Living the dream

I saw a video the other day, currently making the rounds on Facebook, that quoted Alan Watts.  It was an audio recording over a variety of pretty, generic images, but the basic point was, don’t chase what will make money, because all that will lead to is the chase of more money.  Instead, do what you love, what you’re passionate about, what you would fill your time with if money were no object.  It’s a great, philosophical snippet, and (I think) pretty wise.  Watching the video, I reflected on my life and situation . . . and I realized that I have the incredibly good fortune to be doing precisely what I want to be doing.  I am living the life I would live if money were no object.  And that’s pretty amazing.

If I became independently wealthy tomorrow, I would do 3 things differently.  I would fly home more often — I would never let more than a couple of months go by without visiting home and being with my family and friends.  I would consider moving my horses here from the US, and in the case that it wasn’t a good idea (for their health or sanity) I would find a way to ride here in Vienna.  I would go out to eat more often, and I would give Jo free rein to make whatever she wanted when she cooks.  But that’s pretty much it.

I am incredibly lucky and I think it’s pretty great.  Even given infinite resources, I’d still live in Austria.  I’d still have B in his current kindergarten, and I’d still have Liam home with me.  I’d live where I live, I’d still choose not to have a car, and (other than going home more often and/or flying my family over to visit) I’d travel to the same places we travel to, and in much the same way.  (Ok, if money were really no issue, I guess I’d fly first class.)

How cool is that?!?  I’m living the life I’d like to be living.  Right now.  That doesn’t (at all) mean that my life is perfect, but having that realization gives me great perspective.  When Liam’s 2 minute “time out” turns into a 40 minute ordeal, when Benjamin’s chocolate milk ends up all over the floor, when my alarm goes off after a night of not-so-restful broken sleep, when I can’t seem to find the time to exercise, shower and clean the house all in the same day, it helps me to remember that, even with all of the craziness that this life entails sometimes, this is the life that I would choose, given any option.  I choose it knowing that it involves difficult moments, sleepless nights and seemingly unending frustrations.  I truly wouldn’t have it any other way.  This is exactly what I want to be doing, and I get to do it, every single day.  It just doesn’t get any better than that.


I am so thankful for my darling children — I love that I get to be their mom.  I am thankful for all of my wonderful family.  I am thankful for my friends, old and new, here and at home.  I am thankful for technology — for being able to stay in touch so easily with everyone at home.  I am thankful that we have a warm, safe place to bring our kids home to, food to feed them, and enough money to have all the things that we need, and many, many things that we want.  I am thankful for modern medicine and its practitioners, especially those who helped Liam get through his first difficult days.  I am thankful for all of the people in my life:  past, present and future — for everyone who has been in my life at just the right moment so that I could learn or see something that I needed to (even if it wasn’t a pleasant experience at the time).  I am thankful for my own growth, for learning to let go of things, to enjoy life more, to be more flexible.  I am thankful for this opportunity to be abroad, to experience so many new things and gain so much appreciation for the “old” things.  I am thankful for the kindness I experience in the world — this journey is made so much easier with it.  I am thankful for naps, either when my kids take them or when I get to.  I am thankful for flannel sheets.  I am thankful for our sturdy old stroller that served us faithfully for over 3 years and which chose to fail tonight, in relative safety, outside of a restaurant, instead of in the middle of a busy street, getting off of a train or riding on an escalator.  I am so grateful for my wonderful, abundant life, and for how truly fortunate I am.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!