Surprise, surprise – I am reading my third book by Shauna Niequist in probably three months. I hope my obsession with her isn’t too weird at this point? If you don’t know who she is, she is a Christian author who isn’t preachy in the slightest. Her books are simply about living life to the best of your ability, in the happiest, most fulfilling way possible. Growing up in a super strict Lutheran church, I am immediately turned off (and even embarrassed) by anyone who tries to talk to me about religion in a pushy way. Shauna’s books, so inviting, welcoming, and chill, are a breath of fresh air.
Last week I ordered a few copies of Bittersweet and Bread and Wine for friends with April birthdays, and in the process decided to order a copy of her most recent book for myself, too – Present Over Perfect.
My problem is that I absolutely fly through these books and forget to savor (coincidence or not that her other new book that my mom gave me for Easter is called Savor?) them day-by-day and actually take what Shauna is saying into consideration in my everyday life. My goal with this one is to only read a few chapters each day (her books are compiled of tons of mini stories, so a chapter is usually only 5 -6 pages long) and really look into my own life for relatability factors in the process.
Within the first couple of pages I was reading over the weekend, I came across this question a friend asked Shauna in regards to figuring out what your dream really is:
“If someone gave you a completely blank calendar and a bank account as full as you wanted, what would you do?”
Wow. A question we would all probably love to be asked in real life, yeah? Like if it could actually happen? Shauna’s answer was so cool – she would stop. I would certainly stop a lot of things, too, but there are quite a few things I would add/change as well. Although I think this list could go on forever, here are the things that my life would consist of if I was asked that question today:
- I would quit my job. Immediately. With that time, I would really put my efforts on this blog into high-gear and finally start to write the book I have always wanted to publish. My new job title would be a writer and a blogger.
- As much as I love my condo, I would buy a new home in a better location for Chris and I. Somewhere that is a bit secluded, but still close enough to ride our bikes to restaurants, parks, and the grocery store. I would also put a ton of work into transforming it, Fixer Upper style, to make it a calming place that we really just love to be.
- Get monthly massages, facials, and wellness coaching sessions.
- Sign up for cooking classes and really learn how to cook well and creatively. I would have healthy, yet delicious, homemade meals every day and would be ecstatic to entertain family and friends as often as possible.
- Read outside, every day (weather-permitting).
- Wake up naturally each morning without an alarm clock and within the first three hours of being awake I would read a bit, go for a walk, have a healthy breakfast, and exercise.
- See my friends more and really deepen the relationships I have with them. I don’t think that you can put a price on what it is worth for good friends, great conversation, and the support of women that are at a similar stage in life.
- Travel somewhere new every other month. Once a month would be a little too much for a homebody like me, but I would love to make it a goal to explore a new part of this huge world multiple times a year. It always broadens my perspective, yet makes me really appreciate where I live.
- Until I have my own, I would volunteer more with children. I already work with the 8-9 year old girls at church every weekend, but I would probably offer babysitting services to families that need it, but can’t afford it. Or maybe just work more in the nursery at church.
- Adopt a dog (or two).
- Plant a garden and try to grow as much fresh produce as I could. I would also plant flowers and would love to be able to take my neighbors things I grew on a regular basis.
- Like Shauna, I would cut back on a lot – some examples being TV, social media, rushing, completing tasks “just because, for no real reason,” etc. I think that a lot of the afore-mentioned things are able to be done mindlessly and for some reason currently help me to unwind after a day at work where I thought about and did things I didn’t want to do all day. I don’t want to go through my life numb and mindless – I want to be intentional about how I spend my time and who I spend it with.
Looking back at that list, not much of it is out of reach. It’s all pretty attainable and things that I do think I will have at some point in time in my life. I think it would be interesting to do this exercise every 3 – 5 years or so to help prioritize what I currently have in my life and what I would have in my life if the possibilities were endless. It is really sad to me that we live so much of our lives dictated by time/money constraints or surpluses, but unfortunately that will always be the case (at least to some extent). I absolutely believe in work-arounds to these two things, get-aways, and time of just ignoring them and following your heart, but for those of us who hold ourselves to certain standards for our lives, we will always have to adhere to time and money at least a little bit. And in some seasons, much more than in others.
So what are some of the things you would do (or not do) with an unlimited amount of time and a full bank account?