Today is my mother’s birthday so my kitchen table is now awash with meringues. That’s definitely a recipe I promise to share soon. I was whisking egg whites and looking out into the garden where not a trace of yesterday’s snow now remains. I wish the weather would make up its mind. It got me thinking about age and birthdays. My mother is definitely not anything I would call old. Birthdays may not always be significant, but they are a good milestone. Where was my life this time last year and where do I expect it to be this time next year? Or, more importantly, where do I want it to be?
The night before Valentine’s Day my son and I were watching Star Wars. Just because. Star Wars is awesome (with the obvious exception of I, II and III.) By the time we were finished it was too late to start the next one, but there’s a line from The Empire Strikes Back that has always haunted me. I thought a lot about it that night as I went to sleep.
All his life has he looked away. To the future. To the horizon. Never his mind on where he was. What he was doing.
I freely admit to that. I looked across the years to the future where I was a great, well-known writer whose books were on every nightstand and long-haul plane ride. But I never for one moment thought about how I was going to get there. How much work I would have to put in. In my teenage imagination, I wrote a book, the first publisher who saw it was all over it and there was me – living my dream! No thought as to where I was and how I would get from there to where I wanted to be. I squandered years in dreams. I never put the work in in the present, because I was always looking to the future. I remained in destructive relationships because on the horizon I saw a life without them, but I didn’t seize the chance to change the world I was in now.
I took a lot with me when I left Lego. A lot of lessons. A lot of memories. A lot of boxes that are presently stacked in my basement. And an old friend who sat on my desk every day for the two years I was there.
Now my Lego Yoda sits in my dining room and looks across the fields, to the horizon. But every time I look up at him as I write, lay the table or run the vacuum cleaner, he reminds me to be in the moment. To enjoy where I am now, and if not, to change it. To look to the future I want and do what I have to do now in order to get there. Not to look to the future and just believe that one day everything will somehow magically arrange itself. Dreams can come true, yes. But dreams come true for those who work at them. Who never stop believing. Who keep going.
Do. Or do not do.
There is no try.