I’m a pretty open person and I’ve certainly shared a lot about my life here on the blog and elsewhere on Twitter but I’ve put off this idea I’ve had for a while because it scares me. What idea you ask? Well, it’s nothing huge but, as I read, I often want to have conversations with people because books make me think, they bring up things from my past that I want to reflect upon and they really just connect us. Some of my best conversations have happened privately because of books and talking about our shared experiences. Sometimes I’ve thrown in a few sentences in a review but I feel like I don’t want to make my review becomes this huge paragraph of my personal life. But I SO want to give myself the opportunity to share a bit of myself with you (things from my past, random musings, things I’m facing now) when these things come up in books and maybe perhaps learn a little bit about you if you’ll allow? So that’s just what my Beyond the Pages segment is going to be — random things from books that I connected with and want to share. Nothing fancypants. Let’s get right into it. I’ll admit I’m scared though to talk about some of these things that I know I’m going to talk about which could range from my greatest fears, how I was in college, losing my mom or maybe we’ll swap dating stories and the craziest thing I ever did.
So I read Golden by Jessi Kirby recently. My review will go up on Monday but SPOILER ALERT: I adored it and it made me journal for the first time in a while. I’m not going to give anything away but I really connected to the main character Parker in some ways. One of the biggest ways was how she struggled to step outside her comfort zone and kind of played life by the rules — and not always the ones that she set for herself. She let a lot of people and things dictate what she did and didn’t really let herself step out of that and discover who SHE really is. She didn’t let herself always be in the moment but rather just focused on the logistics of the GETTING THERE in regards to the future rather than really living.
In Golden, a teacher poses the question on the board, a quote from Mary Oliver, that reads:
(Image from this Etsy shop where my sister bought me this printable — she has really lovely stuff but I don’t see this one up anymore)
I’ve always loved this line and it fit this story perfectly. It’s a sentiment I think about often when I’m just going about my day or when I hear someone say YOLO (haha as tacky as that phrase seems). It’s been hard for me to think about this concept though lately. I feel like I’m in a weird phase in my life where I just don’t quite know where I am. A little lost even. I lost my job a week before my wedding. I got married. I moved out of my house. I still haven’t found a job. I’ve felt like I lost my identity a little bit. Not because my career was ever my identity, because even at my last job I felt a sense of discontent, but because I’m just in this place where I’m asking myself, “What’s next?” “Who am I?” “What do I represent and want to live for?“What are my passions?” “At the end of the day will I feel satisfied by how I’ve lived?”
And I hate that I feel like I have absolutely no concrete answer for myself. WHO AM I? It should be easy, right?
It feels incredibly hard for me to answer that. I put up a good front these days but a lot of times I cry when I sit home by myself. I’m discouraged. I’m feeling like my one wild and precious life is spent sitting behind the computer looking for jobs or doing nothing because we literally cannot afford it. Sometimes at the end of the day I will try to think about what I did all day and it mostly consists of the computer and I feel like if this was my last day on earth I would be really, really sad with how I lived it. And I hate feeling like that because I know I can’t get that time back when I feel unsatisfied with what I did. Like what did I actually do with my life today? Some days I have absolutely nothing of significance that I contributed to life. I know every day isn’t going to be a party but I feel like I need something meaningful even if it is just a wonderful conversation or a hike with my husband.
I have a sort of secret project I’m working on this year that is helping me to combat these negative feelings in a time where I’m just lost. I’m trying really hard to be proactive to help myself really LIVE this wild and precious life I have right now even if it’s hard — instead of cowering in a corner and crying in my beer about it.
I’m sick of living passively and watching other people live the life I want.
I’m sick of not doing things because I’m scared.
I’m sick of letting other people hold me back from things I want to do or trying to please everybody.
I’m sick of not living more fully and intentionally.
I’m sick of saying NO when I really should say yes.
I’m sicking of saying YES when I really want to say no.
I’m sick of being too caught up in the HOW’S and WHY’s and the particulars of the the future instead of just living in the moment and enjoying it.
And I have to say, since I started my secret project January 2013, I’ve felt a little better. Even if it’s baby steps.
I’ve broken away from some toxic friends who have made me feel terrible about myself for years. It was hard. But I feel peace now.
I’ve said yes to things that scare me.
I’ve taken chances even if they were only tiny ones.
I’ve done things I THOUGHT about doing for years and actually did them even if they could have been a failure or not worked out how I wanted (hey there book club!)
I’ve FREED myself of things I was afraid to let go of.
I’m trying, as I think we always are, to answer that question that Mary Oliver poses. Every day I’m trying to be more intentionally with how I handle the 24 hours I have of this one wild and precious life I’ve been given. I can get caught up in the future and feel anxious about the big picture or I could take a deep breath and focus on the few minutes of drinking tea on the porch, the afternoon of watching Genevieve grow up in little ways or the nights that Will and I decide to be spontaneous and drive all over just to find our favorite treat. I can focus on them and not give into the crushing weight of all those questions I can’t even begin to answer.
And just maybe while I’m doing all those things I’ll start to be able to settle down and start to see those answers more clearly in some ways. I’ll be able to look, with more clarity, at who I am, what I want and where I want my life to go. I’ll never have the answers to everything but I feel like some of them will come together naturally by LIVING that wild and precious life instead of trying to dissect it. I watched my mom struggle to live for those incredibly painful years with brain cancer and I don’t want to waste a single moment because you just never know when it all can be taken away. I want those moments with people who matter. I want to BE in this life and not just watch it happen like I so often do.
Some of the things I want to do with my one wild and precious life:
– Travel more. I want to explore and experience life and cultures and new things.
– Grow old with Will. (but we all know 30 years from now my baby face will still look the same).
– Find I job I love.
– Devote more time to causes I care about — especially literacy.
– Read great books.
– Have great conversations with people who inspire me, encourage me, make me laugh and challenge me.
– Eat more dessert and care less about my waistline.
– Embark on more road trips and make mixtapes accordingly.
– Do things that scare more more regularly.
– Write down stories so Genevieve, my unborn niece and my children, if I have them, know about my mom.
– Ring in the new year in a different country.
– Do karaoke more often even if it hurts people’s ears and embarrasses Will.
These are just a few of the things I want to do. That I will do. Intentionally.
So I have to know friends — what is it that YOU plan to do with your one wild and precious life? What do you dream of when you dream big? What has been holding you back? What would you do if you weren’t scared?