live

In My Other Life…

Sometimes the hubby and I lay in bed at night
and we play the what if game…

Or as I like to call it,
the what would we do in another life game.

What if we had made different choices?
Taken a different path?
Gone into different industries?
Waited longer to have kids?
Lived in a different part of the country?
Or in another country entirely?
What if…

And it’s not that we don’t love the life we’re leading,
because we do–very mucho mucho, in fact.
It’s just fun to sometimes say,
in another life I totally would have done ___________.

And here are MY other lives:

NY City Girl
You know, like the life Andy Sach’s lives in The Devil Wears Prada.  Where I live in a small studio apartment, with brick walls and a murphy bed.  I walk to work in 5 inch heels with my Starbucks hot chocolate and seemingly effortless style.  I dine with important and philosophical people every evening, and we discuss current affairs and the state of the union–because in this life, I read the newspaper.  I collect art, wear vintage shoes, and carry a worn out copy of Pride and Prejudice in my satchel.  I am a columnist for a national woman’s magazine {perhaps Lucky or Glamour}, with dreams of writing the next great American novel.  On weekends I relax in cafe window seats with my feet propped up on my hubby’s lap, as we watch the passersby and try to guess the types of lives they lead.

Small Town Girl
I live in a quaint town on the coast of North Carolina–the ones you read about in Nicholas Sparks novels or see on the Gilmore Girls. My house has a wraparound front porch, fireflies and a tire swing.  It’s safe enough for my kids to walk to school, swim in the creek, and sleep on the porch in the summertime.  My hubby owns an insurance agency {like he does now} and I own a local book store on Main Street.  There are festivals, parades, bingo nights, and bake sales {picture Sweet Home Alabama}. We eat at the same diner every Saturday morning and take the same afternoon stroll down the beach every Sunday.  I collect sea shells, read good books and have kiddos who enjoy playing outside with sticks and rocks. We where plaid, like country music and drink lemonade. Life is simple, and we like it that way.

The Traveling Nomad
With nothing but our REI backpacks, fancy camera and leather journals the hubby and I embark across the globe without a plan.  A month in a small Italian village, hopping the Greek Islands, sitting in the same cafe as Hemingway, walking the Great Wall, running my fingers through the sand on the beaches of Normandy, climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro, surfing in Maui, hiking through ruins in Mexico, breaking bread with the locals until 3 in the morning–and I suppose having a few Eat, Pray, Love moments along the way.  Not a care in the world, living life from day to day.

So that’s it.
These are my other lives.
Pretty glamorous, if you ask me.
But you know what?
Even on my worst day,
I wouldn’t trade the life I have.

Because, while I am a dreamer and an optimist,
I am also a realist.
And I know that I can’t have it all.
I can’t be a world traveler, career woman,
small town girl and mother of the year.

When I was 19,
I thought I could have it all.

And then, when I was 20, I spotted a dimple faced,
bright eyed Midwestern boy from across the room at UCSB,
and I made my choice.

Him,
And wherever that journey would take us.

What would be YOUR other life?

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34 Comments

  • Reply
    Bec @ eleventhirtyish
    March 12, 2011 at 7:56 am

    beautifully written! Like you, whatever the other lives i dream of, i still come right back to this imperfectly perfect life i have right now! But if i may play along for a moment i would have a very similar version of your three gals and i totally want to live in "Stars Hollow" and would be bff's with Lorelei and would definetly be getting my Latte's from Lukes! Hmm i like this game!! Think i may have to do a post if i may borrow your idea? – will link back to you! xx

  • Reply
    Aubrey
    March 12, 2011 at 1:35 pm

    I just loved this.

  • Reply
    amomwithalessonplan.com
    March 12, 2011 at 1:45 pm

    hmmmmm. . .in my other life? In my other life I am totally fashionable and wear adorable things like belts over my sweater and red skinny pants. It really doesn't matter what I wear because I look cute even when I'm sitting on the toilet in sweats taking pictures of myself in the mirror. I know exactly what necklace to put with which shirt, my make up is always perfect and a brown beret is just the icing on the cake.

    But I guess I'll have to keep living fashion vicariously through you!

  • Reply
    Girl of The Grove
    March 12, 2011 at 2:15 pm

    Loved reading this Ashley.
    I'd hop into your small town souther girl scenario any day!!

  • Reply
    Jessica
    March 12, 2011 at 2:34 pm

    WOW! You totally should be a writer! You sucked me in and kept me at Nicholas Sparks! 🙂 Beautifully written! And our thought paths are so alike…I think we would totally be friends if we lived close!

  • Reply
    Ashley @ Life Is Beautiful
    March 12, 2011 at 2:39 pm

    I thought this was such a beautiful post! The "other lives" were nice to read about, but I definitely loved the last of your post! {Even though I do love the small town girl one, which I am, but not that awesome.} 😀

    -Many Smiles!

  • Reply
    Lisa Christine Johnson
    March 12, 2011 at 3:31 pm

    What you said towards the end about having it all at 19, and then making your choice at 20 totally reminds me of a quote I recently saw online somewhere. "You can do ANYTHING but you can't do EVERYTHING." This seems to fit this post well, and it's a good thing for everyone to keep in mind. The world is out there for us all to do whatever we want, be whoever we want, but we have to make choice and STICK with those choices! Glad I made a good one! And it seems that you did too!

  • Reply
    A Thrifted Market
    March 12, 2011 at 3:33 pm

    Cute post! I actually live the small town life with the small community and I love it! The only thing I would change is maybe the heat around here..somewhere cooler on the front porch would be nice. I also fell for a cute boy at age 20 and we celebrated 21 years of marriage 2 days ago! Not always easy but always worth it!

  • Reply
    Jenae @ Wildflower
    March 12, 2011 at 4:09 pm

    Love this post!!

  • Reply
    dubb and dawni
    March 12, 2011 at 4:21 pm

    The Hubby and I say when we win the lottery we will… The Funny thing is we have NEVER played the lottery! Kinda fun to dream big. I think it keeps your marriage fun to dream of big things together. I just have to admit in my other live I would be a "country western singer" but shhhhh don't tell !!!

  • Reply
    Lindsi
    March 12, 2011 at 4:31 pm

    Seriously a girl after my own heart! The three other lives your described, are pretty much my ideas in a nutshell! Except the one where I LIVE in Italy!
    I love this post!

  • Reply
    Jamie Rubeis
    March 12, 2011 at 4:44 pm

    I wanted to tear up! So sweet. My hubby and I play the What If game a lot too… but I wouldn't change ANYTHING about the choice I made.

  • Reply
    Jessie K
    March 12, 2011 at 4:56 pm

    In my other life I would have gone to college, gotten a degree in a foreign language (spanish specifically), lived and worked in another country, learning their culture. I would have traveled the world, seen the sights, got the t-shirt. In fact I'd still like to make that a reality with my hubby and kids along.

    Another life I would have been a cowgirl on a ranch, breaking horses all day long. I would have become a renowned horse trainer, training the next Smart Little Lena, Doc Bar, or Doc O'Lena. I still intend to make owning a few horses a reality. We just need to settle down, first.

  • Reply
    Jessie K
    March 12, 2011 at 4:58 pm

    Hey, you should do a linky party with this post!

  • Reply
    little miss vintage
    March 12, 2011 at 5:47 pm

    love your other "lives" I totally could envision all of those for myself as well. But, like you I met a handsome ( bump into a wall because you couldn't take your eyes off of him) boy at 16, not 19. It's been 9 years since I laid eyes on him in the halls of our high school and the rest is history! P.S. I always enjoy reading your posts, you're so real and inviting.
    Amber

  • Reply
    Heidi @ Honeybear Lane
    March 12, 2011 at 5:51 pm

    I play that game a lot too! Only right now I find myself doing it more with the idea that I am married without kids and free to come and go as I please and NEVER have to see gross poop. But I have to admit, that North Carolina picture you painted sounds lovely…I have that same dream. But I'm older, my kids are older. This time of life is just difficult with little kids that need our constant care. But it's so fleeting and I wouldn't miss it for anything.

  • Reply
    sarah
    March 12, 2011 at 7:23 pm

    Oh I'll take small town any day. There's a perfect little mountain country town about 3omin away from me, Oak Glen. It's apple country, It snows, they get a real fall season, it's beautiful and it's only 30min from the city and the nearest Joann's fabrics store : )

  • Reply
    kvstl
    March 12, 2011 at 9:05 pm

    First time commenting on your blog but I visit every day! Your words are always so thoughtfully expressed and touch so many people in positive ways. THANK YOU for being such an inspiration to me as a new mommy with a 7 month old girl. Your are a fantastic mom and I can totally relate to thinking of "what if?" but I also always come back to where I am now in my life and wouldn't change it for the world.

  • Reply
    jamie @ kreyv
    March 12, 2011 at 10:07 pm

    Love that post! You know, I've never really thought about it. One thing I would change? My husband would be dunzo with residency!

  • Reply
    Lindsay
    March 12, 2011 at 11:57 pm

    This is adorable Ashley. Well said. I think about these things ALL THE TIME too 🙂

  • Reply
    Heather
    March 13, 2011 at 12:47 am

    I would pack up and move to Paris like Jordan @ Oh Happy Day http://www.wakingupinvegas.com/2011/02/16/fave-new-read-oh-happy-day/

    Wish I could get up the courage and "just do it"…but the dream seems so far from reality. You know?

  • Reply
    Jayna Rae
    March 13, 2011 at 6:09 am

    Great post! I will have to muse on my other life. I have followed a pretty clear trajectory so I have never truly thought about it before.

  • Reply
    tricia!
    March 13, 2011 at 3:14 pm

    i dont even know you… i know the stock family so i stumbled upon your page! this was beautifully written 🙂

  • Reply
    Kari
    March 14, 2011 at 2:51 am

    I loved this! Nathan and I do this, too. Let's be next-door neighbors and be couple friends. Deal? 😉

  • Reply
    claudia b
    March 14, 2011 at 2:03 pm

    i'd be The Stylish Famwife, managing a couple of acres worth of veggie goodness and showing off my style to my farmhouse neighbors 😀

    I've just awarded you a Stylish Blogger badge, check out my blog for details, thanks!

  • Reply
    Geezees Custom Canvas Art
    March 14, 2011 at 5:17 pm

    Love this, this is so adorable!

  • Reply
    PeaceLoveApplesauce
    March 14, 2011 at 6:36 pm

    I would for sure be a big city girl!! Or maybe a small town home family where everyone knows your name. But then again, I'd like beach living! Oh boy, I could never pick just one! 😉

  • Reply
    M.O.T.B
    March 15, 2011 at 6:13 pm

    I would have married my husband sooner, traveled and enjoyed just us. Sometimes we yearn for that time when a couple is just a couple before all the chaos and blessings of children. We would have lived in the Times Square studio, established careers, and then became parents…but I always worry had we made different choices…would we be together? And that makes me nervous, because I wouldn't be ME without my boys.

  • Reply
    Betsy
    March 20, 2011 at 8:57 pm

    Love this! I've wondered many of those same scenarios myself. Instead, I just become friends with people who are like that and live vicariously through them!

  • Reply
    Mrs. T
    May 29, 2011 at 3:21 pm

    That's funny… those are always the 3 I jump to as well!

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