Saturday, September 4, 2010

It's a Family Tradition

I think I could write a whole book about family traditions and how important I think they are.  A tradition is so much more than the tiny little thing it seems like on the outside.  Traditions give you something to look forward to and make you feel like you're part of something special.  That's my two cents, anyway.

A couple of years ago, Jeff and I decided to start a tradition for our family.  We had been lucky and had done quite a bit of traveling in our short 1 1/2 years of marriage including trips all around the country - from Florida to Washington State and even a trip to China.  When we came up with this tradition, we were on a trip to Brazil.  The city we were in is called Belo Horizonte and it's a very special city to Jeff and I.  I wanted to bring something home that really reminded me of the feelings we'd had that trip - visiting our close friends and seeing the places we both love - BUT the only things that seemed to represent my feelings were little trinkets...tiny statues and things like that.  Fun to look at in the store, but I am not a trinket kind of girl.  I have no idea what to do with them and think they just take up space and collect dust.  As we were roaming around an enormous market in the middle of the city, lightning struck my brain.  Our problem was solved and our tradition started.

We each picked out a couple of things we liked.  Trinkets even.  When we got home, Jeff drilled holes in the tops and added hooks so we could hang them from our Christmas tree, and wha-laaa!  A family tradition.

Since then everywhere we go we pick something out that we can hang on our tree.  We have written on the bottom of each "ornament" where we got it and the date of the trip so we remember.  If you think it's fun to decorate the tree already, try doing it while unwrapping treasures from all over the world as you go.  It is SUCH a blast and gives us a chance to reminisce about our memories and adventures.  I love it.

This last weekend we went to Coeur d' Alene, Idaho for a few days with Jeff's family, and while we were there we bought a Christmas ornament in keeping with the tradition.  I think it suits us perfectly, what do you think? :)

Thursday, September 2, 2010

64 continued....

Before I get into this post, I have to tell you - my cousin, Stephanie, is a music therapist who knows some of the most incredible things about the healing power of music.  She commented on my last post that there is a name for having a song stuck in your head - it's called a "brain itch" and as with any other itch, the only thing you have to do to get rid of it is scratch!  The way you scratch this kind of brain itch is by singing whatever song is stuck in your head all the way through.  I tried it - it totally works and was completely as satisfying as scratching an itch.  Try it!

Now that I've shared an important and valuable tool for happy living, I can get on with this post. :)  I've been doing all kinds of reflecting since we last talked.  Lots of thinking and wondering and trying to get into my own head and see what it is a really want out of life.  At the beginning of my reflection and goal-setting, I was still in the same mind-set I've always been in for goal-setting.  Achievement-oriented...I had (and still have) goals in mind that require me to accomplish something.  A check-list of sorts including things I want to have accomplished before my youth runs out.  Things on my list include:

I think those are worthy goals and things to aim for.  But as I thought about the song that had been itching my brain, "When I'm 64", and what I really wanted to reflect on, my entire paradigm changed and I realized I'd been going about it the wrong way.  Not entirely, but at least partly.

I realized that I didn't have to wait until I was 64 to have a little interview with myself.  My 28-year-old self doesn't know everything that my 64-year-old self will someday know and feel, but I realized that I have a better idea than I thought I did.  There are things today that I regret, and very few of those things have anything to do with things that I have achieved or things that I possess.   The things I feel regret about are small things - things I might have walked right past in my goal-setting session.  Actually, I'm sure I would have walked right past them because in my 28 years I've made goals plenty of times and never thought about them before.

The things I regret have everything to do with the way I live my life every day.  The way I treat people, the things I choose to let come out of my mouth, the way I choose to feel every day, the things I let get on my nerves.  I mean, lets be honest, I do regret not being more careful with our money and that we have to do some digging to get ourselves out, but I can think of a few things that I've carelessly let come out of my mouth that I regret much more than that.  Other things I regret include times when I've lost my "cool", times when I've said something I shouldn't have or when I didn't phrase something carefully enough, letting a day go by without saying a fervent prayer, not taking 20 minutes to take a walk every morning.  These are little tiny things that might not matter in an achievement-driven world, but they matter to me.  They make a difference in the way I feel and the way I make others around me feel.

On the other side there are things I have done that I will never ever regret.  I never regret taking Jackson outside to play or taking time to read him stories and let him look into my eyes and tell me something only he understands but that is clearly important to him.  I've never regretted keeping my home clean so that everything is perfect and relaxing at the end of the day.  I will never regret the things we're doing so that I can be at home with my babies.  I have never regretted taking care of my body and making the right choices so that I feel good.  Soooo many good things and these are the things I want to focus on.

A quote from "The Secret Life of Bees" comes to mind.  You know the part when August tells Lily why her house is painted bright pink.  She did it because it made her sister, May, happy.... and man....THAT matters.

I still have more thinking and reflecting to do....especially with this new insight that I have on what I REALLY want out of life.  The goals I already listed are good and important, but I don't think they are the most important.  I think if I were to accomplish those things, I would look back at age 64 and be proud of myself.  But if those were the only things I did, I think I would be missing out on profound satisfaction and the deep joy that comes from living each day carefully and intentionally.

So now I have new goals...

It's a work in progress and certainly not a complete list, but I feel confident that I'm moving in the right direction.  And now if you'll excuse me, I have a little boy to squeeze and play with and a few dishes in the sink. :)  (<-- note the!  I'm on a roll with these new goals!)