Thursday, December 11, 2008

I'm a hobbit...I wander...I'm not lost...and I have short legs.

I have no idea where I am going. But I am not lost. I don't know what I want to do with my life. But it does not mean I don't have direction. I don't have a destination, but I enjoy where I am in the moment. I am happy.

I choose to be happy.

I am going to Germany in less that a month. For some reason I'm more scared to do this than I ever was to go to India. But I'm going. People keep asking me when they find out I'm scared, "Do you really have to go?" Of course I don't have to go. I don't have to do anything I don't want to. But I am going. I made a commitment, signed a contract. And Why the heck should I NOT do something simply because it frightens me?

"A life lived in Fear is a life half lived" -Strictly Ballroom-

I don't want to live a half lived life. I am not settling for mediocre. I want to live a life of excellence. And in the past few months I've learned what that entails. For one: Last night I was lying in bed, in anticipation of my last two finals I took this morning. I knew I would bomb them and it was in result of how uncommitted to my schooling I'd been this semester. I threw away my semester. I do this pretty much every semester. I will not commit to doing anymore schooling until I am willing to finish. I will not commit to do something I am not willing to see to the finish.
People keep asking why I'm going to Germany. Of course I tell them, I'm nannying, etc. But the truth is: I've always wanted to live in Germany. I just found a way. I look at my brother Russell, who I love and adore and love the life he has lead, studying in Italy, studying in New York, studying in California, being totally awesome. And I want those experiences, but I want them uniquely for me. I don't know what I want to do in a year when I get back from Germany, I have no clue. But that doesn't matter. I know where I'll be in a month. I know where I am now.

I recently read an old friend's blog and she had an entry about the things she's accomplished in the last 5 years. As I read her extraordinary and seemingly overachieving, but completely sincere resume of life experiences, I began to fill my heart sink. Maybe my life was completely mediocre. I could go on to explain how I comforted myself and the reasons I gave myself to make me feel better, but I came to this conclusion: who cares? You've always known you are completely the opposite kind of person she is, and all you need to worry about is fullfilling the things YOU want to do.
And I have
I've already knocked things off my 1o1 things to do before I die:
1-Volunteered in India
2-Seen a Broadway play in NYC
3-Seen the Taj Mahal
4-Sky Dive
5-Tandem biked on the beach
6-Eaten dinner on a beach
7-Gotten my own puppy
8-Performed in Ragtime
9-Played the Tambourine and sang in a band
10-Seen Sutton Foster Perform live
11-Learn Yoga
12-Ride a horse in a dress
13-Attend the Olympics

Sure I have a while to go, but I'm getting there, and it will be amazing how many I get knocked off living in Europe. I've learned that you just have to take one thing at a time, or two or three, and work until you knock them off your list.
I won't live my life in fear. I'm not going to stop myself from doing something because it seems looming or intimidating or scary. It's not fair to myself.

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover." -Mark Twain

Aye...there's the rub.

Monday, December 1, 2008

The most wonderful time of year

I love Christmas. I do. I love everything about it, the snow, the smells, the smiles, the trees, the lights, and of course being with my family. So it breaks my heart whenever someone tells me they don't like Christmas or they hate Christmas or Christmas is the worse time of year or something along those lines.

I found myself this year starting to get the attitude of, Oooooh it's Christmas again. And I started to think, how can I make this Christmas season personal for me.
Christmas is supposed to be a time of year where everyone is happy. And it's not about you being happy. It's about making the world happy. About connecting with the humans around you. I believe Charles Dickens said it perfectly in his novel, "A Christmas Carol."

"There are many things from which I might have derived good, by which I have not profited, I dare say," returned the nephew. "Christmas among the rest. But I am sure I have always thought of Christmas time, when it has come round -- apart from the veneration due to its sacred name and origin, if anything belonging to it can be apart from that -- as a good time: a kind, forgiving, charitable, pleasant time: the only time I know of, in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of people below them as if they really were fellow-passengers to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys. And therefore, uncle, though it has never put a scrap of gold or silver in my pocket, I believe that it has done me good, and will do me good; and I say, God bless it!"

I think that we also need to realize that this is one time of year we have a responsibility to make others happy. Not because we are asked to, not because we have an obligation, but because that's what you DO. To make this year better, I have decided for the next month I am going to focus on two things: gratitude and service.
I am going to focus more on the things I'm grateful for, the things that have been given to me in my life, the things i have and do that make my life as wonderful as it is. The other thing I'm going to focus on is service. On how I can make life happier, even if for a moment. Someone asked me how you find opportunities for service, and I realized, it doesn't have to be a big act that changes someone's life. It could be a smile, or opening a door, or participating in sunday school class, etc. Service is just about being aware of those around you and what you can do to make their day a little brighter. It's about being aware of someone other than yourself. :)
So it is the most wonderful time of the year, as long as we focus on what this season is really about, not about ME ME ME. Because if one stops worrying about one's self, then one will really be happy.
The other day, my friend asked me about my favorite tradition at Christmas. I said, after the nativity, after the kids go to sleep, my brothers and sisters and I stay up and help Santa. And watching how excited and happy everyone is to give to others and surprise....this night is the reason I love Christmas. Because no one is concerned about themselves, they understand Santa and why it's important to believe. He's more than just a jolly rotund man in a red suit. Santa is so much more. And watching my brothers and sisters and in-laws Christmas Eve is a reminder of what Christmas is really about.
"for he was wise enough to know that nothing ever happened on this globe, for good, at which some people did not have their fill of laughter in the outset....and it was always said of him, that he knew how to keep Christmas well, if any man alive possessed the knowledge. May that be truly said of us, and all of us!"
--So Merry Christmas everyone, I hope you find a way to love and enjoy Christmas and have the most happy season in the world.