There is no other place I wanna be.
Remember that song? It’s 24 years old now but it still fills me with impulse. I could have been so many things since 1991, but I’ve mostly been lucky.
I really think, if I tell myself this every day, I can believe it. Because every day my life starts over. Thinking about the future is such a waste. I maybe should have thought more about stability and a relationship that would protect me and things like that. But I could have, and I could have wasted so much time. Because you can build those things, spend so much work trying to bank on somethings you think you need in the future, only to have them fall apart within minutes, leaving you with emotional, obligational, financial aftermath, and less options. I can think about the future in a today way – for what I want and need today. And I just believe things will work if I’m happy. What I want and need today grows into this future that becomes something bigger because it became… it wasn’t planned and it wasn’t worried about.
A few weeks ago I made a last minute decision to go to my 20 year high school reunion. A few weeks before that, I wouldn’t have dreamed of showing up. I don’t really care about impressing people I went to high school with, but I was beaten down and couldn’t imagine beginning to explain who I am. Because a reunion is an event where you need a two sentence explainer.
I was mostly out of place amongst my former classmates. Not in how much we all enjoyed seeing each other, but in many other ways. I heard most frequently “you look exactly the same”, which is comforting a few days from your 38th birthday. And, allow me this conceited concession – I weigh the same as I did when I graduated from high school, because I recently suffered/benefited from “breakuporexia” My token line that evening became “nope, no husband, no kids”. And really, other than saying where you live and what you do, what else do you discuss in this situation? Location, career, kids/ages. So I had location and career. I can’t really list where my time and money has been spent – travel, spiritual seeking, doomed but ultimately fleetingly satisfying love affairs, relative excitement, decadence, debauchery (at times), work, more work. And, just… a dedication to me.
It was big to me, going home for the first time in ten years, just before the start of a big year, a rather big birthday (really officially “late” 30s), after a very rough emotional upheaval. I reminded myself of the teenager I was in that town, and her desire to experience life and escape her stifling New England existence. Some of my classmates were hooking up and I considered this prospect, finding it difficult to decide between which guy I already made out with in the 90s I’d consider making out with again in the 2000s, and not putting designs on anyone. I realized later – I didn’t want to bone these guys then and don’t want to now. I’m still me and always have been. Just slightly removed from the ground.
I remember being seventeen, and my thoughts were always too big for my town. I couldn’t even practice, I just had to get to the next era. I was authentically never even good enough for myself and spent years trying to grow into who I thought I should be. Yeah, I thought I’d direct a film or have albums and be famous and shit. Okay, that hasn’t happened. BUT. I had. I have – an exciting life. I have a career that most people find interesting and enviable. I thought all that other stuff, that my old classmates have going on, would just happen. And as I got older I realized it doesn’t – marriage and babies are like that career I worked so hard on. You want it, you seek it, and you keep working on it. Babies can happen accidentally but the relationship and commitment you really have to put energy into creating. I was distracted by other things, and kept running off to other things.
I could call myself a failure in relationships. Except how can you really fail at living and being yourself? How can you fail at being a woman? I mean, you can’t. Reaching 38 without trying to make a relationship work so I could be married or have a family on an expected timeline, I am pleasantly surprised that my life has turned out pretty awesome. And I say this because as a woman, this isn’t an alternative that is often presented to you as an appealing option.
To be the age I am now, and so untethered, but with so much love in my current and past relationships, I just feel lucky. I feel like I can still do anything. My “lifestyle” could be called selfish or something, or immature. But ultimately I feel that it’s simple. I haven’t taken on more than I needed to just to follow my path and look for the experiences I wanted… or fall into them. And I have all these beautiful memories, and none of the physical baggage that could weigh me down. As for emotional baggage, I’m fortunate enough that I have had time to work on myself and try and be a better person. Learning compassion – working on compassion – has made me a happier person and a better friend.
So, right here, right now, I’m so lucky that all of my choices, all of my mistakes, have led me here, to being happy. Because I have this feeling, I know that there’s more, I know that it comes from me, and I can share it with other people, and I can feel more love, and I am learning who I am. It feels good to be alive.
I want to be obvious and post the Jesus Jones video, but instead I’m going to post this video a friend hipped me to years ago. This song is anti-feminist bullshit. I fucking love babies and may have one – but this song is a crock. The fact that anyone recorded this garbage literally encouraging women to turn away from freedom and exploration lest they end up alone makes me angry. Such narrow definitions of “paradise” and “truth”, WTF? I’m here to say it’s not true ladies. There is a lifetime of love ahead of you if you live it every day.
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
I’m telling you no one tells you how fabulous you can be even if you aren’t living in NYC like Carrie Bradshaw. 😉