There are a few things that my entire life I knew I wanted. Some of them more lofty wants than others. Some of them more realistic. Some of them ridiculous. I added to these things as I went through life. There weren’t that many things, but for different reasons, they all very much mattered to me.
When I was very young I wanted to write a book. I always knew that. And that hasn’t changed.
Before I was ten I knew I wanted a log cabin. There is something very pleasing and soothing about walking in to a log cabin, in the woods, with hand made furniture. And pine trees. I have to have pine trees.
When I got older and picked up biking it didn’t take me long to come up with a few things I wanted to do. I wanted to reach a certain speed under my own power. And when I saw a license plate outside of a bike store that said “200 MILS” I knew immediately that I wanted to ride 200 miles in one day.
When I earned my first black belt I wanted to reach the level of “master”. Especially since my sister said it would be awesome to make my other siblings call me “Master Brown”.
As I got older and fell in to that trap of doing what I had to do versus what I want to do I forgot about my wants and paid attention to the needs. The needs of my family, the needs of my house, the needs that as responsible adults we tend to in our world. I’m okay with that. Actually I’m more than okay with that. In the doing of those things I had many lessons on what matters. And the journey to our wants and dreams, though lined with needs and musts, is a good journey. I was fortunate enough to learn that along the way.
The other night I looked out my window and longed to go outside and sit by the cabin that sits in my backyard. I wanted to sit there until late in to the night turned in to early the next morning. But I had to go to work. Still have to take care of those needs.
But, I have my log cabin. It’s only six foot by twelve foot. But it’s a log cabin. And inside of it sits handmade furniture. One piece handmade by me. The other pieces by my husband and I. I’m not living in it. But it’s mine. Technically I have achieved this want. The only thing missing right this minute is the pine trees. But that will happen.
When I realized this about the cabin I looked back at the other things I had wanted.
I had wanted to write a book. Technically I have written four books. No, wait, six books if I include some drawing books done for family. I haven’t done much with them other than self publish a book for my family. But in looking back, at no time did I ever think to publish. I just wanted to write. I wanted to hold in my hands the words I had written. I remember thinking that, as a very small child.
I reached 40 miles an hour on my bike, self propelled. I was going down a hill. Not a big hill but a long sloping hill. I still had to pedal like mad. I was scared crapless and exhilarated beyond belief at the same time. So technically I did that. I haven’t done 200 miles in one day yet. But I have done 126.2 miles in one day. And it didn’t take an entire day. And it rained for a third of it. There will be a day when I am retired and can train properly and who wants to meet all of their dreams this early any way?
In the martial arts organization that I earned my black belts in, one had to reach 5th Dan to be a ‘master’. I only reached fourth. I had to stop teaching for numerous reasons and another young(er) black belt now runs the school. He belongs to another organization. I help him with testings when he calls upon me. The last test he asked me to assist with I arrived early before class started. I walked in and when he caught my eye he smiled at me, he stopped the students that were spread out among the dojang (training hall) and called them to attention. This was normally reserved for the masters only so I was sure someone must have been there that I had not seen. He had them turn to me and instructed them to bow to “Master Brown”. I kid you not, on the way home I cried. I still do not consider myself a master. But in his organization a 4th Dan black belt is a “master”. So technically I was master for a night. And when I sent my sister a text, guess what she called me? Master Brown.
I’m not minimizing any of my goals or my road to finding them. And I’m not discrediting them if they aren’t exactly what or where I thought they would be. I want to tell my children and grandchildren that all things we do matter. The goals we set for personal achievement. The goals we set aside to take care of priorities. And goals we sacrifice completely because other things matter. I remember in martial arts being told that achieving a long sought out goal may not, in the end, be what we hoped it would be. Or it may not matter in the way we expected it to. That was where I learned that we can’t disregard the journey. Goals, dreams, hopes, wishes. They matter.
And technically, what we do, matters.