Earlier this month I went to a wedding for a friend. He wore a kilt. The food was vegetarian. The cupcakes were vegan, except for those that were gluten free. The gift table was guarded by boxes for non-perishable food that was to be given to a local food bank. The donation boxes stood there as reminders to the priorities of the bride and groom. It wasn’t conventional, and it was awesome.
My wedding was great too, in a different way and I couldn’t be happier about both our weddings. That’s one of the great things about life, that we get to find our own little veins and dig at them. When imagining her book characters, writer Anne Lamott pretends that they each have their own metaphysical acre to fill it up however they like. My acre has a garden, frisbee, and lots of books. My kids have acres, my wife too, and so do you. The acres are the collection of things we do, say, and collect. It’s our stuff and experiences and everything that’s been part of our lives. We get to cultivate and prune what’s there because it our acre.
Sometimes though, it can be hard to remember what you want on your acre. We get busy with life and fall into certain paths, like a needle that finds the groove in a record. This may mean sweet music, or headache inducing chaos. What things are on your acre that you want, what things that you don’t? In some cases our acre gets filled with things we didn’t want. It’s got a big, ugly, neon, JOB sign that spreads an ugly light across our stuff. We also have people wander onto our acres who distract or disturb us. Other nuances are harder to see. If we eat the same way, or talk to our kids a certain way, we get used to those actions and they seem normal. Yelling at my kids seems abnormal and I feel an immediate regret. That’s an action as foreign to my acre as a vegetarian at McDonald’s.
Can we keep our acres trimmed to how we like them?
Take weddings for example, why white? Why formal? Why not have a charitable component to it? What I love about my friends’ wedding was that it was what they wanted, which is what the wedding should be. They stood up like a meerkat and looked around, didn’t see that the existing wedding landscape was what they wanted, and moved around until they founds something better. My friends focused on what was essential for their their wedding. They gave thought to what their acre looks like and made choices so their wedding reflected that.
What’s on your acre? What’s essential in your life? Life will always be filled with stuff, is it the stuff you want?
— My rough draft of better mornings for families is done. I would love to have a few more sets of eyes read it over and see how it might improve their morning routines. Let me know in the comments or on Twitter – @MikeDariano – if you’d like to read it.