Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Wide Open Spaces, Room to Make Your Big Mistakes

^Images for this post are from Chandler's first trip to the beach (here), June 2014. They represent the an example of when we did leave town. And I just love all the pictures of Chandler running free in the sand at Cannon Beach so I figured I'd find a way to post them at some point.

A few weeks ago as I waited to use the hot water spout to pour some tea at the office, I started making chit-chat with a coworker of mine. We started discussing our shared love of pets and how much joy they bring to our lives. Not surprisingly, this topic was a gateway drug for us to both start discussing more about our own lives.

Him: "You just got married, right?"
Me: "Yup, last September!"
Him: "And no kids yet? Or do one of you have kids?"
Me: "Nope, no kids yet. Just the puppy."
Him: "And then you live nearby the office, don't you?"
Me: "Yeah, I live downtown - I walk to work sometimes it's so close."
Him: "Man, sounds like you guys have it made. No kids yet, double incomes, live downtown- you must have the time and energy to do whatever you want, huh? Like just leave town on any given weekend? I miss having all that free time."

 ^Cracking up because if you look at the ball between Jay's legs, you can tell that it has just fallen from Chandler's mouth and he's looking down thinking "NOOOOOoooooo!"


^Orange dress information here. And the immediate photo above is from the next beautiful morning.

As he exited the kitchen, I stood there zoning out while I filled my mug with steaming hot water. As I pressed on the pour button and watched the tea leaves circle around the cup, I couldn't stop thinking about what he said. Me?! I have free time?? Ha! That's a joke.

But I get exactly why he said it [for the record: I am in no way offended by these words. I say them to others a lot! It just made me realize something deeper in this moment.]. I suppose on paper it looks like we just 'have it made' right now and can go when we want, spend when we want and make decisions on a whim. I mean, I guess I can see why he thought that. And we for sure do enjoy to venture off on a moment's notice to spend a couple nights in a hotel. Or to randomly go hiking and try a sampler of local ale after. I get that we are able to do those things at this point in my life because we have less baggage than some given our childless status.

^A day of the beach, dog running & coastal wine tasting. It doesn't get much better than this. 

 However, I just kept thinking about how wrong that guess was as well. The biggest gripe of my adult life is that I have no free time. I feel like I am constantly pulled thin and stretched to my limit. Working all day, exercising after, eating a sound dinner, doing chores, exercising the dog, etc. leaves barely anytime on the weeknights to even put my [tired] feet up. I don't get to start dinner at 3 PM like I remember my mom doing growing up. And I rarely have the chance to just 'afternoon' on a whim and go to a museum or mosey around downtown like I could in college or prior. Additionally, I always have large organizational plans for most weekends but they fall by the wayside because it's someone's birthday or the floor needs to be mopped or it's my one time in the week that I can possibly go visit my infant nephew. I spend most Sundays bummed out that I didn't cross more off my list even though I usually devote that entire day to cramming a week's worth of chores into one afternoon. Life is constantly moving and I spend so much time falling asleep feeling like I failed to do what I had hoped to when I arose that morning. And that sucks.
His comment made me realize how little we understand someone else's narrative because we see everyone's 'on paper' qualifications. Just before he went down the road of me having free time and as we were discussing dogs, I told him how lucky he was that he has a huge backyard for his puppy as well as grown kids to help take care of the dog's needs. "Do you know how much time and stress it would save me (and Chandler) to just open my back door and throw fetch with him before work? Without having to factor in the leashing, the elevator ride down, the trek to the park... etc., all at 5:30 in the morning?" To me, wow- he sure has it made!

And to him, I sure do.

The conversation just served as a reminder to me about how we perceive others. Do I have a lot of good in my life right now? You bet. Do I have shared stresses that this man does as well? Of course. Do I feel like I'm falling short at things? Yes, always. 

But I try my best. And that's all we can do. 
Let's all remember that that's what most people are just trying to do.

PS: How cute is my dog and how pretty is the Oregon Coast? Swooooon.

10 comments:

Jax said...

I am so glad you didn't get offended by his words because it sounds like he was complaining about HIS life without saying it.

Girl, you sound like me. I have this constant need to schedule every second of my life. I always feel busy and stressed. But...the one weekend I decided to stop and try to change, I was miserable. I felt lazy and unaccomplished. Embrace the busyness!!! It shows wonders about your character. :) and, to be honest, your children in the future will LOVE the constant go attitude. Trust me!

Pat Hatt said...

There is always something to do, no matter if you have kids, cats, dogs, or are a mountain man living in the middle of a forest. The only exception may be a billionaire lol That's why I don't have a dog as I'd rather wait until i have a backyard. Everyone has ups and downs and ins and outs haha

Miss Caitlin S. said...

you are right, he wasn't insulting me- I really know that (and truly wasn't offended). I meant it more as interesting to see someone's outside looking in perspective which is completely different from the reality I feel.

And Jax, I have no question that you are a very busy, very well-equipped on the go mom! I certainly get that impression online :)

Miss Caitlin S. said...

So true! I'm sure I'll find things to complain about my whole life, ha.

and yes, a backyard with a dog would be grand.

Holly Lefevre said...

Gorgeous photos! I love what you had to say. We are always stretched thin and busy...what changes are those things that do it to us....but as you add responsibilities (kids, pets, etc.) to your life you find the time because it is important to you.

SMD @ lifeaccordingtosteph said...

I get pissed off when people think I have nothing going on because I don't have kids - it's in the delivery, and I've been on the receiving end of a lot of bad deliveries. I don't think that was your coworker's intent here.

I dislike the glorification of busy, but I also know that the majority of people have a lot of stuff going on. Me included!

I try to have reasonable expectations of what can get done in a given time period - because it's not all getting done. Like this week, I have something to do two out of three nights, plus the normal exercise and work and blah blah blah...so I know the house isn't going to get the attention it needs, and I have to get right with that.

Miss Caitlin S. said...

I agree about your first sentence and also agree that's not what he meant.

I don't like the glorification of busy either but I also don't know how to avoid it? There's just so much to do all the time. I should have this attitude that you have, it's really good. Esp. bc I do see how much you get done!

Miss Caitlin S. said...

thank you, Holly! And yes, great advice!

Kara said...

God this whole post is SO MY LIFE. I try really hard not to make judgments about others' life because I feel they are so often made about mine. I especially feel weird about the baby comment. I have a close girlfriend who's struggling to get pregnant, and she talks about how much it hurts her when others comment on her family planning (they don't know she's struggling with fertility). I try hard to live by the "you do you!" approach!

You do you, girlfriend! Nothing is ever perfect and yet it always is, isn't it?

Miss Caitlin S. said...

Yes, a great point! And after having a few girls close to me talk to me as well about how hard they try to have a baby while dodging questions about why they don't have one yet- I realize that the well-intentioned comment asking when the kids are coming can actually be quite hurtful.