If we all lived each moment completely in ourselves and with our hearts and desires on our sleeves?
On the first day of every school year, my mom would read me and Emily a book. It was the same book every year, even though it quickly was no longer age appropriate. The book was called Grover Goes to School. It was a story about Grover from the famous show Sesame Street and his first day in a new school. ( To make it applicable, Mom would change the words up a little bit to say things like "Grover goes to 5th grade" or "Grover goes to college"--- yes, my mom even read this to me on my first day of college.)
In the story, Grover gives up his sandwich to a kid who asks him to trade when he actually does not want to trade, but is in fear of losing a friend. Later, Grover gives up his new crayons for a broken truck because he doesn't want to hurt his new friend's feelings. Essentially, Grover is a pushover in the name of making and keeping new friends.
Later on in the book, Grover has a small meltdown and his new friend explains to him that he doesn't have to give up the things he loves just to make friends. So, he puts this into action when he is asked to trade his fancy pencil box and he says a polite, "no, thank you." His new friend accepts his "no" and they play together anyways.
The moral of the story is not only to stand up for yourself and not be a pushover, but more importantly to BE YOURSELF. (Mom always made sure to point this out at the end, Danny Tanner style.)
As corny as a children's book can be sometimes, it can also provide a very simple and wholesome lesson that we, as adults, need to hear even more now than we did as children.
Regardless of where you are in life, somewhere along the line we give up little parts of ourselves. When our dreams get too tough, we settle and go for something easier. When our quirky sense of style doesn't seem to fit in, we modify it so that others don't think we are odd. When we are criticized for our belief system, we back down and don't stand up for it anymore.
I love to design, so naturally I am going to relate this to design. When I bought my first home, I went to all the trendy stores (only the budget friendly ones, I might add) and got pictures, bedding, furniture and other items to fill my home. I always felt unsatisfied and disinterested in my new home. I worked so hard to buy my first home and then there I was overwhelmed by this ugly decorated home. It just felt.... off. A few weeks later I was in an antique store and found an old door that I loved. When asked what I was going to do with it I said "hang it on the wall as a centerpiece for the room." I was laughed at more times than once. (Keep in mind this was well before the big bang of popular shabby chic decor.)
That door began the journey to me truly designing a home that made me a happy...a home that fit and harbored love and excitement when I walked in the door.
Why did I finally feel excited and happy about my space? Not because I got nicer furniture because most of it was older and junkier. Because it was ME. My style finally fit ME.
This is a piddly example of being yourself, especially if you don't care much for design, but it was fitting to me.
When we let ourselves chip away to outside factors, little by little, we lose ourselves. We get lost in our relationships, lost in our children, lost in our work and lost in the world.
Sometimes we have to examine ourselves and who we are-- to see if we really are being our true selves. Often times we will find that we have strayed and lost ourselves along the way somewhere.
It's never too old to find yourself, to be yourself and live the life you were purposed for.
I'm challenging myself to search. To look deep. To find places I have strayed and to put tactics in place that get me back to this place- wherever that may be.
Life is too short to live someone else's life.