On stumbling….

Yes, life is a dance, that whole two steps forward one step back…sometimes one step forward two steps back.  I get frustrated with myself on such occasions where my stumbling lands me back at a place I struggled to get out of.  Recently I quit smoking, for what seemed like the 100th time (in reality it probably was my 10th really good one…meaning longer than 3 weeks with really good intentions of being DONE).  Well, the last time I quit prior to this I went through quite the ordeal, the bad moods, the restless sleeps, the headaches and worst of all, the weight gain.  I swore it would be my last time putting myself through it.

Now I’ve quit again, a month into it and I went through it all again, all for the non-pleasure of falling back into the trap for a mere month.  It was a colossal waste of energy and time. Yes, I am proud that I made the choice to quit again, but I don’t want to spend my life fighting the same battles over and over again all because these battles are familiar and I know how to win them.  I need next level business. I need a new view of life, this one has become dull.  Going back to the gym to lose the same 5 lbs I’ve lost 100 times before, instead of moving towards a new level of fitness.

I am taking on new things this year, I am finding my way back towards the dreams I had before I learned to doubt myself. That requires NEW beliefs…I have become certain I know what is best for me, how to attain the goals I wish to achieve, now its time to put new plans into action.  Now its time to do and be not want and need.  Theres a saying “When you know better you do better”.  Yes we are supposed to forgive ourselves for our mistakes, but the “moving on” requires that we learn from them and then MOVE ON…no more repetition for me…goodbye cigarettes, hello new and healthy body!

On returning to your dreams…

When I was young I believed everything I needed to be, I  needed to be while I was still young.  I did not account for a life past 40. I did not account for the 40 something version of myself to finally be the person who had the guts and the wisdom to understand what “following your dreams” meant, and what it really took to do it.

Sure, life requires a little luck to get things done, the right place at the right time, the right moment that you  meet the right person under the right circumstances etc…but the glitch is…if we’re doing everything we can to prepare ourselves for that moment, well…that moment inevitably arrives.  I have no proof of that as of yet, but a wise voice inside me knows it to be true, and I find (in life past 40) that I am able to recognize this voice, and know it to be a teller of truths.

So what does “preparation” look like in my life, at present? It looks like working out, it looks like letting go of resistance, it looks like playing my guitar, it looks like showing up…to class, to work, to the gym, to my life.  Showing up if I feel like it or not, showing up when I’ve gained 5 lbs, showing up whether I’m sad or happy or crampy or tired. I have yet to perfect this, but I’m working at it….every day getting a little bit better, and that to me is what progress looks like.

I am glad that I have learned that I don’t need to be young, youth is a lie, or rather, a moment, in the life of someone that is always evolving, it is a gift, though most of us don’t use it as such (I know I didn’t). Youth did not, as I once thought it did, define me. I define me…this spirit, this smile, this fight, this desire…I survived my youth, which is a wonderful thing, now I wish to thrive.  I have finally learned that there truly is “no time like the present” and that today is the youngest you will ever be again…

On Change

I am in the midst of change, though aren’t we all? Change, the one inevitability, the one thing we can count on.  I figured out, if change will happen regardless, we may as well do it on purpose.  My body will change whether or not I go to the gym, but if I apply effort to this equation, it can change for the better instead of for the worse (time, in some way serves us, in some ways, not so much).

I will outgrow my career (in some ways, most ways, I already have) so I can either get worn down by the repetitive nature of being unfulfilled or I can take steps to create a more suitable career that I can slowly merge with in the future. Either way, I will change, for the better or the worse. Either way I will not be the same person this time next year. It is up to me, and only me, if future me is happy or grown bitter.  Whether I have renewed dreams, or I become disenchanted by the dreams I once had.

I have acquired, perhaps, the greatest gift I could have ever been given by life, 2015 taught me accountability.  In my forties I am long past blaming parents, schools, and ex boyfriends for the pains that keep me from my pleasures. I can no longer blame ignorance for poor eating habits, or lack of knowledge when it comes to personal power in regards to my small but defeating addictions.  I quit smoking because I can.  Because we all can. It only requires believing in the personal power we all have access to.

I am now taking on fitness, grateful to my body for seeing me through so much, nourishing it so that it can sustain me for all the years to come, finally giving it the love it has always deserved.

I am embarking once more on a road that may or may not lead to greater things, unattached to the outcome, just thirsty for the experience to try again.  I am in search of the adventures that life will only offer if I take the chances, put forth the efforts, and forego the instant gratification of things that detract from my longer term goals. (I was never very good at this, but am getting better now that I have lived long enough to have experienced the consequences of living for the now often at the expense of my future, totally not worth it).

So cheers to change, may it more often than not be the kind you desire, may you give it all the helping hands it needs to work within your favor.  May we take accountability, if not the control we wish we had, to play a part in the way change can bless us, move us, and as a ripple effect, create a better future for all the lives we touch.  “You must be the change you want to see in the world” – Mahatma Gandhi

 

We are not…

We are not a poem or a song, we are an opera, all melody and tragedy, intermittent trills of joy

We are not a book that tells a story, we are volumes through which each book reveals the story changing…

We are not one person, we are a part of the bigger whole, we are more than one expression, and even those with the strongest of convictions can feel differently some days

We are in flux and fascination

We are animal and spiritual

We are made of hearts that can break, and wills that will not

We are the stuff that stars are made of

So we walk clumsily upon the earth.

-Laura Lee

on commitment to oneself….

I haven’t blogged in a while, silly thing for a blogger to do (or not do).  I have to, above all else, learn consistency in my life and recognize it as the key to success in any and all of life’s endeavors. Consistency is, in my opinion, an expression of commitment.  I have been half heartedly “committed” to many things throughout my life, which has never served me well…or at least, as well as it could have if Id put my whole heart into it.

I eat half healthy, I work out hard for at least 3 weeks out of every 2 months (I usually slack as soon as I start to reap the benefits) and I keep three quarters of my apartment clean at all times (you will hardly ever see dishes in my sink but my floors are often in need of cleaning, like wise my living room is spotless, my bedroom closets in disarray).

Well, here’s the good news…I have recognized this as a fault in my life (a detrimental one at that).  The recognition of a flaw being the first step to mending/fixing it  leads me to this…I hereby declare as God (and anyone one reading this) as my witness to change my commitment-phobic ways.  I have committed to quitting smoking (another thing I had previously half heartedly done for the past few years until realizing a part-time smoker is still a smoker) and I have never felt more better.  I am, therefore, kicking up my commitment to the following things in life:

  1. My fitness (watch out gym here I come…no….really…I mean it this time, I’m coming for you)
  2. My career goals (I’m back again oh sleepy dreams of mine, time to wake up)
  3. My blogging (You’re just so good for me wordpress!)

Sure, I have other goals…but if I can work on these (they each support the other) the others will come quite naturally…as quitting smoking inspired these commitments, Im hoping these positive changes will inspire more to follow.  Success begets success…so here goes….

 

On being 40

Forty is the dawn of a new age.  Yes, we live in a society where the age forty has been redefined, we are not our mothers forty.  Forty is said to be the new thirty, Forty is when a woman peaks, not just sexually but also mentally.  No longer burdened nor distracted by the shallow pursuits of youth, a woman is now free to pursue greater (more meaningful) things, all while still looking pretty damn good.  This decade proves to be the very best one…looks, intelligence, wisdom, its all ours, for one brief decade.  Now Ive got nothing against 50 or 60 or even the 70’s or 80’s…if anything I hope and pray Im lucky enough to get to experience them all.  Ill be that little old lady in the retirement home making dirty jokes with my friend while we check out the sexy Spanish intern (I wont go to a retirement community that does not have some of those) but those decades will be different, they are…less sexy.  Not saying that a woman cant be sexy in them, Im just saying certain outfits, certain attitudes will have to be adjusted and things other than “sexiness” will become of more importance…as they should, as they will, and with my blessings.  When something has been lived and done, it naturally loses its appeal as we are catapulted into a new way of thinking or being.  Those that try to hold on to what “once was” find no happiness in it and seem a little desperate when it comes to the outside perspective (cue the 50 somethings in mini skirts and hair extensions with all the wrong plastic surgery).  There has to be a time when we are willing to say goodbye….there has to be a time we let go.  Turning 40 for me meant letting go of some of my more youthful dreams, which is fine because they were replaced with newer more relevant ones, but what of the things in my youth that I never got to do? Now that its too late (although for some I know it isn’t, but for me, yes…yes it is) what will I never get to do that I can make peace with? Well here goes:

I will never attend Burning Man…that’s ok by me.  Though in theory I would have loved to be the modern day hippy who dons fairy wings and finds spirituality in some mdma while dancing to the repetitive beats by some current dj all whilst lining up for porta pottys and sleeping in a tent…that was never me, and I make peace with that…power to you, you twenty somethings that don’t care about comfort and just want to party…do it now…because there will come a time (much sooner than you think) that you will choose a weekend at a cottage by the lake and the idea of a music festival will not even cross your mind.

I will never be a cheerleader/professional dancer/model….all the dreams that dance in a little girls mind have been quietly laid to rest…perhaps I can still get a cheerleaders outfit and wear it for my boyfriend…THAT still sounds like fun.  What I have learned is that all those dreams don’t die, they become integrated into who you are, they get lived in little doses every day. I am not a professional dancer but I dance almost every day, I am not a model but I love my make up and my fashion and I will often make an entrance using my best catwalk and yes, sometimes it turns heads, and that’s all a girl can ask for. As for the cheerleader? I am my boyfriends, my friends, and my nephews biggest one…I have learned that the enthusiasm for the success of others translates into my own happiness…and as far as Im concerned I have the best team in the world.

I will never travel the world with a backpack booking rooms in hostels along the way.  I have recently travelled a lot, and I sleep far better and have way more fun in a clean and private hotel room than I think I may have ever in a hostel.  To travel to a new city/country with a strict baggage allowance is not something I would have ever been good at, I tend to bring more hair product than could fit in a knapsack so Im fine with the idea that I have never travelled with one. Also? I like a minibar…

I will never have purple hair…that one hurts, lets move on…

I will never look like I once did at 20.  Im one of the lucky ones, I feel prettier now.  I didn’t know I was pretty at 20, it took me till 40 to figure that out.  It is somewhat tragic in a comical way that I realized my beauty as it reached its fading years, but Im ok with that because my idea of beauty has matured right along with the rest of me and how I define beauty now is health, healthy is beautiful at any age, and I am healthier in terms of lifestyle now than I ever was in my twenties. I assume my ever growing love affair with integrating health into my life will continue to grow and the idea of health playing an ever growing role in my life makes me excited for the passing of a few years, some time to see the effects of what this lifestyle will bring.

I will never be the girl with a million dates.  I never was that girl, and now I never will be.  I take solace in knowing that the few times I did try to date like a single, young and pretty girl about town, I hated most of it.  I found being on a date the equivalent to watching bad acting, uncomfortable, awkward, and a whole lotta show without substance.  Well, now I have a boyfriend and the days of me checking out other men are over….thank God.  I find myself lucky to be with the one man who I always want to date for the rest of my life…

I will never be at the clubs on the weekends again…unless its a friends birthday, or new years I cant foresee myself involved in the nightlife the way I once was (and loved). A night of a few drinks and dancing used to make me very happy.  I think…I don’t really remember…I was drunk.  This one was maybe the most difficult…because no one told me it would end.  I didn’t think it would…it didn’t necessarily have to.  It ended when the nights became less fun.  When getting hit on by drunk guys seemed a juvenile way to spend ones time, when the dance floor started to seem uncomfortably crowded, and the crowd seemed to get either uncomfortably younger, or worse, uncomfortably older. Nights at the club started to become nights that I would wait for my friends to be ready to leave, eager to get home to my dog, angry about the waste of money the whole evening was.  I grew out of clubs before I was in a relationship so I don’t blame my relationship for that. I will say that a night of netflicks, a homemade dinner, and a glass of wine at home on a Saturday night makes me really happy, The kind of happy I remember in the morning.

Theres no doubt about it, age settles a person, some see that as a bad thing, I do not.  I see the ability to settle into the very things that make my life wonderful a wonderful release from the years where I had to actively search for the very things that I am blessed enough to be settling in now. There is great freedom in age, there is great revelation, evolution, and enlightenment.  I would not trade my forties for any other decade.  I do not dream of reliving any part of my past (though I do wonder what I might have made of myself if I had had this wisdom then…but we all wonder that don’t we)?  There were many mistakes made, but theres no going back to fix them…I picked the wrong men, but ended up with the right one, I didn’t know my beauty, and have never felt more beautiful. I lived a lot wrong to end up with so much right, and for the parts I didn’t live? Well…. they now rest in peace.

On Being in Love

I was Forty yrs old when I finally fell in love.  Real love…not highschool love, or that one guy you couldn’t get over because he was so full of passion (aka crazy) that you held on regardless that he was really just an awful person (we have the ability to sustain drama, even seek it, in our 20’s, that we seriously lose the patience for in our 30’s and 40’s).

I didn’t want to wait that long for love, I was sure I was missing out, even began to feel like this was simply my lot in life…perpetually single girl.  When I began internet dating I did so to have a fling.  I was tired of the club scene and I was tired of leaving up to chance what I could supply for myself.  I did not suspect I would meet someone to love, I thought Id meet someone to kiss, and that was close enough for me at the time.

Well…I did meet, and I did kiss….and from that first kiss, I knew something, I don’t know what, but something clicked…he was all wrong for me (typical) and we both knew it.  We decided to let a good thing play out, literally agreeing to continue seeing each other until we both found more appropriate people to be with.  Its now 2 yrs later and we’ll be moving in at the end of next month.  Perpetually single girl is single no more.

Here’s the thing…I spent over a decade single prior to this relationship, save a fling or two that barely counted for much.  I never thought Id say this in my life, but…Thank God.  Thank God for all the time I took to know me.  To dream of love and what that might look like.  Not someone to lose myself in, but someone to find myself in.  Someone that would make me stronger, healthier, more the “me” I liked. I know, I know…love is an inside job…and believe me, I get that, but no man (or woman) is an island, we get better sometimes by the refinement provided by the people we hold close to us.

Love is a dangerous thing in the hands of those who misunderstand it (as I so often did). Your partners eyes are often a filter that we see ourselves through.  When I see myself through the eyes of my boyfriend, I see a funny, pretty girl, with unlimited potential.  I also see my insecurities reflected back at me…which can be a good thing, because it gives me the awareness that I need to address them.  Just recently I became hurt because my boyfriend stopped touching me in a way that made me feel desired, it wasn’t until further introspection that I realized the hurt lay in my own frustration that I would not allow myself to be touched like that.  I would tense up if his hands would wander to a place on my body that I deemed to soft to be attractive.  This was MY issue to fix, he just shone a light on it. (Lets face it there’s only so many times you can push someones hand away before they stop trying).  Love makes you accountable.

I am so grateful that at this stage in my life I have found a partner, when I am mature enough to have a real responsible, mature, evolving, meaningful relationship based on LOVE…not lust, not passion, not shared dysfunction that feels like love turned addiction…that’s not to say that there is a lack of lust or passion, its just not what binds us.  What binds us is a deep respect for each others minds and life path, the love we have for the kindness which lives in both our hearts, the potential we see in each other, and the beauty we see in the present day that we share, aware of the added beauty that the other person has brought to it.  What binds us, quite simply, is a great friendship (and yeah, a little lust).

I used to envy the people who married their first loves, I used to wish Id met someone and had a family earlier on in life.  I used to wish Id marry rich and travel the world.  Well My boyfriend was not my first boyfriend, and he is not rich enough so that we can travel the world, but he makes my life richer, so my world is more beautiful and that is enough.  Love is everything its cracked up to be, says I, the once hopeless romantic. Don’t let anyone tell you its not, they say that because they themselves have settled, you don’t have to.  You can meet and marry and love your best friend. You can be made better by sharing your life.  Pick the right one…and the key to that? Wait until you are ready, if you are in a relationship where you are too scared to voice your opinion, your not ready.  If you fear younger or more beautiful women, your not ready.  If your desperate, your not ready. If you are willing to change a fundamental part of who you are for their sake…your not ready.  You will not be ready for what a relationship has to teach you if you have not yet learned the lessons you need to by being in one with yourself first. (I know because I lived it) I was not ready till I was 40…and if that was what it took, it was worth it, more than worth it.  Wait until its everything you thought it would be…and even more….and then…work at it, because the work that you will put into your relationship, will be work that shows up in your own life and makes you better. That’s the power of love…and its worth waiting for.