The Most Important Thing. . .

Just yesterday, I was reading an online Q and A with Elizabeth Gilbert, (Eat, Pray, Love) and came across this advice from her.  "The most important thing in your life today will get the most time."  She goes on to say, "Every day I have to mobilize myself and ask, 'What is the most important thing today?' and then I say to myself, 'Prove it Liz.'"  I loved reading this!  It reminds me that we all have to make decisions every day that shape our lives.  How motivating it is to think to myself, "If my family, or my writing, or teaching, or my yoga practice is really important to me, why the heck am I wasting time reading random FB posts during my morning quiet time?"  But it is more than that isn't it?  I struggle with acknowledging "what is important", sometimes from minute to minute, not just day to day. 

Sometimes the "what is important to me today", isn't so straightforward, as I noticed this weekend.  We spent a couple days in Maine, and took one to visit the Fryeburg Fair.  I found myself feeling not quite tip top that morning, and though I had been looking forward to the trip, once we were there I was just going through the motions. . . ok, where's a ticket booth?, which rides do you want? we'll get a candy apple after, I was just on autopilot as if I didn't really want to be there. It was drizzly, but not too cold and we separated so Lila and I could find the little kid rides.  Though it may seem silly there were a couple points where I just had to ask myself, "What is important today?", but it was not just "what's important to me?" my family of course, but within that, if family is important to me, then I had to ask, "What is important to them?"  Fortunately it was not just to spend money and eat junk food, but also to experience things they may not experience every day, so when Lila went through the fun house and decided to log roll through the spinning cylinder at the end, I didn't tell her to "stop", or "get up", or "don't get muddy, hurry up", because to her, in that moment, rolling in that tunnel was, "the most important thing." and I reminded myself that my most important thing in that moment was to say "yes!".

A bit later, the boys headed into the blacksmith's shop to have another link of chain added to their link from a previous visit, and my husband suggested the baby barnyard for Lila.  She Loved that idea, and I said "yes!", but my personal reaction even before we rounded the corner to see the line headed into the petting barn was sadly, "ugh."  I was standing there with my little girl, waiting probably a bit impatiently *smirk*, when I thought to myself, "This is why we are here!  Hello lady, wake up and be in the moment."  That is the point when I began to notice the line wasn't so long, Lila was enjoying a nearby show of young tap dancers, the rain isn't so bad just really thick mist, what a great day we are having!  When we entered the barnyard it became very apparent that Lila knew what was important to her and she found some of the cutest little goats to pet and feed.  The barn was filled with little critters, goat kids, people kids and lots of clean dry hay, one of the most lovely "petting barn" experiences I have had.  She was in heaven, and she brought me with her.

I left the fair with my family, smiling at the great day and memories.  Now with a bit of nostalgic melancholy, I recall a time when the boys were still tiny, probably it was when I just had the one, that living in the moment and saying "yes!" to my life was so much more natural feeling.  Perhaps because "all that was important" was rolled up in one tiny package and a husband and we had committed to me staying home at that time, so I had no distractions, no other ambitions or dreams to dilute my focus at that moment.  As time moves forward, my family grows, and I return to teaching, and discover writing, my focus shifts so frequently, I have to keep reassessing and reminding myself of what is important today. . . what is important right now. 


Stacey said...

I often get sucked in to things that are probably not the most important thing. I'm glad you shared this since I'm going to start asking myself this question daily... starting tomorrow.

Terje said...

Such a thoughtful post. Your thinking of what matters at that moment (not just what you want), and how you chose to say yes and appreciate moments that were important to your child show how well you were able to stay in the "now." Not an easy task.
I appreciate your comment on my "cultural identity" post. Your questions fuel my thinking and I wish to continue exploring the topic.