Our lives are beyond chaotic, even those of us who deal with the “problems of the privileged”, a common phrase my husband uses at work and home.
So in the midst of the chaos, we have a few options: 1) play defense, 2) play offence, or 3) live deliberately. I will easily admit I have spent much of my life falling into the habits of the first two options, but as I gather more experiences behind me, I prefer the last.
And with the last – living deliberately – there are many options. I envy my sister in her ability to live deliberately through food and exercise (Early Morning Run). Two things I have not yet been able to fully incorporate into my life. So instead, my husband and I find other ways to live deliberately.
One of my primary ways of living deliberately is through geography. I know, perhaps a weird way to look at it. But after spending my junior year in High School as an exchange student in Germany and living in 6 different US States, not to mention extensive travel overseas and in the US, I have come to regard geography as extremely influential on our lives. So where we live, vacation, go to school, work, attend church, volunteer…matters. Where we choose to do these things is as important as what we are doing there.
Our personal geography isn’t always something we can choose. It was my husband’s job that took us to Topeka and New Orleans. It was his job that brought us to the Twin Cities, and his job that made our children into Minnesotans. But even within these places on the map, we had have choices of where to live, which church to attend, and what places to visit.
Even when we try to stretch our legs into new experiences, we can easily do it in ways that are comfortable. I once overheard two generous women, the ultimate stereotype of the Southern hostess, talking about how they are involved in tutoring at-risk kids, but upset that the location was moving a few blocks – into the kids’ neighborhood. This week another example came over the airways, of these wonderful cruises which provide the opportunity to fully experience the life of those outside their window – through specifically catered meals and pre-arranged meetings with the locals.
We have the opportunity to live deliberately through our personal geography. These locations on the map end up directly affecting who we are. By choosing where we live, where we spend our time, exposes ourselves to different people and cultures, different ways of life, different environments.
The difference between the city mouse and the country mouse isn’t just a quaint story, but a true reality. So for my kids and for myself, deliberately choosing where we spend our time plays a significant role in my decisions.
After months of thoughts shifting through my head, I’ll be finally writing them down. Please join with me as I pursue these thoughts, and offer you opportunities for reflection. I would love to hear your thoughts.
Writing/journal prompt: How has where you were born and/or spent your childhood, affected your life?