I finally hung on the wall of my bedroom the diploma I earned from the University of Oregon: a BA in French and Spanish.
Sometimes we just need a little mental boost, and I regret to say that, though I prefer valiant deeds of glory, sometimes it can come from a piece of paper.
On another wall of the bedroom is the framed first page of an article I had published last year in the Lake Magazine, a little rag put out by the po-dunk newspaper my husband was working for at the time. Part of me wants to believe that this personal connection was the only reason my piece got accepted, but then the other part of me (who I like better and better as the years go by) tells this self-defeating part, “Who cares? Why do you have to wreck everything? Shut up!”
Accompanying the article, which is on the subject of Halloween, is a photo I took of my daughter who is wearing a Tigger costume I made several years ago for my son. What a shot in the arm that framed page is! An article I wrote, displaying a photo I took, of a costume I made, worn by a lovely girl who I also made! Framed and hung by my husband, who takes much better care of my mental state than I do.
I decided I shouldn’t leave it all to him, and so to counter my current state of aimless and lethargic bottoming-out, I thought I should hang another reminder that I HAVE done SOMETHING with my life, even if all I can seem to manage lately is to fold the laundry and to make sure the kids eat a vegetable now and again.
The balance between humility and pride is such a precarious position to maintain, and I am constantly learning how to better walk that path. For me it always comes down to, how can we strive for perfection while acknowledging that we are never going to arrive? How can we better ourselves constantly while at the same time giving ourselves credit when we genuinely have done the best we can, even though it won’t ever be “The Best”?
I’ve decided to try surrounding myself with a few more reminders that I AM striving, that I HAVE succeeded and that there is definitely hope that I can fulfill tasks I set for myself in the future. Maybe that’s an alternate purpose to a diploma, not just to prove to the outside world that we have achieved something, but to remind the inside world, the one in our head, that we did indeed get to where we were going. One of the bumperstickers of life.