Have you noticed the tiny houses that are all the rage on HGTV? Have you seen all the bakery owners on Food Network that started out on Wall Street or some other high intensity job and left that world to frost cupcakes? Do you think I watch too much TV? Wait, no…don’t answer that last question.
My point is that there are a lot of lives out there to live…and many folks are looking for the cleaner, quieter options. Now, I’m not saying that one way of living is better than another. It’s simply not true. But it might be the case that a certain way of living isn’t right for everyone at every time. And the people who recognize where they are in their lives and make the choices to follow the path that fits them…well, maybe they are more content for that time. Ya think? I do.
I remember a few years ago a woman at the grocery store tried to be helpful when I was barely holding it together with our three young children. I had been begging them in hushed, pleading tones to behave. She leaned in like she was confiding some secret to me and said, “If you think this is bad, wait until they’re teenagers.” I’m sure she meant to boost my confidence and encourage me that day. But instead of hearing that I had what it took to survive the toddler and elementary years, I realized at that moment that I would someday have three teenagers at the same time. I thought about walking away right then. If I couldn’t manage them at their tender, young ages, how was I ever going to survive the rest of the years?
I didn’t leave the kids at the store. I took them home and ignored their cries and complaints and whines. My husband got home and I let him know how inept I truly was as a mother. He told me I wasn’t. We talked some about the whole deal and decided that there must be a parallel universe where we lived a child-free life. In that universe we get enough sleep, have enough money, and wonder how things would be different if we’d chosen to have kids. In that universe we dream about this one. This life isn’t so bad, it’s just hard sometimes.
Every life is kind of like that, don’t you think? And sometimes, during those hard times, we throw our hands up and decide it’s time for a change. And other times, we pull our boots on and sludge through the muck. Every situation creates a different path to walk. Each person might choose a different route. None of it’s right or wrong, it’s just all different.
We can’t live all the lives…but we can choose which life to live. Each of us, at every fork in the road, can decide which way to turn, who to walk with, and where to head. And the beauty is that there’s always another path, turn, trail, direction, option. There are always other ways to go if we don’t like the life we are currently living. Maybe that other direction is a very physical change – selling half of what we own and downsizing to be able to travel. Maybe that direction is mental – realizing that sometimes parenting is hard, but that I do love these kids.
So, consider your choices carefully – often, maybe even daily – and choose the path that allows you to find contentment in your life, because you can’t live all the lives, but you do have your life to live. Live it completely.