We’re an us. There’s a history here, and histories don’t happen overnight. In Mesopotamia or Ancient Troy there are cities built on top of other cities, but I don’t want another city, I like this city. I know what kind of mood you’re in when you wake up by which eyebrow is higher, and you know I’m a little quiet in the morning and compensate accordingly, that’s a dance you perfect over time. And it’s hard, it’s much harder than I thought it would be, but there’s more good than bad and you don’t just give up! And I’ll try to relax, let’s face it, anybody is going to have traits that get on your nerves. I mean, why shouldn’t it be your annoying traits? And I know I’m no day at the beach, but I do have a good sense of direction so I can at least find the beach, which isn’t a weakness of yours, it’s a strength of mine. And God you’re a good friend and good friends are hard to find. Charlotte said that in Charlotte’s Web… And ultimately, isn’t that what it comes down too? What a person is made of? That girl in the pin helmet is still here - ‘bee boo bee boo’- I didn’t even know she existed until you and I’m afraid if you leave I may never see her again, even though I said at times you beat her out of me, isn’t that the paradox? Haven’t we hit the essential paradox? Give and take, push and pull, the yen the yang. The best of times, the worst of times! I think Dickens said it best, ‘He could eat no fat, his wife could eat no lean’, but, doesn’t really apply here does it?
This isn’t going to be nice.
We’ve all heard it: “S__t or get off the pot.”
What pot? Seriously. Do all of you really see everything important in life as something you’re supposed to drop a load in? I’m being blunt, and crass. I’m not going to apologize.
Milestones. They’re these lovely markers in our lives, aren’t they? Nope. They’re not. They’re reasons to pat ourselves on the back or beat ourselves up or ruin countless great things - jobs, relationships, bank accounts. All so our lives look like some awesome Pinterest board, or so our families are happy, or so people don’t ask those questions that make us self-implode.
I am absolutely, positively not saying there is anything wrong with houses, and cars, and marriages, and kids. In fact, I’m not opposed to any of those things. Well, maybe the kids. But life - it’s not meant to be lived as a series of tick boxes we check off. And for those who end up on that path, if you’re happy - I’m the first girl in line to smile with you and tell you how lovely it all is.
But… (Because there’s always a “but.”) A few things about me:
When I was five, I said I never wanted kids. I remember the moment, clear as day. Have any of you listened? I always said, “Maybe someday, when I’m in my mid to late thirties.” Since childhood. I’ve said this forever. I do not believe in defining your life based on the life (or lives) you’ve created. I believe they must always be separate. And parenthood - it’s a beautiful, challenging, admirable thing - but only when it’s the right fit and the right time.
And you know what else I said? I said I loved the idea of a wedding and marriage but that I believed in sharing a life first. And sharing a life (whether you’ve got it backed up on paper or not) isn’t about the dress or the rings or gifts. They should be afterthoughts. Dessert. Rewards for the hard work and the honesty it takes to have something real. And by the way - it’s not any harder to screw up or throw away all the good in that married version of a shared life. It happens all the time. It doesn’t make you bulletproof.
I said I wanted to do work that changed something - that that’s all that mattered to me. I didn’t care about the credentials after my name or the pay (though I’ve since learned that while money can’t buy happiness, the lack of it can make happiness rather tricky). And guess what - that’s the kind of work I do. Sure, money’s more important to me now, because I understand it. But even on the days when I hate my job, I know I’ve stuck to my guns on some level.
So, stop. All of you. Stop telling people - and me - about this imaginary pot they need to dump in or get off of. I don’t like to think about my life as a pot to be dumped in. Who’s going to clean that up, anyway?
And I’m so sorry, but yes - yes, there’s a Meredith Grey quote that’s perfect for this:
It’s not so important - happy ever after… just that it’s happy right now.
I promise you - each and every one of you - if you stop trying to make a list of what you want and define every decent thing that happens to you and put it in a box, you will find some happiness… and so will the people you keep telling to s__t or get off the pot. And no, it’s not going to be every second. And no, it won’t all be easy.
That happy ever after thing? I think it’s about what you can say in the end. Because let me tell you… if you think you know everything you want and you think you’ve got it all figured out, the joke’s on you. And it’s a cruel one.
Stop ruining your right nows. And most importantly, stop ruining the right nows of others. If I’ve had to learn one difficult lesson ad nauseum in this life of mine, it’s that right now may just be it.