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?