Saturday, 18 July 2009

Avoiding Home Base

So you’re standing on first base, foot is tapping, palms are sweaty, crowd is a bit restless. You make eye contact with your buddy who’s up to bat. Quick nod. You know this one is going to be good. He’s gonna knock it out-of-there! Home base for you this round. You feel the adrenaline run up your spin. Glance to second and third, see who is where. So many people showed up for the game tonight, might be your only play. I mean, the point of the game is to get in, right? You want to get to home base as fast and efficiently as possible, right?. The more people in, the better, right? Mom would prefer that you didn’t get your uniform too dirty doing it, too. Get in fast and get in clean. Uninjured. The less blood the better. It’s just a game after all. Buddy kicks his foot up behind him and plants it back down as though to staple it to the dirt. Pitcher winds up, arm locks back, his body pushes everything he’s got forward, all the energy transferring through to his fingertips, into the ball, full force forward... you are totally hitting home base on this… buddy swings and…

But I don’t want to go to home base yet. I know that’s how the game is played. But I still want to be in the game. If I could, I’d add more bases to the game! I want to get sweaty, get tired, get hurt, get bloody! I want the energy to build and die. I want the excitement, the rush. I want to see the crowd get intense. I don’t want the play to stop. I don’t want him to hit it right away. But I do, and I want it to be good, because it feels good, and it’s exciting. And I’m supposed to want him to hit a home run, right? But that’s not good enough for me. I can’t just play the game. Because lets be real here, it’s not really a game I’m talking about anyway. Because once you hit home base, once your turn on the diamond is done, it’s your time to settle down. That’s when the in-laws want kids.

Yep. Kids. Oh, and the mortgage probably came before that. And you’ll want to work on your career, and you need a solid routine to make all that happen. You’ve really got to settle down and get grounded to do it well.

And then, THAT is what you will do for the rest of your energetic life. That is what day in and day out will look like. The kids will be there. The spouse will be there. The job will be there. Of course, this is assuming all goes as you plan.

And I think it’s great! I look forward to the time in my life where I can experience the excitement, challenge, and love of working to spend my life with my husband! I’m ecstatic about the prospect of raising another person, watching and helping them develop into beautiful souls.

But how about I hang out on first base for a while longer. How about I distract the whole play and run around like a maniac in left field. I’ll flirt with the pitcher so he doesn’t throw so quickly. ANYTHING! I’ve got at least another decade, right? I can stall the game for 8-10 years, right?
Ridiculous analogy, I know. But it’s true. Katie’s brilliance in comparing marriage to “home base” today really struck a chord for me. At least, that’s how I look at it. In fact, I think that’s how lots of people look at it. The game isn’t over at that point, you’re just, in essence, not really in “play.” It’s as though there is a safety in saying “I do.” Well, maybe not so much anymore, but most of us are still hopeful. A lot of your decisions have been made, life is “set.” I don’t ever want marriage and family to be a goal or end point in my life. I never want to look at it as home base. Because if that’s the case, I’m never getting married. Never settling down. I’m going to enjoy the play. In fact, I’ll pick a new sport all together. One that doesn’t involve the ump yelling “SAFE” when I slide headfirst over the alter and land that ring on my finger.

Then I look at my fellow 22 year old friends who are getting married and “settling down”. While my congrats and enthusiasm for their happy day is genuine, I still thank the good Lord it’s not me. I plan to spend a large portion of my life married to the same man raising beautiful children. I look forward to those experiences when the time comes. But once I get those, I can’t get back the single years. I can’t reverse the order and experience this time on my own, building friendships and my relationship with God on my own. Once I hit home base, that’s that. That is… commitment. Unless everything goes terribly wrong, that whole marriage experience will be there every day for the rest of my life. But the next ten years? Nuh-uh. Nada. Ix -nay on the arriage-may for quite some time. In fact, ix-nay on the dating, too. It’s just me and my amazing friends from here-on in.

Time to find a new sport. I need something that will make me sweat and bleed a little more than that anyway.

Friday, 3 July 2009

There's more than one way to smell roses...

A few nights ago I was enjoying dinner with some family, all of whom are more than double my age. While I am sure they would deny it, I think they find the "age" thing more relevant than I do. Midway through our dinner conversation, one family friend was surprised to hear how young I am due to my careful articulation and the topic of conversation I was entertaining. Everyone at the table quickly chimed in to assure me that I should not worry or concern myself with such serious topics at such a young age and should just enjoy my life! With a laugh and eye roll, I chose not to spend any time convincing them that I live essentially stress and worry free and thoroughly appreciate every moment of my life. I instead made a joke about how in effort to take time to smell the roses a bit more, I only work 6 months out of the year - "it's better than early retirement!" I exclaim. Well, then comes the "you have to earn retirement, little lady" and "I worked damn hard to be able to relax now", even "in 30 years, I'll have some empathy, deary." I, again, held my tongue, took a breath, and continued making fun of my current unemployed state.

I felt the need to re-read this short story, as it always encourages me to just enjoy the moments we have now and not seek them in the future.

Enjoy your life now.

The story is told of a businessman walking along the beach one mid morning, talking intensely on his mobile phone. After he finishes his call, he notices a fisherman relaxing by his boat with his young son. He shouts to the fisherman, "why are you not out fishing?"...
He replies " I've already caught enough fish for the day"
"why don't you go catch more fish?"
"then what?" asks the fisherman
"then you can make more money"
"then what?"
"then you can buy more boats, and employ more people and eventually have a large and successful business"
"then what?"
"then you can relax on the beach and enjoy your family"
To this the fisherman replied " what do you think i am doing today?"

Mark 2:27 "then He said to them, 'the sabbath was made to benefit people, and not people to benefit the sabbath."

With age being unequivocal to wisdom and life enjoyment, I take this story to heart. While my comments of half-working years were mere jokes, I still think long sabbaticals are a great idea and more important to life success and happiness than any amount of long work hours and money making endeavors could cause. And we all now how I feel about money...