I firmly believe that any day that ends with my being dirty was a good day. The dirt can be from playing, from working hard, from having an adventure or even a misadventure. But if I come home and I’m dirty it can only mean:
- I’m safely home,
- I’m still alive, and
- I was really living. (There is a difference between merely being alive and truly living).
Getting dirty – whether in word, thought or deed – means you’ve done something to flout the straight and narrow conventions that say we must behave ourselves and be clean and in control at all times.
You’re dirty. You let go, freed yourself from the rules, and even if only for a little while, exercised a wilder you.
The other day on my way into work I stopped to greet three Rottweilers that were out with their owner having a wet, mucky romp. I know these dogs so their hello back was canine joyous and very big. I ended up covered in mud and slobber from my chin to my knees. I couldn’t have been happier.
As I walked into the office I was smiling and thinking “It’s not even 9:00 a.m. and I’m already dirty. It’s going to be a great day!” And it was.
Responsibility is freedom. Doesn’t that sound so wrong? As adults we try to recreate our carefree childhoods – yearning for a week at a resort or dreaming of retirement.
So how can I say that responsibility is freedom? It’s freedom from being ruled by other people’s opinions and whims. It’s freedom from being a victim. It’s freedom to make your own life.
When I am responsible for my part in a situation, I am free to make that situation what I want it to be. No one else gets to tell me what the story is or how it’s going to play out.
Let’s say my bicycle is stolen. I can blame the thief for taking it (and yes, I do blame the thief for taking it – I only have to be responsible for my part of the situation). I can blame society for making it necessary for people to be thieves. I can blame God for making me a victim.
Or I can take responsibility for my part in it: lock up my bicycle; have the serial number registered; advocate for better law enforcement and bicycle enclosures, and consciously choose to let the situation be done.
If my boss criticizes my work, I can sulk and complain that he’s being unfair, or I can examine where I can take ownership for what’s being said and change for my own betterment.
These are just tiny examples.
Because I am responsible for my life, I can make it anything I want it to be. I am not limited by the illusion that other people will or should determine how the world ought to be.
I give myself the power to write my own story and the freedom to write it how I want it to be.
A shout out to Dee whose comment under the post “I don’t know…” inspired this topic.