There’s a pretty fantastic movie called Brooklyn about a 1950s Irish immigrant to, you guessed it, Brooklyn. The main character Eilis, lives in a boarding house and shares a bathroom with the other four women who live with her. One night, she leaves the bathroom to let her divorcee roommate in, but not before asking her if she would ever get married again.
“Of course,” her roommate said. “I want to stand waiting for my own bathroom while some cankerous old fool sits on the toilet reading a newspaper with white hair in his ears, while I dream of living here with you.”
The whole movie is lovely (I highly recommend it) but it’s also a wonderful lesson in the idea of greener pastures. Eilis struggles with her past and her present, trying to reconcile her new home with the one she left behind. It’s hard, trying to figure out what life one wants to lead, especially when you are trying to choose between the home you’ve grown up in and the home you’ve made for yourself.
But what’s even harder is deciding between one concrete option and your fantasies of another. We can imagine a million different lives for ourselves, ones where we are rich and famous, ones where we discover ourselves to be brilliantly talented, or ones where we disappear completely, where we are alone, where we are happy. Many of these fantasy futures are unattainable. They are just a simple way to pass the time. But it’s hard to let them go, especially when the life you have is not the life you want.
But really, what does the life you dream of really look like? I think most of our dreams change and are in constant flux. The ever-shifting fantasy jobs we conjure up morph into newer and shinier positions along with newer and shinier pay rates. We fall in love with new ideas and new cities and new people. How can the monotony of the day to day keep up with such adventure.
The short answer is that it can’t. There’s a certain beauty to the everyday tasks that keep each one of us afloat, but I don’t think they are anything to write home about. It’s why writing this blog is so hard sometimes; I find myself living the same day, day after day, while I dream of the future that I desperately want. And when your thoughts are big and wonderful, you want your actual life to reflect that. We want that first hand experience, we want to feel as happy as we think we can be.
But if i’ve learned everything over the past year, it’s that being present in my life is the only way to experience it. Because even if I did get everything that I could ever dream of wanting, there will always be something else, something better than what I can dream. That’s how life works. As Eilis says at the end of Brroklyn, “…you’ll realize, that this is where your life is.”
This blog post doesn’t really have a point except to say that today it was hard to be a 24-year-old who is limited by time, space, and money. I know someday I will get where I want to be, and for now, that will have to be enough.