“Maybe time running out is a gift. I’ll work hard til the end of my shift. And give you every second I can find…” – Jason Isbell – “If We Were Vampires”
How does this land for you? This reality that time is running out. That life won’t last forever, no matter how much we want to pretend it will – not for you or for those you love. When this reality smacks you in the face (a death, a diagnosis), for a minute you wake up and choose differently. But, then, if you’re like most of us, you go back to business as usual…
My hope is to help us each wake up just a little bit more. To choose the life we want to live. To prioritize the way we spend our precious time and energy. To decide who gets to be part of our days – not just by default because they are here, but because with this person around, life is better.
My hope is that you will begin to take some of those things off of your bucket list or out of your dream box and move toward them. In some small way. Even if you can’t do “the big thing” yet, how can you breathe a little life into that thing you desire, that trip you want to take, that place you want to see, that thing you want to (and know you are meant to) create?
This just doesn’t have to be hard, but it does require that you show up. Show up for your life, for your dreams, for your visions, your hopes, and be willing to hold onto them tenderly and lovingly as you plant seeds and take baby steps forward.
This is particularly important if and when your life includes a fair bit of darkness, chaos, and fearful uncertainty, as mine does. I've found that living within that reality has compelled me to savor life's sweetness and to embrace my life more fully maybe even more than I would if things were more steady. I know in any moment tragedy can strike (whether I'm enjoying my life or not) and that death will come, but for now, while I'm alive and able, I choose to live. I choose to enjoy.
Things that seem to happen spontaneously often aren’t spur of the moment at all, but rather a result of so many seeds being planted, steps taken, dreams held over the years and decades.
For instance, my dream of owning a horse took 25 years to come into reality. It was something I wanted for as long as I can remember, something I schemed about each year as I put “horse” boldly on my Christmas list and laid out the plans of how our backyard was definitely big enough and the second garage would provide the perfect stall.. no matter that we lived in a suburban neighborhood that maybe had ordinances against dreams like this. To me, that girl who was horse crazy, that didn’t matter – I just felt in my bones that I was meant to have a horse. My dad, unfortunately, didn’t seem to agree… and so, I rode when I could, I cleaned stalls in trade for a free lease, I made friends with an adult who could drive me to the barn and who’d ride with me. When I was older, I continued to conjure ways to ride and train in exchange for services I could provide. And, finally, when the horse who was meant to be mine came along, I played with my finances in a way that “worked” and talked with my fellow dream conspirator, my husband, who said, “Let’s go for it!”
You see, I had never let go of this dream, even though it very much felt out of reach for me. I kept it alive in my heart. I watered it with longing. I didn’t work really hard to make it come to be, but I was ready when the opportunity came around. And, if you read my other post about Sport, you know that this “dream horse” was NOT ideal in so many ways… a first time owner should probably not buy a slightly too small, definitely too hot and fiery beast that only one person on the farm (not me) could handle. The logic didn’t matter. My heart said, “Yes! Leap here! Do this thing. Now is the time!” Even though he was not an expensive horse in any way, he did cost more than these newlyweds had readily available. My heart that could see beyond the budget that had $16 left before groceries said, “Sure…pay for this dream to become true. Why not? We can and we will (and we did) figure out the details later.”
Why do I tell you all of this? Because I want you to tap into what’s alive for you right now! Because I want you to see that there are ways to get creative in fulfilling dreams that feel out of reach, unrealistic, that others may not understand, or that just seem plain unlikely to ever happen. What choices do you know you need to make for the well-being of your whole self? What do you want to stretch for that might feel out of reach? What trip have you put on hold? What class have you wanted to take? Maybe you’ve wanted to try a new way of eating but don’t know how… Whatever it is, whether it’s a “big thing” or not, how can you plant some seeds today toward it?
“It’s knowing that this can’t go on forever” (Jason Isbell, “If We Were Vampires”) that calls us to feel the urgency to live life while we can, while we’re healthy enough, while we’re young enough, while we’re here.
What baby step or mini choice will you take in the direction of a dream that scares you and excites you all at once? Please share below and let’s stop waiting for conditions to be “just right.” Because, you know what? They may never be… but today, you are here. You’re reading this, and there’s something that wants your attention, that wants you to believe in it enough to nurture it to life! And, I am cheering you on!
Oh, and this song that I’ve referenced twice now… here it is! Close your eyes, soak it in, listen deeply, and see if it speaks to you as it does to me. Let me know. And If you have another anthem that fuels and inspires you, share that here to so that we can all grow our playlists!!