“I don’t want to get to the end of my life and find that I lived just the length of it. I want to have lived the width of it as well.” – Diane Ackerman
We often speak about living our lives to the fullest–living with no regrets. Those are ideas about life. Diane Ackerman’s quote gives us a visual to go with the ideas. I’ll be honest, I’m always thinking and planning and trying to move onward and upward–this statement still blew my mind. The biggest reason it affects me is because it is exactly how I have felt and didn’t have the right words to express it. I want to live the length and the width of my life. I want to achieve my fullest potential. I still haven’t figured out exactly what that exact potential is, but with time, I’m sure it will become clear.
I spent so many years just living. Some would say what I was doing wasn’t living, but rather just surviving. Maybe that’s what you are doing too–only you can answer that. Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t just sitting around on a couch watching TV. I went to college, and graduated cum laude, got married, had more kids, spent time with friends, attended kids sporting events and recitals–I was living life and living it well. What I wasn’t doing was thriving. I was in the throes of life going through all the motions that I was supposed to. And, there is nothing wrong with it. I loved every minute of it. I wasn’t in the hole we call grief all the time. It was who I was supposed to be and I was so happy to be there.
About a year ago, I made a couple of decisions. It was time to start living the width of m life. One, I decided I was tired of thinking about writing and not taking the time to do it. It’s always been inside of me–a true passion. I’m not a perfect author, by any means, but I believe that I have potential to be a very good author. I actually gave myself permission to start this blog and believe I could do it. I quit telling myself I wasn’t good enough and started telling myself I was good enough and could only get better. I had confidence I could gain a readership that might follow me on to the books I will write (yes, it’s in the cards). It helps my soul to write and I hope it helps other people. It is hard to put yourself out there and let people see the truth. I opened myself up for rejection and criticism. Until then, that was more risk than I wanted to take. Last fall, I decided the rewards would be well worth the rejection and risk.
I put myself out there and did it. I have gained readership, although I am a little saddened that it hasn’t moved faster. The more I write, the better I get, and the more I hope people come along for the ride. The comments from my readers, the way writing can touch people is more rewarding than I ever imagined. I sat down one night, wrote a note to my friends to check out my new endeavor–just like that, I was starting to live the width of my life.
The other decision I made was to start a widow support group. I have not fulfilled this decision yet. However, I have done a lot of the research and compiled some information, possible places, and general ideas about the group details. I just don’t have the time right now to do it because of my grandparents–they are far more important and I wouldn’t trade this time with them for anything. I know what I want to do and I know I have the capabilities to accomplish it. I just need some time to be able to achieve it. I’ll get there and it will happen when it’s supposed to.
So, read that quote and really consider your life. Analyze your struggles, your reactions, and look at how you’ve grown. Really see if you are living the length or the width. Wouldn’t it be great to do both? I think it would. I’m working on it and I hope you are too.