Leave it to chance: when the choice is no longer ours to make

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Since I began blogging in 2010, of all the topics I’ve covered in my posts, the vast majority revolve around a common theme: choice. Obviously, there are circumstances beyond our control—our best friend moves away, our spouse severs ties, we lose our job or we become ill. But, we still have a choice (see “It starts with a choice”): how we react to XYZ. If someone insists they don’t have a choice, then what they really mean is they lack determination, resolve, backbone. Free will. Bottom line: Even when we choose not to make a choice, it’s still a choice. When I went back to school as a non-traditional student to pursue my bachelor’s degree, I chose to embark on a new career path. Nearly a decade later, I feel, at times, that my age is a stumbling block to future growth, change. Yet the biggest obstacle is that one day the choice will no longer be mine to make.

What choice do you leave to chance?

Photo courtesy of marin at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

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When all you see is the mess: there’s still hope

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work-in-progress
Recently I pulled up a link to a blog post I wrote for a digital publication several months ago. I read through the piece with eyes that had grown objective over time and thought, ‘Wow, this is good. What was I so worried about before?’ Later that day, the post popped up in my mind and I recalled it in its rough form: the countless drafts, rewrites, edits from my freelance editor (aka Big Sister). In other words, the work in progress was a mess. Isn’t that what our lives can look like at times? From the exterior, we might appear like we have it all together—and maybe we do now and again—but I guarantee a mess has littered our paths at one point or another. Thankfully, the people we are today are still a work in progress. And there’s hope for us to listen more, speak less and sprinkle love and kindness into our little worlds.

Where do you see your biggest work in progress?

Image courtesy of Feelart at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

It’s never too late to dream a new dream, to start something new

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never-too-late
I’m a firm believer in C.S. Lewis’ adage that it’s never too late to dream a new dream, to start something new. When I began Always The Write Time, it was toward the culmination of my undergraduate studies as a non-traditional student. Once I hit the half-century mark last December, the words ‘always the write time’ rang truer than ever. As 2016 draws to a close, I’m thrilled about my plan for 2017: to start something new because I dreamed a new (and bigger) dream. This includes 1) attending more writing workshops, 2) joining one or more writing associations and 3) completing my MFA application which, if (and when) I’m accepted into the program, will mark the commencement of my graduate studies in creative writing. And just when doubt might begin to creep in, the timeliest issue of Poets & Writers lands in my mailbox—reminding me, yet again, there’s hope on this side of 50.

What is your dream, but you think it’s too late to start?

5 Things Hiking, Life Have in Common

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hiking-life

I never cease to learn or experience something new during my hikes in the mountains, and this past weekend was no exception.

  1. If you want the trails to yourself, you must make tracks: the early bird still gets the worm.
  2. Not every hiker is on a mission to burn calories or achieve a cardio workout: be patient with those in the slow lane (you might end up there).
  3. When you focus less on the ‘mountain,’ you appreciate your bite-size accomplishments: take it one step, one goal at a time (and hydrate often).
  4. Life is about the up (hills), the down (hills) and, sometimes, the smooth sailing: don’t get too comfortable on the latter terrain because this is not where we commonly grow.
  5. You will never know how strong you really are if you don’t push yourself the extra mile: choose a life filled with ‘oh wells’ rather than a life of ‘what ifs.’

What have you recently learned while enjoying a favorite pastime?

How a kick-in-the-butt can change your life

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Kick-in-the-butt

 

Crazy bird, she was. Only flew when no one watched.
None could keep her. All failed to train her.
Funny name she had. Time.
~ Anonymous

 

My recent post, ‘Tick tock…,’ talks about time and our elusive grasp on it. I can actually define the catalyst—or kick in the butt—that snapped me out of my Rip Van Winkle state, the one where I slept away more than twice the amount of time as the fictional character. I call it BC and AC. Before I re-enrolled to complete my undergraduate degree, my life felt ‘tiny,’ unimaginative. Timid. After college (and also while attending classes for my Bachelor of Arts in Literature, Writing & Film), my world became vast, inspired. Daring. How differently my path might have unfolded had I attended college before middle age. Yet, I wouldn’t trade my experiences or the connections I built, the new tricks I learned and still do. The important thing is where I go from here: forward.

What’s your life’s catalyst?

Image courtesy of Ambro at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Don’t wait until you die

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Don't wait until you die

 

To anyone who thinks they’re falling behind in life” is written to me. I am the one who thinks I need more motivation, to read more lists and posts about how I’m not doing enough. Because I’m not doing enough, right? I’m still writing blogs about how I need to simplify, find balance, be kind, follow my dreams: to do. To be. To perpetuate an endless cycle of more than. The pièce de résistance? …we all need more than anything… permission to be wherever the f*ck we are when we’re there. Oh, this soothes my soul. Who doesn’t crave permission to love themselves exactly where they are? A yogi instructor recently ended her evening class with Alan Cohen’s words: To love yourself right now, just as you are, is to give yourself heaven. Don’t wait until you die. If you wait, you die now. If you love, you live now. I exited the room, tears streaming down my face. I want to live now.

Which one are you?

Image courtesy of Serge Bertasius Photography at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Handling the unexpected

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road less traveled

When I complete a survey now, I check the 50-55 box (when did that happen?). Finally, I’ve discovered happiness in its myriad levels—joy, contentment, peace. I’ve gotten the hang of this balanced life thing and look forward to simplifying in the New Year so I can experience more of the above. I’ve set the cruise control and am prepared to sparkle my way into this new season. But what happens when you’re traveling on the right path and life behind the wheel doesn’t look like you hoped for or expected? Maybe you’ve returned to your proverbial waiting place to plan for a new transition (e.g., career change or physical relocation). Perhaps your GPS requires recalibration to allow you to regroup while you navigate the scenic route for a spell. It’s possible a recent challenge or setback is meant to strengthen you to help family or friends. Just take a deep breath, sit back and savor the ride. And Happy New Year!

How do you handle the unexpected?

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