Monday, July 19, 2010

You Can Get With This, Or You Can Get With That

So, I keep seeing these teasers for Eat, Pray, Love and they are making me a little sad. I've mentioned before how it deflates me that I'm too old to be on "The Real World" and that I don't have a skill set that matches a reality competition show like "Project Runway" or "The Next Food Network Star." I'm feeling like there are so many things that are beyond my reach. And I hate being left out! Aside from these much less probable opportunities, there are grants and institutes and workshops that I know don't fit into my life. It's not feasible to leave my family for a month or an entire summer. Jaunting off to Paris seems unlikely any time soon. And I still don't understand how anyone manages to write an entire monograph when they have children. Furthermore, shouldn't I be the thirty-something host on "The View" (anybody tired of hearing that one yet?)?

So, here's the thing: The whole Eat, Pray, Love scenario just reminds me that taking a year off from my life may never happen. I remember thinking, around age 22, that I wanted to have a cool, silver convertible sports car. Instead of that, I thought, I'm scrounging for crumbs in graduate school--for what seems like forever. And it kind of was forever. I spent my entire twenties buried under books and living on pennies and then getting married. I didn't have enough money to do anything exciting. When I turned 30, I finally graduated and I was pregnant and adding a whole other layer of responsibility. Being carefree and careless, making totally random choices, eating, praying, loving. When can I do that? Can I ever do that?

I have to acknowledge that this view is the perspective from here. I'm in my thirties. My career feels stalled. My children are at very needy ages. We have lots of bills. I'm tired--a lot. I'm not saying that the trade-off isn't worth it. I'm happy with my choices, but every now and then my world seems very, very small.

I'm starting to wonder if there is ever really going to be a time in my life when I can do something crazy.


English Adjunct said...

Hi! I found your blog through A Good Enough Woman, and I just had to comment on this entry as you have articulated my thoughts exactly!

When I see teasers for Eat, Pray, Love, I feel slightly depressed that I will most likely never be able to take a year off, travel to beautiful locations,, pray, love. That is probably not what the people behind the film are going for, but there it is.

There are certain movies that I just can't stand to watch because I am insanely jealous of either being too old or too tied down to experience whatever it is they're selling. I mentioned this once to my husband who couldn't quite relate.

Anyways, a hi and a I-get-where-you're-coming-from.

The Steel Magnolia said...

Welcome, English Adjunct! Sad though it be, misery (or wistful feelings of blah) needs company. I hadn't thought about how contrary our feelings are to the intent of the film. That's kind of funny.
My husband doesn't quite get it either. The lives of men are so different.
Don't know if I'm going to see this movie. That's probably moot anyway--expensive tickets, overpriced snacks, plus a babysitter--I don't even remember the last adult film I saw. I mean adult movie!

Ink said...

There WILL be a time. It just isn't now.

(Brought to you courtesy of Must-Think Positively, a service I provide for myself lest I go mad.)


Good Enough Woman said...

I loved Eat, Pray, Love, and plan to see the movie. But if you're feeling sad, then you could/should watch (or read) Under the Tuscan Sun. Because that woman does that stuff after her kids are grown! And buying a house in Italy is pretty crazy! And later she travels for over a year! Granted, if you're still married, you can't get TOTALLY crazy have an affair with a foreigner, but it could still be quite a "shake up." Right?

And I have a friend who, for her fortieth b-day this summer did a month-long pilgrimage walk across the Pyranees. Her kids usually spend time with grandparents in the summer, and her husband is picking up the slack, I think. Now, I could not leave my kids for a month, but still. Some people make it happen. But I'm counting on Under the Tuscan Sun situations.

evenshine said...

I might be in the minority here, but I hated the book. It was self-centered and petty and basically just a paean to self-serving hedonism.
That said, doing something crazy doesn't have to wait till you have enough money, or time, or permission from The Powers That Be. I firmly believe that craziness can be ANYtime. We're sold this image that moving to a foreign country and having sex with people who don't speak English is somehow adventurous, but it's also dangerous and not a bit fulfilling.
What do you want to do? That's the real question. Do you WANT to move to another country? Do you WANT to have affairs with strange men? Do you WANT to sweat through a 24-hour meditation session in an ashram? Start there- what craziness are you longing for?

countryfriedmama said...

I have a friend with older children who went to sleep-away camp for a month this summer. A month! You could definitely eat, pray and love in 30 days.

For better AND for worse, our kids will not be little forever. My mother swears I will be sad when they don't need me every second of every day. It's hard to hear her though what with all the chaos in my house.

The Steel Magnolia said...

Thanks everyone! It's always immediately clear when I make a connection here. That's so valuable. Your reminders that life is an evolving, changing thing is just what I needed. And what's more, I thought I was asking for verbal backrubs. Evenshine popped off and gave me a doggone challenge! What do I want to do? That's a whole different question, but much more optimistic. And useful. You all rock like the Flintstones!

Digger said...

In addition to something you've always wanted to do, what about something you've never done before?

I tried two totally new things in the last year, on complete whims, that I discovered I really enjoyed!

Late to the party, as ever!