Friday, May 11, 2007

The Life I've Imagined

“Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you’ve imagined.”

--Henry David Thoreau

My friend, Anne, has that quote at the top of her blog. I love it. Sometimes I don't do a very good job of living it, though. I make excuses that usually have to do with restraints of time and money. But lately I've been making a concerted effort to live the life I've imagined.

The life I've imagined is full of vitality and health and fruits and vegetables, so I am rekindling my friendship with my treadmill and we are buying more colorful, fibrous, leafy foods at the market. I told Nate that all the money we're socking away for retirement is not going to be worth a dang, and our golden years not so golden, if we're shuffling around with high cholesterol, diabetes, heart disease and a host of other unpleasant companions. So I've been stocking up on fresh strawberries that are on sale everywhere this week, slicing them, sealing them, and freezing them to enjoy in smoothies and over fresh waffles all year. My fridge is a rainbow of healthy options--tomatoes on the vine, zucchini, green leaf lettuce, carrots. I've even got the necessary fixins for a delicious smoothie sitting in my freezer--which is definitely a step in the direction of my dreams. Apparently a "Health Revolution" isn't the stuff dreams are made of for Henry, who keeps getting our 72 hour emergency kits out and asking for the little packages of raisins in them. I guess you can't please everyone.

The life I imagined is also full of creativity. I like to make things. I also like to take old, ugly things and make them useful, even beautiful. This creative outlet was always the first thing to go when I felt the money pinch. So I got a little job to help pay for some of this creativity that I have learned is an indispensable part of my contentedness. But since then, I've learned that it doesn't take much money to be creative; in fact, for me, some of the joy in the process, is being frugal and creating something wonderful for next to nothing. Thrift satisfies me like few other things. Garage sales, thrift stores, and Craig's List have been my allies in this creative crusade. And if you pick up an old vanity from a garage sale and make it darling with your own imagination, some sweat, and a fresh coat of paint, then you can be sure that you'll be the only one who owns a white vintage vanity whose drawers have been removed and replaced with baskets. And there's just something ticklish about feeling unique, isn't there? Here's the vanity before I started painting:

I'm about to apply the last coat of paint. Almost done! I'll post pictures when it's finished.

A few months ago I quenched the creative thirst by making some "art" to hang above my fireplace. It's a big space and my pocketbook can't handle big art, so I covered three blank canvases with fabric. Simple.

But a tasteful way to fill the space.

The life I've imagined is also garnished with fresh herbs--basil, oregano, thyme, cilantro, mint. I don't choose to afford the luxury of fresh herbs at the market, so I've chosen to grow my own. We'll see how this goes; I've quite a history of house-planticide, so I'm not sure how long my little herbs will thrive, but I'm going to give a mighty effort to care for them lovingly and attentively. Here's the kitchen windowsill herb garden:

The life I've imagined is well informed about important issues and comes to informed decisions and opinions based on morals and principle. The life I'm living is doing a very poor job of this. I need to make some efforts to more nearly align my imagined life with my actual life in this department. How do you stay astute? I could use some hints.

The life I've imagined is surrounded by a rosy cloud of hearts because I've imagined it to be brimming over with love. The life I am living is laden with very much love, but there's always room for more. More kindness, more compassion, more service--yes, I need more of them all. In this department my imagined life and my actual life will always need realigning, I'd suppose. To point things in the direction of our dreams in the love department, Nate and I are going on a date tonight--a picnic, which I think will foster a lot of lovely feelings--and we're paying a babysitter for the first time in our two year stint as parents. Astonishing, isn't it? We have been out on dates before, we're just expert swappers and have never actually paid for babysitting services until tonight. I'm excited. It's strange to feel like I'm living what I imagined grown-up-dom would be like when I was a little girl.

Of course, there's more to my life, real and imagined, than I've mentioned, but these are the things I felt like sharing. There'll be more, I'm sure. I feel like this, living the life I've imagined and going confidently in the direction of my dreams, is something I'm always having to remind myself to do. I'm going to be more diligent about it because when I'm doing it, I am so fulfilled that I am actually able to give more, and give more cheerfully, to the people I couldn't imagine living without.

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