Life is not built on the highs. It is not shaped by the once-in-a-lifetime opportunities we accept or create. No, life is built in the valley.
Yes. It is forged in that in-between space where everything is the same yet different because you're different. You've changed. It’s the space where we can see the next mountain of opportunity or excitement on the horizon, but see all the ground we must cover to get there.
Even though the valley is wildly unappealing, it matters. Our valley matters. Yes, it can be frustrating and slow. It is built of our day-to-day: the choices, the people, the thoughts, the feelings. But, it matters.
Why does it matter?
It matters because it is where we get to happen. It is where we get to cultivate and shape the life we dream; to build something that will last longer than the mountaintop. You guys, we don’t happen on the mountaintop. The mountaintop (dream fulfilled, opportunity given etc.) is an accumulation of the life we steward in the valley. The valley matters because it’s where life unfolds. It is where life breathes and we get to show up for it.
If you know me, you know I’m all about dreams, the pursuit and fulfillment of them. I’m also all about living present and seeing creativity as a part of who I am not just something I do. It is in the valley, those slow spaces of life, that all of that, the dreams, the living, the creating is born.
The valley is slow and that’s what makes it frustrating. We live in a world where things happen overnight. It’s no longer just a thought, it’s a real thing. We see people become overnight sensations----literally. We watch opportunities seemingly fall into the laps of those around us as we plunk along our road. So, it can be hard to accept the valley, to choose it. But friend, it matters. It matters that we choose our valley. It matters that we show up for it and don’t bemoan it. Because the valley is an amazing teacher. It shows us what we are made of and where we need to grow. It invites us to celebrate our progress and build anticipation for what’s next. It’s the space where we get to build legacy and longevity. We discover the worth of our dreams and choose it.
The valley is not glamorous. It is founded on our choice. Our choice to be persistent and intentional with our lives. Our choice to choose longevity over highlight reels. Our choice to invest in the now knowing that it builds the future.
So, it matters. It matters that we show up here friend. It matters that we own our valley. The amazing opportunities will come. The euphoric ecstasy of dreams coming true will be felt. But when those moments pass, when the opportunity comes and goes, when the dream is fulfilled, what will matter is the life and character we cultivated in the valley. Because who we are in the valley speaks to how we will sustain on the mountaintop.
So, choose your valley. It won’t always be easy. Some days it will be hard. Some days it will be monotonous. It will often look simple, like you living your life. But know this, everyday life is an invitation to build and invest. It is an invitation to see differently, to choose. To choose to take each day as a moment to feed the dream, creativity, our soul. To choose to make small choices that invest and build the big picture. Because, more time will be spent in the valley than the mountaintop, so why not make the most of it?
Danae Carson is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of This Wondrous Life. With a passion for creativity, dreams, and community you will find in the content she creates an eagerness for others to be awaken to their dreams and creativity. When she isn't busy running This Wondrous Life, Danae can be found working a 9-5 in Washington, D.C. and when she's not there, she can be found making areopress coffee at home, brainstorming and dreaming up how to best live present with those around her. Danae resides in the suburbs of Maryland. To learn more about her and This Wondrous Life, you can follow the journey on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter!