When I was young, peanut butter sandwiches were the go-to-meal for "hard times". Many of you can relate, there's nothing like a peanut butter or bologna sandwich when you are hungry. I have to admit, I haven't had a "burnt bologna" sandwich in over a decade- but peanut butter... peanut butter sandwiches remind me of how far I've come and why it is so important that I remember where I came from.
Stay with me on this one. It's not just about peanut butter...
Not long ago, spending $20 was a big deal. Not because I was poor; not because I'd never had a $20 bill; but because, having $20 meant that I could buy at least 10 jars of peanut butter. For those that do not know, having unexpired peanut butter in the cabinet means that you should never go hungry. Peanut butter can be spread on bread, a cracker, a pretzel, a carrot- or just a spoon; it is one of those universal items that provides fulfillment and satisfaction of a lot of taste-buds at a low cost. The value of peanut butter is, therefore, not in the dollar amount but in the necessities that it satisfies. I open my cabinet sometimes to get a reality check; to remind myself that I'm still working for the endless supply of peanut butter. How often do we forgot that everything we want is not what we necessarily need? Peanut butter reminds me of that.
I reflect on conversations that I have with people, young and old, about their needs. I hear a lot of wants but seldom do I hear needs. When we satisfy the things that we need, perhaps, we can get to the things that we want. It's a process; one in which requires an investment of sacrifice and a prioritizing of real needs to wants. For those of you that enjoy analogies: We may need peanut butter, but do we really need jelly? How do we ever get to what we truly want if we've yet to establish what we need?
There are 3 things that I know I need: HIM, inspiration, and purpose. Each essentially lead me to all the other things that I want: Success, love, and the right kind of power. Success is not defined by money; it's defined by how the money effects my life. If the money doesn't bring me joy and happiness- it doesn't matter. If love doesn't bring me lifelong relationships of family, friends, and the right matrimony for me- it doesn't matter. And, if power doesn't qualify me to help others grow- it's not worth it.
I don't want a life without peanut butter. Peanut butter keeps me down-to-earth and balances my humbleness and modesty; most of all it inspires me to never backdown from my needs and to recognize my blessings. If you step back just for a second and look at what your absolute needs have brought to your life, you will find that they have gifted you just as many of your wants than actually "wanting" for them brings.
I lust for life. The invigorating type of life that brings LIVING alive. This is a difficult concept for many to understand; it sounds redundant and naive to some. But, what is life without living it and what is living life without knowing WHY you're in it? If you ever have said you are blessed, acknowledge what that means. Accept that it means you have peanut butter in your cabinet: An essential part of your needs and a true nurishment to living.
I'm no mother. I do not proclaim to know what it's like to be one. However, I am a woman; a daughter; a sister; a aunt and much more that symbolizes a woman. So, to some degree I can say I know precisely what it's like to feel a mothers love. In light of many unexpected and tragic events of late and in the past, I begin to think of life in reverse. I wonder how would it be to start the last part first and the first part last?
The question took me to unfamiliar, yet familiar, territory. I thought about my own life in reverse. Life has a boundless timeline. My clairvoyance may allow me to predict the consequence of my actions and reap the benefits of my work, but it does not allow me to see the time on my life clock. My life in reverse is such a different story. Pay close attention to what's unveiled...
At 31, I'm a work horse. I've dedicated a great deal of my days to "grinding" towards my goals. My circle of friends, real friends, is greatly limited. But, most wouldn't suspect or know that by my personality. I'm cynical; my cynicism has both protected and hindered me from entrusting my time and energy into others. My mindset each day does not begin with the goal of obtaining friends or spending more time with family; it begins with thoughts of how I can progress even further from where I am today. Does that make me selfish? Heartless? Naive? At what point is that supposed to be the focus in my life? Did I mention I was a work horse...
My 20's were like the 90's; potentially the greatest era of my life, thus far. This was the decade of rapid growth for me. I learned what fit me; and, I'm not talking about clothing. I'm talking about what fit my livelihood and the person that I wanted to see everyday in the mirror. I became the woman I am today through the experiences of my 20's. Whether it was the good, the bad, or the ugly- it shaped me into the person, the woman, that I'm extremely confident with today. I walked on "the line" in my 20's; not behind it or over it. My favorite "keepsake" from that decade of my life are my old cellphones. Every now and then I'll power them up and scroll through the contacts and all messages, just so I can remember the freedom in which I allowed myself to be daring in relationships and choices. I wasn't wreckless then, but I definitely wasn't rigid either. The "roaring 20's" was real to me.
As an adolescent, I was innocent. Innocent from choices, mistakes, and even responsibility to some degree. My focus then had everything to do with FREEDOM. Then, the only obstacle that stood in my way was authority and structure. I walked "the line" everyday; afraid of consequence. Nevertheless, my adolescence was the most surreal reality of my life. Life then, was less complex; less real; less compromising; less detrimental. My "cry for help" was always intercepted by the people in my life that loved me unconditionally. I had far greater freedom then than I realized; I had freedom to fall...
So many people forget that tomorrow is not tomorrow until it happens; the only promise we have is right now- the breath we take at this very moment is our promise. The realization of that is a deafening thud; a thunder on our rainbow. So, while your rainbow is a rimlet in the stars, and your freedom is at the foundation for your falls- LIVE. Live like you know the only thing that's guaranteed is today. Live beyond the stress of life and for the opportunity of living. Invest in LIFE.
Living to the fullest is without emptiness. We can't regret what we cannot control, but we can control what we don't want to regret. A mother feels life, and not that a father doesn't, but a mother... she knows the rumble in her belly; the heartbeat of Gods gift. And in that moment, she knows that the first part doesn't come last; the very best that life has to give is described in a single moment; the beginning; the period of innocence and of freedom. Yes, everyone does not have the opportunity to experience the very best of life in the beginning, and that's an unfortunate reality of society. But the first part... the very first part of life... of conception...
of breathing... I imagine that is LIVING. That is a gift, a joy, and a blessing that no one on this earth can take away.