Written at the end of my trip to Italy, July 2012 Vacation is over, time to return to daily life I am still a mom and friend, but not a wife Daily life with all its ups and downs I find it hard to keep my feet on the ground My vacation inspired me and made me wonder Is there more to life than this daily plunder?
Nothing like the birth of a baby to prevent you from writing for nearly a year. Since this was not my first child, you would think I would remember the challenges of having a new baby in the house. Now when I have a few minutes to spare I don’t think about writing. I think about eating, resting or just falling asleep. These are the things that new mothers do (or dream about) because the rest of the time they need to constantly focus on keeping the baby happy. Or at least not crying. Well, how about not crying too loud?
Motherhood has its ups and downs. Today as I look at my 10 month old Jacob I see so much of his father in him. His smile. His laugh. His plentiful hair. He is so much that I am not. He is innocent. He has very simple needs and I have the feeling he doesn’t worry like adults do. He really knows how to live in the moment. When he needs something he needs it now. Now you understand why babies cry all the time. Living in the moment seems so easy for children while adults spend time planning, organizing, and worrying. It is no surprise that so many people have depression due to all the worrying. Why can’t we just live for the now?
It seems our brains, although powerful, can also lead us down paths of thought that are not healthy. The mind is capable of so many things yet most days I would like to turn it off parts of it. Why can’t I just do a task or eat a meal without having all sorts of other thoughts going through my brain. I just want to enjoy a quiet moment and most of the time I can’t. Your brain is like a computer that shows one program on the screen while other programs are running in the background. Have you ever been driving along and suddenly realized you didn’t remember driving that last stretch of road? Somehow your mind wanders to think about other problems instead of focussing on the road. (Like keeping the car on the road is not a problem?)
Lately I have been so busy with one task after the other I haven’t had much time to think. No time to worry. My only concern was whether I had enough milk and food to feed my baby for tomorrow. Now I see that still was not living in the moment because I was worrying about the future! Our darn brains. I understand why we watch too many movies and television shows. Watch others makes us feel like we are living in the moment (albeit someone else’s moment) and this distracts us from our own worries and fears. How do we force ourselves to live more in our own life and worry less? How do we prevent distractions from impinging on our critical moments in life. The giggle from a baby. A hug from a loved one. These are moments to cherish and should not be interrupted by the solving of a work problem in our head or worrying about what we are making for dinner tonight.
I sit peacefully on the sofa in my living room with my eyes closed. I take a deep breath in. I listen to the sounds in my house to try to focus. I hear the whir of the washing machine, the almost inaudible hum of the television and the sshhhgg of the dishwasher. All the sounds seem to mix together, at least until I hear baby Jacob and his quiet whimpering. Again he needs something and my focus is back on him.The baby has forced me to live in the moment. The only other thing I have done lately to live in the moment was to write this blog. I didn’t think about it. I didn’t plan it. It wasn’t on a to-do list. What can you do today to live in the moment without distraction?
Today is the first day of August. Where did summer go? Where did the last year go? I always feel like life is crazy and is constantly providing new challenges. I don’t know how I would deal with boredom in life. You get out of life what you put into it, don’t you? Work hard and you will be rewarded with a raise or a promotion. Love strong and you will be loved back strong. Be a thoughtful and caring person and people will reciprocate. It is like Newton’s Third Law of motion, For each action there is an equal and opposite reaction.
You can choose to go through life with a smile on your face and a spring in your step or you can choose another path. Honestly, I have no idea what that other path is. No matter what challenge I have faced in life, I have managed to put on a smile and get through it. Is this positive perspective of life contagious? Or do some people find it intimidating? Maybe I mistake intimidation for jealousy? Do people wonder, ‘How can she be so happy all the time?’. Even my daughter who has been missing her front teeth for nearly a year can produce a smile!
When I was about 7 or 8 years old I spent a lot of time with my grandparents. They always found a way to have a good time. I remember them as being silly. It wasn’t until years later when I was called Silly Stacey that I understood that silliness was genetic. Through good times and bad (like the marriage vow), we need to commit to stay positive in our outlook on life. We need to find the funny bone instead of the sourpuss. If we approach life with humor, won’t it give us humor back? At least it has worked for me so far. What humor have you found in life today?
A tree that sways in every gust,
a tree that stands tall – it must.
Leaves of green, some gone brown,
some hold strong, some fall down.
I feel like a tree inside my heart,
the backbone of me is where it starts.
Swaying, swinging, reflecting light,
I stand tall like a tree, what might.
I can’t believe the strength I have.
I finally see life, on which to grab.
The love of my life in arms reach,
He who has so much to teach.
My life is new, its growing branches,
each day my tree of love is grander.
The red wine stained my lips after only a single sip. I tried to recall the last time I had been wine tasting and I couldn’t remember. Inside the tasting room of the Orfila Winery, I felt chilled as I stood surrounded by casks of wine stacked up to the ceiling. The din of people encircling the wine bar provided a homey feeling. Outside, the sun was shining and it was the perfect temperature for sitting and enjoying the scenery while drinking a few sips of wine. As luck (or bad luck) would have it, a wedding had been scheduled at the winery that day limiting the outside seating. My scenery included a few tables outside, the parking lot and my fellow wine taster (I didn’t mind, he is very cute).
We sat, talked and sipped and I finally began to relax. A tough week of work, taking care of the kids, and soccer practices made the work of tasting wine seem easy. As the wine took effect, I was smiling and happy. I realized I had been smiling and happy a lot more lately. Why had it taken me so long to get here? Not to the winery, but here, the state of happiness and relaxation? Over the last few months I had started to see life’s possibilities instead of obligations. Had I turned a corner in my life where blue skies and green grass were ahead? Maybe I am still in the post-divorce tornado but the swirling around me is settling and the clouds are clearing.
I took another sip of wine and I wonder how much I would need to taste before I knew if I wanted more. How many wines did I need to taste? Eventually will they all seem the same? If I drink too much will I be sick? I know I have made the mistake before of downing a whole bottle with horrible results. For now I am going to lean back in my chair, soak in the rays of the sun and enjoy each taste one sip at a time. With wine and life there is no need to rush, they both get better with age.
It is true. I admit it. I am not perfect at relationships. However, at least I tried.
I have no trouble jumping back on the horse that threw me – the horse known as Relationship. Sometimes I wonder why I want to be on the horse to begin with. As I stand in the mirror reflecting at this newly single person, I reflect on the question, “What is a relationship failure?” Is it being married for 50 years but not happy? Is it never getting married because no one was good enough? Or is it marrying a person you thought was great, but broke-up with at some point down the road?
In my case I married. Sadly I reached a point where I could not longer make the people around me, or myself happy in the situation. This leaves me wondering if ending an unhealthy relationship is really a success rather than a failure? At least I know what makes me happy or unhappy. Does it make sense to keep going down a path where you know you can never achieve the life you want?
If people waited until they were 100% sure to do something, then we would all be dead. Why? Because we would be afraid that food was not safe to eat, that we might injure ourselves getting out of bed in the morning, or kissing a child will contaminate us with germs making us sick. Perfection and the existence of life (including relationships) do not align. When you say ‘people’, you are really saying ‘imperfection’. Sometimes it is the imperfections that we love most about people. Doesn’t it give them character?
Would you rather live and experience life with all its flaws, or sit on the sidelines doing only what you can do perfectly? The problem in life is the moving pieces. In the puzzle of life, the pieces are constantly shifting and changing shape. To me it is better to take a chance and gain experiences – love, hurt, anger, loss and maybe ‘fail miserably’ in the eyes of the judgmental. It is better than being paralyzed by perfection. My life is filled with great memories and I will not wonder “what if”, because although I don’t have a perfect life to show for it, I have lived. There is a saying that it is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all. In my case it feels better to have lived and been imperfect than to have never lived at all. Which life would you choose?
Too bad we can’t just play the game of LIFE instead of actually living it. With a game, you can start and end whenever you want. If things don’t turn out the way you want, you can quit or start a new game. Unfortunately, real life includes baggage and feelings that can’t just be dropped so we can start over. Can we please clear the board?
A friend posted on their Facebook today,” Life has many different chapters for us. One bad chapter doesn’t mean the end of the book.” This sounds great, but how easy it is for people to move on from their past? Our scars are embedded in our skin and ego and we must carry them around for our whole lives. Exactly how much therapy and healing does this require? It is one thing to heal a cut or a broken bone, but our psyche is not as easy.
Every day we have the stress of going to work to feed your family, taking care of loved ones, and if we are lucky, there is time for hobbies and self-improvement. Where does my ‘have-to’ list turn into my ‘want-to’ list? Can I get rid of my ‘have-to’ list and only have a ‘want-to’ list. Maybe with the right attitude, or the right job.
As I find myself unemployed for the first time in my life, I feel like I am finally ‘away’ from everything, only to find a new stress of finding work. How long will it be before I want to escape being ‘away’ to ‘get back to work’? I want to make sure that wherever I land that it is the right place for me. No one wants to take a job only to find out that 9 months later they don’t like it. My door of opportunity has opened so I plan to make the most of it. Besides, how often in your career do you get dedicated time to actually think about what you want or need?
Communication happens when people can express their feelings without fear. I can do it. Can you? If you can’t, why not? What is preventing you? Are other people really that scary? Sometimes I wish people could be more open to discussion. Even to argue. Instead, people often crawl inside a shell and hide like a turtle.
The safety inside the shell seems nice until you realize that you are alone. If you don’t come out, you will remain alone. This is your choice. I am out of my shell, and in fact, I think I lost my shell completely. Where did I put that anyway? It doesn’t matter because I don’t need it. I have transformed into a bird – my wings are open and I am soaring above the ground. Sometimes I wonder if armor, like a shell, is just to keep people out. Are we really just keeping ourselves in, thereby preventing life? What exactly are we protecting anyway?
Relationships don’t happen in a shell because they will soon die. Even a turtle needs nourishment of some kind. How are you staying alive if you are stuck inside your shell? Are you really happy in there? Is this what you want and need? Don’t you want to live, to love and just ‘be’ instead of withering away in a cramped up space literally inside yourself? Really, your shell of fear is the only thing standing between you and your happiness. What will it be? Do you want to be a turtle, or something else?
As I was sitting on the patio in a comfortable chair, enjoying the warm air of an Arizona evening, my 4-year-old daughter handed me necklace after necklace to put on. The necklaces were pink and purple with an occassional silver or white one thrown in. It was as if she had a bottomless pit of necklaces to hang around my neck. As I looked down at my collection of necklaces, I wondered, “Can life’s riches (typically jewelry more valuable than these plastic necklaces) weigh us down?”
If we weren’t hindered by our wealth, would we live our lives differently? Would we be willing to take more risks because we have nothing to lose? It seems as we gain money and valuables, we feel like they give us comfort and security. More comfort gives us more stuff to lose. We have nice things, yet I wonder if it just stresses us more because the ‘things’ are holding us back from true happiness.
Risks are for those who have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Do we stop pursuing our dreams because of fear? Or of losing what we have? If we always play it safe, we might never get what we really want and need. The heavy weight of our ‘necklaces’ strung around our necks pulls us down, closer to the ground. We become so heavy that we cannot move forward because we are so loaded down with our comfort and security.
The most important thing we have is us. What is inside. We are not defined by the stuff we have, or the things we surround ourselves with. I realize, as I sit here in my chair, the simplicity in which I could be happy. All the things around me – the air, the water in the pool, the light above my head and even the patio itself, are temporary. A pen and a notebook are all I need to write. A chair provides a place to relax, but any chair, pen or notebook would do. However, if I assume that all of the ‘stuff’ will be gone tomorrow, then when I wake up in the morning, I will experience excitement and euphoria that it is still there. Really? Or would I have more opportunity if I woke up to nothing? The best part of the day is waking up with the opportunity to live another day, to breathe another breath, or to run another mile. When the door of opportunity has opened, what will you do with yours?