Different, and yet…

There’s still much to do.

So, it’s the day after inauguration. If, like me, you feel as though you’ve just taken off a pair of shoes that were lined with ground glass, or, alternatively, it feels to you like this is the end of the world, here’s the thing: nothing has changed in our day to day lives, has it?

The sun rose this morning. It will set this evening. We will set about our daily routines (such as they are, in the midst of a pandemic). The people who loved you the day before yesterday will most likely still love you today. And if anyone now hates you, well, screw ‘em. They’re idiots.

Yes, gigantic changes are afoot in the overall scheme of things. Hopefully they’re not too little, too late. But here on the ground, where we are already working or not working, struggling or not struggling, dreaming or feeling hopeless… well… yeah. More of the same.

Because here’s the thing: as much as we’d like to think so, politics really has very little to do with you or me. It’s an elite power struggle, an ongoing battle to possess all of the marbles in the playground, players be damned. It was ever thus.

The air, to me, feels lighter, and I have a tiny bit of hope that I didn’t have with the last administration, and I didn’t realize I had been living with a gnawing pit of anxiety in my stomach until it went away. I’m also enjoying an end to the hateful tweets that can turn the world upside down on a daily basis. But the same obstructionists are still blocking the path forward for the average person. And those very obstructionists will also block any attempted reform to the system, because they like things just the way they are.

So, yeah, it’s a new dawn. But we have one of those every day. I’m trying not to get my hopes up. We still have much to do. But on a personal level, it sure felt cleansing to wave goodbye to the orange, tiny-handed shitgibbon and hear speeches, songs, and poetry of hope and a desire for unity, rather than rants peppered with hate, division, and paranoia.

Onward. Here’s a pretty picture.

A big thanks to StoryCorps for inspiring this blog and my first book. http://amzn.to/2mlPVh5

Making My Mark

It’s time to make this place ours.

It’s a strange experience, occupying a space that someone else had made her own for decades. All the furniture has been picked out, all the walls are painted, the art chosen, the plants planted. She’s not here, and yet she’s everywhere.

Which is not a bad thing, necessarily. For the most part, I like her taste. I would have liked her, I’m sure. But it’s time to make this place ours.

Slowly, but surely, we’re introducing change. We’re adding the new and getting rid of the old. We’re keeping the good, and getting rid of what no longer fits. We’re rearranging. We’re changing colors, here and there. We’ve had a garage sale. We’ve planted a tree.

Just recently we painted a glow-in-the-dark milky way on the ceiling. Adolescent as that may sound, I’ve had it in my last two houses, and I find it comforting to stare at as I drift off to sleep. So doing that meant a lot to me.

You don’t really think too much about marking territory unless you have dogs, but we humans do it, too. We just do it with paint and pillows and photos. It’s how you make a house a home.

Interior Design

Read any good books lately? Try mine! http://amzn.to/2mlPVh5

What Keeps Me Up at Night

Yeah, I’ve done that mind-grind thing where I keep worrying about something and try in vain to come up with a solution. I have done my fair share of stressing out over finances, jobs, relationships, and conversations that I’m dreading. I’ve even stayed up to care for sick people and pets.

But you know what really keeps me up at night? Excitement. I spend a lot of time tossing and turning and smiling at the possibilities. I can rarely sleep just before a trip to someplace I’ve never been, for example. I can just imagine what it will be like. I also thrill to new experiences, new connections, and the opportunity to learn.

Many is the night I’ve spent staring at the ceiling, knowing that I’m about to receive the gift of newness. That’s my favorite gift of all. It doesn’t take up space in your tool shed. You don’t have to dust it. It’s usually not tangible. But you’ll be able to revel in its memory for the rest of your life.

There is nothing quite like the first time you do something, see something or realize something. Beginnings are awesome. Change is wonderful just as often as it is dreadful. The anticipation of something can be every bit as amazing as the thing itself.

Anticipation is what robs me of my sleep!

Excitement (July 2011)

Check out my refreshingly positive book for these depressingly negative times. http://amzn.to/2mlPVh5

Rebooting Oneself

Decades ago, I was walking my dog after a hard rain and I slipped on a wet, grassy slope. My feet flew above my head. I went down hard. I mean, really, really hard. It knocked the wind out of me. As I helplessly slid down the hill, everything went bright white. I couldn’t see, I couldn’t breathe, I couldn’t move, and for a second there I had the strangest feeling that my brain was completely shut off. At that moment, I didn’t know how to see, breathe, or move.

That experience only lasted a second or two, but I’ll never forget it. And I definitely won’t forget the 9 months of pure agony I went through in its aftermath, while getting the resulting herniated disc diagnosed and treated. Good times.

As a friend of mine says, rebooting your computer can fix a multitude of sins. But a personal reboot such as the one I just described is no fun at all. I do not recommend it.

Unexpected catastrophic events can definitely make you do a reboot in terms of reevaluating your life, and they can cause you to change its trajectory. Death. Divorce. Job loss. Natural disasters. Totaling your car.

But these aren’t the only kinds of reboots I’ve had in my life. The intentional ones are fantastic. Driving across country for a new job in a new state, and therefore completely remodeling my life, was a reboot par excellence. So was buying my house and moving in. Vacations are mini-reboots, and I would argue that they’re really critical for mental and physical health.

I also consider purging toxic people from your life to be a reboot of a kind. You really don’t realize what a negative influence someone has been on you until they are gone. It’s like taking off a shoe that’s two sizes too small. Feels. So. Good.

If you have a chance to voluntarily reboot, even if it’s something as minor as a haircut or a manicure, I encourage you to do so. I also fervently hope that there are no involuntary reboots in your future. But the rain falls on us all sooner or later. May you weather the storms and revel in the sunshine, dear reader.

Reboot

Here’s a good reboot: Take the day off. Read my book. http://amzn.to/2mlPVh5

I Am Not Who I Was Yesterday

It’s been an eventful week. I won’t bore you with the details. Suffice it to say that it has served to remind me that we are all the sum total of our unique life experiences. That being the case, since we experience life every single day, that means that we are each slightly different than we were the day before.  The onion has another layer. What a concept.

 I find this idea rather comforting. To me, it means that with each new day comes another opportunity to get things right. It allows me to look at the world with fresh eyes, and make new choices. If there’s something about myself that I want to change, I can tackle that thing from a slightly different trajectory.  If there’s something I want to strengthen or reinforce, here’s another chance to do so.

Each day we burst forth from our chrysalis and spread our wings as a brand new butterfly. As my late boyfriend used to say, “You have been given a perfectly good day. What are you going to do with it?” That saying is even more poignant now that he is gone.

 Never take your fresh starts for granted, people. Each and every one is precious.

Butterfly

Old Friends

While struggling to care for my desperately ill dog, I’ve come to notice the difference between old friends and new friends. My old friends already know how devastating this inevitable loss is going to be for me. They witnessed firsthand how much my dog and I have been through, and what a comfort he has been to me.

New friends, on the other hand, require a bit more energy than I have at this depressing time. They need the back story that I don’t have the strength to give. They need not only complete sentences, but entire paragraphs. They are every bit as compassionate and caring, but they have to be brought up to speed. They have no idea what a basket case this situation has turned me into, because they’ve never seen me in basket case mode.

There is something reassuring about not having to complete your sentences. There’s nothing quite like that feeling of being understood. It’s so much easier to build a structure when the foundation has already been laid.

I’m not discounting my new friends. I have no doubt that what we will build together will be amazing, too. I just hope they can be patient with me right now.

As I cuddle with my sick dog and feel helpless, that old girl scout song keeps running through my head. “Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver and the other gold.”

ec78262f23b4b92fd012b11127954276
[Image credit: pinterest.com]

New, but Not.

I find myself having to strike a strange balance at this new job. I have 13 years of experience opening drawbridges, so as they say, this ain’t my first rodeo. But on the other hand there are subtle differences in policies and procedures at this new place, so there’s definitely plenty to learn. Of course I have every intention of doing things their way.

I don’t want to come off as arrogant. I don’t want to appear to be a know it all. But I’m also no greenhorn. I am completely familiar with a lot of what I’ll be doing.

It’s a weird feeling, trying to be humble and knowledgeable at the same time. I can tell that when I ask questions, they’re surprised that I know enough to ask them. But at the same time, I sometimes feel like I’ve been given a child’s toy to assemble, and all the instructions are in Japanese. There’s also the fear that they’ll assume I know something that I don’t, and that could cause an issue, too.

And then there’s the gender thing. Hard to be taken seriously as a female bridge operator. But I’ve proven myself before. I guess I’ll have to do so again. Annoying to have to start from scratch after all these years, but in fairness, as far as these people are concerned I just hatched from the egg yesterday.

Obviously I’m not the first person in the world who has had to walk this type of tight rope, but it’s a strange feeling indeed. Wish me luck!

tight_rope_walker_530w13

[Image credit: thebettermom.com]