What is Your Life Worth?
Welcome to day 6 of my self commitment of writing for 15 minute each day.
Currently listening to Women of Folk and Americana on Spotify and staring at a delicious pork roast I made that is large enough to feed five because grocery stores still haven’t embraced the single person market. So, does anyone want half of a pork roast?
Last night I had dinner with my dad. He mentioned to me, which he has a lot lately, how he wishes for me and my sister to find happiness. Happiness in his perspective, is a romantic partner. He says he doesn't want us to have to go through this life alone. I mentioned to him that perhaps he has such an affinity for partnership because he lost my mom and he has to life without her. He took that into consideration and nodded slightly.
Then I went on to say to him, “Dad, I feel so incredibly blessed. I have a wonderful dog who keeps me company and teaches me about love, I have a home that I really enjoy going home to, a creative leadership job in a pretty large city where I get to interact with people from all walks of life. Through that job, I’ve built a community of really inspiring and loyal friends and when it comes to being alone, I have an incredible support system and many people who choose to invest in me, including you and my sisters. At any time I can pick up the phone and call a number of people who will be there for me if I need them. And because of all of this, I have no doubt in my mind that one day I will have an amazing partner. But until then, this is all enough.”
I share this with you because sometimes I think it is really hard to stand up for our joy. What I mean is that we are often faced with what is not happening. Our society has gotten used to complaining, analyzing what is wrong, how people could be better or how they are not enough. We are critical, it is on our news and in our media. Think about the last news headlines you read; they probably had something to do with taking someone down or how someone failed. We are so quick as a society to celebrate other people’s loss and mistakes. I think it is our individual duty to drive conversation where we want it to go and as I continue on my journey to living my ideal life, I don’t really have space for the negativity. I cannot afford it.
I cannot afford it. What a statement. There have been times in my life where I engaged in the negativity. Particularly my own personal suffering. I bathed in it and talked about how I wanted more for my life and how things weren’t good enough. But at the end of the day, my life is my choice. If I am showing up for something and choosing to be there or work there or participate I sure as hell better want to be there. And if there is a time when you are doing something you have to do because of circumstance (I’ve been there, working three jobs, volunteering for opportunity, searching craigslist for jobs), then you have to find a way to hold on to that ideal self image while you work to get there. (Head here to read more about building an ideal self image)
This brings me to a question I asked in an earlier blog this week, what is your life worth? And I mean that quite literally. What is it worth? Is it worth joy? Is worth adventure? Is it worth living?
There is a very clear line between personal suffering and tragedy. So don’t get me wrong, I am not going to begin to pretend that there are not circumstances that go beyond our own ability to focus on the positive. Nor do I think we should all walk around touting how good life is if something hard or scary or sad is going on. There is always space for grief when we are facing hard things. But, when we are just looking at the day to day, when grief has come and she has gone and now there is space for what is next? That is when you have to identify what you can afford. AND, the more joy you have in your heart and the more gratitude you have, the harder you can fight for the things you want to fight for. You want to advocate for the #MeToo movement? For equality? For human rights? For climate change? Fight for your life, kid. But, do it from a place of strength, a place of conviction, of a place of possibility.
A friend of mine is suffering from addiction. It is a disease I don’t know a lot about, I have been around it and had friends who had parents who dealt with it when we were growing up. But I come from a very disciplined household because of my dad’s Type 1 Diabetes so my first hand experience is limited. I have so much love for this friend but a lot of confusing feelings. I’ve seen how alive this person is, how much they embrace life and bring joy and love to the people around them. I often wonder what they are holding on to that makes them reach for that thing that numbs them. Is there a way to unravel this addiction? Could the process of mindfulness and self reflection and introspection truly help this person? Is it a daily battle just like my battle with negative and sad emotions? Do they have to wake up each day and promise themselves that their life is worth more? Would that be enough to help them? Do they need a sponsor? Someone they can call that does know what it is like but holds their feet to the fire when they want to reach for the thing that numbs them?
I think in some ways, we all deal with our own addictions. It is kind of the theme of this self commitment series. Maybe you are addicted to the Diet Coke and I am addicted to helping others instead of myself and my friend is addicted to a drug and maybe everyone is just walking around dealing with something. I guess my point is, what is your life worth? Is your life worth the drugs? The pain of your loved ones? The loss of your job and your friends? Is that what your life is worth?
Mine is worth more. Mine is worth love and friendship and creativity and joy and possibility and puppy love. I choose that every morning when I wake up, but I wasn’t always able to do that. I had a friend once tell me that when you can see the cage, that is when you can start to work your way out of it. I think that is what addiction is, self suffering, depression. When it is so foggy and so heavy we cannot see the cage and we can’t find the door to let ourselves out. I think starting with one small commitment, one small step is the way to begin to clear the fog. Now, when my eyes open and my brain starts the boxing match I choose my life. How do I teach the people I love to choose life? How do I let them know that it is so worth it to fight the fight, to uncover the demons and to face them and to say, ”I choose life,”?
As I sit here watching my puppy sleep all curled up on my couch I can’t help but hope that everyone finds this place. This place of gratitude and acceptance and self love. I have dreams, I have things I am looking forward to and trying to build, but in the meantime I’m going to soak up what I have right now. That old cliche saying, today is a gift, never really landed with me before. I used to think that people who used that phrase had never really faced anything very hard, but now I understand that perhaps those were the people who had faced the hardest things. Now I think I understand, and I think it is all we can promise each other. I promise you today. I promise to love you and see you and be with you today, and if we get more, what a wonderful opportunity to choose again tomorrow.
Happy Saturday. I’d love to hear how you are navigating your self commitments. What are you learning as you keep your promise to yourself? What is new for you? Shoot me an email or leave a comment below. firstname.lastname@example.org