I Want It All

And I can't have it.

I want to enjoy my kids and laugh with them in the morning, rather than directing them around like little soldiers to do this and that and hup hup out the door or we'll be late. I want to drink my coffee hot. I want to arrive to work feeling empowered, refreshed and up for a challenge. I want to leave on time, stop at the butcher for something to make for dinner, and get home with enough energy to pick up the house, set the table nicely and enjoy my family over dinner, sharing our day, before I settle down with a glass of wine and my wife, and crack up with her. To let her share a moment of her day without checking my email feed for all-out heart pounding emergencies, or stressing about what happened earlier, or how we're going to pay this or that bill, much less send the kids to college.

And there's more. (There's always more.) I want to be able to function as a person in a life where everyone always needs more from me - my kids, my wife, my employer, my community, my family. I want to rise to their needs and fulfill them, but meet my own needs and be aware that the world is immense and every moment holds an opportunity for a new, more authentic and fulfilling life. I want to play music, not in the slivers of time between work and family, but in large, uninterrupted, regular, feel-good swaths of time. I want to relax. I want to sit on a raft in a lake and dip my hand in and watch the water beads run down my fingers without worrying about anyone, anything at all.

But I also want to be great. I want to be a great assistant. Not a day goes by that I don't try harder, and when I fail, which is often, I feel compelled to double down. I am a great mom (oddly, one of the things I've never worried about) but I know I'm missing out on my kids while I'm busy trying to be great at everything else. I want to be an incredible companion and wife. An intuitive, brilliant musician. An amazing person, friend, artist, lover, creator, helper (with a fabulous looking home and killer wardrobe. I mean, let's be real).

When I was in my early 20s, I had a list of professions I wanted to crank through. Chef, nanny, choreographer, record label owner, caterer, musician, interior designer, sommelier- I'm sure there's a list somewhere. I was on a tear to accomplish as much as humanly possible and prove my gifts to the world (and to myself). I managed to do them all in one capacity or another - some lasting longer than others, and eventually they rolled into one, one size fits all profession that allows me to care deeply about my work, nurture, be creative and loving, and help people. I am grateful for that daily, and immensely grateful for my life.

Last year around my birthday I imagined a boat coming around the corner that I was going to step on, to take me somewhere entirely new. I'll be 42 next year. The kids are growing up and we've given away the baby supplies. It's time to set our goals to something far-off, maybe the destination of my lifetime. But I didn't know what that destination was, or even what the boat would look like. Today, as I'm scratching my head as to use up all the wonderful dinner ingredients I bought at the top of the week but then didn't have time to cook (not once. Not one single night this week.), I wonder if this boat shouldn't take me to a place of singular pleasures. Of broad, bold paint strokes in one color at a time, rather than a full canvas of spectacular, impressive detail. To a place where my arm is dangling off the boat and my finger lightly grazing the top of the water is just something that happens without construct, and without struggle or panic. A place where having it all is really having one great thing at a time, as life tends to give us, and being ok with that.

Amy Cray