“We are all living in cages
with the doors wide open.”
Does this quote resonate with you? Ever since I came across it yesterday, it has become more and more alive to me.
Don't we all feel trapped? Stuck in the routine of life running around the same wheel day after day, maintaining the same lifestyle, making the same mistakes, figuratively beating our heads against the wall and looking around ever so often and seeing no end in sight. We are caged. The crazy thing about it is that we have the keys to the door. We can get out anytime we want. I've only recently come to this realization.
You don't like your job? Change careers.
You don't like where you live? It's merely geography. MOVE.
You don't like the direction that your life is headed? Turn around. It's never too late.
This is so easy to say or think, but it's not as easy to pull off. I'm caught up in it too.
I wake up at 7 a.m. every day to kids yelling and arguing about breakfast cereal and who gets to use the potty chair first. I spend my mornings wondering if I will ever be able to write a blog post, let alone a book. There's too much to distract me. . .too much laundry, too many dishes to clean, too many toys to sort and pick up, too many errands to run. I sit down and do the budget and wonder each and every time where in the world the money is going to come from to cover all the costs for a growing family of four. The rest of my days are spent making lunches, cleaning up lunches, housework, MORE LAUNDRY, more stressing about money, buying and unloading groceries, facilitating nap times, story times, bath times, bedtimes. . .my race on the daily hamster wheel of life seems to go on and on and on and doesn't end after the little monsters have fallen asleep. It starts again every single morning. . .Mom's can you relate?
I am in no way saying that parenthood is the cage. What I'm learning, friends, is that our perspective is the cage.
The way we view our life, or jobs, our homes, our money, our priorities.....we keep ourselves trapped and thinking there is no way out, when at any time, with one change of our minds, we can change the entire course of our lives. I don't think we are supposed to live a "caged" life, especially when the doors on the cage are wide open.
I'm not sure what that means for you.
Here's what it has come to mean for me:
I'm rearranging my daily schedule. I'm not going to get sucked into all the things that take up so much of my time and do not yield any lasting results. I'm going to clean less and play more. I'm going to watch less tv and read more books. I'm going to write instead of take daily naps.
I'm taking charge of my health. I'm going to do something about all the toxins that I subject myself to. I'm no longer going to expect anyone or anything else to do the job that only I can do in creating a healthier me. I'm not going to rely on quick fixes and a horrible diet to get me by. I'm going to invest in daily nutrition and exercise.
I'm creating margin in my life and in my budgets. My budget through finances and my budget of time. I've been horrible with both. I'm cutting the things that no longer matter to the larger plan of living debt-free and un-caged. I'm deciding what stays (family time, education, crafts, travel) and what goes (a two-vehicle lifestyle, cable television, eating out every meal, government health insurance, and an overstimulated recreational life).
I'm going to write. I'm going to stop talking about writing and actually pursue my greatest passion as if I can't fail. I will write a book. I will push myself to become real on paper and not allow myself to make up excuses any longer. I will write until I discover myself. Until I prove myself. Until I inspire myself and hopefully others along the way.
I'm going to live hands-free with my family. I'm going to stay more disconnected and free for family time that is uninterrupted. I'm giving my kids the best of me and not just what is leftover after social media, hobbies and interests, and after a long, hectic, exhaustive day. I'm going to rise earlier in the morning to plan and reflect and retire earlier to take better care of my energy level. I'm going to be more focused, more aware, more PRESENT with my family, every day.
These are just stepping stones. I have even greater plans for my life and the life of my family, but I have to start somewhere. I can't change my destination overnight, but I can change my direction overnight. I have to make that first initial decision for change. Sometimes, even when you're not sure where you want to go, progress is made simply by deciding that you are no longer happy with where you are. It's all merely geography, after all. And genuine resolve. It's one day at a time, one small step away from the cage and into the life of your dreams. I'm not even completely sure what the life of my dreams looks like, but I know the life I'm living. . . . .constantly consumed by societal pressures and expectations of what is normal, is not working for me anymore. I want something better for myself and for my family than the daily grind. Lord, give me the strength to make the small decisions today so that I can make even larger ones tomorrow. Each will have a lasting impact.
Feeling a bit "caged" lately? Choose to walk out of the cage doors with me, will you? They've been standing wide open this entire time, after all.