What Do You Want To Do With Your One Wild & Precious Life

Author’s note: This post was written back in July (hence my reference to July 4th), but I skipped on posting it because of all the unsettling news coming out of America at the time (read here for my thoughts on that). I didn’t want this post to go to waste, and while the references may be a little backdated, I think the message is still relevant and quite fitting for the start of a new month. I hope you enjoy! xx

Happy {very} Belated 4th of July friends!

Ha! Just kidding – Happy August! 😀

DCT and I spent the holiday weekend with my parents in Germany {which is so weird to think I can casually take a weekend trip to Germany, like it’s going to Milwaukee or something}.

I had every intention of photographing what celebrating the 4th outside America is like, but I

1. Forgot my camera {trying to pack at 3AM will do that to you…}

And

2. Spent most of our time hanging around the house simply enjoying being around family since it’d been awhile since we saw a familiar face.

While there was plenty of time spent drinking wine and gazing at the rolling hills of the German countryside {see photo below}, as with most vacays, I was in desperate need for a book to spend my days with {because I forgot to pack one of those as well….did I mention how early morning flights are the worst}.

After perusing my mom’s collection of psychological and sci-fi thrillers, one book caught my eye that stuck out like a sore thumb amongst her stacks of Stephen King’s & Dean Koontz’s — Eat, Pray, Love by my creative living guru, Elizabeth Gilbert.

I’ve read her most recent book Big Magic backwards and forwards, but never got around to picking up the one that really started it all.

And being that I’m currently in a time of transition & self-discovery, what better to read than about someone I personally admire during her time of self-discovery.

Now while I definitely don’t have the means to live in 3 different countries {moving to England was a stretch enough as is} or search for enlightenment at an Ashram in India, I’m enjoying the underlying message of her stories.

One part in particular struck a chord with me in terms of where I am right now in life:

While in Italy exploring the pursuit of pleasure, Gilbert mentions how she struggled fully embracing pleasure because of what she called Protestant Guilt.

Having grown up Catholic, I know it as Catholic Guilt.

Whatever you want to call it, it essentially represents the insecurity we {especially Americans – go figure} feel about whether we have earned or deserve our happiness.

You experience a moment of utter bliss whether it’s gazing out the window of your sun soaked London apartment or in Gilbert’s case – eating a transcendent slice of pizza.

But as soon as the moment is over you give yourself a mental hand slap.

What gives you the right to be so happy when you still haven’t done this, that, or the other thing! And with all the suffering going on in this world? How dare you!

Yup, guilt is a ferocious beast that takes the fun right out of everything.

I find these thoughts of guilt to be especially true when trying to define what we want out of our life.

Not everyone has the privilege to decide what they want to do with their life. Some people have very limited options – some none at all.

Knowing this, I believe many of us hold ourselves back – myself included – from declaring what we want and going after it pedal to the metal.

Because, again, what gives us the right to go after what we want when there are others who don’t even get the luxury of choosing.

When asked what do you want, if you’re anything like me, you may freeze up and go into a slight panic –

Who me? You want to know what I want?

– and as result your answer will typically go one of two ways.

You either claim you don’t know.

OR

You declare things you think you should want, that sound nice in theory, but in reality you couldn’t care less.

These answers always come from a place of fear, guilt, or a combination of the two.

We don’t believe we deserve or have earned that sort of happiness/joy/pleasure and so we deny ourselves of even entertaining the thought.

But as my favorite Howard Thurman quote states {find it at the end of this blog post} and what I’m gathering from Eat, Pray, Love is if you truly want to discover, unleash, and love yourself – you’ve got to declare what you want and then go do those things.

So what do you want?

What would bring you joy this month? This week? Tomorrow? Today? Right now?

I’ve been sitting with this question for a while since moving to London and as of right now I have 3 things:

1. I want to reignite my sense of curiosity and wonder by exploring, learning, and experiencing as much as I can in London and all of Europe {Brexit be damned!}.

2. I want to intentionally create {zing!} moments of everyday joy, whether that’s spending 10 extra minutes on a good book, having a second glass of wine, or going to get gelato before dinner {which, real talk, will be happening once I finish this post}.

3. I want to write a new story and invite others to do the same, because I don’t believe the story I’ve been living and telling lately is authentic to who I am.

So now I turn it over to you…

What is one thing you want this month?

Don’t hold yourself back.

Declare it loud and proud in the comments.

And with that, I’m off for gelato….