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When the main character in the movie I was watching announced, "I was born to surf," the line intrigued me. Based on a true story, clearly the woman got it right, because even after losing her arm in a shark attack, she worked her way back to being an award-winning surfer.
So how would I finish that sentence? What was I born to do? One of the traits I like and dislike about myself, is I'm very good at doing many things, but not really, really talented at anything in particular. Seems to me if "I was born to" do something--if it were my assignment here on earth, so to speak--there wouldn't be any question about it. It would be easy to recognize, right?
My first-try attempt at filling in the blank, (when I didn't edit my thoughts) was that "I was born to be happy." But apparently I have a hard time believing it, because most of the time I feel I need to earn happiness. 'I worked hard,' I tell myself when I reach a goal, so now I deserve to feel happy. And it's true, I did work hard, but happiness doesn't need to be earned.
I've strayed from finishing the sentence, "What was I born to do?" But maybe a more important question is, "What makes me happy?" Now that's an easy one to answer. Making people feel at home when they come to my house for dinner, hoping they feel as loved and cared for as when I went to my grandmother's house. Baking cookies and giving them away for no special reason. Really listening to what people say when someone says their mom or dad is ill, I don't gloss over and change the subject, I ask about it, I give them a chance to talk and I listen. Happiness is owning a bubble machine and turning it on in front of my house--and it makes other people happy too--because if bubbles aren't wafting out from my driveway on a Saturday when folks walk by, I hear them calling, "Bubbles, bubbles, where are the bubbles?" Attending to details makes me happy. Adding that little extra something special when I'm wrapping a package, fixing a sandwich with a fancy umbrella toothpick stuck in it for the man repairing our pump (he took the paper umbrella home to show his kids).
Sewing quilts and waiting for my "assignment" about who I'm supposed to give the quilt to. Having fun with my grandchildren and creating memories for them to take along on their own life's journey, waking up every morning and asking myself "What's something special I can do for my husband today?' spoiling our five cats, and writing words that touch people's hearts.
"What was I born to do?" You know, I think I had it right the first time. "I was born to be happy and to inspire others to be happy, too."
What were you born to do?
Thanks for reading with me. It's so good to read with friends.
* ICE, by Anna Kavan, is this month's Penguin Classics book. Enjoy a great Classics book and enter-to-win a Penguin tote bag. Click here to start reading.