Some days I long for a simpler life. In fact, some days I get so tired of the rat race that I dream of a life more akin to Caroline Ingalls' life on the prairie. Do you remember her? You may know her as "Ma", the nurturing, hard-working, and supportive mother of Laura Ingalls from "Little House on the Prairie". This was a TV series I grew up watching in the 80's. It was an adaptation of the book series written by Laura Ingalls Wilder, Little House, and it was based on the real life stories of growing up in a pioneer family living in the midwest in the late 1800's and early 1900's.
Caroline Ingalls seemed so content with her life. She was smart and determined- first working as a teacher and later marrying, becoming a farm wife and a stay-at-home-mom. She had a survivor's spirit and seemed to radiate gratitude, even in the face of terrible hardship. She was a loyal and loving wife, a dedicated mother, a committed church goer, and a giving soul who would do anything for a neighbor in need. She seemed to have a graceful ease about her and a comfort in the relatively slow pace and simplicity of her life.
I guess I don't really know what made Caroline "tick", but I do know this. I'm 100% certain she wasn't striving for a bigger house or a fancier car, getting the next upgrade on her iphone, or binge watching her favorite show on Netflix.
And, you know what, the more I think about it, I believe I do have a pretty good idea of Caroline's top priorities. Based on my observations of her life (as depicted in the TV series), I can be pretty certain of a few things- Caroline had a strong faith in God, she believed in the sanctity of marriage, she placed a high priority on being a loving, supportive mother, and she loved people, as evidenced by her service and support of those in need. And, it's really not so much about the specifics of her values, but rather,
I find myself in awe of how she consistently lived out her life according to those values.
She didn't just talk the talk. She believed in God, so she trusted his word and lived according to his biblical teachings. She valued family, so she spent her days raising her children, supporting them, teaching them, and loving them. She valued compassion for her neighbors and served them with kindness, encouragement, and even homemade goodies. Bottom line- her values were aligned with her life's work. She didn't have to explicitly tell us what her values were, she just lived according to them for all of us to see. How cool is that!? I want some of that.
So, sure, I would appreciate a simpler life some days. Although, my hunch is a few days "on the prairie" would cure me of my overly nostalgic desire to return to those days. Life on the prairie had to have been incredibly challenging. In fact, I wonder if Caroline would call her days "simple" or "hard" or even "unbearable"? My point here, is this. How we see our days on this earth is a choice. Whether I'm pulling a plow or pulling an "all-nighter" with a sick kid, I get to choose my perspective. I can choose to feel underappreciated and overworked, or I can choose to be grateful for this opportunity to serve. This is not easy to do, but Caroline Ingalls is a great example of how to do just this. She simply lives in accordance to her values. She does not allow the hard work, the distress, or the hardship to make her hard or bitter. She first chooses to be kind, compassionate and faithful. When she leads with these values, her way of being in this world is a beautiful representation of what she holds near and dear to her heart.
I hope that with intention and practice I can be more consistent in living according to my values. To me, this feels like the ticket to living a fulfilled life that is balanced and authentic. Granted, I will no doubt have to live with uncertainty and hardship at times, but I will always have the choice as to what I believe and who I want to be- that can never be taken from me.
My challenge to you is this. Define your core values today. Identify your values and observe your life.
Do your values show up in your
work life, your family life, and
in how you take care of your mind, body and spirit?
Trust me, taking some time to identify what inspires you, what you believe, and what you want to represent in this world will begin to move you toward that life you know you were designed for. It's a game changer and the time is now.
We can't go back to a simpler time when we didn't have to worry about social media, health insurance, and our 401K. However, if we choose to, we can live out the rest of our days according to that which we hold most dear. We can live in such a way that people will look at our lives and our values will be clear, simply because that is exactly how we chose to show up.
Contact me today at firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to start to define your personal values and step into your most genuine and fulfilled life.