A New Year, A New Decade

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2020 is upon us. As a young child, I could not imagine a new century, and any year that started with 20 was SO far away. There would be flying cars and personal transporters, and I would be OLD. Yet here we are, and so far, none of those things have happened.

Yes, I am older now, but I’m not OLD! In fact, this year, I feel young, vibrant, and full of enthusiasm. All things that I haven’t felt for…too long. Far too long. I recently told my daughter that the way she does some art every day inspires me. Even if it’s a doodle on a post-it note, that girl is creating art. I used to write daily when I was her age. Then it became off and on until I just stopped. Every once in a while, I would pick up a pen and try again, but it never stuck.

When I wrote my birthday post, I had decided I needed a writing goal. I would write one blog post a month – minimum. Try and find January’s post. Oh yeah, I never did that. However, I’ve been journaling quite a bit. So while I haven’t been posting my musings publically, I have been writing almost regularly.

It’s funny how your thoughts evolve and grow when you are consistently writing. Some days my journaling is more of a to-do list. Other days it is a complete mental dump onto paper. Then there are those days where I genuinely take an idea and run with it. Sometimes in circles. Sometimes there are multiple tangents like the spokes on a wheel leading me back to the beginning or to a new place entirely.

2020 feels big in so many ways. For me, the most significant way is how my creative self is trying to escape the exile that I have sent it. I’ve decided to unlock the prison and set it free. Who knows where this could lead? Some will be good and some not so good, but I’ll never find the great if I don’t practice creativity every single day.

Birthday Musings

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It’s my birthday and the last full moon of 2019. I couldn’t sleep this morning, so I went outside to say hello to the moon and fill up with her energies. A bit of birthday recharging. For me, the past few years have been full of change, raw emotion, clearing, collapsing, picking myself up, and moving forward. But in a dragging myself through sludge kind of moving forward. When I came back inside, I sat down to journal all the things running across my brain. To my surprise, I feel different.

When you’re younger, people will ask you if you feel different on your birthday. “So, how does it feel to be 10? Double digits!” “How does it feel to be 20? A new decade!” Typically, the answer is that you don’t feel very different. Today I feel very different.
I’m excited about the next year! I haven’t been genuinely excited about what was in front of me for a long time. I am ready to move forward into whatever is waiting for me. I’m not one hundred percent sure of what that is going to be. And I’m okay with that. Bring on the change!

I’m also excited about the things that will be staying the same. It’s time to stop wondering when and where I can move and make what I have now a home. To change the place that had become a prison into a warm, inviting, loving, peaceful space for me and all those that I love. Now is the time to clear out those things that no longer serve me – physically and emotionally. I reject the labels, attributes, and desires that others have given me. I’ll create my own, thank you very much.

My next year will be intentional. I will spend time getting to know me. Deciding what I want to keep and what I want to leave behind. Where I want to put my energy and where I will find rest and peace. What are things that honestly give me joy, and how can I do more of that? What do I want to learn? How do I want to grow?
I’ve spent the past few years running to nowhere. Frenetically trying to change the things around me. There are great things on the horizon. I can feel it. It’s time to let them come to me instead weaving around them like a punch-drunk boxer. It’s time to stand still. Meditate. Think. Plan. Pray.

God loves me, I should, too. Happy Birthday to me!

Giving Thanks

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Yesterday was Thanksgiving in the United States, which means that this week, many people have been ruminating on the things they are thankful for. I have my own list:

My family – every one of them, because we are always there for each other even when we may be fighting. They give me stability.

My friends – Over the past three years, I have learned who I can count on and for what. They make a difference in my life.

My job & coworkers – I really love my job, and I work with some of the best people I know. These are people that care about each other, the planet, and other people, too. They want to make a difference.

My life – It was not so long ago that my world came crashing down around me, and I wasn’t sure where that was going to lead. When things began to settle, I had some grand plans that didn’t work out, and I was forced to slow down and re-examine everything I knew about myself and what I wanted from life.

Like many others, my family gathered together for our Thanksgiving feast. I made the decision before I left my house to be more present. I left my phone in my purse in a back bedroom, and magic happened.

My sister wrote the blessing but couldn’t read it without crying, so my Dad did it for her. The rest of us were crying, too, since her list was similar to what is above. There is something about speaking aloud how important we are to each other and how we stand by each other no matter what. You could see how our children are in different stages of understanding the importance of that fact. The importance of family. The importance of knowing that you can turn to each one of the people around the table, and they will listen and even help if you ask. Ok, they will help if you don’t ask. This was followed by much laughter and stories and love as we ate.

I had conversations with my nephews and niece that filled my heart with so much love that I believe it will carry me to the end of the year. I had people tell me the difference that I made in their lives, some from when they were very young. For one person, it was knowing they had me on their side, and that made them feel they would be ok. Another person sees my decision to no longer color my hair as being secure in who I am and not giving a damn what other people think. A trait they want to emulate.

I make an effort to let the remarkable people who are in my life know the things I appreciate about them. This year it was my turn to hear that from some of them. And hear them I did.

Overwhelm (to load, heap, treat, or address with an overpowering or excessive amount of anything)

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You know that feeling you get when you have a list of things to do that feels so long that you just don’t want to do anything? Well, then you are part of a large club! Nearly everyone I have spoken with lately seems to raise this issue. We all know that we need to give something up, stop doing one of these things, curate our activities, but which one goes? How do you decide?

Work is a necessity. It’s how the bills get paid. It gives us money for the fun things in life. Wait a minute… I cut the fun stuff out so I could breathe. At least that’s how it seems lately. I volunteer for my daughter’s marching band. My job is to run the concession stand at football games. I enjoy it. It makes for two hectic months for me. And people have suggested it’s too much. I should step down. Did I mention that this is something I enjoy doing?

I have one more year after this, and no one seems interested in taking over. Fewer people are volunteering. Maybe because it’s not fun for them. Perhaps it’s because of the OVERWHELM. Maybe when everyone in their family is at their activities, they steal those quiet moments for themselves. To breathe, to make another to-do list. To try and overcome that feeling of having too much to do and not enough time.
I have many people who care for me so much that they try and help by telling me what I should be giving up or how I could better accomplish what I need to get done, even how to prepare for some future event. Unfortunately, much of that comes across as their need to help because I can’t do it myself, which is also overwhelming. No one likes feeling as if they are not good enough.

I haven’t found a solution. I have given up many things that I enjoy but still have a few that I cling to for dear life. I sometimes trade sleep in order to do them.

On Being Yourself

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Have you ever sat down and just thought about who you really are? All the things that we’ve experienced and people we encounter influence the person we become. Sometimes we don’t even realize it until we go through a Big Thing that makes us examine ourselves and ask those questions.

Am I really … selfish, controlling, inattentive, stubborn, cruel, fill-in-the-blank?
Who do I want to be?
How do I want to be?
What’s important to me?

I’ve been through the first three a few times in the past two years. Some negative personality traits could sometimes be answered in the affirmative but not always. The second and third stumped me quite a bit which led me to the last one. After multiple iterations, I’ve come up with a short list of what is important to me.

  1. Being kind to myself and those around me
  2. Putting my heart into everything I choose to do
  3. Actively listening to people and the world around me
  4. Living a life that I would be proud for my children to emulate
  5. Enjoying each and every moment I have and the people that are in those moments with me
  6. Being thankful for all of it

This list has been stable for the last couple of months, so I think I’ll keep it. It helps me to answer those who and how questions. I am a kind, loving, creative, thankful and blessed individual.  I can be a bit quirky or a bit abrasive depending on your point of view. I most certainly can be hard-headed at times, but when given some space, I tend to come around to reason. I want to be available to the people who are important to me. I want to be fully present with them in the moments we have together. I want to live in the light in such a way that joy and love can be seen by others.

I want to be myself.

You really need to look inside yourself and find your own inner strength, and say, ‘I am proud of what I am and who I am.’ – Mariah Carey