Nothing like a dose of awfulness to put life’s priorities into perspective.

We have a close family relative who is going through the most horrific divorce.  Really… it’s a horrific divorce.

I have always chosen to see both sides of the story (and have tried not to take sides) – but the whole thing is awful, and it has turned so ugly… and it’s a struggle to believe that these two people once loved each other.  And, to make matters worse, there are 2 children in the mix.

Last night, Nick and I sat on the phone talking to one of the family members and, afterwards, we spoke to each other (on the phone ’cause he’s still in Klaarstroom)… and we just – I guess – gave thanks.

We are both so grateful (and I want to put that in capital letters:  GRATEFUL and THANKFUL !!!) that we have a very happy marriage.  So many people don’t.  Maybe even most people… (?)  I do not take my marriage and the relationship I have with Nick for granted.  And I hope I never do!

I was married before.

And I understand what it means to be unhappily married.  I understand how a miserable marriage has a way of infecting your whole life.  And so, perhaps even more than Nick, I am soooooo grateful for this.  I am grateful for Nick… I am grateful for our kids… I am super-super-grateful for the time we have together – investing in each others’ lives.

Nick said the same thing.

He said:  “I know what matters in this life… and I know what DOESN’T matter”.

And I agree with him.  So (and I’ve written similar blog posts about this in the past) – here’s where I remind myself what really matters – and what doesn’t:

Stuff that matters:

  • Our marriage.
  • Our children.
  • Our health.
  • Spending quality time with those we love the most.
  • Deep, beautiful friendships… (that aren’t shallow or fickle).
  • Being generous with our lives and with our talents.
  • Investing our time and energy into work that fulfils us and makes us come alive.
  • A roof over our head, food on our table and the resources that we need to be able to DO what we’re designed to do with our lives.
  • Giving back.
  • Love… growth… learning… (and more love)…

Stuff that doesn’t matter:

  • The size or cost of the house we own.
  • The size, brand or cost of the car we drive.
  • Whether or not we have “status”.
  • The amount of *stuff* we own.
  • The brand or the cost of the clothes we wear.
  • What we *look* like (whether we’re thin enough, “hot” enough… or whatever-enough).
  • What other people say about us.
  • What other people think about us.

I’m sure I could add a number of extra points to each list.  Do you have a list?  I’d love to hear what’s important – or NOT important – to the readers of this blog…

Anyway…

Nick and I are endeavouring to… remove ourselves… from situations (whether with work, family, colleagues or other relationships) where the focus is on fickle, meaningless… I dunno… bickering… arguing about silly things… like a bunch of crabs in a bucket – everyone pushing, pulling, trying to climb on top of the other guy… trying to squash someone else in order to get to the ‘top’… you hear what I’m saying?

Seriously – life is too short for that crap.

I don’t want to be embroiled in the fickleness any more.

I’m bone-tired of the skinner (gossip) mentality that permeates our culture.

And I’m no less susceptible to it than anyone else.

Just yesterday, the YOU magazine ran a 4-page article comparing a pregnant Reality-TV star to a pregnant princess.  It was all about who-weighs-what and who-wore-what or who-wore-it-better.  The one was “too fat” (they called her a whale) – the other was apparently “too skinny”.

I mean really?

You know?

I just don’t want to be exposed to that… mentality… any more.  I want to walk away from it.

I want to hang out with good friends… I want to connect with new people and discuss new ideas.  I want my kids to be figuring out ways to create beauty in this world… imagining how we can save endangered species or invent new solutions to big problems – or how we can shift the status quo in new, inspiring ways…

I don’t want my daughter to be sizing up celebrities or comparing the size of her body to somebody else.  In the words of Beauty Redefined, she is capable of so much MORE than just being “looked” at (or talked about).

Anyway…

There was a quote by Eleanor Roosevelt that I once read that goes like this:

“Great minds discuss ideas;  average minds discuss events;  small minds discuss people”.

It sounds a bit uppity (the quote)… but – if you look at it from an angle of a “small-minded mentality”… I dunno… perhaps it’s something to chew on?

I’m certainly chewing….