Natalie Ogbourne

Afternoon Moon Paradise Valley, Montana

Afternoon Moon
Paradise Valley, Montana

During finals week of my sophomore year I noticed a two columned list, double-sided, on my college roommate’s desk. It was titled My Life From Now Until I Die. She had a lot to do. College is like that. So is life.

In my first post here at Along This Road, after I accused my to-do list of eating my goals and dreams and declared that in 2013, it was going on a  goal-free, dream-free diet. (If you missed it, you can read it here.) While the internet bulges with information on gluten-free living, I had to make up the goal-free, dream-free diet on my own.

I decided on three Rs: Retrain myself to look beyond the next step. Restore a mindset conducive to setting goals and dreaming dreams. Remember what – and who – defines my days – and me.

By the end of January, I found my dreams buried within my to-do list and the rhythms of my life. I’d read an article which suggested that grown-up dreams can often be glimpsed in the joys of childhood I looked back and there were my dreams. They’d been with me all along.

It was a good discovery.

A year later my list hasn’t changed much but my perspective has. It was a slow process, a reminder that I see best, notice best, think best, and remember best when I am not in a rush. I remembered the value of slowness.

yellowstone08 149 - Version 2Slowness allows to me see, not just scenery, but people. When I succumb to speed, I miss them both. Speed shouts that I am indispensable. Slowness whispers that the world doesn’t revolve around me. Its message is hard to hear, not just because it’s quiet, but because it wounds my pride.

While the quest to discover my goals and dreams is over, two actions from the goal-free, dream-free diet remain: Look beyond the next step and remember what and who defines my days and me.

It seems I need to pay attention. Submitting to slowness will help me do that. It will prompt me watch and see. It will help me join those noticers in my life who point to the sky and the surroundings, who beckon me to the door to look at a fleeting sunset or listen to the falling snow.

Would you like to watch with me? We’ll notice different things. Our roads are not the same and neither are we.  We come from the mountains and plains and the small town and the city. My noticing is often done in the woods or outside my rural front door, but soon I’ll share an observation from a Denver sidewalk. There are discoveries to be made everywhere.

I’d love to hear about the things you notice.

Linking this week with Lyli’s Thoughtful Thursday.