what you thought vs. what you got

Posted by on Apr 11, 2013 in Blog | Comments Off on what you thought vs. what you got

what you thought vs. what you got

Are you where you thought you’d be?  Did you imagine, when you were younger, that your life would look like it does?  Did you envision that you’d go to the schools you did or that you’d be working in the field you are, that you’d be married (or not) or have kids (or not)?  I’m sure there are some people who thought out the plan of their lives and then lived it as if by divining rod, each decision aligning with the values/interests/goals of some past self.  And what is life like for these people?  Is it lived in some contented, peaceful, state of confidence in themselves?  I wonder what it’s like to have no disconnect between what you thought and what you got.

I don’t have a very developed imagination.  If I relied on my own ideas of what my life could be to determine the outcome of it, it would be a very staid course.  How dull to do what you’re told!  On the other hand, there are these strange pulls, these moments of resistance, that surface sometimes.  What would my younger self think of me now?  What if she knew she had worked so hard, that she had spent her Halloweens studying for midterms, that she missed those camping trips and wild nights filled with a perfect alchemy of 20-something antics all for exams or essays that eventually led her here?  The anxiety of undergrad, the even greater anxiety of grad school, the promise of being a Professor and all that entails (in my head)… all 7 years of my university education only to lead here.  When I let myself meander here, it’s a bit of a trip.

But what of right now?  If I get out of that line of thinking and just sit with my life as it is, there is so much contentedness.  There is no ache for that competitiveness and cut-throat jargon-barfing that was grad school.  Now I look forward to getting out to my classes, to interacting with people, to providing this service for them.  I’m even intellectually stimulated, something I never expected.  When I was teaching high school I was depressed and negative. I felt incredibly limited and choked by the repetition;  I felt like my feet were in concrete, that there was no real movement forward.  Each year was in essence a re-hashing of a year I’d already lived.  Now I feel I’m free to create classes that move into spaces and places I’m excited about.  I can read about yogic philosophy and Buddhism and Hinduism and incorporate what I learn in my teaching.  I can study anatomy and learn about yoga therapy.  And one of the most persuasive things that first drew me to invest in a study of anthropology was my wanderlust.  I imagined myself traveling off to distant lands to study new things and people, and my heart would swell with just the thought of it.  Now I’ve served that passion as well and studied yoga in Costa Rica, Mexico, India, Massachusetts, New York and Hawaii.

My husband also worked hard and missed those parties in his 20s as an investment in his future, and he chose to walk the path he had always intended to pave. It led to this place where we can now afford to travel and dig deeply into what the city has to offer.  Without him I know wouldn’t be able to afford to teach yoga, especially as a mom.  And so sometimes there arises this feeling that I am letting my feminist self down.  What are you doing allowing the man to make the money, allowing him to financially support the family?  Why didn’t you choose that job that lent you (more) money and esteem?  How could you let yourself need someone so much?  When I was younger I imagined myself as a fierce independent, doing what I wanted when I wanted.  I saw myself making my own big money, wearing my own big title, having a family but toting them with me abroad for a year at a time as I chipped away at my amazing research, not letting anyone or anything to compromise me or my goals.  I read that now and all I see is ego, external validation and selfishness.  I need to believe that I am living another kind of feminism.  Yes, I rely on my partner, but vulnerability takes courage and trust.  I am able to raise my son and do my best to make sure that another good man is making his way out into the world.  My payment comes less in the form of big bucks and more in the form of the tiny transformations taking place in the bodies and spirits of my students.

If I had lived according to where I thought I’d be, it wouldn’t have looked like this.  But choosing a career because it’s what others wanted for you, or because it was just what was supposed to happen next, could never have been in the cards for me.  I’m 36.  I am the mother of a beautiful, healthy boy and have a loving, talented and supportive husband.  We live in a house we love in a city we love.  It’s a good life.  When I turn the rear view mirror away from my gaze and focus on the road just in front of me, the whole thing drives so much smoother.  After all, are any of us really where we thought we’d be?  Whether it’s who we’re with (or not with) or where we’re living, what we’re doing, it’s all up in the air.  To assume we can control everything is illusory.  One thing you can know for sure is your path will bend.  That’s what paths do.  You can have hopes about which direction it will take you, but in the end you can’t worry about or anticipate what’s way down there.  All you can do is take your next step filled with all of the you-ness you can muster.  Forget the expectations, outside voices.  If you can manage that, when you get to the next bend you can relax into knowing that you lived each moment as you believed you needed to.  No regrets.  Here I am, as I should be.

 

 

All content by Lisa Veronese. Please do not publish or copy my material without my consent.