24 Days: MASHed Up Reality
When I was a little girl I used to play a game called MASH. No, I wasn’t pretending to be a nurse during the Korean War (not that M*A*S*H). You likely played it, too: the game that predicted your future.
This game was more often played by girls in the back of the bus.
You got asked questions in categories like, “how old will you be when you get married,” “what will your husband’s name be,” and “how many kids will you have” and “how much money will you make,” etc. and would give 5 answers for each. Each answer getting eliminated one by one as your friend circled the list with the “magic number.” The last of answer in each category would be your future.
Obviously there is no real merit to it, or real science involved. And there was often cheating in the counting so you’d secretly end up with the answers you wanted. But when you’re 7 years old, anything is possible and all you want is for your dream to come true.
My MASH would often end up looking something like this:
I’d be singer, married by age 22 to Lance LeMond (or Zack Morris if I was using celebrity names), making $1M a year, having 2 kids by age 25, driving around a red convertible and living happily-ever-after in my mansion in Paris, France.
Funny, is that even as we get older—we still believe that maybe, just maybe everything will turn out like that. But unfunny, is how it doesn’t.
We end up with a MASHed up reality about what was our lives will end up like. No, there isn’t anything wrong with little girls dreaming about their futures. But when we become women, and the things our hearts desire don’t pan out like we thought they would… there’s a disconnect. There’s disappointment and there’s doubt that anything we hoped to have will have come to pass.
Especially when a real-life MASH end ups looking like this:
Almost 25 years old, working in ministry, making just a few thousand a year more than minimum wage, married to Jesus, no kids, carpooling and still living with my parents in their house in Kansas.
In many ways—this is the life I chose. And in many more ways, I am happy with where my life is. Do I wish I were married? Yes. Do I wish I was starting a family? Yes. Do I wish I was making more money? Yes. But does it mean my life is empty because I don’t have these things? Absolutely not…
It just isn’t the MASH I thought I’d have by now. And I guess that’s okay. After all, I never really liked Lance that much (in fact last I heard, he was in jail) and I also hear Paris smells bad.