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12/01/2011

the answer that could never be found

I've spent a lot of time recently looking inward. Thinking about what I want. And by that I mean what I want from life and also what I want to be in when I "grow  up."

As a child, the options are endless. You can want to be a singer, a dancer, an astronaut, a doctor, a vet. Years go by, and eventually the childhood fantasies are meant to end. You find one thing you like, are good at, or can at least stand, and that's what you do - if you're lucky.

There's no college degree for the perfect job. And really there is no perfect job. So many of us spend years going from one job to another looking for fulfillment. It's something that plagues my generation (and me!) maybe more than the older generations. Not that people older than I don't deserve to be happy or to find that fulfillment from a job - they do - but they tend to stick it out better than I do.

This morning I thought about what I would do if time wasn't an issue - if money wasn't an issue. And if fear weren't an issue. I really thought about it. It's a question I've considered a lot, but usually my answers move to the focus of money and how I need more money to do the things I want. And my answers move to how the things I want could make me more money. Or to doing the thing I know I am good at.

I'm the sort of person who collects quotes. I have a whole board on pinterest dedicated to words that matter. There are plaques hung in my house with thoughtful quotes. I have blog posts dedicated to pretty words. I used to have a whole journal of just quotes. But those quotes have just been words for too long. They haven't been truth for me.

I've been vocal about the fact that I concentrate too much on the next phase of my life. I've said that I need to learn how to let go. And I've tried. But I haven't completely released the grasp I have on controlling my life and thus stifling my dreams.

I bought that plaque in California during Spring Break. I was in college and went to Los Angeles to visit my aunt. My dreams were endless then. I didn't have a mortgage or bills or anything to keep me from living my life to the absolute fullest.

I was a writing major in college. I started as a nursing major and then changed to an English major before settling on a degree in professional writing through the journalism college. Many of my hours were spent writing for class and for fun. Short stories, articles, fan fiction at one time, and eventually a novel for a class.

My college apartment was a two-bedroom apartment, and my bedroom walls were painted yellow. I loved sitting on my bed with my back against the wall and MacBook or Dell (depending on the year) in my lap. Hours were spent there with keys on the fingers. Sometimes I moved to the couch in our living room with purple walls and wrote with the television on.

That apartment was home to me. I felt safe and comfortable there. Creativity flowed. I don't know if it was the apartment so much or the freedom that came with college. While I worked three jobs and had a full load of classes, I had time to do whatever I wanted.

They say you make time for the things that are important to you. And I agree in a lot of ways. But how do you make time for all the things that are important? How do you master that balance?

I've been working on balance this week. Less time has been spent in the gym and more time has been spent focused on my diet. My brain has been wracked with blog posts and questions about how I want to spend my time. And I keep coming back to three things: writing, healthy living, and serving.

I miss the girl I was in the college. The one who could balance a social life along with those three jobs and full load of classes - the one who only got one C at OU. The one who had dreams of living in New York City and writing novels and doing all these things because of the love of the written word and the sound of clacking keys not because of any other reason.

I'm become more intune with that girl from college now than I have been in years. I'm letting go of all these expectations that I think I should have and moving away from the order I think my life should take. I'm bidding farewell to comparisons of my life with another person's life and saying hello to who I am and want to be.

Growing up, my dad read me a lot of Dr. Seuss. In fifth grade, he read Oh! The Places You Will Go to my class. I gave him the book with a personalized inscription one year for Christmas because I started to realize just what that book said and meant. I started to realize how badly my parents wished for me to go to all the places I dreamed of.

I've always been allowed to dream and to wander. But I've been the person to squash my dreams and say they aren't possible. I've taken all the wonderful things people have said and denied the truth to them. I've told myself that being an author isn't possible. That I'll never find success the way others have.

But the thing is? It's not about success. It's about doing what I love and loving what I do. That has everything to do with writing and everything to do with weight loss.

The question about how to spend my time is a complicated one. But the answer is oh so simple. Of course the simple answers are sometimes the hardest ones to come by.

I don't know what this realization means for this blog other than I am going to do my best to stop tracking page views, and I am going to just write. If it's too serious for some, then fine. If there isn't enough, fluff. Fine. And if it's not motivation enough, that's okay too. It's not about them; it's about me.

And as far as the rest of my writing, I am just going to do it. I am going to find time to curl up on our purple chair and write with my feet propped on the matching ottomon. With exercise, I am going to seek out inspiration when I need it and jump onto the elliptical or go to a class because I enjoy it not because I need or want to lose weight.

I'm going to start living my life the way I did in college: with no restrictions and with a determination to enjoy every possible minute.

There's a plaque on our living room wall that reads "I don't want to make money. I just want to be wonderful." It's by Marilyn Monroe.

That's what I want. To be wonderful. To live out my dreams. To enjoy every minute. And if the money follows? Even better. But I won't be chasing that money. I'll just be chasing the dreams, the worlds, the wonderful, and all the places I can go.

(title from "let love in" by the goo goo dolls)


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