I recently saw a video of a Border Collie very, very carefully removing a wooden block from a Jenga tower. Successfully. Perhaps the trainer pointed out the block to be moved. Perhaps the dog figured it out on its own. Border collies are, after all, at the top of the canine IQ chain.
Stacking (and unstacking) blocks is an art form. But not many can do it well.
As I look back on my career I have somehow always aspired to be one block off. Let me explain.
As a child I remember being in awe of the houses located right above a cliff, or a rim, in my hometown. The houses resembled mansions, and even then I remember wishing I could live in one someday. As I grew older and had my own car, I would still drive by them and wonder “How do these people make their living? Where does all that money come from?” And I aspired to live there one day.
And now, by the grace of God and some deliberate decision making, I do.
Well, not quite. I live one block off of the famous road. Which, I have found, to my delight, is far superior to living right ON it. Quieter street. Less traffic. Other houses shielding the wind. In fact, the house I live in now is hidden away from the street—almost like an outlaw’s getaway place that nobody knows about except the outlaw and his trustworthy horse.
I did the same kind of move in San Diego. I opted for a house that was one block off the more famous streets there. Quieter street. Less traffic. In fact, it is on a road that ends on a canyon. Few people go down that street unless they live there.
I did the same kind of move with my career. I remember one day telling my friend this very thing. We were walking along the banks of the Rio Grande, both making minimum wage at the time. She asked me what my dreams were and I said that some day I wanted to be famous and be a minister. But not so famous I couldn’t go out in public. And not the kind of minister that had a congregation or a church building. I guess I wanted to be “one block off” of famous. And “one block off” of being a minister.
Some might say I have been off my block, or off my rocker, by not going exactly straight to The Thing. Was my aim off, after all—I who teach and preach living your dream?
I think not. Because a career build is like a Jenga tower. At any moment any one of the blocks, if off balance, can bring the others tumbling down.
I think what I wanted after all was freedom. The freedom to come and go, and have times of incredible solitude, just one block away from the frenzy.
So I encourage you to think through your choices, as you stack expectations upon yourself. Not everyone has a Border Collie that can artfully remove a block without the others falling.
Stay free, my friends. Stay free. Don’t burden yourself with too many obligations. Or possessions. Or demands from the “call of the crowd.”
Sometimes it really is better to live, and be, just “one block off.”
Laurie Beth ~ Live. Breathe. Joy.