There is a magazine I simultaneously love and hate. It’s called Artful Blogging, and I’ll bet at least some of you guys have seen it in your local store, even if you haven’t picked one up or thumbed through an issue. It’s a lovely magazine. The photography and layout are soothing and peaceful. In short, it has often provided me with a much-needed escape from the hectic mess that is my day-to-day life. (Often when I’ve locked myself in the bathroom for just a few minutes peace … but that’s a story for another day. Maybe.)
So, I love this magazine. I find it inspirational. This is the magazine that, ultimately, caused me to pull the trigger and set up my own blog. Because I looked at the beautiful pictures and read the lovely words and thought, “Hey! I want to do that!” And, of course, there were choirs of angels singing in the background to accompany this epiphany. Or, maybe that was one of the dogs, climbing up onto the dining table chairs to get at my daughter’s left-over breakfast. But, whatever … the epiphany happened. And so did the blog.
But I also hate this magazine. Because, in truth, no matter how beautiful or inspiring I find its pages or the blogs it showcases, I know I can never, ever live up to them. My life is full of drudgery and stuff I hate doing. I rarely admit this to myself — and almost never admit it out loud — but probably 99% of the stuff I do every day falls into that category. Not only that, but all of these things are tasks that are on a never-ending cycle. It’s not like laundry is going to stay clean or dinner only has to be cooked once or your floors are never going to get dirty again. No. You have to continually launder and cook and put things away and clean. Well, actually, you can scratch the floor thing. I pretty much fail at that. My floors are almost always a mess. In all seriousness, I am probably the worst housewife on the face of the planet, simply because I do not like doing any of the chores.
I always think to myself that my blog would be wonderful or beautiful if I had a more interesting life. Or if I was more fun. Or if I had something better to write about than my own daily life. Or if I had my life more together. Or … *insert reason here*. Just, any number of things.
This past Sunday, I was out in my yard performing my yearly duty of ick — otherwise known as The Springtime Pooper Patrol. As you can imagine, this is a particularly disgusting task. I am the only person in my household who ever performs this chore. Actually, I’m the only person in my household who ever picks up after the dogs at all: daily in every season but winter, because snow on the ground makes it a pretty difficult task. I have sworn, after the two hours spent in cold, windy air pushed my little cold over the line into a full-fledged, raging, bacterial sinus infection, to do a daily pick-up next winter. Even if there’s three feet of snow on the ground. But, I digress …
So, I’m outside, doing this thing I hate, and I know I can’t even complain to anyone about how much I hate it. Because all I will hear in return is, “Well, you’re the one who wanted the dogs.” Or “Well, they’re your dogs, after all.” Oh. Or the worst one ever “Well, that is your job.” I even hear this from my mother, which makes me want to reach through the phone and strangle her with the cord — something I probably shouldn’t have admitted out loud, come to think of it. And, as I’m scooping the poop and hating my life in general, I started thinking about Artful Blogging. And how the bloggers within those pages were so creative and fantastic and artistic and had beautiful lives. Somehow, they even manage to make their most mundane tasks seem wonderful and worthwhile. Heck, one of those bloggers even made me want to go out and herd sheep! And I’ve actually herded sheep in real life, so I know it’s not a simple or fun task. But this is the power of Artful Blogging.
And it hit me: Somehow, those bloggers have mastered the art of living beautifully. Their lives are just ordinary, every day lives. They aren’t super models or rock stars or dragon slayers or Pokemon trainers or … whatever. But they have passion for their lives. And a fascination with the world around them. It makes people want to come closer. It makes even the most mundane and ridiculous task seem beautiful and worthwhile. There’s a sort of spirituality to it.
I don’t know how to do that. I don’t know how to live beautifully. I’m not sure I ever have. I’ve always been reaching for goals that I could never attain. I was always the weird person on the outside or the one who was going to fall short of others’ expectations. (Mainly because those expectations were out of whack, but that didn’t make it hurt any less.) In many ways, I know I have a beautiful life. The rational part of my brain knows this. But in my heart, I don’t think I’ve ever LIVED in that beautiful life. How does one do this? How is it possible to let go and figure out what you want in life and who you are and just use all that wonderful, awesome power to LIVE in every delicious, beautiful, amazing moment?
I don’t know. I would like to say I’m going to try. And, really, I would like to try. But I don’t even know where to start. I wonder, though: Would those talented and artistic bloggers whose work I so admire manage to take my life and find the beauty in it? Would they, somehow, take in every mind-numbing moment of my day and magically twist it and gel it until it came out looking completely unlike itself? So that it would look like the kind of life I might actually want to have? Maybe, which would be kind of neat.
But not Springtime Pooper Patrol. ‘Cuz nothing can make that lovely.