Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Always waiting

Life is good. I have a great job. I might even call it my dream job. I get to do creative things like writing and designing and brainstorming new ideas. I get to meet lots of interesting people – both here in Canada and in other parts of the world. I am in a position of some authority, so I get to make decisions and have a real impact on the organization and the work we do. I work in a non-profit organization whose mission is to “end hunger” – what better goal could there be than that? I even got to create a new blog - on work time! (It's here - not my writing, just my design.) I get to feel good about doing philanthropy and I get to tell stories of the people whose lives we’re impacting. I get to travel to interesting places. In February, I’ll probably make my second trip to Africa – and this trip will be primarily for the purpose of writing stories and taking pictures – how dreamy is THAT?

I have a great marriage to a compassionate funny man. Three of the most beautiful girls in the world call me mommy and make me feel loved unconditionally. I have a comfortable home with enough food to eat, plenty of clothes to wear, a car in the driveway and a shiny bike in the garage.

So many of my dreams come true on a regular basis, it hardly seems fair. Not only do I have a great job, but I also get to do some fun freelance work on the side. My writing gets published fairly regularly now, I have a few opportunities to facilitate interesting workshops in leadership and creativity, and I get to do some public speaking now and then.

Life really is good. I could hardly imagine a more bountiful, complete life.

But then… why oh WHY am I always waiting for the next good thing to come around? It seems I am almost always restless, dreaming of something bigger and better and more adventurous. Beautiful things surround me, and yet I long for more beautiful things. There is always something I am dreaming of – another trip, another freelance opportunity, another adventure, another job, another room in my house, a bigger kitchen, another country to live in for awhile, more time for creativity, less responsibility to a 9 to 5 job, more time to take art classes, a beautiful office space that I can decorate to inspire me, a family vacation, and on and on and on.

Restlessness is so much a part of my nature, I probably wouldn’t recognize myself if I stopped being restless. When the thing I’m dreaming of arrives, I revel in it for awhile, feel blessed and refreshed for a brief time, and then I turn my back and start dreaming of the next good thing.

The teachers in school used to call it “daydreaming” and yes, I am very guilty of staring out the window and daydreaming. When I was growing up, I daydreamed about moving to the city, getting a good job, flying somewhere in an airplane, and having lots of adventures. Then I grew up, all those dreams came true, and soon I was staring out the window again.

Perhaps it’s in the nature of every creative person to have a restlessness like this. Maybe it’s good to always have a dream. Perhaps that’s the only way I’ll move forward – reaching for the things ahead of me.

But sometimes, I wish I knew how to be content. At least for a little longer. I think I could learn a lesson from the Buddhists who find contentment in mindfulness. Or the apostle Paul for that matter, who wrote these wise words: "I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want." Sigh. I wish I knew the secret of being content.


Liz said...

I am the exact opposite as you, lol! I am very content to just hang out at home with my family and putter around my gardens!

Krista said...

I think your issue is not simply a matter of daydreaming, but the fact that we were not made for this world.

I believe we all (and especially Christians) have an innate longing for our next life. A God-shaped hole, as it were. It can leave us feeling like we're always waiting for the next good thing or, for me, feeling homesick even when you're comfortably at home.

Paul struggled with this longing for what awaited him in heaven too: "For me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labour for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; but it is more ncessary for you that I remain in the body" (Phil. 1:21-24).

Vicki said...

Well I have nothing indepth to add to this. Like you I'm soaking it in. I hated to go past this post without stating my being here, reading this, and feeling just like you.

this is my first time here. I've seen your comments other places. I find myself wanting to come back tomorrow to read more. (no pressure!HA!)

Linda said...

I hear you and know that feeling. To "live in the moment" is something that I am attempting to do these days. I think that we need a balance of both-daydreaming and enjoying the moment. Believe it or not, I think you are pretty balanced.

bbb said...

Welcome to my life! I may not be that creative, but I both love my life and very much look forward to my next adventure. Whereas I often feel that way, I wouldn't go as far as to call it discontent. I like the way krista put it. My paraphrase: "I love it here, and I'll love it there too!" In my case, the "there" could be Heaven, Australia, Jasper, Thailand, Florida, Africa, Europe, a bench beside our pond.... :-)

Pamela said...

Sounds more like a zest for life.
Sure...we long for heaven, but we also are here for a purpose.

Yours may be to speak life into the needs of others. In order to do that you need LIFE!

I envy you!

tlawwife said...

I have always been leery to have everything because I think the fulfilling part of life is the wanting. When I want something and get it then I have to find something else to want. That gives me reason to keep going. Although I don't want to be "needy" just always have something to hope for.

BarnGoddess said...

I think there is nothing wrong with how you feel :)

Lorna said...

To quote a song we both know...
"Sometimes deep dissatisfaction overtakes me by surprise, and I can't quite understand what might be wrong.
There are times when I feel lonely even in a crowd of friends like I don't where this troubled soul belongs.
Must be that River that I've been longing for..."
Sometimes that wishing for something more is my reminder that Heaven must be real.

andrea said...

I see myself and raise you one :). I call it greedy. I admit to being greedy. But I see those around me who fear taking risks, who settle, and I know that I need to be what works for me. No yang without yin.

Accidental Poet said...

There's a time I can recall
4 years old and 3 feet tall
tryin' to touch the stars and the cookie jar
and both were out of reach ...

We are reaching for the future
we are reaching for the past
and no matter what we have
we reach for more
we are desperate to discover
what is just beyond our grasp ...

but maybe that's what Heaven is for.

Joyce said...

sometimes I think of that longing as a reminder that my soul is not designed to be entirely realised or content here. It reminds me of all there is yet to come. How, we "see through a glass darkly" but one day, we will be so complete.

Besides that, you have way too much talent for one woman. Thats just not fair.

Karla said...

I think what you are describing sounds perfectly healthy. I don’t see anything wrong with having goals and always striving to be more than you already are. It sounds so human, to you know, want to grow and learn and discover and set focus in our lives.

Kristin said...

I definitely relate with this. My discontent is usually more nebulous than knowing what I want next, though. It often takes the form of a subtle sense that I could be doing something better with my time.

Gina said...

Right, I'm going to echo that I would take it as the ability to dream and move towards a better future for yourself.

Unless it keeps you from enjoying the moment you are in, which is something I don't think you have a problem with, I think it can be a positive thing!

vicki said...

I found comfort in this post and thought of you.

called The True Seeker.