Brace yourself for what may just be the lamest thing you read all day.
My favorite place to be, in this season of life, is my bed with a mug of black coffee, a book and blankets. That's it.
I like going to the movies and eating buttery popcorn. I really love a good mall with some spending money. I dig coffee shops, the beach and amusement parks. I'm always down for a good meal or a cute pumpkin patch in the fall.
But right now, I always seem to gravitate to my white sheets, the glittery lamp by my bed and a highlighter to pick out my favorite nuggets of whatever paperback I'm putting creases (and coffee stains) in.
I've canceled fun plans and sacrificed sleep for these moments.
These are the moments when I truly feel like I am living my best life. I realized that about a month ago, and I had to smile at myself for two reasons.
One- the definition of "living my best life" has drastically changed throughout my life. At 13, I probably would have said my best life was at Sonic with my best friend Megan eating tater tots and drinking cranberry limeades after Wednesday bible study. At 17, my high school boyfriend's truck in the Taco Bell parking lot eating whatever new, promoted item had just come out. At 20, dancing with my roommates at a house party, despite having an 8 AM the next day.
I won't claim to be old and wise or anything. I'm 22 and almost a half (the almost half is important, I promise). But I will say, with confidence, that it took me about 18 years to fully commit to living a happy life. Not a perfect life, but a life that I would celebrate and seek joy in...even when it took everything I had.
I won't lie to you, it completely took a real faith in a very real God. It took a lot of understanding the freedom that relationship can bring. That is actually a lesson I am still learning. However, that's a post for another day.
This post is about living your best life. I don't claim to have all the answers. I would never make such a bogus claim. Really. However, I am saying I am the happiest I've ever been...in this season, where my best life can be found in my bed with bitter coffee.
I think, for me, it took three realizations. Three embarasingly simple things.
The first, I found in my time in prayer and studying the Word of God. I won't harp on it this time. I know, accept and respect that a lot of people come here and don't believe. Know, that if you are one of those people, I love that you're here just as much and, if you promise to not be turned off or closed to what I say about my faith, I promise not to be overbearing with it. Deal? Deal.
The second thing I realized is that living your best life is simply a matter of showing up to life with an open heart, a determination to find the joy and laughter, regardless of how it goes. I also realized I happened to be raised by someone who was a walking, breathing example of what that means.
I would say my mom has taught me to dance in the rain, but that would be a lie. Relaxers, weaves and general hair appointments simply cost too much, and I'm natural so nah.
However, my momma taught me to enjoy the little things, appreciate the major things and celebrate all the things. She showed me the importance of saving your money but also knowing when to treat yo self to the shoes. I've watched her rejoice and throw up her hands when the miracles were pouring in and abundance was all around. I've also watched her rejoice and throw up her hands when circumstances were downright bad and the idea of abundance seemed to have disappeared from the the realm of possibility. I've watched my momma be a light when the darkness was laid on thick. I've seen her be a friend, even when life was messy and busy. I've seen her pour herself out in love, even when she was running on empty.
I've seen her dance in the car, completely oblivious to anyone driving around her. I watched her cry real, actual tears when Michael Jackson died and then again when Prince passed away. I've watched her in pure rage in response to some misstep or act of ingratitude from me or my brother. I've watched her listen, when she probably didn't feel like it and explain herself when she didn't have to. More importantly, I've watched her apologize when she thought she was wrong.
My mother is a fortress and a strength and an outpouring of love and support and humility and humanness. She is not perfect, but she doesn't try to be.
I think my mom is a really good example of living your best life, and if there were words big enough to let her know how thankful I am for that example...I would do everything my two hands could do to find them and hand them to her.
However, I don't think there are big enough words, so here I am writing this post because I think the most gracious thing you can do when someone gives you a gift you can't repay is simply to share it.
Thirdly and lastly, I realized it's a choice.
I don't think that living your best life has anything to do with the perfect circumstances, an Instagram-worthy existence every single day or even a good outfit (although, I think a good outfit usually helps).
I think living your best life is a choice. It's a choice no one will force you to make. It's not even a choice someone else can make for you.
It's also more than a saying you chuckle out to make someone laugh when you're doing something less than glamorous (that happens to be when I use the saying the most.)
Now, the second reason I think my current definition of my best life is so amazing (sorry, I ramble) is that it took me a whole lot of time to feel at-home in my apartment in Montgomery, Alabama. It took me a long time to consider a place without my mom and brother and grandma and best friends and dog is my home. I guess I eventually realized that coming to a place every night and cooking in it and showering in it doesn't feel nearly as good as doing all of those things in a place adopt as your own and let it fully be just that. Your place.
We do not get to control everything. Actually, we do not get to control most things. But, I do believe we control whether or our not we live our best lives, and I think that's the most important thing. Always.
So, today, and everyday...I hope that you'll choose to live your best life. Then, I hope you will keep making that choice.
With Love & Glitter,