For the last few weeks I’ve suffered from a condition I can't quite name but seems to flare up from time to time, especially when a new year approaches. It impairs my ability to get words from my mind onto the actual page, to get my yoga pant-clad bottom to the place where the yoga actually happens.
You see, it’s not an issue of intention, it’s one of execution.
There’s fortunately nothing physically wrong with me—my right (write) hand isn’t paralyzed and I’m thankful to have the ability to exercise my body. I can’t claim writer’s block because the ideas are there, just as I can’t blame my procrastination around exercising on not knowing how to do it…it’s just that I come up with every excuse in the world to NOT ACTUALLY DO IT.
And this is where the shame comes in.
Because what kind of person is fortunate enough to have the health and ability to move her body, to be provided with people actually willing to read the things she writes, yet actively chooses to get in her own way? What kind of person actively participates in the sabotaging of her own forward progress?
The answer to that is, in my mind, a failure. Perhaps you think I’m being too harsh, but let me plead my case.
One of the distractions I’ve used lately to stall forward progress (unintentionally but still...) is the suddenly very urgent need to clean and declutter my house from top to bottom—something I’ve decided must come first before all other things. As I cleaned out from under my bed, I found the large Rubbermaid container I’ve used as a keepsake box over the years. I opened the lid for the first time in a long while and rummaged through, finding some old vision boards and journals. On the pages I found goals from four years ago and made a grim discovery: my goals then were no different than the ones I’m still chasing after today.
I haven’t written the book.
I haven’t lost the extra ten pounds (well, I have here and there, but seem to gain it back).
I haven’t gone all organic or sugar-free.
I still have debt.
It’s not to say I’ve made no forward progress--I’ve gone after those things and, for periods of time, been successful. I’ve started a blog and gained some readers, I’ve cut back on sweets at times, and I’ve made a good dent in my debt…but it hasn’t been ONE year folks, it’s been FOUR.
1,460 days wasn’t enough time to achieve my dreams?
I can try defending my inching, rather than sprinting, forward with the fact that I’m a full-time working mother of a young child, but at what point does that fact become an excuse? And, if it’s indeed a valid excuse, it raises the question:
is it a worthwhile endeavor then to dream at all?
The optimist in me says “of course—keep the hope!” but there’s another voice that says “if it hasn’t happened by now…will it ever?” I considered this question head-on as I tucked the vision boards and goal lists safely away. I decided it was time to face whether these goals were really coming to fruition—if my progress was indeed moving forward or just circular.
I checked my blog stats and the scale for the first time in months, numbers I normally try not to look at but I also know represent reality. Despite my efforts to clean up my diet lately, the number on the scale was exactly the same as where I was last year. And, as could be expected, my blog numbers were down from my procrastination around writing. Ahhh yes…confirmation, not in emotions or belief but in actual numbers, that I was indeed failing to meet goals I'd set long ago.
I didn’t do what you might expect--internalize that sense of failure and go eat a bunch of garbage or run up my credit card or sabotage myself by going after the things I’d been actively fighting against. But I did, on some level, check out. For the first time, I didn't see the point in trying to make forward progress if I would only eventually backslide. I decided this year I wouldn't sabotage or strive...just be, well, goalless.
For three days I continued to pour myself into the cleaning of every inch of my house, a pile of items to purge getting bigger by the front door. I wasn’t necessarily feeling depressed or hopeless, but a bit weary, like my heart was hardened a bit.
I needed something to listen to as I continued to sort through and scrub my house and stumbled upon a YouTube video of a speech given by the author Cheryl Strayed. She talked about how she had once sat down to write the “great American novel” but found every excuse not to do so—and that when she was finally given the perfect setting and opportunity to actually DO what she’d always dreamed she would, she ended up binge watching reality shows instead.
After much procrastination, she finally had to face the idea that she was failing at achieving her dream. She had to reckon with her own mediocrity and consider the idea that maybe her dreams weren’t a worthwhile pursuit after all.
What she realized after giving it some thought was that her dream of writing was TRUE and REAL—it was just that the goal of writing the “great American novel” had been too big and felt too heavy. So, rather than completely give up or swing in the other direction and try to achieve GREATness, she decided to do something in between: to surrender to her mediocrity and simply make good on her intentions.
She said, “when you surrender to your own mediocrity, what you’re doing is humbly acknowledging that the very best thing you have to give us is only what YOU have to offer.”
I wouldn’t go so far as to say her words changed my life, but, again, things don’t have to be so darn BIG. What her words did do was get me to open my laptop.
And, look, here I am writing again.
Friends, I don’t have the circumstances in place to try and write a book right now and I don’t know how to turn 1,000 followers into the 100,000 that book agents are looking for, but what I can do is share some words that speak to my heart when I’m willing to let it crack open a little. That’s all I have to offer right now.
I don’t have the budget this year to completely pay off my student loans AND mortgage AND credit cards, but I can make my payments just a little bigger than the minimum and pay them on time every. single. month. That is what I can afford to do right now.
I can’t speak for how I’ll navigate my tricky relationship with sugar next month or next week or even tomorrow, but I can make choices that feel good for my body today, one breath and bite at a time. And I can move in some way each day, not for a number on the scale, but for my health and because I just feel better when I do. All I can commit to is the next right choice for my body, on this day.
I guess it’s no longer true that I don’t have goals for 2019 because I do have one: this year, I won’t try and make myself or my life over. I won’t commit to things that feel too big or too heavy. Instead, my goal this year is to surrender to my own mediocrity...
to give only what I have to offer...
to make good on my intentions.
That I can do.
And, to answer my previous question, yes…I do believe dreaming is a worthwhile endeavor—it keeps us growing and retains our sense of hope. But the scope and scale of those dreams is going to change year to year depending on our circumstances. If your career, love life, and financial circumstances are thriving, you might be in a position to pursue big, shiny, sparkly kinds of goals, and that’s terrific. That's the juice we get during the up times of life that serves as fuel to keep going during the down times, with hope that they'll come around again.
But I also know this: that if everything was stripped from you this year and you could give a hoot about big, sparkly dreams and you’re just trying to SURVIVE with the few things you’ve got left—the types of things that can’t be taken from you when all else is
like your will,
and your tenacious love for those weathering the storm alongside you...
real, gritty, salt of the earth kinds of dreams rather than sparkly ones...
well, here’s the good news I’d like to whisper into your heart, reminding you of what you already know:
in this year ahead, you'll be okay...because these are the only things you ever really need anyway.
"You're so sensitive."
Three little words I've heard over and over again throughout my life. In Kindergarten I cried every time the teacher reprimanded the class because I thought she was surely talking directly to me. Kids in school said I didn't know how to take a joke. Boyfriends accused me of being overly sensitive when we fought. Believe me, I've been told on way more than one occasion that I need to lighten up or toughen up.
Do something to stop being "too much"--too sensitive, too anxious, too nice.
I spent thirty-some years being ashamed of my sensitive nature, trying to put on a front that things didn't really bother me when they did, acting as if I had a thick skin when I didn't, pretending jokes rolled off my back when they stuck to me like glue.
Then, as I approached my mid-thirties, I had a child. And my sensitive self was so overwhelmed with it all--the love, the stress, the complete upside down flip of my life that it wasn't even possible to pretend I wasn't feeling all that I was. I called it postpartum anxiety just to give it a name, but really I wasn't quite sure how to name what I was feeling--I just felt oversaturated with and overwhelmed by the love. I wondered, is it possible to love something so much that it doesn't feel, well...good?
Then one day, when he was a couple months old, I brought him in to introduce him to my coworkers and one of them said something I'll never forget--she put words to exactly what I'd been feeling. She said, "doesn't having a child feel like you're walking around with your heart outside your body?"
OMG. Yes! That's exactly what it feels like.
And then, three years later, I began to fall in love like that all over again, except this time it couldn't last. And that heartbreak felt equally overwhelming, but different. This time I was able to put words to how I was feeling: if having a baby felt like walking around with my heart outside my body, losing one felt like walking around completely inside out, every nerve raw and exposed.
People's well-intentioned but poorly delivered words didn't just fail to "roll off", they felt like knives cutting an already open wound. Edgy and irritable became my default on a good day but most days my patience felt so paper thin, you could say the wrong thing and break it clean in half. Grief took up residence as an ever-present lump in my throat, a dam holding back a flood of tears just waiting for the slightest trigger to release it.
There's no use trying to put on fronts or a thick skin living inside out--I didn't care to and, even if I did, they wouldn't have stuck. So I had no choice but to start owning living inside out. And that's where I am now, as I close out my 30's.
Those of us living life inside out--we may be overly sensitive, we may overreact, but with that comes great passion for the things we do and people we love.
We may take things harder, but at least we're not hardened.
We're far from carefree but we're not care-free...our empathy is something the world desperately needs.
We're sometimes perceived as the Black Sheep or the Oddballs, but we're really just, as Glennon Doyle says, "not a mess, but a deeply feeling person living in a messy world."
Living life inside out means I might not be the social butterfly at the party but I can write a piece like this. It means I have boxes of journals because I've always written stuff like this.
But owning living inside out means that now you're reading it.
Because living life inside out is no longer something I'm ashamed of--it simply means I'm no longer pretending not to feel deeply when the reality is that I do. It means I'm finally making my outsides match my insides.
I may be "too much" of something, maybe everything...but you can never be too REAL.
She was my 4th grade teacher and one of my all-time favorites--a bubbly, brunette, thirty-something woman with dimples that made learning fun and always wore the cutest high heels that perfectly matched her dress. She handed out Star Student certificates every Friday, signed in perfect cursive, to students who showed good behavior and boy, did I aim to please. That was my main goal at 9 years old really--to gain friends and the teacher's favor by laying low and being good at all costs. I was conscientious, polite, and on-task ALWAYS—a model student.
Until one day, when I made an uncharacteristically bad choice: when I thought no one was looking, I took a Sharpie to the head cheerleader’s jacket.
A little while later Mrs. S. called me out into the hallway. My stomach was fluttery and I felt a lump forming in my throat--she knew. When we were outside, just the two of us, she said “Krissy, I couldn't believe it when another student told me, but is it true that you were the one who damaged Ashley's jacket?” I silently shook my head yes as tears of shame filled my eyes. My teacher knelt down and her voice lowered. “I guess you’ve probably been frustrated with her for some time now, huh? Calling you names and joking to the other girls as you pass by?”
She knew?! I couldn’t believe it; I had no idea anyone knew. I thought I'd been successful in going unnoticed. I nodded as the tears started rolling down my face.
“Krissy, what you did today was very wrong and you will need to apologize—you should’ve used your words with Ashley. But next time, don’t wait until you’re this frustrated to speak up for yourself. Because what you did today, that’s not who you want to be.”
She was right. That was the thing about Mrs. S.—while I tried my best to be hidden, to blend in at all costs, she tried her best to allow me to be seen for who I really was.
One morning a few weeks later Mrs. S. came in smiling, saying she had some exciting news to share: she was expecting a baby in the summer and we would be having a substitute when the time came closer. I was so happy for her. But no more than a few weeks later, I walked into class to find the principal at the front of the room, saying she had something important to tell us.
“Unfortunately, Mrs. Shaw has learned she is no longer expecting a baby. A substitute will be filling in for her for a while until she can return.”
Not quite understanding how it all worked, one of the students raised her hand and asked what we were all thinking: “why will we have a substitute just because she’s not having a baby anymore?” The principal paused and then answered,
“well...because she’s just too sad to be here”.
Her words were like a brick in my stomach. Too sad to be here? I had heard of people too sick to go to school….but too sad? I wasn’t sure I’d ever seen anyone that sad before in my whole life. My heart ached picturing our bubbly, smiling teacher so distraught.
Later that day a group of us plotted in a small huddle on the playground to problem-solve Mrs. S's sadness. One girl said she knew where she lived and suggested that maybe we could all visit her at home and bring her things to make her happy, like chocolate or coffee. Another insisted that we go to her and remind her that school is where she is happy and refuse to leave until she comes back with us—a kidnapping essentially. We brainstormed all the ways we could think of to fix her sadness and bring her back to us.
Eventually the day came when I walked in to class and found Mrs. S. behind the teacher’s desk once again. Finally, she’s back! I thought. But I quickly noticed something was different. Rather than jumping up to greet each of us as we came in, she nodded half-smile hellos from behind her desk and then looked back down at her work. Her bright high-heels were replaced with black flats and her eyes seemed to always look tired. When I would ask her a question she would sometimes snap at me for reasons I couldn’t figure out. Our teacher was back, but she was different somehow. I wondered if maybe we should’ve gone to her house to cheer her up after all.
Almost 30 years later I found myself standing in the same shoes Mrs. S. had stood in all those years before, unlocking my own classroom door after being out for a week, wondering how I’d face the students who’d learned I was no longer expecting.
I thought about Mrs. S. and how badly I'd wanted to fix her sadness,
how desperately I’d wanted her to just be her old self again,
how I was too young to understand that the change in her had nothing to do with us.
I remembered how I’d analyzed her demeanor, her clothes, her tone of voice in an effort to see just how worried we should be about her. I’d better put on a smile, I thought.
But then I remembered something else Mrs. S. had taught me all those years ago during our talk out in the hallway: how I don’t have to be “good” or “perfect” all the time, just honest about how I feel…before it all builds up and comes out in ways that aren’t me; ways I don’t want to be. And I wanted my girls to hear that from me, too.
My usually talkative class was somber and silent as they arrived that morning and slowly walked to their seats and settled in. I could feel them studying my face just as I had studied Mrs. Shaw’s, trying to measure my sadness.
I asked them to come gather with me down on the rug and said “I know you all have heard that my family’s received some sad news.” I felt the lump rise in my throat and took a breath. “The truth is, I AM sad. I might be sad about this for a little while or a long while, I don’t know. But I also want you to know my sadness has nothing to do with you. In fact, being here with you all, and teaching….this is where I want to be because teaching you all makes me happy. So, even though I may feel sad, I’m choosing to be here.”
Their bodies relaxed and their faces softened. A few of them mumbled that they were glad to have me back, too.
Twenty or thirty years from now it would be fun to be remembered as the lively teacher with the cute shoes and snazzy certificates in perfect cursive--the way I remembered Mrs. S. for all those years.
But the reality is that every one of the girls sitting in my classroom will one day face their own great sadness, whatever it is, and I hope in those moments they remember me less for my shoes and more for those “hallway conversations”. Because, in my own moment of sorrow, that's when I remembered the things Mrs. S. taught me that really mattered.
How she pushed for me to be seen when all I wanted to do was hide in the background.
The way she encouraged me to be real about how I was feeling rather than stuff it down.
And her guidance to take the high road rather than lowering myself when I feel beaten down.
I think of Mrs. Shaw often and wonder if she ever started wearing her cute shoes again...if she ever went back to that old bubbly self I once loved. I hope at least a part of that spark came back, not just for her students but for herself. Because, while it's good in the sad times to let ourselves fully feel what we feel, it's also important to eventually let yourself allow the joy in again—to put your smile and your cute shoes back on, to get your zest for life back.
I can remember in my own shock of grief thinking “I’ll never smile or laugh again” simply out of respect for the love I’d lost. But I eventually learned that allowing in happiness doesn't take away from the gravity of the loss or dishonor the one you're grieving for in any way. You don’t leave them behind when you move forward, you carry them with you.
That’s what’s so amazing about the strength of a woman—she can carry her smile, her obligations, her losses, all of it along with her everyday, everywhere she goes.
Even in cute high heels.
Addiction, in one form or another, has played a role throughout my life. Not because I've struggled with it so much myself, but because many of the people around me over the years have and, in turn, it's affected my life in a multitude of ways. Alcohol, drugs, food, spending...these addictions have all impacted my life in some way, whether it be through relationships with friends, family members, or romantic partners.
I've done enough self-reflection and Al-Anon meetings to understand that, in most cases, it was my codependent nature--my tendency to feel empathy for others, to want to help them--that attracted these people into my life. Just as an addict is never "cured" but forever in recovery, a person like me, whose tendency is codependency, has to take it one day at a time and be very conscious of how we interact with the people who continually impact our lives with their demons.
I might've bowed out of actively participating in the addiction game awhile ago but, as those of you who've been in my shoes know, you can leave the game (no longer enable, keep your distance, love from afar) but sometimes still never fully get out. For instance, a mother may no longer enable her addicted child, but she's never able to fully step away from that relationship. Instead, you carry on with life as best you can and witness the heartbreaking game go on from the sidelines.
Here's the interesting thing about being the one watching from the sidelines though--
there's a lot of talk about the pain the addict feels
there's a lot of talk about the enmeshment the co-dependent feels
but there's not a lot of talk about how the loved ones living life from a distance on the sidelines feel.
So I write this today for you, because I know it's not an easy place to live. Life lived on the sidelines of addiction puts you in a precarious situation: you keep your distance enough to protect yourself, yet you never feel totally free as long as someone you care about is struggling. Life as a recovering codependent means always staying aware of not getting sucked back into the game. It’s a daily commitment to somehow learn how to love from afar without detaching completely. We live life somewhere in an undefined middle.
For the addict willing to admit they’re powerless, willing to get help—let me say I have immense respect and compassion for you. But as I live longer and grow wiser, watching the game from the sidelines for years—in some cases even decades—my patience and sympathy for the addict living in denial lessens. I can understand on an intellectual level the real reason why they won’t take the first step: fear. But my heart feels less compassionate—it feels like it’s coated with a build-up of frustration and weariness, hardened for reasons I can’t even name.
Maybe it’s for the massive amount of time and energy over the years spent in vain...
maybe it’s from watching wake-up call after wake-up call go ignored...
maybe it’s for the terribly insulting game they play where they look person after person in the eye time and again and exclaim “problem?! What problem?” as if we can’t see what’s going on in our own lives with 20/20 vision. As if we can’t trust our own wisdom.
Maybe it’s for all those years that it was us, not them, doing the work--attending the meetings, going to counseling, reading the books--while they continued to sit smugly on their throne of denial, looking down, watching the destruction around them. Watching those they love in pain, pleading with them to get help, scrambling to clean up the messes they’ve made...all the while attempting to convince those around them that things are not what they seem--all so they can remain in the comfort of their denial, their hiding place from pain.
I know it's got to be hard as hell to make the decision to give up that seat, but it's also hard as hell on everyone around them living in the wake of their destruction.
The nice thing about moving from the field to the sidelines is that you begin to find your inner strength, your truth, your voice. And I’m sure the truth I’m sharing here isn’t going to sit well with everyone reading, especially those who, deep down, recognize themselves in the addict-in-denial I’m describing. If that’s the case for you, I’d tell you that my intention in writing this is not to insult you, it’s to give a voice to those on the sidelines. But if I did indeed insult you, the question is—at the risk of sounding harsh—should I care? Where has the regard ever been for how we feel, for how your addiction has affected our lives? This isn’t about shaming you, it’s about shining light on the unfiltered truth of how we feel—those of us who have been impacted by your choices. Because, if we’re not honest about those feelings, that doesn’t mean they’re not there, they’re just hidden in the dark. And, as we know, addiction thrives in the dark.
It needs light—truth—in order to be exposed and healed.
It takes a tremendous amount of bravery to admit you have a problem, but it also takes bravery to make the decision to move from the field to the sidelines and do the work involved to stay there—to witness our loved ones slowly self-destruct, yet not have the luxury of a hiding place to run to from the pain of it all. The addict in denial gets something we on the sidelines don't: they get to numb the pain of life while the loved ones around them are left to feel the effects of their destruction unanesthetized. When life gets stressful for us--when the bills pile up, when a loved one dies, when s**t gets REAL--we do the most grueling work of all: dealing with it, feeling it. Not tapping out. That takes courage.
And yet, with all this being said—all these complicated emotions felt—we remain on the sidelines. We remain there because we're not done with YOU, we're just done with your disease. Yes, we may be resentful or bitter, but we’re also strong and faithful. We may no longer be willing to participate in your game, and we may carry on with our lives, but we are forever on the sidelines, checking over now and then to see if you’ll meet us halfway. Praying we’ll get the call that the game is over because you’ve called time on it, not because you’ve been defeated.
I was just reading yet another article painting Millenials in a negative light (seems to be the thing right now) and I wondered to myself "what generation am I considered a member of anyway?" At 38, I seem a little too old to be a Millenial, but a little too young to be a member of Generation X. I looked it up and, sure enough, my birth year of 1980 lands right on the cusp. As one site puts it, 38 years of age is the "oldest possible Millenial", like I'm some kind of rare relic still roaming the Earth, yet also young enough to be considered at least snowflake-light. In other words, the best of both worlds.
Regardless of the title (and I'm sure like those that came before), I love my generation. We got to grow up in a more innocent, simpler time when parents held the reigns but not too tight. We had access to the emerging technology of the early 80's but not enough to become obsessed with it. When I look back, it feels like a time when there was a nice balance between too much and not enough.
When I think about a time of not enough, I think of a generation of years past when there wasn't enough in a very literal sense, but, also in terms of affection in parenting--this belief that withholding love and affection from children somehow "toughened them up" to face a tough world. But when I think of my son's and my students' generation, it sometimes feels like too much. Too much stimulation. Too many options. Too much hovering over. Too much anxiety. Kids today (ugh listen to me..."kids today") have a cornucopia of choices at every turn and I'm not sure that's always a positive thing.
Want to watch TV? Here are 5,000 channels to choose from.
Want something fun to do after school? Here’s a different extracurricular to do each day of the week. Why choose one? Take them all on!
Options are great, but with too many options comes a degree of anxiety. You've probably experienced option anxiety if you've ever tried choosing one thing from the Cheesecake Factory novel (ahem...menu). Or if you've ever tried to find a movie to watch but you spend the two hours you have available flipping through choices, trying to make a decision...then second-guessing your choice until you fall asleep from the exhaustion of it all (I suppose that's the "chill" part of the "Netflix & Chill" experience).
So why aren't a multitude of options always a good thing? Because there's comfort in a little bit of restriction, some boundaries. Some degree of limitation feels safe and wards off the dreaded FOMO. And guys...we're ADULTS. It's no wonder so many children today feel anxious.
Growing up in a small town in West Virginia, we didn’t have tons of options for things to do around town, but I didn't know any different and I'm not sure any different would've been any better. My best memories were the simple, little things like playing school, walking with my sister to the convenience store a block away to buy Slush Puppies and Fireballs, or playing Spotlight and catching fireflies on summer evenings. These might seem boring or mundane to kids today, but there was a little magic in the mundane then.
I think because none of those things involved instant gratification or a ton of other options, so I wasn't distracted thinking about my next, possibly better, alternative.
Besides the instant gratification factor is the multitude of commitments & activities kids take on and the result that comes from dipping a toe into many pools rather than diving deep into one. The one extracurricular activity I had regularly, my dance lessons, were a commitment and everything that came with it—the costumes, the ballet slippers—they were like GOLD...they meant something. Most likely because I saw my mom take the cash from babysitting and selling Avon and put it in a little envelope that was then handed to my dance teacher. I wonder what message I'm sending about the connection between hard work and money and "things" when all my son sees is me swiping a card.
I know many kids today, including my own, still do the simpler things and appreciate them, but I can see how even small doses of option overwhelm and cyber stimulation show themselves in subtle ways. I notice it in the expectation to have a response or request fulfilled instantly, the shortening attention span, the general pace of talking, moving, and just b e i n g. And it's not just showing up in the kids, it's in the adults they are watching, too.
I see it in my son and I see it in myself.
When I was growing up, long before the days of Google, if I wanted answers my mom would have me seek out the solution myself. When I came to her asking if the "Legend of the Shooting Star" was true because I wanted a free bag of candy, she had me write a letter to Tootsie Roll Industries. When I told her how Paula Abdul's album was changing my ten year-old life, she said "ooh...you should tell her!" When I couldn't wait for the next Baby-Sitters Club book to drop and kept asking her when it was coming out, she said "I don't know, ask the author!" Tootsie Roll wrote me back, Paula Abdul did not, and Ann M. Martin sent me both the release date AND a BSC t-shirt (omg!)
When my mother had me write the letters myself to get the answers or write to these people I admired, the unspoken messages were powerful, whether she realized it or not:
You are capable.
You are important and your voice matters.
When someone's art touches you, tell them, even if they seem untouchable or larger than life.
Don't get me wrong, I think there are things that are really great about growing up in today's world and, believe me, when I was a kid I would've wished for everything my son and my students have today: the phones, the laptops, access to any activity or shiny, sparkly thing under the sun. Every year for Christmas and my birthday, I'd beg for a Nintendo and, every year, my parents would say "no". I'm sure it would've been easier to give in to my relentless nagging but I'm so glad they stood their ground. Because, if they'd given in, I wonder...
~if I'd had video games to turn to when I was bored (or, in today's terms, a phone), would I have explored my curiosity? It was out of boredom that I’d grab a piece of chalk, line up my stuffed animal students, and use the back of my bedroom door as a chalkboard. That was my clue that I wanted to be a teacher. It was out of boredom that I created stories...that's how I knew I loved to make sense of the world by writing about it.
~if I'd had Google to get my answers from, would I have learned the virtues that came from finding them out for myself? If I could've simply looked up the release date of the Baby Sitters Club book instead of writing to the author, would I have learned patience and delayed gratification by waiting for a response each day? Would that T-shirt have meant so much coming from a store as it did coming from her?
~if I’d had a multitude of extracurriculars to choose from, would I have poured my heart & soul into that one thing, dance? Would I have learned about commitment and the concept of working for the "extras" in life?
Maybe it wasn’t so much a generational thing but a parenting thing. Thank God I had parents whose goal wasn’t just to keep me busy, but to keep me curious. Who valued using imagination over "things" and helped me find the magic in the mundane. Who weren’t afraid of letting me be bored every once in a while.
Because it's in
that we are able to hear the clues our soul whispers about who we want to be.
I wonder, will our children be able to hear their whispers in all the noise? In all the distraction?
I believe they will. Because we did.
The generation before us worried that we wouldn't hear the whispers over the computers and Nintendos, but we still did. The generation before them worried they wouldn't hear the whispers over the new loud rock music and new television sets, but they did. The shiny, loud, distracting things have changed, but what doesn't change are those three things that always remain: faith, hope, and love.
Every generation's love for the way they grew up.
Every generation's faith that there IS a whisper, a call, meant only for them.
And every generation's hope that the one that comes next will find a way to drown out the noise enough to hear that call.