Thursday, October 01, 2009

Life in the Circus

Around this time every year, I post my "I Love Autumn" blog. I can't help it. This time of year feels like an extended birthday party to me--all my favorite colors on the leaves outside, I get to pull out cute jeans & sweaters after months spent trying to hide some body part or another from the public eye, the urge to walk briskly down the street because this time of year is when new things start and I don't want to be late... Love it.

I really dig new beginnings, truth be told. My parents have a basement full of furniture and high quality hand-me-downs they've been saving for most of my adulthood, waiting for me to land somewhere permanent (like a house with more than 900 square feet). I've been at this grownup thing for awhile now, and it doesn't look like my life is going to be of the "4 bedroom colonial on 3 acres where they lived for 25 years" variety. And on days like today, when new things are starting and I'm excited about it all, I'm okay with that.

I've been thinking a lot lately about how life doesn't turn out the way we think it will. Or for some folks (and I'm thinking of the big brother character in Jonathan Tropper's novels: super jock in college, marries the prettiest cheerleader, goes into the family business...and then wakes up sometime in his mid-30s to realize he hates his life) everything turns out exactly as planned, only it feels unsatisfying. What do we do with this?

I have to admit that I kind of dig the adventure of things changing every few years, so long as the people in my life are constant. I can handle a high degree of circumstantial uncertainty around jobs and living spaces so long as I'm connected with people. In all my ups and downs, I've seen how human connection builds a safety net underneath you, so that no matter how fast you might be falling, you won't crash. It's terrifying when it's you in the free-fall, but when it catches you, it's an amazing thing to behold. And now I feel like a more seasoned trapeze artist, I guess: what we're trying is still pretty risky, but I have confidence that even if I mess up, something will catch me.

How do you deal with life not turning out the way you expected? Do you like it that way, or does it freak you out?


LEstes65 said...

I love fall. I miss being up in New England every year around now. But only a little. Rocktober is my birth month so all of fall feels like MY season. Leave it to me to go from birth DAY to birth SEASON.

During my 20 yrs in Boston, I moved all the time until the last 10 yrs or so. It was a hassle but I loved the new beginning. I loved walking into my new apartment wondering how long it would take before it felt like "my apartment". I love that newness. I love the blank slateness of it all. I've never understood being content to stay in one spot for a life time. It's not for me. I need change as much as I rail against it as it happens.

My life has never matched any of my past imaginings. I didn't end up running IBM. I didn't become the next Pat Benetar. I didn't end up being married to one man for the rest of my life. I didn't have dark haired little girls.

When life throws me a monkey wrench, I tend to either duck quickly or throw it back with all my might. God has this really cool thing: He knows what he's doing. I just wish it hadn't taken me almost 40 years to trust that.

Change and surprises scare me in the moment. But after I get through it, I usually like where it got me.

Abby Green said...

I feel like things rarely turn out as planned...but that seems to be quite comfortable for me.
However, I do totally freak out when movies aren't as I expected them to be...or end. Instead of enjoying what they are...I just get very upset that they didn't follow the screenplay that was in my head once I heard the title.
Happy fall to you...this is my FAVORITE time of year as well...we are in Colorado and enjoying all of the beautiful colors of leaves!

Melanie said...

I would say my plan to get married right out of college didn't really work out. But I'm realizing that God has a lot He wants to do with me and I have the freedom and space to do that without being in a romantic relationship. You might be hitting me on a better day than most in regards to the whole no-boyfriend-thing...I still struggle with wanting to be known intimately. But I want to refine my tastes for the Creator of intimacy. Most days, I just settle for fluff or filler. But God's not done yet and I know it's going to be a lifelong process. I just keep praying that I have what it takes to get through each day.

heidikins said...

Life freaks me right out most of the time. And I'll be honest, it usually takes me a bit to come to terms with the freak out and make amends with myself. Then I'm okay...until the next freak out.



Marianne said...

I was a person who always knew what I wanted to do when I grew up and I didn't anticipate it not working out. I went through a little bit of feeling like a failure as a result, but I think patience is very important in getting through each day. I learned to accept the unexpected. I suppose I fall somewhere in the middle between being freaked out about change and liking change. I agree that personal connections with people in life are essential to sustaining you. Glad you have them and that life is going well!

larramiefg said...

How to deal with life not turning out as expected is by not anticipating, planning and expecting the details to happen. You plan for your future -- such as college or not -- and then you let it evolve.

Either enjoy what comes your way or change it, but by being happy for the adventures and challenges you're LIVING life.