Monday, July 2, 2012

still a student...

I've been thinking a lot about the first lesson post I wrote. About worrying less about how my life looks to others and more about how it feels to me.

By no means am I a master of this principle, or any of the others that I have written about. I often find myself thinking and acting in ways that are completely against the things I am trying to learn. Sometimes I stop short and tell myself, HEY! Remember that one time when you thought of that one thing and you were going to work on it and become better? Well...better remember it now and QUIT STOPPING YOURSELF FROM PROGRESSING.

Not all of the voices in my head are particularly kind.

Anyway. For example. I've been spending a lot of time on my own lately in the House. Natalie and I see each other in the evenings for a few minutes, sometimes for an hour, but most of the time we're just two friends sharing living space. We both work a lot, I at my three jobs and Natalie at her job and in her volunteering.

This time alone hasn't been lonely time. I rarely find myself feeling sad or upset. Instead, I have found that I am able to get a lot of things done: keeping up with the housework and making sure things are nice; playing with my dog; adventuring with friends; reading; writing; cooking; thinking; singing; perhaps soon drawing.

While I was in the kitchen today, boiling eggs by myself for the first time ever, I stopped and looked around me. Here I am, I thought, boiling eggs and planning meals for the week, debating on whether or not to make a cake or brownies, brainstorming potential primary lessons, cleaning the kitchen, singing hymns and talking to my dog in my Snow White voice, musing on life and its mysteries, mentally checking to see if my camera is ready for tomorrow morning, and trying to figure out which big chore I'm going to complete on Friday night. I looked around the kitchen again and thought, I LOVE my life!

Then another not-so-kind voice (which sounded remarkably like one of the people who works in the same building that I do) said, Yep. You're a total Molly Mormon. You just keep on proving it. You are doing nothing important with your life except cleaning the house, cooking the food, and thinking about the Gospel. Oh my gosh, LOOK AT YOU! You are so NOT awesome. DO SOMETHING with your life, okay? Jeez.

And for a minute, I started to be ashamed. I remembered all of those things that person told me a few weeks ago, telling me that (and I quote/paraphrase) "your life is so boring -- don't you do anything worthwhile at all?" and "wow, you are such a Molly Mormon -- you like teaching primary. And cake pops, seriously?" and  "next time you make a decision you should think for yourself, instead of relying on the misguided examples of other people."

Remembering those things she said brought me spiraling downwards. I hated myself. Even though I had been angry when she'd said all of those things to me, I believed her words for a second. I AM boring, I thought. I am everything she said I am --  I SHOULDN'T like these things. I should be more adventurous and daring, maybe try something new. I probably shouldn't even like Disney movies.

But as I looked at my reflection in the Kitchen Aid that I was putting back in place, I thought of what I'd proclaimed to have learned. WHO CARES if that person thinks I'm a Molly Mormon? WHO CARES if my life appears boring to her? It isn't boring to me! I like my life. I like teaching primary and making cake pops. I like doing dishes (sometimes) and singing and boiling eggs and cleaning and playing with my dog. I like the way I am. Besides, that person has no idea where I've come from and what kinds of decisions I've made.

You know what? This is my life to live. It isn't hers.

We are all students of life. The person who said those things is learning about life, just as I am. We're both in different places and taking different roads. What I need to remember and continue to practice thinking is that though others may tell me that the life I live is boring and housewife-ish, it doesn't matter. What they think doesn't matter. I feel comfortable this way. I feel happy this way. All of these things bring me joy, and to me they are worthwhile.

I don't plan to change the world. I plan to change myself. That is what is most important.

3 comments:

Q said...

YAAAAAAAAAAAY!

~**Dawn**~ said...

If there's one bit of wisdom I've acquired in my ripe age, it's that if you're doing things that make you happy--really truly deep-down happy and content--then it does not matter if anyone else thinks you're not "living the right way." Some people--like me!--are meant to live "boring" lives. I am content at home. I like to putter around my house, experiment with new recipes, watch a baseball game or a favorite show on tv, get really engrossed in a book, slip through a magazine, sit on my porch swing and make plans for the backyard with my fiance. One of my dearest friends never ever slows down. She is always going somewhere: out to eat, to the movies, manicures, hiking, to the gym, spelunking. She is never at home. That sounds as exhausting to me as my life sounds mind-numbing to her. But that's ok! Because we're both happy. And sometimes she stays home for an evening. And sometimes I make plans to be at Disney World for the day. And when we're very lucky, we traverse the country and get to spend some time together. Bottom line: if you're content and happy with your life, then that is a *good* thing...and maybe this other person is merely projecting their discontent onto you and would be better served to re-evaluate her own life choices instead.

Georgie K. Buttons said...

Thank you, Dawn. I really appreciate your insight. You're a great help. :)