What are the magic beans you need in order to grow your ideal life?

I am finding that rather than driving my own life, it seems like I have more recently been a passenger along for the ride.  Yesterday my husband was ruminating on the recent past and marveling that the school year will be over in less than 3 weeks.  “Where did this year go?”, he asked.  I keep talking about things I would like to do, places I would like to go, things I would like to see, but what have I actually done to make those things happen?  Where does all the time go?  What beans should I be planting?

I have no clue about the answers to those questions.  I mean, I’m sure I have some sort of vague, generalized idea, but I haven’t really sat down and thought about it for quite some time.  Ironically, we are encouraging our oldest child to do exactly that.  He has a trip he would like to take, but at the place he is in life right now, taking this trip is going to be sort of a rite of passage.  He is just starting to figure out what beans he is going to need to make his trip happen, and seeing him realize the obstacles he must overcome in order to get what he wants is making me take a closer look at my own obstacles.  I very much want him to be able to take his trip, but at the same time, I know that, in order for him to be able to grow as a result of this experience, I cannot help him.  I can encourage and support his decisions, but I cannot make them for him and I cannot facilitate his preparation or travel.  This is one of those things he is just going to have to do by himself and figure out how to make it work.

I also have a trip I want to take, but in order to make it work, I am going to have to do some fancy footwork.  I would be gone from my family for longer than I ever have.  I would be with a group of other people, and because of that, I will not be fully in control of my expenses, which is worrisome in this economy.  I have to find the money for the trip.  I have to arrange for time off from work.  I have to make sure that I have enough vacation hours stockpiled so that my family will not suffer a loss of income because of the trip.  And despite all of the obstacles I have named here (and others I have not mentioned), I feel a calling to make this trip.  Don’t get me wrong.  It may sound selfish to want to go off for a week without anyone else, but I guarantee this trip would be anything but a vacation.  The purpose of the trip is to assist in housing construction for Hurricane Katrina victims in southern Louisiana.  Nothing like working in the sun, doing construction, for free, for a week, to put a damper on the concept of “Holiday”.

But that is just a drop in the bucket.  When I was in my 20’s, I had all kinds of grand dreams about the kind of life I was going to live and how that was going to happen.  Of course, I did not grow up to be stunningly beautiful, married to an independently wealthy man who dabbles in investment banking, not because he has to, but because he just wants to have something to do when we are not traveling.  I don’t have the excessive house on the estate.  I don’t get a new car every year because last year’s color is “out”.  My children are not extremely polite all the time, and they most certainly have never shown up for dinner wearing a suit just because they thought it would be appropriate.  OK, so I am not living the dream.  I don’t even know that dream anymore.  Nowadays, I dream of having a day without, “Mommy, come in here, I need to poop!”  But I still believe it is not too late.

I might not be able to have the estate, but by taking baby steps, I know that I can make changes to my home to improve it.  I also might not have the car, but by being prudent and patient, I know that I can be in a “new-to-me” vehicle before Christmas.  And I know that I will never be married to anyone other than my husband (and he will never be an investment banker or independently wealthy), but that doesn’t mean we can’t figure out a way to travel.  Maybe not a huge vacation every year, but a little jaunt here and there, and then maybe bigger trips every few years.  And, after all, he does have a steady income, which is more than a lot of others can say right now.

So, the bottom line is this: I need to go seed shopping.  I will be spending some time looking at all the seed catalogs, browsing the farm supply stores, and checking out the farmer’s markets, but I am going to plant some beans!

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