About a year ago, I was standing in a Lululemon store in Charleston with my friend Mary, and we both became engrossed with reading the dozen or so “Ten Years From Now” statements on the wall. Basically, we gathered that they ask their employees to envision what their lives would look like, ten years from that date (just assuming here, I’ve never actually worked at Lulu though I am fond of the way their clothes suck 5 lbs off my backside). Most of the vision statements sound like this:
“It’s ten years from now, and I wake up to the giggling of my three young children downstairs, making pancakes with my hot, fit husband, who still has a 32″ inch waist and the boyish charm I first fell in love with. I open my eyes to take in the magnificent view of the mountains/ocean/and a rare, majestic eagle swooping from the clouds- you know, just a typical Saturday. I’m not scheduled to teach yoga that day, so my investment banker honey can cater to all my needs while I enjoy a mimosa brunch he’s planned and prepared, delivered on an heirloom silver tray by my gorgeous, smiling, well-behaved children.”
Or something like that. This is actually shockingly close to one of the visions we saw.
Mary and I read each one with a giggle. And not because we were judging- truth be told, exactly ten years ago I was just weeks away from delivering my very first baby, and it’s entirely possible that I would have written almost the exact same vision (minus the yoga, I never fancied myself a yoga girl). In my pictorial vision statement, my life would be like this:
You know, despite the fact that I never have and never will be a 6 foot Brazilian model married to Tom Brady, cheerfully pushing my adorbs kids on swings at a park (Is this a public park? I sooooo don’t see Gisele ever subjecting herself to the germs present in a public park. I wholeheartedly believe she shoved the nanny out of the frame and removed her gloves as soon as she spied a photographer).
Ten years ago, I never would have let myself see what a real Saturday looked like: two children arguing over the tv at 7 am, an 8:30 soccer game where your daughter decides she doesn’t really feel like playing, so she’s just going to stand in the middle of the field and talk to a kid on the other team, followed by a… Wait for it! Trip to Lowes to buy something really exciting, like a valve to fix the toilet in the kids’ bathroom or some touch-up paint for the inside trim. Vision vs. reality.
Ten years ago, when I was nine months pregnant and swollen like a tick in the North Carolina heat and my ankles were the size of tree trunks, I still managed to envision a perfect life a decade from then. In reality, those ten years have included two job losses, the death of Dan’s father, a serious health scare for Madeline. There have been fights, hurt feelings, the slow death of friendships you thought would last forever. Several big hurts and a million little ones that make up the fabric of our day to day life. No one is bringing me breakfast in bed on an heirloom platter.
But you know what? My husband unfailingly rises each morning to help get the girls ready for school, which, to me, is so much more valuable than all that fattening French toast (I still don’t do yoga). And my youngest child may be out there yukking up a storm instead of scoring 12 goals in each soccer game, but God love her, I look at her and think about how darn cute she looks with her hair in braids, and how incredibly blessed I am to have a healthy, happy kid. And on that trip to Lowe’s, we stop for a bagel as a family, run into some friends whom we sit with, and we do what every family does to get them through the mundane aspects of a non-glamorous morning.
You see, my life is perfect, even when it’s not. And trust me, I often need to remind myself of these words, because there are moments when this is difficult to believe. But I remind myself to let go of how I thought things were supposed to be and embrace all the wonderful things that are- the good, the bad and the ugly- and my life isn’t too far off from my vision ten years ago.
Minus the mountain view.
“There are random moments-tossing a salad, coming up the driveway to the house, ironing the seams flat on a quilt square, standing at the kitchen window and looking out at the delphiniums, hearing a burst of laughter from one of my children’s rooms- when I feel a wave-like rush of joy. This is my true religion: arbitrary moments of nearly painful happiness for a life I feel privileged to lead.” ~Elizabeth Berg