Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Live In The Present Vs. Plan For The Future

 I bought these vintage salt and pepper shakers a few weeks ago with the intention of selling them. But then, I pictured them in my future kitchen. Now, I don't know what to do. I love them in theory and I love their retroness and their whimsy, I love their creepy/graceful necks and their cute faces. But I don't have a kitchen.

And is it silly to plan for a life I don't have? A kitchen I don't have, may never have? I mean, I do this already. I have a... let's call it a hope chest so I feel less crazy. It's a big rubbermaid container filled with mason jars and linens, juice glasses and tablecloths. It's my future - my wedding, my house. The problem is... these things are definitely (hopefully) in my future, but they're in THE FUTURE. And not really the foreseeable one. So am I crazy? Or is this normal? Or a bit of both?

This is a conversation that has come up many times in the past few weeks, so I'm willing to say, "Ok, universe, OK. You want me to ponder this for a while? FINE." My therapist and I were recently talking about living your life in the present. She said most women don't. They wait for that elusive tomorrow, that future that will undoubtedly be better and fuller. And I know I've done that, I know I do that. I've been listening a lot to this song and there's a line that hits me like a brick every time:
"I've been living for tomorrows all my life."

Then, a few days ago, Jon and Erica and I were having a conversation about why a young, single someone who was financially able would not want to buy a house. The main reason that Erica and I were proposing were that one might want to do that as a duo, i.e. with a spouse or life partner. Share the costs, share the responsibilities, share the time and effort spent on maintaining a house. Jon argued against this with, "What if you never get married?" I immediately jumped to defend my position and to point out that the odds were in favor of getting married one day. Later that night, though, that idea crept back into my head. What if I never get married? What if I never buy a house? What if I never do a whole bunch of things that I'm basically waiting for? How silly is that? I can't put my life on hold and wait for the future.

Another talk with my therapist resulted in a homework assignment.
Go on a road trip, she said.
These are the rules:
1. I have to spend at least one night away, 3-4 is preferable.
2. I have to go somewhere I've never been before.
3. I cannot plan where I will stay beforehand (gasp).
4. I can bring books, music, magazines, and/or a pet.
5. I can bring a cell phone but it is ONLY for emergencies. No checking in, no facebook, no blogging, no texts.
6. I have to eat out at a fancy restaurant at least one night. (Fancy implies I'd have to dress up a bit.)
7. I have to go alone. No one can meet me at any point on the trip.

This will be an amazing trip for me. I rarely do things alone. I rarely do things for myself only. I do things because they're expected or because they make those around me happy. And yes, of course, there's joy in making those around you happy, but I can't rely on others for my happiness. I have to make myself happy. So, this trip will be my path to living for today. Living for me.

The next step is to choose my destination. On to visit the old atlas!

I still don't know what to do about these guys.


  1. I definitely know the feeling. I thought by now that I'd be off living with my bf somewhere - but us both being unemployed has put a bit of a wait on that. Never the less, there is a box in my room of things that I have acquired and have no space for. Things for a someday apartment or someday house. I think it's normal.

    By the way, that trip sounds like an amazing thing to do. Last year we drove cross country and loved every second. This year we'd like to do the same and take more time, but we aren't sure if we can yet.

    Good luck :)

  2. Wow, that trip sounds pretty overwhelming, but awesome at the same time. My husband and I go on trips pretty often, but he is my right hand man when it comes to making plans and finding your way around. I can't imagine going alone! Good luck, and let us know how it goes.

  3. this sounds pretty interesting, i might give it a try myself. sounds fun!

    also, i personally think it's okay to buy stuff for the future, i do it myself!

  4. I love the idea of the trip! I'm sure you'll have a wonderful time! good luck!!

  5. i really adore the salt&pepper shakers--it's okay if you don't know what to do with them yet! i don't think there's anything wrong with buying things that you'd like to use in your future life.

    as for the independent road trip, i think that's an AWESOME idea! :) i hope you do it soon. i'd love to know what happens. it sounds scary/thrilling/exciting, you know? you'll have an amazing time, i'm sure.


  6. What a lovely idea! It is so important to get away and just be you :) And I also have things ready for my "future" kitchen... one day I will be super cute, LOL.

    In other news - check out the Pie Bird blog today.... there's something special for you waiting there!

  7. I know what you mean. It seems so silly sometimes to plan for things that might never happen!

    I think buying things now comes down to prioritizing though. I found a waterford vase at a thrift store the other day for $4... classic, timeless, and it will fit into any type of decor/color palate. H

    However I found a really cute set of plates that I loved at Pier 1 that were REALLY on sale but they were just plates and I reasoned it would be better to save my money now and splurge in the future than just start a mediocre collection.

    Great post! I am so excited for you to plan a trip! :)


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