The alarm was harsh in my ears. I was facing away from it as I slept, but didn’t understand that for some seconds as I flailed around seeking it with my hand. Now mostly dressed, coffee made, I’m still rubbing the sleep from my eyes and trying to shake off this fog in my head. Slow start to the morning.

Lovely evening behind me. We went out for dinner. Came home and relaxed. My Traveling Partner shined a different pair of my boots, as I watched. He’s skillful. Works with care. We talk about boots. Life. Shopping. It’s a gentle evening, and by bedtime – shiny boots. 😀 I pulled them on this morning with great delight. They are a shiny wonder, and there is immense joy and love in making them so. I definitely feel loved. 😀

There’s got to be a metaphor here… my reflection… my partner’s love and effort creating the mirror. 🙂

Less important, but no less remarkable… I saw an ex yesterday. They did not see me, so it seems. Seeing them, at my workplace, would have been a meltdown moment, perhaps as recently even as last year. This occasion? Unimportant except for one, very specific thing; the fact that it wasn’t important is so important. Wow. Hell of a “report card” there. 😀 No panic attack. No hysterics. No running and hiding. No lingering storm of terrible emotion. No aftermath of endless tears. No feeling like I was drowning. Just… a woman noticing that someone she has no interest in seeing or associating with passing through shared space, unaware of her presence. I let it go, and got back to work.

Strange juxtaposition of experiences. Thought-provoking. I’ll save further reflection for another time. I see by the clock on the computer that it is already time to begin again. This new day won’t live itself. 😉

When I think over some of the repetitive things I say, (personal slogans, self-directed motivational battle-cries of various sorts, succinct aphorisms, that sort of thing) I’m aware that many have come and gone over the years – some healthy, some unhealthy, some… more than a bit misguided. One stands out for me, steadfast and true, like the sort of old and trusted friend that will tell hard truths; “begin again”. It’s not really about “do-overs”, you know; it’s about gathering the strength to just start something anew. It’s about first steps following hard falls, and taking an approach that skills require practice, and that there is value in an attempt, and yes, even in the failures. It’s about resolve. It’s about exerting a worthy effort, in the face of ennui, or a deep depression, or a lot of pain. It’s about insisting with myself that I live life, not just wait around to die.

…It’s definitely not about “easy”. There are so many verbs involved, so much will, and real (and repeated) effort. Isn’t that characteristic of living, generally?

It’s a Tuesday. An ordinary enough beginning to a new work day ahead. Meetings. Calls. Emails. Spreadsheets. Slide decks. Drafts of new processes. Improvements on old processes. The usual office-sorts of work things to do. I’ve done other jobs. Had other sorts of Tuesdays. I’ve been invested in a different quality of life than what I work for now, with varying degrees of success (this particular experience of life in these past handful of years has been by far most satisfying and emotionally healthy). I’ve been fortunate to explore other lives, other experiences of being human. New beginnings have long been required following the end of something else. 🙂

These days I don’t worry too much about failures; they are part of a learning and growth mindset. I embrace a new beginning and get after it. No, it’s not really that easy sometimes. I may get excited about shiny new boots, even eager to maintain that shine, and keep them lovely, but when the time comes, on a rainy Sunday evening, to set aside the next episode of some favored show, or put down my book, in order to shine those boots… that’s the hard bit. Taking the step. Doing the verbs. It’s not enough to “commit”, and – omg, I am so sorry to say these words – you can “manifest” shit 100% of all your days, and it’s still waaaay more likely that you will find yourself achieving whatever it is if you do the fucking verbs required for it. Yep. “Manifesting” your future is about as effective as daydreaming. 😉 Do the verbs. Make the effort. Or, an alternative, accept that your will isn’t up for the task at hand and let it go. Seriously. What do you really want, that you want enough to work for it?

I’m not saying it’s easy. Seriously not saying that at all. I sat around not shining those fucking boots all week, and then all day that Sunday, even in the face of my partner’s tender reminders that I said I wanted to shine my boots, and gently suggesting it as an activity when I may have seemed bored, and then again shortly before the evening ended; I wanted to wear them, shined, on Monday. lol Omg. I just… couldn’t didn’t. You know what else? Those fucking boots were not shining themselves. LOL My partner offered to do it for me… well, damn, that’s just kind of sad and a bit embarrassing for me. (He’s so sweet. He knew I wanted them to look great, and just cares that much.)

…So… I finally shined my boots. I was happy I did; they looked great. They even got noticed. Nice. 🙂 (Okay, okay, also a little vain. Small pleasure, though; I enjoyed the satisfaction of caring for something I like.)

There’s a lesson here somewhere. Not quite a parable, I guess… but maybe. No time for overthinking it, this morning, it’s already time to begin again. 😀

Time doesn’t wait on us to set our priorities. Reality does not take a compassionate approach toward whether or not we have a realistic perspective on our choices, timing, or whether our opinions are tied to real life. We do get to choose, though, we get to choose so much! There’s a lot of promise in that. 🙂

This weekend I chose sleep, and I chose Love, and I mostly did not choose writing. lol Sometimes it’s hard to fit all of the things into a single short period of time. 🙂 It was a lovely weekend. For the moment, I don’t at all recall what we did with it… just joyful snapshots: a breakfast out, a dinner at home, shared satisfaction tidying up this-n-that together, love, affection, and connection… certainly it’s enough. 🙂

Now I’ve got my stuff ready for the new work week. I’m dressed for it. Sipping coffee. Waking up. Nothing much on my mind. My neck, for the time being, doesn’t hurt. I pause to really notice and even celebrate that; doing so builds an adjusted implicit awareness that makes room for the recollection that I am not literally always in pain – that’s unhealthy hyperbole. I sit appreciating the pain I don’t have… or… I mean to say, that I don’t have it. 🙂 It’s a good starting point to the day, and the week.

…How is it already time to begin again? 😀

When I was a child, my grandfather would return from foreign travels, frequent travels, and always with some small gift. Those are happy, untroubled recollections, and in some cases, I even still have the gifts. 🙂

My Traveling Partner made it home yesterday, while I was at work. I arrived home some time afterward to the gift of his presence, which was everything I’d been missing, really. We caught up over dinner. We didn’t swap work anecdotes, choosing, instead, to simply be in shared space, comfortable at home, talking about – mostly – clothes, shopping, and things of no particular consequence. He was obviously tired. I’ve rarely seen him so tired. In spite of his obvious travel fatigue, he managed to unpack his bags, do a ton of his laundry, even hanging things, putting things entirely away, and was shining his shoes, when I walked through the front door. It was a joy to just enjoy each other in the few leisure hours on a work night. We talked about going out to dinner, and enjoying an exceptional steak… maybe Friday after work?

He’d brought me a present. I knew that he had – he told me he was, and he’d shared a picture of the box it was in. lol I’m sitting here smiling. Smelling the scent of my “new” perfume – an old classic, one that was one of my favorites when I was younger. It stirs smiles and pleasant memories. 🙂 Miss Dior. I know, I know – that’s not modern at all. Dior’s original fragrance. I’m okay with that. Yes, even if it also puts me in mind of elegant women of some means, and some years. It’s joyful, sweet, delicate – and omg do I have to be careful with how much I use. LOL It’s been awhile since I’ve worn fragrance; a previous partner was so sensitive to scents that I’d drifted away from using any. I could not find any he found acceptable. More baggage to set down, and walk on from. 😀

Another work day, and then, peculiarly, the weekend. I’d forgotten I’d planned to have Friday off. A nice surprise to see it on my calendar.

I finish my coffee with a smile. I’m ready to begin again.

So, real life being what it is, with winter storms, and unpredictable changes in travel plans, and all of that sort of thing… my Traveling Partner did not make it home last night. :-\ Am I disappointed? I sure am. That’ll pass quickly, not because I am callous or insensitive, or don’t love deeply enough, it is, instead, because I have learned, mostly, not to become attached to an outcome that isn’t certain. Generally. Most of the time. I still expect him home “soon” – most likely today, sometime while I am at work. 🙂 It mattered more to know he was safe, somewhere, than to fixate on his planned arrival time.

This perspective is so much easier than getting all hung up on the details that can vary so much.

I imagine it would be tougher to be so chill about it, if I were the one stuck in some random city, waiting for another flight… I find myself wishing my Traveling Partner safe – and merry – travels, and hoping it isn’t unbearably tedious, frustrating, or unpleasant. Travel can be a lot of fun, but it is predictably less so, when all one wants is to go home.

Very little in life is predictable, really. Our results vary. We walk our own hard mile. We are each having our own experience. Our lives are built on what we make of all the chaos and uncertainty. It is our choices to act, to react, to refrain from action, that define us to the world…

I sip my coffee, contented, and grateful. My Traveling Partner is on his way home. I’ll see him when I see him. In the meantime, I’ll do what I do, and let the waiting be part of the background, instead of having it dominate my thoughts. (There really isn’t much I can do to speed things up, so why get spun over the details?) Instead, I let my thinking move on to other things… and rather consistent with the travel theme, I find myself wondering if my efforts here at home are “good enough”. The surge in anxiety reminds me I have baggage to unpack, myself, without even leaving home. lol I breathe, exhale, relax, and remind myself that the anxiety over “good enough” is a leftover from long ago, in a very different relationship, and it’s okay to let that go. Boom! A bag hits the floor – this one, though, is one I’ll let go of, over and over again, for the rest of my life (most likely). It’s heavy, and sturdily made, and this bit of baggage just keeps following me (so far). Still, recognizing it right away, and letting it go, again, is healthy progress. I’m content with that. Enough forward progress and we inevitably end up somewhere else. 😉

I had a moment of great delight yesterday, related to Veterans Day. My team at work asked for a moment of my time, and I said “sure” and then followed up some short time later, pointing out “This may not be a good time, I’m sort of cross at the moment, but I’ve got a few minutes, what’s on your mind?” My team grinned at me, and one of them said “It’s the best time!”, and another of them handed me a small gold bag, and an envelope.

“We’d hoped to get it to you Friday, but you weren’t in the office, and then Monday was the holiday…”

I opened the card – a Veterans Day card. What the hell? I’m still surprised. lol It was very… moving. Inside the bag? Very fancy chocolates from a local high end chocolatier (I rarely shop there, way out of my price range). “We wanted to do more than just say thanks…” they said, almost in unison. We all laughed together, and I’m still so… moved, by their appreciation. More palpable than a random thank you, it isn’t about the chocolate, as much as the sentiment (I probably won’t have more than 1 of those elegant chocolates; everything about them is a “restricted” food on my diet, and not ideal for my health lol). It was – and is – a heart-warming visceral expression of appreciation. Special.

How would the world improve if we could make every “thank you” we offer everyone truly visceral and “real” to them? How about if every time we apologize for hurting someone, they could really feel our regret, and that they matter to us? If we could successfully communicate that we are committed to making amends? If when we did our best to do so, it was something the injured person could really feel? How much more valuable would “thank you” and “I’m sorry” be then? (Actually, about as important as now – so maybe we should be putting more effort into it, already? 😉 )

Thoughts over coffee on a Wednesday. Today, I’ll work on more effective, meaningful, expressions of appreciation or regret. Effective and meaningful to the recipient, I mean. I guess that implies also being more effective and meaningful to me… “heartfelt made real”, somehow. It seems like a useful starting point with which to begin again. 🙂