At a dinner party many years ago, I sat next to a woman who happened to be married to one of the most beloved gentlemen in town. She told me the story of how they met and then said “Out of all the men in this world, can you believe I got to marry x!” Being single at the time, I was a bit jealous. After all, he was quite the catch. And apparently she was too, since he chose her.

A week later, when I got to write a song with x at his house, this same woman came into the writing room and berated him with no mercy in front of me. He couldn’t do anything right. I remember being so confused. If she loved him as much as she claimed to the week before, how could she treat him that way? And in front of a stranger, at that?

Needless to say, that couple ended up divorcing a few short months later.

Gary and I went to South Africa last year on safari. I had never experienced those kinds of animals in real life before…elephants, lions, rhinos. It was jaw-dropping and mind-blowing to see them for the first time. But by the third day of safari, the awe was starting to wear off…I had already seen the elephants, lions and rhinos…where were the hyenas? Where are the leopards? I want to be in awe again!!!

When that thought hit me, I turned to look at my husband in the jeep next to me whom I’d been with for ten years at this point. At what point do we forget that when we first meet our spouse, they are the most exotic, wild, one of a kind animal we’ve ever laid eyes on?

At what point, do we start thinking “I’m bored. Everything he does annoys me.”

At what point, do we forget how all those funny quirks of his used to be the things we loved about him?

Because I know how fickle the human mind can be and how it needs constant stimulation (at least mine does), it’s very important for me to stay conscious when it comes to love. I don’t believe love is a given. I believe we have to nurture and feed it on a daily basis. And some days, it’s harder to do that than others. But forgetting that love is a choice is a great way to take it for granted and to lose it.

Borrowing the words of that woman at the dinner party, I can currently say: “Out of all the people in this world, can you believe I got to marry Gary Burr?” Now my job for the rest of my days is to never forget how lucky I am. And as long as he’s doing the same, we should be just fine 🙂

 

I saw a bumper sticker recently that really spoke to me. It said “CRITICAL THINKING – The Other National Deficit.”

That brought me back to my days at New York University. In one of my liberal arts classes, I remember taking an essay exam that would greatly affect my grade for the semester. The essay question had an obvious answer that had been covered in class but because of the weight of the grade and the fact that the exam was only one question, I read it with new curiosity that sparked new thoughts and ideas on the matter. I remember getting very excited as I handed in my exam. I felt like my professor would read my answer and appreciate the original thought that went into my response. I assumed she wanted my take on the matter.

I assumed wrong.

When I got my paper back, it had a big “C+” on it with a note that said “This is not what I taught you in class.”

A couple of invaluable lessons I learned that day:

  1. Her “what I taught you in class” were memorized facts that she wanted regurgitated back to her. I had misunderstood and thought her intention was “to teach us to think for ourselves based on the facts we were given.” I was wrong.
  2. I’ll never forget the excitement running through my body of stumbling upon a new idea and formulating my own take on it. I felt so alive and wanted to do that again and again so I decided to make a living at that and become a songwriter. That way, I could put words and ideas together to create brand new worlds within the construct of a 3 minute song. What a fun challenge.
  3. The rejection of sharing my ideas and not having them received or heard made me realize the importance of “reading a room.” When people ask you for your thoughts, sometimes they don’t REALLY want to know what you think. They want you to just confirm what they already believe. When I meet someone who honestly DOES want to know what I think, it’s such a pleasure and always a much more interesting conversation. The dialogue goes both ways and we get to explore new ideas together. New ideas spur action and creativity.

I LIVE for this!

 

How many of you out there have ever experienced a Jerry McGuire moment? When you had such clarity about something that you put it out there in the world, got no response and then immediately started doubting the very thing that spoke such truth to you? Vulnerability. That’s a tough one…especially in such polarized times. But let’s keep being vulnerable anyway. I could try to be someone I’m not and have a thicker skin but it’s probably not gonna happen. I’m just gonna have to be okay with knowing that life hurts sometimes. And isn’t that a gift? To sit in the uncomfortable for as long as it takes and to keep in mind that one day, this too shall pass? The key is to hold on long enough until it does.
 
I’m in. You?