If this post is a little late I’m blaming having 9 dogs in the house. 9! My husband can’t believe we actually have more dogs than cats. That’s never happened in our twenty-five years together.

Why do I have so many animals in my house? Well, partly because my youngest is about to leave for college in August. And partly because when I was four years old I told my Montessori teacher I lived on a farm with lots of animals thus proving that I had a great imagination and loved animals from the very beginning. I’ve always had compassion for animals. That’s why I don’t eat them. One day I hope to make my childhood dream a reality and have my own rescue farm. So, caring for my cats and dogs now is great practice for when I have my horse, cow, and pig. I can guarantee my husband’s cringing as he reads this post. Oh, he’s been warned for years. He knows it’s coming. One day…

Getting back to my youngest leaving for college. Life is changing. For my son, for his older sister who will graduate college soon and for my husband and me who are wondering what life will be like with just the two of us. Well, two us and my practice farm.

I find that there are parallels in our lives. My son must decide what he will study at college. My daughter must decide if she wants to go to graduate school or look for a “real people” job. I must decide whether I’ll go back to teaching, write full-time, or possibly go to graduate school myself.

I’m at an advantage in that I have the knowledge of how life changes. I’ve been through the stages with my children. When my daughter left for college my eyes opened to just how precious the time was when she was living at home. I know that what I chose to do next is more of a five to ten-year plan rather than a life plan. After all, I need time for my farm. Taking the next step for me is scary, but not as frightening as it is for my children. To them, they must have a plan and figure out their entire future. When I talk to my children’s friends I find myself saying over and over “Relax. You’ll figure it out. You’re still so young. Travel. See the world. Study abroad. Take a job doing something you enjoy.” I get the impression that the pressure to choose a career for the rest of their lives leaves them feeling numb, vulnerable, and sometimes inadequate. Welcome to being an adult. The party’s over.

Except it’s not. Uncertainty is frightening, but it can also be exhilarating. It’s all in the way you choose to view it.What’s more important than figuring out a plan for your future is figuring out who you are. Because if you don’t know what truly makes you happy you could end up choosing a career or a life path based on other’s expectations, or perceived respect, or for salary. And then guess what? When you’re working and find you’re not happy with your job you’ll have to ask yourself the questions: Why am I not happy? What makes me happy?

My answer to that question is my family, of course, as well as writing, teaching, and caring for animals, making some kind of difference in this big, beautiful world. I hope that my writing entertains and sometimes inspires people. I hope that through fostering animals I’m helping to find homes for dogs and cats in my community. When I go into the classroom for an author visit or to teach I know I’m where I’m supposed to be because being around kids and teens brings me joy. All of those things make up who I am.

That’s what I wish for my children. I want them to discover who they are and what brings them joy, and then figure out how to incorporate it into their lives. It’s about listening from within not from without, and being open and ready for life’s adventure. We get only one ride. We may as well make it glorious.

“There are three words that convey the secret of the art of living, the secret of all success and happiness: One With Life. Being one with life is being one with Now. You then realize that you don’t live your life, but life lives you. Life is the dancer, and you are the dance.” A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle

Comments to "The Art of Living"

  1. Jamie Ayres

    December 30, 2015

    Great post! You are sooo wise. Maybe you should be a psychiatrist! Imagine what you could do with a couch 🙂 Happy New Year!

    • kdrausin

      January 3, 2016

      Haha, I think I’d be a broke psychiatrist. No one wants to lay on a couch covered in dog hair.

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