Seriously, though. In less than a decade, I feel like I have almost precisely let myself go. My mom and I were talking the other day and we were discussing that old common adage, or cliche, “It is what it is.” She was saying how much she hates the phrase-how it seems to warp all reality into this undelightful consequence, but in almost every circumstance, no matter how the conversation unfolds, it always seems to end the same. “I have no money;” It is what it is. “My car broke down and I had to take it for a diagnostic;” It is what it is. “The neighbor left their heaping trash can in front of my drive and it fell, getting trash all over my yard;” It is what it is. I tried something different today. Instead of saying, “it is what it is,” I challenged myself to think “it could be something better.”
While I write this I think back to one of my lectures in college. The assignment was to analyze how Calvin responds to a request from his teacher in a Calvin and Hobbs comic. When she asks him to do his work, he makes up his mind that he is not going to work. Instead, he chooses to day dream about playing a game with his friend Hobbs. In my analysis of this character, I determined that he had a fixed mindset and lacked the desire to develop a mastery learning profile. He had little motivation to participate in the learning with his class. Calvin, in fact, was your classic kid in the back that came to school and that was the extent of his effort. But, is that not all of us? In fact, could it be said that Calvin was an established, “it is what it is” kinda person? Possibly... but if that is the case, how do we break the mold? We all have the daily routine to answer to. The boss is not life itself, but the life that we are given. In the comic, the teacher, like a boss, was demanding in several ways, but often she was heard in the background of Calvin’s otherwise creative make-believe life. How could he defy the teacher in such a way that his creative side became the forefront of himself and he was able to live the way he felt he should?
Even more, I return to today and I reflect on a recent program that I have found an increasing interest in, “Off the Grid.” In the show, regular people, such as you or I, decide to uproot and move to a remote location where they build a home that is self-sustained; no electrical bills, water bills, phone...these people choose to completely live where they can be on their own entirely away from the daily life that most of us participate in. In an attempt to avoid digression, can I just say, Wow, right? What bravery! I can’t install my own toilet let alone build my own greenhouse!
Well, anyone that knows me, knows I am not completely up to uprooting and walking away from all that I know. Let alone uprooting to a remote location where large animals can find me as prey, no thank you. But let’s return to my idea as I mentioned before. My idea that maybe we could make it better, whatever “it” may be for you. Maybe you are pushing off a vacation with your husband? Maybe it is time to go back to school and you are looking for the time to seek best colleges? Maybe you recently came across a DIY pinterest that you want to try? In my case, it is about making time for me. Not to say that I am not proud of my accomplishments, my family, my children, or where I am at now; contrarily, I want to acknowledge that personal growth, my own goals, have a place in my life. Thus, I have decided on setting a goal with myself. I have made a recent commitment to myself, friends; actually, as in yesterday. It is not motivation that I feel I am lacking, nor is it drive or self-efficacy, rather, it is time. I have designed my day to prescribe one hour of time for me. I may want to work out, read a self-help book, listen to new country hits, draw, write, or meditate. But it is my time. This is my attempt to begin to put myself, not first, but as one of my many priorities. In a week or so, once I have established this as a set routine, I will work to develop a specific point of focus.
That being said, I invite you to join me today or tomorrow or whenever you read this. You see, when discussing the threats of Coronavirus in our now insecure daily life, when talking about the riots and the losses of life from all nationalities and social groups, when talking about the choices that we have made in the past-yes, it is what it is. There are some obstacles in life that we may not have control over and things that happen by circumstance. However, in my life, in my personal life, where I hide behind the roles that I carry or the excuses I sum up, perhaps there is something more, perhaps it could be something better? Instead of daydreaming about what you want to do, or what you could do, take a small step by breaking away and planning out your endeavor. Purchase that ticket, and ask for permission later. Beso a beso my friends and if you have an amazing story where you broke away from your ‘Calvin,’ please share. Because in your stories, in each other’s stories, there lies strength and growth.