Enjoy, Enjoy

I emailed a friend and told her what we are thinking about full-time RVing. Then I spent the rest of the day thinking, “Oh, she’s going to think we are NUTS!” But she surprised me with her support. She said that she was going to suggest we do this very thing. She said:

Work is overrated.  We go to school to prepare for college to prepare for a career that sucks the life out of us then we might live to  retire – tired – and then die.  Stupid.  Why not live completely debt free, learn to live very simply and do practically everything as a team to earn the money you need for the present and save for possible future needs.

Then my friend forwarded to me the top five regrets people have. It was written Bronnie Ware, who worked with the dying. The regrets are:

1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.

This was the most common regret of all.

2. I wish I didn’t work so hard

3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings

4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends

5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.This is a surprisingly common one. 

Life is a choice. It is YOUR life. Choose consciously, choose wisely, choose honestly. Choose happiness.

http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=unexpturns-20&o=1&p=8&l=bpl&asins=B004QX052A&fc1=000000&IS2=1&lt1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifrMy son and I have been reading a book each morning called The Book of Jewish Values – A Day-by-Day Guide to Ethical Living. It’s a WONDERFUL book that has really made us think and has resulted in a lot of thought-provoking discussion. A recent chapter was about enjoying life. The chapter started out by asking, “Is it fair to enjoy the pleasures of this world while others are suffering?” It went on to say,

Judaism’s answer is yes. As long as you act morally and generously, you have a right to enjoy life’s delights…The Talmud teaches, “In the future world, a man will have to give an accounting for every good thing his eyes saw, but of which he did not eat”…Samson Raphael Hirsch, the great leader of nineteenth-century German Orthodoxy, surprised his followers one day by announcing his intention to travel to Switzerland. “When I stand shortly before the Almighty,” he explained,, “I will be held accountable to many questions…But what will I say when…and I’m sure to be asked, [He asks] ‘Shimshon, did you see my Alps?'”

Many people associate piety with asceticism. In Catholicism and Buddhism, monks and nuns take vows of poverty, as do many Hindu holy men. And while individual Jewish scholars have lived and encouraged lives of asceticism, the more normative Jewish view is taught by Maimonides. “No one should, by vows and oaths, forbid to himself the use of things otherwise permitted.”

So as the Jewish writer and raconteur Harry Golden, a native of New York’s Lower East Side, remembers his mother constantly saying, “Enjoy, enjoy.”

Maybe we will never end up going off in our RV. Maybe it’s a crazy, insane idea, but…What If? We have been praying for guidance for several years, and we have been telling God that we want His will over ours, and that we are willing to stay or go, whatever He wants. But it just seems as if this place we are at has been drying up for us, connections have been ending, roots have been getting pulled up. Why? Is it really more spiritual and “wise” to live as we are in frustration and discouragement and ill-health? Even if we never go, how can we simplify our lives, how can we stop living for our possessions? What will we regret more, to have tried and failed or to be too afraid to have ever tried at all?

When I was a young woman, I felt frustrated and discouraged by life. I felt as if my life were going nowhere–that I was merely trying to survive each day. So I decided to stir things up and see what happened. My church had absolutely no young people except for me and my younger sister so I switched churches for one with a singles group. I switched jobs for a job that was more enjoyable and with greater opportunity of getting pay raises. I put in for a two-bedroom apartment instead of a one bedroom one. Within a short time, I had a better job, single friends at the new church. I met–and married–my husband. I was in a bigger apartment by the time he and I got married and he moved it. There were so many wonderful changes because I DARED. I guess I feel now that we are in the same sort of place. Do we stay in a place of heartbreak and misery, with EJ stressed and fatigued? Ought he stay in a job that is killing his body and spirit? Do we settle for safety, for the “way things are”? Or do we stir things up, make changes, DARE, and see what happens? THAT is the question.

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