Psst: At the end of this article I give you my recipe for Fulfillment in Daily Living!
My parents had just had an argument. My mom decided that she wanted nothing to do with my dad that day or his employer’s summer celebration.
So, my brother and I packed into our brown Ford pick up and my dad drove us to his annual work party. All I knew was they had clams. My dad loved to talk about the clams… or was it oysters?
On our way to the party I felt lighter. I was glad my mom wasn’t with us. She always complained about everything and made us leave everything early that we ever did.
I had also taken extra care to look nice as I got ready for this party. I was at an awkward age, probably 14. I remember looking in the mirror as I wore my mom’s lipstick-red romper and the summery high-heeled sandals that matched perfectly. I had never seen my mom wear either of these things, but I knew they were hers, and heretofore had never seen the light of day that I knew of. So far, I’d only played dress up with them in my room.
“I am just a poor boy, though my story’s seldom told… Li la li…. li la li lie li la lie… “ I remember looking out the window of the Ford, wind in my hair. I asked my dad who was singing this song. “Simon & Garfunkel” he said.
We arrived at the party which passed by like a hazy dream. I felt stunning in my outfit. I played volleyball like I’d never played before. I didn’t even know how, really - just hit the ball over the net - that’s what I was going for.
Remember, I was homeschooled…
During volleyball I ran into a man more than once. Literally. He was older than me, but fit and healthy. Even though he was old enough to have been my father, I relished every moment of physical contact.
Looking back, it was probably the first time I had been physically touched by anyone other than my relatives. Even the kids at my church youth group were very careful with touching of any kind.
This guy was just running right into me. Bodies slamming, and I loved it. He was hairy. He had dark wavy hair, and his very tan skin was more than a little covered in his curly black hair. And I remember his very muscular thighs. Powerful thighs that were popping out under his gym shorts. I even remember he had a teal tank top on.
I didn’t know his name. I didn’t want to know his name. I didn’t want to hook up, not that I even knew what that meant. I didn’t want anything from this man, but I had an immense sense of gratitude for how alive he made me feel.
I went home feeling more fulfilled than I had ever felt in my entire life. Volleyball… with an old man… at my father’s work party.
Let’s examine that shall we?
I see a few things at play here:
I felt free. Away from my mother’s watchful eye.
I felt desirable. I had taken extra measures to look and feel good.I felt seen. The dude ran into me and knocked me over - yes. But then he stopped, helped me up and asked if I was ok. He looked me in the eyes. He touched me. It wasn’t inappropriate, and it was very respectful.
I felt trusted. I was part of a team. In hindsight I realize that this man may not have trusted me to get the ball at all, hence the running into me. But at the time, I very much felt like a member of team and I was getting enough action to make me feel that way. No pun intended.
I felt mature and confident. I wasn’t questioning my movements, or my ability. I was responding to the volleys thrown my way and hitting them right back.
That Christmas I asked my dad for a Simon & Garfunkel cd - to his surprise and pleasure. I’ll never forget the look of appreciation on his face after I told him that was what I wanted.
He looked at me like I was a person he could relate with. That was new.
FUN FACT: Years later, I looked into the face of Art Garfunkel as he told me I had beautiful eyes. Talk about “being seen!” True story! I was a security screener at the airport and he was flying through.
So what, when you leave it behind, makes you feel free?
What are you wearing when you feel desirable?
What are you doing when you feel especially seen?
When do you feel most trusted and part of a team?
What situation are you in when you feel mature and confident?
What makes you feel understood?
Mash all of those experiences up into your own recipe for fulfillment!
A NEW FULFILLMENT RECIPE TO TRY
From my (vegan) kitchen to yours:
RECIPE FOR: Fulfillment In Your Daily Life
PREP TIME: Just make it happen now - it’s up to you.
COOK TIME: Every Day, Every Day, Every Day
Give yourself time and space to feel whatever you feel and experience your feelings. This isn’t time for TV or taking care of the kids. This is time to go for a walk or drink a cuppa in silence.
Make yourself look nice. Even if you’re staying in, looking and feeling good changes the vibration around what you’re doing - and those vibrations can be felt by all, whether they know it or not. If you want to make life count, might as well do it with high vibes.
Find a way to make someone feel special. It doesn’t have to be a huge gesture or cost anything. Just a smile at a stranger in the grocery line changes the impact you have on the world and on yourself in an instant. If they smile back, appreciate that fact. Someone just smiled at you.
Be fucking ethical and have some morals. If you know you’re doing something outside the bounds of where you would normally draw the line, don’t do it. Hold your values to a high standard and be the kind of person you admire.
Emit confidence with your body. If all you’re doing is feeling confident about your mad skills in your mind and you’re sitting there all hunched over and sheepish, then you are doing a disservice to yourself, and nobody else is going to give you credit where credit is due. You body talks to your mind just as much as your mind talks to your body. So sit up straight, make eye contact, and walk with purpose. You are a rock star.
As much as you want to be understood - so do they. Whoever you’re speaking with, seek to understand before you are understood. The whole conversation will go better, and you’ll actually get what you want out of the relationship - which is to be understood. Find a way to relate on a cellular level - like how you both like The Sound of Silence.
What's in your life that makes you feel the most fulfilled?
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