This morning I watched a couple of squirrels play in the backyard. I must have watched them for 10 minutes doing somersaults, wrestling with sticks on their backs, and jumping from tree to tree. As my grandson would say, I’ve never seen that in my whole life! As I watched I thought about how easy it is to be busy and occupied with only completing a task or goal. Too preoccupied to take notice of all the cool things existing and happening around me. I paused the other day to watch and listen to a loon flying by – oh, my goodness! I can’t seem to climb an Adirondack High Peak without looking around me to find really cool moss, flowers, or trees growing in the most unlikely places. I’ve seen people talking and texting on cell phones in the most unlikely places too. What can be more important than being present in each and every moment? Getting to the top of a mountain peak may be the ultimate goal, but I’ll have an amazing journey along the way if I make the journey part of the goal instead of making the journey just the means to an end.
I recently finished some dress alterations; one modernized a 1970’s wedding dress, and the other made the dress fit better. Ladies sometimes buy a smaller size with plans to loose enough weight to fit into the dress. I’ve found that life and living need to be altered as well. My husband applied to a forest tech program but wasn’t accepted because he didn’t have proficient math skills. He altered his plan and commuted an hour to take a community college math class. He re-applied, was accepted, and graduated 2 years later with high honors. When his job was eliminated, he decided to become a teacher and after 12 years of mostly part-time college classes, and a student teaching experience that would have defeated most students, he reached his goal. When he died, I had to find the strength and courage to alter myself to fit into a life that could not be altered. Like clothes, life doesn’t always fit, so I can’t be afraid to take a good look at my life, find what doesn’t fit, and then fix it or me. Making the necessary alterations to me, may be hard, but easier than putting up with a bad fit.
I read that we should strive to live our lives so at the time of our dying no one rejoices. News channels frequently report tragic deaths and testimonies of people saying amazing things about the one that will be missed so much. I often thought, what about the people that die and won’t be missed; they must not be news worthy. Would it be joyful to hear about someone who died and took their hate and meanness with them, someone who didn’t help anyone but themselves, someone whose death made the world a better place? I don’t think death can be called tragic because death is inevitable. What is tragic is the life of someone gone before, what we consider, their time. Gone before they’ve had a chance to experience not only life to the fullest, but just the normal things like marriage or grandchildren. For some, no longer able to finish impacting those around them like a teacher or a dad. How much time I have to do all that living entails is not a given so I need to choose how I live and not let living take me to the end of a life not worth celebrating.
I realized recently that most of my relationship issues are due to pretty big differences regarding caring; an awareness of others and their needs, being thankful and saying so, and recognizing where help is needed and helping without being asked. Caring comes naturally to me and so I expect others to have the same inclination, but they don’t. I have an awareness of me and my needs and therefore take care of me, which is common enough, but I also have caring for others in my mind and heart, spilling out into action. I wouldn’t go so far as saying I put others first, but they’re given a pretty big priority. I enjoy caring and I’m sure it makes a difference, but it’s hard to keep caring when it’s rarely recognized, which I now know is not on purpose. I can’t let the action of others, or the lack thereof, keep me from caring. Since it doesn’t really matter to them if I care, I need to start running it by my does-it-matter-to-me meter. If it does, then I’ll consider it as caring for me, and if not, then I’ll move on and put that energy into something that does.
My grandson stayed over last night so we set up the tent in the yard. He was so excited; he’d never slept in a tent before. He was a little concerned about raccotes (coyotes), and what else could be out there in the dark, but he was fine when I said I’ll be right there with you. After climbing into his sleeping bag he whispered all his thoughts about sleeping in a tent while he drifted off the sleep. How precious it was to have given him one of the many first time experiences he’ll have in his life. I laughed when I thought about never spending the night with my grandmother, especially not in a tent, or that my children never had such an experience with theirs; both parties missing out, and missing out is something that should be avoided at all possible costs. It’s easy to come up with an excuse not to experience, especially for us non-adventurous types. Why not be determined to do just the opposite and come up with an excuse to experience all that I am able. How much more exciting life would be to say again and again, look what I just did!
The easiest path isn’t always the best, unless you’re water. Certain paths require effort, while others require none at all, in fact, some will just carry you along if you let them, just like moving sidewalks at airports. It was very easy to allow almost every aspect of my life to be carried along with my husband’s; rarely anchoring myself long enough to discover my own pathways, rarely needing my own strength. I’m pretty certain it would have been just as wonderful to keep a portion of me from turning into us, making it easier to now be anchored as me instead of we.
- Connecticut River Flood Waters (10-4-2010) / Strength
- Running water chooses the easiest path; directed by the objects in its way.
- It’s seldom the best path for those watching and waiting. But water doesn’t care.
- If you don’t like the path it takes, you’ll have to make it change directions.
- For water only considers itself.
- It doesn’t care if it sweeps away thousands of pumpkins.
- If you’re in its way, it’ll take you with it.
- Anchored, it’ll pass you by; hollow, it’ll pass through; if neither say goodbye.
- Choose to be anchored, for in that there is strength.
Here I am, going about my day, and where are you? Do you have some kind of body or are you just a spirit? Are you aware of who or what you are? Are you looking at me from heaven like I’ve heard people say? I sometimes wonder what you think of my sadness, my joy, and the decisions I’ve made, but then remember it doesn’t matter because you’re not here. Do you feel sad or know nothing but joy and freedom; freedom from this earthly body and the crap life throws at you. Are you proud of me or jealous because of what you’re missing? I have a body and a spirit, and acutely aware of who I am. Maybe you see me, maybe not. I hate sadness, love joy, and believe I’ve made the best possible decisions. I feel lots of things, some good, some bad, and sometimes nothing at all. I live in this earthly body every day and deal with the crap life throws at me, but get to experience new wonders too. I’m proud of the progress I’ve made towards re-inventing me. I didn’t choose life without you, but it’s here and so am I.
I’ve decided to change my exercise plan since the previous one isn’t working. My goal was walking for an hour, or ride my bike 10 miles, a few days a week. This morning, with rain coming, a 20 minute vigorous walk felt great, just the right amount of time and a good heart workout. So I’m going to start walking 20 minutes every day and if a day or two is missed it’s OK, not so with my old plan. The 20 minutes is easy to manage in the mornings before my grandchildren come or in the evening. It’s always a good thing to re-evaluate plans, and routines especially, because it’s so easy to think all routines are good. Washing my face every night, yes, having a cocktail, no. Asking why is a good thing to do when it comes to plans and routines. Is this something I want to, need to, or should do? How is it benefiting me? The answer can be simple, it helps me relax, or a dilemma, it isn’t something I want to do, but I know it’s the best thing for me. Time is a precious commodity; too precious to allocate to just anything.
I’m experiencing a new kind of sadness. I find myself in unfamiliar territory, lost, fumbling with why. Expectations in relationships are funny things. They seem to appear over time and keep the relationship steady and in balance; one thing in this world that can be counted on to be this way. When there’s a disruption, the balance is thrown off and then nothing; nothing right, nothing wrong. Does the relationship have to start over and develop all new expectations? Throw away everything counted on and go in a new direction? Or maybe the balance that was is worth fighting for, so figure out how to tweak it a little or maybe a lot? I’m not sure that’s possible when just about every expectation has been compromised, but the fear of what a new relationship might look like is a very compelling reason to tweak. The tweak is fearful too because of not knowing what it will be or if it will work, and if the initial disillusions that broke it will hinder the process. I want to feel whole again, for the wound to heal completely, not just patched, but I don’t know how to start, though start it must.
I have a very smart and determine cat. After much thought, I created a blockade to keep her away from my tiny flower vases but she figured out how to get to them anyway. Sometimes I need her to stay in the basement and yet allow my other, sweet, but not so smart cat, access. She figured out how to open the one way cat door so I had to take it apart and re-invent it. Both attributes, smart and determined, work well together when it comes to figuring things out. One without the other has very different results. Smart means I can think of solutions but not necessarily be strong-minded enough to try them out. Determined means I try and won’t give up, but with so many bad solutions to try it’s easy to run around in circles. Combine the two and the mind and body work together to achieve a lasting result. I’m still figuring out how to re-arrange my 36-year-married life pattern. Not only did I have to become aware action on my part was required, I need to stay aware so I can continue to be smart regarding solutions and stay determined to see them through.