Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Dreams vs Love vs Responsibility

I love the Office. And I am a full-fledged PB&J fan, followed their relationship through the ups and downs, reveled in their very boringness as a safe haven amongst the will-they-won't-they Rosses and Rachels of the TV world. I loved their story, because they were sweet and funny and seemed very normal and very real. Except, for one thing.

I was watching the episode where Pam is in New York for the summer studying art and she gets pulled aside by a friend who tells her that she has a gift and a passion and she should stay in New York and pursue her dreams.

"But...Jim is in Scranton," she says, as Jim listens on via the world's smallest bluetooth.

Despite her gifts, Pam actually ends up failing school, and when she has to choose between repeating her semester or going back to Scranton, and Jim, dreams unrealized, she chooses...Jim.

I am all for love and romance, but her choice always disappointed me. As I write this I'm in year two of my long distance relationship with Dave as we pursue our dreams/careers 700 miles away from each other.

When we were in college and starting to decide our post-graduation plans, we talked about finding jobs close to one another. I was very lucky in getting my current job, in New York--it was in the field I always wanted and now, a year later, I'm being given opportunities I thought I would have to wait a decade for. Dave applied to grad school a few months later and ended up in one of the best programs on the planet, in Chicago. So, the quandary: do we give up these amazing opportunities, the breaks that could make our careers, and get married? Or do we go through long distance, the hours-long flights and phone calls and mile-high texting bills, until our romantic lives and our practical lives align?

For now, we're sticking with the latter, for better or worse (see what I did there?).

But it wasn't an easy decision to make, and it's not really an easy decision to live with. Sunday afternoons flying home from seeing Dave for a weekend, it hits me every time that I've found the guy I want to be with forever--hooray!--so why am I constantly saying goodbye to him? We used to dream about all the amazing things we would do with our degrees and career experience, traveling around the world together, using our talents for bigger purposes, and now we dream about having a home together, somewhere, where we can bake cookies and watch 30 Rock and spend our Sunday nights snug in each other's arms.

Dave's lovely, awesome, fantastic sister-in-law, Jenna, and I were talking one time about this. She is married (to Dave's brother) with a baby (Adam--best baby EVER) and lives in an adorable little house a few miles away from her entire family. I was telling her about how often Dave and I think about her and Steve and Adam (although he was just a bump when we talked) and wish we had their lives. She laughed and said how often she and Steve envy us, traveling around the world, having amazing experiences, working cool (albeit stressful) jobs. Greener grass?

I know--truly and beyond a doubt--that I have talents and a personality and a point of view that can be used for a purpose that I very much believe in, and I have to give myself the best opportunity I can, and that means staying in my job for now, and that also means Dave needs to stay in Chicago, for now.

Anyway, so Pam gives up her dreams, moves in with Jim, gets married, gets preggars, and lives happily ever after. I don't think I would have made the same decision. But can't you have it all? Career and purpose and love and happiness? Maybe?

No comments:

Post a Comment