January 28, 2013
Remember to Chase Butterflies

I was thinking the other day how much of my present is a function of the future. How does that make sense, you may ask. Well, I make plans for the years ahead, and then live my days to meet those goals.

One friend of mine said it would be truly sad if all of our plans materialized as expected. That got me thinking. I have always made plans but the truth is, in the past I have also let the journey take me places. Sometimes at the expense of meeting that initial end goal. And that was tough sometimes. I never made plans for more than 5-6 years at a time but even so, being thrown off track by getting lost in the landscape of the journey didn’t feel all that great in the beginning, because, you see, I tended to put all my eggs on one basket. And then didn’t know what else to do with myself.

Not anymore. And I’m also much more flexible in terms of plans. Part of it comes from having many baskets! A job, my family, and various writing projects. BUT now I have a new problem. I have too many baskets and only so much energy. Which means that if I am to give each long-term goal a minimum amount of attention, I have little time left in the day and week to do things that would take me other places. Like joining a photo association and going on trips in the country or in the city. Roaming the city and countryside (if not going abroad) to take photos, which may end up good enough to to sell to sites like Shutterstock, and launching me in this different direction. Joining an NGO. Things like that. In fact, I don’t even want to know about things taking me places because I already have more baskets than I can handle.

So how are we to live our lives then? One basket, two, three? What about having one too many? When should we stop designing new baskets?

I remember in university getting involved in so many activities. But that was all “going places.” The end goal was to graduate with some decent grades. Not top grades, because I wanted to do so much besides academics.

It felt so good to have only that one goal. Sure, I also worked while in university, so there was a lot on my plate, but as far as having a long-term project to see through a certain way, I had only one. Which gave me the freedom to enjoy every activity while it lasted, and for what it had to offer in the moment, in the joy of doing something I loved with my mind and body, surrounded by other human beings or alone, more than for a goal or another (acquiring skills, padding a resume, etc.). Taking photographs for the school’s yearbook was one of those activities. So was dancing in a troupe that only lived for a semester.

As we grow older, we begin to make too much of life about goals: about eggs and baskets. And then try to balance all these baskets on our head, one on top of the other. And in order not to drop them all, take them all down from time to time, forget about some of the eggs, and place the remaining ones in baskets of various sizes, which we place at different angles to one another back on top of our head. Some put their family first, others their job, or their social life, or travel. Others do away with all the baskets (which is not forgetting about things like family — only forgetting about goals related to your family) and live completely in the moment, letting life take them where it will. A quote that comes to mind is “If you don’t know where you are going, any road will take you there.” Which mainstream society says it’s a bad thing. We’re taught from early on in life to make plans and stick to them, and try to be the captain of our ship. But life throws us many curve balls. So we’d better learn to go with the flow, at least now and then. More importantly, to do it in all areas of our lives.

We want to be happier but we embrace ever less freedom, and forget to spend enough time nourishing our soul. ‘Cause that’s what falls by the wayside eventually, and then day after day, if all we’re after is eggs and baskets. If we forget to make time to chase butterflies.


25 thoughts on “About

  1. Hi Mira: Thanks for visiting Bookshelf: for the intellectually curious, posting several likes and following. Bookshelf is dedicated to people like you who love books and quotations and have a sense of wonder and curiosity about the world. In a world of more than 7 billion people, the blogosphere — miraculously it seems — connects people with common interests. In a future blog I will be writing about the best books of quotations; hopefully some of the books in that post will find a home on your bookshelf and inspire some new life quotes for your blog…

  2. Hello Mira
    I recently took up blogging and I was surprised how many book lovers I can connect with here. I read quite a few articles in your blog and found your About Me section to be most intriguing. My blog is dedicated to all the book lovers and occasional scribblers suchlike myself. I will be posting reviews along with other posts like comparisons, good reads etc. in the blog. Looking forward for the exchange of ideas.

  3. Hi Mira! I have learned to prioritize although it still remains a struggle! Some stuff is easy – Family comes first for me and my soon to be 5-yr-old takes up much of my time. It’s the hobbies that are hard…but I can’t survive without reading and writing so I stick with those. I love photography too and so I take pictures as often as I can! My plate, my life and my soul are all full up for now!

    • Hi Bill, thank you for your kind words. You have some really nice posts, which I am now following. Thanks for stopping by. Hope you’ll find reason to come back often.

      • Thanks for following, Mira. You might have guessed from the lack of posts to my blog I’ve done some basket re-arranging. But eventually I’ll get back to the blog but first I have to get the first of two novels self-published.

  4. Amen, Mira, well said! I so related to what you said and I think it would be truly sad if all of our plans materialized as expected. It’s just something I need to remind myself time and again, as well as to not forget to take time to chase those butterflies. Just lovely. Look forward to reading more! Thanks for for sharing 🙂

  5. Well said, and so relatable! To be able to finally balance all my baskets is a life goal of mine :). Jokes aside though, it’s crazy how overwhelming high school can get when there’s so much to manage – grades, extracurriculars, volunteer hours, leadership, standardized tests, family and friend commitments… it’s the primary reason why I had so much trouble starting a blog too. Eventually, my love of writing was prioritized over an extra hour of sleep – sometimes, that’s what it comes down to!

    I’m so glad I found your blog! You write so well and you have a really distinct voice. I’m looking forward to reading more of your posts!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s