Today I received my “O” magazine and really let myself enjoy it. I read the whole thing, cover to cover, which is something I rarely have the time to do. Usually I skim the pictures and doggy-ear the pages of articles I want to get back to. When I have some energy before bed I try to read through some of the stories that pique my interest. I tend to skip over Suze Orman because my dad and brother are financial advisors (and good ones – which Suze verified today when I took the time to read her column). I also bypass most of Dr. Phil because many of the scenarios don’t apply to me and I spend my work days as a social worker hearing about others’ dilemmas so I steer past his column. However, after reading it today I did feel like some of my counseling skills were mirrored in his and thus validated. Martha Beck always beckons to me (pun intended) but I shy away from her column because I struggle with my mood day to day and am usually not ready to face her truthful advice.
But not today! I read through everything, enjoyed the pictures of fresh veggies from Oprah’s garden, and even put a few new books on my “to read” list. My eyes saw every little thing on every page: a new novel from Jeanette Walls sounds wonderful, oh yes I will try grilled pineapple, what cute rain boots…and then something happened to me while I was reading about author Beverly Donofrio’s life – much of which she writes about in Riding in Cars With Boys (now on my “to read” list). Dear Oprah, I do say I had an AHA moment. After a near-death experience in which she was hit by a car, Beverly realized something and she phrased it to herself like this:
“You’ve been acting as though this is the warm-up, but it’s the ball game.”
This hit a major chord with me that is still resonating. I have learned that I am a person who is constantly thinking about what’s next. I like to use the euphemism “day-dreaming” but in reality, I often think the grass is greener somewhere else than where I am right then, in that moment. How awful. After making a recent big decision to not attend graduate school for an M.S.W., my husband and I also decided to stay living in Canada – where he grew up and I did not. We were 95% going to move back to my home state of Arizona, but after putting everything in perspective, we decided to stay. The 5% won. It is the right decision and we are happy with it, yet I struggle with the fact that it’s more of a permanent decision. This is a bit funny to me because what is more permanent about it now than it was four months ago? We still have the same house, the same jobs, the same dog, each other…but yet, it feels more permanent. Perhaps it’s because we always thought we would live in Canada short-term. I was always picturing our lives with what I thought lay ahead of us, rather than accepting that our life was also composed of what was currently happening. Part of my reasoning for staying in Canada was that I wanted to put down roots somewhere. When I thought about it harder, I realized we already had roots digging into the sandy soil of southern Ontario – a foundation at the very least. Another reason was I wanted a nice home – something else I realized we already had. What were we really after that we didn’t have here? Perhaps we just need to work harder to make ourselves happier where we are; we need to water the grass so it becomes greener where we already are.
This quote sent this feeling home for me today. I have been making a conscious effort to focus of the here and now and not so much about what is to come. If I look ahead my entire life I will die with having missed the whole thing! I think that’s what Beverly means by, “You’ve been acting as though this is the warm-up, but it’s the ball game.” I am in my life, the ball game, so I might as well treat it as such. No more warm-ups. This is it. Live it. Enjoy it. Be present. The grass will always be greenest where you water it and give it nutrients, so that is what I will do!