Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Dream List

Do you ever feel like your life is in a holding period?

I do. I do right now. I feel like this isn't my real life, but if I just keep my head down and get through it, I'll have paved the way for the life I want. I really don't want this blog to be an online journal of complaining; nor do I want to feel as though my life is in limbo.

I need to make a plan for happiness.

My Dream List is a list of anything and everything I want, not matter how insignificant or how implausible. I need to figure out what it is that I want out of my life and find out ways to get there.

Dream List
1. Love: I absolutely love my husband and our relationship.  We have the same sense of humor, and he still surprises me. He is the perfect husband: he respects me, teases, is very strong emotionally and physically, gets flustered and embarassed by compliments, is hilarious, still opens the door after almost three years of marriage, and says things like, "Baby, I love the way you look in those sweatpants." And means it.

2. Puppy Love: Our pup is the most adorable, pain in the neck, snuggly-soft pooch and has been my go-to teddy bear confidant through tough times. He has a funny little sense of humor and he and my dad hang out all the time and eat snacks, which is seriously the cutest thing ever.

3. Location: somewhere with four seasons, but for the most part is pretty warm. Like, lowest in winter would be 45 and in the summer could hit 100 for a few days. Lots of trees and lakes, rivers, ocean (?) etc. Close to a city, but not a huge city. Within 30 minutes of museums, great restaurants, concert venues, etc. A moral community, possibly with Christian values. Near a university or several would be great because I like that vibe and I want to always be taking classes. My husband really misses the South and I love stepping outside of my comfort zone, so probably the South.

Little Rock, AR perhaps?
River Market, Little Rock, AR

4. Primary Job: education, either teaching (possibly college level) or administration (possibly curriculum director or principal).

5. Second Job: Photographer. I would love to do this, but I need formal training. I have a pretty good camera and some basic editing ability. I would love to photograph people's weddings, new babies, engagements, military send-offs and senior photos. I would want to be really affordable. J and I had absolutely no money when we got married but the only thing we did spend money on was our amazing photographer who not only was reasonable but let us pay in installments. I want to help other people celebrate important moments like she did for us.

6. Home: I want a house with at least three bedrooms. J and I don't know if we will have children someday, so I'd want the space because once we find our home, we don't want to move. I want a big kitchen because that's where people gather. I would like a master bedroom with its own bathroom. I want light, lots and lots and LOTS of light. A little patch of yard would be nice for barbecues or someday-kids, but I don't need a ton of acreage. The house should be newer so we're not always fixing everything. I like architectural features, like really georgeous crown molding. I want a deck or a patio. Somewhere you can view water would be lovely.

133 Marseille Dr, Maumelle, AR 72113
Something like this, yes?
105 Corondelet Ln, Maumelle, AR 72113
Sidenote: Remember yesterday, I posted that picture of a house in our current area that's selling for $250,000?

This is a home in what I think is our preferred area, listing at the same price.

I know, right?

 7. Health: I want to be healthy. That is not code for stick-thin, perfect body, or anything like that. I do want to look good, but I also want to feel good. I want to eat foods, healthy and not-so-healthy sometimes, that make me feel good. I want more fresh vegetables and fruit, I want to walk more, I want to be outside more. (Not in the cold, because that makes me the opposite of happy.) I want to take some kind of dance class or something because I love to dance, and possibly hot yoga because I loved it when I tried it. I want J and I to cook more at home, but not at this home, because we have no oven or stove top. I love when he grills, and he loves when he grills, so that would be ideal.

8. Family: I want to have a good relationship with my family, and I think that will be better accomplished by not living close by. My family does not show affection, nor do they express joy at seeing one another. That sounds harsh, but I don't know how to explain it. I know that if I needed help moving everything I own into a new house, everyone would show up to help. The flipside is that when I came back home after living in Korea for a year, they didn't even leave a light on out front. There is a lot of love, but everything is expressed in how much work people are willing to do for you. Perfect example: my brother, who also lives at the house, has a lot of car trouble. By that I mean, he always buys absolute wrecks because he always wants to pay cash and never take out a loan. The other day he came looking for J's help on his car (for the 47th time) and J said, before my brother started speaking, "If this is anything car related, I'm off the clock, bud. It's date night!" because we were getting ready for dinner reservations. My brother said, "It'll just take a minute, if you'll just check..." End of the story: husband doesn't go to work for him, brother is pissed, brother is not on speaking terms with husband.

My family spends quality time with one another around Christmas and at certain points during the summer. Other than that, it's a lot of bickering or a lot of I-haven't-seen-my-brother-who-lives-in-the-same-building-for-at-least-two-weeks. Carefully planned vacations to see them and quality phone calls have historically made for better relationships.

On his side, his parents are very affectionate. They love to see J and, I know, would make a lot time to visit if we lived close by. He really misses them. Not only that, he really misses the South and what that means to him. He is also their only full-biological son (he has half-brothers, but they've distanced themselves from family after making some Lindsay Lohan-type life choices.)

This is what it comes down to: He would love to be close to his parents, and I know that my relationship with my parents seems to improve with distance.

9. School: I want to get my PhD in education, English Literature, History, or leadership. I'm pretty open, so it depends on the program available.

10. Travel: My husband would love to go to Italy; I would love to go back. I want to see new places and cultures, because I never feel more connected, grateful, or spiritual than when I travel and I want the travel bug to get my husband, too.

11. Friends: I want to keep the beautiful, close friends I already have who live from New York to Alabama. I want to make new friends wherever it is that we finally put roots. I don't want to make friends here because I don't want to get into a social circle I'll have to leave. Wherever we are, I want to join book and/or photography clubs, reach out to people, and have a group of friends we can invite to small get-togethers, call up if I'm in their neighborhood, watch their baby if they need someone, etc.

What, do I feel, is holding me back from these things?


Of course. But you already knew that.

So, plan:

1. Love: Keep working to keep our relationship amazing. Do good things for one another.
2. Puppy Love: Love the heck out of that little beast and give him new adventures.
3. Location: Move once it's financially an option. Probably Arkansas, but first have to take a trip to scout out neighborhoods/cities.
4. Job: Rock my first year at this school and get great observational reviews from administration. Keep working the technology angle to get more out of each lesson for the kids and me. Work, work, work on classroom management but keep my head up because I'm not a bad teacher and I can't let every little thing get to me. They're teenagers. They are supposed to test boundaries; it's part of their growing. If hired on next year, really look into tuition reimbursement to further train.
5. Secondary Job: Start taking advantage of those photography classes that are always on Groupon or whatever. Stop being afraid of sucking and just do it for the fun of it. Be brave!
6. Home: Move. (See #3.)
7. Health: Just start small. Get on the treadmill for 30 minutes every other day this week. Once you start feeling the rhythm and feeling good, pick it up a notch!
8. Family: Move. Visit MA family a few times a year, but get J closer to his parents.
9. School: Take advantage of tuition reimbursement through any school you work at. Look more in depth at programs you are interested in and do some research on which would be the most helpful to your career compared with what you'd enjoy.
10. Travel: Make small trips now. Bring J to Cape Cod, go up to NH, see Vermont and Maine. Take a train to DC or go out to Philly.
11. Friends: Do more for the friends you already love and make time to visit with them either by phone or in person.

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