We’re on the cusp of something. I don’t know what yet. But I can feel it in my bones.
My wife Emily Steele and I have always wanted it all – careers in entertainment (specifically music for me, and film production for her); a house with a pool and hot tub; enough money to live securely; marriage; a family – and back in our teens and early-to-mid twenties, we each separately had plans and designs for how to accomplish all of these things. As is typical of most people, the order these accomplishments were to go in was something like “career, money, marriage, house, baby” and on and on.
But that’s not how things have gone for us.
And thank God!
For the most part, we’ve been hitting our accomplishments completely backwards. Take, for instance, our courtship – we argued and fought so much as friends leading up to us trying to figure out if we wanted to be together (I’d say it was altogether about a two-year process) that we always joke (though I think there’s some truth to it) that we got our divorce out of the way so that we could have a wonderful and beautiful relationship and marriage. We’ve realized in the years since that perhaps without that period of tribulation we may not have made it through the first year or so after the fabled “honeymoon period”.
We bought a house two and a half years ago – while still holding jobs in career fields neither of us intends to pursue.
We became pregnant with our first child after I quit my job (from that career field didn’t want to pursue), and had that child while I was still unemployed (though technically running our business which, at the time, was not making us much money).
Now I’m the First Assistant Director at a growing film company in Nashville, TN (which is incredibly backwards, that’s what Emily is supposed to be doing) demoing for a new album (my first in ten years) while Emily is still working in her unintended career field, but is in the throes of finishing up pre-production on a short film she wrote (and which we both think is going to pay dividends once properly produced this fall and sent to the festival circuit next year).
The thing is, Emily and I had an interesting conversation last week, and we came to the conclusion that while the order in which we are experiencing the accumulation of the various pieces of our dreams is not what we planned nor would be considered ideal, it’s quite possible that this is the way it would have to be in order for us to get everything we ever wanted. Would I have quit that job I didn’t like if I had found out we were pregnant before doing so? Probably not – I would have been too petrified to do so. And it’s quite possible as a result I wouldn’t be working in the film industry, which actually gets us both closer to where we want to be (in a weird, sideways sort of way). If we had been focusing on building the careers we wanted (while here in our mid-30s), would we have ever had a child? I would argue there’s a good chance we may not have – we may have kept postponing that until we were certain we could handle it and balance that with our careers (which, by the way, no person ever perceives they can do).
In other words, I think if we had built our lives and attempted to accomplish everything we wanted in the order we had planned it, I don’t think we would have gotten it all. Maybe the careers, but maybe not the family. Maybe part of the careers and a family but no money.
And that’s not to say that it will absolutely work out this way either.
But what I am trying to say is this: If you really want it and you really work hard at it, Life will find a way of providing it for you. It may not look the way you thought it would, and it may seem incredibly difficult and way off course much of the time, but if you stay that course and don’t give up, it will pay you back all the dividends you were hoping for and then some.
And keep in mind that real fulfillment doesn’t look like you thought it would.
But it’s way better!