I want to be Lara Croft.
I know, I know. You’re all falling down in fits of hysterical laughter and I certainly can’t blame you! But can you blame me? Wouldn’t every girl like to be Lara? A wealthy heiress who rides motorcycles, goes on adventures, does martial arts, has giant boobs, and a swinging braid?
Here’s the thing: I don’t really like driving motorcycles, they freak me out. I don’t mind adventures as long as I get to sleep in my own bed at night. Giant boobs are overrated, as years of nursing babies has taught me. I still haven’t tried martial arts because I’m afraid of getting kicked in the face. I’m definitely anything but rich. And I’ll get back to you on the swinging braid…as my hair is not long enough for such a feat. I think the thing I’ve always liked about Lara is that she was brave and tough in ways I’ve always wanted to be.
Now in my thirties, I still find myself wishing that I was cool like Lara. But I’ve also recognized that I am not a video game character who is supposed to be eternally twenty. I’m a mom of three kids. I stay home to take care of them. My five year old thinks my job is to clean the house. While there may have been a time where I thought it would have been awesome to run around in combat boots and fatigues chasing after war zones and helping refugees, I know now that is not me. Or at least, that is not the work that the universe has given me. The job I have been given is to raise these three little monkeys running around my house. That’s my work. That is my grand contribution to the world…three more citizens who will hopefully be loving and responsible people. And they will go on to make their own contributions.
Sometimes it’s a little depressing to think that my grandiose dreams have taken such a nosedive. I meet teenagers who are ready to graduate and the world is at their fingertips. They are ready to go out and make their dreams happen. Sometimes I wish I could go back and start over with the knowledge I have now. But I can’t. Instead, I can accept the work that I have to do now. I can accept that I’m more of a librarian than a soldier. I can accept that I’d rather raise children than lead troops. I can accept that I prefer jeans to camouflage, obstacle courses aren’t really my thing, and that I’d rather drink wine on a patio than dodge bullets. My life is here in the Midwest–quiet, peaceful, and some might say boring. Sometimes minimalism means discarding those old, unrealistic dreams of being a video game character and accepting where and who you are in real life.
And that, my friends, is both brave and tough.