damning the minutes for loitering ... waiting, waiting, waiting, for the station.

However, sooner or later we must realize there is no one station, no one place to arrive at once and for all. The true joy of life is the trip. The station is only a dream. It constantly outdistances us.

"When we reach the station, that will be it !" we cry. Translated it means, "When I'm 18, that will be it ! When I buy a new 450 SL Mercedes Benz, that will be it ! When I put the last kid through college, that will be it ! When I have paid off the mortgage, that will be it ! When I win a promotion, that will be it ! When I reach the age of retirement, that will be it ! I shall live happily ever after !"

Unfortunately, once we get it, then it disappears. The station somehow hides itself at the end of an endless track.

"Relish the moment" is a good motto, especially when coupled with Psalm 118:24: "This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it." It isn't the burdens of today that drive men mad. Rather, it is regret over yesterday or fear of tomorrow. Regret and fear are twin thieves who would rob us of today.

So, stop pacing the aisles and counting the miles. Instead, climb more mountains, eat more ice cream, go barefoot oftener, swim more rivers, watch more sunsets, laugh more and cry less. Life must be lived as we go along. The station will come soon enough.

All Rights Reserved
Robert J. Hastings Estate

Amanda Franks said...

That is a good one. It's so true and at the same time so crazy that I must remind myself that the joy is in the now! Thanks for sharing that.

Jen said...

I like what Karen said. I think we have so many plans that start off with "When we have more time...", "when things start to slow down..." when we have a bit more money..." "we'll start next month...". It does need to be about the here and now. Making today count.

As for ideals, I definitely think that we often just want what we don't have and then once we have it, it isn't quite as great as it seemed! Crazy.

karen said...

That's so true Jen. I struggle to find the balance between planning for the future, and longing for it. I want to be content with now, but what IF we do want to move into a bigger house/drive a different car some day? At what point does that become the 'station'?
I don't know, it's a crazy balancing act, I guess.

I DO think, though, that life will get better when school's over! ;)

Samantha said...

Oh Amanda, I understand you dear, I understand! I often wonder about my future and how different it could be - how I want x number of children, to live is such and such kind of house, to live in this province, to travel to these places. So much of it is a waiting game that its so frustrating. It took me the first couple years of school and a whole lot of money to figure out what kind of degree I wanted to get (and I'm still not done!)..and that's just one thing in the scope of things.
I'm learning to be more laid back, to relax more and plan less, and life is a little bit more marvelous everyday. I wish you and Nick (and the wee ones) the same fate...marvelousness in life - sooner or later it'll come, it'll come!

T said...

Sounds like you need a vacation! A nice LONG vacation where you can just forget about the "race" for fact, I'd love to join you! How's Mexico sound?

geeksters said...

I think dreams are always worth having even if they seem impossible. With paying off that loan, you're one step closer to your ideal. It's nice to take a look at the big picture of life and see where you want to be so you can figure out how to get there instead of sitting still and stagnating.

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