Saturday, July 23, 2011

The Way the Wind Blows..

E. E. Cummings once wrote that "It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are."  Many of us, me included, have let life kind of happen to us. We've not created what we wanted us to be, but have just reacted to whatever way the wind blew us.  Jobs, friendships, situations seem to find us instead of the other way around.  Bending and bowing to the direction of the wind, the pull of the tides or the direction someone turns us to face will eventually shape you.  By my 40's, I realized that from the outside, I have everything.  A beautiful home, a wonderful husband, a rewarding (but stressful) job, healthy family.  But from the inside, I feel as if I've just hopped on whatever taxi was driving by, with no real direction guided by my dreams.  Wrapped in brightly colored streamers, woven around me like a May Pole, it has become a beautiful life, but constricting and limiting.

We move certain ways in our lives based on expectations, responsibilities, and the way the wind is blowing.  Sometimes the direction we think we are going in life is not heading the way we planned and we don't realize it until we look back.  It wasn't apparent to me until I looked back and saw that my life had veered off the course of my desire lines and onto the expected, paved sidewalks.

My dad once sent me an obituary that he clipped from the paper with a note.  "Isn't this beautiful, " he wrote.  "I'd like you to write my obituary like this.  You almost feel like you know this woman and what a life!"

It was beautifully written.  Truth is, my dad has had, and continues to have, an incredible life.  He gives freely to those in need. He had an adventurous life as an employee of the airlines many years ago, where he traveled the world.  He continues to travel the world in his 70's.  He has overcome mind-boggling personal struggles and has dealt with his share of tragedies.  He's very healthy and active.  He has a Zen attitude like I've never seen in a person and has such an aura of peace about everything that happens to him.  He also laughs frequently and has many, many friends and a varied social life.

He's already written his obituary.  I can't write it any better.

Patti Digh, author of "Life is a Verb" says to "Live an irresistible obituary. The story of our lives is one that we should create, not wait for others to write after we're gone."  I'm working on that.  I've made a few steps in that direction.

A few days ago, I was thinking about what to blog about.  I felt as if I hadn't done much to add more life to my life this go hand gliding, sailing, traveling, trying a new skill, or making new friends and then a friend of mine remarked that I had, in small, nearly imperceptible steps.

I'm having surgery Monday to FIX a bad knee (physical), I changed jobs to EXPERIENCE (mental) a new challenge and I bought an antique car just like my mom had when I was a child to FOCUS (emotional) on a time when I remember my mom being healthy, happy and alive.

I need to change how I look at things because often times the small changes that make the big difference seem to elude us.  I'm trying.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Life is Better With A Sugar Buzz.

I haven't written in a while because I'm losing steam.  I haven't even really got my feet under me with this project and already I'm failing.  Challenging yourself and change is hard.  I'ts not like I'm trying to change  a lot.  I'm just trying to exercise more, get my mind wrapped around positive things and get myself out there...doing things...things that I can look forward to.  I've already fallen back into my old routines. Epic fail.

I was eating lunch at a coffee shop the other day and I noticed at the table beside me there was a woman and her two preschool-aged kids and another woman who was probably Grandma. The girl child (about 2-3 years old) was squirming in her chair, but nibbling on her peanut butter sandwich between distractions.   Boy child (about 8-9 months) was in his high chair, banging on the table while mom was feeding boy child on her left, telling girl child on her right to sit still and eat and then barely getting in a bit of food from her own plate.  

As I'm watching this mom-dance between stuffing food down the gullett of baby boy whenever his mouth would veer close to her hand on one side of the table, and moving the little girl's glass away from the edge of the other side of the table, telling her to sit up, eat more, etc.,  I notice that the little boy's body was turned completely toward Grandma, who was eating her meal smiling. laughing, nodding and playfully touching

Monday, June 13, 2011

Exercising My Independence

I've been told that in order for me to feel better about my life, I probably need to get in better shape.  Boy, I sure would like to get really fit and muscular like I was in my late teens.  Yeah, like that guy in the picture.  I'm afraid, however, it will be a very hard climb to get even close to that.....but I'm going to try.

I promised a friend that I'd work out EVERY DAY in some form or fashion, even if it meant just walking for 20 minutes and documenting it.  So, I'm doing this.  Here's how it's going:

1st day, June 2nd - Thought about working out and how I was going to do this with a painful knee.  Not sure how I injured my knee, but I need to see a doctor, I guess.

June 3rd - Went to gym and got on treadmill for 7 minutes..  Yay...small steps.

June 4th - Went swimming.  Knee hurts too much for treadmill.

June 5th - Nada.

June 6th - Swam.  So crowded I had to share a lane with someone.  I felt self-conscious about just floating around in the water like a leaf with a guy in the same lane who appeared to be training to swim the English Channel, so I stepped it up a notch.  Wanted to stay out of his way and NOT meet up with him at the end of the lane.  People don't look good with swim face...mouth agape trying to get air into your lungs, hair all akimbo, and sometimes  things dripping out of the orafices in your face....just best to avoid being forced into a conversation.  Had a pretty good workout.

June 7th - Got balls-y today and took an Aqua Fit class.  Here is where the action happened!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

My Plan

Many of us get to our 40's and re-evaluate our lives.  The picture of how we saw ourselves as a young person when the slate was clean and the future was fresh and open is not exactly how it turns out.  While not always a bad thing, some of us have this nagging feeling of missed opportunities or adventure-not-taken about our lives.  That, coupled with pain in our knees, aversion to late-night events and frequent heartburn puts many of us in the spiral of depression, marked primarily with the thought that it's-too-late-for-us to do anything crazy, big, adventurous, etc.

The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Research Network have been studying this phenomenon since 1994.  Their findings, interpreted by, say that the data suggests that only 5-12% of middle-aged people actually experience a midlife crisis.  I would hazard a guess that this number is low, but hate that I'm in that group.  I'm going to do something about it!


Welcome to my blog!  So, this is my plan:  no more inaction.  No more feeling sorry for the life that I've wasted not pursuing my dreams.  I want to do the things I've always wanted to do, always dreamed of doing, always was afraid of doing before it's too late. Mark Twain said that it's always the things in life that you didn't do that you regret the most.  And, Dave Matthews said, "The future is no place to place your better days."   In the same vein as Nike's famous slogan, "Just Do It", I will spend the next year trying really hard to add some life in the years of my life that remain.

I have a good life.  I have a wonderful husband and family who love and support me.  I have a job as a high school teacher where I get to positively influence young people.  I have relatively good health, minus the occasional foot pain and pulled muscles.  I have a nice home in a nice neighborhood with nice neighbors and a wonderful circle of friends.  So, you may ask....why the change?  I don't want to change things, just add to the life that I already have.  Fill in what's missing, so to speak.  That void is strong and will pull you in if you let it.  I have been pulled in and now I want out.

I hope that I can influence you, too, to get out there and do "stuff" and have adventure and follow your dreams.  Pursue this project with me and let me know how it's going.  Treat life as dessert...and savor it first!