Monday, November 25, 2013

The Ultimate Challenge

What, you may ask, is the Ultimate Challenge? Well, my Dear Reader, I’ll tell you. And yes, this post will involve some very Victorian capital letters for emphasis of abstract concepts.

First, let me confess that I have long sought the Ultimate Challenge. I’m an overachiever from waaaaaay back! Want me to do something phenomenal? Simple—just tell me I can’t. Or that no one ever has. Or make me watch someone try to do it and not quite make it. Give me a challenge and I am ALL over it.

So much so that, when I fell in love with the sentiment—and the design—of this plaque, my husband spent a couple of years tracking it down to give it to me.

Only she who attempts the absurd can achieve the impossible.
But a funny thing happens as one grows older, Dear Reader. One grows (at least one hopes one grows) wiser. Values change and, if one lives a Thoughtful Life, one changes one’s priorities.

I no longer have any desire to make the Impossible happen merely for the sake of making the Impossible happen. A funny little voice inside my head—perhaps the Voice of Wisdom?—now says, “And what would be the point of that, Rosanne?” It might go on to add “What will you gain from this? Is this where you want to spend your energy?”

This voice faces its own challenges. This voice struggles to be heard over my Ancestral Voices, the voices of our Puritan forebears who said, “Idle hands are the devil’s workshop” and “Hard work never hurt anyone” and “Deeds make the man” and all sorts of Fun Sentiments like that. This voice struggles to be heard over all the well-intentioned adults in my childhood, praising me for what I accomplished. This voice struggles mightily to be heard over the thirty-second hits of artificially attractive inadequacy from Madison Avenue, the pristine perfection of TV lives, the perpetually discussed poison of Pinterest and Facebook, home of life’s highlight reels.

Now I’m choosing to turn my ear toward that funny little Voice of Wisdom. I’m choosing to let the words on my plaque guide me.

“What?” you may say, justifiably confused.

I’m going to attempt the Absurd AND achieve the Impossible. I’m going to stop caring what anyone else does or thinks. I’m going to love my family, pursue my passions, and make time to rest. That may sound absurd in Our Modern World, but that’s what I plan to achieve.

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