Thursday, March 7, 2013

Go Ahead and Live

Astronaut Stephen K. Robinson, STS-114 mission...
Astronaut Stephen K. Robinson (Wikipedia)
by Weldon Smith

These days lots of people feel they're in flux. They're hoping to get a job.

They think they might lose a job. They're working for a promotion.

They're thinking about going to school. They're going to get married.

They're trying to have a child. They wish their lives would get better. They want to start a business.

They wonder what the best investments are. They're worried about the course of the country and what politicians are trying to do.

Because of the uncertainty, some people have stopped living, so to speak.

They're waiting; they're trying to figure out the future, and they're no longer in the present. Being absent from the present is the worst thing we can do if we're concerned about the future.

Military personnel and people who have to move frequently because of their chosen professions know how important it is to get where they're going to live and move in. To establish a home and get on with life. To plant flowers and make friends.

They don't leave their furniture and belongings packed up because they're just going to have to move it again in a couple years. They don't disregard people around them because interaction with them will be temporary.

Sometimes hurricanes, fires, and other such things displace people from their homes. The happiest and healthiest of them make a home of wherever they go to live, for as long as they are there, even if they are surrounded by thousands of other people in the same place. Those who feel lost and out of place, and keep their belongings packed up become discouraged and unhappy.

I hear people talk about buying a home or selling a home. The name of the construction company I worked for suggested that they sold homes. You might think this is just semantics, but as far as I'm concerned, it's impossible to buy or sell a home. You can buy a house or a condo, or you can contract to lease an apartment.

But home is what you make of where you live, and you can't sell that to anyone else. Most of the people I've heard talk about buying a home live in an apartment. An apartment can be a home. A tent or a camper can be a home if that's where you live. To me this is an important distinction. Home is where you keep your stuff. It's where you feel secure (hopefully). It's where you decide what happens.

Nobody tells you what you can or can't do at home, although politicians are trying. Home is your place. You can arrange it the way you want and live in it the way you want.

Feeling like we can't live now because of what will or might happen in the not-too-distant future can make us miserable as fast as anything. Go ahead and live. We have to unpack our lives and live.
I'm not talking only about our physical domicile and our physical possessions.

In every area of our lives we should be pushing forward. We need to advance and progress. But we also need to be grounded in where we are and enjoy that. We have to have a home base that gives us stability as we venture out.

I remember hearing the first astronauts who space-walked talk about the experience. They went out to make a simple repair, but it took them a long time and was very difficult. When they got back inside the space capsule, they were covered in sweat. The reason?

There was nothing to push against. They had no leverage. Every action has an equal and opposite reaction. If they inserted a bolt into a hole, the act of pushing on the bolt also pushed them away, and they had to fight to stay in place and get the work done. NASA learned to use anchors and tethers when astronauts space-walk, so that they have some leverage and can get their work done.

Just because we're moving ahead to better things or we wonder about the future doesn't mean we can't be established firmly in the present. Having a life--feeling validated and enjoying ourselves is important to getting better. We have to be grounded in certain things so that we can fly.

We have to have a home so that we can go out and experience the world. If we have no home, or we haven't been home recently enough, we get tired of wherever we are very quickly. We have to have philosophies and beliefs so that we can go out and try new things.

Not knowing or caring what to stand for lets us fall for anything. We have to have a financial basis and financial wisdom in order to become wealthy. A fool and any money he might have are soon parted.

Be where you are. Have physical, emotional, financial, mental, social, and spiritual places to return to when the world beats you up. But get out and see, enjoy, experience, and gather all the good that is available outside your place. Go ahead and live.

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