Thursday, March 22, 2012

Chasing Butterflies

So many people walk around with a meaningless life. They seem half-asleep, even when they're busy doing things they think are important. This is because they're chasing the wrong things. The way you get meaning into your life is to devote yourself to loving others, devote yourself to your community around you, and devote yourself to creating something that gives you purpose and meaning.

~Mitch Albom

If I woke tomorrow and could never again share my thoughts with you, could never again share my ideas, my opinions, my desires and dreams, if I woke tomorrow and could never again express in one form or another what is in my head and what is in my heart, I honestly would not see the point of living. This might sound extreme, but hear me out. I play this game. I play this game to keep my life in order. I play this game so that I manage to live that life according to me and not according to others. I ask myself, “If I were to wake tomorrow and could never again,” and then I fill in the blank, “would life be worth living?”

If the answer is yes, I don’t much see the point in spending big time on that issue. Whatever word was in that blank is not worth my headache, my stress, my health. I’ll give it bits and pieces of my time, sure, but it will have to sit and wait its turn and settle for whatever leftovers I toss it.

If the answer to the question is no, then that word gets moved to the top of the list. That word gets much of my time whether anyone else feels it deserved, warranted, worthy, and whether paid or for kicks.

It goes something like this. If I were to wake tomorrow and could never again express my thoughts, either through speaking or writing, if I could never again spend time with my family, teach and lead, move, motivate, encourage, inspire, if I were to wake tomorrow and could never again put my feet in the sand and my face to the sun, hit the open road and explore new places, new people, new sights, if I were to wake tomorrow and could never again be the passionate creature I am, I honestly don’t believe life would be worth living. And, so I craft my life very carefully in order to have time to teach and write and love and laugh. I lavish hours on my family and friends. I travel. I enjoy the sunshine every chance I get. I walk barefoot on sandy beaches, listen to the waves as they hit the shore.

I no longer feel compelled to cross off what everyone else puts on my to-do list. As a new mother I often felt the need to over perform, to cook and clean and schedule play dates, to chair this committee and organize that class party, to bake forty-eight Martha Stewart worthy cupcakes for the school fair, and to save a little energy at the end of the day for those things that husbands and wives do at the end of the day. Sometimes I felt life was easier when I let others make my decisions. Sometimes it was a matter of “I don’t really know what I want, so I’ll look to others to tell me. I’ll let someone else make that decision for me.” Sometimes it was a matter of wanting to be perfect, wanting to impress, not wanting to screw it all up.

I am not afraid anymore. I am not afraid to say who I am and who I am not. I am not afraid to be me. I am a person with fire in the belly. I say what burns in my heart. I do what I am moved to do. I say and do sometimes, in fact, before I think I should say or do. I am a sensual being. I am moved by the taste of a beautiful meal, by the feel of warm sunshine on my bare shoulders, by the smell of fresh cut grass, fields of spring blossoms, and the sound of chirping birds. I am moved by love, by love of any kind. I like you, and I want you to like me. If you don’t, then that is your business, and I will go about my way. I am not interested in expending the energy needed to convince you otherwise. I buy a drink from every lemonade stand I pass. I talk to children I don’t know.

I don’t care much for cleaning or committees or conservative dress. I can’t bake cupcakes for shit. I’m a little flighty and somewhat of a ditz, and I think laptop toting, tailored skirt wearing, nine-to-five sort of jobs are what happen when you don’t accept Jesus Christ as your Savior. I like fun and frills and freedom. I smile a lot. I like the feel of a summer breeze through my hair as I pen a few words on the front porch, bare feet up, iced tea in hand. I die in windowless offices on gorgeous days.

So tell me how to do and how to be if you feel you must, but I will warn you now that it’s of no use. The sun is out, the breeze is nice, and I’m busy picking daisies and chasing butterflies.

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