Do you remember Veruca Salt? In case you forget, or grew up in a cave or something, she is the nasty little girl from “Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory” who is excessively spoiled and has no patience. Her character arc climaxes with a song called, “I Want It Now!”
I feel a little like Veruca Salt these days.
I WANT IT NOW.
Patience is not my friend lately. I feel like time is my enemy. Days just keep slipping away, and those days turn into weeks and into months and into years… Time is moving too fast, and I am not accomplishing enough. I should be further ahead by now. I should have more figured out by now. I should BE more by now!
I want time to slow down so I can accomplish more. Yet there’s a parallel thought bouncing around in there, that I just want to get on with my future already. This makes no sense in my brain at the moment, all I know is that I feel extremely impatient. I want the future to hurry up and get here so I can be who I am supposed to be (because in the future in my head all of my dreams have come true and I am very accomplished and important, obviously).
Are you picking up on the Veruca Salt vibes yet?
Life has not exactly gone as planned. Which feels so gross to type because does ANYONE’S life go exactly as planned?!? What in the world makes me think that I deserve some “perfect” life that is just happy all the time and that I should get everything I ever wanted and all my freaking dreams should come true exactly as I envisioned them? I have never considered myself to be “spoiled,” but I think my privilege is showing… That or too many Disney princess movies as a child…
So now, I’m at a point in my life where I’m looking around and thinking, “Wait… hold up… this is not how it’s supposed to be. This is not what it’s supposed to look like. How did this happen? Where did I go wrong? What should I have done instead? How can I fix it now? Who am I supposed to be?”
WHO AM I SUPPOSED TO BE.
Dang people. That’s real. Let’s see, I’m 36, so if you double that and carry the one and extrapolate that out then the likely conclusion is… YEP. Mid-life crisis time. Awesome. Don’t worry, there are no sports cars in my future (though I’d really like a sweet new mini-van), BUT… don’t be surprised if I turn up with purple hair at some point. It’s gonna happen.
So back to my impatience.
I want to be in better physical shape. Having 4 babies in 10 years is not kind to a body, and I want to look on the outside the way I still see myself on the inside. I want a career that I am passionate about and proud of; I love being a mom but that is only a part of who I am. I have way more to offer the world and I feel a huge calling on my life that extends outside the walls of my home. And, thanks to all those Disney movies, I want an epic love story. I just do. *shrug* I want to find the kind of love that pierces your soul and fills all the dark corners with light until every part of you is SEEN. Love that is a resting place, a safe refuge from the chaos of the world.
These things are gonna take some time.
I want a life that I just don’t have right now. I can see it in my head… I have my dreams and goals and plans… but I hate that I don’t have it yet. I want it now, damn it. And if I’m being REAL honest (and that’s kind of how I roll), I wanted it 5 years ago. I look back at my past and I feel regret. With my hindsight goggles on, I can clearly see all the things I did wrong and then I take my 36 years of wisdom and tell myself what I should have done instead that would have yielded much more favorable results. What a fun game!
But here’s the thing… I wasn’t ready yet. It’s easy to look back and see the mistakes and bad decisions. Those are obvious. But when I look back at the girl-becoming-a-woman… oh how my heart breaks for her. She gets all the grace in the world. I forgive that girl; she was doing the very best she could with what she knew. She was trying SO hard, way harder than she needed to. Trying to please everyone, to do all the things, to be who she thought everyone wanted her to be…
She didn’t know. *I* didn’t know.
The wonderful and terrible thing about knowledge is that once you know something, it changes you. You can’t un-know that thing. You can try, but then you’re just living in a state of denial and that is a terribly unhealthy way to live. Once you know something, you are responsible for it. You are responsible for your reaction to it.
Now I know.
So now what?
The days are going to keep slipping away. Time is going to keep passing whether I want it to or not. I may wish I had a different life already, but the fact is, the only life I have is here, right now. Now, this present moment, is the only time that matters. I can’t change the past and tomorrow isn’t guaranteed. But if tomorrow is going to come, I don’t want to look back on today with regret either.
Life is lived one day at a time. One small step at a time. One decision at a time. Putting one drop of water in a bucket everyday might not feel like you’re doing anything significant. But eventually, those drops add up and your bucket will be so full that you have to go get another bucket. Or go help someone else fill their bucket…
Enough worrying about how full the bucket is today, or how much longer it is going to take. Just focus on today’s drop of water.
What do you need to start today? What have you been putting off, telling yourself it’s too late already? We only get one life, and we are responsible for how we choose to live that life. It’s never too late to do the right thing.
Choose life. Choose knowledge. Choose health. Choose love!
And then be patient.
(And EFF Veruca Salt… she was a bad egg.)