Friday, January 28, 2011

Simple Kind of Life

I've been doing a lot of analyzing of my life recently as far as what I want for myself and what I want for the future. There are just so many options, so many alternatives, that sometimes, I wish I was just a simple girl.

"I think your either born simple or you're not. I want to be the person who gets happy over finding the perfect dress. I want to be simple because no one holds a gun to the head of a simple girl." - Dr. Christina Yang, Grey's Anatomy

I know it's kind of immature or un-PC to think of people as being "simple", but there really is a difference when it comes to the way people choose to live their lives. There are the over achievers, the perfectionists, the want to get ahead-ers, the need to control situations, be the best, be the most successful - and then, there are simple people; people perfectly content with where they are in life. With never climbing any higher up the ladder, never leaving the towns they grew up in, no interest in furthering their careers or wanting more for themselves than what they already have, no desire to see the world. People who see the world through rose colored glasses, with blinders on, who live a pre-prescribed life that has been set before them. Who live a blissful life in a world of naivety.

I saw Blue Valentine last weekend. There was a pivotal scene in which Ryan Gosling & Michelle Williams, while trying to have a weekend getaway to save their marriage, have a conversation over dinner. Michelle Williams' character asks Ryan's why, since he has such potential - he can sing, dance, play the ukelele, draw, etc. - he doesn't try to do more, to live up to that potential. His response to her is that all he wants to be is her husband and their daughter's father and why isn't that good enough? And I sat there with tears in my eyes thinking, why is she pushing him? She was right, but he was right too. Her character was in college when they met, on track to one day go to medical school until she got pregnant. Ryan's character didn't graduate high school and was working as a mover in Queens and came from a broken home. To him, to be a husband and a father, something he had never envisioned for himself - to him, that wasn't simple - that was him overachieving.

I know plenty of people in my own life who have the potential to be better, do better/be more, do more and yet, don't bother to live up to that potential. My father is an excellent example of this. I saw so much of him in Ryan Gosling's character - from the pack of Marlboro Reds to his aviator sunglasses to his dashing, full mustache to the way Ryan interacted with their daughter, Frankie; it was completely reminiscent of the interactions me and my father had when I was that age. (Especially the way Frankie favors her father over the cold, distance mother character that is Michelle Williams.) My father grew up poor in the Bronx, was the only male in his family to graduate from high school, he went into the Navy and sailed all over the world yet didn't get a passport until he was 45 and doesn't really want to travel overseas now; he became a husband and a father at 23 - and that's always been 100% completely satisfying for him. He has his little projects that he does around the house, his own hobbies and interests, but he has no real desire to do more than be completely content with where he is in his life right now. That works for him and I can't blame him for that. And if that makes him simple, at least he's happy doing it.

Sometimes, I think it might be easier. To not have to worry about getting a good job or paying my bills on time or finding a nice apartment in a good area that I can afford and still live comfortably. To be happy just being someone's wife and having kids and taking care of the house, doing the laundry, driving the car pool. To raise my family in the same town I grew up in and go to all the same stores, eat at all the comfortable, familiar chain restaurants and the occasional local Italian place. To take our vacations in tourist trap places while toting strollers and diaper bags and screaming toddlers who we neglect to yell at when they're clearly irritating everyone within a 5 foot radius. To not watch my weight constantly and wear sweatpants everywhere and let my roots show.  To just be a simple girl and smile.

1 comment:

  1. hey, even that simple dream isn't that simple! finding someone to freakin marry you is a harder task that it looks! ask me! :p