Last week my friend posted a status on Facebook that really resonated with me. I could paraphrase it, but she has graciously allowed me to copy it word for word, so here it is:
Years ago I went to a really pivotal leadership training event that was preceded by lots of self-testing. I learned about my “oxygen” – the things that make life beautiful to me, the things I have to stop and drink in every once in a while. They are not luxuries, they are necessities – they are the things that keep us sane. My oxygen includes art, poetry, music, and looking at the wide open sky. Growing up, I used to stand on a stump in my backyard and just look at the sky every single night. I didn’t know why I did it, but now I get it. What is your oxygen? I know you love your family, but this question is about OTHER stuff. Please don’t say your family. We all love our families. Maybe nature, or canoeing, or cooking or ???
That night I thought about it a lot, trying to determine what my “oxygen” was. I had actually been feeling like I was missing something, that I wasn’t myself. I wasn’t really thinking clearly, reacting to situations as I normally would, or even interacting with people the way I wanted to. Kind of like how a person would feel if they weren’t getting enough literal oxygen.
I feel asleep without coming to any real conclusion.
The next day was an absolutely beautiful day. It was warm, there was not a cloud in the sky, and there was no wind. (The no wind is a huge thing where we live, because sometimes the wind is so intense that it shakes the whole house and makes it feel like we’re having an earthquake.) Anyway, that day I was outside all day. I played with the kidlets, went for bike rides, walks, and just sat outside reading.
That day we also had a very long Skype conversation with two of our dear friends. (I won’t say how long because you will judge me. I judge me. But let’s just say my daughter read several books over Skype, all four kidlets showed off their bike riding skills, several parts of the movie Frozen were acted out, and we watched Giants Baseball together.)
After that I felt back to normal.
Now, you would think that I would have realized immediately what had happened, recognized that I had received a healthy dose of much-needed “oxygen”.
Nope. I’m not that quick. I just knew that I was happy. I was back to me. I was much more productive and things just sailed along.
But two days later, it finally hit me. So I told David that I found my oxygen, I needed more of it, and he needed to read my friend’s post about oxygen. Now, we live at 7500 feet above sea level, so it is very understandable that he thought I meant real oxygen. And that he was a little confused when he first started reading the post. And also confused about why I said I’d found my oxygen.
But now he gets it.
And so do I.
From now on I am going to make it a priority to truly connect with those who know and love me and my family, and who are willing to sit and listen to “Let It Go” being sung by every stuffed animal in the house. That kind of friendship is rare, and I treasure it.
I am also going to make more of an effort to get outside. I don’t just want to be there, I need to be there. My kids need me to be there. David needs me to be there. Okay, fine. Everyone needs me to be there.
So what’s your oxygen?
While you think that through, I’ll be outside.
See you soon.