Doing What’s Necessary

I’ve been struggling with this notion of “living my dreams” and “pursuing what I love”. I mean, I dream of doing some pretty great things and I hope I get to live those dreams out, but I can’t just drop everything to pursue them. Maybe some people can, but I have responsibilities and people who depend on me…so right now, I need to do what is necessary.

This is what my necessary looks like, and I’m not super excited about it. I don’t jump out of bed, chomping at the bit to get to the necessities of my day. I am NOT, let me repeat that, N.O.T. a morning person. But, I haul my cookies out of bed at 5:30am, five days a week to go to work. (I have a pretty good job, but it’s a job, not a passion.) I also hate being a slave to routine, but, those five days a week look very much the same. I get up at the “butt crack of dawn” (my friend Dawn hates it when I say that.) get  ready, drive an hour, do my job all day, drive another hour and then I’m home, ready to start the process all over again the next day. Sometimes it seems very much like Joe vs. the Volcano. Quite often I feel like I’m dragging myself through the week just trying to survive to the weekend. I know this sounds like a giant pity party; but stick with me, I’m going somewhere good with this.

Here’s the thing about what I just said and how awful I made it sound; if I keep it in proper perspective, it’s really not so bad…for now. I do these things for some very good reasons, but I won’t have those reasons forever. And when the reason is gone, the thing that was a necessity becomes a choice. If I start making plans and taking small steps to chase my dreams and loves now, I may actually get to engage in them a little ways down the road. If I can just focus on the fact that I’m doing the necessary things now so that I can choose to pursue the dreamy things later, the necessary things become part of the dream; they are stepping stones to what I really want to pursue.

And that dragging myself through the week part; I just need to check myself on that. I need to do a better job recognizing and relishing in the bright spots during week and not letting all that routine and necessity bury them.

So, here’s to my necessities and the dreams they are ushering in!

Everything Stops

In my last post, I said life moves fast and that I’m just trying to keep up; and that still holds true. But sometimes it not only moves fast, it also takes a few swings at you along the way.

There you are scrambling along, doing, fixing, trying, going, being…and it all comes to a screeching halt; because someone you love has died. Suddenly all that stuff, all those things, they just aren’t important, they don’t require your attention; and even if they do, they will have to wait; because, death changes everything.

  

My father-in-law passed away suddenly last month and I’m still trying to process the reality of that event. He was 84 years old, and he could out work a man half his age. The day he died, he had plans to go fishing with a friend. He died “with his boots on” and that’s exactly how he would have wanted it. I think he was ready, he had grown weary of the ways of this world and was ready for his rest; the only problem is, the rest of us weren’t ready to see him go.

Death is shocking, painful and surprisingly educational; it always teaches me something. Sometimes it’s a new lesson, sometimes it’s a lesson I’ve forgotten and suddenly am reminded of. Here are some things I’ve learned/remembered this time:

Make a difference. And make it a good one. Impact one person or a thousand people; connect, love, support and help. Because it’s people that matter and choosing to make a difference can inspire others to make a difference too.

Consider your legacy. As you make this journey, think about what will remain of your life after you’ve gone. How will you be remembered? Will you be missed, thought of with fondness? What do you want your life to say about you?

Enjoy the journey. You only get to do this once; so do those things that excite you. Go on adventures, learn, grow and try new things. Time wasted is time lost, you never get it back; don’t squander it.

Love people not things. Stuff is not important, it’s stuff. You can get more if you lose it. When someone dies, they are gone. There are no replacements for the person who’s journey has ended. Make the most of the time you are given with the people you are given. Love them fiercely.

I miss Dad Underwood. He wasn’t perfect and sometimes I found him difficult to relate to, but I’m sure he could have said the same about me. I learned a lot about life and love from him and I appreciate the lessons.