The one in which Cancer survivor Jackie Dawe tells us about not giving a hoot and a hollar about losing her hair and that shockingly, going through Chemo during Coronavirus has not made her kids less annoying.
The one in which RVA artisit Meredith Nystrom tells us of her love of lichen, her kids, and knowing her own limits. What a gift it is to hear someone else basically say "I am know who I am and I trust that is enough."
So for my main gig, I am a writer. Or, more specifically, I am a content developer for a small marketing and PR firm. This is a fancy way of saying I tell stories that help people learn things in the hopes that they serve people. There are some words I use in that world like SEO and target markets, but, at the end of the day, I just ask why and tell stories. It really is not more than that.
I believe that each of us have a story to tell. A story that needs to be heard. The stories that most interest me are about regular people doing irregular things. The stories about your perfect Insta life are of zero interest to me. Tell me the story about that time you failed and all odds were against you and yet you still got up off the mat. I want to know about that time Johnny swept your leg and you did the crane move and won the trophy. I want to know about your failure and how you rebuilt your life. I want to know about the time you were bloodied and bruised and your friends held you up like some weird Weekend at Bernie's bit. These moments where we live on the brink of exhaustion in the pursuit of joy are the good stuff.
I am a huge Teddy Roosevelt fan. I have his Man in the Arena speech hanging in my kitchen so that his words about daring greatly can be in front of my kids and me everyday. But he also said this:
“For us is the life of action, of strenuous performance of duty; let us live in the harness, striving mightily; let us rather run the risk of wearing out than rusting out.” --Teddy Roosevelt
But lest you think this is some battle call to do more: just stop. Back away from your pinterest account. No, friend. I am not calling you to do more. What I am calling you to do is choose more wisely. Stop with the wearing out of all the things you do because "they" told you to do it. A. Who is they? B. They are dumb.
Here is the secret no one says out loud: everyone is making it up as they go along. So make your way yours. Find that thing that makes you belly laugh, that energizes you, that feeds your soul, and DO MORE OF THAT. It really is that simple. Stop with the activities that drain your energy. Marie-Kondo your life. And saddle up.
Will you be tired? Hell yes, you will. But it will be a hard fought for exhaustion that makes you proud. And realize you are not alone. Lots of us are saddling up in the pursuit of joy and exhaustion. Join us.