“You’re really living the dream,” they say.
Inside I cringe; please don’t be jealous,
My life is more than what makes it through Instagram filters.
You see color and beauty, adventure and friendship;
You don’t see the weeds:
My swollen eyes and Matt’s bewildered expression,
Traffic jams, aimless afternoons,
Questions of “what’s next?”
Missing home and friends and routine.
“I’m supposed to be living the dream,” I say.
This is it,
The basket of happiness into which I’ve put all of my eggs for so long
This life, van life with my lover:
Freedom, life on the road,
Climbing strong, climbing often,
Hanging out with friends old and new.
It’s good, really good.
But there are still weeds here!
I thought they’d be gone.
“The dream” must still be out there somewhere.
“I want to get a tattoo of a weed,” Alissa said,
“To remind me of the imperfections in our lives,
The untameable and undesirable things,
The struggles we want to be rid of.
And to remind me that they’re okay.”
Happiness is not ‘out there,’
In an over-manicured garden laced with Miracle Gro.
It’s right here, whatever my circumstances.
Contingent not on a lack of weeds,
But on me.
Contingent on my choice to live amongst the weeds,
And still choose love, life, health, and happiness.
“Living the dream” or living the 9 to 5,
Or somewhere in between:
There will always be weeds.
Amidst the flowers, the vast oaks,
The blackberry bushes, and the apple trees.
There are weeds.
The lesson is to accept their existence,
And sit in the shade and eat pie.