Friday, August 31, 2012

It's never enough.

My ex-husband used to tell me I was never content with what I had, that I always wanted more, that it was never enough.

At the time I argued with him, but now, almost two decades later, I can see he was right. (He's gonna love hearing that.)

Here's the thing.

When you grow up in a world filled with constant chaos, the thing you long for more than anything else is stability. The problem I struggled with inside my twenty-something mind, was assuming that stability meant boredom and monotony. Why would I think that? Why would I link those things with stability? Well, because that's what he convinced me. What his family convinced me...that a woman who had children couldn't have her own life, couldn't be her own person, couldn't have interests of her own that weren't directly related to her family. God forbid she pursue things that took her away from her children or husband.

I still deal with these closed-minded views from my ex-mother-in-law. My travel, my hobbies, my interests, even my taste in music is questioned and, at times, has made me wonder if I was doing something wrong.

I'm not, of course, but for the briefest moment, I contemplated it. For a split-second, I doubted that what I was doing wasn't what was best for me or my family. I hate that I second-guessed myself. I hate that I let someone who doesn't know me influence what I do. It wasn't until the next moment that I realized I just didn't give a shit anymore.

The truth is what I have is not enough. It never will be. And I'm happy that it won't be. Because for as long as I don't have everything I want, I will actively pursue it. I will travel and I will work hard for what I want. I will fight for it. I'll ignore failure. I'll brush the dust off my knees when I fall and get back up again. I will ask for what I want. I will expect it. I will never be content with what I have.

I was once taught that was a bad thing...that my children would grow up spoiled and ungrateful ("just like their mother," says the old voice in my head from Ghosts of Marriage past). But here's the thing, if I roll over and accept my lot in life, I'm teaching my children that it's okay to settle for less than what they deserve.

And that is not okay.

By constantly chasing my dreams, I'm teaching my children to do the same. My teenaged children are coming to that point in their lives where they're trying to figure out what they want to be when they grow up. Some of their dreams are lofty and some aren't. But the point is, I've taught them to dream. I've taught them that nothing is impossible if you want it badly enough and are willing to work at it. My kids won't settle into a life they don't want because I've taught them not to.

They've learned through me that if one path doesn't work out, they're not stuck...that there is always another path if they look around. The other day, my son and I were talking about what he wants to do when he graduates and I told him it's okay if he doesn't know what he wants yet...that I'm thirty-eight and I am just now figuring it out. Just because I'm his mom doesn't mean I have to act like I've got my shit together when I don't. I think it's important for my kids to know we're constantly growing and learning. It makes them feel safer in making mistakes when they know I've made some, too.

While stability is important in a child's life, so is dreaming. I'd much rather my kids flit from job to job while pursuing what makes them happy than be stuck in a job they hate just for the sake of "stability."

As long as I have breath left in my chest, I won't settle for "enough." If that disappoints some of you, I feel sorry for you. Happy beats content any day. :)

No comments:

Post a Comment