A Small Life, Small and Valuable

Sometimes I wonder about my life. I lead a small life – well, valuable, but small – and sometimes I wonder, do I do it because I like it, or because I haven’t been brave? So much of what I see reminds me of something I read in a book, when shouldn’t it be the other way around? I don’t really want an answer. I just want to send this cosmic question out into the void. So good night, dear void.

Kathleen Kelly (Meg Ryan’s character in ‘You’ve Got Mail’)

I live a small life. I move within a tight circle of familiar faces and well-worn roads. I can tell you the colour of the flowers in the front yard of the houses that I walk past on the weekend. I know the way the leaves change on the liquid amber tree across the road as well as I know my own breath. I re-watch old movies and the dialogue runs through my mind like white noise discarded by my brain like overheard conversation in a restaurant. I enjoy routine in a visceral way. I like filling the pages of my diary with appointments and plans to workout and shopping lists and little chores that are the inescapable minutiae of daily life – these things make me feel useful. I like feeling useful, even in the smallest of ways.

happy now

I do not think that a small life is reduced to an existence. My life is valuable. My coffers are full, overflowing. I have the riches of family and friends, the love of a good man, my health, a brain that never rests, a roof over my head and shoes on my feet. I live in a country free of major conflict and boundless opportunities for the brave and enterprising soul. My whole life is laid out at my feet – a blank slate ready for me to take up the chalk and sketch out my own path in bold and brilliant colours.

At this point in time I feel as though I am in the waiting room of my life. I am back in the pre-graduation period. Back in the searching for work period. Still here at the same desk where I completed my high school studies ten years ago. I wonder how I can be brave and take the steps into my future. How can I make this life? How can I create myself?


I believe in being proactive in my life. I believe that when one door closes another opens. I have come to realise that you can be super proactive, but sometimes when that door slams shut you have to wait in the hallway for a little while before the next door opens. When you are in that waiting room it’s so easy to sit quietly and look for cracks in the paint. But you need to keep knocking on those doors, sing in the hallway, explore what happens at the end of the corridor. You can’t sit idly by and let opportunity go rushing past.

I have been knocking on doors and trying every day in some way to live like there is something of value for me to do. Some days it is hard. You can understand why people give up and sit on the couch and decide not to go out into the world that keeps rejecting them. You’ve got to keep wanting to find what your something more is. You have to push on, push through, keep reaching, just…keep…going. I have dreams. My dreams are five sizes too big, and that’s good because I know I am capable of growing into them. I have plans, and ambitions, and a future that I want to make happen. I don’t want fate to drop things into my lap. I have broad shoulders and a capable mind. I am prepared to work. Nothing worth having comes without work and sacrifice.

So I hustle, and then I sit. I write, network, email, connect, search, tread the pavement…and then I wait. Waiting is hard for someone of limited patience like me. I like results. I like clear channels of communication. I need to be kept busy because these hands lying idle are wont to do the devil’s handiwork. For now I will keep pushing, keep pursuing, keep chasing.

I will keep living my small and valuable life. I will be thankful for the bright and beautiful blessings that I have been afforded. I will keep creating, keep striving. Because my life is valuable, and whatever I have inside me will find a home somewhere so that I can take all the good fortune I have been given and use it to set the sky on fire.

Tell me dear reader, when have you felt like you were in the waiting room of your life? How do you keep hustling?

What makes you life valuable? How do you set the world alight? 

2 thoughts on “A Small Life, Small and Valuable

  1. This is where we part ways a little. And I love you all the more for it. I have a feeling you’ll know what it is when you’re in it.

    When I’m in the waiting room, I make lists. Lists and lists and lists. I have plans, and I’m always searching for the tiniest cracks that I can widen and escape into. I don’t like doors – I like to knock down walls. If you’re really lucky, I might even clean up the mess I left behind.

    I’m excited to see what you do next,and I love the richness and meaning with which you live your life. It inspires me to look at the amazing life in front of me.

  2. Oh Amy, when I read that quote; that quote that I know so well from a movie that made me want to be the Storybook Lady, well, to be perfectly and brutally honest, I teared up because it reminded me that my Storybook Lady days feel over and no matter what I fill my days with the life I lead now will always be so much smaller than the life I led when I was our son’s mother. I will always be his mother but he is no longer here to mother and so this life has shrunk like a cheap all-I-got-was-this-lousy t-shirt. So I’m in the waiting room of my life ready for it to be over so I can be with him again. I haven’t given up on this life. Like runwkate I make lists that keep me from inactivity. I’ve studied library information and work in our local library. I’ve formed a book group and am in the process of forming a local writer’s group. We’ve moved and I’ve redecorated. I love our little townhouse with it’s timber floors and red staircase wall lined with books and memories. We celebrate birthdays and dread anniversaries and go into denial about Christmas and wish our summer months of January, February and March would last longer than they do. This life for us is just a little less, a little smaller, a little duller, a little less valuable than before. But we light our candles, our little lights. We climb through windows and peek through keyholes. And we wait. And we learn whilst waiting.
    You sound like a go-getter and a hard worker. You sound persistent enough to keep at the pursuit of your ambitions. You seem like someone who takes notice of both little things and big things. You sound like a small fires woman. Small fires always burn the longest. They go slow and deep and penetrate the earth and never forget to keep the core; the source of their heat and energy, alive. It’s important to die down a little and go back to the core before you can set alight something new.
    Thank you for your words. We’re listening.

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