Hey Lou Writes

The Grey Matters

Nothing Might Mean Everything

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It’s day 13 and I’m veering from the prompt again. Something’s been on my mind and I have to write about it.

It’s about that one time my mom told me, plain as day, that I have nothing.

(Oh, and I okay’d this blog with her before I posted it…)

You see, before I came to the midwest, I had a big long talk with my mom about the pros and cons of moving away. I did the “when I’m 80” test and knew that when I was older, I’d want to talk about that one time I went away and lived out of state…. that one time I was brave and ventured out on my own… etc.

We were drinking wine.

We were talking philosophically.

We were a little slaphappy and both nervous about the thought of me moving away, I think.

We were being painfully honest with each other.

And the conversation went like this:

Me: “Mom, I just feel like I need to do this. I can’t really explain it. This farm in Prescott seems right. It seems like where I should be. What do you think? What should I do?”

Mom: “Well, honey, I think this place sounds perfect. And it’s the perfect time. I mean… you don’t have a boyfriend, you don’t have children, you don’t own a house…. you haven’t started a career job… you don’t even have a dog…. {Raising her hand up in the air, like an epiphany…) I mean really, Mel, you have nothing!

Me: silence

Mom: silence

Me: explosion of laughter

Mom: “I meant to say…. I MEANT TO SAY…. you have nothing keeping you here.”

Me: “Nah, that’s okay. It’s as simple as that. I really do have nothing!”

BOTH: uncontrollable continuing laughter

Now, my mom is the most sincere and loving and polite woman I’ve ever met. I know she meant this out of kindness and in a hopeful manner. It was sort of tragically comedic in the moment. (And of course, I know I don’t have nothing…)

But this moment with my mom gave me freedom. It really did.

Her list of all I didn’t have was what allowed me to go away… in search of something. The best part is, it’s not a search for a boyfriend, a kid, a dog, a house…. but a search for something even better. Something that isn’t tangible.

I guess I’m here searching for everything. And it was the having nothing that allowed this incredible journey to take place.

(Oh, and here’s all the STUFF I do have to my name…..)

my schtuff

my schtuff

This stuff isn’t what counts, though. Even through all the bleak moments, I always had my dreams. That’s something I’ll never let go of. I am finding it easier to enjoy what I have and not simply wish my life away, but it was the idea that something bright was ahead of me that brought me here. A few days before I left town I spent a night with my friend Gina and we used the Flying Wish Paper we bought in Santa Fe together. You write down your wishes… light them on fire… and they fly high into the air and float back down.

catching dreams

catching dreams

Here I am, catching my dreams in my hand. (Gina, thanks for this moment and for capturing it!)

So, my point today, is that even when you feel like you have nothing, you have a whole lot of everything to gain. 

Cliche, maybe. True, definitely.

I’m living proof, and I’m just plain old me.

Just think what YOU might wind up with ;) ….and hopefully you can find laughter, even when your mom tells you something that’s hard to hear. Moms are almost always right.


Lou (who’s happy with just enough)

Author: Melinda Haas

Melinda is a writer, blogger, artist and teacher. She lives in Wisconsin with her family.

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