Catching Fireflies

finding magic along the way

Ah, those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer

I came across this post today, and it made me smile. I still haven’t discovered the secret to getting that freedom of summer from my younger days… But, I am learning to enjoy the heat more!

Whatever happened to the lazy days of summer?

I miss summertime.  You know the feeling I am talking about.  The long days stretched out ahead of us with nothing to do but wallow in the warmth and wonder from activity to activity.  Months of not being tied to a timetable. Granted, I haven’t had a summer like that since I was probably about 15 years old, but still, I miss it.

These days, as everyone can probably agree, we are so caught up in the to-do list and everything that we have to do, that we rarely get the chance to do things that we really want to do.

Take a typical weekend as an example.  After putting in my time at the office, we arrive home Friday night, burned out and needing a glass of wine.  First though, we have to do the “farm chores” – feed the cats, scoop the cat boxes, fill the bird feeders, hose the bird poop off the back step and the car roof :), take out the garbage, contemplate dinner, change into comfy clothes, look in the cupboard again, order a pizza, go get the pizza, take the pizza box out to the recycle bin and do the dishes, medicate the cats, pour that glass of wine and flop onto the couch too tired to even think about writing or doing anything creative.

Saturday and Sunday somehow manage to fill up with more farm chores, running errands, doing laundry, cleaning the cat boxes, washing the cars, mowing the lawn, weeding the flower beds, going to the grocery store, running the kids (in our case, cats) around, cleaning the house, figuring out what to make for lunch and dinner, family obligations and other commitments, and if we are lucky we manage to sneak in a nap.  Again, the thought of turning on my creative brain doesn’t even get the chance to cross my mind.

Don’t you wish we could have time like we used to have back in school where summer truly did mean longer days?  Oh, how we squandered them on meandering walks and bike rides, games under the setting sun, lounging by a pool, dipping our toes into the creek, camping out in the backyard, chasing fireflies, laying in the cool dewy grass at night, never realizing that long summer days would not always be there.

I think that we as adults and creative individuals need to take back the summer time feeling and allow ourselves to step away from the stringent rules of should haves and have tos and let ourselves feel that expansive freedom that we used to feel every summer.  Let it enter into our lives and help us breathe easier, knowing that the day is long and there will be time to do everything we need to do even if we allow ourselves to do first the things we want to do.

Yes, there will still be chores.  That just comes with the territory of being a responsible adult and a home owner.  But there needs to be time and space to enjoy our lives too.  The same holds true for our creative pursuits.  We need to be able to stretch out and let ourselves go.  I think it is the only thing that will keep us sane and healthy in the daily grind of earning a living.

I hereby pledge to allow myself the time to wallow in words and dip my toes in the pool of creativity.  I will do so without guilt and without checking my watch to make sure I am adhering to a schedule.  We have to do too much of that from 9-5.

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.

Brick by Brick

So this was happening next door to my office building the last few weeks…

The old hotel-turned-nursing-home next door has stood empty for years. It is finally being taken down to make room for a luxury apartment building.

Not being well-versed in construction and de-construction, I assumed that this would happen in one fell swoop with a wrecking ball or some explosives. While I had looked forward to witnessing that, I will admit that watching them systematically take the building apart has been mesmerizing.

There is something about taking down walls that are not serving a purpose any longer that has stirred my soul. It is a continuation of a theme that has been playing in the background of my life the last few month. What does the demolition of a building I have never gone into have to do with a Jewel song that I mentioned last week?

No longer lend your strength to that which you wish to be free from.

Apparently, this is something the universe wants me to hear because it keeps dropping this idea in my path in one form or another. First a song, now the deconstruction of a building that is no longer in use. Two examples of the same theme.

As the building continued to come down, I contemplated things in my life that were no longer serving me. Yes, there is always clutter in the house – more books than I need, kitchen gadgets I should donate, clothes I no longer wear. And there is that urge to roll up my sleeves and start clearing out the rooms.

 

But more than that, I find myself asking, what is there about my perception of who I am that is no longer serving me. Wow… That is pretty deep! 🙂

But let’s think about this. What is there about you that has defined who you are or what you do in your daily life that you want to change? Do you wish you could be more outgoing? Do you want to read more? Do you hate the way everyone thinks of you as the boss, the shy one, the unathletic one? What have you allowed to define you? And are you content with it?


When it is all said and done, you are the only one who can decide who you are and who you want to be. If you are displeased with some aspect of your life or personality, take steps to remedy it, to change it, to bring something new into being. I do believe that through practice and intention, we can change our outlook, how we portray ourselves, and how we live our lives. We can dismantle our image, our personal boundaries, and the obstacles we have placed in our own path – brick by brick. We can decide to no longer allow things that do not serve us to be constants in our lives.

What do you want to do differently moving forward?

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.

The Life Uncommon

I have had a song stuck in my head recently. It’s strange, because I haven’t actually heard the song in a long time, but it is stuck nonetheless. Jewel sings “Life Uncommon,” and as we celebrate Independence Day here in the U.S. and I contemplate blog topics in the same vein, the chorus is ringing in my head.

One line in particular –

No longer lend your strength to that which you wish to be free from.

I think everyone, deep down, wants to live a great and happy life. But in the course of the day to day -paying the bills, running errands, going to work, doing the dishes – we get stuck. We lose track of happy. We are too exhausted to even contemplate great.

We get so caught up in dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s and checking off our to-do lists that we lose sight of who we really aspire to be at our core.

What are your dreams? What makes you tick?

Are you chasing them? Are you doing something that kicks your skirt up every week, if not every day?

I know I get stuck in ruts so deep I can’t see over the edge. And when this happens, I feel like I don’t have the time or energy to do something for the pure enjoyment of it. Weeks go by, months!

Then I find myself tentatively taking a baby step toward that dream or passion and I can feel my soul saying, “Ahhh, there you are!”

To be truly free, we need to find a way to be true selves, to wear our passion on our sleeves for the world to see, to let our light shine bright and happy and unafraid.

I wish this independence from that which you wish to be from to all of us.

 

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.

Celebrating Independence

I watched my nephew graduate from high school last week and I cheered for all 189 students in his class as they celebrated this milestone in their lives. It reminded me of a post that I had written about becoming independent as we grow older and what independence has meant to me throughout my life. I wanted to share it again as we approach Independence Day here in the USA!

Reaching the State of Independence

When I started to contemplate a post about independence, I did what I always do. I googled it and landed on Wikipedia. There I found articles about algebraic independence, political independence, referendums on, wars of, but I found nothing about personal independence and what that might mean.

So I went to Dictionary.com and looked it up.

Freedom from the control, influence, support, aid, or the like, of others.

That gets us closer to where I was going…

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I used to think that independence meant making my own way in this world. So many milestones growing up lent themselves to my personal independence as I defined it at that time. Being allowed to come home after school without having to have someone watch us, getting my driver’s license, being allowed to stay out til midnight, getting a job.

When I graduated from high school and went to college, I was allowed to choose my own major, create my own schedule within the parameters assigned by the school. I was on my own when it came to skipping or attending class, doing assignments, studying. There was no one standing over me every night making sure my work was done.

When I got my degree and was out in the “real world” for the first time, I gained more independence when I got my first apartment, and learned how to manage my own budget. When I gained more responsibilities in my job and found that working independently while prioritizing my own work flow was so much more rewarding than being told what to do. With each promotion and job change, I gained more independence on the job, and greater financial independence.

When I got married, I learned about interdependence, which while slightly different from independence, still has some of the same qualities. My husband and I built a life where we were equals, yet independent. Our lives are woven together in every possible way and we support each other through every day living. But, we are still our own persons. We both enjoy different hobbies and activities, and we both have our own opinions and thoughts. Part of a successful marriage is learning to intermingle our individual selves and come out stronger for it. 🙂

I think as I have grown older, my idea of personal independence has evolved and become much more about the core me, instead of the exterior me that was allowed to do certain things. When we are teenagers and get that first taste of freedom and independence, we are still very much at the mercy of our parents’ rules and the school’s rules. We must toe the line or our independence is once again restricted.

As adults, we have to stick to certain parameters in our lives — the scope of our job and its responsibilities, the whims of our bosses, the laws of the local, state and federal government. But the independence that we seek becomes more intimate. We want to be our own person. We want to have our own dreams and goals. We want to be understood and accepted for ourselves. We don’t want to have to be like everyone else to fit in.

Many people I have known have also gained independence from the obstacles they met along their life path – debt, alcohol, drugs, people who were no good for them, physical limitations, their own mental demons. Once we get beyond that struggle for baseline independence, we allow ourselves to open up to the deeper independence that comes from knowing our true selves, and accepting them, and celebrating them.

That is true independence.

 

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.

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