E's new favorite game is to pick things up throughout the house and deposit them into a completely different spot. He does this with everything. His toys. My shoes. The remote controls. My yankee candles. The marbles in the tray on top of my dining room table. EVERYTHING. The other night, I went to plug my phone into the charger before bed only to find that it was missing. I looked everywhere that I could possibly think that I may have put my phone charger, and then realized that I needed to be looking everywhere that my son could possibly think to put my phone charger. I found it about 30 minutes later. In the tupperware cabinet. In the deviled egg tray. Where, as any three year old full well understands, IS in fact the best possible place to put a phone charger that someone just haphazardly left plugged into the outlet beside her nightstand.
During the course of one of his trips through the house to collect all things not nailed to the wall, he picked up the yellow box from my bedroom and asked me if he could use it. I told him no, because it had all of my special stuff in it. "You can move anything else, but don't take this box. I don't want to lose the special stuff inside."
This is how I know E is my child. (Well...this, AND the fact that my weight topped 200 lbs the day they cut him from my belly...anyway...I digress...) Upon hearing that there was "special stuff" in that box, a look came across his face that plainly communicated, "I MUST KNOW WHAT IS IN THAT BOX. Like, I might possibly DIE if I don't know right this second." I know this look well. It's the same face my dog used to make when she spotted something dead that she just HAD to roll in....and it's the same face I make when someone says, "Oh, remind me to tell you about this guy I want to fix you up with..." The emotional response to any of these things can be summed up in one word: Urgency.
So I sat with E in my bedroom floor and showed him the Special Stuff. And as I opened the box, I explained that this box is where I keep the good stuff. The first picture he brought home from Mother's Day Out. An envelope of hair from his first haircut. The picture they gave us from his first trip to the dentist. A picture of me and my beloved Nana. A couple of sweet cards from my two most treasured girlfriends. You know....THE GOOD STUFF. And while I waxed nostalgic about each precious item I pulled out of the box, E looked up at me with his big blue eyes, and sweetly asked, "can you put that hair somewhere else so I can put my dinosaurs in this box?" Apparently a three year is not quite capable of sentiment. Who knew?
As I placed things back in the box and E ran off to find another home for his dinosaurs, I began thinking about the good stuff. And I realized that lately, there's not enough good stuff in my life. I am exhausted with grad school, because the end is SO CLOSE...but SO FAR AWAY. I don't enjoy my job, because it's just a way to pay my bills and not something that I actually WANT to do. And then I come home, too tired and, frankly, too boring to do anything besides take a bubble bath and watch Chopped. Add to that my recent disenchantment with dating, and you have one disgruntled chick in a really sassy sundress.
I grew up with a goal: Get Married. Make Babies. Be Traditionally Happy. It didn't seem like too much to ask of the universe, because I was THAT GIRL, the one that everyone expected to grow up and, in the words of an old high school friend, marry a pharmacist. But we all know that things didn't quite work out that way. And I've recently realized that I have wasted years (YEARS!) on pining for a dream that my life is just not set up for at the moment. I have spent a generous amount of time being sad about the fact that the Universe didn't cooperate with my ambitions to be the next Donna Reed, to the point that I am missing out on what my life IS set up for now.
So in the last two weeks, I have taken an inventory of my situation and then sifted out The Good Stuff from the bad, and have decided to rebuild my life in a way that makes the most of where God has me. This means that I have a new found focus on being "in the moment" instead of worrying so much about what may or may not happen 3, 6, or 12 months from now. Which if you know me and my neurosis, you understand is a challenge. When I asked myself the question "what do you want to do NOW" the answer kind of surprised me, because it's never been my focus before. The answer?
And what, you ask, does enjoying life look like for the girl in the sassy sundress?
Yep. I am quitting my boring, frustrating, feast or famine day job and becoming a bartender. For the past two weeks I have been attending a Bartender training school and learning to make drinks with hilariously inappropriate names like Purple Hooter, Sloe Comfortable Screw Against the Wall, and Screaming Orgasm. My hope is that by the end of the month I will be gainfully employed slinging drinks in the city, which is to say the least, quite a departure from anything...well, EVERYTHING...that I have ever done.
It's not going to be a new career. I'm still in grad school and will begin my internship next month. But it's a giant step out of the box that I have forced my life into, and the thought of embracing life outside of the traditional parameters that I have struggled to live in for the last few years makes me SO EXCITED about where God has me. Throwing away the rules that I have always set for myself feels incredible, and for the first time, maybe ever!, I am just loving today!
The response to this change in my life has been interesting. One friend asked me if I had lost my mind. Another asked if she should have her panic attack now or could it please wait until after she had completed her stressful upcoming exam. And another said with a huge sigh of relief, "Oh good. I thought you were about to tell me you were going to be a stripper." But on the whole, the most important people in my life have heard the news and simply smiled....because they A. know that I am rather unpredictable and change my path as often as I change my nail polish, and B. they have all wanted for so long for me to just be happy with where I'm at. You know....because they love me. If I could wrap all of these people up in an envelope and shove them into my yellow box I would. But for now...
Who knew that behind the bar was where they kept the Good Stuff?!