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.
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.
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.
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.
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 -
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...