When was the last time you did something that mattered to you?
I mean really mattered.
It could be something incredibly simple or something that matters enough to shake your core. For me, I realized today, I’m lacking in the core-shaking department.
I drove to Sioux City for work today. It was a gorgeous day for a three-hour drive west in my uber-posh Detroit dream-machine rental. I had the windows cracked and some Portugal. The Man. on the radio. I was about an hour outside of Sioux City when I started to smell the smell. Now, anyone that’s spent any time in Iowa knows what I’m talking about. (They say in Iowa corn is king but let me tell you that meat has an equal share of the kingdom.) It was the sickening sweet meat smell from the processing plants that are situated across the state. In fact, sometimes when the wind is right I can smell it outside my apartment floating over from the east side. After rolling up my windows, I thought about what might happen at those places. It disgusts me to consider it. Yet I’ll go into a restaurant and order a burger that probably started its voyage to my plate the very same way.
Like most of the personal revelations that make their way to this blog, it translates to my life as a whole. I can’t remember the last time I stood up for something that mattered to me. I can’t remember the last time I put my money where my mouth is, so to speak. You all know the kind of woman I want to be, so when did I stop chasing those dreams? A younger Ryan was a vegetarian in personal protest to animal treatment—and I stayed that way for five years (I wasn’t PETA-level crazy, guys). It became part of who I was. Eventually (probably for reasons of convenience and lack of proper protein) I went back to eating meat and tried not to think too much about where it came from.
My parents (all three of them) always taught me that I could do whatever I wanted. They gave me love no matter what I decided to do. They were on my side when I did well in school, when I was too lazy to care in college, when I was unemployed, when I moved to Cincinnati to go to school cause it seemed like a good idea and every subsequent endeavor whether it be success or failure. They never made me feel like there was something I couldn’t do. As a consequence, I think it’s taught me to love everything. I don’t have just one dream, I have many, many dreams. I think it’s left me in a constant neutral state as an adult. Instead of mastering just one thing and pursuing just that thing with my whole heart, I pursue many things with 1/4 of my heart.
I know too much about the things that do matter to me to ever feign ignorance. I know too much about food and I have very strong feelings about it, I know too much about exercise and the human body and eating right but I still offer myself the best of excuses as to why it’s okay not to live it out, I know too much about living whole-heartedly and being vulnerable yet I still choose to hold myself back; I struggle with the just do. I read a blog post recently by someone I really admire. She said “how you do anything is how you do everything.” I have been kicking that around and turning it over since reading that, trying to find how that fits and resonates in my life. And it does. I always thought my life was waiting to happen. That things would really get going for me when I found my purpose. And as all of you good people may already know, I learned that my life is happening now. So if I follow the “how you do anything is how you do anything” principle, how I procrastinate about the minutiae of life is how I treat my life as a whole; how I treat most days is (in reality) how I treat all the days. I want that thought to light the motivation fire that I’ve spent so much time lamenting the loss of.
So that takes me back to where I started… when was the last time you did something that really mattered to you? Is that something you think about when making decisions—is this something that matters to me? I know that for me, I’m going to have to keep that top of mind and chase those things. It doesn’t come as naturally to me as it might to you but it’s a noble pursuit to chase it.