I don’t think I will ever forget it – the phrase a friend of mine said to me several years ago. And I distinctly remember the day she said it to me. I was in a rush when she called and asked if she could drop by to tell me about a new endeavor she had become interested in. I hurriedly said ok but instantly remembered that I had a long list of other very important things to do that evening. I almost retracted my invitation but after a quick thought I was sure it wouldn’t take too long to listen to what she wanted to tell me about, especially when she realized just how busy I was, so I hastily said goodbye. As I hung up the phone, I put down the bills I had been looking at while I had been talking to her. Dinner needed to be cooked, the house definitely needed to be picked up before she got there, I needed to make sure the kids had their homework done and dammit, my feet were hurting from the high heels I had worn to work that day. And I knew once those things had been taken care of there was so much to do after that.
I raced through my first set of chores and was almost finished when the doorbell rang. I ran to the door, opened it up and there my friend stood, broadly smiling at me. That’s the thing. She always smiled at me - so positive and supportive and wonderful to be around. As I invited her in, the question briefly crossed my mind about why I had waited so long to see her. But then it was gone as I ushered her into the office. As I sat down next to her on the settee she asked me what I had been doing. I rolled my eyes and sighed and told her I had been so busy I had little time to think. And the worst of it was, I admitted, that I really hated my job. I dramatically recounted to her the day I had just had, of all the people I had to deal with, of all the things I was expected to get done and how I was unappreciated and how little I was being paid for all of my hard work. She looked at me, blinked her eyes twice and that’s when she said it. Yes – The Phrase. “What are you trading your life for?” My mouth hung open without words to fill it. I mentally backpedaled. “What?” was the only thing I could utter. She smiled at me again. “What are you trading your life for?” Those seven words hit me like a ton of bricks. Indeed. What WAS I trading my life for?
Seven simple words but words that meant so much – I took her question to heart.
Since then I have mentally tried to change my life. I’ve tried to make it simpler, tried to brush away the little things and to enjoy them as much as the big things. I’ve learned that en error isn’t a mistake, it’s just a harder lesson. Tried to think about how quickly life disappears and how easy it is to make it do so. Tried to know who I am inside and out and to accept, without judging, who people are outside and in. Tried to tell the people I love how much they mean to me and tried to appreciate the days I have left with them.
Sure, I often forget that I am trading my life for something. But when I remember, I hope now that I am trading it for things far better and happier and grander than those days when my house needed to be spotless for a guest, and my kids needed to get their homework done before dinner. If I’m trading it for a goal, that’s a good thing. But if it’s just biding time, it’s not. I know that there are priorities to enjoy, people to love, and life to live.
So - What are you trading YOUR life for?
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