This girl has a few thoughts…and all of them cause me to pause.
9. “We risk missing out on joy when we get too busy chasing down the extraordinary.”
I’ve been meditating on this thought as I sit in front of my UV light each morning. This is likely one of the most important things we learn after a traumatic life experience. Our pursuit after the extraordinary doesn’t get larger after those times, it gets more focused on little things that we weren’t seeing but were with us all along.
That chase after the perfect life, the ideal job, the success-filled CV, checking off the bucket list all those fabulous places to visit — even when these are filled, there’s a gnawing that declares: ‘So that’s it?’ And perhaps we feel a ‘so that’s it’ not because we’re a dissatisfied bunch, always wanting more, but also because that’s not it. Life isn’t just a headlong run toward a padding of the bucket list. Life isn’t just about pleasure. That’s another post.
But also because we’re missing out on daily pleasures, simple pleasures…pleasures we wouldn’t necessarily categorize as pleasures.
Like the smell of our husband’s coffee beckoning us to wake and join him before the kids wake. Like the feel of facial cleansing granules brightening our visage. Like the first sip of sparkling water rehydrating us each morning. Yeah, those things. The really simple things we take for granted.
We risk missing out on joy when we get too busy chasing down the extraordinary.
10. “DIG deep–get deliberate, inspired, and going.”
When I was a little girl, I had a dream. I was a doctor, married to a doctor, with my four children, in my self-designed home. Curious. I wasn’t on a mission to find my doctor husband, but I did indeed marry a doctor. I didn’t go to medical school, but I did finish nursing school. I bore four beautiful babies and presently am building a new home.
Later in high school, I imagined myself as a missionary nurse to Africa, with a start in the Arctic for experience remotely (and cash to pay off the student loans). I practiced nursing officially in neither of those locations, but lived vicariously through my medical husband as we ventured northward for a summer to the edge of the Arctic, twice to west and east Africa — I sat alongside him as he did his work in pediatrics, walked rounds and watched him give anesthetics in the operating room.
In the very recesses of my mind I imagined walking along cobblestone paths of Roman ruins or meandering paths in Tuscan olive groves. Like that lady from Under the Tuscan Sun. Sounded dreamy, romantic, perfetto. And it was perfect when we visited as a family a few years ago. I would definitely return to live there, even if for just a few months. Never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined that dream might have come true.
And because my life continues, I instinctively ask, “What’s next”? What if all my dreams, all my bucket list wishes were completed? Now what? Does that mean the timeline of my life is coming to a close? Or do I need to dig deep, get deliberate, inspired and going, again…and still refer to #9…
11. “What would you be glad you did–even if you failed?”
Write a book. Another childhood dream of mine. I wrote back then like I write now: every day. Sometimes to soothe myself like a piece of that Roger’s sea salt chocolate covered caramel my husband supplied me with at Valentine’s. Sometimes I write to connect to the outer world, hoping to remind those who read who they are, that they should pursue their dreams despite their obstacles. Sometimes I write as a creative vent that creates a self-creating energy to fuel the (sort of) ordinary activities of my homeschooling mama world.
Guess I’ve been writing that book for quite some time now. It’s transformed a half dozen times. A memoir. (Can you write a memoir when you’re 30 and not a celebrity?) A non-fiction creative fiction novel. Now it’s a fictionalized narrative of two women’s coming of age.
Recently, I watched “Boy Choir” (highly recommended btw). There’s an adolescent boy, a renowned soprano, who asks his voice teacher what he’s going to do now that his voice is changing…be a renowned alto? What was the point of doing all that work when I was going to be that forever? The point WAS the work, his voice teacher responded.
Hmm, that thinking runs counter to popular thought. It certainly runs counter to my shiny penny pursuing thinking. Isn’t life about collecting as many shiny pennies as one can? Perhaps the work is the point, not the final product.
12. “Talk about your failures without apologizing.”
Oh, that’s a tough one. My self-deprecating tendency might be a bad habit then. I’ll try to be as hopeful in my own struggles, as I try to paint the struggles of my children as also hopeful.
No one is eager to share their self-aware imperfections or failures. I know I’ve got them. Some of them I’ve worked through significantly. Some of them still reflect back to me in the glaring pains in the intricacies of some relationships.
I know I’ll never completely walk in perfection or faultlessness. Enough of those failures has taught me that. Thank God for forgiveness;) The act of receiving it from others and giving it too.
What do these thoughts remind you to do? Which one means the most right now?