Lessons From a Kindred Spirit.

7:00 AM

Recently I have been reading Anne of Green Gables to my 7 year old. 
Anne is a girl dear to my heart.
As a child of the 90's I grew up watching the classic Anne movie. But it wasn't until after the little one was born that I purchased a 90c Kindle edition and delved into the literary world of Avonlea.
But boy oh boy! 
I know there are some die hard Megan Follows fans out there but the books leave the movie in the dust. 

Like many lovers of the series I feel Anne to be a kindred spirit and have often wondered if upon reading the books we try and be a little more like Anne and thus loving her all the more or if, (and I think this one is more likely) upon reading the books we find in them someone who thinks, feels and acts like us we all at once feel a little less alone in the world. And so, we read on crying laughing and hanging our heads in shame along with this adorable ranga. Our hearts fill with pride as she reaches adulthood and wisdom without loosing any of her romantic spunk.

Anyway, It has been really nice to read these to my little one. She has taken a great liking to Anne and often wears her Anne-ish plaits decorated with flowers found on the walk to school. 

I thought it would be fun to look at some of the juiciest passages of the book and reflect on the deep and lasting messages that I think make up why the book has been one of my very favourites.
The first is a passage we read tonight from almost the end. It comes after Anne has studied a year at Queens Academy and is awaiting the posting of exam results and most importantly the winner of the class medal and Avery Scholarship. 
She is waiting with her friend Jane. 

"Jane was smiling and happy; examinations were over and she was comfortably sure she had made a pass at least; further considerations troubled Jane not at all; she had no soaring ambitions and consequently was not affected with the unrest attendant thereon. 
For we pay a price for everything we get or take in this world; and although ambitions are well worth having they are not to be cheaply won, but exact their dues of work and self denial, anxiety and discouragement." Anne of Green Gables - Chapter 36 - LM Montgomery

This passage hits me in the guts when I think about the way we compare ourselves to others. I think we often want what others happen but don't stop to consider the price they paid to get it. 
The person with the amazing career may have sacrificed any life but that career. They work hard networking and staying up late to make sure work is done and promotions are made available.
The person with a million children is probably going without sleep or private trips to the toilet. If they look like they have it together it is because they have worked hard to be organised, thought hard about being an intentional parent, prayed, agonised about decisions and given so much time away from themselves.
The person with the amazing intstagram feed and thousands of followers spends time working on getting those followers and curating their life. They too network by creating a community online and keeping up the comments and follows. They create lots of interesting content. It all takes time, skill and effort. 
The person with the beautiful and flawless house spends hours of labour making it so. They've got a system and I do not know what magic they posess!

Their ambitions are well worth having but they are not cheaply won. 

Jane has no ambition in regards to her marks. She is a kind and sensible girl. One of Annes closest friends but in this situation is content with a pass mark. And so on the day the grades are coming out she wears a smile. She is confident, happy and ok. 

Anne, has aspirations for her marks. She wants to come out top and so she has put in much much more effort. And with her effort comes anxiety. She is pale and quiet and cannot bring herself to check the bulletin board where the marks are posted. She has nothing to fear (SPOILERS!) she has worked hard and it definitely pays off. But still, this is her area and so her she feels the trade off of ambition. 

Neither girl is lacking, each is where they want to be and both are content in this situation with their lot. 

It's an important lesson to learn. 

Ambitions are a wonderful thing. Anne had them, LM Montgommery heartily approves of them, and even more now than back in Annes day we have the whole world of ambition open to us, but I think sometimes we want the win without the work. 
It is ok to be like Jane and let things slide for the sake of our sanity, happiness or sleep. 
But remember that you gotta keep wearing that smile if you scrape in with a 51. 
It's also ok to be like Anne and work your socks off for a goal. 
But remember you can't have it all at once. 

Such wisdom and feminism all rolled into a wonderful ball. Sage advice that I'm sure is timeless. 

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