Waiting to Live... - 1010 Park Place
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Waiting to Live…

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I have spent so much of my life waiting.

Waiting to be someone else, to be living the next chapter of my life.

For as long as I can recall, I have always been looking ahead, waiting to shed the current layer of my identity in order to become another, better version of myself.

I have been waiting to feel like I have arrived. That each and every part of my life that I segment into compartments, will finally be neatly organized, and I’ll be a more tender, thinner, accomplished version of myself. And this new and improved version would mark the point when my life would really begin.

But after all this waiting – decades, in fact – I can see now that so often I did arrive, but I didn’t always take the time to appreciate how far I had travelled. I’d already moved on, picked the next destination and in my hurry to get there, I would frequently neglect to enjoy the journey.

So here I am. Waiting to become the person I always wanted to be, whilst simultaneously moving through the chapters of my life at breakneck speed.

I have always loved stories about A Big Life Change. I consume books like Elizabeth Gilbert’s, Eat, Pray, Love as though starved for words. So much of my reading takes predictable turns towards anything about fresh starts and the release of daily concerns. I clutch onto other people’s stories, saving blog posts and tearing pages from magazines, evidence that what I want is possible. My dream is another person’s reality! I wait for my time to come.

And so the days pass, and when the monotony of routine and all those ‘must dos’ – that I never seem to get around to – threaten to overwhelm me, I think about how things will be different, in the future. On those days I joke with my husband about moving to Mexico to live by the sea. Everything will be better when we move to the next chapter.

Yet I’ve come to understand that my real desire to be someone and somewhere else is so that I can leave the bits of me that I don’t like behind. It’s so easy to think that if we run away, we don’t have to take the unwanted pieces of ourselves, but it’s not true.  The location may be different – but me, the person I am right now – I will still be the same. Nothing will change unless I do.

I’ve also realized that whilst I’ve been yearning to be someone else, life in all its richness is going on around me. I don’t want my future self to look back with regret on a life continuously spent waiting for “a big life change” that would finally jolt me out of my daily routine and into another life. The life I always believe is just in front of me.

So, I no longer wait to be someone else. I no longer cling to other people’s stories and put things on hold until that time when my life will really begin. Instead, I choose this day, this chapter and to make each and every moment precious in its own way. I savor the journey, rather than focusing on the destination.


9 Comments

  • 1010 Park Place August 27, 2015 at 8:51 am

    Essie,
    You must be a Type A; a perfectionist. I say this because I am, but a long time ago, I learned to live in the moment, because that’s all we’re promised. If you don’t, you miss the good stuff.
    XOXOX,
    Brenda

    • Esther Zimmer August 27, 2015 at 3:44 pm

      Brenda…oh yes I am! But I’m finally learning to let go of perfection (whatever that is?!) and I’m definitely much better at living in the moment than I once was. It’s something I need to constantly practice though. I find writing about things is the key to moving forward for me, I think that black and white commitment to change keeps me motivated! Essie xxxx

      • 1010 Park Place August 27, 2015 at 6:19 pm

        Writing is a great form of self-therapy, isn’t it?

  • Suzanne Fluhr @Boomeresque August 27, 2015 at 1:18 pm

    I’m a lot kinder to myself than I used to be although I’m still probably my own harshest critic, but maybe that’s OK. Still, I sometimes teeter around the edge of a pit of self loathing, but at age 61, I’m thinking my personality isn’t going to change anytime soon.

    • Esther Zimmer August 27, 2015 at 3:57 pm

      Hi Suzanne! Thanks for your comment. I know what you mean about being your own harshest critic, I often say that other people cannot say anything worse about me than the things I’ve already said about myself. However, I’ve been working on being kinder to myself and it’s definitely worth the effort. What I’ve found is that it takes consistent on-going practice though, I compare it to sticking to a health and fitness regime – you can’t reach your goal and then stop and expect things to stay the same! But just like health and fitness, everyone needs to find an approach that works for them. Esther xx

    • 1010 Park Place August 27, 2015 at 6:24 pm

      Suzanne & Esther,
      A casual reader would think we’re all serial killers, or we trip little old ladies, walking down the street. We’re just flawed human beings… That’s the only kind there are. None of us are perfect, so what if we cut ourselves a break? Let’s be our best champions; let’s encourage ourselves and know that we’re doing our best… A phrase that used to irritate me when my mother would pull that out, but I think she WAS doing her best. It wasn’t the best I wanted–or needed–at the time, but I’m still here! A functioning member of society. I love me for all I’ve survived…. Hello!! There’s a blog post here! xoxox, Brenda

      • Esther Zimmer August 28, 2015 at 3:14 am

        Brenda, I couldn’t agree more! After responding to Suzanne’s comment last night I started thinking along similar lines and came back to leave another response! It also got me thinking that a lot of my writing this year has been reflective/move on type stuff – which is fine – but there needs to be a balance with the other 99% of life which is a happy and positive experience! As you say, we are all flawed, there’s no new story there. I love what you wrote about loving yourself for all that you have survived – we should ALL be comfortable loving ourselves. Here’s to being our own champions, I’m definitely joining you on that mission! xx

  • Barbara Torris September 9, 2015 at 1:38 pm

    The waiting game can be a very dangerous one to play. I learned that early on as a service wife with a husband that lived overseas for 14 months without me. I waited to have fun and be young. When he came back, he had already had fun and grown up. Life passed me by because I didn’t live it when it was happening. I learned not to wait, not to move if I thought I was leaving my unhappiness behind and to take time to appreciate the journey. If i can’t dance in the rain I will have to crawl in the mud. I like the first choice best.

    • Esther Zimmer September 11, 2015 at 1:18 pm

      Hi Barbara, thank you so much for your comment! I love your last line and I like the first choice best too. I’m done with waiting, I was always doing things but I was always waiting for something better. Here’s to dancing in the rain! Esther xx

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