I’m thinking about being

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six-year-old asks the big questions on the chalkboard wall

I’m thinking of not trying to be the best at everything.

I’m thinking of cutting myself some slack, maybe a whole lot of slack.

I’m thinking of what my inner life would look like, were I to celebrate my successes, and accept my failures.

I’m thinking of exploring even more closely the work that comes naturally to me.

I’m thinking of not wishing I were better at [fill in the blank].

I’m thinking of letting myself attempt things for which I have no discernible talent.

I’m thinking of taking pleasure in the wonders of life as it exists right now. Right now!

The sound of a garbage truck idling outside the house. The icy blue sky. The brightness of sun on deep snow. My feet in warm socks chilly against one another, toes touching. Life. Breath. The way my kids head boldly out the door every morning to take on the world in their own brave ways. The way my kids crash through the door every afternoon and shout a greeting, Hey Mom! Are you here? The ebb and flow of multiple conversations washing over me. The smell of dirty hair and of clean hair.

I’m thinking of frightening things that have no good answers and I’m thinking of prayer and of love.

I’m thinking of how brief I am. I’m thinking of the spaces within myself. I’m thinking of atoms and of stars.

I’m thinking of how much I like hanging around laughing and talking about stuff that doesn’t matter, that has no substance, that is lightness itself, utterly irreverent, in moments that mimic forever.

I’m thinking about not being the best, or even distinguished, or even accomplished, or even any comparative description at all. I’m thinking about being.

xo, Carrie

On hibernating
Girl Runner goes to Sweden

8 Comments

  1. Why do we find it so hard to cut ourselves some slack? I think women find it harder than men, but who knows? It’s a personal thing. I never give myself credit for anything. If I run a marathon, then I haven’t run it fast enough. If I get a good mark on a paper, it’s because the professor is an easy marker. If I get a story published or win a writing prize, it’s because the magazine is unknown or the contest judging isn’t sound. But back to “give our selves some slack.” What a strange expression, when you overly think about it. I wonder how my ESL students would react to it: What do you mean by “cutting yourselves”? What is this “slack”?
    I’m going to ask them tomorrow.
    Jenn

    Reply
    • It is an strange expression, now that you mention it. What did your students think, I wonder? I think of it in terms of a rope, or a long line, and to cut some slack being to loosen the rope, or let it feed out longer, to give myself more room to wander, more freedom, but now that I write that down it doesn’t sound accurate. Someone out there knows the origin. Is it a sailing term? I know nothing about boats …

      Reply
  2. This is a very beautiful post.
    🙂
    Thanks for sharing it.

    Reply
  3. I’m not sure why, but after reading your blog, a line from T.S. Elliot came to me: “Where is the life we have lost in living?”

    Chris

    Reply
    • Lovely. Love that line. Reminds me of his J. Alfred Prufrock poem.

      Reply
  4. I second Kerry’s comment […very beautiful post].

    One of my best moments (in not having to be best / restraining my competitive tendencies) was running the Ottawa half marathon, 3 or 4 years ago, with a group composed of my wife, my brother, my sister-in-law and her sister. After about a km of running together everyone except for my wife and I went at their own pace. We stuck together though my wife’s pace is definitely not mine. I am thankful that my competitive nature has mellowed with the years as I am prouder to have finished the half-marathon side by side with my wife than I would be if I had finished with a personal best time. I’ve run only once since, a 25km up and down Mount Royal (Tour du Mont-Royal Brebeuf) and the best moments of that were the last 5 km when I ran next to and heard the story of a man who re-made his life through running.

    Maybe we’re designed to experience things together. Adam & Eve, family, choir, sports teams. Your blog entries which draw in others – isn’t it always the best when someone comments?

    Keep it up. Whether you are writing about something that you are really, really good at or about something in which you have “no discernible talent” it creates community (even if it has to be on-line community). That is worth a lot in our world.

    Reply
    • I’m glad to create a sense of community here, and elsewhere, and really wherever possible, and you’re right, not having to be the best is an excellent way to invite others in. Thanks for seeing this as a place of community and connection. I appreciate that.

      Reply

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