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 faÃ§ade 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.
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?
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.