I Thought I’d Be More Excited About My Life Beginning

To be fair, it began 36 years ago.

To be fair, part two, it’s more like I thought I’d NOTICE when it began.

I thought I’d be more excited to go on my first roller coaster, and to then get off it with steady, standing legs. I thought I’d be more excited to hold my nephew for the first time, and then to hold the next one who came two weeks later, but I couldn’t hold him through NICU wires for several weeks. I thought I’d be more excited to have a career surge, to have the means to buy good burgers and even better ice cream, and to pick and choose the work I want to be doing at any given time. Or not.

I thought I’d be more excited to fulfill my biggest travel life dream of all time, that potentially will ever be, and to have a bull moose look me in the eye, and then look to the side – in that way. That bull moose way. By profile, they don’t look awkward, and instead they look like the most majestic creature to have ever lived. The very stuff of most of my fantasies.

Although, not THOSE kinds of fantasies.

I thought I’d be more excited for everything that has happened in 2016, but really it’s all been flabbergasting and overwhelming and disorienting and exhilarating. And totally weird. Like terrible political fighting. Snow in October. Heat in the winter. A full three weeks of rain. Tenuous situations, at best. This year, man. I won’t be sorry to see it go. To see it end.

And then to welcome a new beginning, and a bunch of new beginnings.

It begins and then it begins again.

I thought I’d be more excited to finally live longer than my father ever lived, and to be published in an amazing book, and to have kids that show empathy and happiness (most of the time), and to have met some seriously awesome people in this seriously awesome place. (our waitress yesterday called it a magical bubble, even if it did snow three inches last night) I thought I’d be more excited about connections and ice cream and leggings and a cat that sleeps on me when the power goes out – because it snowed three inches in October in this “magical place” – and huskies and half-huskies and trips of a lifetime.

Excited is the understatement, and not the overstatement. I thought I’d be more excited, but excited isn’t even the word. I’m completely bowled over, flabbergasted, grateful, humbled, gassy, overwhelmed, exhilarated, ecstatic, scared, IN LOVE.

I wrote a post over two years ago (below), and it was featured on Bonbon Break so I even left that fun badge that it was featured on Bonbon Break. It’s even more fascinating to read this now, after over two years of waiting for my life to begin:

The other night I was lying in what I call my “fire seat.”

It probably doesn’t sound comfortable, but it involves using the side of one couch to support my head, the ottoman to support my back, and having my feet flung over the loveseat that is kitty corner to the couch. I’m positioned, lovingly, as close to the pellet stove as possible without getting too hot. The other night, I could see the reflection of the Christmas tree against the window above the fire, and the room was darkening – with the littlest bit of light left in the sky revealing the tops of the tall pine trees.

I took a phone picture:

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Scarlet had asked Cassidy to put on a Grateful Dead DVD and she was dancing to it while we had a laser light show from a machine he borrowed from a coworker. Des was dipping pretzels into a container of hummus. No napkins, no bowls, no forks or spoons. Much joyous mess. And then there was me. I was thinking about that feeling of waiting for your life to begin.

Pretty conveniently, the song from the movie Tangled – “When Will My Life Begin” came on sometime before, during or after this pellet stove/window reflections moment. It played somewhere in the mix of when I formulated the idea for this blog post, to when I wrote the notes for it, and probably all in between. The symbols and themes are often there for me to grab them.

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(Case in point: this is her Rapunzel dress, and I’m finally uploading this photos from two months ago.)

Did you ever watch a whole movie, waiting for it to really “begin”? Suddenly, the end credits are rolling and then you realize – that it was an entire movie – problem, climax, resolution – and now it’s already over. Maybe you missed that it was happening all along because it was a bad movie. Or maybe the message was subtle. Maybe..it was just different from what you expected.

One or two hours was not enough time for you to wrap your head around it. Sometimes life is like that too. Sometimes one or two years isn’t enough time to wrap your head around it. The other night against the fire, I realized something. It’s here. This bit of magic I only ever dared to dream about. The difference is that back when I dreamed about homes, husbands and kids (and jobs) I never bothered to fill in the blanks. The way Des sings the ABC’s, which is nearly to cute to handle, much less write about. Then there are Scarlet’s fierce hugs, and everything else I didn’t factor in. The good and the bad. The empty spaces.

The dark holes in this mass of living. The bright spots, as well.

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My life began a long time ago. Realizing and appreciating it often takes work. Back then I was dreaming about the future and not filling in the spaces with the light and the darkness. The flesh and the details of a life well-lived, but struggling as well. Everyone struggles. I never factored in worrying about the ailing health of family members, and how it would actually feel to see my grandmother turn 100. Real. Not dreamy. Amazing and astonishing, but so painful too. Achy, worrisome, awesome..

I never knew how tightly I gripped the dream that she’d someday meet her great-grandkids. I have exhaled many times over.

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How can I be here, waiting for my life to begin, while simultaneously being amazed that it HAS begun, and it just doesn’t feel anything like what I thought it would feel like. Fantasies can feel sterile and numb. Dreamy and hazy. My real life? Nothing like that. Painful, sick. Sharp and present. How I can be here, and so many people I love are there. How that can mostly be ok.

My youthful dreams seem so silly, and yet here I am sometimes stunned that people haven’t yet invented airplanes that go at the speed of light, or beaming devices. I never dreamed about stress or fear or doubt. Did I think I’d be a goddess millionaire with no anxiety or hardships, with family members who would live forever, and I’d live deep in the moose-filled mountains of New England or on the beaches of California with an always-adoring and never-bratty family? Why, yes. Yes I did. Sue me.

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Do you ever think in terms of “someday”? Someday this will all go away. Someday I won’t have to fight this. Someday, everything will be easy. In truth, there are battles we have to fight our whole lives. Money. Aging. Weight-loss. Anxiety.

Even pimples!

I do believe that we get stronger and our fights are perhaps easier, or maybe fought less often.

We can get better at getting up again.

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We can also get worse again, or worse than ever. That’s the worst news I was welcomed with into my adulthood. When I dreamed about the future, as all young people do, I never factored in the bad. I never filled in the empty spaces with any kind of darkness. Realistically, I knew that I would struggle as anyone does, but who wants to think about that? The good news is that I didn’t fill in the greatest parts either. I couldn’t. I couldn’t dream them up. Life is not as smooth as I once imagined..

..but it is perhaps bigger and more colorful, and more worth fighting for, than I may ever wrap my head around.

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I call this below photo “air quotes” – for obvious reasons:

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life beginning

I mean, if you could wear a Rapunzel dress to a jumping pillow on a farm, why wouldn’t you? Why aren’t you doing this??

life beginning

life beginning

If you could fly, why wouldn’t you? Why don’t I have one of these in my yard yet??

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And a whole lot of this.

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Scarlet is fighting for her right to party.

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And there’s probably a life lesson in that. Fight for your right..to have happiness. — by Scarlet Bella Bowman

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Bonbon Break

This is me linking up, as one of my favorite things to do, with Finish The Sentence Friday. This week’s topic is “I thought I’d Be More Excited About..” And there’s still time to write yours. Come link up with your spin on any of the matters: HERE.

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  1. I know the feeling and so many things in this past year I thought I’d be more excited over, but not as much as I originally thought I suppose. However to use this as a look back to that original article was very creative and ingenious. Wonder what I would think if I did that to a few of my earlier posts. Will have to give it a try soon and thanks for the inspiration, as well 😉

  2. I was a bit confused at the beginning – “I thought I’d be more exicted” about all those things just didn’t sound like you. As soon as I read “excited is the understatement…” There’s the Tamara I know and love! You always feel big, and I love that about you.

  3. I always adore your words and the way that you weave them together. I think we all hoped we’d be more excited about things, but excited just doesn’t cover it.

  4. You’ve done so many great things in 2016, Tamara. Look how Scarlett and Des have grown. Looking back at the photos from almost three years ago, really makes one realize how fast the motherhood journey goes. We’re so much more than simply mothers, though. Great post! The ends are always bittersweet.

  5. Oh man… YES. There’s a lot of bittersweet in this; in the cadence, in your storytelling, in how you weave and thread the words to the delicious moments in time you always manage to capture. I think it’s okay to admit that maybe a year fell short of expectations, or that perhaps the opposite held true and a year exceeded what we thought it would be, when it began as a tiny seedling of hope.

    I’m not sure about my thoughts and feelings of 2016 yet. There were a lot of great moments, a lot of low points. That stuff with my mom and heightened levels of anxiety, I could have (of course) done without. But I learned in all of that, too, I suppose. And as you said, when we think about our future, we tend to romanticize the details. Who wants to fantasize about hiccups and obstacles and fights with loved ones and the sad stuffs?

    Damn you, Tamara. I love your writing so friggin much. <3

    1. oh my god, thank you! I thought it wasn’t my best, or even halfway there! I was so out of it just trying to write, and then combining with old writing = big old mess!!

      Weird year for sure. But you know what? We still haven’t closed the book on it. Anything can happen in two months..

  6. I read the whole blog while “Jump” played twice because that is how you set up my iTunes. It was perfect as is your blog. I love to think of the lovely 100th birthday party we gave to nana and our memories of her holding Des and Scarlet. Those memories help me with my loss of her. We certainly do fill in the dark with our light ..and our love, don’t we?

  7. OH WOW, TAMARA!! You woman, you’re just awesome.
    I have similar feelings in regard to 2016 and life.
    I hate when I have doubts, what ifs, and someday thoughts…

    I just realized my daughter (the 14 year-old) is starting to have what if thoughts. She had a classmate lose his father, we’ve seen two really bad accidents in less than one week, and there was a fire yesterday on our way home. So, I can see where her what ifs are coming from… sigh.
    If only life was always more than excitingly good. And YES it is good, it’s magical at times, and NO I wouldn’t change it for the world, but I think there are things I would do more of, and I can do more of. Thankfully.
    All the best!

  8. This is gorgeous, Tamara and I’m so glad you linked it up. Here’s to defending the right to party, to Rapunzle dresses on pillow jumper things, to flying, and to love and life. And to remembering.

  9. Beautiful sis! Those photos, I just want to jump in and be alive with Scarlet and Cassidy!!!

    I still find myself doing the “someday”…someday our house will be done, someday we will have more money….I never knew how hard this life truly is, and how HARD parenthood is…my dreams were a little jaded, but boy is it all worth it and remembering to treasure the present is the hardest thing to do, but the most rewarding xo

    1. I do the “Someday” thing ALL THE TIME. It’s slowed a little, which allows more feeling present. It’s freaky, though. It’s nice to think things WILL get smoother SOMEDAY.
      Love you!

  10. Oh man, politics HAVE gotten nasty in 2016. I’ve lost some Facebook friends because of it. Some people didn’t like my “trump is a crazy ass” posts. Oh well.

    Love these bouncing photos! Makes me want to go bounce.

  11. Isn’t life amazing. We think we know how we will feel about something, but when it happens it is even more amazing than we could even imagine.

  12. 2016 hasn’t been my favorite year either. So much doubt and sadness at times (at least for me). While it’s been on the upswing (mostly) for the past few months, I have a better feeling about 2017.
    And I totally know that feeling about waiting for a movie to begin, only to have it end. I’ve had that happen with books, too, but more often with movies.

    1. Recently I had that happen with Jane Green’s “Falling!”
      2017 really.. I mean, when I wrote this post and you commented, things were more hopeful in certain ways..

  13. Oh my. I love each and every photo of Cassidy and Scarlet. Just perfection. This year has been a doosie for me in general super highs and super lows. Definitely a pivot year (and I’m not even talking politics!!)

  14. “My life began a long time ago. Realizing and appreciating it often takes work.” Girl you hit my heart with this one. Sometimes I stare in wonder at my children and think, “Have I really seen them?” I fee like I’ve been sleep walking through our lives. Love the metaphor of this post – and she was adorable in that dress!

    1. SO MUCH.
      Sometimes, like when we got Juniper, I thought I was drinking it in. I really was. I held her in my hands and arms all day long. And now I think, “Wait, I don’t remember her being a kitten! Did I appreciate it?”

  15. Ugh this year… Just when I get oriented yet again, the rug gets pulled out from underneath me. It’s getting kind of old. I am ready for the new year too. Hugs my friend and another great post.

  16. What a powerful way to describe this passing year, I’ve being comparing notes with my friends, and I’m sad to say 2016 has been somewhat of a horrible year for most of us. I’m never felt lower, and sadder, and more depressed as I have in 2016, but that’s ok. What doesn’t kill me makes me stronger, and it wasn’t all bad I had some great experiences and found myself along the way. I’m looking forward to 2017. Great Post Tamara, thank you for being transparent and sharing all of that with us.

    1. It is ok. We’ll all be stronger. And you’re right. It was a weird year personally, nationally, globally, etc. For us all. We’re feeling those ripples and hoping 2017 will be better and brighter!

  17. I would totally wear a Repunzel dress! Yes, I feel the same about 2016 and I am so sick of this election. Great photos and loved the moose video! I would like to think that someday…life would go slower, but it doesn’t and we have to life each day to its fullest if we can.

    1. ha, I’ll hold you to that! We can both wear Rapunzel dresses.
      The election is now past us, but man, I remember feeling so nervous when I wrote this.

  18. You have such a way with words, and I’m always so enchanted by your writing. And then there are the pictures. I think this has been a weird year for all of us.

  19. I was recently thinking this same way myself recently. I thought I’d be so much more excited about the way my life turned out but it’s just been blah to me. You on the other hand, have so much to be excited about. You’ve had a wonderful 2016 and so much has happened this year and while it’s almost over, I’m sure there will be a few more things for you to get excited about. Something might just make everything else seem blah. 🙂

  20. I really love the life-movie analogy. I realize that it’s true. There are times when I watch a movie and feel like it never started, then it just ended. Just like how year after year seems to go by so fast. There are good and there are bad years. And I agree, there are battles that last through our lifetime! Money, yes! And LOL at pimples, but it’s so true! 🙂

  21. Hi Tamara, living the your dream, means creating new ones and the excitement is more often in the anticipation, than the actual event, don’t you think? The expectation and wanting outweighs the actual event, leaving us wondering what it was all about in the first place. Saying that though maybe you’ve had so much to feel excited about that you just don’t know where to start. Maybe it’s become ‘normal’ (oh no! not ‘normal! Anything but ‘normal!).

    I hope next year is just as exciting as this year for you and great photos as ever!


  22. I was never one to dream about the future in a “fill in the blanks” kind of way. I didn’t pre-select my children’s names before I ever met their father. I wasn’t even sure I wanted children. Or, the father part either! Ha. Which is why ending up here is so magical and also, Right. There were no plans, just faithful steps. A lot of acceptance along the way. Whatever is here and now; that’s where the magic happens. But the best part about being here and being wiser, is that I no longer try to fiercely hold it. It exists. It leaves. It comes again. That’s the circle. Life is good in the circle 🙂

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