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Visions of Grandeur

April 16, 2012

I’ve often yearned to have the courage to write openly about my thoughts on life and specifically, my passions and insecurities. I took a small leap when I published Dear Clark and was surprised at the feedback, so I’m letting another piece of me show. Obviously, working with the public means that I can only share so much, but that’s probably a good thing, isn’t it? 😉 I call this one Visions of Grandeur, and I’m including this picture I took because, well, what’s a post without a picture?

People usually say that I’m fairly honest and straightforward. I don’t play games and I don’t mind sharing my struggles with someone if I think it will help them learn. Lately, I’ve been through many struggles, and a lot of them seem to be brought on by my own anxiety over things and I think many people can sympathize with where I’m coming from.

Being in your middle-to-late twenties is a confusing and anxious time in today’s world. People told us constantly that it would be the best time of our lives, but no one prepared us for the realities we are facing right now, many of them products of others’ destructive nature. What’s more is that my life over the last few years has been spent trying to prepare young adults for a changing world that I, as an adult, don’t even understand yet.

Even a few short years ago when I graduated college (in 2008, when the harshness of the economic climate had not yet affected my age group), I would’ve imagined my life to be very different by now. My dream job turned out to be a nightmare. I switched careers only to find out that it, too, was a very harsh reality in which I couldn’t sustain myself (something that previously was unacceptable in my book) and made me realize that my dream job was my dream job, just not in the iteration that I had imagined and that my career switch would’ve been amazing in better situations or coupled with my dream job. Now I’m faced with no job and crazy graduate school schedules to get back to my dream job.

And let’s not talk about my housing situation, or trying to raise a child while you are in someone else’s home. Or how stressful it is for both of us to be full-time students (and have to meticulously budget accordingly). Let’s talk about the stressors in my life that I can control and, frankly, haven’t been.

1. I want stuff. Yes, I said it and I’m not ashamed. I don’t need stuff – most of my needs are taken care of and the ones that aren’t are things that I haven’t done an adequate job prioritizing. More than that, I pine for my stuff – the things that I have boxed up in storage until we’re lucky enough to have biweekly paychecks again. Then, while I’m trolling Pinterest I remember that I actually (for the most part) am very blessed to have the things I have and feel guilty. Our generation is used to everything being available to us in an instant and I’ m not immune to those sentiments. We’re constantly assuaged with advertising, and remember that kid from school who had everything? The one you dread seeing out or at a reunion because they have everything you thought you’d have by now? Thanks to today’s technology, you get to see them everyday doing things you want to do and buying things you want to buy in your Facebook feed, which furthers the cycle of envy and want. I almost feel like I’d rather go back to a simpler time so that I wouldn’t feel this way so much.

2. I hate being overweight. I now understand why people in poverty experience severe health declines. When you are living on a tiny budget, the only things you can easily afford are junk, and you are doing everything you can to use every available minute to improve your finances. We also don’t usually have much control over the groceries or what’s for dinner. But, I do have control over myself and my body and my fitness, and it’s my fault that it hasn’t gotten any better. I complain that I don’t have the energy to do anything, but I don’t have the energy because I don’t exert the energy and make my body make more. It’s not laziness as much as a general sense of giving up since I have other things that need more attention.

3. I feel like a terrible mom because my kid isn’t growing up in his own house and hasn’t been to the zoo yet in his 1.5 years. It’s ridiculous, I know. My kid is happy, well-fed, and well-loved. He won’t even have memories of this time in his life, which is actually pretty sad if you think about it because he’s getting the chance to make deep bonds with my parents in seeing them everyday. This really has to be the external pressures I’m feeling because there is no truth.

4. I’m at a career stalemate. I miss real estate, but I had to quit because of family obligations (and couldn’t afford the dues without working). I’m also very sad when I go to school a few times a week because I miss having my own classroom. Don’t get me wrong – I have the most amazing cooperating teacher I could ask for who respects me and allows me to have autonomy in her classroom, and the team is awesome to work with, but it’s not mine. It makes me worry if I’ll be lucky enough to have a classroom next year or if I’ll be successful if I’m not in the third grade. I know now where I want to go in life, but getting there is very frustrating.

On the flipside, there are many positives to my frustration and the experiences of the last few years.

1. My marriage is stronger. You’d think the hardships we’ve faced over the last 1.5 years would’ve driven a wedge between Jason and I, as it does in so many marriages today, but we’re closer than ever. I’d even dare to say that we fight less than we did before about stupid little things. I think he is the only person I can share 150 square feet with and stay sane! He is my rock and I could not have been this strong for so long without him.

2. My grandmother is much better because I was able to quit working. She was worried more about who would care for Clark, but the real difference is because of the unexpected addition of dialysis several times a week after her surgery. While she’s getting much, much better, she’s too weak to drive afterwards (and she just got her driving privileges back this week anyway) so I’ve been able to take her a few times during the week. This also takes the burden off her kids who can’t afford to quit their jobs or take a few extra days off per week. As hard as it’s been to give up my business, it’s a lot easier when you are doing it for family. My grandmother has supported me so much over the years that I don’t mind giving back.

3. I know my path. That’s definitely something I couldn’t have said before this mess started, and while I’ve had a lot of heartbreaking changes along the way, I’m very happy with where I’m headed (as long as I get there, haha). I finally have long term goals again and feel like I can love what I do for a long time.

How do you overcome your feelings of anxiety/inadequacy in life?

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. Tina Fraser permalink
    April 18, 2012 3:45 pm

    Hello Amanda,
    Just looked at your website & loved the neon zebra invite. Is there any chance that you could make two 13 year old girls in Cambridge, UK, very happy by altering your template for their party? I would ideally like to send the invite out by email rather than print & post but I am technology illiterate! Please help!
    Hope you get this soon.
    Desperate mum

  2. Ashley M permalink
    May 10, 2012 7:52 pm

    i’m so proud of you for opening yourself up in such a public forum and being brutally honest. you’re a great mom, so don’t ever worry about that. everybody wants stuff… this giant rat race is all about who can get the most the fastest. we have a lot of stuff and i don’t think my parents gave me half the attention and affection you give your son regularly… and i’d give up our 3D bluray flatscreen tv for all that in a heartbeat.

    taking care of your grandma is so noble. not everyone is willing to put aside their career to help someone else, even if it is family. that compassion is a great lesson that you will impart to your kids–students and offspring alike.

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