Skip to content

Posts tagged ‘real life’

A Little Wrong + A Lot Right = Pretty Darn Good

Life is good. I just have to say that.

I came home from work tonight, after another crazy week of school, absolutely exhausted. I wanted to go out dancing, or even just to a movie this week, but I was too tired. And I couldn’t forget about all the stuff I have to get done tomorrow and Sunday.

I ate dinner at home alone on my couch, thinking in the process about how lame it was, and how I, as a single, 20-something who loves people and activity and fun and new experiences, should be out HAVING them on a Friday night, rather than eating a cottage cheese-based psuedo-dinner on my couch and going to bed at 9:00.

I started to get really sad and grumpy and bummed out.

And then I picked up the book I just checked out from the library, The World As I See It, which is a collection of some of Albert Einstein’s writings, and before I had even opened it, pulled my head out of the tiny little hole of my own life and remembered the rest of the world.

And it made me remember how totally awesome my life is. How much I HAVE. Food and home, family, friends…so much freedom…to be and think and say and do anything my heart and mind and experiences move me to.

And I remembered that life is not about DOING a certain set of activities or checking off a list of accomplishments that are frequent among people in my particular current age bracket. Life is about BEING. Regardless of age, race, gender, occupation, socioeconomic status, or anything else.

It is about being the human being you know you can and should be. It is about living and experiencing and taking it all in one day at a time and relishing the good and beauty, and learning from the pain. And it is about loving. Not just other people, but also yourself (which can sometimes be the hardest part).

Shakespeare once said, “There is nothing good or bad but thinking makes it so.”

You can take that statement to mean a lot of different things, but one that makes a lot of sense to me is that our perception of things, how we interpret them and what meaning we attach to them, almost totally determines how we feel about them.

When I sit around thinking that my life is unsatisfactory or incomplete because I don’t have/do _______, ________, or ________ …it is! And it makes me grumpy.

When I remember that I am staying home on Friday night in my cozy, comfy apartment full of food and clothes and more, bought with the money from a good job, in order to get a good night’s sleep so that I can think and work and play and socialize and learn and live life to the fullest tomorrow, my life seems so great.

And it is.

Why is it that we human beings so often focus on the one or two little things that might possibly be wrong, when there are SO many things that are right?

I am tired of doing that. Need to flip my thinking around somehow, permanently. Do you think it’s possible?

Ordinary Days

It is just a fact of life that most days are ordinary for most people. That they happen regularly is exactly what makes them ordinary. And we need them, these ordinary days. Without them, there would be no EXTRAordinary days.

It was the last day of my first semester of teaching today. I thought it would feel a bit more significant than it did. I thought my students might break into song or at least heave a big, collective sigh of relief/accomplishment/satisfaction. They didn’t, of course. They were as exhausted as I am, just putting one foot in front of the other like all of us, not to mention trying to maintain a whole additional life and social status online…poor kids.

Maybe I should have done something to make it more special. Honestly, though, I didn’t have time to even think about it. I was up until midnight two nights in a row this week writing my finals (just in the nick of time).

With each passing day of teaching I am deciding more and more that I hate it and also that there is nothing else I would rather do. I’ve been looking through entry-level job postings in all sorts of fields. They sound glamorous at first. And the appeal of a regular 9 to 5 schedule is great. But when I picture what I’d actually be doing every day, I realize that what I get to do every day right now is…delightful.

I get to teach kids. I get to laugh with them. I get to be creative. I get to talk about life (a little bit). I get to [try to] bring a little joy and hope and help into their crazy little lives.

I’ve thought again about what I would go back to school for if I had the option, and I still just don’t know. I’d love to do music. Or dance. But the reality is that almost EVERYONE would love to do something artistic like that, and that almost NO ONE (even the extremely naturally gifted ones) can make a dependable living in those fields.

(Here’s what it would actually take to become a Radio City Rockette – one of my top five favorite pipe dreams).

And a part of me suspects that making those things I love – music and dance – the focus of my days and source of bread and butter would kill the joy I find in them. Maybe not. But I suspect…

I think I lack the attention-span/drive/focus it takes to be an expert at one thing anyway, especially an art form that requires serious discipline and dedication. I guess I am kind of a “Renaissance Woman.” Though, “Jack of all trades, master of none” is probably more like it. I like to dabble in things. All sorts of things. And then, once I’ve gained a fairly basic understanding of what is going on in that arena, and attained a very minimum level of skill, I loose interest.

Here is a list of some of the areas in which I have achieved mediocrity:

Piano

Guitar

Knitting/Sewing

Cooking/Baking

Skiing

Dance (ballet, modern, highland, salsa)

Biology

Chemistry

Education (though my alma mater, SPU, has declared me “highly qualified”)

Biblical history

Various sports (soccer, basketball, softball, track, hiking, biking, climbing)

Writing…

The list goes on. I always manage to do decently well at most things I try, but I never buckle down and do the hard work it takes to really go somewhere. I think it all stems from one of my greatest character flaws – indecisiveness. Although I will say that I see this indecisiveness as the flip side of two of my strengths – open-mindedness and optimism. For me, everything is a possibility to be considered and explored, and all hold the potential to be good, true, and valuable. It makes it really hard to pick, you know?

This post is already too long and I need to go to bed.

The point is – maybe ordinary is okay. Maybe ordinary is good. If you live extra-ordinary every day, it just becomes ordinary anyway. I’m sure touring and playing and singing feels to U2 a lot like teaching feels to me – some days magical, other days…ordinary…and tiring.

I think if I can just figure out how to do this teaching thing more efficiently (like, in about 2/3 of the time that I am spending now) I will LOVE it.

It might be a while though. Like, maybe years. And I might end up as the 50-something, single, crazy teacher-lady with the wild hair and a sweater vest for every season.

But that’s not SO bad, is it?