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It May Take Your Whole Life To Get There

December 28th, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

So tonight, I leave from my annual holiday visit with my family in California and head back to New York City. For those who follow me on Twitter or see me on Facebook, you can probably tell I had the time of my life. Since I only visit my family once a year, I usually make the trips extended stays. This year was no different, as I’ve been here since December 16.

But now, it’s time to go back to the city I call home. Leaving isn’t bitter sweet. I look forward to going back, being my own man, sleeping in my own apartment, and seeing all my friends, some of whom I also consider family. The other reason I’m leaving with a smile on my face? I have finally lived to see the day when my family is in full bloom.

My peers and I, we’ve become impatient.

All of us.

We want the partner, the house, the kids, all of it right now. But we didn’t wake up with that desire, it’s been in us for years. Like I said a few months ago when I turned 29, I thought by now I’d be fathering at least my first kid, had the high-paying dream job, and the wife to come home to. But here I am, 29 with a low-paying dream job, no kids, and not one hint of a wife in my vicinity. If someone told me 10 years ago that this was the life I would be living, I’d probably be a little disappointed. That’s not what I saw for myself, not what I ordered.

But today, it’s what I have, and I’m not mad about it at all, nor am I in some sort of rush to get there, wherever there is. If there’s one thing I’ve learned from the family I have today, it’s that what we want to have may be a lifetime away from us.

The thought occurred to me last week, while I laid sick in bed. It was there I heard a sound unfamiliar coming from the living room. It was the sound of my family and they sounded like something out of The Cosby Show. It was so foreign to me, I almost didn’t recognize it. But when I realized I wasn’t dreaming or going delirious from a fever, I smiled to myself.

My family has been through it all: divorce, unexpected death, separation, feuds, and so many more things that I’m sometimes surprised we didn’t end up on  a daytime talk show with all our drama. I grew up seeing family members fight each other, curse each other out, and get their hearts broken.

Even my house, the one I grew up in, is drastically different today from what it was when I lived here full time. It was, much like our family, under constant repair. For years I walked on undone floors, a weeded backyard, and stained carpets. It wasn’t a ran-down shack by any means, it was just constantly unfinished, in need of this and that, almost like a permanent fixer-upper.

But now my house is complete, and what’s so cool to me is, my family is a reflection of it. Not to say we’re finished, but we’ve definitely come full circle.

When I look at my mom and see her sitting on the couch next to my step-dad, a man she met only a few years ago, I think of how long it took for her to get there.

When I look at my younger sister be a mother to my six-month old niece, I think of how many babies she used to take care of for other people, and how long it took for her to get there.

When I see my grandmother be a great-grandmother to my niece, I think of how long it took for her to get there.

When I see my niece’s father make baby faces to his daughter, when I see his son from a previous relationship open up presents alongside my family because he’s in our family too, I think of how long it took for them to get there.

When I take a picture of my grandmother, my mom, my sister, and my niece sitting together at breakfast, I think of how long it took for them to get there.

When I step into a store at the mall with my mom, my sister, my step-dad, and my niece, I think of how long it took for me to get there.

All of this is not to say we were without for so many years. For so many years, it was just me, my mom, and my sister living in this house, and we were definitely a strong family, but much like the house we lived in, we were under construction, adjusting to adjustments we never asked for.

It took my whole life to see those smiles, to see these people, to have this family, and I’m only 29, my sister 26. My grandmother had to wait until her 80s. My mother, her 50s. My step-dad, his 40s. It took them their whole lives too, but hey, we’re all here now. As I like to say, it’s not all blood, but it is all love.

Now when I come home to my mom and step-dad’s house, it looks finished, nothing like the house I grew up in and everything like the house I would love to have a family in. When I fly back home tonight, I know the place I’m going to is both figuratively and literally thousands of miles away from the place I just left, but I’ll get there one day. Even if it takes me a lifetime, I’ll get there, and once I arrive, I won’t think of how long it took me. I’ll be too busy enjoying where I end up.

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The Process: Getting on a plane tonight, and most of you already know how I feel about that. Wish me safe travels.

The Poppin’ Questions Podcast is back up this Wednesday, feel free to hit me with a question for consideration here.

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  • Morvam

    Wow..first post of yours that made me cry. Brings to mind this quote:

    The road of life twists and turns and no two directions are ever the same. Yet our lessons come from the journey, not the destination.”
    Don Williams, Jr.

    Great to see that at your very young age you realize something that many people (myself included) take a lot longer to realize.

    Safe travels, JC.

  • Monique

    “Now when I come home to my mom and step-dad’s house, it looks finished, nothing like the house I grew up in and everything like the house I would love to have a family in. When I fly back home tonight, I know the place I’m going to is both figuratively and literally thousands of miles away from the place I just left, but I’ll get there one day. Even if it takes me a lifetime, I’ll get there, and once I arrive, I won’t think of how long it took me. I’ll be too busy enjoying where I end up.”

    ….beautifully written jozen. have a safe trip home.

  • Theryl

    I really needed to read this today! Thank you, Jozen for reminding me to pace myself. I’m so eager to have the husband, family, and dream job, that I forget that it took me 28.9 years to get to THIS point I’m my life…one day at a time

  • CristinaNYC

    This really hit home for me. The house that I live in has been in a constant state of repair. It feels like my family this Christmas felt the most real in a way. Just my mom, my brothers, my grandpa, and my aunt with her husband and two children. It just felt right. Hopefully soon this house will get it together too. Glad you had a wonderful time with your family and that you really get to take a long trip to see them since they are so apart.

  • Miss. Riss

    All I really have to say is Awwwww. Loved the post!

  • Toddy

    I love this. Im going through a very difficult reunion with my large birth family and this gave me hope and a new perspective on this process. Thanks for that and Im glad you are in such a good place in your life. Cheers, T.

  • Renrexx

    By far one of the most beautiful posts. Made me appreciate my family so much more and I am so deeply grateful to have them all in one place for the holidays. My mom worked hard this Christmas season and made it seem so effortless. I don’t think I’ll ever be at her level.

  • Alovelydai

    Beautiful post.

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  • Mr. Write Now

    I grapple with this on a daily basis. You articulated some of my thoughts perfectly. Safe travels my g!

  • Cafe7202

    I came to this realization recently too, but you articulated it so much better than I ever could have. It’s something I think you have to learn as you live your life….and a lesson I wish I could impart to younger siblings. But you have to learn it yourself, as you go through your own journey.

    Great post as usual. And the perfect way to start a new year for me. Relishing the journey and enjoying every part of it. :)

  • http://twitter.com/solidcelly Celly Richy

    This had to be my favorite post. Your writing skills really popped out here. The parallels you drew between the house and your family. This was touching, and so many of us can relate. Thank you for sharing this. :)

  • http://twitter.com/ATLOshun sar

    Whooo, that made me tear up.

    Only a few hours ago I had a conversation with my bestfriend lamenting about the fact that there are only women in my family..really just four of us and wanting to have a husband/partner and children. She relayed to me how her aunt now has children and a partner that she never expected, especially at her age. She reminded me that I’ll get there.

    Sometimes we get in such a rush to have it all and we don’t enjoy where we are and understand that we’re still on our journey to that sought destination and that we should enjoy where we are, for if we’re lucky enough it’s not where we’ve been.

    Thanks for this Jozen, it resonates so much with me and my family. We’re getting there. Some might say slowly (I’m damn near 36) but, definitely surely.

  • Jess!

    All i can say is..if I wasnt at work the tears would be streaming. I’m at this place in my life where people are getting all the things I wanted. The job, husband, kids, house..all the things I been wanting and thought I would have by now. I know good things are coming. But I know the road to get there has been one with sever heartache, but I so much is in store for me. I’m tearing up but smiling at the same time, because of your post I know that even though the road is tough…my day is coming.

    Thank you x 1billion…
    I would hug you right now if I could!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=605561003 Tonya Love

    Very nice. If you wanted to take a break til Jan 1,..this would be a great post to end the year with.

  • Kayla

    The best post I have ever read on this blog. You really put your heart out there and I wish you and your family many blessings.

  • Kristi

    It’s not worth it if you get it right away, right? I loved this post Jozen….took me a while to feel the same way, but realizing that getting there isn’t the point has made life so much more fulfilling. I’m stoked to see what 2011 is gona throw at you!

  • Simply_Beautiful

    “Even if it takes me a lifetime, I’ll get there, and once I arrive, I won’t think of how long it took me. I’ll be too busy enjoying where I end up.”

    **standing ovation**

    When I arrive to that point in my life I plan on doing the same thing!

  • Candi

    Thanks again for articulating the thoughts of your readers so wonderfully. That’s why we love you so much. I’m almost 36 and for years I’ve been my toughest critic throughout my life, constantly comparing myself to my peers and measuring the progress that I’ve made toward the goals that I made growing up. For most of this year, I’ve reflected on my adulthood, and in many ways it felt as though I’d become stagnant in area: as a mother, wife (soon to be ex), daughter, sister, friend, employee, which made me feel as though I’d failed. But God is awesome and I’m fortunate to have come to the same realization that you have after weathering the most heart-wrenching tribulations of my life through the strength that he provided. Although I may not be where I’d like to be at this juncture of my life, my circumstances are vastly different from where I came (similar to your experiences). When I think about this, I truly understand “That it may take your whole life to get there”, and that’s OK.

  • Iman

    I wish there was a “love” comment box to click. I absolutely loved this post. We are all thinking and feeling this way but you said it and it only confirms that we are on right track nevermind what it looks like!

  • Aisha

    Great post Jozen. Got a lil teary eyed and completely feel you on all of this…we will get there :)

  • iwannabeavamp

    great post once again!

    i really admire the way you deliver, i have been following all your posts for a couple of weeks and i read the archives too:)

    i know i am not in the position right now to say that i see what i like in my life, or i actually have what it takes to make me ultimately happy, nor this is the place where i wanna be. i am just not there yet, i am on my way but sometimes patience is not my virtue. i am thankful for having my family and i hope in time i’d be able to get where i wanna be:)

    keep up the good work, jozen. you have touched so many lives. bless you:)

  • http://twitter.com/MizCarr J. Carr

    Love this! Definitely something I needed to hear :-)

  • Alexis

    Awesome! Your posts often make me cringe when you right about what you look for in a woman, but this post puts you even closer to the responsible and loving husband, father that you will be.

    Like your sister, I am 26 and have worried about where my life will end up. If I will have the dream job, great husband, beautiful child, etc. But the past few years has turned my worry into just wonder. I have learned that it could take years to get there…so the key for me at this point is to continue to challenge myself to be a better me while in the process cherishing the people and moments that get me to that point!

  • Violet

    Wonderful (read). Thanks for sharing.

  • Tiffany

    Amazing!! Something to think about! It’s all about patience!!!

  • http://twitter.com/Ly2nette Lynnette M. Evans

    Wow. Thank you for this post. I’ve been feeling like I am behind on where I wanted to be in my 25 years of living, but your post was encouraging.

  • http://Blog-AroundHarlem.com AroundHarlem

    Nice !!!

  • http://mynameismisswhite.blogspot.com Miss White

    Love it! Well written as always! You have a knack for both introspect and retrospect!

  • http://twitter.com/stjbLocs Positive Innergy

    another set of tears from reading your blog–think i may print and frame this one.