You say goodbye, and I say hello hello hello …

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[Image credit: Kittikun Atsawintarangkul]

I love hellos.  To me they suggest a beginning; they invite a connection of sorts.  Goodbyes, however, close the door and signify a chapter has ended — sometimes forever, other times for just a little while.  Although the goodbyes are often riddled with tears and a deep sense of loss, I am not about to sacrifice the hellos because sometimes they’re life-changing and other times they simply affirm my worth.  And when all is said and done, I’ve learned from experience that whether I’ve spoken my farewells or not has no effect on the final outcome.  There will still be closure, but the raveled pieces of my heart will undoubtedly require mending.

What’s your tip to make the goodbyes a little easier?

Dreamer or realist?

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 [Image credit: Danilo Rizzuti]

Not too long ago I blogged about my attempts to minimize my expectations to avoid disappointment.  But recently I’ve discovered the best kind of surprise is when hopes are surpassed.  It’s like a custom-made gift just for me and I can’t help but wonder if maybe I’ve been looking at it all wrong.  So rather than holding back and anticipating less than I desire, I plan to set my sights higher and anticipate more than.  Not only will I be forced to work harder for each outcome, but when reality threatens to derail me from time to time, I will simply pick myself up where I left off and know I’m becoming stronger throughout my journey.  And when the surprises do pop up along the way, I will cherish them for what they are: encouraging little pats-on-the-back to continue following my dreams.

Do you consider yourself a dreamer or a realist … or maybe a little bit of both?

Making up for lost time

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[Image credit: Teerapun]

I only have a chance to spend time with my out-of-town family and friends once or twice a year, and even those visits are limited by days, hours and minutes.  It requires careful juggling, arranging and rearranging of schedules and extra work before and after.  But while I’m in the moment, packing every second I can into the dinners, drinks and face-to-face times, I find myself lingering over the hugs and trying to memorize the feel and scent of home.  But I realize there is never enough time to capture it all; I can only try.

How do you make up for lost time?

Home is where there’s heart

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[Image credit: Sura Nualpradid]

When I was at ASU, I wrote a short story about home and how we leave little pieces of our hearts behind each time we return from an absence.  When my mom suffered from Alzheimer’s while residing in a memory care facility, she often begged to go “home.”  I refer to my Midwest roots as my home although I’ve lived in the Southwest for a dozen years.  As I spend time with loved ones this weekend, the definition of home for me is a place where I can be my transparent self and where a void in my heart becomes whole, albeit briefly.  And my only hope is that it will be enough to tide me over until the next time.

Have you ever experienced that feeling of coming home?

Slowing the hands of time


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This week I’m traveling to a colder climate.  Since I’ve lived in the desert for the past 12 years, my closet contains very little cold-weather wear so I’ve spent the past couple of weeks shopping.  It’s odd to be trying on winter coats hanging on the clearance rack directly adjacent to the new swimwear fashions and across the aisle from the Valentine’s display.  Less than a month ago we began the second-hand countdown to the new year.  At work one of our publications just went to press and we’re already collecting material for another issue.  Taxes are due in less than three months.  I just celebrated another birthday in December.  My next oil change is due in three months or 3,000 miles.  So many ways to measure time slipping away.  And it seems everyone is in a hurry to bypass the remainder of winter, the new growth of spring and run right into summer.  I’ve even started talking about my next trip.  What about today?  Once in a while I think it would be nice to take the advice of the popular cliché and stop to smell the roses.  Live in the now.   Because at the end of the day, it’s really all we can do.

Are you the hurry-up-what’s-next kind of person, or are you the type who lives in the moment?

Growing pains

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[Image credit: Grant Cochrane]

I remember when I was a little girl and I’d wake up in the middle of the night with “leg aches.”  My mom told me they were growing pains and would sit on the edge of my bed, kneading the kinks out until finally I fell asleep.  As an adult, I am still plagued with growing pains, but not the achey-leg variety (unless I recently trained at the gym).  And unfortunately, my mom isn’t able to rub out these particular pains.  They’re the kind which result from being stretched and pulled in different directions when I make a mistake.  Although it’s a part of life, the truth hurts sometimes.  But I also think it toughens us up so we can handle the really big stuff when it comes along.  Because it’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when.  So while I don’t enjoy the pain (I didn’t enjoy my leg aches, either), I believe it’s necessary to endure if I want to grow and become stronger in the process.

How do you deal with growing pains?

Same old same old

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A couple of weeks ago my friend texted me and asked how my hair appointment went.  Oh fine, I said.  Same old same old.  She texted back: LOL we’re creatures of habit.  It is definitely true in my case.  Every morning I prepare a large green tea with honey, each evening I sip on a vanilla chai with a splash of skim milk and sweetener.  I’m at the gym by 5:45 A.M. five days a week, I typically wear my hair straight, wash the towels on Sundays and shoot for sitting down to dinner by 6:00 P.M.  I like routine.  It helps to keep me grounded when so many other things are out of my control … as long as I don’t find myself stuck in a rut.  A couple days ago, I re-visited my stylist for a “touch-up.”  The length stayed the same (old same old) but I did have the layers shaped just enough that my daughter told me it looked better (and it felt better, too).  At breakfast with a girlfriend the next day, instead of the yogurt parfait I normally order, I selected a strawberry smoothie with ginseng.  After all, a little mystery doesn’t hurt now and again.

[Image credit: Master insolated images]

Do you prefer the status quo, or do you like to shake things up?

Baby steps

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[Photo credit: Sura Nualpradid]

I admire people who can make a big decision and just go for it.  I used to be like that.  I would see something I wanted and go after it with everything I had.  Now that I’m getting older, I struggle more with the concept.  Perhaps it’s the subconscious knowing I have less time to right a perceived wrong.  This means I either accept the status quo or I spend more time in deliberation, seek counsel from friends and family … wait.  Because I want to continue moving forward toward Someday, the changes — or risk-taking — I’m planning for 2012 require baby steps.  Last year I was invited by a friend to participate in a sprint marathon in four years and I accepted the challenge.  In three months I run my first race: baby steps.  This year I set a goal to write a 10,000 word short story.  I write a minimum of 100 words per day toward that effort: baby steps.  Some decisions are a little more manageable and can be made in one long stride: soup or salad, heels or flats.  But for those I may be tempted never to make (and possibly lose out on the best thing that ever happened to me): baby steps.

What kind of a decision-maker are you?

Decisions, decisions …

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The lyrics in Adele’s Someone Like You — “regrets and mistakes they’re memories made” — stuck with me a while following a recent call from a longtime friend.  He shared with me his struggle concerning his past, playing the “what if” game over a lost love.  What if he’d handled things differently?  What if the two of them had worked out?  I assured him if that was supposed to have happened, it would have.  And I reminded him he wouldn’t have the beautiful children he ended up blessed with.  Regardless, there was no going back.  After we hung up, I started thinking about my own life and how often I play the same game.  Thankfully, there aren’t many decisions I’d make differently because everything that’s led me to this moment in time has made me who I am, flaws and all.  Besides, if we live in the past, we cannot continue to move ahead into our individual futures mapped out for us.  Now if only I had a GPS so I could get there via a more direct route …

[Image created by Kittisak]

How can you turn your regrets into memories made while still going forward?

Living the dream

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The other day I figured between my office job at the publishing company and my home office, I spend about 10 hours each day sitting at a desk.  Despite my writer’s butt (flat and waffle-shaped thanks to my wicker chair), I couldn’t imagine doing anything else.  At the publishing firm, I’m fortunate to be part of a team of amazing publishing professionals in a business I’m crazy about.  And in my home office, or lounging on my patio (an extension of my office), my body may appear to be stationary while my mind takes off in a zillion different directions — either brainstorming a twist on an old idea or traveling to uncharted territory ripe for exploring.  The end of my story hasn’t been written yet, where fantasy meets reality, but until then I’m living a dream in the best of both worlds.

What will it take for you to live your dream?

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