Posted in Addiction, advice, Goals, inner peace, Learning, Life, love, People

You Are Right Where You Are Supposed To Be.

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You may absolutely disagree with me. You may think- “You don’t even know me! This is not where I am supposed to be! This is not at all where my life was supposed to end up! I don’t even know how the hell this happened to me! Shut up!”

My annoying response is this- “I don’t have to know you, I promise you it is, you would know if you took a minute to think it over, and you better figure it out because time is a-movin’ along. Oh, and NO. I won’t shut up. This is my blog, I can say whatever I want to.”

Seriously, though, the way I look at it, there are no mistakes. Wait, scratch that…yes, we humans make mistakes, but are they REALLY? I mean, look back at your life, especially at the worst, most awful, gut-wrenching things. I don’t know about you, but it was those times specifically that lead to the greatest changes for the better. Romantic train wrecks made me so much wiser about love…losing friends and loved ones to the great big eraser in the sky made me appreciate the ones who were still around, or even my own life a little more. Health scares, both real and imagined, made me take better care of myself. We grow because of our trials and tribulations. My theory is, trials and tribulations are the precise reason we are here.

Right now, I am in a great phase of my life. Two months ago, that was not the case. Two months ago, I would have just as soon not read any cheery, spiritual drivel such as this- and I would not have hesitated to tell you exactly where you could go, and how you could fuck yourself, thank you very much. I was not feeling very in touch with my spiritual side…except, of course, during those two a.m. prayers of desperation to God (they call those “foxhole prayers” for a reason) when I was fairly certain I was going to die, go to jail, lose my job, or rather spectacularly, all three, in whatever order was most humiliating. I am smart enough to understand that I will encounter periods of unrest again, in the future. What I am learning, though, is I do have a little control over just how bad things get.

What I believe to be more true than anything else, and only because I have seen it proved to me, time after time, is this: You may not like where you are at. You may think it is unfair, unwarranted, unbelievable, even. But you are exactly where you need to be right now, in order to get to the fantastic place the Universe is hoping to take you- now whether or not you arrive there at all depends more on you and the choices you make than anything else. Just because the Universe WANTS the best for you does not mean it can control what path you take…my goodness, I hope this makes sense. 

Here’s the deal: If you sit back on your ass and do nothing but cry all day, only God himself could scoop you up and sit you in the good and happy life that is your birthright. Trust me, God has got his hands full with far more pressing things than whether or not your lazy, whiny behind makes it to the house with the white picket fence.And if he did, do you think you would really be happy? Isn’t part of the joy of getting somewhere or achieving something, the work it took to get there? You need to earn it to appreciate it, right? There are all kinds of forces at work, cheering you on, loving you, protecting you, wanting the best for you. BUT YOU HAVE TO WANT IT TOO! There is work to be done. There are no shortcuts, man. Get up, get busy, get moving- see what is out there waiting for you. Wherever you are, however far astray you have gone, you can turn it around.

Now excuse me, would you? I am on my way to another big adventure…actually, I just need to wash my dog, but that sounds so boring after my big speech, doesn’t it? Hahaha! Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

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Posted in escape, Goals, inner peace, Life, People, random, travel, writing

Back to Reality

RealityIt is five thirty in the morning on Thursday, and it is almost time for me to start getting ready for work. My vacation is officially over. The past few days- since Monday, I guess, I haven’t really done anything special, at least not the way most of us would view things. But to me, these hours have been the most important of my vacation. I have gotten to write every single day. I worked on my book, and this is my fourth blog in as many days. You probably have no idea how big of a deal that is to me, so let me just tell you- it is HUGE.

I feel like a real asshole when I complain about my “real” job, because it has allowed me to have the life I dreamed of just a few short years ago, when I was still living in a shitty apartment in Sparks, Nevada, trying to figure out how in the hell I would survive from one paycheck to the next. At that time, all I wanted in the world was to make enough money to stop the fear that was constantly gnawing at me, enough money to put some space between me and those freaking bill collectors so that I could stop having an anxiety attack every time the phone rang. All I wanted back then was that, and to be able to move home. I was so tired of the high desert and the lack of green, so tired of all that open space.

One by one, I crossed each of those things off my “must-have” lists. For the longest time, I was happier than I had ever been just to pay my bills and still be able to fill up my grocery cart with anything I wanted at the store and not have to keep a running tally in my head to avoid embarrassment at the register. Today, my life is good. I live in a place so beautiful that people come from all over the world to visit here. Sure, my house is pretty run down, but I have it at a bargain price (for this area, anyway) and both my daughters have their own rooms. I am a five minute stroll from the beach. I am not rich, by any means- that child I added to the mix, not to mention the dog and the three cats- have sucked up quite a bit of my money…But still. There are women who would love to have the life I have. Shoot, I love to have the life I have!

The funny thing about dreams, though, is that they change. Once you get to where you want to be, if you are anything like me, you immediately start looking for the next level. That is where I find myself today. I will get up in a few minutes, get in the shower, get myself to the job that helped me make all this possible, and I will try to do my best, and to have gratitude for all of my blessings.  I know, though, that this is not how I want my forever, the rest of MY ride, to go.

When I sit down here, at my little tile topped table that my mom loaned me a gazillion years ago, in this little breakfast nook, surrounded by windows and skylights letting in the light of the new day…this is my favorite time, place, and thing in the world. When I pass four hours writing, like I got to the other day, it feels like half an hour. Four hours at my “real” job can sometimes feel like twice as much. I feel so guilty saying this, because I owe my employer so much for giving me the means to a better life, but sometimes it feels like torture. Like eight hours of absolute torture. And that makes me feel really sad.

Still, I am one of the lucky ones. Some people feel exactly as I do, only they don’t know what else they want to do. They don’t have that one thing that makes four hours fly by in the blink of an eye. They haven’t yet uncovered what they are passionate about. They may have the same dreams of buying a big old house and restoring it from top to bottom, of long, unhurried vacations with their kids, of travelling the world, but they have no idea how they will get there. Because I have this thing inside of me, this imagination and these stories and this need to let them out…it’s almost like I have a bridge between me and everything I want. Or, at least, all of the tools and supplies to build that bridge. It is up to me whether or not I will put in the effort to do it. Hmm…I never thought of it like that before.

I am going to go to work now, back to my reality. I am going to have a great attitude, and show my gratitude by being the best employee I can be. But I am going to be back here, right here in this spot, tomorrow and everyday after that, working on that bridge. That, I can promise you.

Have a wonderful day.

Posted in advice, aging, beauty, escape, family, Goals, inner peace, Life, love, People, random, travel, writing

The Envelope, Please…

Beautiful-EnvelopesI know what you must be thinking- ‘Another post? So soon? How did we get so lucky?’

Well, let me tell you how- this is what I was wanting to write about yesterday, but the whole thing about my vacation came out instead. So, when I woke up this morning, I thought I would try to get back to this topic. “Yes, well, what IS the topic?” You may be asking yourself. Well, I am trying to get to it! Give me a break! It’s, like, 4:16 in the morning, for God’s sake. I am doing the best I can.

Okay, okay…so, as I mentioned in my previous blog, we just got back from vacation. Within the course of this vacation, I wound up doing several things that were on my list of things I always wanted to do- what some people may call a “Bucket List”.  But you see, for me, these things were very small, and I feel like only MAJOR things should be on my bucket list. Things like going to London, or going to Hawaii, or even my gigantasaurus goal of writing the next colossal best seller, which then becomes a series, which then becomes a movie, which then enables me to buy a massive old Craftsman or Victorian home in Santa Cruz, which I then  get to completely refurbish to my heart’s desire while simultaneously never ever having to work a “regular” job, ever again.  THAT sort of thing seems “Bucket List” worthy. Oh, yes, just envisioning it gives me more butterflies than my first love did…

Compared to those big ticket items, eating at Pea Soup Andersen’s seems pretty unimpressive, doesn’t it? But that was also a  dream, albeit tiny, of mine, and it is now one that I have achieved. Another was driving through all of the Southern California beach towns on Highway One, or the PCH, as it is called. Again, small, but accomplished, at least thoroughly enough to satisfy me.

So, while I don’t think these little dreams can hold their own in a “Bucket” such as mine, I certainly still enjoy fulfilling them. And while I still wish to keep my large dreams alive, I think they do deserve a place of honor, separate from the smaller ones. The solution I have come up with is this- keep the big dreams in the bucket, and the small ones in an envelope. Envelopes are small and portable, and you can keep them in your glove box, your purse, or even folded up, in your pocket. They are easy to carry around with you, anywhere you go, and the contents are still capable of astounding and delighting you- ever gotten an unexpected check for a large-ish sum of money? Well, then, you know what I mean.

On my “Envelope List” for now are several small, achievable, wonderful things- I want to go on a whale watching trip. I want to get my nose pierced. I want to go to Ft.Bragg and look for sea glass. These are just a few of the things…that’s the cool thing about Envelope Items; They are so little, you may not think of them all the time, but when one of them pops up, you realize “HEY! I have ALWAYS wanted to do that.”, and that is when you ought to take action.

Life is short, people. The older you get, the more clear this will become to you. It is your duty and responsibility to fill it with as much joy and happiness and LIFE as you can, right now. The beauty of these little Envelope Lists is that they get you in the habit of achieving your dreams, so that you begin to see how do-able reaching your goals really is. Don’t put it off any longer, guys. Make a commitment to yourself to start doing it TODAY, whatever “it” may be.  You cannot fail, you can only gain experience and wisdom along the way-you owe it to yourself to start inviting happiness in and living the life you always thought that you would. The best way to get there is to start DOING something you always wanted to do. TODAY. RIGHT NOW.

And, the envelope, please….

What is in your envelope? I am super interested, please let me know! Maybe I will borrow some of your Envelope Ideas!

Posted in books, Goals, Life, People, random, reading, writing

Meeting Anne Lamott

So, Friday was a day that will live in infamy for a long, long time- if not forever. I tried very hard not to know too much about what happened in Newtown on Friday, I tried very hard not to over educate myself just yet, because I was headed up to San Mateo to hear my favorite writer in the whole wide world speak, and I didn’t want to ruin it. Fat chance. I got stuck in traffic somewhere between San Jose and my destination, and I couldn’t resist the pull of the radio while moving four feet every hour. So, I sat in traffic, and I cried, and I worried that Anne would cancel her speaking engagement due to depression or something.

She didn’t. But let me back up a little and tell you that, up until I was in my car and driving, I really didn’t think I would go. It seemed ludicrous to me that something I felt was so incredibly wonderful was even marginally probable as an occurrence in my own little life. I left so early, and I brought my laptop, just in case, and I checked fourteen times to make sure I had my ticket, and I worried like crazy when I couldn’t remember where my glasses were (they had fallen between the bed and my nightstand) and when it started to rain as I drove over the windy and dangerous highway 17. I was pretty sure that at any moment, something big and theatrical would happen, preventing me from realizing this small but important dream of mine.

Instead, what happened was that I got there pretty much before anyone else, except for the people who were actually paid to be there. I stashed my belongings on a seat in the second row, center, used the bathroom, purchased my book and then perched in a chair in the book signing area for a really, really long time, waiting for her to arrive (she was a little late, but I was super early, so it was fifty-fifty, fault wise). I felt a little weird because I was alone, but when I thought about it, I really don’t have one friend to speak of that I could have brought along- at least no one who had read her books and adored her the way that I do. Maybe my mom, but she lives far away. Anyway, I’m glad I went alone, because now it is 100% my experience, made possible by me, carried out by me, a gift from me to me. I am one of those people who will, if other people are around, surrender all control to them- not because I am a follower, but because I am lazy as hell, so I end up feeling like without them, none of it would have been possible. So, I was alone, and I did a lot of observing, listening, small talk with people I didn’t know and will probably never see again.

It was already a wonderful night before she even arrived. The people around me were mostly older, mostly women, lots of them in recovery, many Christians, intellectuals, thinkers…different, at least for me. The best part of all was that I felt completely at home. I called my mom afterwards and told her “These people were exactly like me.” But I think what is more true is that these people are exactly who I want to become. Who I feel my best self would be, given a little prodding.

So, Ms. Lamott came right in the front door, with no body guards or anything. I mean, I didn’t really expect body guards, but I really thought she’d at least come in the back door, like the celebrity she is in my mind. No doubt, in that room, she was a celebrity of the highest caliber, so when she walked right by me in her jeans and sweater, I felt my eyes get big and she looked right at me, and I said something incredibly clever, like “Wow. That’s HER.”

I stood in line, and had my book signed, then stood in line again, and had my picture taken with her, and by the time I got to her the second time, I could tell the signing was becoming a bit of a strain- her smile was a little less smiley, and she seemed to want to get this whole thing over with. I can’t say I blame her- the line was just going on and on and on, and everyone wanted to say something to her or give her their card and talk about the book THEY were writing (which, I will have you know, I did not do, I just told her how excited I was to meet her and what an honor it was).

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But when she got up in front of the room to talk, I knew that my adoration for her was well, well deserved. She must be the most calm, most thoughtful, most devoted human being I have ever been lucky enough to be in the presence of. She speaks more beautifully, maybe, than she even writes, which just floored me- for me, it takes so much quiet and so much thought and so much privacy to access that part of myself that allows me to be beautiful on paper. Even now, I am ready to strangle my daughter who will not shut up while she is making Ramen here, in the kitchen, though I have asked, demanded and howled at her to zip it. I feel like it will ruin my day if she doesn’t stop chattering.

Anne Lamott radiated a sort of peace that made you think even a troupe of tap dancing gorillas could not ruffle her, if she was writing. I can’t finish a blog that ten people will read because my teenager is making ramen in the room beside me. I don’t know, guys…I have a long, long way to go. But I keep thinking that I am on my way there, every time I do something like this, meet an author that I adore and hear her speak, attend a writing event in San Francisco that blows my mind…even putting it all out here for the world (all ten of you) to see, just to keep the machine in working order. I am on my way. A gift from me, to me.