If you don’t just do it, you won’t do it…

Chris and Me at Rock the Cradle, MPLS, 2012

I’m a mover. A shaker. An Energizer Bunny. I don’t sit still. I get bored if I am not doing. I invest in people. I pour my life into situations. I try to make the most of moments. This is how I live. This is how I choose to live. I like life this way.

When I was a kid, I was deathly afraid of tunnels. We lived in New Jersey and every time we’d go to the city (THE City, you know, New York, the Center of the Universe) we would have to go through the Lincoln Tunnel. I hated the Lincoln Tunnel. It’s looooooong and underwater and people drive really crazy. So, when we would enter the tunnel I’d get off the seat of our station wagon (there were no car seats and we didn’t wear seatbelts in the backseat) and assume the fetal position on the floor of the car. I would hide there until we were through the tunnel. I also hated bridges, heights, and airplanes. Oh! How I hated airplanes! As a young child I flew places. We went to North Carolina to visit my grandma and Puerto Rico to visit family, but once I was in middle and high school my family didn’t have a lot of money, so flying places wasn’t really an issue.

Then I entered college and as a college freshman my friends wanted to go to Florida for spring break. Oh dear. I reeeeally wanted to go, but that meant getting my butt on a plane. I contemplated it for a little bit and then decided to just go for it. I realized that if I never got on a plane, if I let my fear rule me, there would be many, many places I could never go. This was the first act of my, “If you don’t just do it, you won’t do it,” philosophy.

When I had small children, they were crazy, as small children tend to be. I lived in a constant state of chaos. It was like I had my own three-ring circus traveling around with me at all times. My husband was in grad school and I was usually on my own with the kids. But, I’d get them dressed, pack the luggage of supplies (ok, it was just a diaper bag with a few different sizes of diapers, kid snacks, bottles, cups, changes of clothes in three sizes…but it felt like luggage) and we’d go. I’d haul them to the beach in our wagon with their buckets and towels and shovels, I’d take them to parks for lunch, we’d visit friends near and far and even go shopping. I often had friends ask me “how” I did it. And my answer was always the same, “If you don’t just do it, you won’t do it”. There isn’t anything special about me. I am not equipped in ways that other people aren’t, but life is full of choices and I choose to live this way.

Molly and Maddy at the Beach, 2002

Since moving to Minnesota and experiencing my Great Awakening last year, when I was reminded that life is worth living even if it is set in Minnesota, I have continued to live this way. I had a friend say to me a few weeks back, after I had posted pics of some outing on which I brought my family, “You make it look like it is actually fun to live in this state.” Well, it isn’t that it is one particular state over another, and I am sure there are places that are way more fun. Ok, I KNOW there are places that are way more fun, but it isn’t about where you live, it’s about how you live.

Four and a half years ago Chris and I made a wrong turn, (and truly friends, you have no idea of the magnitude of the truth behind that statement.) That wrong turn has landed us here, in the middle of the country, in a culture so foreign we sometimes feel like we left our native land. Never in a million years would I have pointed at a map and set my sights on living in Minnewhere?, as I have affectionately come to call it, but here I am. And life here could be a really mundane, vanilla, plain-pizza kind of existence. And, as I am sure you have gathered by now, I am no vanilla-loving girl. I am a Peanut-Butter-Overload, Ooey-Gooey-Oreo kind of lady. I like pepperoni and peppers on my pizza, please. So, I choose to make the most of this place. I squeeze the life out of it and plan to see all that Minnesota has to offer me. I get out and I go and I see and I do.

But really, it is so much bigger than going out and having fun and doing things. I apply this motto to my life on a much broader, philosophical scale. If I don’t just do it, I won’t do it. THIS is why I am going to grad school, THIS is why I have my sights set on a destination, THIS is why I am not content to just sit still and ride the waves. Truly, even sitting still, life moves you forward. Eventually you get somewhere, it just may not be where you want to go.

Of course, it is much easier to it still. An object at rest tends to stay at rest. It is much easier to stay home and do nothing. It is much easier to ride the waves and see where your life winds up. It might be somewhere great, or not. I can make all the plans in the world, but if I don’t actually get up and do something and act on those plans I may never get there. So, I choose to be an actor in my life, to make life fun and interesting and to map my steps and act on them because I have realized you have to shit or get off the pot. If you don’t just do it, you won’t do it.

Maddy and Molly at the Stone Arch Festival, MPLS, 2011
Gabe and Hannah, Pop-Up Park, Rock the Cradle, MPLS 2012
Skating in St. Paul, 2012

7 thoughts on “If you don’t just do it, you won’t do it…”

  1. “it isn’t about where you live, it’s about how you live.”

    So true, my friend! 🙂 We are similar in that respect. I don’t know how to miss things. Life is too fragile — what if I’m not around tomorrow? right?

    I’ve enjoyed you sharing your self-growth this past year over Facebook. 🙂 I’ve learned from it, too!

    Jen 🙂

    1. “I don’t know how to miss things. Life is too fragile — what if I’m not around tomorrow? right?”

      Exactly! Thanks for reading and following my journey 🙂

  2. Why don’t you try Orlando, FL? There are plenty of people like you there. You can live in a cookie-cutter neighborhood and have tons of friends. Although, with four small children, I don’t know how that would work. Mostly, the Moms just drink wine on the deck and let their kids play together. I don’t think you will find any place where you will find that the people there are as smart and cultured as your opinion about yourself. I can’t imagine why you have never figured out why you weren’t invited over in MN. I am not usually this catty, but I happened upon your blog and was amazed at your self confidence.

    1. Do you make a habit of lashing out at people you don’t know? Are you from Minnesota? Impressive. That is so not Minnesota Nice. I like it. Bravo. You too must be confident if you are able to berate someone you have never met. Well, Lynn Thomas, I admire your gumption. Thank you for your comment.

    2. Ms. Thomas, if you could direct us toward your little corner of the internet where you spill your own deepest thoughts and wrestle with the misgivings of the life you’ve chosen to live, we’d very much appreciate it. If you’d take a moment to peruse the rest of the blog posts here, you may realize that what our dear friend is reacting against is the very cookie-cutter lifestyle that is so prevalent in her part of the woods. I would also encourage you not to assume that someone who observes the world as our friend here does – as a relative outsider – is somehow assuming that we are not “cultured” or “smart”. You would do well to incorporate voices into your life that offer a differing view of this subculture we’ve created here on the tundra, and then become conversant with them, listen to them, engage them. Don’t veil your own insecurity about hearing that your home is not Pleasantville by encouraging someone to uproot their family again and move someplace else. And certainly don’t snipe disingenuously at the authenticity of our friend here; it’s a valuable quality that is found in anemic quantities in this corner of the world. I really do believe that you are not as (as you so monumentally underrated your cold response) “catty” as you come across. So if you choose to see this blog as simply another whining, complaining, squeaky wheel of a corner of the internet, please: run along. But the fact that you so egregiously assumed so much about our friend here, and in a random hit-job brought down a person of such overwhelming grace and relentlessly good-natured honesty, encourages me to be so bold as to invite you to close your eyes right now and imagine that this is indeed the scenic view you will have when you go now, and disappear up your own asshole.

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