Honestly? I don’t like how this year sounds. It sounds too old. It kinda terrifies me. It sounds like a number, that, many years ago, came with different pictures attached. This is not only not what I’d have imagined my life would look like at 34–this is outright not what I would have wanted. But, it is what I have, and it’s the only life I’ve got. So, instead of bemoaning how this isn’t the way I wanted things to go, I’d better make the best of things.
I did let myself wallow a little bit. It’s always healthy to feel how you need to feel, so long as you don’t become trapped in an unproductive place, or in a mindset that leads nowhere. It’s not like my circumstances are terrible–there is a lot of good in my life and I’m in a better place now than I was a year ago, but this is still not what I would have wished for. But is life ever really what we “wished” for? Some parts are fantastic, others blow. For everyone, I think.
Sometimes, when I look at the landscape that is my life, there is a desire to find the single point on the map where “it all went wrong”. I want there to be a point up to where I could reverse it all and rectify everything. But I have trouble untangling my past so neatly. I think I find the point after which it all went downhill, but then I see that there was also a lot of good that followed aforementioned point. For example, I often wish I hadn’t gotten my Masters Degree in Education–but had I not done that, I’d have never been able to get a job in Ecuador. I’d have never learned what I did about the American educational system and poverty and institutional racism–and that is knowledge and experience I’d never want to lose. I’d have never met all the students who changed my life and made me grow. This Masters-less Katie might indeed be happier, more “successful” in the arts, married, living in some cool house with a leafy garden… I could go on and on about all the things this alternate Katie might be and have–but it’s quite pointless. It’s simply an impossibility to be anything than what we are; there is no turning back time, nor is there any guarantee that an alternate route would guarantee me a “better” life at present. And even if it did, I’m not sure I would actually change anything. What would I lose in the process? What would I have to give up in order go back in time and undo things I wish I had not done? I am not willing to find out.
So if I’m not going to dwell on past mistakes, or on present circumstances I don’t like, then what can I do?