Most days, my life is filled with gratitude, optimism, excitement, and half a dozen happy dances in my kitchen. Those are the moments of my life – the “oh yeah,” “woohoo,” and “woopeeeeeee” moments. So, most days, living in the moment is easy and fun…most days.
Then there are those days where I’m not grateful, optimistic, or excited. Where I am instead frustrated, envious, hurt, angry…and where my happy dance gives way to the continuous eating of large bowls of pasta and any other comfort food I can get my hands (er…mouth) on.
I have been having one of those moments on a recurring basis recently. See, this year was supposed to be “the year of Anna.” After moving back to the US from Africa, JP and I moved from one unpleasant apartment in Des Moines, Iowa to another – two dogs and two humans in a 450 square foot studio with neighbors who screamed and fought with each other at 2am, and then a soon-to-be-condemned brownstone with bats and squirrels living in the walls. Then there were the jobs – the jobs we took knowing that they weren’t “the job” but told ourselves “if only we can make it through X time period at the job, then we’ll be happy.”
Then finally there was the finding of a great job for me, the getting into a great school for JP, and the long-awaited move to Austin at the end of last year. So this year, 2013, was going to be the year I could finally exhale, finally start to settle in and build the life I/we had been putting off for such a long time.
And then my sister got engaged. Good news, right? She is my most treasured sister, my other half, my soul mate. And this Fall she is going to marry the perfect guy for her – the one that loves her for who she is and inspires her to be herself more often. It is an absolutely perfect match. But…
They are getting married this year…the year of Anna. Or now, the year of the wedding. The year of bachelorette parties, bridesmaid dresses, flights too and from Colorado, hours spent scouring Pinterest pages for decorations and shoes and hairstyles…
So these days, my moments sometimes feel like I have one foot on the gas and one on the break – complete happiness for my sister, and complete disappointment that my Spanish vacation and redecorating my guest room and flying to meet JP when he studies in Africa this summer are all not in the budget or the calendar anymore.
It seems like the harder I try to switch off the disappointment and switch back on the gratitude, the positivity, the “hey, I get to have two vacations in Colorado this year” attitude the harder it actually is to just get happy. It’s like remembering in order to forget.
So I changed tactics – I took living in the now literally and lived in my frustrated, disappointed now. I grieved. I got angry. I ate my comfort food, soaked in a long bath, danced it out at my dance classes, and asked for some help from my sister. I gave my unhappy moment its full and complete time in my life and then, like that moment had enough attention from me, it just walked away.
My new now is excited – to fly into scenic Seattle next week to go mother-of-the-bride dress shopping with my mom. My new now is grateful – to be a part of a wedding between two people who I know are going to be together for life. My new now is doing the happy dance in my kitchen – to spend an entire week in Colorado this fall, away from work, doing crafty wedding projects and spending time with the sister I don’t get to see nearly enough. My new now is optimistic – because next year is going to be a fabulous year of Anna.