The chicken round-up…a competitive, down and dirty, sweaty sport played on our farm. Those ladies know how to stagger and dash quicker than an NBA point guard headed down the arena floor. Recently I agreed to participate in a little early morning one-on-one with one of the fab four as she had made her way across the road into land untraveled- by chickens. Dressed in work clothes and pulling out of the drive, I spied the little feathered adventure seeker as she victoriously strutted and pranced not knowing what danger waited silently nearby. I pondered for a moment…looked at my high heels and just for the briefest of time…thought to let her go and see what happens. But I then quickly decided to take up the challenge as she was way over her head in this. The round-up was on. Her three squawking cheerleaders poked their heads through the fence line and chanted incessantly as they watched my approach. We engaged in a few moments of “run-n-grab” before I knew I needed to change tactics. We stared at each other not daring to flinch. And then…in one big swoop I had her in my hands. Her wings were fluttering and the cheering section was agog with bawks and cackles. I returned her to the safety of the big green pastures and open fields and I dared ask the age-old question….”why did the chicken cross the road…?” She never answered me.
Why did I secretly and silently yearn to be one of those “older teenage girls” when I was but a young shy ten-year old? They were so much cooler than me. They walked with confidence and had many friends and knew what to expect of the world around them- or so I thought.
Why did I impatiently desire to be one of those “older college girls” when I was but a young and insecure high school student? They were so much cooler than me. They lived a carefree life, made their own rules and walked their own paths. They had the world by the tail and life was filled with possibilities and freedom- or so I thought.
Why did I eagerly desire to be one of those “married girls” who sported a diamond ring and a doting husband. Anticipating a family and a house to call my own as I endlessly grazed through magazines at long wedding dresses and dog-eared my favorites. My name repeatedly written adding his last name in a fancy longhand script complete with extra loops and swirls. Surely a fulfilled, dreamy life- or so I thought.
Why did I passionately yearn with desire to be a professional woman when I was still a new mother and wife. Those women in suits and pressed collars with a daily destination that was so different from mine. They were driven, successful and had a career attached to their identity. I too wanted to make my mark in the world in some way. I wanted my family to be proud of me and my children to see that they could reach for the stars and achieve. Success defined who I am- or so I thought.
Why do I now so desperately desire to live in the moment? No longer anxiously striving to see beyond the mist of tomorrow. Could it be that I have learned a lesson or two along the way? Why those teenage girls had no more confidence than me. They were looking ahead and wishing to be that dauntless college girl. Yet those college girls had learned that they do not make up all the rules and life is not so carefree when you are struggling with limited funds and long nights of studying. Ah and the married girls ….a tough new world when learning to share the good and bad with a partner. Babies crying in the night, bills to be paid and learning the rules of give and take. The professional women… in suits and high heels paid more that the price of their clothing. Obligations of work did not make the sleepless nights and responsibilities of parenthood any easier. I find my mark in the professional world is but a carved groove in my soul. A personal knowledge of life that I have earned and value more that the money paid by my salary…yet even a well-defined career has rough edges to wear down.
So now…my deepest desires are quite simple. To live today…smile today…play today…breathe today…love today and reflect on yesterday with awe and gratitude for the journey I have taken. I am still that little girl deep inside but I have confidence, I walk my own path, I love my marriage, and I marvel at my children…as they reach to fill their dreams and desires and anticipate tomorrow. I define who I am…no one else. It has been a whirlwind trip to reach this epiphany. Some days were real struggles and still are from time to time. While I still make plans for tomorrow and the days after, I now know that today is the real gift from the universe- it is the present and I strive to unwrap each day with patience, reverence and awe…and love.