Life Marriage

Editing My Life

December 22, 2010

Today I ran across a blog post by a photographer acquaintance of mine of her living room all dressed up and decorated for the holidays, and I felt a nasty, sneaky, sickening feeling creep into my heart.

“I want that living room!” I thought.

And the life that goes with it, too, please. A perfectly well-behaved dog lying on an adorable dog bed on an impeccably shiny wooden floor. A vintage velvet sofa that has never felt the insult of dog slobber or baby spit-up. A fireplace (a fireplace!) with a brick hearth and refinished original wood mantle.

Envy. Discontentment. Ugh.

I want that living room.

And then I looked down at Mackenzie sleeping in my arms.

Except her. I want to keep her.

And Chris.

He has his faults, and I get so frustrated with him sometimes. But I love him, and I know it takes a special guy to put up with me. Especially when it’s late and I’m tired and Mackenzie won’t go to sleep. Ahem.

Then Annie came and put her nose in my lap and sniffed Mackenzie’s diaper.

Okay, her, too. And Sydney.

I mentally Photoshopped the image in my mind. I want that living room, but I want to keep Chris, Mackenzie, and the dogs.

But really, what else is left? This is my life. We can change the furniture and paint the walls (in the next house, maybe), but the important fixtures stay the same.

Some friends of mine recently finished renovating their late nineteenth century Victorian home in downtown Nashville. They ripped everything out and left only the key structural elements unchanged. I learned that you can edit the details, gut rooms, tear down walls, and add new ones, but the structure remains the same. The foundation never changes.

Sometimes when restlessness fills my heart, I have to remind myself that I can edit my life any way I want it to be. That mental picture is achievable, because I can make choices every day to lead me there.

I hate my couch, and I can change it.

I want to spend more time working creatively, and I can change how I spend my time.

Sometimes, though, the key is contentment. Joy in the people in my life, happiness about who we are and how far we’ve come, confidence in the decisions we’ve made.

As we round the corner on 2011, what changes are you planning to make? What will your new year look like?

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