Posted in adventure, fun, Goals, inner peace, Life, living, Musings, People, random

BIG Dreams…

Big-dreams

So, yesterday was amazing. I have to admit to you, I had my doubts- spending three hours at a spa for someone as restless as I am started to seem a little less like a luxurious indulgence and more like a possible torture situation the closer I got to it. I know how dumb that sounds, but I can’t even stand going to barbecues that aren’t rigidly structured, because just sitting around talking to people with no firm end time makes me want to run and hide in the bathroom. I thought I would go crazy sitting in a little room with a private hot tub and sauna for an hour…like, a whole hour?! Hahaha! Just goes to show you how dumb I can be, because I could have stayed in there for WAY longer. Of course, in all honesty, I was happily floating in the hot tub, looking out the giant, floor to ceiling open window into a private garden with a freaking water fall, you guys, and I was typing away on my phone nearly the whole time. But you know what? That’s okay. It’s what I wanted to do, so it was perfect. My allotted time was over before I knew it.

Then I put on the little robe they provided me, threw all my stuff into a bag they gave me, and walked, steamy and barefoot, down a little hall and into a waiting room. I was given a little rack of essential oils and told to pick two for my massage and facial, so I sat there and smelled every single one, and finally settled on jasmine (my favorite scent of flower, hands down) and lavender, which is just the ultimate essential oil…I mean, I know it’s so played out, but that shit smells amazing. Anyway, I was ushered into the massage room, and to be honest with you, it is all a happy blur after that. I was in there for two full hours. I had a full body massage, focused foot massage, a hot oil scalp massage, and an aromatherapy facial massage.

When I left that place, I was not energetically the same. All that relaxation, from the start to the end, had shifted me into a totally different place. And I know that that’s the whole point of doing something like that, but did you ever stop to think about how strange that is? That by letting someone rub away the knots in your back, the soreness in your neck, the weird cramp in the back of your thigh, it can change your entire energy? That’s wild. I noticed that I was moving a LOT slower on my way back to the car. It took me like 30 minutes just to get my shit together enough to drive away.

It was a gorgeous day in Santa Cruz yesterday. I mean, it couldn’t have been more beautiful out. All the trees downtown were full and green, and the sun was shining. Santa Cruz is such a cool place anyway (aside from the soul crushing traffic, but I didn’t have to be anywhere, so it was no big deal) with the big old Victorians around downtown, interspersed with cute little bungalows, and so many gardens in full bloom. As I turned up Lincoln, heading back to the freeway, I was thinking “Man, I would love to live here.”, and I suddenly remembered a very specific dream I used to have…not a sleeping dream, a goal-dream. I even wrote it down, and all these years later, it popped into my head, clear as a bell.

Here it is: I had sold a novel that I’d written for a LOT of money, like, tons- possibly even film rights, who can say? Anyway, I had bought this amazing, gigantic, beautiful home, right in the heart of Santa Cruz…it had shining hardwood floors, and a staircase with a fancy carved banister, and the front door was made of heavy wood with a little window in it, criss-crossed with iron. In the back of the house, I had an office with a big desk right in the middle of the room, and if I turned my head I could look out into my back yard, where the sun was shining and little white butterflies fluttered around the flowering bushes. I got to sit in that office every day JUST TO WRITE, and people paid me to do it. And, because I worked right there in my house, I didn’t even need to worry about the stupid traffic…even the super healthy grocery store was within walking distance, so maybe I only busted my car out for the occasional off-hour jaunt, who knows?

I remembered all of that in the space of just a few seconds, and it made me think automatically of the novel I am working on now, and wonder “is it good enough?” I don’t know…but could it be? Yeah, I think it could. All of the sudden, my head was so clear, and I was so relaxed, and I realized that I could have all of the things I wanted- it didn’t seem far fetched or crazy or any of that. It made perfect sense. I’ve been so busy living my life for the past ten years- and it has been an amazing ten years, don’t get me wrong! Everything about it has been important and meaningful, and things that I HAD to experience and grow from and get through. But I had to put my big dreams aside to deal with some soul-growing stuff, and now I’ve done that. I’ve done that, and haven’t known what to reach for next, because it is just my nature to want to keep reaching. I don’t remember a time when I haven’t been working towards a goal. That’s just what inspires me.

So here I sit this morning, relaxed and happy, just relishing the thought of all the wonderful ways my life might go. Will it all come to be? I have no way of knowing that for sure…but it feels amazing just to entertain the possibilities. For right this second, that is enough. Have a wonderful day!

 

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Posted in aging, escape, Goals, Learning, Life, Musings, People, Uncategorized, writing

Shifting Gears, Changing Lanes

takethefirststep-300x225

This will not, contrary to what the title so misleadingly suggests, be a blog about driving. Nope, sorry, no cars will be mentioned beyond this sentence. Besides which, it’s been so long since I’ve driven a stick-shift, I’m not even sure I could shift gears if I needed to. Nope, I’m talking about the internal, metaphorical shifting of gears and changing of lanes that we go through as human beings on the road of our lives- sometimes we do this intentionally, sometimes we do it without even noticing (Like when you pull into your driveway and have absolutely no recollection of the drive home whatsoever.), and sometimes we do it because we have no choice- some other “driver” runs you off the road, or you find yourself unable to get around one road block or another. Sometimes you just can’t stand the stretch of highway you are on anymore. So you put on your blinker (although what this would be, metaphorically, I have no idea) and you get the hell out of there.

What a liberating concept, huh? That at any time in our lives, when the way things are leave a little (or a lot) to be desired…we can do something else. This applies to pretty much any situation, at any point in time, period. Even as I write these words, I feel the part of me that has been molded by the polite and acceptable rules of society going into a panic.  If it had more control over me (and it sometimes does) it would be destroying all evidence of this entire thought process- that’s how nervous the notion of change makes this predictable, safe, facet of my personality. But that doesn’t make my statement any less true. I know that I can change nearly any aspect of my life, anytime I want to, to any degree I want to, just BECAUSE I want to.

I used to know this well, and take full advantage of it, often, when I was younger. Then I got a little more grown up and realized that I wanted my life to look more like other people’s lives. I wanted a better job, a credit card so that I could rent a car if I needed to, cable TV, and more money. So I did what most people do when they wait what they feel is “too long” to settle down- I panicked, and went after the life I thought I could fit myself into rather than the life that fit me. I chose stability, safety, financial security and the chance to finally make my mother happy over the much riskier, less certain life of pursuing my dreams. Most people would see nothing at all wrong with that- as a matter of fact, it’s probably the norm for about eighty percent of the employed population. We put our dreams in the backseat, the closet, or tucked in a drawer somewhere, and we tend to our families, our bank accounts, our dental appointments, and…everything else, first. We intend to get back to those dreams, once things mellow out, or the kids get a little older, or just as soon as this happens or that stops happening. We may realize, one day, that we have been better at keeping our promises to everyone else then we have to ourselves. Some people dismiss their most cherished hopes for themselves as “kid stuff”, and toss them out.

I don’t want this to be my story. I don’t want to give up, or finally have the right set of circumstances to start being who I really am…only to find that it would have been easier, better, more enjoyable, if only I had started way back when.

I don’t really know how to do it. I mean, I know that what I want to do is write, I know that I am a writer, whether I am known to millions of people, or only to myself- I was a writer the first time I scribbled out a horrible poem at the age of seven or eight. I have been enchanted by words, by the amazing, magical way their arrangement on a page could make the most incredible adventure begin, or bring the hidden, inner life of someone to beautiful light, nearly all of my life. But I am very uncertain about how to navigate the path from here to the best-sellers list. No matter how many books and articles I read on the subject of queries and revision, on genre and agents and submission guidelines, platforms and outlines, I still feel unprepared to take the next step. I am starting to suspect that I will continue to feel this way no matter what.

SO! I’ve decided to just go ahead anyway. I am thirty eight years old, and I don’t want to wait any longer to “feel ready”. Yes, I am not brimming with the confidence of someone either totally prepared or completely, blissfully, ignorant, but I doubt I am the only one who has ever felt this way. I am just not willing to let my fear stop me anymore. I am making some very big changes, and all of them are geared towards helping me get to where I want to be. Because I don’t want to live a pretty okay life anymore, and the strain it is causing me, this weird, pervasive unhappiness that makes me feel like such an ass (oh, poor you, with your incredible job, boo-hoo) is heading me straight for consequences I definitely don’t want.

I have mapped out a plan. Part of that plan is to commit to a minimum of two, but a goal of three, blogs per week. I would also like to get back to my original purpose, at least in part, which was to write about navigating the treacherous waters of being a (gulp!) middle aged woman and learning how young middle age really is. Because it really, really, is. So expect to be hearing a lot more from me. And at least a little more of that particular subject, although I reserve the right to also go off on tangents in totally unrelated subjects.

Change can be alarming, and make you lose your sense of equilibrium. Change can be unwanted and painful, hard to get through. But change can also be an absolute necessity, something you might be willing to give up everything- your job, your money, every comfort in your life- for. Sometimes it is not enough to wait for change to come close enough to you to grab. Sometimes you get up off your ass and start creating change right in the middle of your own kitchen. Which is what I have decided to do. It doesn’t mean I’m not scared half to death of what might happen…I’m just more afraid of what can NEVER happen if I don’t try.

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

Gratitude For Heartache

This is a letter of thanks- to the people who yelled at me and mistreated me, when I was still a little girl. To the girls and boys who were so mean and cruel in middles school. To the friends who wound up not being friends at all. To the men I loved so much that threw that love away and broke my heart. To the drugs that almost took me out. To my own stubborn self, for standing in my way so many times…thank you.

I am not a little girl, not anymore.  I have forgiven you, forgotten you, moved on…but I know now how I do not want to be talked to or treated, and I will not allow it. I had to learn that it was not okay to treat other people the way you treated me, but it was good that I could tell that I was wrong, and why, and now I am a better person for it. So thank you. I hope you have a better life today than you did when I was small.

You twelve and thirteen and fourteen year old little heathens of yore…I get it now. You couldn’t have known about my miserable home life, about how terribly your words hurt me. Not that you would have cared, such is the nature of the beast. But kids are cruel, and you (nor I) were any exception. The ones of you that remember and feel bad have grown up and are probably decent people…the ones who have forgotten are normal. But if you look back and still find your antics funny, you probably have an ass the size of a carport and a rotten life. I will pray for you.

To the friends who were not friends at all- I’ve stood where you stand, and it’s a lonely place. Sorry is not just a word, you know. Sometimes it’s a knock at the door. Life has given me a heart full of compassion and a head full of understanding, and you know, maybe I miss you, too.

Oh, and you men. Yikes. You are my Achilles heel, and I can’t blame you for my reprehensible taste, but still…one thing I am good at is loving you, and you have been disappointing. You know who you are. That first one, who got all of the best love I had, and played me like a hand of cards…like, five hands of cards, actually. So many lies, betrayals, dashed hopes and sleepless nights. But it’s okay, because you taught me a lot- about what I want, what I don’t want, and how to tell when I am heading down a bad road.  So, thanks. Don’t call me or anything, just thank you.

Sigh…the drugs. I can’t leave you out, not if I’m being honest. You were the hurdle I almost couldn’t clear, and I am so glad you are gone. You stole me from my family, my children, my dreams and I almost couldn’t escape. I know you are out there, cruising my street sometimes- when I am hurting or fed up or too sad- just waiting for me to stumble, and I know you have all the time in the world. But I have learned to sit on my hands. I have learned to think about the end result, the inevitable conclusion you will lead me to, and I stay inside until you are bored and move on. I have been someone I couldn’t stand, did things I would never do, gone to places I wish I didn’t know about, all with you. But you made me better than I ever could have been without you. You stay away from me, but thank you.

And stubborn little me…well. I forgive you, and will continue to do so, when necessary. Despite the worst decisions you have made, the repeated wrong turns and backslides, your heart remains good. I wouldn’t change a minute of it.

So, thank you, thank you, thank you- all the heartache life has dropped at my door has made me stronger. I value real love like the treasure it is. I am a fierce and loyal protector of those I love- whether children, lover or friend. I am not afraid. Because of all the bad times, I know I can survive just about anything you throw at me. Because of the good times, I know it’s all worth it.

I am still learning. When to give up, when to let go, when it is not for me to decide.  But I have learned, because of past mistakes, to listen closely to my instincts, to pay attention to what my body is telling me in its own quiet way.  I know that facing the truth now is better than pretending things aren’t what they are indefinitely- you can’t always avoid heartache, but you don’t have to prolong it. I know that actions really do speak louder than words. I know that time really does tell.

I have been let down, let go, locked out, beat up, messed with and leveled along the way. I have cried, a lot. I have had moments where I was pretty sure life as I knew it was over- and you know what? I wasn’t wrong. Because every single time I got back up, pulled it together, sucked it up and decided to persevere, I was better than before. That life had ended and something better began.

Now, here I sit, at 37, and my life is what it is because of all the challenges, the failures, the successes, that shaped me. I know who I am, and I know what I want. I am stronger and better, deeper and more compassionate than I ever thought I could be. I am more capable and less afraid, more certain and more open minded than I believed possible. I am a better mother than I was, more tender, more patient, more aware. I am a better friend than I was, more able to listen, more loyal, more honest, more practical. I am a better woman.

I am not who I thought I would be, but everything I need to be today. And better than I’d hoped, so long ago. So thank you for the lessons that you taught me, that led me here. I am more grateful than you could ever know.