Women typically have a set idea of how their lives are supposed to go. We are fascinating beings; we have imaginations that cannot be explained or rationalized. I don’t mean to say that all women have their heads in the clouds. Instead, I suggest that many women get lost in their own thoughts and plans. Women daydream and imagine their life (down to very minute details) from a very early age.
Think about it, how many little girls have you seen play dress up? This sounds like a stereotype, but it is incredibly true. Little girls begin playing house almost as soon as they can walk. Preschools are highly encouraged to have a “home center” in each classroom to allow the children to play house. This is a crucial time in which children learn gender roles as well as social expectations. (Don’t worry; I am not going to go off on a tangent here, instead why don’t we make a mental note to talk about gender roles and social expectations at a later date… YAY!) I work as a nanny. I work with a three year old girl, a two year old boy, and a one year old boy. The little girl, Beth, has a baby doll that she changes, bathes, and feeds. Her baby’s name changes every so often, but she is two years old. Beth works in “markets” (just like her mom who actually works in marketing) and she goes to the store to buy milk. Despite her young age, Beth never varies on this story; we play this game almost every single day. At the age of three, she is acting out what she expects life to be like when she grows up.
This train of thought does not go away with age. Everyone thinks that eventually girls stop playing house, but this simply is not true. As girls grow into women they go from playing house to preparing for a house. While all women make loose and flexible plans in their minds, some women take this a step further. There are women who have scrapbooks dedicated to their future life. I have a very dear friend who has a scrapbook filled with her plans and hopes for the future that she started in the 2nd grade. Women think about what they want and build an imaginary life around these wants. A great example of this can be seen on the social networking site pinterest. It is called an “online pinboard”. What this means is that people (mostly women from what I have seen) can “pin” pictures online like you would on a corkboard in your house. On just about any given woman’s pinterest account you can see the following boards: wedding, children, crafts, fashion, and house. Pinterest allows for women to play house on the internet where you are protected by a password.
By playing house we build up in our minds what our lives should look like, and then we are disappointed when real life does not live up to our expectations. I have a good friend who was exceedingly disappointed when her boyfriend proposed to her. Why? Because he didn’t have someone there to take pictures of the exact moment he proposed. Why did she want these pictures? So she could post them on facebook like one of our other friends had done. She had spent so much time imagining the way that he would do it that she had built up expectations that made one of the most important steps in their relationship a sore subject for both of them. That could not have been a fun conversation for this young couple to have. Even worse, I have an acquaintance from college who was found crying at her wedding because it wasn’t like the incredible weddings that she had seen on TLC.
I myself am guilty of setting up these expectations for my life and then being disappointed by reality. I entered into the running for a very competitive internship at an art gallery upon my acceptance to graduate school. I had built up a life, in my mind, of a high-powered career that would fill the void in my heart that seemed to be rapidly increasing in size. In my usual way I attacked the internship with everything I had. I spent hours and hours every day in the gallery my first semester despite the fact that I could only clock in for eight hours a week. I took on extra research projects, and my boss began to recognize my talents. I began a program to encourage elementary school field trips to the gallery. I was promoted…twice. And yet every night when I got in bed, I could still feel the void. I tried to pawn it off on the fact that I was just anxious to get my career really started; no one likes the process required to get where they want to be. Paying your dues is no fun. I planned on a high-powered career, so I just needed to pull myself up by my bootstraps and get it done. However, it soon became clear to me that my expectations of happiness and feeling completed by my career were way off. I have recently determined that I am pursuing this career for the wrong reasons (more on that subject to come!) This has led me to begin to take steps on the path that I am supposed to be walking.
So again you ask, “When is the life I want going to begin?” The answer is…. that depends entirely upon you. You have to make the choice to let go of control. This means realizing that your expectations for your life may not be what God has planned for you. I called myself a Christian for years and yet I desperately clung to controlling my life. I thought that I knew better and I could make my plan happen no matter what. God has a funny way of letting you know that HE is in control, not you. By handing my life over to Jesus Christ I was freed of a great deal of disappointment. The life that I had pushed towards so diligently was suddenly unimportant. I began to realize that God has a bigger picture in mind for my life than what I can see from my limited perspective. So instead of asking “when is the life I want going to begin” I am now asking God to show me how to begin the life that He has in store for me. This blog is my way of chronicling my journey, in hopes that maybe others can learn from my struggles and trials. I can’t wait to see what God has planned for me!