Over the last four and a half years, and almost 1200 posts, I’ve written about wanting a lot of things. And over the past four and a half years, I’ve achieved most of those things, at least the most important. On January 4th of next year I will get married and with that act I will be able to say that all my biggest dreams have come true, and I wonder, what does one do with her life when has everything she ever hoped for? What do you work for when it’s all been achieved?
I like goals. I like to strive for things, to plan strategies and then execute them. I like to look back on what I’ve done with a sense of pride. I am personally fulfilled by my achievements, they buoy me when times are tough.
I’m not really sure what I’ll do when I have all the most important things I ever wanted. I have a man that I love and we’re in a committed relationship (soon to be legal! Woot!) We have two beautiful children. We have a house in the city (this still seems insane to me, almost as insane as the second kid thing). We have the life we always wanted, or at least the life I always wanted. We’re living the dream. My dream.
So now, what do I do? I suppose I just live this life. This is why I wanted it, right? So I could live it? And that is what I mean to do. To live this life with gratitude and gusto. To never take it for granted. To find happiness in all these things my heart desired, because if I can’t find happiness in this life, certainly I don’t deserve it.
I can tell I’ll still need focus, something to strive for. Now that I have all the most important things, I need to decide what else I want. I think I have, too. I think I know what I want to do. Every year, I want to focus on one thing, to work on something, to cultivate it. This coming year, the first calendar year of my desired life, I want to work on patience. It seems the perfect focus for my first year as a mother of two and so that is what I will work on, that is what I will strive for. Patience.
I want to be more patient, with my daughter, with my son, with my partner, with myself. I need to be patient with this body that is so slow to return to its former shape (and may never look like it did ever again). I need to be patient with my daughter as she makes this difficult transition and struggles with feelings that a 3.5 year old doesn’t understand. I need to be patient with my partner as he learns how to be a father of two children, as he learns to live with even less time for himself and his pursuits. I need to be patient with my son, as he begins to assert his independence, as he figures out who he is and how he fits into this family that already existed before he was even born. I need to be patient with myself as I struggle to give my children the care they deserve while also caring for myself. I need to patient with my students who don’t understand what my life is like at home, or why I’m so tired or how much I crave just a little bit of silence. I have to patient with the person trying to parallel park when I’m in a hurry or the pedestrian meandering across the street when I’m late picking my daughter up from school. I need to be patient.
In being patient I will give myself space, I will carve out small moments of time for myself and my family, I will make fewer mistakes, I will regret fewer reactions. In being patient I will find happiness, I will be content, I will appreciate more, I will find acceptance.
And so now, on the cusp of the rest of my wonderful life, I choose patience, at least for this year. And next year, when I know what I else need to be happy, I will work on that. Hopefully, as I commit myself to being the person I want to be, I will better appreciate this life I’ve always wanted, that I’m so, so fortunate to have.