I’ve got an interesting new project lately, to occupy my time between student teaching and a hopeful teaching position in the fall. I came in contact with a Ph.D. student who’s getting her doctorate in history and needed some help transcribing a diary. I’m a self-proclaimed professional at reading bad handwriting since my days in admissions (high school students have atrocious handwriting!!) so I offered my services. I’ve been reading and transcribing the diary all week, and just finished this morning.
It was written by a senior editor of a major magazine who lived in New York and kept a journal every day for 40 years. FORTY! I couldn’t believe it! I’m reading chunks from the 1940s and 1950s. He’s fairly well-off, has two houses, servants, a driver, a cook, parties with the rich and famous, etc. My life here in little old suburb-of-Los Angeles doesn’t have much in common with this guy, 50 years ago, across the country, and yet, I’m struck by our similarities.
Here’s someone who has everything going for him, seems to have his life all worked out, and yet he’s terribly unhappy at times. He has relationship issues, friend issues, job issues, financial issues, etc. Sometimes I get very stressed out at where my life is going – I want a family now, I really really want a job now, I want us to be settled, I’d love for us to have a house and a dog, etc. My husband feels the same way – sometimes we feel so unstable, not knowing what the future will bring, and we’re ready to be in one place for a long time with career jobs instead of placeholder jobs.
But, as sad as it was to read this diary, with all of his troubles and unhappiness, it was kind of reassuring and inspiring – it’s fine for me to want more out of life, to be excited for the next stages in our lives, but that next stage doesn’t bring magical happiness and sunshine, as evidenced by his life. Everyone, at one point or another, (and sometimes lots of points) is unhappy and dissatisfied with life. Even this guy who has an amazing job and an amazing life is unhappy. What he doesn’t seem to have is a faith – and I think that is what pulling me through these dissatisfied times. I know God’s got a plan, and I just have to be patient.