The day before 50…13 hours and counting down

No turning back now!

Today is the last day I can claim 49 years old. I guess technically I could get away with saying I am 49 minus 1 day or 49 minus a week oh wait…that would actually be PLUS a day or PLUS a week. Then again that would be like professing that I am 120 pounds plus 30. HA! Sounds worse than just stating the truth; I am 50…in 13 hours!

I have been anxious about this birthday for a long time. I think when I turned 49 I was already grieving my last year in the 40’s before it had even started. I have attempted to define what causes this strife but like anything in life you can measure it only has value if it has value to you. Others would look at where I am and say any number of positive or negative things to which it simply does not matter; what matters is the feeling inside that says something is ending and where I wake-up as a new beginning is less where I have been before; less than. Hmmm…still not getting it right.

Things I wonder on this last day of 49:

  • When do you stop blaming your childhood for your shit?
  • When do you stop defining yourself by a number? Weight? Age? Bank Account?
  • When do you realize this is where you are and allow yourself to be? The blog name itself suggests that “Always Starting” doesn’t allow a lot of room to “Be”. (Always Being…doesn’t have the same power and then again maybe that is the issue in itself.)

Things I know on this last day of 49:

  • I know what brands work for me. I don’t need to “try” new things because the trial has been done and what works, works. This allows one less decision to be made on many things. (The oh shit moment in this statement is that I think what defines a Senior Citizen is they don’t like change! Oh shit indeed.)
  • I know that where I am feels right; but why do I keep looking? My home, my job, my health (that might be stretch), my friends, my family…it all feels right. Now how do you simply sit back and cruise?
  • I know what I NEED to do and what I don’t, the remaining question is how do I convince my monkey mind? “Always Starting” suggests that there is always a Monday, there is always a STARTING LINE and yet in that there is little rest and too much resistance.

Who I am is not fully defined yet. There are certainly places I have drawn a line in the sand and then other places I have yet to find that boundary. As I wake-up into the 5th decade of my life, likely more than half way through, I will work to resolve those things that have taken the first 50 years to learn and succumb and spend the time resolving to BE. I have threatened this many times before but this time, this has to be different. (Wow it sounds so serious. Like what happens if I wake up tomorrow and it is just like today. Pondering all of the same things? End of the world? I think not.)

This is me at 49.99 with 13 hours and 15 minutes to go. This is me; neurotic, always thinking and never satisfied. This is also me; caring, loving and giving. I am who I am as you are who you are; today and at any age. Tomorrow will come if I am so fortunate and upon waking I will breathe in the same fortunate air I breathe today. I will wake next to the same commitment that has helped me survive the last 25+ years and I will know that as I wake up I am better than I was the day before…at any age.

Life as I live it…L.

Everything Means Something…

I was pushed recently about why I think everything needs to mean something.  Why can’t something just “be” what it is without having meaning.  I have explored this thought for many months now since it was originally asked of me.  I find that life with meaning is far more valuable, at least to me, and makes sense of the unfortunate things that happen to make them feel like there was fortune despite what seems random.

Better explained, giving value to all things, is simply my way of getting through this life.  I prefer optimism and in order to stay positive, I have to believe that things that happen, that would otherwise be defined as bad, have meaning.  I also like to believe that there is more to life than simple misfortunes.  My most recent application of meaning includes two thoughts I had this week.

  • Recent surgeries have left me with a literal cross on my abdomen.  While there are so many things that these scars represent the visual from my perspective is a cross.  I choose to believe that this cross on my abdomen is a reminder of how blessed I am to have gone through these surgeries and come out better on the other side.  I have healed remarkably and have only been left with these scars.

This is a perfect example of my perspective in finding meaning. It would be too easy to be distressed by the literal disaster that my abdomen has become however I have no control over it, never did and never will, and hence can do nothing about it. Would it be better to lament about the physical disfigurement or simply embrace it as the blessing that it is? I choose blessings over curses every single day.

Another example:

  • I have a cross that I wear daily that reminds me of my mom.  My husband gave it to me after her passing and I typically don’t take it off.  As this month is the month of her passing two years ago I always find August to be the most difficult month. While I try to stay busy I am triggered by many things that occur in the month.  This August has not been as difficult, yet I still find myself searching for that cross around my neck.  The other night when getting out of the shower, the necklace broke.  As I took it off it immediately occurred to me that this was God’s way of letting me know that I no longer need it because I am okay.  Anyone else might have just been upset that the necklace broke yet I refuse to allow such simple or unfortunate explanation and instead choose to believe it is a sign.  A sign that I am moving on stronger.

Again my thought about the cross could simply have been to be upset that this month when I need it most my most frequent reminder of her is broken. Not in my world, there is enough wrong in this world without me allowing my own journey to be a part of that sentiment. The sweetest part of this story is that my husband noticed that the necklace had broke and without me asking he took it to get it repaired for me. That is LOVE.

Everything means something to me. Everyone means something to me. I believe that this life is a journey and the stops along the way enrich the journey. We are taught by those people and experiences around us, if only we choose to see it that way. Ultimately like I have reminded so many times before “YOU decide” everything in your life. I decide to see things with meaning because a life without it is simply not worth living, in my opinion.

Live as define it – L.

P.s. To the person that made me ultimately think hard enough about this topic that I made it a blog post you should know that YOU have elicited “this” in me in knowing and loving you. Everything indeed means something as you have taught me there is more to life than what you see on the surface.

Chemistry Connection

What is it about chemistry that brings two people together? It is not the kind you learn about in high school that requires the memorization of the table of elements. Or maybe it is…there has to be a science to it. I spent two hours on the phone with one of my best friends today and I could feel it. The pull was undeniable, just seeing her on the screen made everything right in my world. She is someone who knows me from my surface to my soul but it is not what familiarity that creates the draw to one another, it has to be chemistry there is simply no doubt about it.

When I looked up the definition of chemistry to see if there was a definition to explain what I know and feel I indeed found the following defintion:

Relationship Chemistry – In the context of relationships, chemistry is a simple “emotion” that two people get when they share a special connection. It is the impulse making one think “I need to see this [other] person again” – that feeling of “we click”.

Amazing! Yes, of course it is a science. The relationships I have with people in my life are definitely a matter of chemistry. The chemistry with my friends is undeniable. We feel each other on a level that is unexplainable. In the case of “my girl” today we have been a part of each other’s lives for so many years, raised kids together, worked together, vacationed together, done EVERYTHING together and the chemistry is as exact a science as I have ever known.

As I like to explore the opposites of all perspectives I believe it is chemistry that also turns me off from people. I get a feel for people that don’t jive with me that is as undeniable. It is a vibe, a character-type that throws the red flags that keep me weary. Like any chemistry it is not always spot-on as there have been a few in my life that I did not jive with initially that later became partners-in-crime. This feeling, this chemistry, this polarization is “real” as I have tested it, letting my guard down only to realize that I was right all along, they were wrong for me.

In conclusion, (yes I just started my last sentence with this 🙄) it is interesting that the actual chemistry that exists in those related to you should be an obvious connection however so often that chemistry when mixed can be volatile. One would think that those that we share a bloodline with would be our best matches yet as we all know this simply is not a proven fact. Could it be that when two elements get too close to one another the reaction is adverse?

My table of elements (aka my “circle”) is full of those that when mixed with my personality create chemical reactions that are the perfect mix of love and admiration. Relationship Chemistry YES, I am a student and like to believe a successful graduate…maybe even a PhD.

Life as I live it – L.

In these moments…

I love to see a moment unfold before my eyes, so much so that I have the awareness to take it all in and appreciate it. As I am climbing into bed tonight, feeling fulfilled from the day, I hear the rain outside and realize how peaceful it is. Quiet rainfall, not a downpour, and all I can hear in this moment are the drops hitting the roof. I would normally reach for the remote for the tv but instead, in this moment, I reach for my iPad and decide the time is better for an introspective blog post.

I look for these moments in my life and when I see them I identify them internally and depending on the company sometimes externally. I have moments all the time with or without the benefit of company or structure. Here are two examples that are still top of mind:

  • The other day I was driving home and saw a rainbow that was a full arc, end to end. In that moment I realized how magical it was and all that I had to be grateful for in this life.
  • On Friday as I was wrapping up a second day of doing budgets, it occurred to me as I sat with the three brilliant minds that make-up my team that I was in such perfect company. I told them as much.

Life is full of these moments however if you are not allowing the space to see them occur before you they will move on unidentified. This is the best reason I can think of for simply taking a moment when you get it; truly seizing that moment and reveling in it. A song, a rainbow, a feeling, whatever the moment is revel in it. You will not get that moment back every again, because it is just that, a moment in time and then it is gone.

I appreciate the impact of a moment so much that I have made a habit of texting someone when I am thinking about them. Just a quick note that says, “You are on my mind”. I do it because I believe in the energy of the universe and that if something comes to mind it is likely because of a flow of energy surrounding that thought or person. I did this recently for a beautiful friend of mine that has been working very long days away from home and she later told me, “Lori, you have no idea that at the moment I got your text, I needed it the most.”. She noted that there was no possible way I could have known what she was going through in that moment but what I did know is she came to my mind so strongly that it urged me to let her know she was in my thoughts.

Tonight I hope that you take a moment and simply breathe in the air around you reminding yourself that these moments in life are fleeting and the only way to truly “seize the day” is to stop, stop everything, and take a moment for yourself. You deserve to see the world around you. Take time to smell the roses, tell someone you are thinking about them and most importantly take care of yourself. You are the moment.

Life as it inspired me tonight – L.

Secondhand Smoke and Mirrors…the good, bad and the found

As I was driving home today I found myself daydreaming about smoking and how something that was so globally accepted is now an anomaly.  At its peak in the 1960’s 40% of the population smoked!  Today only 14% of the population smokes and those that do are relegated to smoke out of sight.  I was raised by parents that smoked as well as many relatives and never did it occur to me as unusual. Smoking in the home, smoking in the car, smoking in restaurants, and everywhere else was considered normal now that long ago.  The most uncomfortable memory I have is one where I was hospitalized, nine months pregnant, and the girl sharing the room with me was smoking as was the nearly 10 friends and family of hers in the room. They were full of excitement as she had literally just had the baby. Meanwhile, I was sitting behind a curtain breathing in the immense smoke in the room, alone, and suffocating. Seems unthinkable now to believe such a story.  

This random thought then grew into the thought of the term “secondhand” and the bad rap the word gets based on being most affiliated with smoking.  When thinking through other forms of secondhand I could think of another few affiliations that bring about a negative perception:

  • Secondhand clothes can be trash or treasure. To the sibling that is getting the older sibling’s clothes; secondhand sucks. To the thrifty shopper at the Goodwill that finds secondhand clothes that still have tags, it is a treasure!
  • Secondhand information can be dangerous.  Rarely is this information given without alteration.  Acting upon secondhand information frequently gets the orator in trouble.

 

Sometimes it speaks to me…

I am a lover of music unlike anyone else I know. That is not to say that others do not love music or are not fanatics but it seems that my connection is more personal, more bloodline than energy. I hear songs and they immediately take me right back to the place I was when I first heard them. In true technicolor, vivid, all senses come to life. I get this honest as both of my parents were also music lovers and music has/had always been a part of our/my life. Today I am reminded of this as I am sitting this morning enjoying my favorite place these days, my back porch, and listening to my favorite morning station on Apple Music. The song that inspires this blog today is “Sober” by Demi Lovato. Listen first and then maybe come along on my morning writing journey…

I love music written in tragedy. This is not to be confused with me loving tragedy, I am not that sadistic. I love music as an art form, as an outlet, for the artist that is willing to pour it all out in song. Demi has gone through the fight of her life, again, and in pure vulnerability pours it out. I feel it, in my heart, my soul, my bones. I get it on a very raw level. Sober is a condition of healing, righting wrongs regardless of the substance. I get it. I am not Sober, either. Being sober means that your imperfections are not noticed externally and ultimate sobriety is full internal resolve. How many of us are really sober? In these terms…hmmm…hard to admit.

For my mother’s eulogy I weaved the music of our lifetime into the words spoken from my soul and it gave the context, it gave the sentiment I could not have otherwise expressed with words alone. It wasn’t about creating a false presence of emotion but allowing those in my world with me at that moment in time to be brought back to the place, the very place I longed to be in that moment…a place where she still existed. A place she still lived, loved and laughed. It worked. It worked for me…it was all that mattered. In that moment on that day, I was talking for her and music was as much my voice as the words coming from my mouth.

I use music like a heartbeat, a rhythm to inspire the action before me. When I run the music matches the tempo I need to keep, when I walk the music is resolved in the journey without fight for breath, when I work the music creates the background noise to keep me focused. It is how I relate to this world. It is nutrients and as needed as water, food, and breath. A life without music is not a world I wish to know; empty, quiet, meaningless.

Music is culture, it unites us, all races, languages and classes. One song has the power to move a nation. Another can be so private and only known to the listener absorbed in the secret only known between the lyrics and the soul.

Music is my language and those that know me best speak to me in my native tongue. This week alone I received songs from those that know me best and love me most. Those songs were genuine communication from them to me with nothing more needed to be said except, “I heard this song and it made me think of you.” How perfect. I conclude by sharing those songs with you as my Thank You to those that sent them to me and my want to pay it forward to my reader that may not have the fortune to know music in this form, may this be your entree into something more, a new language of love, friendship and vulnerability.

  • Tones and I – Never Seen the Rain – Link https://youtu.be/UdRJY-jlEhQ
    • Lyrics “…and it gets you down But that’s ok You’ve been pushed round You feel the pain And when you fall Just lean on me Cause you’ve never known Never seen Never smelt Never felt The rain Rain, never felt the rain, rain rain”
  • Lauren Alaina – Getting Good – Link https://youtu.be/AkNc0-7ierw
    • Lyrics “.Once I get a house that I can hang my hat on, I bet I’ll want to build a bigger one if I could, yeah, I’m thinking, once I learn to grow right where I’m planted, Maybe that’s when life starts getting good…”
  • Joshua Radin – Beautiful Day – Link https://youtu.be/G70dtJRr6nc
    • Lyrics “…Gonna drive my car to the sea, Swim out far cause I believe, That waves will wash the grey away, I’m making a beautiful day…”

May you find your energy, your universe, what makes your world go ’round. Music is my everything and those in my life are personified through those rhythms. Blessed to hear the love in those messages.

Life as I hear it – L.

Seeking Normal – Day 28

Day 28 prompt:

Normal is defined by cultures, religions, experiences, and demographics.

What part of your normal is defined by these outside sources?

My answer:

My normal is defined by my experiences mostly. I belong to a mixed culture that I admire and attempt to own however as I was not raised fully “in it” I am not sure I will ever be able to truly “own it”. I was not raised with religion although I always had a strong curiosity about it. My normal in my early years was likely based on demographics as I was born to two young parents, with little money.

I have built a life around what I admire, what I have experienced and who and how I want it to be. This might explain why I have so much angst and have a hard time finding contentment. I am always wanting more because that is what built this life that never existed before me. To be content is a practice I am having to work at which seems like an oxymoron. How does one “work” on being content?? I am not sure I have the answer but I am searching for the solve.

As we are coming back from being sheltered at home and opening up our country the real lessons learned will be put to the test. Do we simply run back out and do what we were doing before all of this started? I don’t think that is possible so it is fair to believe the we are changed regardless of our own intention to do so. For me, I have always enjoyed being home so this has not been a hardship. I do miss the beach, I miss the movies and I miss my cousins. I think I can solve two out of those three misses this weekend with one invite. I think I will. 🙂

Living life as I know it – L.

My Mom, a memoir

Hall and Oates 2017

Mom’s…everyone has one. I had the best one. She was exactly what I needed and I like to think that I was exactly what she needed; it was symbiotic. She taught me more in living her life than she could teach me in parenting mine. She was my everything. …and then one day she was gone.

I never had one moment of regret after she passed because I know that everything that needed to be said and every memory I ever wanted to make with her was made despite her early departure. While I revel in all of the things she taught me it does not suggest that I emulated all of those lessons. Many of the things she modeled I did the opposite. I am very outspoken while she was tight-lipped. I am very affectionate while she was reserved. Nothing stands in my way while she treaded lightly. It was those things that made us different than served us both well. I was able to tell her all of things I would ever want to say never expecting anything in return. I was able to do things with her that she never would have considered doing because I was far more spontaneous, and she was always willing to go with my flow. It was all of our differences that made the impact. She would always laugh at my crazy life and I would stand in wonder to the beauty she created around her.

Today, I am not sad but grateful that I had a relationship with my mom that was so fulfilling. Despite the years of life I feel she was cheated, I can honestly say that she and I did not miss a thing. I will think back on the hours of laughter because this one thing is true, she and I laughed endlessly!!! I will think back on the many hours of advice, despite her knowing I would always do what I was going to do, she never stopped offering. I will think back on my favorite memories, surprising her in Nashville for her birthday and she never realizing we had both been on the same plane!!! I will think back on the many concerts we attended together, music will forever be our language. I will think back on her final year on this earth and am most blessed to have had the fortune of spending time together where our laughter would be medicinal for both of us.

Our favorite band and song – Hall and Oates – Sara Smile

I leave you with this…our favorite song. I can still remember us singing this song together; years of singing, years of laughter, years and years of memories.

Mom, I love you and I miss you more than anyone will ever know. I feel you with me, I live my life every single day to honor you. …and yea, I guess I am sad as I type these final words with tears rolling down my face, it is all in honor of you, my mom, my hero, my everything.

Life as I remember it – L.

Seeking Normal – Day 12

Day 12 prompt:

If we agree that there are variations of normal, than the normal we seek is one variation of many; is it content normal, happy normal, young normal…how many “normal’s” do you have”?

My answer:

I think there are two ways to answer this and one is about the current situation we are all in where you have been forced into a “new” normal for the time being and yet long for your “old” normal that we are simply not sure will ever exist as it did before. This is a great example of how there are many normal’s among us and therefore how to embrace many variations.

I think this also has value in understanding intention. There is a normal I attempt based on my intentions and yet there is another that exists without effort. My intention for normal on weekends is to spend one day working on everything that needs my attention; laundry, errands, cleaning, etc. and then one day enjoying family and relaxing. Many weekends I am so exhausted from the week that I do absolutely nothing and that is not something I will ever embrace as “normal”. In those days I choose to believe it is a mild interruption in my normal in an effort to meet myself where I am in that moment.

Last but not least I would be remiss if I did not share the first thing that came to mind when reading this prompt. This concept of variations of normal that we exercise has something to do with our many personalities. Ha…yes the more personalities the more normal. If it makes you feel more comfortable you can call them “roles”. My normal at work, is different than my normal at home. I am noticing that even when I am working at home that normal is different. It changes with the environment but so does my character, personality or persona.

Lots to think about. My father says I “think too much”, ha!, maybe he is right but it is my NORMAL! List your normal’s in the comments section. How many do you have; and if that task is hard to conceive list our your many personalities…that actually might be more fun! 🙂

Life as I overthink it – L.