“The longer I live the more beautiful life becomes.” Frank Lloyd Wright
It’s taken me almost thirty years, but I’ve finally started putting conscious effort into doing the little things I’ve always known I should do. Floss my teeth. Wash my face before bed. Take that mascara off, too. Moisturize. Take a multivitamin. Learn how to say no when Netflix asks if I want to keep watching a show. Nothing difficult or revolutionary. Repetition of these small habits nurture discipline – and hopefully pretty skin when I’m 50.
Perhaps it has come with age or maybe it’s a side effect of deployment life, but I’m realizing more and more that a life of purpose is more satisfying to me than a life of plenty – and I don’t just mean in the material sense. During the past several months, I’ve been more cognizant of how I spend my time, my energy, and my emotions. In these quiet days, I’ve learned to refocus my priorities, to savor the simple moments, to listen and observe more, and to realize just how much unnecessary noise fills our days.
There seems to be a natural narrowing as I get older – cultivating the good habits and healthy relationships, shedding the excess and learning to say goodbye to things and people that aren’t helping me grow. There’s a freedom in knowing who I am and what I hope for – and putting less emphasis on achieving other people’s expectations of me. What I consume – words, food, conversations, music – has a great impact on who I am, and frankly, life’s too short to be overwhelmed by the cacophony that competes for our attention. I want to fill my days with as much good and beauty as I can. And I’ll take all the puppy snuggles I can get.
This season has also reminded me how blessed and fortunate I truly am. Many of life’s frustrations and difficulties seem so trivial when I think of Ben and what he is going through. It’s not so much that deployment is a trump card – it just reminds you of what really matters in life and what’s worth your energy and emotion.
At the end of the day, I just want to love others well and make my corner of the world a little better. And remember to wash my face before bed.