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How do you know if something is incomplete or missing from your life? Is there something missing? It’s easy to get into the flow of life and become somewhat comfortable. What if there’s more?

When I was a young girl, we used to go to a nearby state park and have a picnic. Of course it wasn’t an ordinary picnic because my parents treated alcoholics and addicts in our home so we would load up about 20-30 patients in various vehicles, including a motorhome and head out. Once there, we would grill hamburgers, play games, and visit the local aquarium and fish hatchery. One time stands out in particular.

After the lunch spread was set up, we all fixed our plates and sat down to eat. My mom was notorious for putting everything, and I mean everything, on her hamburger - cheese, onion, tomatoes, pickles, relish, ketchup, mayonnaise, mustard, chips, salt, pepper, and anything else that she could grab. As we were eating and talking, my mom was remarking on how delicious the food was. “Mmm, this is so good” she kept repeating. When she was over halfway done, she said, “This is delicious but I feel like I missed something.” We all laughed because her burger was so big there was no way. Finally, she set her burger down, took the top bun off, and began inspecting her lunch. Staring down at her plate for a minute, she slapped the table with her hand, and said “Well, dammit, I knew I forgot something. I forgot the hamburger!” The rest of us doubled over with laughter and disbelief. What was so baffling was that she was almost done!

This was just another funny story over the years but as I got older it began to take on new meaning. My mom was perfectly happy that day eating her “hamburger” without the star. Often times, we become content or complacent and it's hard to know if something is missing. We do the same things every day, eat the same food, drive the same roads, and think the same thoughts. Often times, we get a “feeling” like she did that day that something is missing.

When I push myself out of my routine and comfort zone, I often find there was something missing and I didn’t even realize it. This doesn’t mean we aren’t happy or that our lives aren’t full - it just means maybe there’s more. This life is short and we have a finite number of days to live it the best we can. Paying attention to our gut feelings is one way to find out if something is missing. Trying different and new things can also work.

Starting with small things can open doors to new and wonderful adventures. Taking a road you’ve never been on before, trying a new kind of food, or learning about something that has always interested you. Several years ago, I began to learn and study more about bears and their habitat. This led to a bear cub rescue organization that I got involved in and began to support. As a result, I met new friends and have had opportunities I otherwise wouldn’t have known about. I didn’t even know this was missing from my life!

Getting comfortable filling in the missing pieces in our lives can ultimately lead to better insight and more courage when we have to make bigger decisions and changes regarding our well-being and happiness. Staying in the ruts might make for a smooth ride, but real growth and freedom come when we become willing to take a new path once in a while.


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