Breaking Reverie

I'm not a highly introspective person, so I made it quite far in life before I realized how much I didn't like my actual life - at all. I spend so much of my time daydreaming and pining away for better times sure to come. I'm always so certain that if I can make just this one little change, then all the cards will magically fall in place and I will be happy. 

Sound familiar? 

I don't know at what age things got particularly rough. I wouldn't describe my childhood as unhappy, nor would I describe myself as an unhappy kid. I remember liking life quite a lot, thankyouverymuch. School was a nuisance I could have done without (that's a gracious way of saying that I absolutely loathed school with a fierce passion and it brought me to my knees with anxiety many mornings). But I had great friends and we spent many of our days outside, riding bikes, catching minnows and flipping around the high bars.

I knew I was going to be a published author. From a young age, I scribbled words onto paper and painstakingly edited, re-edited, and then edited some more. If I wasn't playing with friends or Barbies, I was daydreaming about my novels or my future career. 

I guess that's where the mystery begins.

My daydreams started innocently enough, like any young girl, I suppose. I set up a TV news station in my bedroom, pulled out the family camcorder and went to work dramatically narrating that day's news. Whether I would write or communicate the news on TV, I didn't much care. I just knew that I had words in my brain that I needed to share with the world, and that was how I'd spend my life. Whether a journalist, a novelist, famous or not, I didn't care. I just wanted to make stories.

Except I never actually finished a single novel. Some short stories? Sure. I sprinkled poems here and there, too. But as quickly as I'd fall in love with the characters in the novel I was working on, sooner or later I'd edit the book out of existence. Nothing was ever good enough, so halfway through one novel, I'd convince myself it was so awful that it should be scrapped entirely. There's no saving this, I'd think. It's too cliche and drags on into eternity.

I guess you'd say my life has followed that path ever since. Hatch an idea (that will make life so much better, of course), irrationally convince myself of its brilliance and ease, implement said idea and crash and burn as soon as it's not absolute perfection.

  • I don't see results fast enough. 
  • The idea is impossible during my season of life. 
  • I fall off track one day and scrap the whole thing because I can't ever get back on track from a bad day. 
  • I'm human and sometimes I suck at plans.
  • My wandering eyes convince me that this other girl's idea is much smarter and sure to work better than my current idea.

This goes on and on ad nauseum, for years. Daydreaming - reverie - isn't all bad. Right? Where would we be today without the dreams of the best and brightest? But for me - and, I gather, for many other women out there - what drives the daydreaming is the crux of the issue.

I'm a serial dreamer. I have an intense drive to succeed. This is often to my own detriment and not at all a good trait. The core issue here is that I feel unfulfilled and insecure. It's the same reason I turned to credit cards in my early 20s to stuff the holes in my soul with things. You can have 30 amazing pairs of shoes and an empty soul. Trust me, I know.

I don't really know what it looks like to stop daydreaming - to break reverie, we'll say - but I'm ready. I'm ready to love the actual life I have, right here. It's a good life. There's no need to daydream about some other life, or to wish away the season I'm in. Sure, this season is tough. I fall into bed at night. No, I collapse. I collapse into bed at night because my body is doner than done. But the season I'm rushing myself out of - the one with little kids who demand and cry and need all day long - is short. And one day, I'm going to miss this season. When my kids don't want to snuggle and think I'm terribly uncool and embarrassing, I'll wish I could rewind time. When my kids are grown and gone and have kids of their own and the house is quiet and I finally have all the time in the world for myself? I know I'll still want these days back. 

I'm taking a step forward, in transparency and in public, to say I'm finally ready to commit to enjoying each season of life I'm in for what it is, and to have focused and intentional dreams that are realistic. I don't have a clue what this journey will look like, or all the paths and forks I'll take, but I'll be sure to share. 

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