This weekend wasn’t particularly eventful, but it was one that makes me realize how incredibly blessed and grateful I am for the family and life I have. This weekend was full of all my favorite things-CrossFit, good food, reading, laughing until I cry with my sisters, and lazy Sunday mornings. I didn’t get to have these wonderful weekends very often a year ago working at my previous job. Not only did I work most weekends but I wasn’t someone anyone would want to hang out with. I’m realizing now that those two years at that job might have been full of tears and stress, but it really makes me grateful for the place I am now.
Madison Magazine arrived on Friday and I opened it up to the very last page, as I usually start every magazine from the end. One of their columnists, John Roach, wrote a touching story about his most recent yearly ice fishing trip with his oldest friends. For twenty years they have gone to the same spot up north and this trip found most of the men around 60 years old. John had a dream recently that stuck with him and decided to share it with his friends. In the dream, John found himself on the UW-Madison campus on graduation day at 20 years old with no real sense of what he wanted do with his life. Everyone around him was happy and excited for their next step in life for which they knew exactly what they wanted to do. “The sense of confusion and sadness was overwhelming. I was flat broke, alone and felt like an utter failure. The sense of fear was overwhelming. Fear that I would amount to nothing. Would find no one to love. Would never make my way in life.” John writes that when he woke up from the dream and realized that none of these things were true; he had an amazing wife, great kids, and a career he was passionate about; he had never felt such relief and happiness.
After reading John’s column, I too, felt relief. I sometimes feel like the twenty year old in his dream. Wandering around watching everyone celebrate their life’s big accomplishments; weddings, first babies, new jobs, promotions, first homes, international travel, etc. And I feel panic that I haven’t figured out my next step and may never will.
But, what resonated most with me from his column was that life is about the journey. The obstacles that we face are what define us and help us realize how grateful we are for when life is good. If we knew that everything turns out OK, would we ever spend our time worrying? Or would we focus on doing the things that we love, spending time with the people that make us happy, and allowing ourselves grace to figure out the rest? I hope that some day I take a look back and realize that I found a career I am passionate about, married the man of my dreams, lived life to the fullest, and felt relief for not wasting too much time worrying about it all.
Read John Roach’s column, “Dreams and the Woods” from Madison Magazine’s March 2014 issue.