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.

Look how far we’ve failed

There have been a few things lately that I could count as failures and I will share them, because I said that I would not only share my successes but also what I learn from my not so successful ventures. It’s nothing too weighty but it forces me to think of how far I’ve come as well.

Thing number one: Using a wax seal to make a gorgeously finished letter (and then mailing it). Turns out, I used the wrong wax and the entire thing pulled away from the paper. Also, stamps are far more expensive than I last remembered and the letter in question still needs to make it to the mailbox!
I have learned that you need to use actual sealing wax to press a good pattern into and have it stick.

It actually looked much worse than this.

Thing number two: Making a cozy, creamy, comfort food, crock-pot chicken dish entirely without following a recipe. It would have been alright if I didn’t second guess how cooked the chicken was at the end of the first 4 hours. It looks awful now, after I cooked it several more hours, and I can’t bring myself to eat it.
Lesson learned: There can be some pink in cooked chicken as long as it’s the right texture.

Both of these things happening in the same week did get me a little down. I am a perfectionist after all. Yes, I know that I’m hard on myself and have difficulty accepting any real compliment. Doling them out to others is much easier. Last night, I was watching an old episode of The Great British Baking Show, with my parents. Before leaving, I thanked them for all the support and encouragement they give me and said “You’re awesome.” My dad shot back “You’re awesome!” and I accepted it super gracefully with a “meh”. He was quick to back up his statement, telling me to look at how far I’ve come. Maybe I’m not where I want to be, but I’m much closer than I was.

Thankfully, he is right and I think it’s true for a lot more people than just me. Let me pass on his encouragement to you. You’re awesome. Look how far you’ve come.