It’s okay to begin again. And again.

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If you feel like you’re starting over at square one today, pat yourself on the back for starting at all. Lately, I’ve not only begun the process of reinventing myself (again), but I’ve changed my mind countless times on how I envisioned my future—my “Someday.” Lesson number one: How many times do I have to remind myself that I am a work in progress? That means there are days when it looks like I have it all going on but others where I’m a hot mess from head to toe. It means my canvas might be covered in swashes of pinks and purples and a splash of glitter. Or blank when my sparkle needs to recharge. Lesson number two: I recently read that changing your mind equates to self-respect, and that “you owe nothing to your younger self. You are not failing because you are no longer chasing a dream you’ve outgrown.” Even if that younger self was last week.

How do you start over each day?

Photo courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

A lesson in irony: in memory of Rob

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Life can prove ironic in the simple, the mundane. And in the crushing blows, the fracture between hope and fate. This week, I discovered that Marlene, a cashier at my neighborhood grocery store, had been writing letters to Rob—a cashier who was diagnosed in 2015 with stage 3 lung cancer. I haven’t seen Rob since we spoke in August 2016, right before his birthday trip to Hawaii, and then, upon his return from the tropical getaway, he took an extended leave from his job to tackle one of more significance: the fight for his life. Just the other day, I wrote a letter and brought it to the market the next morning for Marlene to include in her envelope. As I concluded my shopping, another cashier greeted me and I knew, without words, that Rob’s fight was over. Read more about Rob:  ‘Slow down, listen more…,’ ‘How (not) to be miserable…’ and ‘Borrowed time…’ And don’t wait for Someday.

How is irony at work in your life?

What’s ‘in’ this season: new outlook, new you

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This past weekend, I joined another hiker for a six-mile trek through new-to-me desert terrain. As the two of us navigated the dusty trails, we discovered common interests and beliefs despite the decade that separates our birthdays. Recently, my friend quit her job because it interfered with her hikes, her yoga. Her sanity. Although she resides in a different season of her life than me—where her plans lean toward retirement—the outlook she embraces is one I strive for daily. My friend lives and breathes the old adage that there are seven days in a week and Someday isn’t one of them; that we need to do what we can [enjoy] now, so we can do it for years to come. I knew I couldn’t move the mountains ahead of me, but I could kick aside the bad habits and negative chatter that clutters my path and replace them with stepping stones—small, manageable changes—toward success. Regardless of the season.

What does your makeover look like?

 

Breaking free: rote action is no action

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I write about change. About Someday. About setting goals, taking baby steps, chasing dreams. Extending kindness and sparkles. Eliminating toxic people from our lives; hopefulness. Perseverance. What’s next. And then I “get” busy. Push it all to the back of my closet as I flit from task to task. Pretend I’ve taken hold of life by its proverbial horns. But my tiara is tarnished and I’m tired and all I want to do is jump off the non-stop roller coaster and figure stuff out before it’s too late. I think, for me, discontent no longer points to an unrealized purpose but, rather, my own personal purgatory where life isn’t just passing me by (see “Take action…”). Instead, it’s the rotten stench of anguish and despair that almost suffocates and renders me ineffective. Rote action is no action. Busy-ness can only put off, so long, what must be accomplished to escape from the grip of fear: of failure, regret. The unknown. So, what’s next?

How will you break free?

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

(Re)writing your story: happily-ever-now

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If you ever find yourself in the wrong story, leave.
~ Mo Willems

Everything we might’ve been taught says running away isn’t the solution. That we should look adversity in the face and show it we’re stronger. But what about when quitting means leaving a situation where we’ve tried over and over yet nothing changes? In her post, “You’re Allowed to Leave,” Rania Naim invites us to let toxic friends go, to surround ourselves with love—people who encourage and nurture us—and to pick the kind of energy we need in our lives. “You’re allowed to forgive yourself for your biggest and smallest mistakes and you’re allowed to be kind to yourself, you’re allowed to look in the mirror and actually like the person you see.” Leaving might not mean physically. Letting go could simply mean releasing ourselves from the expectations of others and those expectations we’ve adopted as our own. Don’t wait for Someday to be happy. Be happy now.

What does your happily-ever-now look like?

Image courtesy of dan at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Put up or shut up: what will it be?

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Put up or shut up

Money is no object. Health concerns are minimal. Food, clothing and shelter are accounted for. What now? I broach this topic in ‘Asking the big question: what next?’ In other words, if the necessities in life were covered and there were no other barriers to achieving your goal(s): where would you be, what would you be doing? Or have you already arrived? At times, I’m so far from Someday—my personal nirvana—that I feel defeated, yet I’m close enough to tease myself into holding onto my dreams. I’m beyond the point of no return, however, at the top of the apex, the half-century mountain marker, with only one way to go. And fast. So as I take the plunge down the other side, either I put up or shut up: take action to do what I’ve been talking about for over half my life or stop talking about it. Even I am sick of hearing it.

Is it time for you to put up or shut up?

Image courtesy of stockimages at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.  

Borrowed time: when you run out of somedays

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Borrowed time

 

I need to press pause here, in the midst of my ramblings about the pursuit of happiness, my dreams, Someday. Trivial musings in light of world affairs. And Rob, the cashier at my local grocery store who I write about in ‘Slow down, listen more…’ and ‘How (not) to be miserable…’ The one diagnosed with stage 3 lung cancer. As I head out of the store recently, I stop at his register. My heart aches for this kind man, a smile on his lips even as he presses a tissue to his mouth, coughing and gasping for his next breath. The cancer has spread and the third round of chemo, he says, is kicking his butt. His jeans hang from barely there hips; his hugs are bones at best. Yet he lights up when he mentions his recent trip to California. And next month—for his birthday—he is traveling to Hawaii. We all live on borrowed time. Rob is simply living his somedays now.

What about you?

Image courtesy of digitalart at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

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