Life as an Interloper

interloper (n): a person who becomes involved in a place or situation where they are not wanted or are considered not to belong.

I came to the stark realization last night that this is how I have been living my life for the past 3+ years.  Probably longer, in fact…likely since I graduated high school almost 7 years ago (what! How has it been that long??).  It’s not that felt like I didn’t belong at Notre Dame.  There were certainly times when I felt different than many of my classmates because I came from a much lower tax bracket than they did, but I never felt unwanted by the community.  However, I knew that was temporary.  I was only going to be there for 4 years.  Notre Dame wasn’t “home.”  I loved my friends, roommates, and the community, but I ALWAYS felt more at home when I went back to North Dakota.

After graduation I moved to Fargo to put in another 2 years of school to get my teaching license.  The feeling of being an interloper intensified.  I definitely felt like I didn’t belong at the school I was now attending.  I had just been through 4 years of rigorous academia with a class full of over-achievers at Notre Dame.  My new school was much less demanding, and that took some getting used to.  I was living in a pretty old apartment with a random roommate who I had very little in common with.  Yeah, definitely didn’t belong.

Even earlier this fall, when I started my first “grown-up job”, was engaged, and was living in my own (much nicer) apartment, life still didn’t feel quite right.  My passion is teaching, so I knew that being a media specialist was a temporary means to an end.  The apartment was a 1-bedroom, so I knew we wouldn’t be staying long after we were married (C had already been looking at houses).  Maybe deep down I knew the relationship with C was temporary as well.

All these feelings came to head last night as I was considering my life.  I feel the same way about my job, and I am interloping in my aunt’s house (is that a verb?  If not I just made it one).  But even after I move to the new apartment with my sister, it’s still a temporary situation.  We aren’t going to live there indefinitely.  Either she will want to live with someone else after this year, graduate, or move for pharmacy school, and then I will find another place to live.  

I was starting to get discouraged while thinking about this, but then I realized the big problem is my attitude.  There is nothing wrong with where I’m at in life.  Very few people step into their dream jobs and live in their dream homes the second after they graduate.  I realized I need to stop looking at my life as if it’s this temporary limbo and start enjoying the journey.  I don’t have an end goal in mind.  It’s not as if I have the perfect job, perfect man, perfect home in mind and once I achieve those things I’ll stop living.  Life is about constantly making yourself better and pushing yourself to your fullest potential.  If I keep thinking “oh this is temporary, don’t settle in because you’ll be moving on soon,” etc, I don’t think I will ever fully enjoy life.

I feel like I’ve said this about a million times on this blog, but it’s all about balance.  I want to keep moving forward and working towards my dreams, but I also want to be happy and enjoy my life in the present.  At the same time, I don’t want to get TOO comfortable and become complacent.  How does one balance all this?  

Does anyone else feel like they aren’t really living their “real life” right now?  They are just “getting through” this part so that eventually their real lives can start?  Am I making any sense?

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4 thoughts on “Life as an Interloper

  1. Oh my gosh, I feel like that basically every five minutes. I’m in medical school a little later than most of the people my age who went to medical school (did you follow that? lol) and my fiancee and I just got engaged a few months ago after dating for almost 7 years. I still feel like I’m waiting for my “real” life to start! Originally it was going to start when we got engaged – whoops. Now I feel like it won’t start until we get married, but I’m a little suspicious that it ACTUALLY won’t start until I’m done with med school and residency in four plus years. Oy.

    Thanks for the reminder to keep things in perspective. 🙂

  2. Pingback: There Is a Plan | Musings in the Midwest

  3. Oh wow, I’ve just found your blog and it’s really compelling reading. This particular post, though, prompted me to write. So many of your thoughts and feelings are very, very familiar to me, exactly what I went through as I went through my 20s. I wasn’t engaged, but dated a man with addiction issues (he proposed but I said no), got a job teaching and left him, and proceeded to start a new life in another town, with a fresh start. I got an apartment by myself which was small and old; I had no real furniture except my bed so my living room was essentially the bedroom. In a way, I kept thinking my “real” grown-up life was still to come – that I’d get the house, husband, family, eventually and so I just happily lived my life as it came. I dated, but nothing serious ever happened, later I moved into a new place and actually bought a couch! It was quite a commitment! haha! It seemed like I was growing up, but still somehow “waiting” for my real life to start. Years later, I even bought my own little brick house, because I was tired of paying rent and it was a good deal at the time. I even hired a great looking handyman and ended up dating him – it didn’t work out either (he’d been married several times and had anger issues), although dating him helped me discover a medical issue that necessitated my hysterectomy two years ago.

    Even though I love my job teaching in the school I’m at, I never did find my “dream life” that I had been waiting patiently for, looking for, and expecting to occur. I dedicated my life to this school and the kids, and it’s basically everything to me. The rest, alas, has passed me by. Being happy with the status quo has always been my goal, so I try not to get down about not being a mom or a wife. I try to focus on the fact that instead I’m a loved teacher to many. But, it’s lonely, a lot of the time.

    The man who proposed, has since died – of what we’re not sure, but his addictions were certainly involved somehow. I’m very glad I didn’t marry him and have children with him because it would have been a tough way to go through life. There have been other regrets, though, like the “one who got away” or times I wish I had made different decisions. But, most of the time, I don’t look backwards. Like you, I have a wonderful support system in the form of coworkers, friends, and family, and then like you I also miss the relationship where you’re the most important person in someone’s life. Your phrasing of being someone’s first call struck a chord with me, too. It bothers me I may live my entire life and not experience being “it” to someone, their number one; I’ve been a very important person to some, happily #2 or #3 in other’s lives (like my nephew’s), but I definitely feel like my life is ancillary. Guess it’s just my role.

    Knowing what it’s like to live a good life that just doesn’t quite turn out like expected, the advice I’d give to you after all this rambling, is to keep appreciating where you are and your accomplishments, don’t EVER settle, but also don’t let time get away from you. I was probably too patient, too laid back, and too trusting that it *would* happen to me (when you’re not looking for it, when the time is right, when …etc., etc.). It gets very, very tiring hearing “you’re not married?” or how great a person I am, and those class reunions are torture for single people! This is not meant to scare you, and I’m sure your experience will be very different than mine. I was just very moved by your writing and your situation, feeling so many of the same emotions, that I had to comment. This is so long, though, I’m thinking I should be writing my own blog instead!

    Take good care of yourself, and all the best to you!

    • Thanks for your comment! It is always nice to hear about times when others have gone through similar situations and made it out on the other side. I definitely do have a fear of being alone. I’m just trying to believe that everything happens for a reason and things will work out how they are supposed to. I really am trying to focus on being happy with my life as is (but, like you said, NOT settle) and each day gets a little easier. There are days when I feel like I’ve taken 20 steps backwards, but for the most part time is healing a lot of the pain. I’m just trying to keep my head up 🙂

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