I want to be honest for a moment, and I’m hoping I can express all this in a way that doesn’t sound horrible or whiney or ungrateful, etc.
Sometimes I get antsy. I feel too domestic for my own personality. If you’d asked me when I was 18 what I imagined my life would be like at 24, the words travel, spontaneity, and well, adventure would likely have been involved. I think at that point I pictured myself globe-hopping for my fabulous work as a successful documentary photographer, not really tied down, just being young and free. I thought I’d wait a while to have kids, even to get married.
Now, I want to be completely clear that I have zero regret over the path my life has taken. I met my husband when I was 18, graduated from college at 19, got married right before my 20th birthday, started my business at 20, and at 21 I became a mother. Now, at 24, I’ll be a mom of two boys and building my own business doing something I love. It has been a whirlwind and truly an adventure in its own amazing way. And I love it all. I’ll bet that my 18 year old self couldn’t have dreamed all that up for anything.
Still there is part of me that sometimes feels like I’ve become boring. I haven’t been outside the country in six years, and haven’t even been on plane in almost two. I don’t get out as much as the average 20-something, and really would usually rather get a bit of extra sleep. I keep a budget and get excited over saving $31.86 at the grocery store, and feel pretty accomplished if the house is clean by the time I go to bed at night. I love my work, but right now it is very local and does not grace the pages of major magazines. It is humble and small. Sometimes I look at other photographers, and other people, who are constantly jetting off to this awesome city and that beautiful country, who wear really awesome clothes and hang out with really awesome people all the time and generally seem so glamourous, and I feel a bit lame and domestic in my normal everyday existence and ache for more adventure.
But then I have to remind myself to stop comparing and embrace my own story. Raising young kids is for sure far less glamourous, but it is not less. It is the adventure I’m meant to be living at this point in time. It is an awesome gift, and a weighty, important responsibility that I don’t take lightly. I am also so thankful that I can have a career simultaneously, even if it has to be limited for a while. And thankful that I’m actually still young, and my kids will only be little for a while. They will grow, and my work and life will change yet again. I’ll be able to travel and take bigger jobs eventually, and do more of the things I used to dream of doing. Maybe I’ll get to share some of those adventures with my family. And I know for sure that I’ll miss this time when they’re tiny and need me all the time.
But now, if I can see my current everyday life for the beautiful adventure that it is, maybe I can be a model for my kids of living fully exactly where you are, and of looking inwardly rather than comparing oneself to everyone else. That is one of the greatest gifts I can give them, because one thing I have learned (and continue to re-learn) is that happiness is in the state of your mind and heart, not your outward situation.