If I could wave a magic wand and wish for the things I most want in life...
What would I wish for? A larger house, a successful career, long, healthy, flowing hair, or the dry skin on my knees to disappear? Would I wish that my two year old would sleep through the night so I could get a full night’s sleep for once and maybe lose the dark circles under my eyes? The initial thoughts that flooded my brain were a mixture of both big, life changing circumstances and mundane, somewhat superficial, things. There are so many "facts" of my life that I presently find to be dissatisfying, and by pondering this question and through a lot of self reflection, I think I am realizing that the core of what I truly want often gets overlooked.
So then I thought if I could wave a magic wand, for real, and create the perfect or ideal life for myself, I really would want to wave it and make all the issues and challenges I experience, in my marriage, within myself, and with parenting my kids, just go away... Poof. Disappear, and be resolved.
My marriage would be bliss, one of overwhelming respect, kindness, empathy, and love at all times. My husband and I would understand each other always, communicate effectively in every interaction, and we would be 100% supportive of each other without fail.
I would parent the way I strive to parent every moment, and the instincts that I have from my own less than perfect parenting experiences as a child would never surface; and instead, I would just do what I know to be right without difficulty or failure.
Of course, I could still wave the wand and create those other things I first mentioned I wanted too - why not? It's magic, right?
A home with increased square footage, in my current community, with enough space for me to have a quiet, dedicated place to practice yoga or to work without interruption, an extra bedroom so my kids could each have their own rooms when they become too old to share, a larger space for my kids to run around on their own without constant supervision, i.e. a gated backyard on our own property as opposed to just having the beach across the street that I have to take them to and watch them play, all the while not getting dinner prepared.
I would live on a street with neighbors who have kids... we could share babysitting duties and my kids would have people to play with in their immediate neighborhood.
I would have a career that I could balance with motherhood, that would fulfill my aspirations creatively and professionally, while still staying true to being the mom that I want to be.
After thinking about all this, contemplating it, and writing it down, I was surprised to discover that I feel somewhat dissatisfied at the prospect of it. If I really could have all these things with a simple wave of a wand, would the getting of them FEEL as good as I think? Would the not working or striving or putting forth the effort for them leave the getting with less meaning and satisfaction?
I am aware this is not the point of this exercise - that the idea was simply to write down the things in my life that I think would make it better - and I have done that - but I just could not help thinking about it on a broader scope and how really the way in which you get the life you want is not by wishing for it, but by actually being so clear and focused on what it is you do want, and then having the courage, strength, resolve, determination and passion to strive to make it happen for yourself.
This of course could be a long road and actually transforming all the "wants" into "haves" would not be an overnight process. So maybe what is even more important is accepting the simple fact that life isn’t, and will never be, perfect.
I think what is more important to me now, and more interesting, is to try to strive to accept the “what is.” Deal with life as it is. To take moments and appreciate what I do have in the present so I don't waste time being dissatisfied to the point that I miss the joys and pleasures that are happening now, even in this imperfect state.
Do this, and then still work really hard at improving various situations and states of being, improving that imperfect reality, bit by bit, until it is transformed into my version of a perfect life; which, in reality, would be a happy, fulfilling, imperfect life.
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Postscript: The above entry, the first one ever posted on here, is something I wrote one whole year before the creation of this website was even a thought in my head. It was originally written in March 2013 when my son was two and a half and not in preschool yet (read: home with me ALL day, EVERY day) and my daughter was halfway through Kindergarten in one of the local Malibu public elementary schools.
After three years of dropping off and picking up my daughter at her nursery school, alongside NBA basketball players and Hollywood actors, I had gotten used to and accepted the fact that I was going to be THAT mom... the one who showed up every day with no makeup, dirty hair under a baseball cap, dark sunglasses on to hide my dark circles and bags, clunky Uggs on my feet, and a nursing newborn in my arms.
I had a valid excuse to be in such a disheveled state, right? I was either pregnant or nursing a newborn while she attended school there - hell, I had to nurse my son in the car outside the school before picking her up most days! So it was perfectly acceptable that I was the mess I was during those three years... so I told myself.
Now, my daughter was 5 and entering Kindergarten while my son was still only 2 - but surely at this point in my mothering journey I would have gotten my shit together. Surely I would be able to show up at my daughter’s new school, all glowing and fresh from a run along Zuma Beach, pushing a jogger stroller in my stylish workout wear with my cute toddler in tow; and finally be the bubbly mom that all the other moms seemed to be.
BUT NOPE. UH-UH. NOT EVEN CLOSE.
As I was thrusted into a new social climate, I was ill-prepared for the new "parent scene" I was now confronted with. It was littered with these ambitious Kindergarten parents that were signing up left and right to volunteer in the classroom and chaperone field trips, while I was barely getting to school on time for pickup. (Most days I had to stop sorting laundry and wake up my son from his nap to rush out of the house to get her.)
I realized quickly that the difference between those other parents and me was that THEIR kid in my daughter’s class was their YOUNGEST. They didn’t have a toddler at home still. Their 5 or 6 year old was in school all day, five days a week.
So they were out... free. They had been released from the shackles of toddlerhood while I was still bound. I couldn’t chat leisurely outside the classroom any given day like they did; and for that small luxury, I was envious.
It wasn’t their fault - they had put in their time - but I felt isolated and like I didn’t belong - like I wasn’t in the “Kindergarten Mom Club." I was run down, hardly getting any sleep, watching an over active toddler boy every waking minute, fighting with my husband, not getting out and seeing friends, or doing ANYTHING for myself that didn’t involve my children. And, I was STILL wearing baseball caps, sunglasses and Uggs.
It was a low point for me - and I had this crippling and overwhelming feeling that my life had taken a wrong turn somehow.
So I went to talk to a psychologist. I wanted to have someone outside of my life to whom I could express my feelings of dissatisfaction and powerlessness, and hopefully find a way to figure out how to reconcile them.
During our first session, she asked me that simple question, "If I could wave a magic wand and wish for the things I most want in life, what would they be?" She asked me to go home, think about it, write my answers down, and share it with her the following week.
The post you read above was the response I wrote about an hour before my next session with her. My therapist was floored by it, impressed by how well-crafted it was, and told me that it sounded like something she would read in a magazine.
Although I always have been a writer, it was always exclusively for myself. This was the first time I had shared anything personal I had written with another. So it wasn't until a year later when I shared this same piece with a close friend that I was inspired to create this website.
My friend read it and told me that what I write could actually help others; and that was the impetus for this site. I was so fortunate to have someone who inspired, supported, loved, and spurred me on to continue to write and share my truths. If I hadn't, I don't know if I ever would have done it.
And for that, I am eternally grateful.