I had a great conversation with my aunt and mother the other day. We were talking about how many kids today have no direction, no goals, and plenty of apathy. We were at the dinner table, and discussing the successes of my two daughters- terrific grades, honors bestowed at school, and knowing exactly what they look for in a close friend vs acquaintances. I was so very proud as I listened to Youngest tell me she wants to go into Psychology, and I see that as a perfect fit. She’s reflective, sensitive yet practical, and motivated to helping others.
While privately reflecting on the many conversations I’ve had with students regarding life skills, The Habits, and such, my aunt proceeded to tell us what she has been sharing with her students when she substitutes in classrooms. She asks a kid for their birth date and writes it on the board. Then she leaves a bit of space and puts a question mark as the death date. Then she speaks to the point that it’s not so important when we are born or when we eventually die, but what lies between those two points. She draws a DASH between the birth date and the question mark and says, “It’s all about the DASH. What are YOU going to make of the time you have in between? It’s all up to you.”
I wanted to stand up and applaud right there at the dinner table! We may say, it’s all about the journey, but I LOVE how she worded it. My daughters are making the most of their DASH. They are taking school seriously, they have learned through trial and error and much coaching from me how to develop friendships that last or how to let the toxic ones go, they are grasping life by the collar and saying, “I’m all in!”
My husband is a prime example for our kids. After things went south with the economy, and a fortuitous interview with a university, he landed a job that gave him a free college education, from an associate’s to a bachelor’s degree, and eventually there will probably be a master’s. All this accomplished while working full time. Was he scared? Hell yeah! But he went for it, dove in, and never looked back. His DASH is all about doing what he’s never done before and making the best life possible for himself and his family.
For me, I started out my life very shy and sickly, but loving my life. As I grew, I made sense of what I could by making decisions that felt right. Some worked, others didn’t. I didn’t regret any decision, I simply learned from them. As an adult, I learned to take risks and not fear them. I decided that being a Cinderella and waiting for things to happen was not how I wanted to live my life. Now, I’m reaping the benefits of those leaps of faith and determination. I’m not afraid to put myself out there and see who or what comes around. My DASH is all about deriving pleasure from accessing my creative and intuitive sides. It’s also about seeing what I got inside, my “moxie,” and how I can use it to enhance our family’s life as well as my own. My husband and I have a great life as a couple and with our kids. We are not afraid to take our family and our lives on the adventurous pathways that lead us to new understandings of what makes us work and a happier life. We’re doing what we’re meant to do.
So I share this golden nugget with you today. What are YOU doing about YOUR DASH?