The beloved American writer Dr. Seuss is credited with saying, “How did it get so late so soon? It’s night before it’s afternoon. December is here before it’s June. My goodness how the time has flewn. How did it get so late so soon?”
I don’t recall it getting late so soon in my younger years, but the past decade has most certainly ‘flewn’ by in a hurry!
Looking back shocks me a bit. So much has changed—for better and worse—in the course of years. Personally, odd years have marked happy occasions for my family. The hubby and I started dating in 2003 and married in 2005. We welcomed our twins in 2007 and followed them with two more boys in 2009 and 2011. Then, I left my fundraising career behind in 2013.
If all continues healthy and well, we’ll maintain the trend in 2015 when we enjoy our 10th wedding anniversary, my hubby’s 45th birthday and a few other special celebrations along the way.
Though I know we’ve experienced loss and challenges in those “odd” years, life’s happy milestones have overshadowed the heartache. Even years have been kind to us as well; however, I can absolutely say years like 2012 and 2014 were marked by indelible losses.
I’m not necessarily a superstitious person, and I haven’t put real stock in our yearly trends. However, I don’t take the reminder of life’s cycles lightly.
Maya Angelou once said, “My mission in life is not merely to survive but to thrive and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor and some style.” The great American author and poet died in 2014, and I believe she completed her life’s mission. She left a powerful, beautiful mark on the world. In doing so, she left each of us the precious gift of hope through her words.
I admire Dr. Angelou’s life mission; yet, I have to wonder … am I merely surviving? How about you? Are you thriving in a world that could consume you in a blink?
For me, it’s a struggle, and because I’m a truly blessed woman, my perceived struggles are quite merely minor annoyances—realities of life. There are days when I feel like the piles of laundry, mountains of stuff and rivers of ‘to do’ lists have reduced me to a survivalist; I get stuck in the yuck of monotony and fail to see the big picture. I catch myself interacting with those I love most without thought, without compassion or without the style they deserve.
Those are the days I despise. Nothing in the piles, mountains or rivers is so important that I should lose sight of what I can really accomplish in this life; yet, I do. My children suffer because of me on those days; they don’t see the examples they deserve. In those moments, I fail my life’s mission.
Even the great and wise Maya Angelou couldn’t have always been on top of her game though, right?
With the knowledge that we’re all imperfect humans—no more, no less—I look forward to finding new joy in each day that lies ahead. I know there will be moments when I falter, but I also know my life—and yours—has a great purpose worth fighting for.
Perhaps the greatest challenge is staying simple and humble enough to actually realize that purpose.
I’m often guilty of over-complicating things. My husband is forever asking me to just enjoy the moment … to let go of the minor annoyances and embrace the joy. I try—really, I do. But, as the New Year dawns, I need to try harder.
Living a life of purpose isn’t about living a life packed with stuff while we run busily from one activity to the next. When our time is over, I don’t believe any of the stuff or the running will matter. All that will count is the compassion, humor, style and grace we left behind with those for whom we took real time.
To me, Dr. Seuss wrote it best in his final book, Oh, The Places You’ll Go
You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself any direction you choose. …
So be sure when you step,
Step with care and great tact
And remember that life’s a great balancing act.
And will you succeed?
Yes! You will, indeed!
(98 and ¾ percent guaranteed.)
May the year ahead be filled with bountiful blessings, abundant joy and enough faith to carry you through life’s valleys!
Amy Blum is a freelance writer and owner of Blum Ranch in central South Dakota. View her blog at http://blumranch.weebly.com/the-writing-rancher.