Determined to feel alive

If I am going to keep hanging in the balance of waiting for my perfect future and being open to growth and change, I might as well be in a good relationship with myself.

Essentially, I have a four year time frame to make some big changes. Four years left in current wonderful apartment, four years to save, to decide, to make moves. I want to buy a house. Where that house will be is not concrete. Do I want to stay in my home state, without family? Is there enough here to keep me, or will I end up settling somewhere else, with or without the support system of my parents close by. I’m fortunate to have a close relationship with them. There is no way of knowing if I will meet someone and form a romantic relationship before then either, and that would be another factor, of course.

I was taken on a wonderful date today. It felt good to dress up, grab a small, fall-special coffee after being cooked a delicious breakfast of buckwheat pancakes from scratch with eggs and bacon and then head to my favorite dirt trail.
The autumn colors were stunning and I didn’t rush my pace, taking in the uninterrupted beauty around me. There was some kind of company event using the park, with signs on the trail so the path less taken was…taken. It led the way, wandering through a field of waving grass and then skirted a group of birches. We’ve had a few storms this past month or so and fallen trees or sawed off roots were not a surprise to see. A large stump, the partially charred trunk lying close by, arrested my attention without a second glance. I almost put an end to the child-like glee that sprung up inside me, but why should I have? There was no one there to worry about boring or embarrassing. Doing my best not to disturb too much on my way through the dry, taller grasses, I arrived at my destination properly pleased with myself. The simple happiness that accompanied clambering up on that big stump was so soothing. It was large enough for me to lay on and stare up into the perfectly blue sky. No anxious thoughts came to plague me. I was able to just be. “This would be a perfect place for a date.” I thought, but the friends I had reached out to were already busy so I was alone. It was about then, that I realized I could be my own sort of significant other until the person meant for me appears. I want someone who values me and makes me feel safe but I don’t do that for myself much of the time. With that in mind, could I be intentional about being in a committed relationship with myself? It sounds strange, but the idea of value and self-love is at the bottom of it.

After appreciating the situation for a bit and finishing the walking circuit, I finally visited my favorite tea shop. It’s been a long time since I’ve been able to get a personal pot of fragrant tea, a slice of tiramisu, and settle myself in one of the Japanese-style seating areas with tatami mats and low tables. Sure, it still crossed my mind that it would be nice to share this with someone, but it’s also a near-perfect place to write. A violin version of Merry-Go-Round of Life floats quietly through the space, mingling with quiet discussion and clinking of tea dishes. The small chalkboard sign at the counter states “no wi-fi on weekends” and electrical outlets by my seat are covered up. All the better. There are few places to create this atmosphere. Precious tea dribbles onto my journal page as I burn my mouth on the complimentary refill. I’m glad it is thick paper.
Usual melancholy is waiting under the surface of this rest. Hauntingly nostalgic piano music makes its ripples, prodding at my thoughts of both future and past again. I want more days like this, where I am determined to feel alive.

I’m going to stop apologizing for the delays or absences in my posting and instead focus on what I do bring to this place. Life is full of confusing ups and downs. All I can do is my best.

Thank you for being here strangers and friends.

Eventually

Hello dearest friends and strangers,

I have once again spent more than my usual time away from you this week. It’s been difficult to have motivation or inspiration.
Yesterday, I accomplished a massive amount of cleaning and was expecting to feel happy and pleased with myself but instead, sunk into a gloom that I could not understand.

Maybe it was due to finally having “free” time, not a jam-packed weekend schedule. Maybe it was the quiet that I crave during the week, finally sinking in. Whatever reason, there was no escaping my thoughts. Losing myself in social media scrolling didn’t distract me, instead it pulled struggle to the front, forcing me to process what I didn’t even completely realize I had been avoiding.

There is a trend where people show all the hard work and pain that they’ve been going through and then, as the music swells, say or show why it’s all worth it; what they are moving toward.
I’ve lost that. I know I have purpose. I know I have value. I just don’t have an end goal to grasp. My dreams are lackluster. There is no obvious path that I am following. The five year plan question that management ask in interviews has always been difficult for me but I honestly don’t have an answer right now.

As I look back at all that I have gained, everything checked off my ever-growing to-do list, I wonder why comfort doesn’t come with all the blessings. Will anything ever be enough? Will I ever be enough, not for others, but for myself?

Take a deep breath. I’m not looking for you to answer. Just know that, if you’re troubled by your own apathy and numbness to your life, your future, you’re not alone. Keep going. We’ll get there eventually.

Beautiful and Tumultuous

The wind is making the trees dance in the setting sun. Spinning seeds find their way to me from an empty sky It is not quiet, yet it is peaceful. When this type of breeze makes my hair caress my arms and strands cross my face, I feel as if I must be important, strong. There is no booming, no cracking or roaring. Instead the power is quiet, soft and still beautiful.

I wonder if the wind has ever known where it’s going. As far as I can tell, it just goes. I want to be like the wind; beautiful in my collected chaos, freely fulfilling my purpose, not worried about where I’m headed.

Toast

The rain patters quietly outside of her open window, punctuated by a car alarm honking forlornly in the distance. Placing her hands on either side of her mug, the warmth seeps into her fingers and she breathes in, herbal cadence blending with fresh rain smell. It had been a long day, discouraging but she couldn’t let up just yet. She wrinkled her nose slightly, noting that the trash was not a list item that she could put off any longer. A blank spot on the opposing wall gained her steady gaze as she pondered the complex weight on her mind. How is it that no matter how much was ever accomplished in either her personal or professional life, it felt like no progress was made?

There was no answer of course. Not this time at least, so she rose from her spot on the floor to stare into the refrigerator. No food looked appealing, either requiring effort and time or unsettling her fickle appetite. She sighed. When did eating become just another item on her list of things to do? The neighbor’s bass thrummed through the wall and she finally grabbed a loaf of bread, throwing a couple slices in the toaster. She jumped when they popped up, what felt only a few seconds later. Butter. Absentmindedly, the previously utilized fork on the counter was used to spread the slices before she once again sank to the floor.

She couldn’t have turned into a robot entirely. Robots don’t care about food. The real question was, what else did she actually, truly, care about? Once again, no answers presented themselves so she continued to study the blank space on the wall and munch on the half-done toast.

Ordinary Peace

Getting last minute approval to leave your windowless office job early on a Friday feels oh so lovely, like you’re getting away with something as you step into the sun, removing your facemask.
I’m sitting on the slab of cement cherished as my patio. Partially shaded, but with the warmth soaking into my legs from the rock, covered by my skirt. A loud crunch/pop sound breaks the songs of crickets as I open a cold can of V8 juice. I’m trying to have more vegetables in my diet and I already treated myself to a creamy nitro cold brew, laced with salted caramel this morning. Normally I don’t spring for nitro but it truly had a different flavor, richer and darker than the regular.

It’s the perfect day as far as weather goes. A cool clear, morning growing from the low seventies to the low eighties with a breeze shushing through the leaves of the trees. Come to think of it, it’s probably frogs, not crickets I’ve been hearing, since it’s not yet evening. Either way, I’m not worried. Normally I would be, thinking about my never ending list of things to do and accomplish but I’m happy, at peace just existing for a change.

Whatever kind of week you’re coming out of, I hope that you’re able to experience peace in the ordinary beauty of life.

Thank you for reading, strangers and friends.

The Perfect Life

Hello friends and strangers,
I must apologize for my extended absence. Life has been complicated lately. I know, when is it not. Battling burnout at my job, taking a wonderful trip from which I had to return, exhaustion and getting sick, focusing on my immediate space instead of the cerebral, and quite frankly, lack of wonder and inspiration in my everyday life; these are the things I blame for my lack of posting.

My eating and sleeping have been most impacted. Vivid dreams leave me tired and confused when I wake up. Interest in food or the energy to make it are in short supply.

This morning though, staying home to stream church instead of exposing people to whatever my body is fighting, I found that pocket of contentment. Nothing is perfect. I dropped my beautiful cheese toast face down on the rabbit-fur-covered rug. My stomach is still upset, but I was able to enjoy sitting on the ground by the windows, soaking up the sun indoors, since the smoke from Canada has impacted air quality. The black berries and crisp pickle slices, that escaped the fall, were refreshing and Clove convinced me to hand over some of the fur-covered toast, allowing me to fit in a few smoothings of her velvety soft fluff. No, things are far from perfect but, life can still be good.

Toasted sourdough, dill havarti, prosciutto, with blackberries, dill pickle slices and coffee.

Reflection of a Smile

I was taught to smile at everyone. You never know what kind of day they are having, what they are going through, or the impact a simple smile could have.

I still smile at almost everyone. If I can make even a small difference that way, it’s worth it.

Looking in the mirror today, tired, I smiled at myself. Then realized, I don’t remember the last time I genuinely smiled at me; not a pose for a picture, not customer service, not a reaction to someone or something else but instead extending that kindness inward.

Self love, worth, and identity are lifelong struggles for a lot of people on varying levels, whether it’s body issues, awkwardness, trauma or circumstances. I don’t have everyday solid advice, since humans are very complex with varying situations.

But, can you do me a favor, dear friends and strangers? Can you smile at yourself like you would a stranger, friend, or family member? Please be kind to yourselves.

The robbed that smiles, steals something from the thief.

William Shakespeare

A day later

Last night, I got home from work, exhausted and unmotivated. I was fully set to lay on my bed, skip dinner, and hide from the mess that is my apartment. Thankfully, a couple of calls with people got me moving.

While I still only managed a bowl of Cream of Wheat for dinner, it counts as eating right? Starting around 9pm, the cleaning bug bit and my kitchen, clean clothes, and a few other things are now taken care of.

When do you get inspiration? Mine shows up at some of the worst times for my schedules of work, sleep, and responsibilities. I worked at 7:30am this morning and ended up getting to sleep around 11pm. Do any of you have tips for getting the most out of ill-timed inspiration, when your to-do lists is seemingly endless and your energy is regularly low after working?

I’ve been dealing with some health difficulties on top of the normal stresses and “excessive heat” advisories of the past week so thank you for reading my short update, a day after I wrote it.

Wishing you health and inspiration this week, friends and strangers.

This day of “Everyday”

Hello friends and strangers,

Hopefully you are well. I write this after what I could normally consider a dragging, hectic Monday at work. A valued co-worker put in her notice of resignation, another is miserable with a cough and sniffles, and I didn’t accomplish much productivity over my weekend.

I can’t help but be happy though, content, somehow calm. I’ve got my door open so the wind can blow. All manner of birds can be heard, as well as the simmering of a vegetable broth on the stove. Clove is grooming herself, just out of reach on the rug and I have baked a very healthy and visually pleasing dinner. Just kidding, it’s frozen mini corn dogs but they are yummy.

Since not much productivity happened over my weekend, I came home to a very messy apartment: Clean clothes strewn everywhere, trash desperately needing handling, and a kitchen full of dirty dishes. I powered through them immediately upon getting home, a rare occurrence that normally drains me. Yet, I feel full emotionally. I’m almost afraid to admit it, that it won’t be true if I do. Is this purely gratitude? I honestly don’t remember the last day of “regular” life that I was this wholly happy for it to be mine.

I have much to be grateful for and I just felt the need to share how thankful I am that I can actually feel it today instead of just knowing it. Hopefully you are able to escape the blur of time passing. Have a wonderful evening of this day, of your everyday.

From the kitchen rug

Some days it’s just not practical to try to think of everything as wonderful and fantastical. Some days require oneself to see the day for what it is and simply make the best of it.

Today is not a bad day. There is sunlight streaming through my window and I am afforded some peace and quiet, apart from my own head trying to wind me up. My rabbit, Clove is out and doesn’t feel the need to move around the apartment much. Instead, she is enjoying sitting on the rug in the kitchen and occasionally visiting me to see if I will share the apple I have just sliced.

It’s been a long week. I can’t quite explain it but I feel drained, drowsy and just a bit broken. That’s the truth. Learning to recognize my own emotions and struggles, while also finding the beauty and positivity in my days is a constant learning experience. I post the beautiful things I look for and find, to increase my thankfulness and appreciation for what I have. I don’t want anyone to be mislead by thinking that my pictures, my highlight reel, is all there is to my life. Life is deep. There is always more to the story than you can see.

Enjoy this beautiful day strangers and friends. There is only one of it.