Wednesday, March 7, 2012

On that note...

To continue my train of thought from the last post...

It seems that we all work so hard to avoid any struggles in life. Financial struggle especially. It's all about going to college to get the degree that will get you the job with benefits and as many figures as you can get. It goes for all aspects of life though...relationships, faith, etc. Sometimes you feel that if you're struggling then you're failing. Because you didn't plan far enough ahead or you should have seen that coming. Maybe you should have made a better choice which means you're probably irresponsible and/or immature. This leaves me feeling inadequate, unprepared and vulnerable. I don't like feeling those things.

What strikes me as funny about this mentality of avoiding struggle is that quite often elderly people I have talked to talk about the "good ol' days" as the days where everything was a struggle. Maybe they were single and striking out on their own for the first time and learning that they could manage on their own. And it was really scary and intimidating, but also thrilling to see themselves become their own person and figure things out. Maybe they were a young couple just starting life together and poor and they just had each other while everything else seemed very uncertain. But the folks I've talked to about these situations talk about how those days meant the world to them and were the best days of their lives. They appreciated their loved ones; they appreciated the little things in life. They worked to create something better for themselves and their loved ones.

And now they all look at my generation and advise us to work hard in college so we can kick back and be comfortable and not have to deal with the same struggles they faced when they were young.

But why would I want that? If those hard times were the best times of their lives where they figured out their priorities and learned to appreciate their loved ones and the little lovely things that happen each day then why wouldn't I want those experiences? And why don't I consider these lonely, uncertain times to be a chance to experience those things now? Maybe I'm not failing...maybe I'm being given a gift. To remind me that the little things in life are the big things. When I think back to being a kid my fondest memories are of the little things. They stand out in my mind and I remember them more acutely than I remember vacations, big get-togethers and whatnot. Of course I loved any exciting event, but the things that really touched me and stayed with me were the little things that happened that I realized were lovely. Beautiful, every day gifts from God.

I want to look back on my college years and say that I appreciated the little things. Chats with friends. A walk on a pretty day. Working with my hands. A hug. Feeling loved. That sort of thing. Life is made up of little moments and I want to remember the special, extraordinary, miraculous events that happen each day that I don't typically remember to pay attention to.

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