How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. I thought that was a fairly common saying….but as I enjoy this spring night on the deck with Dan - he asked me if I just made it up. No - no I did not…..so this makes me think, I guess I should explain.
If you were assigned the task of eating an elephant (this exercise is not about the eating portion it is about the visual - so please go with me) it would be very overwhelming. Much larger than you - you have no idea where to start - and one wrong move and it could actually step on you and crush you. So where the heck do you start? Can you even do it? What brought you to this elephant in the first place? Perhaps it is not a good idea….. and before you know it whatever brought you to the elephant to begin with, could no longer seem relevant. In fact you may even give up! But what if, what if you did not think about the WHOLE elephant - what if you just thought about a starting spot - and took that first bite. If all you had to do was pick a place to start - no right, no wrong - just start. It is all about taking that first bite as the focus and then after that the next bite. Suddenly you are focusing on this one manageable segment, followed by another, and another - and if you make a conscious effort not to really worry about the whole elephant, just focus where you are - at some point you will finally stop and look at your progress only to find that elephant is half gone!
The mix between the big 3-0 birthday, the move, the complete 180 of my world since this time last year….. I just can’t shake the feeling that life is moving so quickly. With each new change, each passing day - then week - then month - time that has been woven into the fabric of our life, never to be lived again. It is not a dooms day thing, in fact it is quite the opposite, a very seize the day as it will never again be here for the taking sort of deal.
The best way I can think to describe it is the same way I relate to so many moments in life, the soundtrack to so many memories - music…..country music to be exact. Jake Owen’s song “What We Ain’t Got” is a beautiful song that starts off talking about how life is so often about what you do not have. Someone will always have a bigger house, faster car…..greener grass. But the chorus is all about how much he wishes he could have back what he used to have; “I would trade it all just to get her back” and you realize that the love he lost, the life he had, was better than any of the other things he thought he wanted. Although a sad love song, to me every time I hear it all I can think of are those moments that we gave into human nature and were distracted by what we don’t have instead of being in the moment with what we do have…. a moment that will not again appear in our lifetime.
Now I love things just like anyone else…… I mean a great purse, a fun spa day, a date night, a new house - it would be a flat out lie to say that I don’t love these things and that they aren’t a distraction. But for me sometimes distraction come in what I considered an “acceptable” form. Where I want to be in my life, my accomplishments, my family life, my work relationships…. that is not selfish or materialistic it is planning. You have to figure this stuff out or it will never happen. Sometimes it seems acceptable to pine for those sorts of changes because they are not materialistic. However that is not always true. In fact those things that matter can become so distracting you start to miss where you are right now.
In my life I have been blessed and cursed with always being really excited about the next phase on the horizon. As a kid it was so easy, the next grade, the next experience - in fact preparing was for the the “good” and “mature” kids. But adulthood is different. You won’t spend an exact amount of years in a phase - so often I am filling my head with the “should I be at the next phase” question. This question can so overwhelm you - you can miss the phase of life you are currently experiencing. I used to think so what- spending time worrying over important things is my choice…..until this last year. Suddenly I know that "so what" is actually detrimental. No season in life can last forever - and there is no doubt something in each season will be missed. How silly will I feel in a few years when whatever phase I was trying to plan has worked itself out and I forgot to laugh with my husband or kiss my pup or call a friend?
This experience that has come has been a gift. I often find myself wanting to let things go more easily……. Danny and I have fought about schedules before and it has wasted a whole beautiful spring day that we could have been out just being together. In these moments I stop and take it all in a little bit more - it is as if the sunshine has never been so bright or the spring has never been so fragrant. Maybe at 30 I thought I would be further in my career - but is that a reason to sulk and stress during my commute home? Heck no - not when sunroof dancing and music jamming is to be had! The exact reason for this ah-ha experience - unknown. The desire to let it resonate and need for it to be heard - undeniable.
So what does this have to do with the elephant again? Well this realization coupled with purposeful living - life is whizzing by! I want so badly to eat, sleep, breath it all in …if I have been made so keenly aware of the rare time this world has to offer - NOW is the time to do it all. And by ALL - I mean every goal I have wanted to do - personal goals, family goals, professional goals - make a list, check it twice, and rock it!! But even with the pausing to stand in awe of life, reminders to enjoy, the chance to take deep breaths - I am still being pulled in so very many directions and feeling a little like I am constantly needing to catch up. So I am looking at this elephant of LIFE and deciding to take it a few more bites at a time.
This past week was the fastest by far! I had a whole week with some built in breaks to catch up, have down time, and some of my biggest to dos included sharing my April goals - including how even some of them were met - and outline May. Yet, I never even finished my Weekend Wrap Up post that had been drafted for days! YIKES! Some great strides were made with contract work, I wrapped up some to dos at work and started a bunch more….but still a little crazy. And then as I stood at Starbucks the other day with my hair in ANOTHER soaking wet bun and the barista said “well now I recognize you” AKA you did your hair for a few days and that is pretty abnormal - that I thought….I am not even doing my hair. This is very superficial and a little silly….but at the same time I have prided myself on taking the time to do my hair, be creative with my outfits, be committed to being ready for the day in the past……and now I have fallen more into rolling out of bed distracted about getting started with the day and just throwing something together. If these moments are so fleeting…how many of them are being overlooked trying to just get to the next to do? Doing my hair won’t save the world….but often that time with just me and my blowdryer my mind clears and my creativity flows…..now that is worth something!
I have loved my goals for this year and best of all I have really found that I am very aware of where I want to be and how I want to be spending my time….yet with a constantly soaking wet head of hair, a husband that has to try and catch me in between gigs, and sleep that is becoming less and less of a priority things will need to shift a bit. I am not 100% sure what that will look like yet…..but I do know that readjusting is always better than waiting until you are completely overwhelmed. Stay with me to see what will happen, to hear about parts of my goals that are going well - but most importantly, take life one bite at a time too - you won’t have this season of life forever.
I'm busy working on my blog posts. Watch this space!