It cracks me up looking back. Those are such small things, things that would bring us joy at no cost but from the time we're born, we are told, Wait, Hang on a Minute, Good things come to those who Wait, Wait a Second, Wait for the right time...and on and on. Hugh Laurie once famously said,
"It's a terrible thing, I think, in life to wait until you're ready. I have this feeling now that actually no one is ever ready to do anything. There is almost no such thing as ready. There is only now. And you may as well do it now. Generally speaking, now is as good a time as any."
It's a fallacy that we have to put off dating or marriage or having children in order to be happy or successful. I found the love of my life when we were sixteen and seventeen, working at a little Dairy Queen my grandparents have owned since before I was born. I winked at him from my spot working the drive through and he tossed pickles at me when I wasn't looking. I loved every moment with him and three months into dating Nick, I knew he was the one I was going to marry.
He was driving me home in his little blue pickup and we were passing his family's tiny farm as the sun set over the hills and I felt his arm around me and I felt the warmth of the sun on our sides and the warmth of the love between us and I knew that, looking at his family's house, I wanted his family to be my family. I wanted his life to me my life and mine to be his. I found out later that he felt the same way and now, even through turmoil, I know it was the right choice.
The night after our surrogacy fell through I cried and told Nick how sorry I am that my family genetic disorder is keeping me from being able to safely give us a child. He laugh/cried and said that he was sorry it was a family member of his who gave us that chance, that hope, only to take it away. I felt something at that moment and leaned in close to tell him, Even if I could pick my family...which I did...I would still pick yours...which I did. And I know he feels just the same way. When we join our lives we're picking our families and I'm so glad I didn't wait to form memories with Nick's side of the family. I'm so glad he didn't wait to make memories with mine. He is just as much a part of "us" as I am of "them." Those lines go away and birthday cards are signed, Love, Dad no matter which of us is turning a year older.
This October, we will have been together 14 years, married 8. I'm so glad I didn't wait. But this isn't just about love, it's about life. How often we curtail our dreams, our hopes, even our simple joys because it seems like a better time somewhere in the future. I'm here to tell you, that future might never come. In fact, even if it does come, it's rarely the future that you had planned. So enjoy your life now. Stop waiting, start living.
Now that a massive blood clot and devastating ulcerative colitis have disabled much of my life, I'm so glad that I didn't wait on a lot of things, and to tell the truth, I'm kicking myself about a few. I thought that to be a good mom I needed the perfect little house with room to play in the back yard, I thought I needed just exactly the right work schedule and thousands in savings, I thought that my life needed to be perfect in order to be wonderful, in order for us to be wonderful parents. Hindsight is 20/20 and I do believe that things happen for a reason. I've seen Nick mature into an incredible man and I've changed so much, become much more calm and wiser about the world. That will make us much better parents than we could have ever been five or four or even three years ago. But we didn't need any of that other stuff. There's never a perfect time, everyone kept telling me that, but I felt like I couldn't get sick like this, nothing could come along to completely derail our plans, I could safely keep waiting. If you're ready to be a parent, truly ready like I was, if it's all you want in this world, don't let any picture in your head make you believe that you're lacking something. If you have safety and love and support in this world, don't wait until you have those and the perfect home, those and the perfect daycare picked out, those and the perfect job, those and, and, and.
If you're thinking about going back to school to earn a new degree, don't wait until the perfect time, the perfect time is now. Look before you leap, line up grants and scholarships, talk to your employer and find out if they have any programs to cover some of the cost, find the right school, work hard on your application, look closely but don't be afraid to make that leap.
If you've always wanted to travel to Europe or China or South America, if you've always wanted to see the Grand Canyon on the Pacific Ocean or the Panama Canal, find a way to do that, I beg of you. Before I got sick, I did a lot of traveling. I had a lot of crazy opportunities and I took them all. I found ways, I tagged along, I stayed with people I knew or backpacked or woke up each morning of my trip wondering whether I would choose to use my little funds on food or transportation, whether I wanted and empty belly or blistered feet, but I loved every moment of it and I think that those imperfections were what made my trips so wonderful and spontaneous and funny, they were what spurned me on to say yes to the next travel opportunity or crazy idea. If you don't think you have the perfect circumstances for the trip, laugh and remind yourself that there are no perfect circumstances in life. There is only life and what you make it.
I've found that almost everything in this life is worth taking the leap if you have even an inkling that it could be something worth doing. Something worth accomplishing, something worth changing your life for or even just something that would bring a little joy to your day. Go to some garage sales and find that perfect patio table for a few bucks and enjoy your meals in the sunset. Plant those peonies and watch them bloom. You can always take them with you if and when the future comes. Take that class you were interested in. Pack up your car and drive somewhere you've been wanting to go. Wear that crazy dress. Sign up for a charity run. Even just write a letter to a friend you've been putting off. I've never met anyone who didn't like getting non-bills mail. It's wonderful and it'll come back around.
A few months ago, Nick bought me a little early birthday present, a ceramic bird perched on white branched in a beveled dish. I like to take off my wedding ring and favorite bracelet at night and he thought I might like to have a little dish to keep them in at my bedside. It was the most beautiful little gift and I packed it away in the items for the new house, thinking, Won't this be perfect for our new Master Bedroom. What?! It was perfect for our current master bedroom. It would be a perfect addition to a shanty or shack, it's simple and beautiful and practical and displays the pieces of jewelry that represents our love. So why did I pack it away for another day, another time? It's that mentality that things have to be just right in order to be wonderful. Our nightstands are stained with coffee rings and are, in fact, two halves of an old piece of furniture taken apart (don't get me wrong, I love them) but I thought such a pretty little gift wouldn't be right for our old, stained, hand-me-down furniture. It's just the opposite, that little bird brightened my nightstand and our bedroom and inspired me to clean them both out, make them sleek and organized and zen and now our bedroom is one of my favorite spots in the house. One tiny ring stand; one giant difference.
Don't wait to use your good plates, don't wait to write down your thoughts, don't wait to start that business or learn to practice yoga or gardening or speak a new language. Nothing is as hard as we make it and no time will ever be more right than this one. I hope that today you take a leap, however small. Be sure to share it with me, I'd love to hear about your bravery and joy.
Lots of Love,
*I DO NOT own the rights to this music or video, those belong to Field Report, their record label and affiliates.