I always thought it was best to bloom where you’re planted. Make a choice for happiness, even if circumstances aren’t perfect. Still seems hard to argue against it. And yet, something’s been missing in living a life like that.
I’ve had several, very different jobs over the years, and I can say that I found happiness in all of them. Not happiness all of the time, but found happiness within the job.
I worked as a franchise director for a practice management company. Learned the legal language that went into creating iron-clad contracts and studied human behavior—what made people successful as franchisees and managers. I worked the farrowing house on our hog farm and dashed around helping 20 sows that were farrowing all at once. Felt a sense of accomplishment at the end of the day with lots of healthy and content baby pigs warming themselves under heat lamps. I worked as a director of religious education for six parishes. Humbled by the many faith-filled families I met and deepened my own faith, as well. And I work now as an owner of a small repair shop. I enjoy being in the company of dedicated problem solvers, which is what being a good mechanic is all about.
I didn’t grow up always wanting to be a franchise director, hog farmer, director of religious education or repair shop owner. Life happened to me, and I’ve tried to bloom wherever I was planted.
In the book, “Achieve Anything in Just One Year,” author Jason Harvey asks, “Did you throw your life into cruise control a long time ago, or are you actively pointing yourself in the direction you want to travel?” Funny thing is, I’ve been pretty happy with this life of mine that seems to be on cruise control. The tension comes when I think about what I’m not doing.
Blooming where you’re planted can provide comfort and peace when your situation truly cannot be changed. It can become a crutch, though, when you honestly admit that you do have choices and dreams in life. But just don’t do or attempt any of them.
There’s a cadet maxim I like that says..
Risk more than others think is safe.
Care more than others think is wise.
Dream more than others think is practical.
Expect more than others think is possible.
I’ve had moments of risking more than others think is safe and caring more than others think is wise—especially when encountering unjust situations. Pursuing justice is just something that’s core to who I am. But I haven’t really allowed myself to dream or consider what else in my life could be possible.
I enjoy reading, researching, learning and writing. (This was very helpful while I was obtaining a bachelor’s degree in communication arts and political science and a master’s degree in theology.) But the years—decades—have gone by without spending much time on it. And so this year I’m going to risk, care, dream and expect enough out of my life and do something with my passion. My interests ideally suit me to become a full-time and forever college student, but since that’s not practical I will content myself with simply starting a blog called, “Moving the Conversation Along.”
I’m an expert on nothing, but have opinions on everything—especially on matters of politics, religion and culture. I hope others will share their opinions and comments too, even if they don’t agree with mine. I really believe a silent, politically correct citizenry does a great deal of harm to our country. It’s refreshing to talk to anyone who cares enough to speak their truth as they see it. And once a dialogue is started we will, hopefully, find areas where we can agree and build from there. Maybe someday we’ll be able to show Congress how it’s done.
This feels pretty scary, so I must be living the maxim well. My life on cruise control has just officially ended. This will be the year of living intentionally!
Sandra Halvorson Reicks