Grammar Don’t Really Matter

It hurt to even write that. But that right there, in that twinge of pain and eye spasm, is the reason I’m writing this post.

I’m not here to suggest that good grammar and spelling isn’t necessary or to negate that it helps get our points across more easily. If I could go my whole life never hearing someone say “I seen” ever again, I’d be one happy human.

I’m reading a book right now that is full of lessons and messages of great importance. What I’ve noticed is that because I’m a true believer in the Oxford comma I keep finding myself cringe and judge every time a sentence, which “clearly needs it”, is missing that damn comma. It takes me out of the bigger picture. I’m quick to fix it in my mind, focusing on making the sentence right – instead of taking in the message. 

Being a “grammar Nazi” means we focus on one aspect of structure, and we miss the message. Not the writer. The writer is focused on the message. Just like I am when I write my blog posts – not being too critical with my sentence use and perhaps (okay, definitely) making grammar and spelling mistakes as I go. And yes, my process is to even publish it raw, because as a writer I understand the message is what I’m after, not the minute details of delivery. I trust I’ve done enough to get my message across, so I hit enter and share. The writer is focused on the purpose of why we are communicating at all. So what are we doing as readers?

The writer (or speaker) was sharing a message, and you missed it because of what hooks you.

And sure, we can defensively say they should do a better job getting their message across – but we are the ones missing out on the message.  It’s interesting too because it doesn’t only come up in confusion. We often know exactly what the message is trying to say, but we are focused on it’s flaws in how it’s being said, that we right off the entire thing. The self righteous indignation we have when we know it wasn’t worded or spelled the “right way” gives us this sense of being “better than”, and it disconnects us from the writer and their message. And it’s us who are causing that disconnect. 

When I read this powerful story and I pick out silly details like it’s lack of a fucking Oxford comma, I’m the one losing here. It’s my hang up and the only one I’m hanging is myself. The way something is written is not the point. The bigger picture, the point, was the message – and I let myself miss it because of what hooks me. 

When we’re in the position of the speaker or writer, or hell – just trying to communicate in a language you no hablo bueno, it’s easier to get past these hang ups. Maybe my google translate conversations and sad attempts to use my Duolingo skills recently have made me more aware of how getting the point across is the main objective. Having enough of a connection to get the guard to open the gate so you can get back to your house. That’s what matters. Perhaps this is why when I cringed at a sentence instead of taking in a beautiful message today – I took pause. 

In my speech and communication role I work on things like articulation, proper use of articles, and sentence structure –  but before any of that is a goal – the primary objective is for a child to have a way to get their message across. Because whether they say a full sentence, hand you a picture, or point – the message is always the most important piece. And, as I tell parents often, if your child comes to you and says “I wuv you”, don’t correct their /l/, just give them a hug. 

This insight has caused me to think – besides grammar, what else hooks me? What messages or lessons am I missing out on because of my own hang ups?  Can I acknowledge when I’m picking out flaws or rejecting whole lessons due to small pieces? I want to make sure I’m practicing staying open to messages. Open to lessons. Making sure I’m staying open to what truly matters. Focusing on what truly matters. Receiving what truly matters. Making sure I’m giving that child a damn hug. 

Dream, Design, Repeat.

This post is based on the silly smile I can’t wipe off my face as I sit here watching the sunset and listening to the birds getting ready to settle for the night. On March 2nd. 

I have been feeling very inspired lately to dream again, to build on to the life I have designed, yet again. Feeling inspired is a product of this environment and the space and time I have carved into this designed life of mine. I am so grateful I took the risk to dream and the even riskier job of leaping into making it a reality. The life design process is never done, but every time you let yourself dream and create it, you feel that much more capable and possible – and free to dream up even more. I love the surge of creativity that happens to me during my time here in Costa Rica. It solidifies to me just how important creating that space, energy, and time for myself is to furthering my ability to dream, build, and live my best life. 

The first leap I took was certainly the hardest because I was stuck in a mindset and reality that reflected that what I want isn’t possible. When you have nothing to counter those beliefs, they feel like truths, and it’s damn hard to convince yourself to take a leap when it’s seen as a simple fact that it isn’t going to work. For me, getting to the point that not taking the leap was scarier than taking it and falling on my face, was crucial to that first time on the edge. I have found this a key for clients too. You don’t have to know it will work or even convince yourself that it most likely will work, you just have to be at the point that it’s more painful to keep standing where you are. You need to move. And when that move takes you closer to where you want to be, the momentum your moves create can be, well, life changing.

After four years of being on a path of truly designing my life, I now welcome dreaming. It doesn’t feel as scary anymore because things feel more possible. And, even when they don’t work out (because not everything will) it gives you a power of knowing you can survive it and things will still be okay. Failure, per se, just feels like another possibility, a completely overcome-able outcome – not a reason to talk yourself out of trying anything.

Another thing I’ve noticed about the life design journey is that it truly feels like a journey. In the best of ways. I love what I’ve created so far. And yet, I love that with every dream and re-design I am simply loving it even more. It truly is a process of ongoing “dream, design, repeat”. As I mentioned before, it does feel easier the more times you do it. It even becomes a natural process of your existence. I’ve been having all of these ideas lately for my businesses, my living situation, my transportation needs, and it only just hit me today that what I’m actually doing is this life design process. 

I have huge ideas that are definitely not going to be easy to create, but for some reason, they all feel super possible at the moment. It’s an intoxicating feeling. So much so, I honestly don’t care if I’m “being realistic”. It feels good to be in this space, and it’s leading me to have even more dreams come up. Who knows which ones will develop – but it might just be one that was inspired by my “unrealistic dreaming state” – and that kind of blows my mind, ecstatically. 

I got into the habit of practicing gratitude as I watch the sun fade away every night in this paradise. As the orange globe sinks into the horizon and the cicadas start their evening song, I speak softly to myself and list three things I am grateful for from the day. The immense gratitude I feel for having the courage to live a life I intentionally designed, and to create space  for continuing to dream and design, plasters the biggest, silliest smile on my face that I can’t wipe off. 

Part of my life design involves supporting others through this Life Design process so they can live their best lives too. Need help taking that first leap? Together, you will Dream it. Build it. Live it.