An Ideal Life

I was recently talking with a friend about how his therapy sessions had been going. He told me that his therapist asked him to complete some homework; he was to figure out and write down what his life would look like if he could have it exactly the way he wanted it. On its face, that might not seem that challenging, but when one really starts thinking about it, it is such a deep question, no?

Needless to say, the little wheels in my noggin started turning. This might be a common question that therapists ask, or perhaps others think about such things often, but to be perfectly honest, I don’t. I feel like often times we put such high expectations on events, others, and ourselves that we are destined to be disappointed, so I make a pretty concerted effort to avoid doing such things. I have worked at the same job for nearly a decade, one that is exceptionally unfulfilling, but it pays the bills. Few people, I tell myself, are lucky enough to get paid to do what they love; I am lucky to have a decent paying job that allows me the time and money to do things outside of work that I enjoy. But lately, that façade is having some pretty serious holes punched in it. I am having a harder time being engaged in my work, having a harder time caring about managing the drama among the various people in the office, having a harder time convincing myself that this is okay, that it’s enough.

Okay, spending every day on that lounge chair might be more ideal, but I'm trying to go with something a little more realistic

I know I am lucky to be employed. I don’t mean to minimize the struggles of those who are having a horrible time finding any work in this still struggling economy. Unfortunately, “lucky to have a job” only quells the dissatisfaction for so long. I have been spending more time making things for my Etsy store in the evenings and on weekends; I have recently started volunteering with a local program that provides domestic violence services, rape counseling, parenting classes, and many other wonderful things in the hopes that that would help me feel more fulfilled, and it does. But in my perfect world? If I could have things the way I wanted them? Honestly, it would be to find a job with a non-profit like the one I’m volunteering for full-time. Over the past few years, looking deeper and deeper into the struggles of the people we share the Earth, the country, the city, and even our own neighborhoods with, seeing the pain and the poverty that surrounds everyone, I want to do what I can to help.

It isn’t about accumulating the most stuff, the biggest house, or the fanciest car for me. My perfect world consists of a relatively modest house, because honestly, who wants to have to clean 6,500 sq. ft. of anything? I’ve lived in houses that big when I was a nanny, and the upkeep and utility usage is ridiculous. It’s not for me. I want a custom built closet and an awesome craft area to make my crap. I know my husband would be delighted to have the coffee table back, since it is constantly strewn with whatever 10 projects I happen to have going. I want a space for him to build the shop he longs for so he has room to work on his sculptures. I want a garage big enough to store the zombie apocalypse van we intend to build at some point, because, well, it’s my perfect world so why the fuck not?

Similar to this, except not built out of Legos. I don't think. Photo courtesy of http://legoasia.blogspot.com

I feel really lucky most days, honestly. I have an amazing partner that I wouldn’t trade for anything in the world. I lucked out big time on that guy, and I don’t take anything for granted when it comes to our relationship. I also have an awesome family that I am incredibly close with (with a few exceptions) and would rather spend time with them than most other people. In my perfect world, my biological father wouldn’t be a total dick so I could actually have some kind of relationship with him again. He wouldn’t have used me as an excuse to deny my older sister pretty much anything she ever asked him for growing up, filling her head with constant lies about the things he had to do for me so he couldn’t do them for her. Even though she knows now that they were lies, I realize that I will never be able to overcome the resentment she harbors towards me to this day. It makes me sad, knowing now that I unknowingly caused her so much pain, so in my perfect world, we would be able to talk again. But other than that, I hit the lottery in the family department.

So that’s my perfect world. Okay, one more thing, since it is a perfect world and all: I would win the lottery or inherit some insane amount of money from an unknown relative or admirer so that me and mine wouldn’t have to worry about money ever again. As my mom says, “I know money doesn’t buy happiness, but since I’m already happy, can’t I have some money?” It doesn’t seem unattainable (minus the monetary windfall), but it does mean I have to make decisions that will change our current lives to a decent extent. Change is scary, and it is hard, which is why most people avoid it. But the potential rewards are great, and if there is something that isn’t making one happy already, then there isn’t a whole lot to lose in going for it.

What is your perfect world? Your dream job? Your ideal home? Travelling to far off places? Have you found that it changes as you get older? Ten years ago, this would not have been the world I described, not even a little bit. But now? Maybe it seems boring and mundane, but I think it would be awesome.

 

10 thoughts on “An Ideal Life”

  1. I have an idea of the perfect life in my mind, but I also know that there is a 99% possibility of it never happening. I also believe that ‘perfect’ isn’t really possible when it comes to humans and society, so I feel only very little sadness about it, simply enjoying the day dreams and fantasies for the rest of the time.
    I have a very good life right now, and I know it. Very good is based on health, family and friends and finances right now, because job land is sticking out its tongue at me.

  2. I’m very fortunate in that the path I’m on is the path I would absolutely take if it was an ideal life. I can only hope by the time I get my PhD, I’ll actually be able to find work and get to stay on this path. I can’t imagine my life without philosophy.

    I also don’t want to picture an ideal life without including my boyfriend; I’m very fortunate in having that as well.

    It’s funny, because I think, at one point, I would have liked my ideal life to have included my family without all the drama and all the bullshit that eventually led to me cutting off contact. But now that it’s been almost two years without talking to anyone in my family…I am so much happier without them. I get along fine with the BF’s family!

    I haven’t made any close friends here yet. It seems I’m well-liked in my department, but I haven’t gotten particularly close to anyone yet. I’d like that to change. I wouldn’t need much, just a couple people with whom I can just have a nice, relaxing time and talk about things.

    I would also LOVE to not be in this living situation. A house is not part of my ideal life right now, because I’m going to be moving in a couple years to wherever I get funding for my PhD studies, but I would like to have a nice apartment. I don’t need much space. Maybe two bedrooms so one room can be the study and the other the bedroom. A balcony would be wonderful so I could make a garden. Ideally, it would be quiet, and I would have friendly neighbors with whom I get along. It would also be in a place where I can easily access public transportation. But, if we’re talking IDEAL, I would probably both have a driver’s license and a car of my own, which would have great gas mileage.

    I would also more easily be able to put myself on track with this creative writing thing. I don’t want to be one of those people who has dreamed of writing a novel for years and years but never does it…but it is incredibly hard to shut up that damn Critic and just make myself write!

    Also: no depression. Ever.

    That would be awesome!

    1. It has been 6 or 7 since I cut off contact with my biological father, and honestly, it is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. Many people feel like we are obligated to our families, required to put up with abuse and pain and drama because “blood is thicker than water” and to that I say “fuck that”. If someone brings you nothing but hurt and anxiety, they gots to go. Full stop. That is my long winded way of saying I am sorry your family situation is less than ideal, but so glad you have found a wonderful group in your BF’s family.
      And I think your ideal life sounds lovely!

  3. Great post. Your ideal sounds lovely and stable to me. A great craft area would be legit.

    I would want enough money that I wouldn’t have to worry about money. To live comfortably but without excess. Drive a Subaru (forester- ideally) for my camping trips in the mountains. Live in a 2 bedroom yellow and white bungalow with a porch out front and a garden in the back. My house would be painted in warm colors and filled with great artwork I accrued from my travels around the world. This house would have a big amazing kitchen for all of my baking/cooking  and an enormous bathtub. I would also have a crafting/cupcake frosting room. For a job I would want to run a bakery   (open Tuesday-Saturday from 10-3 only) and spend a lot of time volunteering at a women’s health/rape crisis center. I would also have a chocolate lab, a partner that also loved to cook and a really boss bicycle with basket to ride to the farmer’s market and my bakery.

  4. I’m sorry to hear about your family troubles – everyone has an entire universe inside of their head, and it can be very difficult to sort through everything and work things out sometimes. Money can’t buy happiness, per se, but it can buy the things that help one have enough security to seek happiness; it would be very hard to be fulfilled and happy without easy access to food, shelter, medical care, etc.

    My perfect life would incorporate a few of the things you talked about. For one, it would be perfect to have a yearly income independent of any work I do; doesn’t have to be much, just enough so that I never had to worry about having shelter and food even if I’m not working. Secondly, I’ve always wanted to work for myself in some capacity. Working at a job that I think anyone could do has always bugged me, which is why I tend to enjoy jobs that harness my creativity like my current one, but I would really love to earn my entire living by freelancing and/or consulting (I’m slowly starting to move towards this). Also, I have always wanted to be Indiana Jones. I’m just going to put that out there. All right, maybe not Indiana Jones exactly, but you know what I mean – adventures in archaeology. And, having done quite a bit of archaeology, it is decidedly not Indiana Jones-like, but a girl can dream. For instance, TIGHAR (a aviation archaeology group) is heading out this summer to the South Pacific to look for the remains of Amelia Earhart’s plane wreck. They’ve gone several times and have found quite a bit of evidence, and were recently given the go ahead by Hillary Clinton, Bob Ballard, etc — I think I might very well give my left tit to be able to go with them. So stuff like that.

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