Twenty Questions, Part I

I spent some time yesterday surfing around online, and I stumbled across the most thought provoking article: "20 Questions That Could Change Your Life." I was intrigued by the concept, and then even more intrigued by the questions themselves - and to be honest, I'm not sure if these 20 questions will really change my life  in any significant way, but after I read the intro to the article, I left it sitting and came here to start this post. As of right now, I haven't seen the questions - I'm just going to share them with you as I finish the article, answering as I go.

I guess we'll see together if it "changes my life", but in the meantime I'm really loving this bit:

"Asking them today could redirect your life. 
Answering them every day will transform it."

And the questions are ...

1. What questions should I be asking myself?
Hmm. Maybe this is more serious than I originally thought. As the author stated, asking oneself this question "creates an alert, thoughtful mind." It makes you tune in to your life, to who you are - because in searching for questions, you tend to look at the difference between what's right and what's wrong in your life. And then you begin to ask yourself other questions:
  1. "What am I doing with my life?"
  2. "Where is this particular adventure going to take me?"
  3. "Am I really who I want to be?"
Sometimes those are really the most difficult questions, aren't they? If I had to choose one to meditate on, I think I like the idea of combining those to end up with something like, "Where am I going in life?"

But for me to answer that one - for you or for me - you'll just have to follow along as I live it out.

2. Is this what I want to be doing?
Wow, what a question. You know, if I take this question in my general, happy-go-lucky, always-joking kind of way, I'd say, "No, what I want to be doing is lying on a chaise on a beach somewhere tropical, basking in the sun while sexy, muscular cabana boys bring me cocktails and offer to entertain me in various ways for the duration of my stay." But the truth of it, if I answer the question in a serious way - in a way that's as real as it can possibly be - then I'd say simply, "Yes."

All I've ever wanted to do is write. All I've ever wanted was to write books and make a name for myself. And while I'm a long way from where I eventually want to be, I still haven't come close to meeting all my writing goals yet.

I love that I've taken this step, that I've pushed myself so hard to get where I am now; it's only been just a few short months since I published my first novel, and I've made a lot of progress toward my goals in that time. But I'm still anxious to keep moving forward, to get where I'm going, to meet those ultimate goals ...

In the meantime? "Yes, I'm doing exactly what I want to be doing."

3. Why worry?
Honestly, I try not to worry very often - but we're all human and we all have things in our lives that are wrong, things that hurt us. Everyone has some goal that they're trying to reach, something they're afraid of, or some problem they aren't sure how to solve. We all have worries.

But we don't have to give in to it, do we? We can focus on where we are right now, taking little bitty baby steps toward where we want to be - still mindful, still grateful for what we have and where we are in our lives.

Sure, there will always be things that are wrong, but worrying won't make them right. So make a plan, take the steps, and solve the problem ... don't just sit around stressing. At least, that's the way I try to do it. Mostly.

4. Why do I like {cupcakes} more than {people}?
Okay, in the interest of honesty, who doesn't like cupcakes more than people??

But seriously, for this one, the writer of the article instructs us to replace the bracketed words with things more personally appropriate to our lives, with the first thing being something we do like and the second being something we should like. So then ... hmm.

I could change it to, "Why do I like {reading} more than {housework}?" or I could change it to, "Why do I like {texting} more than {talking}?"

But again, if I tell the entire truth here, it doesn't matter what words I put in the brackets. The answer will almost always be some variation of "because I'm a procrastinator." I like to do things on my own time, when I "get around to it." And nothing bothers me quite like feeling rushed or feeling like I have to do something. I find that even if it's something I inherently love to do, making it something I have to do automatically seems to make it something I don't want to do.

 5. How do I want the world to be different because I lived in it?
Wow, just when I was getting a little afraid that I wouldn't be able to answer all these, huh? I think it's a hard thing for any of us to grasp the reality of our place in the world. We really do have that kind of power - the kind of power to impact and maybe even change the world by the things we do and say and accomplish while we're here. Even our greatest stars and most famous people all started out as children, regular children who ate weird foods and drooled a little and fell down a lot. But look, little Barack Obama grew up to be the first black president of the United States. Little Katie Holmes grew up to be a famous actress, and little Justin Bieber grew up to be ... well, we'll come back to that when he actually grows up, but you get my point.

But we get caught up in that, don't we? We get caught up in thinking, "I'm just one person, I can't change the world, I don't have that kind of power or influence." But the thing is, yes you do. You do have that kind of power.

In your daily life you interact with men, women, and children who might remember you. They might be left with an impression of a more loving world if you love them. They might be left with an impression of a more accepting world if you accept them. They might be left with an impression of a kinder and more forgiving world if you are kind and forgiving.

You can change the world; you can have an impact on the world, just by being a good person and touching the people around you. Because as we all know ...

But to give a more honest and personal answer ... I think my children are my most valuable contribution. If you sit them down and ask them if the world is all sunshine and roses, they'll say no because I have been honest with them and I don't go out of my way to protect them from inevitable disappointment. But if you ask them if their mother loves them, they'll say yes. If you ask them if they are special, they will say yes. If you ask them if they have potential, they will say yes.

None of this seems like anything special or terribly impactful just yet, though, does it? After all, I'm "just" a mom. But these little girls will grow up knowing they can chase (and catch) their dreams, because I am determined that they will see me chase (and someday catch) my own. They will believe in their own potential because I will encourage them to find and nurture their passions. They will know that even when the world is cold, home is not. And because they are given a sense of safety and future and potential ... who knows what legacy I will leave behind in them?

The best part is that I don't have to know that answer right now. All I need to know is that I'm leaving something meaningful in the world, and that's really all that matters to me anyway.

... intermission ...

Wow, what a post! I am loving working my way through these questions - but in the interest of keeping this post from being obnoxiously long, I'm going to answer more of these 20 questions in a new post, coming soon.