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Monday, April 23, 2012

Inspiration has struck, but, beware, it's serious.

Lately, I've been uninspired.  Frankly, life has been trying and exhausting, and my energy has been spent just trying to sort it all out.  Most of my writing has been in the form of text messages to friends and family or emails to my students and co-workers.  Occasionally, I'll vent a good five pages worth in my journal.  But, other than that, I've had nothing I felt was worthy of sharing.  Gavin hasn't done anything exceptionally naughty, hilarious, or cute.  I mean, he's always cute, but nothing worthy of a 500-word post. 

I also know that most people like humor.  People don't want to listen to me preach or shout from my soap box.  But, sometimes, what I'm inspired by is, unfortunately, serious.  And so, I've been inspired and feel the need to share.

Lately, I've been again reminded of how short life can be.  We take so many things for granted without realizing that we're doing it.  The other day, I was worried about my highlights.  Too blonde.  Gotta get them fixed soon.  Too much upkeep.  And then, I got on Facebook, and saw that one of my high school classmates had passed away after a battle with cancer.  And I thought, really?  Here I am worrying about my hair when someone else just lost their life?  I can't imagine anything more ridiculous.

It got me thinking about how much time we waste worrying about all these incredibly unimportant things.  So much energy is spent worrying about picking the right paint color, finding the perfect pair of jeans, fretting about a snide comment someone made, or feeling bummed because Starbucks was out of our favorite flavor of latte.  The truth is, if we choose to, we can find dissatisfaction in a lot of things in life.  Nothing ever really goes according to plan, and if it does, we never take the time to thank our lucky stars.

How often do you wake up and think, "I am so lucky that I woke up this morning and, despite the small pain in my lower back, I'm incredibly healthy!"?  How many of us take a few moments each night before we go to bed to recount all the good things we have in our lives, even if life isn't remotely close to what we imagined it to be?  When were constantly engulfed in worrying about things that don't really matter, it's hard to gain that perspective.  And that's when life steps in and does it for us - gives us that perspective we've been needing.

Just over a year ago, a former student took his life at the young age of 21, and it got me thinking.  I came to the conclusion that we spend too much time on things that don't matter.  We expend so much energy being angry, holding grudges, and fretting over materialistic things when we could be using that energy to show love and compassion to the people who are important to us.

And, in the midst of a chaotic time in my life, I needed that reminder again.  So, once again, I turn my focus to the things that I think will matter most when all is said and done.  Most importantly, my children.  Every moment I have with them is precious.  And while there is still laundry to be done, bills to be paid, and sleep to catch up on, I am committed to savoring as much of my time with them as I can - putting down the cell phone, turning off the television, and giving them my undivided attention - even if it's only for an hour at a time.  At the end of my life, I want nothing more than for my kids to know how incredibly important they are to me.

Instead of wasting my time worrying about the opinions and choices of people who have hurt me, or don't deserve my attention, I'm going to use that time to invest in the relationships I have with the people who truly love me and want the best for me.  Rather than fretting over the gossipy co-worker, I'm going to take a moment to catch up with the co-worker who has been nothing but kind and compassionate towards me.  The fact is, I can't change the way people think, the way they act, or the choices they make.  And, the more time I spend trying to change them, the less happy I will be.  I'm happiest when around people who make me happy, people who care about me, and when I'm returning kindness to those who have shown it to me. 

Rather than dwelling on the past or losing sleep over the future, I should do my best to enjoy what's going on right this moment - reality.  It feels great to take a moment to just stop and enjoy how the sunshine feels on my face, so why don't I do it more often?  Why don't I take a few more moments to be thankful for what I have?  To cherish the people who love me?  To enjoy what's going on right this very moment?  To find something incredibly wonderful about my life, even if it feels like a lot of things are wrong?  To say, "Today might have been really shitty, but man am I lucky to be healthy!"?

When my time is up, I want to be remembered in a certain way.  I want my kids to be incredibly proud of who I was, the choices I made, and the way I treated others.  I want them to know that I loved them more than anything on this Earth and that I considered their well-being in every single choice I made.  I want them to say that I enjoyed life - every last second of it.  So, I continue on my path to try to live the life that would allow my children to one day say those things about me.  It's not an easy road, it takes a lot of effort to stay on track, but I only get this life, and I don't want to waste any more of it.


  1. Amen. This morning, in reaction to what you reference about the classmates, I took the time to savor life on my way to work. I looked at a barn on my drive and marveled at its beauty. I saw how the dew glistened on the grass in the early morning light. I took a deep breath of fresh air as I walked into the building. You're so right. So very, very right. Staying on track is HARD. I needed this reminder and this partner in appreciation, especially tonight. Thank you.

  2. This is beautifully written and such a good reminder. So often I find myself stressing over something so ridiculous that I should be downright embarrassed. It is better to be grateful for all we have. Appreciate our health...the moments spent with family and friends... and for great posts like this to read. Thank you!

  3. What an amazing insight! You catch me exactly in a kind of moment that I ma wasting my precious time to worry about some sort of stupid and unimportant stuff. We should appreciate all we have and try to enjoy every single moment. Greetings!