Thursday, January 10, 2013

Oh, the Places You'll Go!

For Christmas, I gave a friend of mine a book for his son. Not just any book, but my absolute favorite children's book: Oh, the Places You'll Go! by Dr. Seuss.

Congratulations!
Today is your day.
You're off to Great Places!
You're off and away!

I have loved this book since I begin reading it to my own children when they were toddlers. Even now, as an adult, I often read this book to myself as a reminder that I can do anything, go anywhere and see anything I put my mind to.

You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes
You can steer yourself
any direction you choose.
You're on your own. And you know what you know.
And YOU are the guy who'll decide where to go.

You see, for many years I talked myself out of living my travel dreams. Making excuses such as I can’t afford it or that traveling to faraway places alone is not safe.

You will come to a place where the streets are not marked.
Some windows are lighted. But mostly they're dark.
A place you could sprain both your elbow and chin!
Do you dare to stay out? Do you dare to go in?
How much can you lose? How much can you win?

I would say that I can't leave my kids and I can't take them with me. Or that being away from them for a week is simply irresponsible and unacceptable. So I settled into the life of "normalcy" that consisted of work, come home, be Mom, repeat; but secretly yearning for far away places and trying to figure out how to fill the void that is created when you put your hopes on the back burner.

You can get so confused
that you'll start in to race
down long wiggled roads at a break-necking pace
and grind on for miles across weirdish wild space,
headed, I fear, toward a most useless place.
The Waiting Place...

One day, after a routine doctor's visit, I found myself in the intensive care unit of my local hospital. The doctors were saying things like "stroke" and "bleeding on the brain". They were asking me questions such as "what has you so stressed out?"

NO!
That's not for you!

I spent a week in that hospital bed. It was there that I decided that I would no longer simply be who society expected me to be. That I would no longer live my life by the standards of others. I decided that life is to be lived and I deserved to live it on my own terms, in my own way. I made some life changing decisions that put me in a better position to do the things that made me happy. Things that filled the void and released the stress. I stopped making excuses.

With banner flip-flapping,
once more you'll ride high!
Ready for anything under the sky.
Ready because you're that kind of a guy!

So now when I get discouraged and the naysayers begin to naysay, I simply remember Dr. Seuss and I can almost hear him say:

And will you succeed?
Yes! You will, indeed!
(98 and 3/4 percent guaranteed.)

KID, YOU'LL MOVE MOUNTAINS!

So...
be your name Buxbaum or Bixby or Bray
or Mordecai Ali Van Allen O'Shea,
you're off to Great Places!
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting.
So...get on your way!

For the full text of Oh, the Places You'll Go! click here.