Steven Tyler of Aerosmith says life’s a journey. Huh.
While I would have to agree, I also have to admit that there’s no way I’m going to be satisfied with that. I don’t want a journey. I can journey to the grocery store. (With me driving, that’s probably the only option.) Nope, not a journey.
I want my life to be an adventure.
This is the part where my grandma says, “Honey, be careful what you wish for.” In fact, she probably did say that . . . about 15 years ago. I just wasn’t paying attention. And as much as I don’t want to devalue Grandma’s lessons, that just might have been a good thing. Because my life is an adventure. How do I know that? My son told me.
Like so many others right now, we’ve been a bit down on our luck lately. After completing almost 75% of the credits needed for my JD, I’ve had to take a bit of a “break” for health and financial reasons. And while I’ve been trying to stay positive and make a strong plan for the future, I occasionally find myself wondering why the world can’t just leave well enough alone once in a while. Turns out the answer was right in front of me all along.
To quote Joseph, my 12-year-old: “If you don’t have a bad part, you can’t have an adventure.”
When he first told me that, I sorta hoped he was wrong. But he wasn’t. Because adventures have to be earned. Otherwise, we’d all go around patting ourselves on the back for being stronger than we really are. And while I don’t have a problem with self-appreciation, I have a big problem with self-delusion. That doesn’t help anyone. Least of all me.
You see, we can’t have it both ways. How can we aspire to “grab life by the horns” if there aren’t any horns to grab? We must be grateful for our adventures. These hard times show us what we are capable of.
The “hard times” that I’ve been complaining about? I asked for them. I wanted an adventure. And now I have one. Lucky me. And the bottom line is I have two options:
If I do, I’ll be that much stronger. And hopefully, smarter. If I don’t, well, I don’t. But I won’t be worrying about bills and careers anymore, so I guess I’m a winner either way.
“Hard times” can be a blessing if we choose to look at what we are gaining from them instead of what they are taking from us. Maybe I don’t have my J.D. yet. Maybe I don’t have a lot (or any…) material wealth.
But here’s what I do have:
1A partner (in crime) who loves me. And who will always be there for me. If I didn’t scare him off by telling him he was going to stay home and raise five kids while I hung out at law school, he’s probably going to stick around for awhile.
2Five wonderful children. They believe in me and they stand by me even when they don’t quite understand why.
3Extended family and friends who have gone above and beyond to stand by me. Knowing we are going through tough times, they have reached out to everyone they know to get us the help we need. The mail has brought me a few little surprises recently that have reminded me that there are good people in the world. People I have never even met.
4Honesty and integrity. As I often say, “I may be broke, but I’m honest.”
5My health. Some may be surprised to read this because my health is part of our “troubles” right now. But my health is much, much better than it could be. I can walk. I can talk. I’m not on medicine that makes me sicker than the trouble itself. I am able to see, hear, feel, smell, and taste all the amazing miracles the world offers. I am blessed.
6I have a roof over my head in a nation whose elected officials I may not always agree with, but where I am allowed to express my disagreement.
7Most importantly, I have my faith. The best thing about my faith is that it is mine. I can choose who or what I have faith in and I can choose to retain it in the face of whatever life throws my way. Because it’s mine. Too bad, Freddie Mac and Sallie Mae. So sad, IRS. Mine.
Grandma was right. I need to be careful what I wish for. So, world, about leaving well enough alone? Never mind. Bring on the adventure.
And, whoever you are and whatever your faith, happy holidays.