Catching Fireflies

finding magic along the way

The Fool at Peace

Some would say that I am too trusting. I tend to give people and situations the benefit of the doubt. I like to believe that there is good in everyone and that people don’t have ulterior motives. I am sure I have been taken advantage of because of this.

But I do truly believe that if we don’t give people the opportunity to surprise us, they will always disappoint us. If we continually believe that people won’t come through for us, they won’t. If we approach every situation as though someone will hurt us, they will. If we decide ahead of time how people will act or respond, we will often be discouraged.

The issue arises when we assume that what others perceive as right will be the same as we do. I am not talking right and wrong as in legal and illegal, or good vs. morally corrupt. I am simply talking about how we treat each other in our daily lives, the little ways in which we communicate.

Trust is a scary thing.

We give it sparingly or we find ourselves with hurt feelings, bruised egos, and years of therapy.

But, despite almost 50 years of being sometimes disappointed, I still believe that the good in people wins out most of the time. People will make mistakes. They will speak without thinking, word things so they sting, use a tone of voice that leaves you feeling vulnerable. We all have those moments. We are human, after all.

I like to believe that people are inherently good, and that given the chance, people will avoid hurting others. Sometimes they are in the middle of a lot of their own crap – stress, illness, pain of their own. When this happens, they don’t watch their words and buffer their actions with empathy. They act out in ways I never saw coming.

Yet, I continue to believe.

Call me, naive, or just plain stupid. Some may find it foolish, but I find a greater sense of peace in approaching the world and my fellow humans with a sense of acceptance as opposed to expectation. I am learning to be present and really see people as they are, scars and all. We are all far from perfect. But if given the chance to surprise you, we just might.

Monday Morning Pick-Me-Up

Let’s face it. Monday’s are rough. The end of the freedom that came with the weekend, the start of a long week, the return to work. To help ease you into your week, I wanted to share a little something that made me smile.

With Age Comes Wisdom

I had a birthday last week. Yep, I turned 49.

I always find people’s reactions to birthdays curious. My favorite reaction is when they argue with me, insisting that I can’t possibly be as old as I am. I take those as compliments, assuming it is because I don’t look that old as opposed to not acting my age. 🙂

But I also get a lot of sympathy and dark comments like the end is drawing near. This year I heard a lot of “oh, close one!” or “one more year!” It sounded ominous, as though, when the clock hits 50 it is all downhill from there.

I don’t get worked up about birthdays. I went to work, cranked through paperwork all day. I had a lovely quiet evening at home with my husband and the fabulous cake he baked me. It was a good day.

I did notice something interesting while leaving my office. I realized that despite the years of depression and anxiety, despite the common heart palpitations and shortness of breath, my birthday brought on none of these things. I realized that I felt a sense of peace.

Someone once told me that your 50s are when you finally make friends with yourself. You allow your tolerance of others to overflow onto yourself. You accept things out of your control, and stop struggling to be someone you are not. She told me that in my 50s I will speak my mind more freely and start to finally trust myself.

I had always hoped that this was true. God knows, I have struggled decades, and worn different masks, and silently doubted myself each step of the way. I am tired and I was really hoping that this prophecy would hold up to the years. I thought I would have another year to struggle through before I found that magical enlightenment.

On my birthday, I found myself wondering if perhaps a hint of that magic had come early. Could it be that in my ripe “old” age I am finally coming to terms with who I am and where I am in my life? Could it be that I have found the peace that comes with acceptance of whatever faults I have or mistakes I have made? Perhaps, I have reached the stage in life where I will no longer feel that pressure of the tiny voice in my head saying, “hurry! rush, rush! check off that list of things you have to do, should do, should be! be everything to everybody else!”

Still, days later, I carry this feeling. I like it. I could get used to it. I hope it is here to stay.

I am looking forward to this last year in my 40s with a twinge of excitement and hope. Instead of looking at all the years gone by, I find myself looking toward all the years ahead. And I think to myself that now is the perfect time to do things and try things that have always intrigued me, things that kick up my skirt. You know, now, while I am still “young.” 🙂

I wonder what each week may bring, 51 weeks left until I am 50. Should I do 50 new things? Maybe not all of them need to even be new. Just 50 things that I have wanted to do and have put off doing for whatever reason sounded good at the time…

The possibilities are endless.

Monday Morning Pick-Me-Up

Let’s face it. Monday’s are rough. The end of the freedom that came with the weekend, the start of a long week, the return to work. To help ease you into your week, I wanted to share a little something that made me smile.

When the Muse Speaks

Life can come at us at warp speed sometimes. I just had six non-work days in a row and had planned a lovely stay-cation with lots of books, wine and naps. I needed it. Since early last fall, every day off from my day job found me in some sort of class, tending to a family member’s health, at various appointments, etc. I really needed some true down time. You know the kind – where you don’t have anywhere to be or anything to check off your to-do list.

Unfortunately, the stress levels got too high before I scheduled that kind of time off. So I spent the first four days trying to “relax” and make the heart palpitations stop. I had trouble sleeping. I didn’t even really have good naps! I didn’t feel restored.

The last two days off, I started working on a new quilt project. I let myself wallow in my fabric stash. I managed to find about 80% of the necessary fabric right in my own sewing room. I allowed myself a trip to the fabric store in the rain to buy a few yards of accent fabric, muslin for backing and batting.

I spent hours bonding with my pile of scraps, a cutting mat and a rotary cutter and just listened to the rain on the roof. No music or TV in the background, just the rain and some chortling from one of the cats.

It felt like coming home.

Why do we let our lives get so busy and stressful before we allow ourselves deep quiet? Do we not realize how much the added stress compounds our daily issues? It makes trying to relax and carving out some much-needed alone time a very complicated process.

The night before I came back to work, I didn’t sleep well. I tossed and turned for hours. When I did finally fall asleep, I had very strange and vivid dreams filled with people from work. Obviously, my subconscious was trying to process the fact that the vacation was drawing to a close.

I need to promise myself to not wait for my next vacation day to find this quiet mind that I rediscovered. I need to go to that peaceful place on a weekly if not daily basis. Maybe then, my creativity will blossom and I will find the energy to work on my next book…

My muse has spoken.

Monday Morning Pick-Me-Up

Let’s face it. Monday’s are rough. The end of the freedom that came with the weekend, the start of a long week, the return to work. To help ease you into your week, I wanted to share a little something that made me smile.

Finding What You Didn’t Lose

I admit it. I sometimes find myself in some deep ruts that I can’t seem to claw my way out of. I get caught up in all the day-to-day detritus and lose track of what I want to accomplish. My writing takes a backseat to, well, everything else in the world.

Sometimes this happens because I am legitimately exhausted and burned out from my day job and the additional professional goals I find myself pursuing. Sometimes though, I think it is just because I seem to subconsciously enjoy chasing my tail.

At least, that’s what it feels like. I get so caught up in the pre-planning stage that I never even start. Pre-planning is that lovely, romantic time when you are simply in love with the idea of doing something. You research it, read about it, talk about it, make grand plans of when you will have time to do it. BUT you never actually do any of it.

This is when the most important life skill we can learn is to simply get out of our own way. We have to train ourselves to just take that first step. No matter how small and insignificant it may seem on the surface, those baby steps add up and will carry you across the finish line.

Instead, we often let ourselves wallow in the pre-planning because the hill we are wanting to climb seems too high and too steep. So we putter around and blame a lack of time or energy on our lack of progress.

The worst part for me is knowing that I know how to get out of my own way, and yet I still have trouble doing it. There have been many times in the last five years or so where I have set a goal and buckled down and taken all those little baby steps to achieve it. Yet, with each new goal, I dig a deep rut and sit there contemplating it instead of just starting.

As I mentioned in my post last week, life is short. And sometimes it doesn’t wait for you to decide to begin. Sometimes it throws even more obstacles in your path so you give up, you postpone, you let your doubt take control of your heart.

Stop doing that to yourself.

Sit yourself down and have a long heart to heart with the right-now-you and the you-you-want-to-become. Decide what steps need to be taken. Write them down. Break them down into even tinier steps so that accomplishing one seems like a no-brainer, something you can do in an hour, a day, a weekend. And then start checking those steps off as you move toward your dreams.

You know what you need to do. You just need to start.

Monday Morning Pick-Me-Up

Let’s face it. Monday’s are rough. The end of the freedom that came with the weekend, the start of a long week, the return to work. To help ease you into your week, I wanted to share a little something that made me smile.

%d bloggers like this: