Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The Whole "Grown-up" Thing
When I was a kid, I remember getting my brothers and my sister together to play marathon games of "Monopoly".  We always started out with such enthusiasm, "We're playing the LONG version, right?"  Determined to really stick with it this time, we'd get out all the pieces, sort out all the cards and money, (they were never put away neatly for some reason)  we'd all choose our playing piece.   Steve would be the car, Rob would be the dog, I'd end up the wheelbarrow or something lame, and Nancy would be the shoe.  Steve was always the banker, since he is the oldest.  After about 3 or 9 hours of play, one of us, or all of us, would get sick of it.   Someone was allegedly cheating, or something  hadn't been fair, or it had just gone on way too long and it wasn't  fun anymore.  The game would then come to an end as a result of one of my siblings throwing all the pieces onto the floor with one hostile swipe.  ( I never did this ) We'd all be pretty mad at each other for about 7 minutes, then one of us would put away the game, (that was usually me) then we'd all go find something else to do.  I would most likely head out to the garage to make something.
I could always find safety in the quiet world of imagination and the process of creation.

At this point, I've been a "grown-up" for quite some time.  I've seen a lot of the amazing things this life has to offer.  I've raised two kids, traveled to and lived in wonderful places, learned many new things, and shared time with some terrific people.  I've also seen a lot of the not so happy parts of life.  The kind of stuff that makes me long for simpler times, and causes me to wonder, How did life get so complicated?  Life throws out stuff a little harder to deal with than having to mortgage a plastic house to pay "luxury tax".  And it can pile up to the point where I'm really tempted to throw all the pieces on the floor and say, "This isn't fun anymore!"  I'm at the point where "go to jail" seems like a respite, well, maybe "free parking" would be a better option. You know, just sit out a couple of turns.  But the game goes on.  So I have figured out some ways to press on, and finish the Long version.  The first thing I've learned is to be in the moment.  Not an easy thing.  I tend to look back or to look ahead, and not be very focused on right now.  But when I can do it, its a good place to be.  Now is the only time I can find joy or be at peace.  I can't plan to be joyful tomorrow, or to be at peace next week, I don't know what is in store for tomorrow, and I can't predict where I'll need to be next week.  So I work on enjoying the now.  Second, I hold on to my faith.  That is where I have hope that there is more than this life.  And in the big picture this life is pretty short, and it's really okay that I don't understand all of the "why's".  And of course, I go back to what I learned as a child, I retreat to the safety of imagination, and dwell in the process of creation.  It is the place where I am most able to be in the now.   It allows me to somehow be outside of myself, while fully being within myself.  Completely in touch with my self, and somehow, separated from myself.  I can return from that place with a renewed outlook on life.  A fresh perspective and a knowledge that even though it's really rough sometimes, things will go on.  In the struggles, I have grown in ways that I could not have with out the hardships.  And in that growth, I have not lost the essence of who I am.
So today, in this moment, I find peace in knowing that when the game gets unfair, when someone is cheating, or it just isn't fun anymore, I know there will again be a time when I can go out to the garage and make something.