Michele Minehart

words & yoga

Category: vision

Now is not Forever

Most of my friends are a lot like myself. White, middle class, mothers of young children, living in smallish towns. Generally we all work, some of us not so much in the traditional work structure. We mostly have useful – if not empowering – partners in this gig. Often conversations with these friends revolve around the trials of young childhood, with a peppering of conversation focused on the bigger picture, the future, the better world. I need this solidarity and familiarity. It brings me so much peace to know I’m not alone in¬†struggling at times.

Then I sit out outside next to my neighbors who will graduate their youngest child in less than a week. Their oldest, living in the prime of responsibility-less life, embarks today on a trip to South America for an undetermined amount of time. My neighbor, the father of the family, told me no less than three times last night – just after H boy came running down the street in his skivvies – how quickly this time flies past us.

I believe him.

Throughout my journey we’ve been given gifts of these people, ones not so much like us. We’ve sat at the table with couples in a different season of marriage. I’ve listened to the struggles of parenting teenagers long before I nodded along to Honest Toddler. And now, as we’re on the brink of sending our two oldest into the unknown realms of school, I’m watching parents at the far end send their babies off into the unknown territory of life as an adult. It gives me the simultaneous sense of realizing that what I’m doing right now matters very much in building a foundation for my children while also understanding that what I’m doing right now matters very little in the scheme of the bigger picture of life.

My other-season-of-life friends offer me the pull toward reality. Of course, my reality is my reality. The challenges of bedtime and temper tantrums are a real and valid thing. To dismiss them because “at least you’re not sending them off to college” is completely unfair. I’m not looking to put different stages in competition with each other; rather they offer a gentle harmony to my current situation.

Graduation season, weddings and even funerals temper my life in a way that reminds me that, as I like to say, life will look different in 5 years. Perspective¬†gives me opportunity to enjoy what is without a sense of guilt when I don’t always enjoy what is.

In many ways, when given the gift of perspective, I realize that I don’t have to enjoy certain parts of my life, but I do so with a sense that I won’t get another chance to enjoy them. I won’t keep repeating this stage until it’s fun or I get it right – life will march along no matter what. This is not all that there is. Which is both a frightening and a beautiful thing.

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a little game i like to play with myself

there are 295 days until JJ graduates. not that i’m counting, but… well, I am. while the time that i have spent bringing home bacon has been beneficial for our entire household (and not just monetarily), i am ready to be done with that responsibility. JJ is ready to work in a job he loves and is trained well to do, and i’m ready to let him. so i have a game that i play and will continue to play for the next 295 days. it’s called “what will i do when…”

when a paycheck starts to arrive on a regular basis, for the same amount EVERY TIME, then i will be freed to do something i enjoy. not that i don’t sometimes enjoy my current job. i just posted about the stellar conversation i have with co-workers, and i enjoy visiting with several of them on a regular basis. i’ll probably keep on with my job there as a supplemental income and enjoy it a lot more when i don’t cry every wednesday morning (when the schedule is posted). i’m exaggerating. i haven’t cried over hours in a long time :). but when it becomes a “help” rather than a “have to”, such work is more enjoyable. i also know i’m just not built to be a SAHM all the time. so back to the game.

i think to myself, “how would i like to spend my days? how do i want to spend my time? what would i like to accomplish with my time here on earth?” oh, the canvas is vast. so i’ve started making a list. somehow, i hope that in 295 days that i have a way to stir these ingrediants into one delicious dish. getting paid for it would be an added bonus.

1. leisure coffee in the morning. not in a to go cup.
2. morning reading and reflection. learn something new or ponder something undiscovered or challenge myself to live larger by reading the wisdom of God & others.
3. learn interesting things, either through reading interesting books / articles or by talking to interesting people
4. process interesting facts and ask meaningful questions (1. what does that look like? 2. what would make this better? 3. what will i start doing / stop doing / do differently?)
5. share my interesting facts with others
6. make h (and all my kids) laugh or slap/clap hands in glee.
7. make food. preferrably what i’ve grown.
8. give attention to my health and make my body stronger.
9. talk to JJ about things beyond our kids and our schedule. kiss him.
10. tap into my creative outlet. generally i’m limited to writing, creating lessons or planning theme parties.
11. play. whiffle ball, ring around the rosies, shaka shaka shaka, hide the thimble, my father owns a grocery store – these are all acceptable avenues. made up games accepted as well.
12. talk to friends about more than my children and my schedule.
13. serve outside my home. i’m not sure what this looks like, but i’ve been getting the itch lately. i’m not sure how to prioritize this without overextending myself. also don’t want to justfiy what i currently do as fitting into this catagory. if there’s an itch, i know i need to scratch it with something more, but i’m still asking “what does that look like?”
14. keep the house slightly cleaner. this ranks at the bottom of the list (although this list is not in order) because i firmly believe that people with exceptionally neat houses are pretty boring (or rich enough to hire it out). but a few less cobwebs would be nice.
15. going to leave this spot open for when i come up with something else. or maybe i shouldn’t limit myself to 15 things…

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