Getting down with where you’re at

I was supposed to be married now.

I was supposed to live in some sort of expensive housing with my husband—that we owned outright, if you’d have asked my more optimistic and/or financially prudent forbears. In Chicago, most likely. Or the suburbs, for the schools. (I was supposed to get over my Thing about the suburbs, too, I guess.)

I was supposed to have produced a couple of grandchildren for the mother and father who were most certainly supposed to be around to enjoy them, albeit less energetically than they’d have liked.

I was supposed to shop and eat and bank and recreate in a world that looked a lot like the 1960s or maybe the 1980s (but definitely not the 1970s), only with more jet packs and fewer multigazillionaires and a lot fewer angry, confused white people.

I was supposed to be—well, not writing TV commercials anymore, surely, but overseeing the people who oversaw the people who wrote TV commercials that were supposed to run on the many high-paying, widely-viewed network shows that featured exactly zero housewives, unless they came bundled with scripted jokes and a laugh track.

I was supposed to have excellent benefits, including dental and a generous retirement package, for doing this, along with six weeks’ annual vacation, a seat on a few local and national boards, a shit-ton of frequent-flyer miles (redeemable at any time, with no blackout dates), a vacation home, one or two books, and a pristine set of intestines.

When I look at the long, long list of things that were supposed to happen but that did not, it is perhaps less of a shock that this post tumbled out late, light, and lonely, no weeks (nor months) of posts shoring it up on the one side.

This, you see, is exactly where I am supposed to be, 51 years and pocket change into my life, and eight years into this amazing odyssey that someone, somewhere, regretfully decided to name “blogging”: in my little apartment, noting a remarkable thing after a remarkable day that included nothing that any one of my wonderful, wonderful, well-meaning family would have called “remarkable”.

I am exactly where I am supposed to be, which is fine with where I am.

I would say that I wish I’d been here eight years ago—or 38 years ago—but that’s not true, either: I was exactly where I was supposed to be then, too; I just didn’t know it.

More soon. Although what either of those actually look like, remains to be seen.




  1. I love that your blog is a Scorpio like me and this is exactly what I needed to hear after another passage ’round the sun. Thank you for reminding me that I’m exactly where I need to be even if it diverges dramatically from where my past self imagined I would end up. Here’s to dark and lonely places and the beauty and truth that comes from ’em.

  2. So many dreams will never come true. But other dreams, even better ones, unexpected ones, will! You never know where life is leading you, because you can never tell what and who will be thrown on your path. The only thing we can do is deal with it/them. To cherish them or leave them behind. As long as we can choose that path, or step aside, we will be exactly where we should be. Where we belong.
    I love this post, love your thoughts about this.

    1. Thanks, Marion. I’m constantly reminded these days of how I did not dream up ONE SINGLE THING that is central to the awesomeness that is my life today. Not one!

      It’s good to say it out loud sometimes, too.

    1. Well, thank you. I say “trying hard” b/c it triggers a lot less stuff (hello, ego!), but I accept the compliment gratefully.

    1. Thank YOU, Somare! I do not feel very wise—much less so than I did when I was sure I was wise.

      I suppose that means I might actually get some wisdom one of these days.

    1. How many of us are staggering around, secretly worried we’ve somehow gotten it wrong? Too many, I suspect.

    1. Thank you! I may not be here in five minutes—no guarantees on anything—but I know now that I can get back there.

  3. Today, my 43rd birthday, I’m unfortunately still tied to some of the “supposed to be” dreams and over the last few years, life hasn’t played out the way I wanted it to. Decisions were made—some recklessly, some fearfully, some under the gun, some with too much deliberation—and now we live with the aftermath. I mourn an irretrievable past and fear what feels like a looming future. My innate optimism keeps trying to rise to the top and tell me that it will all work out, but I just don’t know. I wish that I had your equanimity, your wisdom, your acceptance. Maybe in another eight years I’ll get there.

  4. http://www.cordeliacallsitquit

    Me: I AM making strides, but keep getting that “Are we There yet??” voice in my head. Gaakkkkh!

    Cordelia: I know that voice well. Tell it you *are* “there.” “Here” is the journey. “There” is just speculation.

    So glad you’re Here, too.
    Hugs and Bright blessings, always!

  5. Whether you think you’re wise or not, it doesn’t matter, because WE think you are. And maybe the reason you ARE wise is because you don’t think you are …. wisdom comes from quiet, thoughtful, humble musings … I love your musings. You always say ‘it’ so well. Thanks for being here … my world is definitely better because of that!

  6. Well hello you!

    I’ve been thinking about you recently. Vibes through the ether. Happy to see you again, have missed your presence.

  7. You are most perfectly where you are supposed to be Colleen, as am I. Twenty years ago I had far different visions of what just shy of 54 looked like, and they didn’t include knowing a wise and witty blogger, with questionable intestines from across the country. Now I know I need to know you, and I am glad. Good to see you here XO

  8. Happy anniversary, friend. I’ve missed you. There’s alot to be said for finding peace right here, with where life’s at right now. I know the marketers go broke when we do that–no more striving, yearning, foaming at the mouth for whatever’s being dangled. But I love the quiet in my head that comes from the acceptance you write about here. My fantastic therapist years ago said that the key to happiness is wanting what you have. I get it now. Be well and stay clear. xoxo

  9. Hey there! My sister sent me a link to this post and it inspired a post of my own on my list of “supposed to”. And, people have responded to my list with their own lists. They are quite the list of expectations!!! Just wanted to drop and note and le you know what you inspired.


  10. “You have to give up the life you planned to find the life that’s waiting for you.” Joseph Campbell
    So glad you are finding the life that’s yours. Saw this quote today while touring high schools for my boys, trying to set them up on their own paths. Since I read the post yesterday, so resonant. Had to share it with you dear wise one.

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