Actively seeking asterisks

Sometimes I wish my life were different.

And no, I’m not talking about my desire for hair without a crazy cowlick or the ability to walk in high heels without towering over my friends, even though those are real things.

I’m talking about my life right now. Here are some examples of thoughts that have crossed my mind this past week:

—Sometimes I wish I didn’t live in Omaha.

—Sometimes I wish I wasn’t dead-set on becoming a professional writer in some capacity.

—Sometimes I wish I wasn’t insanely busy.

—Sometimes I wish I knew the answers to the big logistical questions of life (What career will I end up in? Will I ever get married? Do I want to ever have children? Where will I end up living? Is graduate school in my future?)

—Sometimes I wish I were more sophisticated.

—Sometimes I wish I were less emotionally sensitive.

—Sometimes I wish life were more planned out.

—Sometimes I wish I wasn’t such a “try-hard.”

—Sometimes I wish things were different.

Once I get past the initial thought, I step back and truly examine it. Upon reflection, I have determined that most of these wishes are situational. Or, to put it another way, they have a giant asterisk in the sentence, lurking behind that vague term ‘sometimes.’ Once I acknowledged the presence of the asterisk, they were suddenly jumping out, no longer hidden in camouflage, but practically jumping off of the page at me. Let’s look at the conditional asterisks in the previous statements:

—Sometimes* I wish I didn’t live in Omaha.
*When being verbally heckled in the Baker’s parking lot by a drunk homeless man at 2 p.m. on a Tuesday; when somebody gets shot two blocks away from where I live; when I run out of quarters to feed the parking meter downtown; when muggings become commonplace on campus; when I’m caught in the snarl of rush-hour traffic made worse by water main breaks and seemingly endless road construction.

View from work

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—Sometimes* I wish I wasn’t dead-set on becoming a professional writer in some capacity.
*When I become caught up in material desires, such as starting salaries and pay grades, instead of my internal desire, no—physical need to express myself with words and sentences and syntax.

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—Sometimes* I wish I wasn’t insanely busy.
*When I feel like I haven’t had one moment to myself all day and all the plates I have been juggling crash to the ground. Then I remember that when I am idle, I become a human incarnation of a sloth.

Remember, ideas become things.

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—Sometimes* I wish I knew the answers to the big logistical questions of life (What career will I end up in? Will I ever get married? Do I want to ever have children? Where will I end up living? Is graduate school in my future?)
*When I pretend that I am grown-up, instead of a mildly-confused 21-year-old who is simultaneously thrilled and terrified for the rest of my life.

Hold on tight!

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—Sometimes* I wish I were more sophisticated.
*Until I realize that my Midwestern folksy-ness, while affecting my speech and life outlook, is so deeply entrenched in the fabric of my soul that I could never fully extract it from my person.

Norfolk retreat with my nuggets: sunset edition

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—Sometimes* I wish I were less emotionally sensitive.
*Until I remember that the drama of life is what makes it worth living, and that my emotional perceptiveness translates into empathy, which I have identified as a core characteristic of my personality.

Bread on bread on bread

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—Sometimes* I wish life were more planned out.
*When I forget about the joys of spontaneity: last minute trips to Milwaukee, Norfolk, a coffee shop, etc.
http://instagram.com/p/YDhpf7zX1C/

—Sometimes* I wish I wasn’t such a “try-hard.”
*When I forget that I was raised to try hard in all that I do, and anything less feels like cheating. Ambition is my mission, and I shouldn’t be ashamed of that.

From our wall of inspiration

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—Sometimes* I wish things were different.
*When I forget how wonderfully blessed and amazing my life really is.

And with these hidden doubts and worries in plain sight, their subtext shown naked to the world, they suddenly don’t seem so scary. I know that I can conquer them because of the people in my life. Over the past week, a week that has kept me busy and furiously treading water to keep my from drowning in a big steaming pile of Magis, I have had fantastic and honest conversations with a variety of phenomenal people. Knowing I am supported and loved and cared for makes finding the asterisks in life easy.

Do you have any asterisks in your life?

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8 thoughts on “Actively seeking asterisks

  1. Pete September 7, 2013 / 7:16 AM

    Sounds like your “asterisks” are actually your “vicissitudes…” (how’s that for the word of the day?) and vicissitudes are good. How boring life would be without them. Vicissitudes…nearly as good a word as syzygy. Would your life be that aligned, it would also be kinda boring.

    • asb13521 September 8, 2013 / 11:41 PM

      I like the word “vicissitudes.” A really good description, and much more fun to say than “asterisks!”

  2. M F ASMUS September 7, 2013 / 12:58 PM

    My dearest Amanda,

    This is absolutely amazing, and it reflects the wonderful person that you are. Your intuition about yourself and others is mature so far beyond your years, and the future holds happiness and success even though there will be some jolts along the way. Just ask me!!! If you remain true to your values, your up-bringing, you God and yourself, you can only have a happy and rewarding life. The important part is to reach outward.

    My mother use to say, “There are two kinds of people in the world: Those who love things and use people and those who love people and use things.” You definitely are the latter, and that will serve you well as you move forward in life.

    You bless my life and fill me with pride at being related to you!

    Love you sooooo much,

    Granny

    Date: Sat, 7 Sep 2013 04:37:21 +0000 To: mfasmus@msn.com

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