08 December 2009


"I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived." -Henry David Thoreau

For some reason deliberation has been on my mind lately. I used to feel slightly bewildered that I have such an eclectic set of friends. None of the friends that I just love really fit easily into a generic category (except brilliant, beautiful, and witty, of course). I am happy with that, but I think there is one adjective that describes all of my good friends very aptly. They are deliberate.

They think about life choices, and live deliberately. Vegetarians, recyclers, world travelers, teachers, marathon runners, stay-at-home moms. They all have one thing in common. They chose an alternate when their road could have been easier by eating whatever they want, throwing away all their trash, or watching soap operas instead of running their legs off.

I wish I were more deliberate. I loved my Mormon mission for many reasons, not the least of which was that I was more deliberate. I was in charge of my own destiny. Sometimes when I get lost in the melee of dirty floors and a cluttered house, I wish for more inner power to deliberately put everything I touch away instead of on the counter. I wish for the self-control to teach Grace and Henry to neatly stow each toy and article of clothing in its proper place. I wish I always had the transcendental restraint to speak with sweet gentle words to my little "angels."

When I get all wishful I just remind myself that we decided both times to have kids, and we intend to have several more. Messes will ensue, but so will the life I have always wanted, in which I will not, when I come to die, discover that I have not lived.


msjvd said...

Great post.

I've always thought that you were deliberately a nerd. Deliberately mothering Grace and Henry. Deliberately loving (and in love with) the other nerd in the household.

And a deliberately great, supportive friend and relative.

Just because you don't travel the world, run marathons, recycle (you don't recycle?) or speak gently to children who are laughingly spreading homemade applesauce all over the tabletop doesn't mean you aren't deliberately GREAT.

It may mean that as a side effect of all the other deliberate (and very fun) things that you are, you are in fact, quite great.

Not exactly a bad outcome, is it?

Linz said...

This IS a great post! Thanks for the reminder! We all need to be more deliberate and not let life just happen.

Thanks! I really enjoyed this post!

Marie Says Yes said...

I'll be thinking about this one, Jenny. Thanks.

Queen Elizabeth said...

Thanks - I needed that. Keep up the good work. I think you are amazing.

Jesse said...

Loved it. Thank you.

The Rookie said...

Love this! For whatever reason you made me tear up a bit. (Maybe because my midterm grades are due and I don't want to face the stack just yet?)

I think about Henry David a lot--and this whole concept of living deliberately. In fact, I've started about 27 posts of my own (rough estimate) on this very topic. I think most of us who've read Henry David struggle and strive to live deliberately. We are also plagued with doubts that we're not doing it correctly: I'm not enjoying the moment enough or living in control of my destiny or whatever. But I also believe being aware that you want to do it deliberately is a good start. It means I'm on my way, right?

Yack, yack, yack. Anyway, I loved this and thank you.

amy said...

All I'm gonna say is quilts don't make themselves.

sammygrace said...

You are a deliberately awesome mother with more patience than you give yourself credit for and why do you think i ENJOY babysitting for you? Because you've deliberately raised good kids. you've focused so much on them that you may struggle at times, but who you are is in the eyes of those beautiful children running around with smiles on their faces, because they're happy. Raising kids to be happy, is more of an amazing journey than ya think. :) I think that msjvd said it much better than me, but you really are deliberately, GREAT.

Kate said...

I for one, do not believe in recycling. It's the lowest rung on the ladder (REduce! REuse!).

I think I'm more of a process oriented person. For better or for worse. The only goal I have consistently held in life was to go to law school... AND BOY WAS THAT A MISTAKE.

(ok, ok I am in the epicenter of finals... I may have a different opinion when the storm has cleared)

I can tell from that wonderful last paragraph that you already have the life you've always wanted. You have an amazing gift to - just be.

Brittany said...

I like that definition of living deliberately? Have you actually read Thoreau? I haven't. Maybe I will.....I too really love that Arthur married DW. She is such an artist! She has a gift. I love little kids' view of marriage. Weston told me the other day he wanted to get married to daddy.

angela michelle said...

love this. it's a paradox I wish I could write about someday--to respond appropriately to children, you have to be deliberate--so you can quash all those impulses to just throw their dirty little selves right out the window ;) But then everything about motherhood makes it so hard to be deliberate--the constant, conflicting, overlapping demands, the exhaustion, the everlasting to-do list. That's one reason I feel like private scripture study is so important for me--it's the moment to try to get re-grounded and focused.

Gina said...

I loved this post. Thanks for giving me something great to think about today.