Friday, June 20, 2008

What If? Living Life to Its Fullest

A member of my book club asked a question based on a book we were reading about living your life to the fullest - I have not finished the book yet, but here follows the basis of the question ... in the beginning of The Poet of Tolstoy Park, the main character moves to a better climate so he can live out his final months with a TB diagnosis. He has about one year left. The question is probably one you have heard before ... "What if you only had 6 months to live? How would you spend it if you had no pain or suffering?" 

I mulled over this question for several hours, especially on the day my friend asked it. At first I was redesigning my home and adding on new spaces - decorating. Then I was traveling in Italy, Turkey and Sri Lanka, and oh yes, Serbia and Croatia. I had considered asking if I could add one more caveat to the question ... could it be, "How would you spend those last 6 months of your life and money would be limitless - no pain or suffering?"

My final answer does not surprise me after all, but perhaps some were looking for a more illustrious answer. I know I was at first. 

I want to travel. But, I'd miss my home. I love being home. Right now I am trying to figure out a business so I can work from home! I want to do new things to my home, but it would take longer than six months, and I wouldn't want to live in a mess for my last months. The mess would be too stressful. Money doesn't help solve either of these situations or save my life. 

I live my life the way I want to almost every day. At least that is always my intention. Sometimes my day is not perfect and sometimes I wish I had more time. In fact I always wish I had more time to do all the things that I love. And I do the things "I love" daily. I like cooking, pulling weeds, napping, reading books, playing on my computer, talking with my husband on the phone from his work, driving to all the places I do, playing turtles with my son, watching our frog eat bugs, returning books to the library, buying eggs from the farm, walking in our neighborhood's cathedral of trees or listening to the lake's waves ... and it the list goes on and on. 

Yes, it would be fun to go on a longer farther trip and yes, my home is in a state of continual re-decoration, re-design, re-model -- mostly in my head and always with my husband who loves to talk dreams -- about trips, design and painting with me. 

This way of living didn't just happen. I didn't pick out a new living room from Pottery Barn and emerge as a perfect woman or go on a resort vacation and emerge anew. In the last 18 months, I have made some big career changes, prayed, taken a good and long look at myself, asked my husband for help and worked with a life coach. I knew each day was not all that I wanted it to be so I chose to change my way of thinking.

I have proven to myself that anything is possible and I remind myself of this often enough. I refuse to settle for something that just shows up instead of something that I want. I am open to the things that help me live happily. As they appear I grab them. I live them. I have faith in God and do know that the things I need are given ... and that the next good always follows. My work is to remain open so that I can use and receive this life of gifts.

Enter my son, fresh out of the bath tub and dressed, outside here on our front step where I am writing -- apparently he's given his toy snake a bath too. He ties long reeds around rocks. The wind is blowing through our 70-year old trees and my husband is over there in the adirondack chair sipping a cold bottle of beer. My laptop is here with me and I am typing away. I am grateful.

No comments:

Blog Archive