something unexpected happened recently. finally.
i stopped worrying so much about missing out – missing something experienced or a person known in this short life. expecting great meaning only in great action.
while making my way across germany – a place i have loved and missed – with people i love and miss through crowds of people i do not yet know and along quiet foggy lakes by morning and small mountains at midday, my heart settled a bit.
settled as in “let the dust settle” and the opposite of “stirring up muddy waters.” this is not a “settling” thing that tethers us to our hopeful best or worst.
it is a be-open-to-what-you-don’t-know thing. which is a lot.
there is a lot i do not know and i’ve scrambled most of my life to see, experience, learn, think, mitigate, be watchful, research and soak EVERYTHING in. i didn’t want to miss a moment of what might be in the next thing.
but one morning at the end of the latest european adventure, i looked across the courtyard from m and z’s beautiful tiny kitchen and saw a light on long before most were awake.
pardon me, sir, but i watched you.
you – shrouded in the silence between us and unaware of my wondering – sat and ate breakfast, looked out of the window and never once appeared to have the higgledy-piggledy restlessness that has marked my too many days. you seemed so peaceful in your second-floor Hamburg apartment.
you seemed at home in your everyday ordinary life.
in an era when everyone’s actions are posted for all to see and our heroes are papparazzi’d to the point of information fatigue, a quiet life is something rare.
for many years, i held close a thought spoken histories ago, “make your ambition to lead a quiet life and work with your hands. mind your own business so that your daily life will win the respect of outsiders…”
i both loved and hated this idea.
the introvert in me likes to move quietly though sometimes laughing loudly, singing as i run, and leading from the front is the best part of breathing.
but i always believed that i needed to be out front and felt cheated by my beginnings and how this thought followed me around like a hungry pup. wasn’t i supposed to be spectacular and a leader – a shepherd that sheep could understand? brilliant? all things to all people? employing every moment and every gift toward every possible good end?
so i read and researched and felt guilty for being me – quieter than expected and no longer hungry ambitious for what is easily recognized as ambition. ugh. double ugh.
fortunately, in a quiet cozy kitchen after being with people i love in a land that i love and missing a few of the great loves of my life, i spied this man. living his life. without any obvious angst. oblivious to my shoulds. lucky man.
i crawled back into bed and cried.
all the time i’d wasted in restlessness and hoping to be approved and to unleash my shock and awe. wasting time wishing for something that i do not want, the godawful fear of missing out and fear of being ordinary.
and then i slept and realized how beautiful my life truly is.
imperfect. a bit biffed in places. lonely at times. rich and full with so loved peeps and people and experiences, fireworks and colorado adventures; friends and wine on the porch, tromping through the cold river trails in this prairie town.
taking photos of the little things that catch my attention and how much joy the kayak rack has brought me as it hides some of the punked paint on my Vibe and means that i can carry at least two kayaks – one for me and one for you – at a time.
life is not perfect.
it does not need to be. i knew this, but still hoped i could find the secret path to
belonging happiness acceptance success meaningful everything.
instead, i found – after an adventure i had long given up having – that i was only missing out because i told myself i was. i was afraid i was less and doing less and being less. ruining my chance to bring kindness and leadership into the known and unknown universe.
this new freedom of movement is imperfect. i’m still stretching my achy breaky heart and resting within to see how the waters settle – an each day and moment-by-moment thing. still hoping for what seems a miracle could only deliver.
staying in today and right now like a bull in a china shop – with a bit of breakage and lumbering. and unexpected sh*t that might prove to be fertilizer.
and looking forward to the expansiveness of what is not known knowing that i’ll be in it whether i fret about it, read a zillion more books and journal articles or toss my hammock between two trees and enjoy the sun as the world swirls around me.
what do you think? are you afraid of missing out, of being less than? how can we encourage one another that we are truly enough. as is?
derring do friends.
In January, I’ll be relaunching this blog from a journey story to an invitation to the table adventure – something to invite hope, but not magic. I’m working it out and am excited about it. Gently excited. Thank you for joining me.