It is so revealing when your eyes open to the truth. When you see that someone you cared about and wanted in your life for so very many years becomes someone you no longer care to have in your life. When you realize that “appearances” to them really are everything, that hurting others is really okay. Calling themselves Christian and being so righteous while making judgments about everyone else’s choices, once again reaffirms the adage “walk the walk, don’t just talk the talk.” I guess today I am feeling blessed that I have traveled the journey I have. I do not care about appearances; I care about people. I care about doing the right thing for its own sake. I care about treating people right. Not for my benefit, but for theirs. Just because “it’s the right thing to do.” (quote attributed to Lu) I am truly blessed that I have had the friends that I have, some still in my life and some not, who have helped me along this journey. I am a far better person because of them!
This is dedicated to a good friend of mine who I spent weekends with on her boat. We did this for many years and made many great memories. They weren’t always good times, but as with anything, it is always better to remember the laughter. So this post is for you, you know who “you” are, and I have only chosen the more “appropriate” things to share, as I know how embarrassed you can get…
A few days ago we took the boat to be fixed up and sold. I know it isn’t my boat, it belongs to you. But the memories made on that boat came back so crystal clear to me, that it was almost as if I were experiencing all the wonderful times over again. So I thought it only fitting that I write you this letter.
You know when you bought the boat in fall, I know it only felt like winter, and we had to get those “hours” on the motor so it would be ready for ski season next year? So we put on layers and layers of clothes to get on a ski boat and ride around the lake. Weekend after weekend. Yes, we were camping in the cold too, but it did not seem as bad as being on the lake; of course, the campfire and the schnapps may have helped warm us up, too.
And we can’t forget taking Sammy, the dog, with us on weekends. You always wanted to see if he could “ski.” You never tried it though. He swam, he camped and he went everywhere. He was truly the all-around companion. And every weekend he’d be such a mess…guess a lhasa apso was not the best breed for a water dog!
And all the weekends it was just too windy to ski, for you were always “glass-water” skiers, so we had some wonderful lunches on your “$14,000 floating picnic table!” I think the lunch consisted of beer, hard-boiled eggs, cheese, tomatoes and beer.
There were all those sayings we had:
~ 60 and sunny, warm enough to ski!
~ A bad day on the water is better than a good day anywhere else!
~ This sure beats working (which included jobs and household chores)!
~ I wonder what other people do on Saturdays?
~ Throw me the cushion! (This meant I need a beer and the cushion to set it on!)
And you did some fancy skiing behind that boat, I was always impressed, even if you said I was always “easy.” It was always my job to “watch,” so I knew when it was a good day or not, of course, I always said it was a good day. After all, I wanted to ride back to the dock. Especially since I could not swim. It was also my job to grab the ski after your run, pull in the rope, give you towel, get your cover-up and hand you a beer. We had very specific “jobs” in the boat. I was told that this was because of the small space and that we were floating on some deep water. I bought it. I followed it. I wanted to go. Even though I couldn’t swim and I didn’t ski, I had fun and I enjoyed being there. The other two jobs on the boat were “driver” and “skier.” Because I didn’t ski, I was told I couldn’t drive. I just didn’t want to “hurt” your boat, so I was really okay with that!
Remember the day I decided that I would try to ski…I remember the looks on both of your faces…”yeah right!” But you played along nicely and let me try. I got in the water and put on the skis, you both gave me very good instructions about how to get up and then you pulled the rope tight. I remember you waited for my nod, just as I had watched for yours all those times and as I gave it, I heard the roar of the motor, felt the pull of the rope and…damn if I didn’t pop out of the water and I was up! Only one problem, no one told me how to go from that crouching position of getting up, to that standing position of actually skiing! Why, you ask, because no one believed I would ever, really get up! So in trying to figure it out, I felt myself lean too far and I let go…the one and only time I ever got up and I let go…I felt bad about that for a long time, until I realized I GOT UP and that was the main thing!
I did enjoy that moment of getting back in the boat. When I washable to say: “get the rope, I need my cover up and where is my beer?” We all looked at each other and laughed. That may have been a big incentive to get out there and try it after all. I’d always wanted to say that.
Over the years things changed and I did not get to finish the years you spent with the boat with you. Things happen, life happens. I was glad I was there the day you took it to the shop to be repaired and sold. It seemed fitting. I could tell you were having a rough time and I knew better than to say too much. So I let you know I knew and I moved on, just as you wanted. It was another transition in life, letting go and moving on. Even though that had really happened years ago, this was just the absolute of it. As you said, “Priorities change, I want to do different things now.” I can see that, even though I never thought, all those years ago, that I’d ever hear those words! But it’s time, time for the Campione to give someone else half the fun, half the joy, half the drunken pleasure it gave to us!
What a crappy week! I am glad it is coming to an end…not the week per say, just that I am feeling better. I do not know what was wrong, just that I have been in bed with something all week. And I don’t like it! Haven’t even been able to sit at the computer to do any writing. Haven’t been able to think well enough to do any writing. The GOOD news is that I am feeling better today. Not totally, but well-enough. At least I can think (sort of), and sit up in a chair and walk around without hitting walls!
Amazing the things we take for granted! Of course, I always realize that after I get sick. All the things I take for granted. Things like:
~ Being able to feed the kids (dogs) without falling over!
~ Walking from room to room without hitting the walls!
~ Being able to sit upright!
~ Being able to get the mail out of the mailbox!
~ Being able to get something to eat or drink!
~ Being able to read and/or write when I want!
None of these things are very major things, but when I can’t do them they sure seem major. I know that far too often I look at the Blessings in my life as being the BIG things, however I need to start looking at the LITTLE things also. When I add those up they are far too numerous to count! And that Attitude of Gratitude becomes overwhelming!
Way too often I look at myself in ways that are very judgmental, in ways that only serve to negate whatever achievements I have made. I know in my head that this is self-defeating and very difficult to overcome. I, like a lot of people, was taught to “evaluate” myself through a very narrow and critical lens. Although I have tried to widen that lens and allow myself much more latitude in what is success and what is just okay, it is still difficult to not look through that old lens from time to time. I look at all the things I don’t have because of choices I’ve made or circumstances I can’t control. About ten seconds later, I realize that I also don’t need or want those things anyway, so it really doesn’t matter. I have everything I need! I am very blessed!
So when the critical, judgmental, narrow lens focuses on my life and I feel I come up short; I realize that I’ve lived my life the best that I could then and I still am. I will never have the approval of everyone, nor do I want it, for then I would not be living my life, I would be living theirs. When I was working, I had a sign in my office that read: “We all do the best we can everyday with what we have. Some days our best is better that others.” It helped my clients and it helped me; my “best” was different everyday.
I am not sure if this is a blog entry or a journal entry, but it is my rambling thoughts today, as I climb out of the bed and make my way back into sanity and life. Please pardon me if I seem to jump topics. I would wait to edit this and polish it before I post, however I am afraid it would not get done for days! I am as far behind on other things as I am on writing. It is just that I like to write more than I like to do the other stuff!
Just a brief thought this morning:
I have many pieces of paper taped to my computer, my walls, pinned to a pullet in board and under plastic on my desk. They are motivational to me. I can’t tell you why one ends up one place and another ends up somewhere else. It may be due to size or shape, when they “joined” my collection or perhaps the subject. I really haven’t taken much time to figure that out. Maybe I should, but that seems like procrastinating from something else…like a task I don’t want to do or I am afraid of doing. Which is another subject for another day…
When I sat down with my coffee to read email and blogs this morning, I noticed one of these quotes that I attached to my computer. I admit, I don’t really notice them very often anymore, as they have been there so long. One of them says: “Constant Forward Progress!!!” I no longer have any idea where the saying came from, as I did not write the source on the paper, so I cannot give credit where it is due. My first thought this morning was “no, not just constant progress…it has to be positive forward progress.” The constant part is nice, but the important part is the positive. It doesn’t matter if I take a breather and stall out for a few hours, or even for a day, as long as I just stall and don’t go backwards.
So, I will be changing that slip of paper today…and reassessing some of the other ones. I am thinking that this is Positive Forward Progress!
I did not write last week, which means it was the first week that I did not make my goal.
Yesterday, I found out I have another infection, which is common with Rheumatoid Arthritis and Psoriatic Arthritis, even if this one is a bit more serious.
The curious thing about both of these things: neither of them has caused me to want quit. That would be my usual response. If I set a goal for myself and I do not meet it, I immediately see it as failure and I move on to the next thing. Hence, blogging would be history for me at this point. Yet, here I am wanting to create another post. And the health thing would have caused me to curl up in a ball and start my own, private pity party. Not today though. Interesting. Even to me.
When I woke up this morning, I had to do my usual, “what day of the week is this,” routine. It’s hard to keep track sometimes. Then, instead of thinking,”what am I going to do today,” my thoughts ran to; “gosh, I’ve got to get some things done today!” There is always a list, no matter how “quiet” you think your life is, there is always a list. Maybe if I didn’t have a house, or if I didn’t have dogs, or I didn’t have… put in anything you’d like, but then I’d have to add, maybe if I wasn’t alive!
I recently read Anna Quindlen’s book “A Short Guide to a Happy Life.” It actually started as a commencement address she was to give at Villanova University (they canceled it because of protests). As of my first reading of the book, I think these things change as we reread things, the premise was: In order to have happiness you had to have a life! Seems like a pretty straightforward idea, until I thought about it and realized that a lot of my depression centered around my not having a life. Oh, I live. And considering everything, I live in a blessed way. But to have a life, one must live differently.
There will always be limitations that I will have to deal with, just as everyone does. Financial, physical, emotional, spiritual, psychological, the list could go on and on. Everyone has them. I am no different from anyone else. I just have to decide that I can have a life even though I can’t do all the things I might want to do. I have to find those things that I can do, to make a life; to find my happiness. No one can help me be happy, nor can anyone help me to make a life (although there have been a few who have helped me to live recently). I have to own my life and my happiness; I have to take responsibility for it. I have to stop looking back and wondering “why,” and start looking forward and thinking “WOW!” I have to realign my lens, so that I can focus more clearly on what is in front of me and around me now. I have never seen a picture dated today but taken of something that happened in the past. Pictures of the past are always faded with time.
Will a change in focus be easy? Probably not all the time, but I am going to give it a valiant try! I have learned in the past few weeks that focusing on what you want, does not make it happen; focusing on what you have, tends to bring it closer to you. Lamenting what you have lost only brings more pain; while recognizing all the beauty that is around you, brings more joy.
I am back on track with my goal of writing a blog once a week and I will not quit just because I missed a week. After all, I have pretty nasty infection that was not being treated until yesterday, I think I can cut myself some slack on that one. Another thing I never did before! Hmmm……. And the infection will heal and I will go back to dealing with the Rheumatoid and Psoriatic Arthritis again, without the infection. It will be okay.
Most importantly I will follow “A Short Guide to a Happy Life” and go out and find one, just as soon as this infection clears up and I can. And then I will be able to say “WOW!”
Random thoughts that I am pondering this morning.
~Why can’t they figure out what the hell is going on with the “sores” that keep appearing all over my body? One doctor says it’s X and the other doctor says it’s Y. Then they prescribe different things. No dermatologist, no skin scraping, no testing; just disagreement. Meanwhile, I keep getting new “sores” and neither medicine is working!
~The sunrise was absolutely beautiful this morning, so who cares about a few silly “sores” anyway! I am so blessed to see such a gift. I love opening my shades in the morning when I let my fur-kids out and seeing the beginnings of the oranges, pinks, purples and yellows on the horizon. It makes everything okay.
~I have volunteered to do something that I seem to have a mental block about doing. I need to get past this, as I made a commitment. I have it mostly completed, need to type it up on the computer. Mostly, the problem is that I spend so much time reading blogs that I am tired and hurting from sitting at the computer so long! I will feel better when it is done though. So just do it already!
~ It is going to feel like Spring today and I hope to get some time outside to enjoy it! Or at least accomplish something that has to do with warm weather. After all, Winter returns tomorrow, with cold temperatures and the possibility of more snow. Will Winter ever give up and allow Spring to arrive? Are we going to go straight from Winter to Summer? I hope not, I love the blooming of Spring and the warm days/cool nights. One of my favorites is the light green of the budding trees with the purple of the budding Redbud trees. That is just gorgeous! Hopefully I can get a picture this Spring to post on here.
~I am thinking it would be a good day to give the fur-kids a bath. Of course, I can’t say this out loud or they will hide the rest of the day! They really need one, it has been way too long. I don’t like to do this chore any more than they like to get a bath. It hurts. And I spend a couple of days recovering. It seems silly, but it is true. It only takes a couple of hours to give baths, but afterwards, I can barely walk. But since I have nothing much going on, it seems like a good time. Now if I can convince myself of this when it warms up this afternoon.
One last thought for today: I know that I am so blessed in so many ways. I think of all the people who are homeless, who are hungry, who are truly alone; and I realize how much I have been given. And then I think of all the families of Flight 370. I can’t imagine their pain. So, yes, it is all perspective and looking on the positive side of life. Most of the time I am able, sometimes I forget.
Positive thoughts to you all…
As I am getting my coffee this morning, I look out my kitchen window, which faces east. The sun is still low on the horizon with its oranges, pinks and purples lighting the sky. I notice that my neighbor’s yard looks ablaze. I do a double take. At first, I think they must have yard lights on it is so bright. Then I realize that because their house faces east, that is the sun lighting up their yard. It has hit it just right and I have been lucky enough to catch the sight!
It is amazing what we can see when we really look. I was fortunate to go out a few days with friends last fall on “fun days.” We would take off driving and go wherever the car/driver led us. We would stop when someone wanted and take pictures or if someone had a particular destination in mind, it could be requested. One of the women, who has studied photography, in this group said something that has run through my mind ever since. About an hour and a half before sunset one day, she became excited and said, “we have to get to the park now, it is almost the golden hour.” I asked what “the golden hour” was and she explained that it was the hour when the sun/light was “perfect” for taking pictures.
I had never thought about a time of day when the sun was “perfect.” I have always thought the sun was pretty perfect all the time. Of course, I had never thought about the “light” for pictures, other than not taking them facing the sun. Since then, I have paid more attention to some of the photographers I know who take landscape pictures. They almost always use the time around sunset to light their work. I do not mean that their pictures are of the sunset, but the picture has the light of the sunset in it, the “golden hour.”
As I think about the “golden hour,” I can’t help but think of it as a metaphor for our lives. So many of us spend our entire lives working to make a living, trying to “find” ourselves, and running the “rat race” of life. Until our “golden hours” arrive. Suddenly, the light is right! We can see our soul again! The soul we could see in our childhood, but lost when we had commitments and bills; when the “rat race” overwhelmed us. And when we see our soul, our passion comes alive! We can see what we want to do, what we want to be and the path to getting there. The blessing in the “golden hour” is that it illuminates it all before us, all we have to do is…GO.
It sounds so simple, to just “go.” It never is. We have to walk past the darkness of our fear and that stops a lot of people. The biggest fears I have heard are: 1) What would people think?; 2) What if I give up what I have and I end up not liking the new thing?
Most people who think they know me, would say I worry very little about what other people think. People who really know me, know that I worry way too much about what some people think! I am trying to get past that. I know that I can’t please anyone, so I’ve got to please myself (okay I started singing that line, you can sing along if you know the song)! It’s the emotional part of me that I am still trying to convince. It no longer stops me from doing what I want, however. Now, I try to just do what I need/want to do and let “them” deal with how they feel about it. I guess it all comes down to living your own life or allowing someone else to live your life for you; whether you want to be free or be a prisoner.
As to the second fear, what’s to say you cannot go back if you do not like what your soul is leading you to? I do not, however, believe that will happen. I do not think the soul is ever “wrong.” Our listening skills may be off. We may “hear” what we want to hear, and not what our souls are really telling us. We may be too afraid to listen at that time, so opportunities may pass us by. But I do not believe that our true soul leads us in the wrong direction. We just have to be able to really hear it. That takes a lot of quiet time and reflection.
Maybe that is why the light of the “golden hour” is so special. Maybe that is why we can see things so differently through the lens when the light shines so distinctly at that time. Its the time when things quiet down, become still and start to settle in for the night. It is the time when we can listen and truly hear, without distractions of the day.