A life by design

Finally. I’ve finally given in to the guilty pleasure of blog surfing.

Mainly because this habit is a lot cheaper than magazine subscriptions and with about two ten-minute increments of GP time every day, getting online to skim a blog or two is probably a lot less dangerous than some less noble activities, like eating cookie dough by the spoonful or napping. I live life a safe distance from the edge. And reading along has been fun but far from mindless. At times (all the time) I have to firmly stick to the ten-minute rule to avoid a full tail-spin into the abyss of comparison. Not that this helps. There’s something about having this “personal but not” connection to the world that is very conducive to carrying around a mental brag book of others’ lives. We see homes and families, dinners in preparation and chairs being reupholstered. And when I lay down at night and the BIG LIFE stuff starts whispering to me the fear is that I’m just not nautically-striped enough, that my hair is too conventional, Zo’s nursery isn’t Apartment Therapy chic, that my life doesn’t look right.

I’m continuing to work through some job and career stuff and what I’m finding is that unlike five years ago I’m looking at the concept and design of life rather than the day-to-day stuff.  It’s not all bad and it’s not all good. On the one hand it gives greater context to things and keeps me from hyperventilating over the small stuff. On the other hand I easily put distance between the process and the finished product and get frustrated when I can’t just have the image without the behind-the-scenes work.

The other question that keeps coming up is “Who’s the artist of this piece (aka: my life)?” You know that over-played quote that’s circling the sphere now? Something about how we’re the five people we spend the most time with? Are they collaborators on this project? If you believe that God is creator than does He own the rights to this work? The more questions I think up the harder I run into (what we can call) the truth: that it’s probably a delightfully crazy mix of all of the above. Part me, part you, part God, part forces beyond our control. We all get to make some brushstrokes here, and I’m even willing to pretend I’m ok with that…

Only because I know there’s some saving grace here. “Ooooh! What’s that Katie?” Put your hands out! Here come the pearls… I guess what will help us stay sane here is trying to remember that as in all art (especially the kind you’ll find in kindergarten classrooms), messes are made, plans are changed, and our brilliance takes sharp turns in surprising directions. It all get framed and hung on the wall. It’s all a part of the masterpiece. So have a few smocks on hand and while you’re at it, lay down a tarp.

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