Friday, October 16, 2009

Settling in to Settling

Sometimes it seems hard to write a blog about failing (and succeeding) without sounding like a whiny bitch all the time. "This happened, and then that happened and then this f-ed up shit happened..." you get the idea. Hopefully it's all balanced out with enough perspective, humor, and optimism to make it palatable.*
An acquaintance (okay, so it was my ex-boyfriend's fiancee) recently asked me what I thought was "my soul's intention." That is, the purpose that my consciousness had entered this lower vibrational plane to fulfill. And whether or not I would have phrased it quite that way, it's a question that would have been really easy for me to answer a few years ago. The answer would have been along the lines of wanting my life to be an example and inspiration for other people to do what they love for a living and not settle for anything less. That's something that I felt quite passionate about as a young(er) woman: not settling. For me that meant that I was going to move to LA, be an admired and wealthy actress of the stage and film living in my Richard Neutra dream home, playing in a rock and roll band when I wasn't traveling all around the world, having fabulous dinner parties with my luminary friends, looking fabulous (always) and learning to knit in my spare time. And that's just the short version!
But now I'm 28 and when I look around at my life it seems like along the way I've done a lot of settling for things that were not quite what I had always imagined. It actually turns out that I was willing to settle all along. And although I'm not unhappy ( my general disposition is happy and grateful) I'm definitely aware of the discrepancy between the afore-mentioned not settling lifestyle and the life that I'm actually living. I've also been very aware in the past year or so since I got pregnant and had my baby that what looks like "settling" from the vantage point of 17 or 21 looks like a really fucking nice life at 28.
My priorities have changed...Somewhat.
Because tucked away in there amidst being a really good mama and taking care of the car transmission and the health insurance and the laundry and all the other myriad chores that multiply and shapeshift into other, new important chores is still a desire to perform. A desire to create something. A desire to be recognized for that creation and a desire to be paid ridiculous amounts of money for it as well. Oh, and a desire to look H-O-T while I'm doing it! (Which, in my post-baby world is as daunting as winning an Academy Award. Maybe if you're lucky I'll tell you about why I've now added getting a pornstar bikini wax to my beauty list of To Dos in a future blog.)
But here's the thing. I don't know how to fulfill all those desires and take care of my baby and do the chores and be a good girlfriend and open up an ice cream shop and get enough sleep. Even though I spent 7 years in LA settling for not-quite good enough, it always felt like the possibility of the dream life was still there if I would be willing to step into it. And now I don't have the time or energy to step into anything but sweatpants and hand me down purple Uggs. So what's my soul's intention? I don't know. I'd like to figure it out right now, here with you, but I'm tired and the baby always wakes up at 1am which is just 40 minutes away...
Who asks their fiancee's ex-girlfriend that kind of question anyway?

*1) You will discover that I love footnotes and use them often whether it's appropriate or not. 2) This intro is basically me saying that for the next 5 or 6 paragraphs I fully intend to be a whiny bitch and hopefully you still like me when I'm through.


  1. I relate a lot to this post. I think the reckless, aggressive idealism of our early 20's can be a real pain in our late 20's asses...which are larger than our asses of yore (at least mine is).

  2. Well said Jen!"Reckless" and "aggressive" are the perfect words to describe the philosophy of my younger self. I would also add "judgmental" and "unforgiving" to that list as well. I have so much more understanding and empathy for people and how they live their lives now than I did 10 years ago.

  3. This is a great post. I'm now in my late 30's and take what you said and rinse repeat for 10 more years of sliding away from (well sometimes closer to) 'the dream' and also we have a new-ish child in common.

    My favorite line is "sliding into sweatpants and hand-me-down purple uggs". Thank god for handmedowns.