Living Full Out
I was reading The Frederick News Post a few days ago when I came across some fascinating stories. The first was about U.S. Olympic swimmer Dara Torres. She’s 41!
She jokes that she has trouble reading the scoreboard because she is getting presbyopia, that eye condition that makes all of our arms too short when we’re in our forties. Her body and fitness are amazing for anyone, let alone someone over 40.
Is this a miracle? No. She’s athletic, but she also works very hard, with the guidance of a team of trainers.
Second was a story about a local athlete, Jackie Licata, who has changed her sport from gymnastics to weight lifting in the hope of fulfilling her Olympic dream someday. She recently moved to Frederick to work with a special coach.
Last but not least was a story that included a photo of a very attractive woman shaving the ears of a pig. It was Carol Blymire of Takoma Park. She had decided, in response to less than stellar food channel cooking, to prepare every recipe from the book “Cooking With the French Laundry.” In the process, she has created a renewed life for herself that may include a book and a television cooking show. If you look at that photo, you’ll notice that her kitchen is painted, clean and neat; she has good hair and is wearing a very flattering outfit.
In spite of the Letter to the Editor of The Frederick News Post complaining about the offensive photo of the pig’s head on the front page, I was awestricken by Carol and her doing what I call “going for it,” what you might call living full out.
I’ve often dreamed of accomplishing big things and been disappointed in myself because I didn’t. Only recently did I really begin to understand how big things in life are accomplished (small thing plus small thing plus small thing). Living full out, or playing full out, as they call it in the Landmark Education Program, is how it happens. (Look it up on line, if you like.)
Not everyone is destined for greatness, in the generally understood sense. But, in my view, the generally understood sense is often wrong. I mean, really! Brittney and Jamie Lynn Spears are very talented and cute girls, enormous public figures, treated thus as if they were great, but they have a long way to go. I hope they get there. They certainly have at least some of the tools.
The most commonly available greatness is a small thing in the eyes of the world, but every bit as valuable as public greatness. If we all played full out in our own spheres, imagine what would happen.
We’d live up to our potential. We’d get the best possible grades in school. We’d be the most loving of all daughters or sons, or parents. We’d fulfill our commitments, work while at work, play joyously when free, and be on time. We’d be acquainted with the little old lady next door, and her front walk would be shoveled when it snows.
Think what that would create in the world. Really think about how many broken hips and wrists would be prevented.
What would it take?
First, it would take a hard look at what is. Am I doing the best job I can at work? Am I standing up for myself and my workplace, trying to make things as good as they can be for me and our clients?
Do I put my tools away and leave my workplace clean for the next person? Do I practice conservation at work and at home? Is my kitchen clean, with wholesome food available for me and my family? Do I put down that fourth cookie when I know I’m full? Do I lay my clothes out for work so I can be on time?
Am I making active choices for my life, or am I being passive, accepting what comes, without trying to make the best life for myself and my family?
We may tell ourselves otherwise, but the truth is that life is full of possibilities. You just have to make the real choice.
I just read a catalog of National Trust Tours. One that is available is “Around the World by Private Jet.” In 23 days, for $56,950, you can be escorted from Machu Picchu to the Taj Mahal to the Sphinx. You can watch the sun rise at Angkor Wat, and watch it set on the Serengheti Plain. A team of scholars would accompany you to answer any questions.
I know it sounds crazy, not to mention unattainable; but, just to use it as an example, for many “ordinary people,” it could actually be possible. For some, it could take care of most of their travel dreams in one trip. It could complete their “Bucket List.” Many people actually have a lot more than that in their retirement accounts. For them, it might mean switching from a two bedroom retirement condo to a one bedroom, or maybe working a few more years.
It, and many more up to now un-thought-of ideas, is worth considering. You can make your own choice. Life as an adventure sounds a lot better than life as an endurance contest.