Does anybody else ever feel like they are actually two people deep down? Like there are two ends to your personality that do not always quite meet up. On the one hand I love being a mom and all that comes with it. I love my husband. I love the life we have created. I desperately want a new baby. But, and here’s the kicker folks, I also want to pack up and move away. My husband has told me he is with me. Whatever I need, wherever I want to go, he is with me. It is nice to know that I have that support if I decide to do something crazy and stupid. And that’s what I tell myself, It would be stupid to even consider moving away now. Our life is so nice. We have a beautiful home and life here. It would be silly to give that up. But then a little voice deep down, almost buried says “But what if it’s not?” Then I start all over again because at the end of the day I’m afraid of that little voice. It could wreck havoc on the perfect life we have built.
I really want to move some place warm. I dream of being near the beach and having a pool in the back yard we can use on a regular basis. We have moved a lot but we have spent most of our time within hours of my parents. Moving far away would mean it would just be us. No family or friends within a decent driving distance. That is a little scary. I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t. I know my family pretty well and I know that I would only see my mother and youngest sister if I came home to visit. The likelihood that they would visit is so slim that it would shock me if they came. My dad and other sister would visit and may even move near us. We do not rely on family or friends for anything tangible. I would just miss having people to have dinner with or grab coffee.
What if I give up what I have here and things don’t work out? Even worse, What if I ask my family to give up everything they have here and it doesn’t? My oldest daughter doesn’t want to move. She is afraid to leave her friends. I fear she would hate me for moving her away. But what if it’s just what she needs? What if she loves it there? What if she loves it and we hate it so much we move back?
It could be a financial disaster. We would have to give up our jobs. I can find a job elsewhere as a nurse and my husband assures me that he could find something anywhere we go. We would have to sell our home which really means something special to me. We could rent it out if we only left for a year or so. That may be the perfect amount of time to live somewhere as a trial. What if renters destroy our house?
A few months ago, I met a lady, a fellow nurse, that made a huge impact on me. She has no idea that she affected me so deeply. She told me a little of her story which basically was that she had spent years married and raising kids wanting to move away. She was planning to move to Florida when the kids were grown but never did. She is now raising a grandchild and said to me “I’ll move somewhere warm when the time is right.” All I came away with was “What if the right time never comes?” This could be me. I have a huge list of things I want to do with my life, of places I want to see so bad that I feel homesick for them. Can you be homesick for a place you have never visited? These are the constant stream of thoughts going through my head lately. I want to find a way to fully embrace every part of me. Every time I stop to consider all the things I want to do and start to really consider it, the fear and guilt creeps in. It’s like being in an endless cycle.
I have done everything I am supposed to for my age. I have all the things I am supposed to have. There is still a feeling that everything is not complete. I have worried my entire life about what everybody else thinks about me. I always worried about my weight and how I looked. I worried if I would appear dumb if I said the wrong thing or asked the wrong question. My big desires were so not mainstream that I kept those to myself. I worried about what people might say or think if they knew who I really was. Mainly I just worried. I worried about everything.
Recently something happened. I lost a patient. Not just any patient. My favorite patient. Yes, this is a no-no in nursing but it happens when you spend everyday taking care of somebody. I see a lot of death. I also hear a lot of regrets. It is the nature of the job. But after this very special old man passed away something happened. I stopped to think about the gift that is life. I cried. I prayed, really prayed, for the first time in years. I suddenly realized that I was sick of the worries. I don’t have to impress anybody. I don’t have to make everybody happy. I only had to make myself happy. I do not have to feel guilty for having dreams. Suddenly I found myself thinking about what I wanted. Who was I? This is dangerous territory. This was the point that the little voice started to grow. Then for the first time in my entire life I listened instead of suppressing it. This is when the scary voice started to make it’s demands. I started to dream again and not quietly to myself when things were rough but openly. What would happen if I completely gave in to the little voice and did all the crazy things I want to do. What if I moved away, learned to scuba even though my swimming is questionable, had a baby even though a third might be a bit impractical, traveled to far away places, said what was on my mind, truly connected with the world, or got the tattoo I’ve always wanted? What if I embraced the cliché of YOLO? What if instead of talking about what I want to do with my life I go do it? What if I actually sat down and created the big scary bucket list? What if I spent my time, money, and energy doing the things I really want to do?
What if I really lived?