The price of gas is once again on the rise, the gym is full of New-Year’s-Resolution-targeted-weight-losers, every health insurance premium rose (and benefits declined) in America eight days ago, and somebody else just got diagnosed with cancer, just now.

And what are we freaking out about this morning?  Red leggings and a Highlight’s calendar.  Stickers, to be more specific.

No.  Not my four-year old.  Me.

Last Thursday was the first meeting of the MOMS group I sporadically attend for the year.  Much like last year, the focus for the lesson that day was about reaching into our inner passions and setting goals for what we can be doing with our lives right now, using our gifts, blessing others, blah, blah, blah.  So at the very end, the speaker posed this question (to a room full of mothers): “If you didn’t have children (or a husband, ha ha) to take care of right now, what would you be doing with your time?”

It was supposed to be an exercise in self-reflection, so I was honest when I wrote on my 3X5 card: “I’m 30.  If I didn’t have a husband in my life right now, let’s face it, I’d probably be out looking for one.  And if I didn’t have kids to take care of right now, I’d be trying to get pregnant.”

Okay, so this wasn’t the popular passion of the room that day.  But when I stripped away everything else, and really thought about what I’ve always wanted in my life, I can tell you that the answer has never been something about a career, or a level of wealth, or a position of success.  When I was about 15, I’m pretty sure I still enjoyed playing house.  Most of my daydreams (and many of my night dreams) from high school included sitting around a big table eating a meal with a family that was all mine.  A big one.  Lots of noise.  Lots of good food.  And a pervading feeling of contentment.

While most women I know are making goals to lose weight and de-clutter their lives, I’m using my gym membership to get free babysitting and wondering how in the world we’re ever going to be able to afford the furniture we could really use in this house.  (Clutter is currently the least of our worries.)  I realize that by comparing myself to most women my age, it often appears that I’m trying to paint myself in a corner of superiority.  I don’t necessarily do this to make others feel worse about their situations, but in my super secret inner vault of insecurity, it is the easiest way to remind myself to stop waiting for the next best thing.

I’m not exactly sure what any of this has to do with stop-with-the-stickers-already and no-you-can’t-wear-red-and-pink-together-not-today-not-ever.  But I’m feeling an overwhelming urge to stop making passion-based plans for my future, stop complaining about how certain pairs of pants make my butt look too small, and stop freaking out about when we’re finally going to arrive at some magical place and moment of contentment.

Did anyone else jump on The Happiness Project bandwagon last year?  *Guilty.  My word of the year?

Joy.

In hindsight, it might have been a little lofty, but somehow I still understand exactly what I was thinking when I chose it.  I haven’t actually decided on a word for 2012, or even whether to chose one at all.

Instead, this year I’m starting off by summoning my 15 year old self and yelling at her: “We have arrived!”

Self Actualization

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