what's your story?

we've started talking about story over the last couple days. the idea of "living your story" has been there for a long time. it's there partially because it's ingrained in all of us. we all want to live a great story. but it's also there because peter and i want to live a better story.

we want to live a better story than the american dream. sure, there are a lot of pros to the american dream, but it's not a goal worth shooting for in the sense of living a fulfilling life. money and stuff don't bring happiness. and while money and stuff may not be what many would articulate as the american dream - it's kind of what it has turned into at this point.

happiness is also a byproduct, not a goal, but that's a separate discussion. {the only thing i'll say about it now is this: you can do a lot of things to make yourself happy day in and day out, but those things probably won't make you happy in the long run. too often we forget about the benefits of delayed gratification, and the destruction brought on by the "i have to have it now" phenomenon.}

i digress.

our story.
your story.
everyone wants to live a better story.
but it's hard.

lately i've been reading and thinking about various iterations of said story. what do i really want my life to look like? in the real sense, not in the "that's not really how life works" sort of sense.

there are a lot of things that would be nice. a lot of things that i would like, but what am i willing to sacrifice other things to get? what is really the most important?

and how do i make a difference in this world?

everyone wants to matter.

a few months ago i heard an interview with a paramedic who has been with a lot of people at the end of their life, and he said one of the things that's consistent throughout is that they all want reassurance that they mattered.

we all want to live a story worthy of writing down, but too much of the time we settle for watching a story that seems fun and exciting, and like it matters.

i'm reading a book right now that encourages different exercises to go along with it. one of the exercises is thinking through and writing down what would make your life amazing in five years. {okay, it's the first exercise. it's the first exercise and i've worked on it for the past two nap/rest times, and i still haven't finished because my children are amazing blessings who seem to know exactly when i'd really like to get something done. and that's when they wake up. or have to poop. or... i could keep going for a while here... but i digress.}

ahem, anyway,
you pick the four most important areas of your life, and write down what's happening in each of them five years from now, that in turn, make your life amazing. honesty is of the utmost importance because working toward something fake and unattainable doesn't do anyone any favors. least of all you.

so. i've started making my lists.

and i've realized how scared i am to commit to doing something that will probably fail.

scared out of my mind.

i'm scared to even write it down because that's admitting it to myself that i really do want it.

people tell me i am capable, and i have a lot of gifts. i could do a lot. i prefer to be secretly good at what i'm good at because it surprises people when they find out that i can do more than they thought. i don't like flipping that equation.

but i want to live a great story.

living a great story comes with great risk. it's risky because it requires an insane amount of vulnerability.

i don't even want to continue writing this post right now. i've spent the last few minutes browsing pinterest because this place is uncomfortable.

but in order to live a great story we have to do things differently than everyone else does. in order to do something really amazing we generally need to be all in, and put ourselves out there.

and that is s*** your pants scary. being real and true and vulnerable is terrifying.
we've been taught not to be by all of those around us who want us to fall in line.
other people want us to fall in line because if we have the courage to live a great story that means they could have, but they didn't.

but radical vulnerability is also the only way to live a truly fantastic story. {i'm not talking about "success" here. there are plenty of successful people who do not adhere to this principle. i'm talking about greatness. incredibly important difference.}

we also pull people back in line because we've come to believe that equality means sameness. and that is a deep, dark lie.
equality is about opportunity, not necessarily about outcome.

so what are we going to do about it?

it's easy to think about these things. easy to analyze why. easy to make excuses.
it's hard to do it because most things worth doing are hard. {maybe all things worth doing, actually.}

but what do i want to see when i look back over my life?



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