I'm a farm girl who used to edit a bunch of rural-lifestyle magazines, but then I went and fell in love with another rural-lifestyle magazine editor/farmer in Kansas. So now, I'm living the life, rather than just writing about it! My country adventures include farming and gardening, writing, crafting and cooking.
Each year around now, I turn contemplative, as the date dictates I should. Back when I was editing magazines, I'd write an editorial that outlined everything I had learned that year, and the goals I had for the following year. It was an exercise in humility ... did I do enough this year? Will my readers be sufficiently impressed? Are my goals lofty enough for next year? Ugh.
The year 2009 has been a tumultuous one for me. Virtually nothing is the same in my life today as it was a year ago. And I mean big stuff ... husband, home, job, pets, friends. As one new friend cogently stated "life circumstances changed." Indeed. But I'm not writing today to whine about all my self-induced change (because that's what it was) or lament about relics of the past. My message today is that I love my life; and it's OK for you to love yours as well.
I experienced a little epiphany the other day. As I sat on the floor playing with my early Christmas present from my sweetie, a 10-week-old Cairn Terrier puppy I named Pearl, I felt a twinge of guilt. At the moment just prior to that, amidst Pearl's puppy growling and air-twirling, I felt sheer and total bliss, utter happiness. My conscience said to me ... "shouldn't you be doing something that makes you miserable, like cleaning toilets, or 'querying' editors about writing assignments?" I texted my sweetie and asked: "What's up with that? Catholic guilt or something?" Why must I feel guilty about being truly happy, for once in a long, long time? The answer is that I don't. So it's true ... I don't have a high-powered office job anymore; I take care of a few dozen animals every day on this farm; I cook supper from scratch every night; I knit and sew the things we need like potholders, curtains and wash cloths; I clean, organize and do laundry; I cheer when I see dead rodents that the dogs or cats have killed outside (and sometimes inside!); and I wait with anticipation for my sweetie to get home from the office every night because ... I love this new life we've created together. (And I love him more than words can express.) For me, it's a life full of inquiry; so much more than when I sat in an office chair every day and was assigned the tasks of creating 5-year plans, performance evaluations, competitive analyses, and the like. Each day is different--I never know what I'll find when I step outside the door and into the barnyard--and by my own choosing.
I was chatting with MaryJane Butters on the phone last week and I shared my "epiphany" with her. She seconded my conclusion and said "yes, why can't we just sit and play with a puppy if we want to, or grandchildren" or whatever for that matter. It's OK to love your life exactly as it is, this day. Embrace those moments of clarity, silence the inner chatter, and revel in the bliss of a puppy's gentle yip or a grandbaby's smile. We don't have to feel guilty or busy ourselves with other, "more important" work because ... there simply isn't any.