I have noticed in my adult life it is wise not to indulge my fantasies. They seldom become realities. In my most marvelous morning fantasy, I get up at the crack of dawn and squeeze oranges for fresh juice before gathering eggs from the hen house to cook into scrumptious omelets stuffed with chopped organic vegetables of every variety. I also serve berries at my table plucked from my own bushes and even have the option of oatmeal sweetened with honey from my husband’s beehives (one of his many helpful hobbies), and I offer all this deliciousness before my children head out the door to school. After all, breakfast is the most important meal of the day.
The reality is it takes effort just to wake up my schoolchildren (who like vampires recoil in agony from light, even artificial light), and I nearly drag them out of bed to hurry the process. The elementary school here starts at 7:30 a.m., so by the time they come downstairs and get their shoes on, they only have time to shovel in cereal and maybe a frozen waffle if they’re lucky before they are shuttled out the door. In my home, you will find one that is actually lived in, complete with school papers and objects on counter tops and sometimes laundry left in the dryer from the day before.
Sometimes in this age of camera filters and Photoshop and pressure to live up to the great posts on social media, I feel the need to pull back and just let life unfold as it may – to let it be and not get pulled into unrealistic expectations. Sometimes I want to just focus on little victories like my child saying “thank you” or offering me a hug or noticing one child comfort another when he or she is hurt. Sometimes I need to remind myself not to expect my life to be a glossy photo shoot in a magazine. Sometimes I need to step back from pretenses and just be real.
Wouldn’t it be nice if we could really open up and be for real when people ask us how we are doing? I always say I’m fine or good, and so even though I consider myself a very honest person, I actually am not always telling the whole truth. What if people actually opened up and said, “I’m so annoyed right now I could scream,” or “I have anxiety that gnaws at me,” or “I’m so sad I want to cry.” Would we become happier, healthier people in our culture if we could honestly answer this question in everyday life? Would we take the time to hear people out when they don’t give an expected reply? My husband lived in Sweden in the late 1990s, and he said when Swedes are asked how are you, they give a real answer – a little tired, a little hungry, kind of angry, and so forth. I like how they answer in a genuine way rather than the same automatic response each time.
I strive to be authentic and want this blog to serve as a place to share how I really feel about things that matter to me. I want to share important matters that may include politics as well as things that make me laugh. I really just want a space to write about my normal life. This may seem mundane to some, yet I have learned to find joy by fully living in ordinary moments. I especially enjoy those moments when they involve watching my three-year-old discover something, noticing my nine-year-old create something, hearing my twelve-year-old open up about something, and laughing about anything with my husband.
I recently read The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom by Don Miguel Ruiz, and two of my goals for this year came from that book:
- Don’t Take Anything Personally
- Don’t Make Assumptions
These are not easy goals, but I will do my best (which is the fourth agreement actually). I like having high ideals, but I also must allow myself and others to be real and be true to themselves. So here’s to a healthy balance in 2016.