You know what song I mean, right? It's only been used so many times that many people find it cliche (which kills me!). No, you can't always get what you want but it is true that if you try sometimes you just might find you get what you need. I don't have what I want but tonight the Stones gave me the AHA! moment I have needed when I slipped into my nifty little VW Beetle convertible with the top down and the breeze in my hair. How did I get here? In the immortal words of Mandy Patinkin as the beloved Inigo Montoya - "No, there is too much. Let me sum up."
I am a midwest gal, born and raised in the "heartland" in an intact family that took vacations together, camped in a small pop-up camper during the summer, and played sports year round. I read a lot - and I mean A LOT - as a kid and wrote almost as much. Though it sounds perfect, my formative years had pitfalls like everybody else but in general I was happy and my family as well. When I went to college it was with the full support of my parents though I know now that I should have selected a different major. Eh, I know a lot of people in the same boat. But I did it, and I did it in three years from a type university (with a major and a minor no less). Yes, I am bragging, it was an accomplishment and in the age of six year degrees I am extremely proud of it. Anyway, I digress (I am a writer, so sue me!). I finished college and found a job - several actually in various forms but none particularly fulfilling or enjoyable. Being honest, I was miserable. I should have gone into something creative - mistake #1 - but I was being the logical, responsible young woman my parents raised me to be.
Flash forward several years. Here I am, married to my high school sweetheart/best friend, have two amazing kids, a dog, a house and a full time job. Major confession time here and I am not somebody who cares to air my dirty laundry for the world to see. This is a hard thing for me and I am not going to share all of the details but the marriage was a mess and the job was bleeding me in every other way. I was exhausted and frustrated and at my end. My husband was too. Finally it hit breaking point and we decided a change was necessary - a HUGE change - so we took some losses, quit our jobs, packed the kids up and moved across the country to beautiful (glorious!) Seattle, Washington. I fell in love the very first week. My husband loved the city as well (especially since he has been a Seattle Seahawks fan since age 5!) and the kids blended in smashingly. I started writing again - really writing again as in cranking out novels and novellas and building journals of future story ideas. I even self-published and it felt wonderful. It felt like I was home, like everything finally fit together for me and I would be able to quit the dreaded job and devote my life to writing and being a mother. But Ryan missed his fam and friends and too soon exercised the option I had given to move back to the midwest. I was devastated. Actually, I am not sure that devastated covers it. Nope, not even close. I am not a crier by nature but I shed a lot of tears as my time to leave Seattle drew closer and closer. I still didn't love my job (same as I had done in Ohio) but the city more than made up for it - or so I thought.
Please do not look at Ryan as the bad guy. He had a right, I gave him the out before we moved, but it still hurt. However, all was not lost and I clung to that. We had a deal. If I did this then I could quit my awful job, stay home with the kids and secure part time work so I could work on my writing. This deal, as it turns out, was more than a fair exchange. It took a long time to find a job - even part time - that worked with me staying home with the kids during the hours hubby works and even longer to get started. I am still not getting the hours I want/need but I love the job. It feels weird to type those words. I love the job. Now I am getting ahead of myself. My Stones moment happened tonight and this is how it went.
This morning I woke up to my kids asking me about running, their faces hopeful and satisfied with just a hint of sleepiness. I slipped out of bed (so not to disturb Ryan who took the day off) and dressed to run (my daughter and I are training for a 5K). They were giddy and it was infectious. For the first time in two weeks it was cooler and not quite so humid so the jog was pleasant for all of us. We spent the rest of the day hanging out together, reading, doing art, and of course, I got to promote my books a bit. I went to work for my four hour shift (still training) and learned a lot, made some sales, and drank some great tea. When the shift was over, I clocked out, smile on my face, and headed out to my car - a Texans blue VW Beetle convertible. Of course, given the weather I had to put the top down for the drive home. Just as the top settled and I was putting the windows down, the Stones came on. I realized as I drove that I got exactly what I needed - my kiddos, a job I can say I love, and my drive to write. I think I will always pine for the mountains and lakes (and the Sound!) of Seattle, but if I keep trying and take a few losses here and there, I can find that space between perfect bliss and serene melancholy that allows me to write and love and be who I want (and need) to be. Someday I will live in Seattle again, someday. But for now, I am right where I need to be.