The greatest madness
is to see life as it is
what it could be.
Summer is for growing.
Lately, the deep green and life that comes with summer inspires my goal-driven personality. A few summers ago, when we sold our first home, I was inspired to return to simplicity in my parenting.
It was in this return that I found myself.
And what started as finding simplicity has developed into a full-fledged journey. While once I may have adamantly insisted that you need to know where you’re going in life, now I can sit back and recognize that the unplanned adventures are the ones really worth setting off on.
And so this summer began, so full of new life. And yet, I felt like I may lose myself again. Having finished grad school, I was feeling such a sense of loss. I know, I know who the heck gets sad about finishing school?
I could feel a part of myself slipping away amidst the worry and the fear of what comes next?
Having been down that road before, I sincerely do not wish to travel it again.
So I decided that this will be the best summer of my life.
Hey, we can all have goals.
But truly. This is going to be the best summer of my life.
I’ve been reading a lot, per usual. A lot of my informal research, conducted in an effort to improve my parenting game, has centered on growth mindset. Such a fun little topic.
But really, growth mindset isn’t just for kids!
So I thought to myself: what are some areas where you need to grow?
Tagging along in the research with growth mindset is this little thing called mindfulness.
Now I’m not talking about meditation.
Mindfulness, at its basic level, is being aware of or being conscious of something.
It’s super useful to use mindfulness as a mom….”You see, my child, when you whine like that, it makes me want to curl up into a ball, sink into the ground, and turn into an earthworm because I am afraid that I will never get you to stop. Of course I realize that this is a completely irrational response to your attempt to express a need. So please, my child, could you KINDLY STOP WHINING?”
Just kidding. That’s not the best application of mindfulness. Although, being honest, I really have used it to help myself be aware of what it is about my children’s behavior that triggers a less than ideal parenting response.
Anyhow….so off track here…
Learning about mindfulness reminded me a bit about minimalism. The premise that #theeuropehouse was built and designed upon.
Minimalism has helped me to recognize the little things. It has helped me to be more aware, and to seek out meaning.
This idea has helped me to recognize this summer as the best summer of my life.
Really, this is going to be the best summer of my life.
So many summers have passed me by…ones wasted on wishes.
Wishes that I would be a different person, live somewhere else, do different things, see different people, go different places…wishes that I had enough money I didn’t have to work, wishes that my children would behave like cherubs and not track so stinken’ much sand into the house. Wishes that I had a different job, wishes that I could afford an exotic vacation, see beautiful places, wear different clothes…wishes that I didn’t have so much laundry, that my windows would clean themselves…
I wished for a life I could never have. A life that would never be.
I spent years hoping that some day I would wake up, and all the things I could ever have dreamed would be true.
I spent years looking at life as it could be.
Not as it was.
Now, this doesn’t mean I don’t have dreams. Trust me – I have them. Tons of them, and a load of goals as well.
The danger with dreams and goals is that we humans tend to hyper focus on them. In the words of the infamous Albus Dumbldore: “it does not do well to dwell on dreams and forget to live”.
This summer, I realized that I have spent my time looking at my life as it could be rather than as it is.
I tried to be more mindful about my thoughts and attitudes as well. Instead of getting upset when my five year old wakes up at 6AM and interrupts my coffee-Bible-quiet time, instead of wishing for life as it could be – him sleeping until 8 AM on all my days off, I took a step back.
My five year old likes to wake up at 6AM and have coffee with me.
I mean seriously. How adorable is that.
So now, we wake up by 6 AM and snuggle on the couch. He drives his trucks around the cushions, and I drink my coffee and read my Bible out loud to him.
This is life as it is.
I used to dream about traveling to places and hiking to places with Instagram worthy, breathtaking vistas. I would naturally be wearing the cutest hiking clothes, with perfect hair, and wouldn’t be sweating at all. Yes, life as it could be.
But my life doesn’t allow for me to travel. So this summer I decided, I was going to hike to Instagram worthy, breathtaking vistas in my own backyard.
So I did.
The picture at the top of this post was taken from our latest excursion. It is the view from along a 21 mile trail which I can view in it’s entirety from #theeuropehouse
I never knew that my own back yard offered such views. The rolling green hills, the crisp blue sky, and hardly a house to be seen. Hiking from the valley, where civilization lays nestled among the forest, it would seem that all you would see is civilization – that boring small town, the sites you drive by every single day, the monotony of small town life. I could hardly have been more wrong! The expanse of green and sky offer little evidence of human life, birthing a new appreciation for a beauty that I never knew existed in my own little piece of the world.
My own little piece of the world is beautiful, and amazing, and it is life as it is.
And this is the greatest summer of my life.
Not because it, in itself, is great. But because I, in myself, have chosen to recognize beauty, and happiness, and life. Life not as it could be. But life as it is. With a deeper appreciation and positive mind set, a soul willing to grow and change.
An adventure not sought out, but one worth embarking upon.
Life, as it is.