Saturday, June 25, 2011

Crash Landing on Fantasy Island

photo credit to
One of the fantasies that I have had for most of my adult life is that of the life of the adult woman who lives alone. It is not something that I want for myself now, I happen to love my husband a great deal. It has always been more of a longing for what I have felt I missed out on.
Other than 3 months when I was in my early 20's I have always lived with my family. I lived with the family I grew up with, and then I married my husband and he became "my family".  Because of this, I have always had this feeling that I missed out on that opportunity to live as an individual with her own...well...her own everything.
When I have watched a movie and the heroine lives alone (i.e. While You Were Sleeping, When Harry Met Sally, The Wedding Planner, You've Got Mail) I am always slightly envious of the fictional character for having that opportunity that I never really had. (3 months isn't really long enough to even unpack the toaster). And, here is the weird part, if she has a roommate, I am not jealous. Not interested in the slightest. I guess having a roommate changes the situation and it no longer feeds my fantasy.

So, the rules of the fantasy seem to be young (too late) and single (No, thank you--my man's a keeper) and living alone. Well, over the last week, I have been reexamining this fantasy and why it had the power to make me feel that I "missed out on something". Why did the idea of living alone before I met the man I was to marry sometimes tempt me into being less than content with who I am today?  I mean, the fantasy wasn't about marrying someone else. It was about who I was and how I lived before I married.
And, over the last week I have spent more time alone than I have in my whole life. I have spent more time, with less conversation, than ever before.  In some ways, it is as if I am the latest guest on the 70's hit series, Fantasy Island.  I keep looking over my shoulder waiting for Ricardo Montelbon to step from behind a palm tree and I keep listening for Tattoo to hollar, "The plane, the plane!"

This being alone is like a fantasy where my house stays relatively clean, and I can eat when I want and I can read, or type or sit and stare at my cat chase a lizard. And, somewhere in the midst of it all,  I realized that I'm still me. I am equally me and if I had ever had the opportunity to live alone in a cute little apartment with light blue appliances, I wouldn't be more me. I would be the same amount of me. I am not less me because I went from a home with my parents to a home with my husband. I am just as much me. I never wasn't me and I was never less me.
I have believed a lie. The lie was that I had never really discovered who I was because in order to discover who I was, I would need to be completely separate from all people called "family" or "husband". As if I am an island that doesn't exist on any map, until it is charted.

That isn't anywhere in scripture. Nowhere. But what is in scripture is this: "In Him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit." Where I lived before I married was in the house of the Lord. That is where I lived. And that is where I have to live now, because there are days when I cannot eat when I want or stare at a lizard. There are days when I have to think of someone else, and I have to define myself based on something more than the quaintness of my home.

It isn't anything that most people will understand or identify with. But, it is something that has been a burden to me and I feel a little more free from it.  My contentment with myself is just as important as my contentment in my marriage. Fantasies are no longer allowed to begin with the words "I should have..." And, I will not believe any lie that deems the life I have lived as "less than". The life I have lived could easily be the fantasy that someone else has entertained, and that is not part of God's plan for any of us.

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