After a 4-week/3500+ mile journey across the western 2/3 of the US, we have finally landed in Yuma, Colorado… at least for a few days. People keep asking if we are moved in… and I respond: No, but we have successfully relocated our stuff. Every time, they just kind of turn their heads to the side and smile with confusion.
As you know, such adventures in my world always provide ample opportunities for learning or re-learning important life lessons. This one is no different. So here I humbly offer: What I Learned on I-80 [and I-70].
1. Don’t make comparisons. It will always turn out in their favor.
I am frequently tempted to look at my own life circumstances and believe that no one… absolutely no one… has it harder than me. My stamina and resolve have been tested repeatedly of late and I’m a little more than embarrassed to admit that I’ve had about a handful of total meltdowns. There was just so much emotion inside me that I couldn’t contain it. [Three implosions and two explosions later, I felt much better.]
But all the while, the monkey-in-my-brain was chattering away about how hard I was working and how easy everyone else around me has it.
Rubbish. I am blessed beyond measure!
Take this simple example… every time I have tried to find something in my stash of boxes that rivals the Indiana-Jones-Raiders-of-the-Lost-Ark warehouse, I have found it in a snap. [I mean really… how blessed it that?!?! ;)]
Okay… I could give you lots of other examples but the bottom line is this: Don’t compare your life with anyone else’s. Just don’t even go there. Ever. Why?
Because the other person’s life will always come out looking greener than your grass. Always. That’s the job of your monkey brain… to convince you that another person has it easier than you do. And that just makes us want to dig deeper into the Pit of Despair. So don’t even go there. It won’t end well.
2. Be a BiG person. That means letting go of small ideas.
The minutiae of the everyday can easily become a grind. Sometimes we just lose present-moment-awareness and we get stuck in This-is-how-I’ve-always-done-it. Often we don’t give ourselves permission or room to grow. And often, we impose the same restraints on others.
Amid the conversations and celebrations with family and friends, I could hear my heart wanting to shout out:
Wait a minute! I’m not that person anymore!
I have grown and changed in ways that you don’t know yet.
Let me be bigger in your eyes. I have secretly evolved.
I never did shout that out, of course… shame on me. [So here I am spilling my guts to the cybersphere.]
Just as I want others to see me differently, I must look at others differently too… allowing them to evolve and grow into new people who have learned their own life lessons. [This is especially hard to do with your own family members… moms and dads / brothers and sisters that you don’t see very often. Their adventures challenge them to secretly evolve too.]
So I had to let go of my small ways of thinking and acting. It was hard, but in the end, worthwhile. I started to see them all as bigger people. Hopefully, they saw me that way too.
3. Stay until they drive out of sight. Life is precious and fragile.
A big part of the whole Colorado-relocation was to live in the same house with my husband again. We have been cross-country commuting for about four years. Not by choice mind you, but because I’ve been following jobs trying to make ends meet.
So all in all, there have just been too many goodbyes over the years. Way too many. Couple that with numerous health issues for people we love and you start to wonder if one of those goodbyes will be the last one.
Life is precious and fragile… and we just can’t take any of it for granted. We must give every goodbye our fullest attention.
Some call it southern hospitality. I just think of it as a way to appreciate and enter the moment:
Stand on the porch watching and waving goodbye until they drive out of sight. No matter how long it takes. And if it takes a long time, send your love and prayers to them as you wait.
You just never know what the next day will bring.
4. Be generous with the bug spray.
It’s simple. Get bitten or don’t get bitten. You decide. If you ignore that wisdom, plan to invest in the hydrocortisone/calamine industry.
Yes… there are all kinds of warning about the side effect of chemicals in those handy-dandy concoctions. But there are just as many natural repellents too. Use them. It’s so much easier than dunking your whole body in a vat of anti-itch medicine.
So use the bug spray. And floss your teeth too.