Posted in adventure, aging, Dreams, fun, Goals, Life, love, Mental Health, People, random, travel

The Other 20!

Life-is-pure-adventure

Good morning! I am back with the other twenty things I feel compelled to accomplish while the age of 40. It occurs to me that this would have been an easier task had I started at 20 rather than 40, but then I may not have as many things to put on my list, right? As it stands, the ideas are coming at me so fast now that twenty more seems rather paltry. However, I have to keep in mind that most of the things on my list are going to take time and planning- marking them all off my list is going to take a lot of (fun) work!

I’m just going to jump right in! Here goes:

21) go on a camping trip that doesn’t totally suck. We’ll see if this is even possible.

22) learn how to make a quilt

23) leave the state of California at least twice, preferably in a different direction each time.

24) ride a ferry to an island

25) attend a live sporting event.

26) really fine tune my meditation practice

27) treat my body as kindly as it has treated me all these years.

28) never go to a public place in private clothes (ie, pajamas), not even once (this one is for Holly Nutt. LOL)

29) Go to Gilroy Gardens ( writing Holly’s name made me think of this one)

30) Do the Halloween tour at the Big Sur Lighthouse!

31) Visit no less than five museums

32) Write every single day for no less than 30 minutes.

33) Make a solid effort to connect more with my family, the ones who DON’T live with me.

34) Practice kindness, empathy, and non-judgement every single day.

35) Plant a garden in my huge, awesome, back yard.

36) Do my very best to make my home feel inviting and look good

37) Get rid of the clothes that do not fit me.

38) Have at least one party- this is a total phobia of mine, and it is HIGH TIME I get over it

39) Buy, and learn to use, a barbecue. You are 40, for the love of God.

40.) Say yes as often as I can- I am not getting any younger!

Oh my gosh, I am just so excited about the direction my life is going. I will definitely be keeping you all posted on where I am at with my list. Wish me luck. The clock is ticking!

Have a beautiful, wonderful, exciting, lovely day. 🙂

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Posted in family, friendship, Life, love, Musings, parenting, random, relationships

The Tangled Web We Weave…is Actually Pretty Rad.

tradition

So, the other day, I went on my first date in…I don’t know, like, forever. It was super casual, an afternoon, after the workday but before I pick up the kids kind of date. We took a walk together, got some ice cream, walked back, chatted. Oh yeah, and I met his ex-wife and all three of his kids. Yeah, that happened. It could have been awkward- I’m not going to lie, there was an element of awkwardness pervading the scene. Here we are, innocently chatting in line for ice cream, and first one, then two, then three of his kids barrel into him, followed by, in a much less (thankfully) exuberant manner, his wife. I mean, ex-wife. Thankfully. Anyway, as usual, my desire to end awkwardness at all costs won out, and I found myself chatting with his ex about places my older daughter could start modeling locally, and I was showing her pictures, and we were the next best thing to chummy by the end of it all. Okay, maybe not that, but it wasn’t awful, and it could have been. It’s not the best situation for starters, but we did great with it.

Then, last night, I went out for appetizers and drinks (my drinks were Shirley Temples, of course) with my sisters…except, they aren’t REALLY my sisters. They technically belong to my ex, many times removed, also referred to as my daughters father, or “baby daddy” number one. Yeah, they are the siblings of my first offspring’s spermatozoa contributor, and I just sort of barged in and snapped them up. He has seven brothers and sisters, and I couldn’t decide, so I hogged them all. I love these people as much as I love my own people, and there is no distinguishing that love from the love for my “own” family. We have so many memories, and so much history, I feel confident in claiming them as family.

I would like to think that this phenomena I am experiencing in my life is a wonderful side effect of the breakdown of the traditional family unit. Perhaps it took a while, I don’t know. I don’t see the same things playing out in the lives of my mom (who is not friendly with her husbands ex-wife, to say the least), who modeled her life very much after the traditional family that she had with her folks- I’m not saying it worked out very well, I’m saying that is what she was going for. However, I do see it playing out in a myriad of ways in the lives of those around me. The ability to let go of the ideals we may have concerning what makes family family, and choose to love one another, and accept one another, instead. I cannot see the down side of this. I don’t know where I would be without my stolen brothers and sisters, and I don’t even like to think about it.

Last night, at dinner, I listened to one of the girls talk about how she went bra shopping with the current girlfriend of her daughter’s father. “I just love her!” she said. How can this be bad for anyone? The other day, my daughter and I were talking about a man we know who is raising his girlfriend’s son as his own, which isn’t all that unusual, except that he was the product of what you might call…a pause in their relationship. Yeah. Say what you want about it, I think that is the most noble and loving act I have ever seen. How awesome that he could swallow his pride completely and raise this boy with all of his heart! That, to me, is what love is all about.

A couple of days ago, I had this bright idea to set my brother up with this girl I adore- she is smart and artistic, one of those bubbly people that you enjoy encountering. No big deal, except that she is also the girl that my ex had an affair with years ago. Oddly enough, we have this bond now, forged through confession and pain, and finding out that, whatever else may be wrong with that dude, he has EXCELLENT taste in women. It didn’t happen overnight, that is for sure…but here I sit, trying to finagle her a place in my family. Hahaha!

I am not saying that everything about having a traditional, well functioning family is bad- far from it! If you can achieve that, Jesus, good for you! I know how hard it is. What I am saying is, if things have to be the way they are, what a wonderful discovery we have made around that fact- that the truth is, love is more prevalent than ever, even in these fractured and confused roles we play. That we are not bound by some imaginary sense of honor, or by pride, to disdain those that we may very well come to love. And that family is, really, more than blood. They are the people that you choose along the way, or that choose you, and how you nurture one another. I don’t see anything wrong with that at all.

Have a lovely Sunday. 🙂

Posted in Uncategorized

A New Phase

 

 

For some odd reason, I had it in my head that phases are something we go through early in life, then we grow up, and we become these solid, stable, unchanging, humans. It’s kind of unfortunate, and has caused me all kinds of unnecessary grief, that I am only now realizing the truth- that change truly is the one constant in our lives, and phases are a natural, healthy part of that. You see, I thought I was some kind of failure for my sense of unrest, my need to do something else, be different, want more. I guess I thought this was a symptom of unhappiness of something.

As I wrote in my last post, the realization dawned on me, recently, that, for me, not only is this desire natural, but it is a survival instinct. When I am still for too long, when I am bored, and not reaching for the next thing, I am in danger of self destruction. Now, I am not saying that a little stability is a bad thing, don’t get me wrong. I have had the same job for almost seven years now, have lived in this house for nearly three, and in this area most of my life- I do think it’s important to have long term friendships and ties to things. Especially if you have children, I suppose (although we moved like crazy and I liked the adventure, personally). But within that stability, if you have it or want it, it is totally normal to experience, and hopefully embrace, change. It is okay to go through new phases all your life. As long as you aren’t shaving your head and joining weird cults every six months, hey! Live your life.

I have been through a whole lot of change over the past few months. I think I was stuck in quite a dangerous rut for more years than I want to think about, and then, when I finally got the balls to open up the door to my prison cell and walk out, all sorts of things happened. I went into this manic-joyful phase that was wonderful to experience, and clearly a joy to behold ( per my friends), but it sure was a bummer to find it flickering out so soon…

The good news is, it didn’t completely disappear- which is to say, I didn’t wind up back down in the dregs of the rut I had been in, thank goodness. I found myself in a phase of just wanting to fill up my life with as much fun and good times, good friends, as much living, as I could. So I did this for a while, too. I ate out a lot, and did so many awesome things, and it was great. It was also totally exhausting.

So, after sleeping away two entire weekend days, I find myself here. This new phase looks to be very useful indeed. I think I will call it my “fine tuning” phase…you see, without me even realizing it, the last few phases I mentioned above were all extremely telling. They left me with some really important knowledge- what I know for sure I do not want, how I want to feel, and what makes me feel alive. I learned that I must have balance, above all things, to sustain happiness, and that too much of a good thing is definitely not such a good thing for me.

Going forward, I have a tentative plan- I will continue to meditate daily, and walk my dog, because these things unfailingly make my day better. I will try to be as faithful with prayer, because it fits, although I don’t always remember. I will continue to strive towards order and neatness in my home, no matter that it feels like I am fighting a losing battle- it makes me feel better when the dishes are done. I will continue to work on this blog, even if I just can’t spend a lot of time reading everyone else’s blog, and I never ever build a gigantic following. That’s not really why I do this, anyway (although it would be nice, I am not going to pretend otherwise). And I will work on my new book every morning, until it is done.

I will keep spending time with my friends, and planning things that sound like fun, and I will continue to nurture new friendships along the way. But I will always leave time for myself in there, plenty of it, and time for my children, because these are the most important hours of all for me- unscheduled, empty hours, we can fill with whatever we want. I will work on balance. I will lay the next stepping stone in the path…and eventually. I will get to that place I am seeing in my mind. I intend, however, to enjoy every inch of the journey.

Have a wonderful day.

Posted in friendship, Goals, inner peace, Learning, Life, Musings, People, random, Uncategorized

Judgement, Jabs, and Other Rude Behavior.

judgement

When I was quite young and had absolutely no life experience, I was overflowing with opinions on things about which I knew nothing about. I was not confused in the least about what was right or wrong, and I was not shy about letting people know my thoughts about things, either. Looking back, I realize that my opinions and beliefs weren’t even really MINE at all, but just the ones I’d borrowed from the adults I’d been raised by…which is pretty amusing to me, now, when I see how incredibly different my thinking wound up being from where I believed it to be. I was so confident in my own superior knowledge that I was totally closed off from consideration of any other possibilities. This is the first indication that you aren’t as smart as you think you are- when you are so convinced of your own correctness you can’t even hear another person’s point of view.

Because I was so smart and so much less confused than everyone around me, it was quite natural and easy for me to judge people unkindly for their mistakes, their lifestyles, or their bad decisions. I didn’t try to hide what I thought about people anymore than I did my thoughts about anything else. I grew up hearing “you are better than that” quite a bit, and this was applied both to my behavior and to who I was in relation to others- I was told that I was better than the folks I ran around with, and I believed it, for the most part. Rather than find new friends, though, I chose to stick around and lord my snotty better-ness over everyone. Except the ones who were better than me, of course. Even I knew that if I were better than some, some were better than me.

Do you have any idea how damaging this thought process can be, especially over the course of many years? I was constantly sizing people up, trying to figure out which group they belonged in so that I knew how to behave. I had no idea who I was when there was no one else around to measure myself against. I hurt good people simply because I deemed them “less” than me, and looked up to total assholes because they appeared to be “more”. I was mean, unkind, rude and ugly, all because I believed a weird version of what I’d been told and had no thoughts of my own.

The universe must get a special thrill when they come across an idiot like me. I got the opportunity to experience 99% of the issues I had so vocally, adamantly judged others for. You name it, I went through it- from unwanted pregnancy to welfare to homelessness and horrible choices, I eventually had my own story to tell about it. Not surprisingly, my mind had changed greatly about things by the time all was said and done, and I was better for having learned it.

Along the way, I began to notice my hesitation to agree with someone when they were spouting off about another person’s behavior, actions, or motives, especially when it was harsh. My first thoughts were selfish- every time I had judged someone, it seemed to wind up happening to me, and I didn’t want that. Eventually, though, it just didn’t feel good to be mean, even behind the back, of someone who was already struggling with stuff. It felt better to present other possible, more generous reasons on the person’s behalf…which really didn’t please whoever was tearing them down at the time, let me tell you.

As this change was happening inside of me, I also began to notice how much less black and white there was in my thinking, and how much more gray, how many variations there were to the spaces between the lines I had once seen as clear and distinct. As unsettling as this was, it was also amazing, because now there were endless possibilities where right and wrong had been before. The more allowances there were for differences, the less I could form an opinion about someone else, which meant I was far more open to knowing them, and hearing them, and finding the good in them. When I stopped judging others constantly, I changed into someone better.

I’m not saying I am perfect- far from it! Everyday, depending on my mood, I think shitty thoughts about some clueless stranger, for the way they look, or the way they drive, or whatever. It is human nature, and a habit that isn’t easy to break. But when I catch myself, I stop, and find something nice to say. I know how dumb that sounds, but it’s true. I also have to accept that not everyone is working on the same stuff as me, and I notice lots of people who make no effort at all to curb their opinions or judgements. As crappy as this can be, I know that they will keep on until they get it, and they’ll get it when they have to. No sooner. It doesn’t have to change my behavior- I don’t need to slap back just to be even.

It was the sound of my own voice echoing back at me as I struggled that convinced me, more than anything else, to change; not the cruelest words anyone else had ever used to cut me down. I have to believe I am not alone in this. So, I hold my tongue, knowing in that silence their own words are loud and clear in the air between us, ready for whatever journey they are on.

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!