LIVING THE BIG SKY

The Big Picture and the Big 30

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I recently turned the big 3-0. Entering a new decade causes one to pause for a moment and reflect. Or in my case, several moments.

I love my Montana life. I never could have foreseen this life in my wildest dreams, but I’m pretty darn grateful that it’s mine. My life is certainly not a fairytale or perfect by a long shot. We all have struggles and disappointments. But I have a wonderful family, a loving husband, an awesome baby boy, a (fairly) well-behaved labrador, a home that meets our needs and then some, a good job and a pretty terrific group of friends. Working hard and playing hard is kinda the motto of my little family. The quality of life in Montana truly can’t be beat, in my opinion. Montana offers everything I need. And if there’s something I want that I can’t get here… thank goodness for airports and the internet! 😉 Yep, life is good.

And yet… from time to time… I still find myself pondering, scrutinizing, comparing and questioning the decisions I’ve made in life – and whether or not I’m on the “right” path.

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Life has ALWAYS been a balancing act! See what I did there? Symbolism at it’s finest. ;)

Life is a balancing act. No surprise there. From multi-tasking and maintaining a balance between work and home to juggling the “Big Picture” with the day-to-day, life can get a little overwhelming.

When it comes down to it, we all have pretty much the same basic needs: to be rested, clean, fed, loved and happy. There is a whole list of other things we do on a daily basis, but ultimately, it’s to ensure those five things.

But… what about that Big Picture? And what is the Big Picture? Is the Big Picture about finding ways to ensure those five needs are met? Is the Big Picture about looking beyond your own little world and seeing how others live, thrive and survive? Is the Big Picture about trying to make a positive impact in the lives of those around you? Is the Big Picture about identifying your 5, 10, 20 year goals and plans? Or is the Big Picture about figuring out why God created you and what you’re supposed to accomplish in this life you’ve been given? And, on that note, what does God consider an accomplishment?

In our society, it seems that having a great job, earning lots of money, owning a big house, driving a nice car, having the newest “toys” and wearing the latest fashions means you’re accomplishing great things in life. We all want to accomplish great things in life… but are society’s standards really what determine our success in life? We’ve all heard that when people are on their deathbed they don’t say, “I wish I’d made more money.” What they say is, “I wish I’d spent more time with my family and done more for society or my community.” I have feeling that’s closer to what God considers an accomplishment. Just a hunch.

And yet… the majority of us still work long hours, we rarely “unplug” and we like shiny, new things. Luckily, Montanans tend to put a pretty big focus on the importance of family and community, and the general pace of life in Big Sky Country tends to be a bit slower than in the larger, metropolitan areas around the country. But that doesn’t mean Montanans don’t put in long hours at the office, spend countless hours scrolling through our tablets and phones, or purchase the latest and greatest __(fill in the blank)__. Most of us are guilty of those things.

I’m not saying we shouldn’t work – work is a good thing. I like work. I take pride in my work and I always strive for excellence. But it is so very important to have work/life balance. Now that I’m a wise 30-year-old, I’m understanding that more and more. 😉

Unplugging. Oofta. That can be tough. Whether it’s due to work obligations or personal relationships, we often find ourselves always “ON.” Luckily, life in Montana offers some escape. There are still plenty of spots that simply do not have cell phone service. I see this more and more as a blessing than a hassle. It’s amazing how going “off the grid” can bring balance back to your life… and gives your thumbs a break!

I’m guilty. I too like shiny, new things. For heavens sake, I just bought a brand new Subaru. Granted, I’m hoping it will safely and reliably transport my family and I for the next ten years – but do I like that sunroof? Heck yes, I do! Was it necessary? No. But I feel like I’m just demonstrating my state pride. Aside from pickup trucks, Subarus are basically the state vehicle. 😉 For the record, I do buy a lot of things secondhand. And yes, I will bargain at a consignment store. Dang it, I’ll save that extra $1 on a $3 onesie!

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Subaru = Montana State Vehicle (jk jk… kinda…)

So, what’s my point? I’m not sure. Ha! Seriously though, that is kind of my point. Maybe the Big Picture is all of the above. If so, that’s a beast to tackle. But you know what’s so great about life? Every sunset is followed by a sunrise. Seize each day, but take comfort in knowing that what you don’t accomplish today, you can get a fresh start on tomorrow.

What I’ve learned in my short 30 years, is that life is a gift. A big, beautiful, confusing, daunting, challenging, fabulous gift. So, as I embark on a new decade… I vow to get more rest (do you hear that, DB?), maintain my daily hygiene (unless I’m camping!), eat better, love deeper, and choose to be happy. Daily. I will also spend more time with loved ones and try to make this world a friendlier, better place.

As I sit here, wrapping this up, DB grabs my feet. I peer over my laptop, to find him climbing his way up my legs, saying “mamamamamama.” And just like that he puts everything into perspective. As long as DB is rested, clean, fed, loved and happy, he is ready to leave his mark on the world and spread his contagious zest for life. Lucky me, I have such an adorable reminder of what life is all about.

Now it’s time to go outside and enjoy this gorgeous Montana afternoon with my baby boy. After all, this is my life.

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“Let’s go play, mom!!”

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