I'm up too late. I've been bad about that over the past few weeks, staying up late knowing that it will make me less happy and less productive the next day. It's a special brand of self-sabotage; if I make sure I haven't had enough sleep, I have something on which to blame my bad attitude and lack of discipline.
I've been struck lately, sometimes prompted and sometimes out of the blue, by random memories of times of unexpected joy, life experiences that were just more than I expected they would be. The unexpected pureness of those events makes for vivid detail and utter clarity. I have lots of memories like this from college, one of the most intense and overall positive times in my life. I have a few memories like this from Peace Corps, although many of my Peace Corps recollections are shrouded in a haze of loneliness and unhappiness that I was not fully aware of at the time.
I've seen a lot of college friends over the past week, which is perhaps what's bringing these memories to the surface. It's great to see everyone and their families, spend time with people who have known me for so long and who got to know me at at such a transformational time in my life. While I might not be in frequent touch with many of them, whenever I have the chance to see them, I feel like they understand me in a way that many other people don't.
The memories and the time together have, though, made temporarily deeper a constant struggle I have, that of trying to be content with the life I have rather than regretful of the life I thought I would have, or jealous of the life I think I want. It's not that I don't appreciate the many good things in my life. I do. Truly, I do. But my life is not what I imagined it would be. If I could order a life off of a menu, it's not the one I'd choose.
I'm sure this is true for many people. Most people. All people? For certain, no one's life is perfect, and for certain, no one's life is constant pure joy. But it's still hard for me to be around friends with their spouses and partners and kids and watch them interact in seamless and intimate ways and not to feel that my life is less for what I lost. Not that it's not good, no, it is. I've created a thoughtful and meaningful life for myself and my family in John's absence. I have Maddie and Riley, and there are the rest of my family and bountiful friends and a good job and a city that is my home. We have enough food and we have a car and a house and really, in terms of the physical, we want for nothing. I want for nothing. I'm at peace with what my life is and with the many things for which I am grateful.
But yet, it is less than I want, less than I feel I deserve, as though that's how life works. And it's a struggle for me, especially right now, for whatever reason, to be at peace with that.