“You live a fairy tale, you know,” my first boyfriend said to me. We were driving somewhere in his toyota station wagon, and I was telling him stories about growing up. I can’t remember what it was – maybe it was that I took horseback riding lessons, or maybe it was that we used to spend a week every summer on a lake in Maine – but whatever it was, I guess it made my childhood sound pretty idyllic.
“What do you mean?” I knew I’d had a good life, that there were beautiful moments of laughing til my sides hurt, of roping my brothers, sister, and cousins into playing “Little House on the Prairie,” and of boisterous family holidays where sometimes it was hard to hear anything that was going on. “Everything’s always been so easy for you,” he said, not looking at me. “Everything was so easy.”
What he didn’t see though, was that while things looked easy, there is always more. I think back on that afternoon in his car, and I wonder what my life looks like from the outside now. Graduating in May was a huge change, and I’ve made some choices I really didn’t want to make: I moved back home with loving parents and a great younger brother, but sacrificed living with friends and independence. I took a few part-time jobs because I get bored out of my mind working at a desk, doing the same thing day to day. But this leaves me with uncertain hours, a smaller income, and more than anything the feeling that I’m not accomplishing much.
As I begin to piece together what my life will look like, I balance between learning patience and practicing action. I am much more prone to act than I am to wait; I see a problem, a challenge, a choice, and I want to conquer it. Maybe this period of waiting, of patience, of trust, is necessary to shape me more finely. But it’s really uncomfortable.
“Everything’s always been easy for you.” Those words echo in my head, making me feel an odd mix of resentment and un-deserved privilege.
I step back and see the blessings, and I am grateful. I look forward to sharing the fairy tale life, even if it isn’t always such a fairy tale.
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