Monday, August 15, 2005

Mourning the Life That Wasn't

On Saturday night, Mike and Gena hosted a lovely wine tasting at their home. Their house, for the record, is brand new and was built to their specifications. It is utterly, ridiculously lovely. I keep encouraging them to get a dog, go on vacation and ask me to pet-sit just so I can bask in the glow of their home.

At one point I went into the kitchen to get some water and as usual, I molested the refrigerator. It is a wonderful stainless steel Jenn-Air fridge with french doors, an internal water filter and a bottom slide freezer. Cooking and entertaining are important to Mike and G, and so their kitchen is pretty much perfect - Viking range, island, granite counters, marble tile work, cherry wood cabinets with silver fixtures. It is, in sum, exactly the type of kitchen I have always wanted. Gena stepped into the kitchen and asked what I was doing. "Oh, just fondling your fridge, as usual."

Seems like most of my people are divided into two camps right now - life crisis or massive settlement. The settlers - buying property, having children, working towards a lasting and fulfilling career. The life crisises - wondering if they're making the right decisions, not sure what they're doing and so on.

My teenage years were difficult, unpredictable and unstable for a variety of reasons. And loathe as I am to admit it, I suppose those years drove me towards some of my goals earlier in life. I have always erred on the side of, or perhaps more accurately craved, stability and predictability. And so it was with trepidation and disappointment that I realized some months ago that nothing in my life was headed in the direction that I had expected. Despite staying close to home, I am no closer ot putting down roots; despite an advanced degree, I am no closer to a lasting and fulfilling career. And while I feel deep satisfaction with my personal life, I must admit that I thought I might have some ideas about marriage and family by now. I didn't expect to be married, of course, but I suspect that at this juncture in my life, I am further away from that sort of settlement than I have been at any other time in my adult life.

And as I realized these massive shifts between my expectations and reality, I mourned the life that I didn't have. But since so many of these disappointments were beyond my control, I figured perhaps there was a lesson to extract from this after all. Perhaps this was really an opportunity for reinvention. I never expected to be here - to be planning massive job jumping, calculating how much money I have to save so that I can run off on a world tour, and accepting the fact that after a couple of decades of behaving in a manner that is more mature that I should have to be, it was time to be immature. There is something overwhelmingly liberating and refreshing about it. Why shouldn't I sell my car and go live in New York in my 30s? Or move to Valencia for that matter?

But for a moment on Saturday as I stood running my finger tips over the steel door of G's fridge, I forgot all that and felt the sadness that goes with unfulfilled longing. It was only fleeting, though. Changing takes practice.


  1. G-Doll9:57 AM

    Thanks for the kind words Megan! The dog is on the way, so please don't move too far (i.e. Valencia)...I'm gonna take you up on house/pet sitting ;-)

    This blog made coming back to work after vacation worthwhile.

  2. Paul the Adulatory11:25 AM

    This post proves the point that you should move to New York and be a writer.

  3. Paul the Patterner11:27 AM

    P.S. I told Tracey that you ran into Bitter Dan, and she replied, "Bitter Dan!" True story.

  4. Rach the appraiser queen8:54 PM

    I do believe that you have said what was really on my mind. I felt like I had written that a few minutes before on a post-it note somewhere in my office.