My daughter and I have a random running musical in our lives that involves the term life goals. For example, "Making spaghetti. Life Goals!" Also, "Remembering to set the alarm to get up early. Life Goals!" Someday, we may organize this enough to actually get an entire musical in order (don't hold your breath - it hasn't made our life goals list yet).
Over the past few weeks, I have noticed that I have come to an age of maturity that involves not caring so much about what other people think about me and advocating more for myself. This is actually a life goal that I didn't realize I had but boy did I need it. This has been developing over my entire life with events taking place here and there that forced me out of my comfort zone only for me to retreat back to it once I had done what needed to be done. I'm not sure why these events have made me open my eyes up to this feeling as I am sure it has been this way longer than the past month but it leaves me feeling a little lighter in my step.
At the end of May, we spent the weekend camping. Actually on my menu was lunch at a local restaurant. That's right - driving out of the campground, not cooking our own meal over a fire and eating in an air-conditioned restaurant with food that I enjoy but don't get often because the restaurant is not in our town. I didn't think anything of this until, when we were walking back to our campsite, one of the other guests made it a point to walk up to us and asked something like, "Is that actually a pizza box?" "Yes," we replied. "Where did you get that?" "There's a restaurant about 15 minutes away," Ben said. "Oh," said the man and walked away. Personally, I think he just wanted pizza and thought he might find it on-site. Nope. Only after that brief exchange of words did I realize that ten or so years ago, I wouldn't have even considered leaving the campground to get food for fear of what people would think. The lesson here is if you want something, don't let the concern of what others will think make up your mind for you.
This past weekend, we went to Washington, D.C. to meet up with some friends and spend a beautiful day at the Library of Congress, the Smithsonian Castle and the Freer Gallery of Art. Ever the planner, I enjoy looking at what to get into while we are there (hence, these places noted above with the exception of the Freer Gallery, that was a walk-on bonus). My main goal at the Library of Congress was to get a Reader Card for a few reasons: the awesome factor of having a card from the largest library in the world that gives me the privilege of reading whatever I like there and being able to physically walk into the most beautiful room I've ever seen.
Our first stop was the information desk to get directions on where to get this precious card. "Oh, are you doing research?" the information desk lady asks excitedly. "No, I really just want a card." "Oh, well, we really frown upon getting the card if it is not for research purposes. The Reader Card is really for people to do research. We have a nice gift shop where you can purchase a souvenir." I blank stare at her and she continues after the uncomfortable silence, "But if you insist on getting one, you go down the stairs, then down a yellow hallway then up an elevator then down another hall . . ." and she says something about the cloak room. "Thanks," I say and walk away. I go over to my crew and they ask what she said. I tell them and Jason asks what I'm going to do. "I'm getting a card, that's what," or something to that effect. It probably took us more than 20 minutes to find the place, after asking multiple people, but we made it.
After sleeping on what happened at the information desk, I'm still agitated that she even felt like she had a right to dictate to me, or anyone else (because I am undoubtedly certain I am not the first person she has given this speech to), what I should and should not do. This wasn't me back then. Back then, I would have metaphorically tucked my tail between my legs and maybe even peed myself a little bit for even thinking that I should ask for a Reader Card. How dare I want such a frivolous card for my own petty desires. It should be good enough that I can look at the room from behind a glass wall three or four stories up. The lesson here, if you care to have one, is if you want it, get it. Don't let what someone else tells you make you stray from your own path of happiness to make him or her happy. Make yourself happy.
I, for one, spend a lot of time and effort trying to help other people be happy, and I love giving of myself for this purpose but I also used to think that it wasn't appropriate for me to concern myself with my own happiness. It was for the people around me to make that happen. Something switched on in my brain and now I know, it's okay for me to do things that make me happy. And you want to hear the most crazy part? It's okay for you to do things that make you happy, too! Life goals!