With a crackling fire in the fireplace, courtesy of my beloved husband, I spent last night curled up on the sofa next to Dexter, our 8-year old lab-golden mix, and read aloud Mary Oliver’s book, “Why I Wake Early.” Mary is Dexter’s favorite poet, too. There’s something about her words- so simple, yet so deep- that reach into my soul, make me want to strap on a pair of hiking boots, go traipsing into the woods & breathe in the smell of rotting leaves, dirt, and fir needles. But, of course, it’s too bloody cold outside right now, so reading about the forest next to a cute pup and warm fire sounded like a much better idea.
I’ve been thinking a lot about my birthday this year. I turn 45 in July. I’m grateful to be turning 45 and I’m not upset about it at all. When I was younger, I used to think that 45 was so old, but now that I’m staring that number right in the face, I can’t help but feel deep gratitude that I’ve made it this far. I’ve begun to ask myself the question Mary Oliver posed: “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”
In the grand scheme of things, I honestly don’t know. I seriously have no clue. Once upon a time, I studied anthropology, but that no longer interests me. I’ve been a homemaker for most of my life. I’ve been busy caring for a husband, two children, running a household, and doing all of those things. Now that the kids are older and I have more freedom, I have no idea what I truly want to do.
I’m a certified aromatherapist & an herbalist. There’s always that. I’ve written articles on those things. Should I consider going back to school? Should I get certified in something like nutrition or personal training? Should I take a class on something that interests me such as writing, gardening, or learning about wine? There’s so much I want to do, but I don’t have the time or resources to do everything I want to do. I feel like I need God to give me a good, hard nudge and shout at me in his booming, omnipotent voice that sounds like a bizarre mix of Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson, because let’s face it, God has a BIG sense of humor & we all have a bit of crazy Jack inside us all. In my head, he would say:
“Mandy, do THIS!!! THIS is what I’ve chosen for you. THIS is who you are meant to be. Use this particular gift, use it well, and use it to help others.”
*sigh* If only it were that easy. About a year ago, I started hospice training, but an inner voice told me to take a moment and pause. It’s not that I don’t think I could handle it- I know that I could. It’s just that I don’t think it’s the right time. Every time I would pick up my learning binder, something would distract me. In my soul, I truly believe that the answer isn’t “You won’t ever do this, but ‘not right now.'”
I need to start from a place of humility. I need to start very small. I need to work on myself before I can help others. They always say, “When an airplane is going down, put on your oxygen mask first before you help the person sitting next to you.” I think that’s where I need to begin. I have not treated this body well & it shows.
I decided to make an investment in my health this year. I joined a gym and hired a personal trainer and nutritionist. We don’t have a lot of money to do things like this usually, but I felt like I needed help, so I scraped together my pennies and went for it. I struggle with inflammation, lethargy, and skin issues. My body was really letting me know that I needed to change in a very big way, or it was just going to throw in the towel. And since I’m not ready to cross over and play ping pong in heaven with Audrey Hepburn, I’m going to roll up my sleeves and get to work.
So, to answer Mary’s question of what I plan to do with MY one wild and precious life, my answer is: “Stop playing it safe. Stop hiding in my house. Show up and work hard. Quit complaining. Don’t resist change, but give into it. Let the past go & give God permission to create something new.”
So now the real work begins. The hard work. The work that will help me to grow and change and embrace who it is that I’m meant to be.
That being said, I plan to spend the rest of my day doing laundry, reading something spooky (I’m finishing up Ruth Ware’s “In a Dark, Dark Wood”), and having a cuppa of red rooibos tea with coconut milk, vanilla extract, and stevia. And, for your viewing pleasure, here’s a picture of Dexter McCartney, the cutest lab-golden mix rescue that ever graced the planet.
Be well, birds.