Writing Samples

Plans are Overrated

First printed in the last edition of her Magazine, a publication of the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer. My day rarely goes as planned. My weekly and monthly calendar feel like mere suggestions. I feel busy, sometime without purpose. I go from meeting to meeting, I answer the phone, emails, and shouts from down the hall. At the end of the day, I am usually racing to meet my husband for a business dinner or sneak in a few minutes with my favorite babies, and there are some nights when I drag myself through my front door and straight down the hall to my bed.

But, oh man, how short and how precious this life is. And I find myself gently reminding my overwhelmed and stressed out self that TODAY matters. This moment, this phone call, this meeting, this hilarious exchange in my office, matters. The time alone in my car on the way to meet my husband for dinner matters. The hour with my best friend and her babies matters.

And as I sit here writing for you (and for me), I can’t help but think that this moment matters too. And if I only had one opportunity to get a message across, what would it be? If I had one last time to share my heart with the women in our community, remembering that this moment matters, what would I say?

I would remind you to remember where you came from. That the women (and the men) who lived their lives before you, paving the way for the life you live, matters. Maybe they lived great lives and maybe they didn’t. Maybe they were present in your life and maybe they were not, but they matter because your history matters. Last month I wrote about the women who made me. Women who were not, are not, perfect. Women who sacrificed and persevered. Women who used their strong-wills to survive everything from abuse and divorce, to cancer and dementia, to single parenting and widowhood. Women who made choices to live their lives with purpose. Their stories matter. Their lives changed mine. Their choices have affected my choices. I would encourage you to take the time to dig a little deeper into your own family’s history, acknowledging the hand the past plays in your present.

I would remind you that how you treat people matters. Kindness and respect matter. Encouraging the women in your life matters. Cheering each other on in our choices matters. Remember that the options we choose; marriage or not, children or none, careers or stay-at-home wives and mothers, are valid, not one less than another. Remember that dreams are personal, intimate, and live deep in our hearts. And if your own are that important to you, those that belong to your sister are as important to her. They are not to be mocked or valued any less than your own. Invest in those dreams, those hopes, those aspirations. There is someone who has invested in you. It meant the world and changed everything. Be that for someone else.

I would challenge you to remember to think small. To remember that change begins at home, at our own dinner tables, on our own streets, in our own kids schools, in our own city. I would challenge you to channel your grief over the broken state of our world into your own little world here at home. Take notice of the children here in Columbus who need parents. Take notice of the men and women on the streets of Muscogee County who are hungry; hungry for the tangible and intangible, hungry for hope, for opportunity, for love. Not everyone has opportunity afforded them. Don’t take your opportunities for granted. Nurture them and the share them. Share your good fortune, your opportunities, your support, and your time. Take notice. And then take action.

Lastly, I would remind you that today matters. All of it. Every minute. Every interruption, every unplanned moment. It matters. We are not promised tomorrow. None of us knows what the future holds. I know all too well how quickly life can change. How you can feel that rug be ripped out from under you. I know what it feels like to be shaken to your core by the inevitable that is still so unexpected. So be present. Spend time with the people who matter most to you. Quit putting off that phone call to your grandmother. Stop holding onto that grudge. Book the trip you have been dreaming about. Have dinner with your siblings. Be present. Because today matters.

P.S. A few issues ago, I made a list of things I wanted to accomplish in my “30th Year.” It’s only been a couple of months, but I am steadily chipping away. I am working on journaling every day. I have drinking a gallon of water a day. Admittedly, I have put off the 30 days sans cheese. Ugh. Why did I even suggest it? I planted more flowers, have printed pictures, am working with friends to re-establish the Columbus Young Republican’s Group, and I have been consistently cleaning out my car. Here’s to establishing good habits, making time for things that matter, and living purposefully.