Ever have one of those conversations that makes you stop and think? The kind that sticks with you hours, even days, after its conclusion? I had one of those conversations recently, with my husband and my friend, Dana.
Topic: The possible end of the world.
Question: If it all ended tomorrow, and you had a moment of knowledge that the end was coming, would you be ok? Happy? Satisfied?
When Dana posed this question to me, my gut reaction was NO. (Followed by my deepest hope that the end of the world doesn’t mean a zombie apocalypse. Because zombies creep me out.)
I have to much to do for my life to just end in a Too many things I haven’t accomplished yet. Too many dreams I haven’t fulfilled. Would I go into that moment kicking and screaming, shaking my fists at the universe? (Or the Mayans?)
|Maybe the Mayans just had a warped sense of humor.
As Dana and my husband talked about how they felt about the (impossible) situation, I found myself listing all those things in my head. Those things that plague me everyday, just out of reach.
List of Things I Don’t Have Yet
(But still really want, thereby making the end of the world even more sucky.)
*A job I love
*My own house
*A second car
*A published book
*A million dollars (yes, I realize that’s a bit of a stretch)
The thought of not fulfilling these dreams makes me a little panicky. I’ve waited so long! I’ve been so patient! It’s almost within our grasp! With the conversation still going on around me, I focus on steadying my breathing, calming my rapid heart rate. It’s not going to happen, Abby, I tell myself. The Mayans just ran out of rock. We’ll be celebrating 2013 with Ryan Seacrest and the giant sparkly ball with everyone else on the planet come December 31st.
Moments later, I confess my answer to the question to Brian and Dana. I feel guilty saying it. Ungrateful.
I say that it’s not that I am not appreciative for what I do have, it’s just that I want more. “Everybody wants more, Abby,” Dana says wisely.
And that’s when Brian says it. The thing that I’ll mull over for hours, even days, far after the conversation has ended. The thing that, at first, hurts my feelings until I realize the truth behind the statement.
“Abby tends to focus more on what we don’t have.
It makes it harder for her to see what we DO have.”
And yet, it’s true.
I lie awake at night, imagining what my life would be like if I could turn off that maternal desire to have a baby. How much happier I’d be if I could stop yearning. I pass by houses with “For Sale” signs in the yard and am bitter that I don’t have one of my own. I get up at the crack of dawn to schlep my husband to and from work, grumbling all the way about my own lack of transportation. I talk about the book I’m writing, and the other one I’ve got floating around in my head, with gusto (even though I haven’t touched my manuscript since Thanksgiving.)
With his words bouncing around in my head, I’ve spent the day berating myself for this flaw in my personality. Asking myself if I strive too much (or plan too much) for the future, thereby letting today pass me by. And I started listing all the things in my life that I DO have, (for my reference, and Brian’s.)
List of Things I Do Have
(Thereby making my life awesomely awesome)
*A steady, healthy relationship with a man I admire and trust.
*A family that supports me, loves me, and makes me laugh.
*Friends who appreciate me for me, no matter my flaws.
*Four cats who let me hug them, even when they don’t want to be hugged.
*A job that allows me to follow my true passion–writing.
It’s not as if I don’t know how blessed I am in life. I just want more. More, more, more.
Does that make me greedy? Selfish? Ungrateful?
Or does that make me normal?
Regardless, I’ve decided to add a new resolution for 2012. I’m going to stop focusing so much on the things we don’t have and spend more time in the moment, loving everything we DO have.
Because that belongs on the list, too.