Being Idealistic vs. Realistic (Do I still want to be a lawyer? Do I want three kids?)

April 28, 2022

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I grew up as one of three and LOVED it. I’ve, therefore, thought I wanted three kids most of my life.

But, now that I’ve had two kids, I just don’t want the realities of a third. I don’t want to be pregnant again. I don’t want to worry about a pregnancy and delivering again. I want my body back – and I want to keep it. I want to be able to enjoy financial freedom without worrying about providing for another daycare, school, college education, etc. I want to travel again and for it to actually be fun.

And yet… because I’ve wanted three kids for decades, it’s hard to let go of that conceptual desire.

It’s confusing when you try to listen to yourself… and you hear two conflicting things.

This concept v. reality thing plays out in so many places in life.

In concept, I aspired to be a lawyer. And I loved the reality of practicing as a patent litigator in Boston – but hated it as a commercial litigator in California.

And even when I hated my reality of practicing, it was hard to let go of the concept of being a lawyer.

I wonder why our brains are like that – how we can want something in theory, dislike the reality, AND STILL think we may want the thing in concept.

(For the psychologists out there, please feel free to explain it to me!)

Probably because we know there’s no right answer. We know many paths could lead us to happiness.

It is confusing, and I don’t have an answer. My only thought is that as we wade through parsing our conflicting thoughts and finding our path to a version of happy, it’s important to focus on the evidence of your lived reality over that alluring-but-completely-conceptual desire.

If you are enamored with the concept of a prestigious job that’s made you miserable for years (despite efforts to improve the situation), act based on that lived reality over a blind-faith-to-the-prestigious-job approach.

If a friend/partner has hurt you too often, act based on that reality – versus the idea they’ll meet your conceptual vision for the relationship.

Find a life that in REALITY makes you happy. Our time is so limited – don’t waste it chasing a concept that ignores your very real lived experience.

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