I want to start living more in the actual.
It's difficult because potential is very exciting. In Potential Land, I drive a corvette (or a hayabusa), have a gorgeous husband who makes me coffee every morning and a fabulous job that pays extremely well. Who wouldn't want to live in Potential Land? The problem is that no one actually lives there - we only visit there part time and then we come back to Actual Land where our cars are reasonably priced (or nonexistent), our jobs don't pay very much, and there are no gorgeous husbands making coffee in the morning (unless you're the exception who happens to blessed with such a husband).
I would really like to eat some chocolate cake. I have eggs and flour and some really good bittersweet chocolate. This is a good start but it's not chocolate cake. There are some ingredients and some effort still required to get from here to the point where I have chocolate cake. While I might sit there looking at the eggs and flour and really good bittersweet chocolate imagining cake, this is not as good as eating actual cake. Maybe even not as good as eating not very good actual cake. Eventually I might start to feel resentful of the eggs and flour and really good bittersweet chocolate, saying "You are not cake. No matter how much I wish you were, you are still not cake." Maybe I'll eat the really good bittersweet chocolate in a fit of resentment, but it's still not cake and I will still feel unsatisfied.
Why didn't I go to the store and get the sugar and baking powder and butter and milk? Maybe I thought the store wouldn't have them. Maybe I thought eggs and flour and really good bittersweet chocolate were all I could get and I was telling myself that if I was really creative and adaptable, I would be able to turn those three things into really good chocolate cake. But not really. You need sugar and butter and leavening... maybe you could substitute water for the milk but I think it still wouldn't be quite as good.
People often say that when life gives you lemons, you should make lemonade. I do like lemonade, but actually I prefer limeade, made from fresh limes with some fresh mint leaves muddled in for good measure. However that's beside the point. The point is that lemons are not enough to make lemonade. You need sugar and water and perhaps some ice and a container to put everything in and something to stir it all up with and a glass to drink it from. What if all you have are lemons? Do you sit there thinking about how the lemons might make really good lemonade if you had those other things? No, you go into your cupboard and pantry and get the stuff to make it into lemonade.
I want to stop thinking about how things might be, if only...
Random thoughts that occurred to me in the shower this morning, when I was wishing that people would communicate more and thinking about people talking about their fears of losing what they think they have. I spent a long time in a Potential Land relationship, thinking that things would get better when we finally got everything else we needed to make cake. I was terrified of looking for the rest of the ingredients because not only was I afraid they didn't exist, I thought I might lose the ones I already had and end up with nothing, not even really good bittersweet chocolate. So I clung to what little we had and to the thought of what we might have until it turned into a nasty sticky mess and there was no way out except to just toss everything. And actually, I watched him toss everything out while still saying "but we could make really good cake" even though that chance (if it was ever there) was long long gone.
So I had to start over from scratch. And I really don't want to go through that again where I'm looking at that really good bittersweet chocolate and wondering if I could make do. If the other ingredients aren't there, it's not going to become cake and I'm not going to tell myself that it could be.