The summer of 2008, I lived in a small but tidy apartment in Chicago. In addition to being a songwriter, I was working for the City of Evanston as an event coordinator. I paid my limited bills on time, took my dog for long walks on the Lake Michigan beach, and even had time to spare for parties, concerts, and small vacations.
Fast forward to the summer of 2019. My two toddlers have left my house a shambles. I'm typing with notes to myself written on my hand like a kid in middle school. My dog gets walked about 5 minutes a day. I wait to pay my bills until the second they're due, and I can't remember the last time I've been to a party or concert. Vacations are going to the grocery story and the community pool.
Sometimes I wonder: am I going backwards?
In the States, we seem to have an idea that there is one clear life trajectory: that we are born, choose a direction, go to school, amass wealth, retire, and die. There is a start point, and an end point, and the movement in between should be a straight shot. And while that may make sense on paper and in our minds, I have to imagine that--more likely than not--most of us will change courses, direction, and our definition of success several times throughout our lives. We veer. We ricochet. We stall. We redirect. We hit walls and bounce back.
Life is a game of pinball.
Reader, there is no such thing as a straight shot. If you too feel a bit knocked about, take heart in knowing this songwriter feels the same. Weeks never look the same. Goals change. Circumstances force us to pivot. This week, I plan on letting go of the expectation that life should be anything less than all-over-the-place.
And with that, I'm off to who-knows-where this week. I'll see you next Monday. -Em