Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Life in the Now

Sally Squires wrote an article for the Washington Post today about Jack LaLanne. In it, she quotes, "'The good old days,' LaLanne says. 'Poop. The good old days are now, now, now. What I think about is now. This is the moment I have waited for. This is it. These are the good old days.'"

I couldn't have said it better myself.

Ironic that my husband and I were having a conversation just last night, in a similar vein.

I will be heading back to my childhood home in about a month's time to visit. Mainly to visit with my grandma who, although very active and completely coherent at 94, is unable to make the 400 mile trek to my new home.

But I admitted to Todd that I do have other reasons for going. And specifically, for going essentially alone. (My son will be with me.) But I digress - I'll come back to these reasons in a future post.

The topic turned to how angry Todd is at my brother - for what he did to me. "It affects every part of your life now. It affects my life now." (I paraphrase.)

I replied that, yes, that is true, but the same could be said about every single person who has ever came into our lives. Every person has an affect on another - sometimes for the good, sometimes for the bad.

But we have a choice - we can choose to wallow and blame these people for the wrongs they committed against us, or we can acknowledge the wrongs and move on with our lives.

By choosing the latter, we choose to live in the moment. What happened, happened. We can't change that (unless someone has a pocket time machine that I don't know about...)

My grandpa used to gently chastise my grandma for saying "I coulda" or "I shoulda" or "I woulda." These thoughts lead nowhere. You didn't - and it's okay.

My favorite saying is that everything happens for a reason, though we may not know why. As long as we make our choices with the best information available for the best of everyone involved (self, included,) then we have no cause for regrets.

Life in the now, with the information and knowledge that the past provides, is good. Try it sometime.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Feeling proud

I've been offline for a few weeks now - living life, enjoying every moment.

This weekend, as I've been recovering from a nasty cold, I stumbled across episode fragments of Higher Ground, a one-season wonder of a show about a mountain school for troubled kids.

In episode 16, many of the main group of kids go on a "solo" - a solitary camp in the woods to get in touch with their inner children. Among their camping items, the counselors placed a list of questions, a journal, and an item from the past which each kid's parents sent.

The only question from the list which was revealed was: "what was the first thing you were proud of?"

Got me thinking.

The first thing that I felt proud of was finding a job and moving my family out of the state where we were all born.

Remarkable, really, considering all the other accomplishments in my life - being academically talented, receiving numerous awards in various subjects, being valedictorian, receiving a bachelor's degree - magna cum laude with a double major in 3.5 years, finishing a masters degree in one year, ... not to mention being a wife and mother.

But I never felt proud of these things. I never owned my accomplishments. I never believed I earned these things. I had always believed I was fortunate - in the right place at the right time. Or that I was simply naturally talented - god-given, if you will, but never really mine.

My therapist, John, challenged these beliefs of mine - often in the few short months I worked with him. He made me see that it wasn't blind luck or fate that got me where I am today. I got me here. Me. And all the choices that I've made.

Throughout my life, I had felt that I didn't have a choice. I had to do well in school. I had to score high and do well. That I couldn't kill myself or starve myself or hurt myself as much as I wanted to - because I had responsibilities. I was sucked into the beliefs that I was powerless in this life.

I was wrong.

No one is powerless. We all make choices - every day. In fact, it's a choice to own our lives, or to allow something or someone else to own it for us.

I've chosen to own my life. I acknowledge the choices I make and I make the ones that are right for me. I'm proud of all the choices I have made in my life, but I'm the most proud of the ones that I make now. Because all that I choose now, I choose with my eyes open and my heart and soul in charge. I own them.

What will you choose?