Monday, April 8, 2013

Point A to Point B

My preschool age son is enjoying a new workbook that teaches pencil control.

It's really fun watching him concentrate (think of how people often stick their tongues out while cutting). He hasn't yet fully decided if he's left or right handed--we think it's probably left--so he's alternating hands.

He starts at the green dot, follows the path of whatever illustration (trash truck, flying bird, skier, etc.) and finishes at the red dot.

If only life were as neat, predictable and easy to navigate as workbook pages. Sigh.

(Can you tell I was one of those kids that got super excited about new books, notebooks and pens at the start of the school year?)

But here's what I'm learning: It's not just about getting from one dot to the other. It's what happens in between that really matters.

This weekend, my husband and I discussed my tendency to wish away the present as I anticipate the future. I was listening to some empty nesters talking about their impromptu plans to just head to the shore for a day. It sounded really nice.

I wish, oh how I wish, that I could be so spontaneous. I tell myself I could be spontaneous if I were an empty nester. But right now? I don't think we could do that. With a preschooler and toddler, it takes military-style tactical manuevers to get out the door.

Truthfully, I'm not sure I could do it, even without small children. I'd be worrying about what was left undone at home. I'd mentally be somewhere else, doing something different, again.

This is dangerous thinking.

If I don't purposefully choose a course for my life--or as a Christian, submit to God's will for it--there will always be a savvy marketer happy to help me fill my time and empty my wallet.

So I want to intentionally enjoy each moment. Stopping to smell the roses, if you will. This requires me to be proactive, setting goals to make this season meaningful. They don't have to be perfectly executed, but they will push me to aim higher than no goals at all.

It will also be important to try and stick with the plan when the day goes off course. As I've been reflecting during the past months (this is much bigger than one conversation with hubby), I've recognized how easy it is to react, explode with frustration, and vow to get less upset next time, without making any real changes.

In the next two weeks, I'm planning to take a big step back and sit in a quiet place where I can think clearly. I want to map out a general direction for the next few years, establish priorities, and maybe even draft a family values covenant.

I can't wait to get started, even if my progress is a little shaky for awhile.

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