Life Lessons with Monica: Granted Without Taking

We live in an unceasingly fast-paced world. Driven by progress, and fueled by inflated prices, low pay, and a high demand on monetary definition of social status. For an empath, a compassionate person, an advocate, an environmentalist, and especially for introverts, this state of the world is almost suffocating. It creates a barrier within the mind and body, a barrier that leads to taking too many things in the world for granted. This has been a crutch of mine, like dragging around a broken leg continually, the weight of it all, making it difficult to move from place to place, to see beyond not falling down, and I lost sight of the things in the world, and the things in my life that make it so beautiful.

A portion of me taking life and love and beauty for granted is the allowance that I have given others to take me for granted, another portion of it is taking myself for granted, and then there is the human condition we all must find a way to utilize in the proper manner: selfishness. Prioritizing the self, that is important, not always putting everyone first and putting yourself first in life from time to time is also important, but it should never be at the expense of another person. The balance between the two can be a challenge, however, I have found that through the small moments in life, I have begun finding a sense of balance. Through being a parent, a step parent, a wife, a friend, a daughter, a sister, I have found that doing something for someone else is also fulfilling myself. Yes, there are always going to be moments in which I think of myself and my needs, and they end up throwing things off balance with how they used to be, my house isn’t always spotlessly clean, my laundry gets washed and dried but will sit in the clothes basket, and sometimes I will opt to have sandwiches, leftovers, or cereal for supper versus cooking and sitting down together. If I spend too many days in a state of working on me, working on my writing, working on my crocheting, and I don’t speak up and ask for help, ask for someone in the house to pick up the slack, then I feel taken for granted and I also feel guilt. These struggles I have come to realize are perfectly normal in life. It is important to figure out that there are other people out there who live their dream lives and still feel taken for granted. It is important to know that not everything has to be perfect all the time because we are all imperfect people trying to find a higher sense of self and life while still trying to be successful, put food on the table, put a roof over the heads of the people in our families. It is a balancing act.

Today I walked my son to school and felt this sense of wonder. It is a beautiful, out of the norm, warm December morning in North Dakota, and as I was walking my son to school I felt a peace, a rightness to the world that I haven’t sensed, well, ever in my life. I haven’t been the optimist, though I should have been. I haven’t noticed the beauty in things, the wonder in a simple silly conversation about people in the world with my son. Giggled at the fact that he gets frustrated because the word hypothesis is difficult to recall the second day after learning it. Every day is like emerging with a new sight, a new sense, a new wonder. As though I have spent much of my life walking around in a sort of slumber, going through the motions, but never allowing feeling in completely. This sense, this understanding, has been confusing for me as I am so adept at human emotions, thoughts, and actions, that I didn’t recognize the amount of other’s emotions I was feeling versus my own. I took myself for granted more than I believed others have taken me for granted. In doing so I overly projected that sense outward and internalized that I was never enough, never worthy, never given adequate thought or considerations in the hearts and minds of other people. It wasn’t until this morning, walking to school with my son, feeling the chill in the air without it being something that irritated me, noticing the beauty in the fiery sunrise sky, seeing that the sun and moon were both simultaneously shining in the sky this morning, no longer opposites (and yes I know they share the sky often, but it has never struck me in this manner before) but both working together to illuminate everything for us to see. Hearing the world waking up to start the day, the birds chirping, watching squirrels running from here to there, there was such peaceful serenity.

Despite all the struggles in life, I have found more joy and beauty in the small things in life in the recent days. I have laughed more genuinely, cried in more anguish, felt the bursting love in my heart going out to the people in my life, and felt more optimism for the changes coming into my life and my world than ever before. When I shared this blog, put it out into the world to lay myself bare for the masses, I expected to sense fear, apprehension, and even shame because I know that I have strayed in my belief system and in the things that I am learning about and using for my personal growth that go against the strict guidelines of the Lutheran faith that I was raised in. I understand that there will be opinions of me formed from other people out there, opinions that will not always be kind, however, I have come to know that those opinions are not about me, but rather about the person forming the opinion. Ah the sweet release of knowing myself and choosing to not care about what others decide they need to believe about me. I had always been envious of the people who lived their lives like that. The brutally honest people who will give you the hard truths directly to your face and then go about their lives not caring if it upset you because it was something that you needed to hear. The free, wild, souls who dance to the beat of their souls, flitting from place to place and have nothing but joy radiating from them. I never understood those emotions personally and I shamelessly coveted those emotions and the free-spirited nature of those people. Now I recognize those things within myself, while still seeing the pragmatic, responsible side of me. I no longer take for granted the things that I have in the world. I no longer take for granted the air in my lungs, the color of the sky, the roof over my head, the man who I share my heart, mind, and soul with, the children I get to help hold on to their dreams and passions, and I never again will take myself for granted.

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