Last Friday, Sheila and I closed on our first house together.
I spent my entire childhood in the same ranch house in Western Pennsylvania, nestled in the hills just behind a coal mine that, up until the 90’s, was still open for business. My family never vacationed, and but for my traveling softball team, I never went anywhere. Maybe it's because the scenery rarely changed in my childhood, but I've never been interested in staying in one place long enough to own a home. If anything, I’ve gone out of my way to change up jobs and hobbies and location every couple of years.
A few years ago though, my mentor suggested that despite my fighting it, it was time to "bloom where you're planted."
I fought it for a little while longer, but I realized she was right. So we bought a house.
After signing a stack of papers that probably included the adoption of a pigmy fainting goat, we were handed the keys to a 19th-century farmhouse on five acres of land. It was a cool moment, despite the occasional waves of nausea that swept over me as my hand cramped from writing.
We walked into the empty house, touching windowsills and the old cook stove that sits in our soon to be sitting room (I did not grow up with a sitting room), taking in the quiet of the rural landscape with no traffic noise and a soft breeze rustling the trees.
Then I popped the champagne and it exploded on the 200-year-old hardwood floor….
Having said all of that, I’m currently in the midst of packing and moving and as such, I thought I’d use today to share a poem that is one of my favorites. Next week I will, as promised, be back with part two of the post on willpower, and strategies that you can use to help preserve your own willpower to help you reach the goals you’ve set out accomplish.
In the meantime:
By Mary Oliver
You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.
from Dream Work by Mary Oliver
published by Atlantic Monthly Press
© Mary Oliver
Be strong. Be kind. Be well.