Tag Archives: now what?

Choices

On her blog, Undecided, Shannon Kelley states: “Choosing one thing means you’re killing the possibility of having the other. And when we’re raised on the idea that anything’s possible–and every option is available–we see choosing anything as settling. And, of course, it is–it’s settling for something less than everything.”

Which is true. Saying yes to one thing means saying to no to an unknown number of other things. This would not be a problem if we knew for sure what we wanted out of life. When you know what specific job, house, and friends you want it is easy to go and find them and make them yours.

But as Americans we have been told that we can have and be anything we want. So small children say they want to grow up and be soccer balls, birthday cakes, or hippopotamuses; and we laugh, say how cute, and know they will one day grow out of that belief. But these are logical decisions. They can be anything. No exclusions. We told them so. And then our young adults leave the confines of the education system and fall into depression or ADD because they can’t decide what job to focus on, what city to live in, and whether spending every day with the same group of people is worth their time.

These are worthwhile considerations. The world is a big place. There are lots of great ways to live.

I’ve been laughed at (in a kind-of, ‘oh how adorable’ sort of laugh) for wanting to do everything. I honest to God would enjoy a fulfilled, happy life as a bed and breakfast owner in Santa Fe, as a rancher in Montana, or as a shepherd in New Zealand. Those jobs would be AWESOME.

But you know, after I denied my humanity by dreaming my life away in high school, and after succumbing to anger at my humanity in college, and after the bargaining I did with the universe, and after the depression I found myself sucked into, I have no choice left but to accept. Accept the fact that we can’t do anything, be anything, have everything.

I have one life, one chance, one story. I can have a long story, yes. But only one. And while a choice to take a job, or rent a house, or even, gasp, get married means that there are other jobs, homes, or possible life endings that I cannot experience, I have to offer myself some grace and allow that possibility. As I’ve noted before, all we truly have in our lives is the opportunity to choose.

Yes, settling is a terrible word. However, living  life in the world of what-ifs and dreams is a worse fate. And keeping options open unfairly strings along all the bosses, girlfriends, landlords, boyfriends, and adventures that we can’t commit to.

You can’t have it all, but you can make a choice. And live the hell out of the choice you make.

 

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Trains

Sometime in the cold dark hours of “nobody should be awake” last night, I suddenly woke up from my dream trying to figure out why I was “Reloconnecting” with someone.

Confused? Yeah me too.

And as I am staring at my wall thinking of my strange dreams, I hear a human body trip and slide down the stairs to my apartment. (Or that’s what I thought.)

I get up to check and find this:

Hmm… I’ll figure out what to do with that later. In the meantime I crawled back in the warmth of my three blankets and tried to sleep.

This rude interruption got me to thinking.

What is the most comforting sound in the entire world?

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That’s right, the whistle of a train in the middle of a cold night from the warmth and safety of your own bed.  (Bonus points if snow happens to be falling.)

Comforting sounds make me think about what I value most and what I want to spend my time doing.

I want to travel.

I want to offer comfort to children.

I want to make sure the boys know that I can be bigger and badder than they can.

So I have decided to be a train conductor.

Benefits are GREAT and I get to travel.

What’s not to love about that?

Don’t believe me? Well I’m serious.

Yeah, that's my application to Union Pacific

F*** Yeah!!!!  I’m gonna drive trains.

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Unemployment Monday

Looking for jobs is hard. Reading is much more fun!

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Making Plans…

…use to be my stronghold. Planning was my thing, and therefore, life outside the plan stressed and confused me beyond what I could handle.

But then I went through enough before graduating to figure out that I was, in fact, not in control.  The experiences of my last three years were enough to convince me that I can’t plan and then successfully orchestrate my schedule, or even relationships. I became a relaxed version of myself.

And then I moved to Africa.

That beautiful porch I’ve told you about, and pictured here lends itself to a level of laziness relaxation that I may never again achieve. Truly though, it is the general work ethic and culture of time that truly taught me to abandon all plans.

Here, there is little foresight (often none).  For instance, when I wake up I decide that today is a perfect day to finally take the papers down to the local minister’s office and register my NGO. Well I get there and find out that I need to actually make an appointment with said minister.  So I go back to the office and make an appointment. The rest of the day is spent on the internet. When I finally have a formal appointment, I go with the documents, only to find out in our discussions that I actually need to have 2 other, different documents and a letter with 3 signatures. Well I go back to spend the next week getting the right documents. And then spend the next month tracking down the 3 people whose signatures I need. So now, five weeks later, I go back and get the correct registration.  However, while engaging in this wild goose chase of collecting the correct letters, I have neglected the ideas I had for teachings and meetings for the last five weeks. This left my two employees to themselves for the last 5 weeks to entertain themselves.

Yes, it is very difficult to plan when no one else plans.

But it is also very difficult to plan from afar. I travel to meet people where they are at. I don’t want to go somewhere and do what I’ve always done, eat what I’ve always eaten, and wear what I always wear.  This means committing my heart to the now.  So I focus my attention, my thoughts, my emotional energy to what is immediately in front of me. And this works great when I live in Africa and am expected to be constantly thinking about and attending to the little bothers that came up all day long.

I am leaving very soon, for another new country. I love being in new places, with people I get to know. But this whole forgetting how to plan thing is proving to be a problem.

Where exactly am I going? __________

With what money? ______________

When will I be back? ____________ (Which leads me to ask where is back?)

When am I going? I know this!  In two weeks, when United has a confirmed booking for my flight.

Bring it on.

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