In Pursuit of Life & Happiness

 

In a year and a half my oldest will be eligible for first grade. Just thinking about it makes me totally aware of the short amount time I have left at home with him. I know I don’t appreciate him enough yet when I realize I only have a year and a half left to train and influence and, yes, be his favorite person in the whole wide world besides his daddy, it makes me sad and grateful for the time I do have.

I’m going to get sappy and dive real deep fast you guys. Just a fair warning!

A week ago I received news that a friend down the road and across the highway has her days limited. She’s moving on to her final destination. Leaving a loving husband and three beautiful children to move through the chaos of life without a wife and mother. She’s near her end. Her time is almost up. She’s only in her 40’s.

I begin wondering about how much time I have left. Yes, I realize that I’m in my early 30’s which means I could possibly be halfway through my life right now. If I lived to be 70, I’m almost halfway there and that is very sobering people!!

How much time do we really have? We say we have the rest of our lives for _____  but really how long is the rest of our lives?

All our days go slipping  by and we’re so busy. Busy, busy doing this thing and that thing and squeezing the other thing in between. Half of it is good, necessary and simply what we do to stay alive. We’re just busy, busy, busy.

I was inspired by a podcast interview (listen here) with Erin Loechner that we can be busy people chasing happiness but happiness isn’t a final destination to arrive at. Who doesn’t want to feel happy or the ease of convenience or pursuing whatever pleasantries over the hard things?

Looking deep down I see my bottom line has been to make everybody else see things the way I do which will make them happy because ultimately it makes me happy.

But you know it’s not about my happiness or even yours. It never has been.

It’s not about the American dream that’s been taught to us by our parents, our teachers, our friends. Do what you love and go get it.

What if we’ve been chasing the wrong desire all this time? Chasing only what brings us momentary mood lifters? Life isn’t simply about the things and moments that make us happy and feel good.

When I’m solely chasing happiness I’m not allowing for the other half of the equation of life experiences or maybe greater equation. Life also graces us with unwanted challenges, difficult decisions, hard work, sadness and emptiness, mourning, uncomfortable situations, unmet longings and desires. You fill in the rest.

My friend here in town knows a lot about pain and suffering. All of which she can’t escape even with the pills.

Life is about the good times and the hard times. We get doses of both. They make pills for both. Can we take time for each other, take time for our own selves in hard times? Can we give each other and ourselves permission to walk with sadness and shoulder hard things?  What if we’re living life then? What if we’re pursuing the right things then. What if sadness = joy? Has it ever been about my happiness? Have we been misled all our lives?

Since I can’t write a post and not include personality talk here it goes. My enneagram type 7 (see link to read more) which is basically ‘do all things in the pursuit of my utmost happiness‘  has been my driver I’ve put tons of stock in. How to reverse the wheel now? How to hold the hard, deal and not push away or bulldoze in order to attain something more appealing and fun and shinny?

Friends, I want to realign my mind so I’m not habitually steering away from hard and unpleasant. Be present and embrace hard. Be stretched. Sit with hard and pray about it – no matter how uncomfortable it feels. I have friends and a mother I can call. I have a journal I can scribble in. I have a God I can pray to.

Gavin will be going to school in a year and a half which feels like tomorrow. As we are at home together in this countdown season I want to hold the time we have together instead of fantasize how wonderful school will be without his meltdowns and plans that go against mine. This is the time to embrace him in the challenges and not medicate with what makes me instantly happy.

Be present :: Embrace hard
T o d a y

 


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If you’d like to contact me personally with thoughts, suggestions or ideas, email me at thenwedancedblog@gmail.com

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