Happy Monday! We had an awesome weekend -- our oldest, Jordan, flew into town to help me celebrate my last week of freedom. I start my new job in a week, and I'm thoroughly excited and ready to get moving. But in the meantime, Jordan and I have some epic plans. Tune in to @nestandlaunch on Instagram Stories to see where we are heading.
I'll give you a hint . . . it starts with 'Pioneer Woman' and ends with 'Mercantile.' Did you guys know I read Pioneer Woman's blog before she was famous? Before she published any books? When she was just a ranch wife with a killer mashed potato recipe? I guess you could say I'm a Pioneer Woman pioneer. All of this to say, it's sort of like we are making a pilgrimage . . . to the person who solidified in me the importance of shredding your own cheese, gathering your ingredients BEFORE the cooking starts, and embracing carbohydrates in all of their starched glory. So, yes, there will be tears.
While I'm road tripping, I want you to consider last week's episode of The Middle -- "Mommapalooza". Frankie (the mom, if you aren't a regular viewer) contemplates her 'third act,' -- what she can do to make her middle-aged life meaningful (much like the 'What's Next' I talked about here). The episode starts with Frankie watching television, where she learns about dostadning (Swedish death cleaning). Basically, at the age of 50, Swedish people start moving out the clutter, cleaning out their homes so they don't leave a burden of junk when they die.
As someone who hopped wholeheartedly onto the Marie Kondo bandwagon, I, like Frankie, had to give the idea some careful thought. Here's what Frankie opined to her husband:
"It hit me. I'm that age. I'm the age where the Swedes want me to prepare for death. I can't be at that age where I'm supposed to be shutting everything down. My life is halfway over and I have nothing to show for it."
This quest moves Frankie throughout the episode -- she wants to find something to do that is meaningful. She wants to have something to show for her life. It's no surprise, of course, that she doesn't uncover a meaningful contribution in a 30 minute sitcom. In fact, she overhears her kids cruelly mocking her attempts. My heart was actually breaking for Frankie, for her earnestness, for her blind but well-intentioned foray into meaning-making, for the ways she was dismissed by the people around her.
But then, the brilliant writers of The Middle brought in the singing preacher, who gathered the family together, strummed his guitar, and belted out a hilarious, if slightly irreverent, song titled "Moms are People Too." And the song somehow acknowledged, to me at least, that Frankie had lots to show for her life and lots left to show. She had lived for her family, and that was good and valuable. But she could also live for herself, and that was wonderful and promising. Often, we live at the crossroads of our circumstances, our intent, and our past choices, and that combo isn't generally shiny and perfect -- but that doesn't mean it can't be beautiful in it's own right.
Also? I might need to stop watching so much television! Watch it and tell me what you think . . .