Sunday, July 06, 2014

39

this past week, I celebrated my 39th birthday. so hard to believe that i've reached the age where i can truly say i'm almost 40. where exactly did the years go?

on the cusp of that milestone, i am scrolling through memory albums and making lists of new memories i want to create...new things i want to do or experience. and really, i can think of so many things that i haven't yet done, so it would be easy to feel pressured or down about how much time has gone by that i have 'wasted.' but if there's one thing i've learned it's that life isn't a waste. for those days i spent lying on the couch watching tv, maybe i just really needed the rest. for the days spent crying or carrying on about something, maybe i just really needed to work some things out. for these and many other things in my life, i am learning to forgive myself. to cut myself some slack and to avoid the waste of worrying. because that really is a shame - to spend even one minute kicking yourself or wishing your past away.

i've made all the choices that i've made and i'll continue to make all the ones to come. i'm owning it this year. good, bad, indifferent - they're all mine.

and as i check off items, one by one, i know i will have a few people around me who truly get it, who love me and are proud of me because they know what courage it takes some days to just get by. and by God, i am grateful for those souls. they have saved my very life on more than one occasion. they are, quite often, the inspiration for adding new items to my lists, for giving me the pep talks when i need them, and for holding my hand when i've disappointed myself. 

and i am learning, even, to be that friend to myself, finally. to be the voice of forgiveness and acceptance over the criticism. to be the one who says 'try again' when all i see are unmet hopes and dead ends. 

nothing is perfect (nor will it ever be) and i'm learning more and more to be okay with that. i've got another year around the sun, God willing, and i'm going to make the most of it. my camera is charged up, my pen is poised, and i have fellow adventurers at the ready. let the next leg of the journey begin. one memory at a time.

p.s.
memories created in the past 5 days of this new birth year:
*watching the sun set over the chesapeake bay on my birthday evening, complete with a few sparklers and fireworks
*falling down in the ocean and laughing as the waves knocked me back again, over and over
*feeling the warm air on my face and the sunshine on my shoulders
*eating truly amazing food - my first 7-course chef's tasting menu - and documenting every bit of it in photos
*smelling the salt air
*finding new fun places in and around my favorite beach spot
*having deep talks and lots of laughter with my best friend
*watching fireworks from locust point on independence day with my fellow baltimoreans
*experiencing some july days that felt almost like spring - low humidity, warm sunshine, and great breezes (what a gift!)

Sunday, March 09, 2014

just a thought

in all my musings of late, i have come to a conclusion. taking the high road can sometimes crush your soul.

that is all.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

the other stuff

the first two months of this year have basically flown by. 2014 started quietly, in my apartment, with my best friend by my side, while my lungs crackled and whistled and struggled to take in air. i wasn't sure i'd ever breathe normally again. when something takes over your body like that, it's hard to remember life without it.

but, here i sit, weeks later, breathing deeply and sitting at my desk on a sunday morning eating some cereal with blueberries, feeling quite grateful to be alive. i am learning, more and more these days, to listen to my body and to heed its warnings. when i'm tired, i sleep. when i'm hungry, i eat. when i'm full, i put down the fork. when i feel antsy, i move. when i'm working too much, i stop. these are basic concepts. and you'd think i'd have figured them out by now. but in truth, the other stuff of life (stress, pain, etc.) often gets in the way of what is really appropriate self-care.

so during the holidays and the beginning of the year, i had a lot of time to think as i lay on my couch trying not to cough. and i realized that the other stuff, whatever it may be, isn't my real life. it's like layer upon layer of paint on a perfectly good piece of wood that doesn't need adornment. so much extra that, rather than adorning, it hinders the original form, muddies its beauty until someone has the good sense to strip it away.

so in the coughing and wheezing and shallow-breath moments of clarity, i came up with a short list of what matters to me (in no particular order):

my relationships
my body
my sanity
my future

none of these things can be truly cultivated, nurtured, and protected if i don't remove the other stuff now and focus on the heart of the matter. so, bit by bit, i'm trying. trying to listen to my inner murmurings, trying to shut out the doubts and fears and worries about letting others down. i got sick by letting me down, and i'm really not interested in that happening again. this year i'm trying to allow peace and restoration to take over my life in an effort to focus on what i want rather than worry about what i don't. without knowing just how deeply she was speaking truth to me, yesterday my best friend randomly started singing the familiar line from a bob marley song:

'don't worry 'bout a thing, cause every little thing gonna be all right....'

and this year i believe that it will. i really do.