Thursday, July 19, 2012

Just Say Love

Fish in Hawaii Aquarium


Every week I spend a ton of time browsing blogs, reading posts, and sharing what I love. There is so much incredible food, so many beautiful photographs, so many entertaining stories. So much hope, optimism and enthusiasm.

And sometimes I feel like the tiny insignificant minnow that I am in the great ocean of blogs. There's no point to denying that fact, it's the truth. My pictures are adequate, but not outstanding. My writing is engaging, but there's lots of little typos. My food is delicious, but hardly ground-breaking. And my life utterly lacks excitement and the dramatic.

In fact, if you were to spend a day with me, you would probably be shocked at just how boring my life truly is. I spend so much time behind my laptop, you might conclude I enjoy it. I eat out so infrequently (and at mostly the same places over and over), you might conclude I'm a true stick-in-the-mud. I enjoy watching shows like Murder She Wrote and Golden Girls but rarely tune-in to new shows (except for Big Bang Theory). I don't even watch cooking shows anymore.

Murder She Wrote

I even follow the same boring daily schedule - and weekends only vary slightly. Generally weekdays consist of blog writing, blog stalking, activity across my social spaces and evenings browsing food and watching TBS and Hallmark channels. On weekends, there's typically a movie involved, a great deal of cooking or baking, and plenty of lazy time with Boyfriend Javelin. You see? Shockingly boring.

Eating Dessert

To be fair, we have been changing up our routines a little. I've added lap swimming, Boyfriend Javelin has added after-work walks, we're sampling new local food joints, and last weekend we made our first trip to some local organic grocers. With a little luck, we might even be adding beach and boardwalk strolls to our weekends with occasional trips to farmers' markets. Maybe.

Walking Along Beach

Sometimes being a boring little minnow in a giant ocean is a little terrifying and more than a little embarrassing. Sometimes the little minnow tries to puff up to appear the tiniest bit more significant. But the little minnow always ends up back at the same important truth: you've got to embrace your life and love exactly what and where you are right now. There are no exceptions, even for little minnows. Because if you can't learn to embrace the life you're living right now, you'll never experience life - rather you'll miss the love happening all around you in a never-ending chase after what's just out of reach.

Have you ever stopped to think about the moment you're living RIGHT NOW?

What do you love about this moment? What do you smell, taste, and feel? What brought you to this moment? What's happening around you? What 50 things inside your head are distracting you from this moment?

Certainly there's nothing wrong with self-improvement, goals or plans for the future. But if little minnows are ever going to improve, one must first learn to love oneself and love one's life. If we yearn simply to be bigger fish, we'll never be happy. If we yearn for excitement, glamour or the dramatic, we'll always be chafing against what we're not. Life will keep trickling past as the little minnow yearns to become the giant whale.

Fish Coming to Surface

So just love yourself. I'm not talking about narcissistic love where the little minnow spend every waking minute staring into a mirror obsessing over minnow-awesomeness - that's guaranteed to make even the most perfect minnow unhappy. Loving yourself is just like loving another person - except it's really tough because we know all our secret flaws and imperfections. Self-love is what keeps us honest with ourselves and motivates us to end our destructive behaviors. Love will motivate us to make healthful choices and seek out self-improvement. Minnows who learn to love themselves will learn to love their lives - and when we stop obsessing over everything we want to change in our lives, we're ultimately free to love others.

So when you feel like the insignificant minnow in a giant ocean, just say the word love to yourself. When your life seems boring and everyone else's filled with excitement, say the word love to yourself. When you yearn to take breath-taking photos worthy of thousands of drooling fans, say the word love. When you're desperate to matter, say love. And when you feel like giving up -

LoveWord

I know it's hard to believe, but love works. It starts with you and your life - and will grow and grow if you remember to feed it. Suddenly being a little minnow will be amazing. The giant ocean becomes an incredible adventure. Those boring routines become moments infused with comfort. Health improves, stress dissipates, stories become engaging, photos improve, friendships blossom. And before you know it, you're filled with a quiet happiness that has nothing to do with fame or fortune and cannot be crushed.

If you can just remember to say love...




16 comments:

  1. I LOVE this post JW. It's so true. Very hard to not to feel at the bottom of the pile or the forgotten minnow sometimes, but you are absolutely right. Now is the time to live and enjoy.

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  2. Love this post... and it reminds me of the scene in the movie where the lad is writing "I Love You" all over her body. We are finding things to do to enjoy life that don't cost much. You are so correct when you say we have to enjoy each moment - very true.

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  3. Excellent post. Being content with where I am and what I am doing in life has changed my world over the past ten years. Life can be wonderful TODAY, not tomorrow or next year, today.

    You simply have to make the choice to find something awesome to celebrate each and every day. It doesn't have to cost anything or be exciting at all. It's found in a cup of coffee with a friend, the pealing laughter of the family as they are being silly, the moment of peace and quiet as the house falls asleep or just a shiny clean house after I've worked on it. There are so many ways to find joy in the day. It just takes a moment to look for them!

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  4. I'm so glad you enjoyed, Choclette - when I started writing the post, I was in a very dark place feeling very dark about life. And by the time I reached the end...well...I liked being a minnow again ;) I'm glad I could share and now is definitely the time...

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  5. The cheap stuff is often the most enjoyable, I think. Fancy vacations and crazy trips can be "exciting" but often really stressful at the same time. I like being able to just kick back and enjoy time with people like love, no stress ;) I'm glad you enjoyed, Don...

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  6. 100% agree, Mary - TODAY is the day, right now, this moment. And you're also right that it doesn't take much or cost anything to enjoy life. I think we're all expecting something incredible to bowl us over that I forget to appreciate the incredible that's right in our faces... I'm so glad you dropped by and enjoyed...

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  7. What a lovely post and there's parts that I feel I wrote myself! I often feel like an insignificant minnow. I've had a really stressful week and feel like I've been on a rollercoaster. Your post has made me smile and think about things more positively. Thank you :)

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  8. I'm so happy I could share, Ros. Like I told Choclette, when I started this particular post I was feeling pretty down myself but by the end things were starting to look brighter... Sorry to hear you've been having a stressful week & I hope things smooth out soon for you...

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  9. I would have to both agree and disagree (as both Choclette and Ros will let you know, I'm a bit stubborn like that) - firstly you actually have a very fine blog which is also very unique. You quickly established your own 'voice' and style and do many things here that I don't see anywhere else, or at least not done so stylishly. Secondly, sometimes when I read your writing (especially when you're in a dark place like today) I can hear my younger self in there and I know that feeling of lostness. I always wanted to be a big fish and pushed and pushed, sometimes I found happiness and sometimes fell flat on my face but I am in the most contented place now however if I hadn't done the pushing and discovering and just sat there 'thinking' I was content being a small fish I would have always felt like I had missed out and so the discovery and sometimes failure it very important. Now I'm in my 40's I try and shake it up as much as possible because it stimulates the brain and inspires me. Not big things. Just small discoveries and challenges that push me. It maybe as simple as learning to wallpaper the bedroom or walk a different way home... and that's why I love life. Although my grandmother always said that a simple life brings simple pleasures... xx

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  10. Thank you for the lovely post, JW. I found it to be truly inspiring. Most times, I get too caught up of where I want to be and lose sight of the journey getting there.

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  11. Thank you for the kind words, Joy, and I'm so happy I could share. I'm really bad about getting obsessed over where I'm going, but you're right, it's the journey that's important...

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  12. For some reason, Disqus is refusing to show this wonderful comment by Dom from Belleau Kitchen (http://belleaukitchen.blogspot.com/), so I am reposting it for him:
    "I would have to both agree and disagree (as both Choclette and Ros will let you know, I'm a bit stubborn like that) - firstly you actually have a very fine blog which is also very unique. You quickly established your own 'voice' and style and do many things here that I don't see anywhere else, or at least not done so stylishly. Secondly, sometimes when I read your writing (especially when you're in a dark place like today) I can hear my younger self in there and I know that feeling of lostness. I always wanted to be a big fish and pushed and pushed, sometimes I found happiness and sometimes fell flat on my face but I am in the most contented place now however if I hadn't done the pushing and discovering and just sat there 'thinking' I was content being a small fish I would have always felt like I had missed out and so the discovery and sometimes failure it very important. Now I'm in my 40's I try and shake it up as much as possible because it stimulates the brain and inspires me. Not big things. Just small discoveries and challenges that push me. It maybe as simple as learning to wallpaper the bedroom or walk a different way home... and that's why I love life. Although my grandmother always said that a simple life brings simple pleasures... xx "

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  13. I really appreciate your candor and the kindness of your comment, Dom - that means so much to me. I'm certainly not one to sit back idly and "rest on laurels" as it were - and I hope I didn't imply that. I certainly agree that the journey from where we are today to wherever we end up in the future is hugely important in making us who we will be in the future (and who we are today from how we got here thru our past struggles). I just know that for me personally, I can get SO wrapped up in the struggle or in the "yearning" for something greater that I miss out on everything wonderful in my life - I simple don't appreciate it. And that's where I've found I need to refocus and get back to love.




    Anyway, I really enjoyed your comment and I'm just sad the original is not appearing...

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  14. First, let me just echo Dom and say that what you have is not a run-of-the-mill food blog, it's got something more. Second, old mystery shows are the best. I had a secret Matlock obsession in college and still would if I could find it on anymore. And lastly, here's what I know about life: it goes in seasons. You've got a season of reflection now, but there's no telling what's coming next. And without the dull and blah times, it's impossible to appreciate the bright times and who knows how what you experience now will help you or others down the road.

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  15. Thank you for the kind words, Jody. It means so much to me that you enjoy the blog. I've never really gotten drawn in to Matlock (I've seen part of it a few times on Hallmark), but I recently discovered McBride mysteries which I do enjoy (although I don't really watch them religiously like Murder She Wrote). And life certainly does have ebbs and flows - but I'm happy to be along for the ride :)

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  16. Just wanted to let you know Mark, that I'm going to highlight this blog post on my blog at the end of August in a Favorite Blog Posts. It is just too good not to and I love spreading a little love around!

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