YOLO. You only live once.
What does that mean exactly?
My life has always been filled with quality. I've had the privilege of education placed within my reach, art, culture, international living, farm-fresh produce, exposure to metropolitan and mountain lifestyles, a close-knit family, supportive community, a beautiful home. For the most part, I haven't taken any of it for granted. At least, I thought I hadn't.
I was born with ten fingers, ten toes, into a highly educated second generation American family, our French, Yugoslav and Pennsylvania Dutch roots closely intact. My parents worked hard, my father a bilingual FBI agent and my mother a teacher who acquired 2 masters degrees and 2 foreign languages. We lived in Europe, and I attended schools that offered the International Baccalaureate. Indeed, I was lucky, and my life was full.
I constantly strive to maintain the fortunate life bestowed upon me by my parents. A few of my accomplishments include thirteen years overseas, college and masters degrees, a rat-race metropolitan career, over a decade tv-less, becoming a devoted (yet not helicopter) mother, a deliberate decision to move to the mountains, our home construction, and a year-long effort to consume everything from within 100 miles of our home.
At that time, my motto was: "My life is not busy. It's full."
It was only after we lost everything to a wildfire that I stared at my choices - my life - straight on.
"YOLO" became my new motto, and there was an urgency behind it. Was it possible for me to live more fully, take advantage of one more minute in my day? What did I need to omit? What could I do to live even more intentionally? How could I be a better mother, wife, friend? And...what did I want to do that I hadn't already done?
And then suddenly it dawned on me. While I was happy with my choices, I wasn't living in the moment. I was living a full, meaningful life yet constantly looking forward to the next thing.
Chase wildflowers into the mountains.
Yet don't just chase the wildflowers. Take time to smell them. Absorb their color. If that's not enough, make time to do it again tomorrow.