There are always new beginnings happening in your life. Sometimes we don’t notice them and therefore they end right there before it really started. Such as engaging in conversations with strangers or new friends instead of flipping around on your phone – that person could turn into someone really important in your life or share a little wisdom that impacts you.
New beginnings also occur with change. Two of my friends are moving later this month, and yesterday we gathered to say goodbye and send them off with some good vibes. Some people can see this as an end, but it doesn’t have to be. This is just going to be the beginning of a long-distance friendship. This is just a change. As with many of my other long-distance friendships, I feel confident that we’ll pick right back up when we’re in person again, and in the meantime, we’ll stay in touch in various ways.
So later this month, I will have gained another pen pal and another state to visit (with a place to stay). While I wish I could keep these wonderful people closer to me, I’m so happy in knowing this is the right move for them.
In the same theme as last week, I’m looking for a shift. Something needs to change, but I really only have control over my re/actions. And I’m fine. So now it’s time to take a risk. Or several.
Last night I wrote down the phrase on my to-do post-it note for today: Dear Universe, give me an escape hatch. I was planning on writing more about that wish, but instead, the risk of the ask has caused a shift. I was thinking about a bigger change, but upon re-reading my note to myself, I realize I wasn’t at all specific. I didn’t even mention where the escape hatch was supposed to be located. And that’s fine.
Shifts can be subtle and small and still have powerful currents.
I defiantly drank a cup of coffee yesterday. There’s so much more to those eight words. Taking a break as an act of resistance, an insurgence. A few sips swallowed causing a swell of resilience.
I asked a stranger for an interview for this blog – and got a yes this morning.
I asked someone I know in one capacity of my life to sit down and talk about another part of my life. I got a yes and am sitting down later today for a conversation that may change my life.
Whatever is going on in your life, sometimes you must take the risk. It can be small. Sometimes you must make the ask. It can have bigger ramifications. And it will be fine.
A little more than a year ago, I began shifting my narrative to letting things go. Finding peace. Trying to really enjoy the small things again.
Turns out that life really operates in cycles because I’m back in the thick of it – trying really hard to be positive in the midst of chaos in my ridiculous narrative that I did not choose. But I’m trying to shift the narrative again. I’m trying to cycle back into reclaiming my story and my joy. But, it’s hard. It’s been really hard for a while. So I went back to read my own blog for my own wisdom in how I dealt with this before and found my post Let It Go.
It still holds up. I still know what I need to do.
Put a dinosaur in it.
To quote myself, “My current story is so ridiculous (and yet so true), that a silly dinosaur from a dollar store seems fitting. I need to find humor to ease all the emotions I’m trying to let go that are stuck in this pile.” This has come full-circle and is true once more. So I brought a dinosaur to work to help me with the daily crisis that occurs among the regular work(over)load. To help me laugh in times that if I don’t start laughing, I might start crying.
So my advice to you: put a dinosaur in it. It’ll at least make you smile for just that moment, and that’s worth the try.
My belated weekly post comes after a very long week (end of the fiscal year) that ended with two beautiful celebrations of others. Sometimes we don’t have anything to give but our time and our kind words. I celebrated the end of working with someone with a card that everyone signed (and wrote kind words) and baked two pies to make sure everyone took some time to sit down and eat together. The pie was a request from the person leaving; the time and cooking with love was what I had to share.
This weekend, I drove out of state for a wedding. It’s the first one I’ve been to in years – honestly, since my own. Sometimes we don’t have much to give but our time, kind words, and a few small items to make an apartment feel a little more like home. I celebrated the beginning of a new life adventure between two people dedicating themselves to themselves by showing up and taking part in making this memory a happy one. The request was simply to show up; the time, dining, and dancing was what I had to share.
Making time and showing up to celebrate others means far more than many people realize. It’s not too often you get your entire team behind you for those big and small moments to celebrate beginnings and endings, yet there are always beginnings and endings in life. Show up and make life a little sweeter for someone else. Sometimes it’s as simple as just saying yes.
I don’t usually celebrate myself in big ways. My birthday falls around Thanksgiving, so I typically demand my favorite cake (cheesecake) to be served at Thanksgiving. I also demand time with my family, which is pretty convenient as we are gathered anyway for the holiday.
I’ll be entering a new decade this year, and to celebrate myself, I’m asking for others’ time and words. I’m asking for people to share their stories with me – in print. And that takes time to write. To carefully consider what words matter, what kind of story may be helpful as I continue to grow up.
Upon informing a few of my friends, I heard groans. They didn’t want to write their words. I understand that not everyone enjoys writing; if others demanded a long phone call, I would probably groan and try to get out of their wish as well. So for those who aren’t able or willing to share their own stories, I still want time and words. I want them to consider what stories have impacted them and that they may want to impart on me – to share a book, short story, or something in print.
So this is my big demand. I want your words. I want your time. And I still want that cheesecake.
I’ve been writing this blog for about a year and a half now, and I’ve missed two weeks – two posts. I actually missed last week because I spent more time with people I care about than anticipated, and suddenly, the week was up. I was going to write about how sometimes, during weeks that are just so difficult, the only positive thing I can find is looking ahead. Finding something to look forward to – such as spending time with people I love and care about; people who love and care about me.
Well, it’s been another difficult week. And while the difficult circumstances aren’t going to change anytime soon, so the difficult weeks will continue, I find it helpful to remember that I always get a choice. I don’t get to choose to get out of my circumstance immediately – that’d be too wonderful if it were that easy. But I do get to choose whether I want to take a break from writing this blog which forces me to find the positive in hard times, or if I choose to come back to it.
I am choosing to come back to writing and seeking the positive because I refuse to let the hard stuff take that from me. Sometimes the hard stuff is too hard; sometimes the positive makes a dent. But no matter what, I get to choose how I keep moving forward.
May you come back to whatever ignites your joy.
Today is Friday, and on my way home from work, everyone seemed to be in a great mood. Multiple people looked up and smiled at me. At least three strangers said hello. Multiple dogs headed my way before their owners tugged them back on their side of the sidewalk. The air outside was crisp and comfortable, as if Autumn was just waiting for September to get here, to prevent me from being completely soaked with sweat by the time I got home.
I didn’t know what was going on. My day was a total whirlwind and I didn’t even have a chance to take a lunch break. So, I just took it all in. The smiles, the cute dog faces, the small children shrieking with delight.
And now, my day is great.
I had high hopes of a real vacation this year. I live closer to family and some friends, so I visit on weekends instead of vacation days. But I almost had jury duty and have a lot of other life stuff up in the air, so I wrote off the hope.
Then I felt kind of bad. That I work very hard and don’t seem to get a real week off; I’m chronically stressed from work, and while I do a lot of day trips, I somehow started feeling that wasn’t enough. What I really wanted was a break – a dedicated time to relax and restore (with a little adventure). And it wasn’t going to happen.
Then someone helped give me some perspective. I’m still getting a week off of work – my biggest stressor. So really, to borrow a line from What About Bob, I’m taking a vacation from my problems.
So my week off has included a lot of the usual mundane life stuff: loads of laundry, errands and grocery shopping, looks of cooking, cleaning, etc. But I made a point to build in time to just relax; I made a point to sit on my couch and read instead of getting to everything else that I should do when I’m home with free time. I also made time to be a tourist in my own town and go visit things that have been on my to-do list for a while. I am grateful for my family that visited, my husband who took a day off for a quick trip to a beach, and a friend from halfway across the country who’s about to spend the weekend with me.
In reality, I’m getting the vacation that I wanted – it’s just structured completely differently than I thought. Every day, I had a little vacation mixed in with the obligations and goals I set for the day. And just to have a memento from this vacation, I did buy this t-shirt that Bob was wearing in What About Bob. And I wore it today for my adventures to amuse myself at the act of literally taking a vacation from my problems, and for the amusement of wondering if any of the strangers who took my photo caught the reference. And yes, I did already own goldfish earrings, which is a whole other story about a day trip in Texas.
Life is always better if you can find the humor in the hard moments and the fun moments. The problems don’t go away just because you take a vacation, but maybe you can cope with them better once you have a break from them.
Yesterday morning, I woke up two hours earlier than usual. The world feels like it’s in a very different place at that time. The roads are mostly clear, no one is honking or losing it on their commute, and there is a calm in the air as the sun is bright but not yet hot.
I can say that this was the most peaceful part of my yesterday; it didn’t last, but I can still remember the moment. Unless I have a reason to wake up this early again, I probably won’t. I’m not an early riser by nature, but I hope to remember this lesson. The world isn’t always a crazy, busy, hectic pace – even if you do live in a city that seems to always be crazy, busy, and hectic at every hour. You can find your calm, and you can create that space. You may just need to make a change – even if it’s just a change in your perspective.
I’m so grateful that in growing older, my body doesn’t put up with my poor choices. My body lets me know when eating too many sweets or processed food because I don’t feel well. It’s usually a pretty quick response these days if I eat too much bad stuff, and I’m grateful that my body allows me to still enjoy some processed food. After a week of clean eating, I’m happy to enjoy some pizza with good people and not feel bad.
The key that I’ve found for myself, is that I need to continue eating real food – generally not processed – but to be flexible. I’ve recently been able to buy fresh food at farmer’s markets, and that is how I’m choosing to reward myself.
I’m growing better as I age, and I’m growing capacity at making better decisions.