Friday, March 13, 2009

Life Make-Over

Movies; indicative of all my bookcases

I've been thinking about my so called "life" for... well, most of my life. There are sooo many things that I want to change about myself, and yet, I never manage to be successful. Well, I've decided to blog about it. After all, people blog about everything else- why shouldn't I put disgusting pictures of my house on here for the entire world to see?! Disgusting, you say?

Kitchen; a dishwasher probably wouldn't make that much of a difference.

Yep. Well, it seems like I've got this thing going where I don't think my house should be clean when I'm the only one who sees it. It is as if I, myself, am undeserving of beauty, cleanliness... happiness... Have I been sabotaging myself my whole life? Looking at my weight problem, it would seem like I have. Looking around me, just on the outside- well, the inside of my house- I'm a mess. Check out my finances. A mess. Everything about me is just, plain and simple, a MESS.

My "dining" table; is it any wonder I eat in front of the TV?!

So I'm going to start fixing things. It is time for me to make some major changes, and I've decided that my faithful readers get to go along for the ride! (And hey girls, maybe others will join you, who knows?!)

My bedroom; since I don't have the kind of bed that doesn't need a dust ruffle, I should probably find mine... and use it!

What I'm doing first is my house. I've taken pictures of every area inside my house so you can see, as of March 13, 2009, just how far I've let myself fall into this pit of my life. Shake your head, be disgusted at the pictures, but as I show you the changes I make, celebrate the victories with me and pray that one day I'll find a way to clean up the mess inside my head as well.

My "dressing" room- yep, clothes EVERYWHERE!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Shooting for the Moon

“Shoot for the moon- even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.” This was the motto for a recent graduating class, one I’ve thought about numerous times. It’s true that having goals is an important ingredient of our society, but part of me has always wondered- what’s wrong with being happy while grounded on earth?

In theatre the “extras” are those actors and actresses cast to lend realism to a scene. They are in the background, doing routine activities, living routine lives. Off stage, these are the “grassroots” people who help make the world move, function, have vitality. They don’t often make the news, nor do their pictures end up in history books. But their stories are the cultural icons left to future generations: quilts, farming technologies, roads and bridges, unique dialects, religious beliefs, work ethics, morals.

Sometimes this group of steadfast individuals even makes it possible for others to “shoot for the moon.” They are the parents who push their children to go further, the coaches who place their players in the limelight, and the voters who stand behind their chosen candidates. Grounded on earth, satisfied with their roles as “extras,” they aren’t somehow diminished because they haven’t landed among the stars.

According to various myths the famous Greek hero Achilles was once given two choices: he could stay home and raise a family and have children who would carry his name through the generations, or he could join the Spartan army and travel to help defeat Troy… thus ensuring that his fame would last forever. Achilles chose war- he wanted his name written in the stars. The irony of that decision is that his exploits are rarely what’s remembered- he’s best known for his greatness weakness. The phrase “Achilles’ heel” is an indication of a flaw that can lead to a person’s downfall. Achilles’ name was written in the stars, probably not the way he would have wanted, and that desire for fame was forever linked to his demise.

As graduation approaches for another group of high school seniors, I’m reminded of the musical “Fame” and how that group of students left school searching for a way to become stars. They planned to “live forever” and to “catch the moon in their hands.” As a teacher, I wish the very best for each of my students, but more than anything, I wish each of them to have satisfaction with becoming who they choose to be. It is okay if those choices are based on a solid foundation rather than elusive fantasy.

I believe reaching for your dreams isn’t a bad thing, but neither is the decision to look around at what’s wonderful right here and now in your life. If you want to see the stars, we’ve got a great view of them here on earth.

I believe it’s okay to have contentment while being earthbound. Despite all the troubles our world faces today, the earth is still a pretty amazing place to be. Anonymity doesn’t equal loneliness or dissatisfaction. It simply means your name’s not written in the stars.

(This was submitted for NPR's "This I Believe" segment.)