I have grasped a great truth over the last several years, but my experiences here at the park have solidified it: life is beautiful and life is ugly - it doesn't matter where you are or who you're with or where you're going or where you've been.
I'm like everyone else. There have been plenty of nights spent pining away over things I do not have, places I want to go, jobs I'd rather work. The older I get, the more I have those occasional bouts of panic, "This is it. This is the life I get. Have I done everything I want to do?" Such thoughts used to cause my heart to palpitate, but I have a new mindset which shows me that I have done and experienced more than I could have ever imagined. It's like a backward Bucket List! I discover the great experiences of my life as I go along, instead of dictating all of them.
A friend directed me to a poem recently. "Sometimes" by Mary Oliver. A few lines caught my eye:
Tell about it.
That nails perfectly how I view life at this point. It is not supposed to be a constant cycle of trying to get to the next big thing. When it becomes that, you miss EVERYTHING. This week, as we were driving home, my husband and I marveled at just how beautiful the countryside is. We love it out here. It's no Colorado. Our lake looks nothing like the ocean. Yet, it's beautiful. It's gorgeous. There is wonderment everywhere, if only we will stop and pay attention.
When I pay attention, I am astonished. My children astonish me. My marriage astonishes me. My friends and neighbors astonish me. When I look and hear and see and absorb, I am amazed at the little bits of fabulous I discover.
"The grass is always greener ..."
Maybe. But who said green defines perfect beauty in grass? Why can't brown be beautiful? What about dirt? Dirt can be beautiful and amazing - astonishing, even.
New things cause our hearts to pound harder. New experiences open our eyes to something we may want to consider. New and different is fun - a THRILL! I love change. Yet, if that's all I think about, I am actually missing some of the best parts of my life.
The reality is: eventually that "new thing" will be an "old thing." That "new place" is someone's "old place." The "bright shiny thing" that caught your eye will eventually be the "dull thing" that needs replacing.
Pay attention. Be astonished. Then tell someone about it.
(photo taken amongst the weeds near my repo double-wide)