Last month I wrote about how much I love school and the reasons why.
The more I thought about it, though, the more I realized I love school because there is an end game to it. It requires hard work, learning and structure, and there are teachers there who grade those efforts. It is easy to know the job was well done or not fairly quickly. When a task or lesson is mastered, moving on to the next one is expected.
Someone is always there to explain the next step. Building continuously on lessons brings one to a final, glorious graduation day, after which life is grand. Going on to get a great job, buy a great house, a great car, go on great trips, find a great mate and have great kids.
Am I the only one who has done all of those things and then thought “Is this it?”
Plunging the inexplicably and incessantly clogged downstairs toilet, loading and unloading the dishwasher, cussing the minivan I swore I’d never drive because it keeps turning off randomly at stop lights even though it has supposedly been repaired four times. Slogging through so many days, counting down the minutes until the kids go to bed happens more often than I’d like to admit.
Is this it? Is this what I want to teach my two boys that life is all about?
My whole life, I went to school, worked hard, got married, had children and try to be a good parent. I wanted all of these things, and I’m glad I have them. But as I’m creeping ever closer to what I used to consider “old”, and ask myself if this is it, I realize I’m scared.
My debt-to-income ratio isn’t where I assumed it would be by this point in life. I’m not sure how we are going to pay for our children to go to college. I don’t know what to make for supper tonight, but I’m sure it involves me going back to the grocery store. Again.
Most importantly, I’m not exactly sure what I’m doing about anything anymore, even though I was dead sure of it a mere few years ago.
I feel like I should be grabbing life and shaking it until it begs for mercy and releases its intentions for me. That I should be channeling Tony Robbins types and “following my bliss” and other such clichés.
Then the money and happiness that we are all promised will come if we do so will magically show up and make my bank account explode. That I should be living this fruitful, generous and amazing life that I created by harnessing my own hard work and talents, and everything else will fall into place. Maybe I should go to church more often and talk to Jesus about it?
Is God withholding more abundant blessings from me because I’m complacent about attending due to my religious confusion?
Then I feel guilty that I’m not content with what I have. There are so many people who don’t have a sweet family or anything close to the material comforts we enjoy. I’m sure those who have less would be more than happy to fold all of the laundry that is breeding upstairs while I’m busy reading celebrity gossip online.
So what is my bliss? What is my passion? What am I supposed to be doing here? Am I measuring success correctly? Am I having a mid-life crisis? Does that mean I’m going to die when I’m 72? If so, that means time is ticking away more quickly than I anticipated—I had better get myself together and make my wildest dreams come true.
This piece was originally printed in the May 2, 2012 edition of the Fort Mill Times.