November 3, 2012

A Lived in Life

I have a car that looks “lived in”.  On most days, I can swim, bike, or run on a moment’s notice because I have everything I might need in my car.  I’ve got snacks for the kids, power bars for me, water bottles, dress shoes, changes of clothes, my bike, etc.

I have a house that looks “lived in” also.  A pile of shoes greets you as you walk through the back door, beds are half made by the little people I live with, mail is stacked up on the counter, kids’ artwork hangs off of walls and dangles by strings from doorknobs.  It’s been challenging, but I’m learning to accept the lived in look – it’s hard to work fulltime, spend quality time with the family, train for an hour a day, and complete all of the day to day functions that keep a family of four in clean clothes, nourished, educated, employed, and relatively happy.   Sure, the house could always be neater or cleaner but that would mean spending more precious time with a broom, or a dust cloth and that, in turn would mean spending less of that precious time with the little people in my life and less of that precious time doing the things I love.  Not a good trade in my book.

I was in a store last week that had a sign for sale – “Don’t spend so much time making a living that you don’t have any time to make a life.”  It made me think about how busy we are and how I often feel like I’m trapped in a gerbil wheel – running and running - perpetual motion throughout the day – I’m sure you know the feeling.  That being said, the jam-packed nature of my days is by choice – I’m not “trapped”.   I often choose to fit many activities into small windows of time in an effort to live my life fully.  All to ensure that I don’t forget to make a life.  To be able to coach my son’s Little League team, to practice spelling words and play word games, to lay down with the kids at the end of the day and just talk, to participate in local government, to volunteer, to spend time with my parents, to take a bike ride after a long day at work and see one of the most amazing sunsets ever, to take the kids swimming, to sit down and enjoy their impromptu karaoke performances in the living room, to travel.

The result?  I also have a life that looks “lived in”.  It doesn’t look perfect (whatever that means).  You’ll never see me standing next to Martha Stewart making vegetable broth from scratch in a kitchen straight out of Better Homes and Gardens.  Some weeks, my husband and I spend more time talking on the phone with each other than we do in person.   My children will probably need some sort of therapy later in life because their time-crunched mother rarely got them to bed on time, forgot to give them breakfast before school (don’t worry – it only happened once and I’m not sure they realized it either!), and ran on the treadmill while helping them with school projects.  Clean socks are often in the dryer instead of in a drawer.  We eat out – a lot.  My kids don’t really know any other life – and I’m willing to accept its lived in appearance and reality to ensure that, down life’s road, I will be able to look back and know that I spent my short time on Earth doing the things that mattered most and gave me the most joy.

I’m happy and content knowing that, at the end of the day, even though the laundry hamper may be full, so is my life.