I know that it's a wonderful world.

Is it possible to take a week off and regroup? I’ve come up against that ebb part of the ebb and flow of life and it’s really putting a damper on my desire to live out my mantra and focus on the positive things. I’m caught up with this discontent. 

Let me just take a minute (or two, or three…)

I think I have a tendency to cope with grief by completely dissociating myself from it. When my nana whom I loved dearly (I was her little Princess) died, I didn’t shed a tear. She had Alzheimer’s and I convinced myself that she had died long before she breathed her last breath. My grandpa passed away this summer. Same situation. Alzheimer’s. Little emotion from my part. I was beginning to think it was the Alzheimer’s. However lately I feel the same way. Disassociated. 

It’s an unsettling feeling, really. This particular situation is different, of course, because I am not donning all black to attend a funeral. Well okay, I do don black every other day when I rotate between my black and brown suit and today was a “throw-on-the-black-suit-jacket-and-out-the-door” day. And, in addition, you could also say that something has ceased to be. But it’s not a funeral. It’s just life. Each day. Some harder than others. Damn the hard days.

Anyway, dissociating. Perhaps because this situation is different, I am going about it in an entirely different way than with my Nana or grandpa. You see, I find myself rewriting my past rather than simply denying the present. Or maybe I’m just seeing it clearly for the first time. That’s the real thing that keeps me in this loop, I think. Did I miss something? You can’t have something be one way and another way all at once if they’re completely different ways. Can you?

Point is, I have lost some sort of joy in reminiscing. I think if I could say I was mad about anything, I choose that. Memories that were once precious to me hold no meaning. They’re not joyful. They don’t make my heart swell. They’re not depressing either. They’re just memories. They’re events that happened and they’re not happening anymore – almost as if they belong to someone else. And perhaps they do – to two people who got tangled up in something that isn’t. It’s an unsettling feeling.

It’s taken me longer to write but perhaps if you’re a fast reader, by now I’ve only taken seconds of your time and can keep my promise. By the time I post again, I’ll be back to being me. For now – what else could I leave you with but a song: “Wonderful World” James Morrison.

We all live with the scars we choose.

I’m just going to come right out and say this: I’m getting a tattoo. Just one more to add to the dime-sized one that I already have and then I’m done. I know what there is to be said about tattooing myself. If you’re inclined to respond negatively, let me just cut you short by telling you the same thing I told to one of my closest friends: I value your opinion but I value my own more.

The tattoo is simply this:

“Proverbs 19:21” 

 

It reads:

“Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.”

 

My mom is against tattoos in general but has been pleasantly subdued in her opposition to this decision. Still, she has this fear that I will get the verse and it will serve as a constant reminder of my pain. I’m not worried. To me, the beauty of the verse is that it’s a constant reminder that I don’t have to plan out the future and that when my plans do fail – as they have in the past and will inevitably continue to do – I’m not lost or derailed. The Lord has a plan for me that is far greater than that which I can imagine on my own. It’s comforting and it’s challenging. It serves not as a reminder of my pain, but of a promise.

If you think it’s trashy – so be it. I’m a class act. And I’m getting my second tattoo. I can’t imagine that anyone gets a tattoo in the same manner that they go out and get the latest trends to wear, so I’m not worried about it going out of style. 1) Because the only time it will be visible to everyone will be at the beach and – let’s be honest – if people focus on my tattoo instead of my beach attire, I’m okay with it! and 2) I’m getting it for me – a sentiment of my own faith.

When all is said and done, I am a little hurt that people feel inclined to openly react negatively to this decision and it does bother me… but I’m also really excited to get it done! I went in and Chase (the artist) sketched out a few versions that didn’t really suite me. They were all curly and cursive and delicate. I didn’t know what I had in mind but I suggested maybe something a little less delicate would be more up my ally. In the end? We decided on old typewriter font – stamped and a little imperfect. When he started sketching it out – it was like he had read my mind even though I hadn’t come in with a plan. Fate? Maybe. Spontaneity on my part? Give it to me – I think that’s pretty good.

I’m making my own decisions. “Beautiful” Lucy Schwartz

Springtime leads to Summertime.

There is something about coming home to my WL home that makes getting ready for bed an infinitely longer process than it would if I was anywhere else. I love being home. I think that part of my prolonged routine stems from the comfort I have here. I know that the sooner I get to sleep, the sooner I wake up and pack my bags to leave again – so I take my time.

Coming home typically fills every social need – as long as we’ve all had relatively good days and aren’t too preoccupied with our own business to pay each other mind. You see, my mom is a listener – she’s the one I get most of my obvious traits from so it should come as no surprise that my love of listening comes from her. When we get together, I catch her up on everything that I’m doing, thinking, feeling, or going through. She’s inquisitive and genuine with her love of people so if you had the opportunity to grab a cup of coffee with her, she would show the same attention to you as she does to me when we get together. We often end up chatting at such lengths with one another that we find ourselves sitting in a room by ourselves for long bouts of time without realizing everyone else has left us.

My sister allows me to listen. She’s a very passionate person and shares her passions with everyone around her. It’s funny; we’re very different – yes, that is one of my favorite phrases regarding my sister and me – but I’m learning that it makes our relationship even more precious. We could continue, like we once did, to avoid conversation because our interests don’t match up and it is not uncommon for us to carry on two different conversations at the same time – but we don’t. We make an effort with one another and although she knows her passions may not be embraced as wholly by me as herself, she gives me the opportunity to listen and find passion from her own – it’s similar to the reminiscing mindset I mentioned before. Attitudes are contagious.

My dad, as do most men – so I’ve read – enjoys side-by-side social interaction. We don’t need to “catch up” as much as we need to be next to one another doing something. He is probably the one who makes me work the most for social interaction because he separates from the group to give me an opportunity to seek him out. When the three women get together with my dad, we think we’re including him because he’s sitting with us, but he can’t compete with our fast-paced, scattered conversations. He requires my full attention and that is a difficult thing for me – an avid phone checker or fidgeter (despite my love of listening). We don’t say much but it gives us both the opportunity to appreciate one another and unwind a little bit. I’ll say, it wouldn’t be a lie to admit that it also helps me to put my technology addiction in check for a short time as well.

That’s my family. They’re the total package – each embracing a different form of communication so I can stay well versed in the art form. Ha – okay, on second thought, that was a pretty bold statement about my own communication skills. Misleading even!

That being said, time for bed!

(Post 1 of 2 for the weekend minimum. Exhausted.)

Corporate returns were due today. Hope you extended in time.

Perhaps I should lay some ground rules for myself in keeping a blog. I think it’s important to commit to some sort of regimen – not that I’m giving up on living spontaneously – but if I don’t set out a plan for this particular venture, I might forget some of the lessons or moments that I want to remember or, worse yet, allow myself to slip back into old habits without any sort of accountability. So here it goes: Weekends – at least twice – and weekdays when my heart is moved or my day allows. It’s not much, but it’s a start.

I digress…

Do you ever get the feeling that you will look back on a particular time in life with a somber fondness? Each day lately has at some point felt very… intentional. I don’t know how else to explain it. I don’t even mean to say that everything that has happened has happened because I have purposefully led it that way – because that would be far from the truth. But I do believe that there is a reason I find myself right here at this point in my life.

My aunt and I went on a walk yesterday morning. The weather – cloudy and a little misty – had gotten the better of her and we began talking about how much sunlight (or the lack thereof) affects our attitude. I suggested going for a walk so we put on our shoes, sweatshirts, gloves, and coats and took a stroll around the neighborhood. She knows so much history about her neighbors and the area. I think it’s fascinating to listen to someone reminisce about (his/)her past. It’s almost as if she finds the joy of discovering a place all over again by recalling details that she forgot she still remembers. I love listening to people recount situations or times in their lives.

I was telling my mom the other day that I felt suddenly overwhelmed with a sinking feeling that I lack anything interesting to say because I always find myself listening and rarely talking – but I think, in all honesty, I just really enjoy listening. I think we all need the opportunity to remember things that we hoped for or were excited over or dreamed of. And it’s contagious. When people get going, they often stop conversing with you and begin conversing with themselves or their past; it’s a captivating transition and always prompts me to look into my own past for forgotten excitements/hopes/dreams. I think a lot of times we’re all so excited to share our own stories that we miss those moments…

Hmph… now that I’ve written it, I feel compelled to erase it; the thing about this experience is that it takes one person to talk and the other to listen – so please don’t come to me with the intention of listening, having read this, because we will both walk away feeling sorely disappointed.

However, if you’re inclined to read – I could write all day. Why write what you often won’t hear me say? Some people think it’s brave to write – braver than speaking – but I think that’s all wrong. I could go into how much easier it is to backspace than take back what I might say but it’s not really about filtering. In fact – if you have the desire to get to know me, you will most likely learn more here – in a shorter span of time – than you would in person. I suppose that may or may not be true but the truth is, I could write all day because I am under the belief that a lot of people simply won’t read what I write. Here’s a scenario: You’re in a situation where you want to be completely, unabashedly honest with someone but you know the timing is wrong or the words won’t be received the way you want. You get the opportunity to “pause” and say whatever you need to say and when you press “play,” you continue on without any reaction from the other person but this weight is lifted from you. That’s writing for me.

I have a recent obsession with James Morrison. The song choice today may become one of those somber fondness melodies – the kind of somber fondness that makes you want to crank the radio, turn down the windows, with a smile on your face, and sing at the top of your lungs. So perhaps a little less somber and a little more fondness. Regardless – it’s worth listening to. On repeat. Several times. “Precious Love” James Morrison

Did I mention I saw six deer walking through the neighborhood while on my walk with my aunt? Lovely.

Since when has spontaneity required planning?

Here’s a puzzle: Tonight was going to be spontaneous tonight – turns out, the activity of choice is fully booked in several cities. I guess this is my true test for spontaneity – I have approximately one hour to come up with another good plan!

God’s got a way of keeping me honest with my mission 😉

Now I’m waiting for everything to come together. After several texts and phone calls to various people, it looks like there’s a plan. How will it unfold? No one knows. But I do know that I will spend tonight with good people – what more could I ask?

P.S. Thanks to Lina for being my first reader other than my mom – haha.

Friday Night Recap

8 days until Spring. I started my countdown at the beginning of the month and every day seems a little warmer and the birds seem to sing a little bit earlier and louder. There’s something about Spring that holds promise of a better or new life; I’m holding earnestly to that belief this year.

The thing is, I’m at one of those pivot points in life. Not pivotal – there are no crucial decisions I’m coming up against or life threatening paths I must take or turn from which will wrench my heart in any way. The wrenching has already occurred and subsides, with occasional flare-ups, each day. But a pivot point – one which presents me with many opportunities, paths, or mindsets from which to choose.

The Friday night recap begins at this pivot point, from which I am able to look many years behind and assess my past and/or throw myself right into the present, but I refrain from looking too far into the future – it’s unwritten, you know. It’s time that I put down that pen and stop trying to predict the unpredictable. Rather, I have decided that it is time to bring out my highlighter – if you will – and call attention to the positive things in life.

Here are a few:

I have a family that has supported me both when I am at my best and at my worst. They have stuck by me when I have been self-absorbed and uncaring, harsh, and ugly. And they have loved and continue to love me with honesty – and that is a difficult thing to do.

I have found true love in friendships – friendships which are founded in something more than convenience or activity – but which have struck me in a way that has left me feeling changed in an encouraging, inspiring way. I once thought that these friendships were hard to find, but the older I get and the more aware I become, the easier I find them. It’s a blessing – this kind of friendship – because it makes weathering life a little less like weathering and a little more like exploring.

I have traveled. I have traveled from the west-side of the east side of MI to the true west side and currently reside on the east-side of the east side of MI. Follow? And I have grown in each location in a different way. I have traveled to Canada, to Ohio, to Illinois, to Florida, to Mexico, to France, to Portugal, to Spain, to Great Britain, and to Ireland! I have climbed down eroded steps from bluffs to shore and dined like royalty on peanut butter and jelly sandwiches as the waves lapped up against the rocks. I have gotten lost – both in every day trips and long-distant adventures – and I have found my way.

I have loved. I have loved in a way that has left me utterly open and exposed. There’s some sort of raw beauty in that vulnerability, I believe. It’s something too precious to allow pain, anger, or bitterness to grab hold of – despite their very eager attempts to imprint.

I have learned. I have learned that learning opportunities present themselves daily and that they must be both spontaneously embraced and eagerly sought. The greatest lessons often come with the hardest instruction – sadly, they often come up when I feel least compliant or patient which means I must be constantly open to growth.

The truth is, I am standing at this pivot point with my highlighter ready so that I might appreciate life’s twists and turns rather than dread or lament them. My current lesson can be summed up with my new mantra:

Enjoy living in the now; act spontaneously; embrace the unknown.

Prior to, I stood at this pivot point stutter-stepping in fear as I looked at the many exaggerated future paths that laid before me and I realized that I – have – zero – control. So I’m looking inward and looking outward to learn lessons, to find adventure, and to continue to grow in a way that stems less from future ideas and more from present fulfillment.

Wishing me luck? I may need more of it than you’d think…

Day 1

Nothing holds as much promise as an unwritten page, or blog – as the case may be.

Somehow, the Friday before the March 15th tax deadline seems as good a time as any to begin this project. Writing one page at a time – it’s the new approach I’m taking on life so why not couple it with a chronicle of my joys, pains, opportunities, and struggles along the way?

“Please Don’t Stop the Rain” James Morrison