We’re moving. We’re leaving a wonderful town full of wonderful people to live in a wonderful town full of wonderful people. Needless to say, I’m feeling very conflicted. Emotions are battling inside my head, and, since this “new” town is where I went to college, I’m being reminded of how much my life has changed since I used to live there.
2004 Lauren’s Vision of 2015 Lauren:
Bright red hair, dyed regularly. Cat eye glasses, cup of coffee in left hand, glass of very expensive wine in the right. Imaginary Future Lauren has managed to find a career in-line with her college majors (English, Theatre) that somehow warrants her wearing a very sharp business suit. It’s entirely possible that Imaginary Future Lauren has decided to bring back shoulder pads… successfully.
Imaginary Future Lauren has somehow managed to fit her ideal family life into this picture of creative corporate success. This means a husband who is very high up the corporate ladder but also capable of showing his sensitive and creative side. The children are safe at home with their thoroughly researched and fantastically qualified nanny, while Imaginary Future Lauren manages to magically be 100% involved in her children’s lives, in her marriage, and in her super-successful imaginary creatively corporate job that involves incredibly fashionable pointy shoes and a briefcase.
2015 Lauren’s Vision of 2015 Lauren:
Reddish brown hair, tastefully dyed that one time back in 2011 when she was feeling a little crazy. Cheap nerd glasses from America’s Best, because $99 for three years of eye exams? Come on… that’s a no-brainer.
Actual Reality Lauren has very slowly (and with a lot of help from friends) gotten herself to a fairly satisfying state of success as a freelance writer. She has spent the last five years of her life focusing on raising kids without that mythical nanny (her name was going to be Imogen and she was absolutely going to be British), and is about to follow her husband to a new teaching job in a small city, and her head is spinning. Actual Reality Lauren has no idea where her pointy shoes went, and has a whole bunch of briefcases and computer bags collecting dust on one of her Pinterest boards.
2015 Lauren Tries to Reconcile these Two Laurens without Losing Her Mind
Imaginary Future Lauren had very strong convictions about things she knew nothing about, and would never follow a man simply because he got a job. She may obsess over being in a relationship to the point of ridiculousness, but she would never just FOLLOW a man!!!
Obviously, Actual Reality Lauren has learned a few things about life and love and family. She knows now that life doesn’t work very well in nebulous vague possibilities, and almost always comes brimming over with details. Details involving career choices and compromise and opportunity and loyalty. Details that make following the only option you’d ever dream of.
2015 Lauren Stops Talking about Herself in the Third Person because it’s Getting Old and Inconsistent
I am nervous and I am feeling very overwhelmed. I have an enormous support system of family and friends, and I know that everything is going to work out. I am happy for my husband, and I am happy for us, and I can’t help but reflect on this business of following. The way my life has worked out these past few years has taken the form of me staying at home with my kids… something I never thought I would do. My job has been to make a home life for us while my husband goes out and brings in the bacon… which means finding friends for our kids, finding a preschool, finding a routine during our days. I’m not saying that Paul doesn’t help in these things… but they have been my main responsibility.
Our first day in our new town will be like my first day at a new job, regardless of how many people we already know there. All of this is because I’ve chosen a life in which I follow my family, wearing whatever shoes aren’t covered in playground sand. It’s a remarkable reminder that my family is my purpose and source of strength when things get stressful, and when everything I’ve gotten comfortable with is about to change.
This is something 2004 Lauren would never understand, regardless of what a “hopeless romantic” she thought she was.
This business of following may not be everyone’s business, and that’s more than okay. I’m grateful to realize, however, that it has become mine… and that I can wear whichever shoes I want.
…or whichever shoes I can find at the moment.