30 Simple Somethings That Matter Most in Life

Only the perfect among us have lived a life without worry. Good news for the rest of us – I haven’t met anyone claiming perfection. What I have met, though, are beautiful dreamers – dozens of them. I’ve met men and women and children experiencing pain and searching for joy. I’ve met families who have faced such hardship you would be at a loss for where to find hope, and I have seen them still radiate with joy. I have seen marvelous individuals come to face obstacles. I have faced obstacles. And I have seen these same people choose to sit back, reflect, and regain the strength to move forward.

 

Yet I know, in the midst of a struggle, it’s hard to find hope. I understand, when everything seems so overwhelming and the future so uncertain, it’s hard to carry enough faith to move forward. It’s hard to see past the now, to feel past the worry.

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It’s hard to experience the little moments that matter.

 

But the thing is, in ten, fifteen, fifty years, what is going to matter more: the fear that captured your breath or the future that swept you away? I’m guessing the latter. In fact, take that back. I know it’s the latter! When you look back on your life, and flip through your memories, what is going to matter most is not how much anxiety you felt before that next interview or how much sorrow you carried with the loss of a friend. No way!

 

What will matter – what does matter – are the choices you made, and the incredible possibilities your choices create. What you will remember are the simple somethings that made each moment of each day an authentic touch more complete.

 

In fifty years, my friend, what will matter most are these thirty moments:

 

  1. The day you decided to move out of your comfort zone. You made a pro/con list. You asked a dozen people you knew. And you ignored all the data – didn’t even tally the votes – and just went for it.
  2. The moment you decided to stay there – outside your comfort zone. And live there. Even when things got hard.
  3. Every morning you woke up in time to see the sun rise – the colors of angels lighting up the sky. And especially those mornings when you decided to stop. When you did nothing but breathe in and simply stare.
  4. Each afternoon when you chose to walk home. When you smiled at strangers and made friends with the dogs.
  5. That one cab ride when you climbed in the backseat of a Honda, smiled to the driver, and decided to ask much more than ‘how long have you driven for uber?’
  6. That conversation when someone asked, “How are you doing?” and you answered, instead, as though you had just said, ‘I’m fine,’ and, in exchange, she pushed, “No really, how are you?”
  7. The time you laughed without holding your smile together. You were just happy. Your emotion was pure.
  8. The moments you smiled for no reason at all. It was truly incredible how the smile filled you, filled the room, filled the world with such joy.
  9. Those dozens of moments when you realized you were happy. So you didn’t say anything. You didn’t fear anything.
  10. The dozens more moments when you felt truly proud. I can still see how high your graceful shoulders were rising.
  11. The night you undressed just to sing in the shower. Joy finally made sense, and lifted your heart.
  12. When you jumped in a crowd and spoke without thinking. Sarcasm flew through your tone, spontaneity brought you to life.
  13. That feeling of a pen and a paper and words falling to a page. That feeling of having something to share.
  14. The morning you awoke and smiled in the mirror. You didn’t need a reason more than the reflection being you.
  15. Summer days when the sun glazed your back with its warmth, as you walked through the city, a friend at your side.
  16. That squeeze of his arms around your back. The beautiful tension of you hugging back.
  17. Being a deer in the headlights, a novice at life. But still trying, and stumbling. And having a moment when things again made some sense.
  18. Watching a child’s eyes overflow with pure light. Being part of the magic of that child growing self-love.
  19. Deciding to be responsible for a woman in pain, so you steadied your focus and restored her to a smile.
  20. Sitting in a dark room, surrounded by people, you felt so alone, so you chose to say, ‘Hi.’
  21. Sitting in a loud room, you saw a girl all alone, so you walked past the others, and reached out to say, ‘Hi.’
  22. The day you recognized your weakness, and you didn’t ignore it. You didn’t deny it. You didn’t even reach for it. Instead, you asked why.
  23. Making the choice to come out from hiding. With one word, one action, one click of the mouse, your voice suddenly became an authentic agent of change.
  24. The first time someone complemented you, and you chose to say thank you. It was simple and still just oh so very hard.
  25. That conversation you had where you did nothing but listen. You smiled, you nodded, and you were purely there for a friend.
  26. The evening you two sat on a park bench. You waded through sprinklers, watched cyclists in tutus, and laughed all the way through Pharrell William’s “Happy Song.”
  27. The moment you fell in love with your body. You forgot from time to time, but you always returned home to yourself.
  28. The day you just couldn’t breathe, looking at how much time had passed. Guess what? You’re still reading this. You still chose a breath.
  29. The tears you shed for a loss, and the choice to sit in the pain. Yes, it was hard. And for that, you grew.
  30. The butterflies you felt for the uncertain future, and the choice to live now with the energy of pure faith.

 

If you stop and just remember, in a series of moments, your life hasn’t been perfect. And it’s sure far from over. But, my friend, your life’s beautiful

It’s everything perfection never could bring.

 

© 2017 Mirissa D. Price: A Dental Student, A Writer, A Journey to Share.

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It’s Easy To Forget: You ARE Strong

You are stronger than you even know.

But when facing an obstacle, it’s easy to forget the strength we have. It’s easy to get lost in the discomfort of our obstacles, and to lose track of the accomplishments we have achieved. There are so many!  It’s easy to look at others who can do what we can’t and to think, ‘Maybe this isn’t where I’m meant to be.’ It’s easy to think of our failure as definite.

 

And the last thing we want to hear during hard times is the truth: that we can overcome. The last thing we want to know is that our struggles, our challenges, our months of sleepless nights will be just a fading memory, and that our failures are simply opportunity.

 

The last thing we want to believe is that, in this unpredictable life, there is direction. There is a plan.

 

Whether we believe that we control the plan or that a higher power guides our paths, there is structure to the chaos. And there is meaning in the struggle.

 

  • If we fail and choose to redirect our lives, there is a plan: to learn, to try, and to explore new options.
  • If we fail and keep trying, there, too, is a plan: to stay on the current track.
  • If one day, we wake up and realize that we are at peace, well then, for now, this is where we are meant to be.

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But how do we wade through the struggles to find the right path?

How do we choose to keep trying?

 

With three simple ingredients:

  1. Patience

The first time we try and fail, we may feel frustration. We may feel uneasy. We may want to get up, walk away, and reach for something we know can bring us success. We may, for a moment, want to stop trying.

 

We may lose our patience.

 

But your physician didn’t learn the anatomy of the human body in a single study session. Your contractor didn’t learn to frame a house in one hot afternoon. You didn’t learn to walk in a single jump to your feet.

 

Very few accomplishments in life come naturally. Certainly, the most rewarding accomplishments did not. In fact, we are a strange species, gaining the greatest reward from overcoming the hardest of obstacles.

 

And with patience, with time, with trying and trying and trying again, you may just find that you do have the strength and skill to overcome this obstacle you now face.

 

  1. Self-compassion

Oh, but the hardest challenge during a difficult time is to stay positive. And, more specifically, to stay positive about ourselves! We look to the person next to us and see that he is succeeding in half the time. We look to our self-prescribed expectations and wonder why we are falling short. We look to our momentary failures to define us.

 

And we have to stop!

 

Because our failures are temporary. And we are MOST DEFINITELY not our failures. We are the strength of trying again. We are the courage of still showing up. We are the compassion of accepting our current experiences and the bravery of asking for help.

 

If we imagine anyone else in our situation, we probably wouldn’t think any less of them. A child with dyslexia struggles to read; and, with nurturance and support, he doesn’t give up. An athlete with a fractured wrist struggles to return to the field, and with determination and courage (and six weeks of healing!), she puts herself back in the game.

 

Our situations are no different than that of the child or athlete. Our challenges are no cause for shame or self-ridicule. We may take more time. We may need some help. And we may find that our challenges and our determination to overcome are reason for even greater nurturance of ourselves and even prouder celebration of who we are and who we can become.

 

  1. Mindfulness

Most importantly, though, in the midst of a challenge, we have to remember to live one moment at a time.

 

And this can be so hard!

 

When we can’t accomplish task number one, we start to look ahead at tasks two, three, twenty-five, and we wonder how we will ever build up to that level. We consider the whole of our to-do lists and the demand of just this one obstacle, and we question whether we can handle everything that is on our plates.

 

We forget that, in this moment, we don’t have to handle everything on our plates.

 

Right now, all we have to do is this one thing before us. There is no moment ahead. There is nothing to carry forward from the moment past. Sure, eventually, another moment will come, and so will another item on our list of responsibilities. However, that next moment is no more important than the present. The past has no place intruding on today.

 

And the more we let the past and the future interfere, the less of the present we experience. That is simply not fair!

 

And it’s counterproductive. Because in a state of mindfulness, in a place of full attention to and appreciation of the present, we are at our strongest. We are investing the whole of our energy into this moment, and leaving the worry of the future and the pain of the past at the wayside.

 

With a mindful spirit, a patient demeanor, and an outlook of self-compassion, we are gifting ourselves the greatest opportunity of all: the potential for growth. And that growth is truly a sign of great strength.

 

© 2017 Mirissa D. Price: A Dental Student, A Writer, A Journey to Share.

Your Voice Can Change The World

I climbed into the back seat of a red sedan recently, beside a woman in her mid-thirties with curly blonde hair. The driver, a middle-aged man whose name I couldn’t pronounce, verified my identity, replied to my buoyant greetings, and then the car went silent. Driving to the woman’s drop-off point in Brookline Village, the only sounds I heard were the horns and sirens filling Boston’s streets. Respecting her silence – she was in the car first – I only offered her a smile, but from the minute she left the car, the driver and I were in constant laughter and conversation. “You know, where I come from,” the driver said, turning onto my street, “we laugh like this with all our neighbors. You don’t see that in the States.”

The next morning, I took the bus. There, too, all I heard was silence. One man was on his laptop, a handful on their cellphones. Nearly everyone wore headphones. But no two people said much more than ‘hello’ aloud. In my thoughts, I whispered, “I wonder what my Uber driver would say.”

Hours later, in the basement of the dental school, I was again in the thick of silence. Granted, this time, I was alone. But, as a special surprise, Allen came walking in, a slight limp in his step. Allen was the air conditioner maintenance man, the regular for the dental school building. Though I had never seen him before, I pulled out my own headphones and smiled his direction. Accepting the invitation, Allen sat down. He told me his story. He told me his jokes. And he told me I must not be from the East, because I was much too conversational. “People keep to themselves out here,” he ended, moving on with his day.

We live in a busy world. People have place to go, tasks to complete. Students and businessmen alike use the bus or the cab or a moment alone to finish their work.  We, too, live in a world that’s afraid. Don’t talk to strangers. Don’t upset the other riders with your chatter. Don’t break the norm.

But are we really too busy to meet a new person? Are we really so afraid that we choose to live in silence? Are we really so connected that we can’t handle a greater community?

Sitting on the silent bus, I wondered whether some sort of a ‘chat prompt’ game would encourage conversation. We were already surrounded by positive messages on sticky notes in this uplifting bus. Maybe a set of game-like rules would encourage connection in the way the sticky notes encouraged positivity?

In actuality, though, I stuck to the rules. Thinking of the norms of the bus, I, too, waited until my stop to say hello to a man I see each day. I, too, upheld the silence. And, in doing so, I probably missed the opportunity to hear an incredible story or to share a smile with a workplace neighbor. In doing so, I too  too, contributed to the absence of community that my uber driver and my new friend, Allen, experience in this Western world.

And I started to wonder: Are these positive messages scattered on sticky notes – ‘You are beautiful.’ ‘You are worthwhile.’ ‘You are valued.’ – really what we need? In the absence of connection, how could these messages mean anything?

  • To tell someone he is valued is to allow him to add a moment of laughter or joy to your day.
  • To tell a neighbor she is beautiful is to look up with a smile instead of looking down at your smartphone.
  • To make a difference is to make a sound, starting with a ‘hello’ on a bus or a ‘good afternoon’ in an Uber.

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My challenge for all of us is to start making this difference in the world today. Our challenge is to start making a wave of sound.

© 2017 Mirissa D. Price: A Dental Student, A Writer, A Journey to Share.

 

Where Have I Been?

Hey there! It’s been awhile.

And I know some of you may be wondering … where has Mirissa been?

The simple answer: Dental School.

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The real answer: home.

In my absence from blogging, I have been

  • Learning to drill.
  • Meeting with my very first patient (where I was the dentist!!)
  • Volunteering as a pediatric dentist for the greatest of kids ♥♥♥
  • And studying oral health, systemic health, mental health, and everything in between. You can’t separate a smile from the rest of the body and mind!

In a nutshell, life’s been busy. And I’m going to be honest: I didn’t always stop to take the time for myself. I was:

  • Tired
  • Overwhelmed
  • Perhaps a little bit driven 😉

And I let excuses carry me away from my writing!

To be fair, though, I still made time for:

  • Friends
  • Laughter
  • 5 am sunrises
  • And the walk around Cambridge

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And I have had the most fulfilling, incredible time working with my patients, and learning a new set of skills. The challenge is never-ending and the reward is so amazing! 

Every time a patient sits before me, I think, “Wow. What an honor to work with this individual – child or adult – to bring a healthy smile to his/her life. Could I be any more fortunate?”

But life isn’t getting any quieter…

In the next few weeks, I’ll have a new schedule of patients, a new course on my calendar, and a new journey in drilling. Things will get busy – they never stopped! But stick around, because I’m still writing through this journey, sharing my inspirations along the way, and reminding us both that self-care should never get the back-burner … but occasionally, it will have to take a side-burner when a patient’s health and smile is in my hands and the drill is moving at high-speed.

Feel free to share what brings you joy and purpose in life … but first, set your cleaning with your dentist. It’s the greatest gift you could give the both of you!

© 2017 Mirissa D. Price: A Dental Student, A Writer, A Journey to Share.