Tomorrow is not going to be a good day. I know because today I have been visiting my past; a past where I had what I always wanted. Believe it or not once upon a time I was a lucky one, a person blessed to be living the life they have dreamed.
I am living proof that you can do it. I am also living proof that you can give it all up. I did that too. Now I spend a split second of every day angry and disappointed in myself. It happens at 9:26 each morning when I slip my key into the lock of my office door and flip the switch that starts another day of addressing form letters, tracking missed insurance payments and problem solving. I unlock that door and I am angry, not at my job; that would be foolish. I am grateful for my job, for the ability to earn a living and provide for my family. I work with nice people and nice people sign my paycheck. There are many people who pray every day for the opportunity of employment. I am not angry at my job, I am angry at myself. Angry that I didn’t fight harder for my dream while I was living it, angry that I didn’t try harder to turn the situation inside out and look at every other conceivable option before doing the ‘right’ thing. Every day I turn that key and I think “the right thing for who?” Did my children entering school fulltime have to end my privilege to live my dream? Wouldn’t the right thing for me, for my family, for my children have been to find a way, anyway to stay home in the role that I dreamt my whole life to fill, doing the things that bring my heart joy? Wouldn’t the right decision have been to believe in myself enough to build on my dream rather than trade it in for what was expected of me?
And I answer myself, “Yes that would have been the right thing, but you made the wrong decision. You didn’t fight hard enough, you didn’t find another way. You cashed in the chips on the life you always wanted.” I acknowledge my mistake put the cork back in my regret and I check the messages on my machine, scan my emails and review my to-do list for the day. I carry on. I carry on and I do a good job but I’m not really there. My heart is at school and on field trips, home cooked meals and sorting socks (yes even the domestic chore I hate more than any other is forefront in my mind) I clock out at 5, head home, soak in as much domestic bliss as I possibly can before heading to bed and getting up to do it all again the next day. My job is akin to my mother’s arthritis. It aches and causes her discomfort but she pushes through and does what she needs to do to live with it. Most days it’s okay, I can manage it, laugh at where I’ve put myself and, make the most of the day, do the very best with the task I’ve taken upon myself and remind myself that the money is making other great things possible.
Then sometimes my mistake hits home and immobilizes me. All it takes is a personal day or the arrival of my Friday off or like this week, someone getting sick and needing me at home. That’s when I feel it, the comfort of being back in my place, the return to being who I am in my heart. I am reminded I have done the wrong thing. I’ve done the wrong thing and I don’t have a clue how to fix it.
On a day like today when I know tomorrow means a return to my job I feel helplessly lost, I cy, I get angry with myself for giving up so easily. My daughter would call me a hypocrite. “Mom, you spend so much time encouraging everyone to follow their heart to pursue their dreams to do whatever it takes to live their passion every day. Then you do the opposite.” She is not wrong. She also does not see that I spend that time because I have lived in that beautiful space of my dream, I did it for 13 years; and I let it go just like that. I opened my hand and responsibility blew it from my outstretched palm. I put a smile on my face and pretended I was excited to return to work, but it was a lie. One the consequences of which I have to fix, if I can just figure out how. What she doesn’t get to see is the regret. She doesn't know that my wrong is the thing that makes me push so hard for other people to it do right.
Tomorrow is not going to be a good day, I know that. I am going to head into the office, I am going to turn that key and wish worse than ever that I was home, where I belong taking care of the life I dreamed for myself. I am going to be angry and disappointed with myself. Then I am going to do something I usually stop short of; I am going to work on the fix until I have a plan to get back to where I belong.