missing the life you have right now

In ALL, BREAKUPS & BREAKTHROUGHS, DATING & MATING, FAMILY MATTERS, INTROSPECTIONby Stephanie Klein30 Comments

300px Jocelyn Vollmar
I’m consumed right now with writing this pilot, so there’s little room for much else. I’m entrenched in the world of dating, even if I never leave my zip code, house, sofa, clothes, underwear. I’m in my head, thinking, reliving, asking myself, "what would I do?" Not the me now, who sits in sweats and wipes noses, the me who sulked in her one bedroom apartment, and yet still got up, went on, and told people to fuck off when they slapped a cliche on my condition: betrayed. It’s strange being "over it" but having to relive it all, where it’s almost your job not to be over it. Where you need to stew so it’s real. You need to bring yourself back to that moment, or that blog entry at least, to make sure you’re being authentic to what it’s really like. And I’m there now, reliving.

The thing of it is, I’ve been on both sides, twice. Today I went to the movies. It was my one day off, and I needed to clear my head. Even when I was away in New Orleans, I was still working. Today I didn’t have to think or brainstorm. I just got to be. And what I love most in the world is feeling. There. I said it. It’s true. I like feeling. I like the movies. I like thinking and being moved by art.

There was a moment in the film I saw today, where a ballerina performed on stage. It made me miss New York. It made me miss that life of opportunity, that swirl of a life that felt like it came on a dimmer. I went to the opera, to Broadway shows, on magical dates that I never wanted to end; on shit dates where I actually came home and cried, but mostly a lot of "eh" dates, where I felt nothing at all. Through it all, though, it was a life of possibility. But in living it, I never saw it that way, not really. It was a restless life, one where all I wanted was a refrigerator door with alphabet magnets. I wanted suburbs and Costco. And now that I’m here, on this side of it, I just wish I could have it all. That there was a way to afford space, a yard, and theater tickets, that life could be lived in museum trips and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, that there was room for it all, the mom life, the love life, the walk of shame moments where you feel hungover because you were up all night talking. I realize now I even miss the life I have right now. The one I wake up to every morning, the one I’ve always wanted. I miss it by missing something else. "It was a life of possibility." I have to remind myself that it still is.

FOUR YEARS AGO TODAY: ANGER FUCKING

Comments

  1. Hi Stephanie,

    I've been married 6 years, but lived on my own for 12 years prior to this….my own home, my own rules, no compromising. I miss that freedom and anyone who says that you don't lose your personal freedom when you get married is in denial. The trade off, which I have to remind myself, is my beautiful 4 year old boy whom was a result of that marriage
    that I wanted all those years when I did have my freedom. When my husband is an ass, there is always that part of me that wants to go back to my "own life", but my son isn't there, so I am doing my best to make married life be the life that I do want. Keep up the great writing.

  2. Regardless of you writing the pilot, you'd still probably be going through the same motions you are now, and wondering how life became so bland and comfortable. I know I do. I tell myself all the time, if only I had known back then everything I know now, man, I wouldn't have taken it all for granted. I just think it's the human condition, we always want what we don't have, even if you had it at one point in your life, and even if your life is a different one now.

  3. "swirl of a life that felt like it came on a dimmer…"
    I told a therapy doc once (on my second and last visit…really, stuff I already knew about myself) that I’d been feeling like the flame from a gas stove turned to low. That I wanted the heat back on high, a wildly dancing flame.

    Guess we all feel it sometimes, whether published author or wannabe writer, married or single, employed or laid off, sick or healthy, fatter or skinnier.

    Talk about the great equalizer. We want the swirl of life.

  4. It's cheesy as hell to say…but sometimes it's good to know others share your sentiments and that those sentiments, in and of themselves, are just part and parcel of who we are and not just some ugly indicator of how we might one day fail at our relationship.

  5. Oh my god, you really said it well. I like what you said about missing the life you have by missing something else.

    I miss the freedom I had when I was single but love being married. I am contemplating children but am afraid of regretting my loss of freedom there too. I feel so stuck between two worlds. I can't move forward with children yet, but I don't want to move back either. It really consumes me.

  6. The gorgeous 20something who waxes my brows just moved into her own place for the 1st time; from parents she moved in w/bf #1 then bf#2 who isn't ready to commit to marriage (this has familiar ring to it…) She moved into new place 2 days ago, and today she was more animated than I've ever seen her; she couldn't stop talking about her decor plans for bathroom and windows. I left w/gorgeous brows and a small feeling of jealousy.

  7. I miss the life I had in London, now I live in the middle of the country in the countryside, when I was there it was hard work. Maybe not hard like NY hard, but the freedom you describe, and the access to opportunities – all there. I miss them all, I visit them often, the plays the galleries and the restaurants.

    This is not the life I thought I would live, I almost try to recreate the life I had there by making sure I see everything that tours here, but I forget how hard it was sometimes. It was expensive, it was sometimes lonely, and it was often laugh out loud fun with friends.

    My only UK consolation was that we don't do dating USA style! You spend a whole evening with one person, then lie if you don't want to see them again, but none of that scheduling nightmare. If you are seeing someone a 2nd time, you don't expect them to be seeing someone else, and exclusivity is a bit of an unspoken given around date 3/4/5!

    Anyway, I digress, are we ever happy in the life we inhabit, sometimes I think I am wearing the wrong clothes/life but I still love what I have now.

  8. "I realize now I even miss the life I have right now. The one I wake up to every morning, the one I've always wanted. I miss it by missing something else."

    stephanie, thank you SO much for putting into words what i'm feeling right now. i've been reading your blog for about two years now and it's become my go-to when i, even as a writer myself, can't articulate what i'm feeling. THANK YOU!

  9. Classic post. One that makes you feel what you're feeling, relate to the feelings and know exactly what you mean – plus, it's so well written!

  10. I too miss the single life I once had. The dating, the dining, the kisses and passion. But what I do not miss is waking up the next morning and feeling so insecure. Will he call?? Will I see him again?

    Having my three kids and hubby so much more fulfilling. Sometimes lacking in excitement as the single days had but SO much more fulfilling yes?

  11. I feel your pain. I took the plunge and have been writing my story for a few years now. Sometimes it feels like peeling off skin – deep layers of skin – god, it hurts. I have to stop – reassess, reconvene, decide if these things are worth reliving and retelling. I don't know the answer. But I always go back to peeling.

    One lovely (and scary) thing about my age/stage…freedom is on the horizon. What does that mean once a person has raised people? Freedom with stretchmarks and grown people who need me?

    But the knowledge that I have contributed, somehow, to the betterment of the world by bringing these incredible people into it, leaves me feeling gingerly content. I have made the right decisions. The scars are so worth it. I love em. I love this life. I can have a different life in a few minutes when the darlings leave the nest. For me, I don't want to fret or long for what might have been. I look forward with great excitement…anticipation…to the next moment. Who knows what goodness will come?

  12. I really don't get it. You complain when you weren't a writer and weren't married and now you are and still complaining.
    How I see it is this, and of course, I'm very subject to what you choose to publish and share with the rest of the world:
    You are a workaholic and that has its own merits because it brings success. At the same time, I don't see you balancing yourself and your life with other activities such as exercise [which we all hate], a new hobby, or traveling sans work. The hubby and I keep very busy 24/7. But when we go on vacation, we drop EVERYTHING and just eat, explore, sex it up. We come back with a drive to produce again, loose the weight, and get back into the routine of our lives. Something I think you also have to improve on is enjoying the small moments that make up your life. It seems that you yearn for a different time, but what about now? It's not all about work, the past, or the future. If you can't enjoy the process of getting where you want to be, you are always going to be unsatisfied with your progress.

  13. Stephanie,
    There is only so much you can squeeze into one relatively short life…you seem to have experienced a little bit of it all that you have just mentioned. You have a life filled with experiences that we read about, and wish that we could have done half of that. You are overly talented , maybe that is why you seem to not be satisfied much of the time. We all need those days to just BE and be grateful for. Life goes by way too fast.

  14. I'm a musician so I understand that feeling of having to take yourself back to "that place" which can be both out of body and upsetting…or sometimes, completely foreign. But you live through it anyway because you want it to be genuine, or genuine as possible. I want it all too…but all the good parts. :) ha.

    Beautiful post.

  15. I'm living that young, single life in the city. And while I'm not interested in a relationship right now, and therefore not really dating, I am having the time of my life with my girlfriends. I love not having to worry about anyone but myself.

    But at the same time, I'm petrified that it will never change. That I'll never get to the next step, never find someone who makes me want to settle down, never have a family to grow old with. And it's that fear that plagues this amazing period of my life. I hate that I can't just have faith, and enjoy life, all its ups and downs and its different stages. But isn't it human nature to worry, to wonder, and to wait impatiently for the next step, no matter how much we love where we are now?

  16. Ugh. Sorry but I have to say Carolina your comments always come off haughty, self impressed and judgmental. Stop taking everything so seriously and doling out advice that is probably not needed. I roll my eyes every time you swoop in.

  17. wow….ummmm…how do i say…..hmmm

    never ever before have i thought about it that way. Sure i'm only 22 and I've always dreamnt of being married with kids and have always wanted it sooner rather than later…but now you've got me thinking. How much of myself would I lose? I mean sure I'm the care-taker in my family which is why everyone always says i'd make a good wife, a good mother, etc etc but what about the things that make me ME…what would I have to give up in order to attain my dream of wife, mother, and careerwoman. Is there really no way to have it all?

    Will i not be able to get piss drunk with my girlfriends on a Friday night and then wake up the next day and go snowboarding or go to an art gallery?

    I guess I just want to say thank you for making me think about these things…now I'm not so sure I want to get married so early in life like I've always wanted.

  18. I think when we try to have it all, we end up compromising. We have our fingers in a little of everying, but nothing truly satisfies, as we're never fully in or out of anything. I think that is what ultimately leads to that restless feeling. I get it too, but I'm older now and know when I'm trying to do too much, and when it's time to step back and zero in.

    That's a large reason why hubby and I chose not to have kids. I know I'd struggle with pulling off the supermom thing without losing myself.

  19. I wonder if your dissatisfaction comes from the fact that your husband doesn't seem to treat you respectfully, and your marriage doesn't seem like a very happy, emotionally safe place? If had the kind of interactions with my husband that you describe so often, I would desperately feel like something was missing, too. It's a fair question to ask.

  20. Johanna…amen sistah!

    It's different for every woman, no doubt. Having marriage and family early is a perfectly fine thing and, really, often the expectation (if I had a nickel for every time my Dad asked when I’d settle down – actually he stopped at about a dime, thankfully ;) What's overlooked are the women who wait, whether by choice or circumstance and find they enjoy the spoils of running the other way from the ring and the pacifier.

    I am…and gosh do I! With gusto. I don’t linger in the “I’ll be fulfilled when.” Maybe because I filled me up first.

    Best to you!

    I am…

  21. Steph, you live in Austin, not Timbuktu. It might not be the Center of the Universe like NYC, but there is still tons and tons of amazing stuff to do there. The city of Austin has a huge and vibrant arts community that it would behoove you as a writer to take full advantage of.

  22. Hi Stephanie,
    Today I taught Rosseau's "Confessions" in my World Lit course. I'm so glad he paved the way for the kind of writing you and I do. I LOVE the way you write, especially your honesty–your humor, your sadness. I decided about 3 years ago that I enjoy writing personal essays and memoir more than I do fiction because life is more interesting, surprising, and heart breaking than anything I could imagine. I started a blog this month and find myself writing posts till 4:45 AM when I have to get up at 6:00 to teach. Whether I get the book deal or not, I love the process of writing/joy of blogging. Like you, I have to be gut honest–it's who I am. And I know I was meant to write as you knew you were meant for this.
    Beautiful photography–great blog! Thanks for sharing your life with so many.
    Cindy McCain (the other one :)

  23. I married my husband the day after we graduated with our Bachelor's degrees. I was 22, he was 24. We just celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary. Is it always sunshine and unicorns–hell no! But would I change it for anything–hell no!

    I know my friends who married later than I did (late 20's into early 30's) struggle with the questions of identity and past lives that Stephanie is talking about. When they were single they felt like they needed a life partner to grab life by the horns. Now that they're happily married, they feel like they're missing out on life, that marriage has compromised their spirits. Whatever. It's irritating to listen to.

    I tell them: "Suck it up. You made your choice. Now it's too complicated to simply unmake. Work through it or get out. But stop with the constant dissatisfaction based on college freshmen feminist ideals and Sex In the City."

    These are the same type of woman who chastised me for taking my husband's last name.

    In case anyone is wondering, we don't have kids. We don't plan on having kids. And we don't think we're missing out on anything by not having kids.

  24. Yes, Jenny, I know all so well. I didn't get married until I was 33 and then didn't adopt till I was 40. It's all sweeter because I had almost given up having it.

    Yet I still think about that night in my 20s, holding hands with the man I loved more than chocolate, wearing a smashing new outfit, heading out into a New York sunset to eat at a French restaurant.

    Jenny, my only advice is:worry. You thought I'd say don't worry, hmmm? My girlfriends who never worried are still single now, and I'm celebrating 50 on Monday.

    Give it a year and if it isn't getting to the ring, get out. I gave all mine 4-5 years. Bad mistake.

    I found a hidden treasure. A shy guy who bored the heck out of me on our first date. I dated him just because nobody else popped up for a few months and then I got to know him. A guy who turned out to be just that..shy. When you get to know him–16 years of marriage–he's all I could have possibly asked for and more.

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