When I was young, and my mom and I were on our own, she would often say “the world does not revolve around YOU.” I would laugh it off and think ‘well of course it does, silly!’ When you have a lot of alone time you can either a) wallow in it, or b) convince yourself that you’re one hell of a constant companion. I chose the latter. I talked to myself in my head, and would sometimes continue that conversation out loud with her, and she usually had no idea what on earth I was talking about. I didn’t understand why she couldn’t follow.
My lovely husband, the guy who got stuck with me, is now the one who has no clue what I’m talking about because apparently he can’t hear my inner dialogue either. It’s a shame because I really do think up a lot of wonderful things. There are times, however, that my inner dialogue is narrow. And when the words come tumbling out of my head and into the real world there are plenty of opportunities for me to give the impression that I only care about what’s happening in my world.
Sometimes that’s true. When I’m wrapped up in work, or with the little girls, or with my fitness level (or lack thereof), it’s easy for me to put blinders on. It’s easy to say that I can’t think about one more thing. Can’t take on one more project. And frankly, can’t give energy to anything other than my own life…because for the love of Pete…life can be tricky and messy and hard.
But it could be harder. It has been harder.
Life altering events have a way of changing one’s perspective.
My Grandma is dying. There is no devastating disease or tragic accident, she’s been healthy all her life, golfing daily until just a couple of years ago. It’s just the ailments that accompany aging. But the thing is, her personality led me to believe she’d live to be 105, if for no other reason than to spite people (my kind of woman). I’m sad. Really sad. She’s lived in AZ since I was nine or ten, so I’ve only seen her one or two times a year since then, but I’m still having a hard time comprehending that it’s real. She’s always been this force that existed in our lives regardless of how many times we actually saw her face-to-face.
And like taking off tinted sunglasses, everything around me looks different. My recent tunnel vision that has kept my focus solely on my own little world suddenly feels far too narrow. Over the past couple of days I’ve caught up on a lot of reading. Newspapers, blogs, and I’ve watched some heartbreaking and inspiring talks given by writers for whom I have a great deal of respect. And the bottom line is…I need to get back in the game of creating goodness in the world around me.
Now…to be clear…I am being flip when I say that I only think of myself. My entire career, until joining my family business last December, has been made up of hard work in the nonprofit sector. I’ve volunteered, I’ve supported, I’ve donated, I’ve spoken out for and against things about which I feel passionate. But the fact of the matter is that it’s been awhile. The community is calling and it’s asking “what have you done for me late-leee?”
At the beginning of this year I decided I needed a year free of a lot of things. Things I’d been schlepping around for a good long time. It seems that I also decided I wanted to be free of the problems our communities and neighbors are facing. In retrospect I don’t think that’s acceptable. Not one bit. Because my mom was right…the world doesn’t revolve around me (as much as I’d sometimes like it to).
Last night I was thinking about what my Grandma would want for me. She’s always been a tough nut to crack, so trying to assume what goes on or went through her head is a fool’s game, but something I know with certainty is that she loves me (that and she’d want me to be a great golfer). When I think of what I would want for my little girls who I love more than anything, or my future granddaughters, I would want them to straight up trail blaze. I would want them to do everything in their power to make their world a better place for everyone. I would want them to follow their dreams.
Perhaps the best way to honor my Grandma, and to deal with her impending passing, is to do those things myself (and become a better golfer). Honestly…I’m not even sure what that will look like or mean…but I’ll keep my eyes and heart wide open to opportunities to trail blaze, to make the world a better place, and to follow any dreams that have long been awaiting my active participation.