Archives for the month of: June, 2013

It occurred to me today, as I unfolded from another night of nightmare-filled sleep to find myself safe in the arms of morning, that 50 years is a much longer time to contemplate going into it, than it is looking back.  I mean, on my 10th birthday I doubt I spent much time contemplating the first decade of life, or the next few to follow, it was far more likely I spent it thinking about me, in the moment, and… presents. lol. Now, I’m 50, and facing a very realistic likelihood of living another 50 years, or more. 50 years. Ahead of me. 50. That seems like a lot of nightmares, opportunities to miscommunicate, arguments with loved ones, disappointments, tedium, and all the disarray and mess that being a human primate promises and generally delivers.  It also seems like a lot of time to try new things, learn, become the woman I most want to be, to change the world for the better, to enjoy love and Love, to hang with friends and hear what they have to say about things that matter, to fight just causes, to celebrate milestones, to support and nurture what I value…and for hugs, kisses, sex, great glasses of wine, tasty bites of interesting foods, amazing music and art, new friends, new ideas, and a lot of cozy nights on the couch with lovers watching TED Talks… or whatever the equivalent of that might be, in 2063.

The menu in the restaurant of life is a long one – and everything is ordered a la carte, no matter how much we put into trying to plan all the details of the meal.

I feel sexy, and alive, and strong – in spite of everyday stress, and every night nightmares – I feel capable, and enthusiastic about life.  It’s a nice place to be. There are so many experiences I would like to have – I’m not sure 50 years is actually enough for the easy ones, and I’m often doubtful I’ll get to some of the odd stuff I’d like to explore. I resist the term ‘bucket list‘, because for me life is not about checking off a to do list (except on weekends, when it is a matter of managing the chores and essentials. lol) – but there are things I want to do – not ‘before I die’, just ‘at all’ because I want to, because I have done them before and loved the experience, because they are things I yearn to experience because they resonate with me, or because they would be a living protest in the face of my demons. I guess I do list them, because I’m human, and making lists is something many of us do. 🙂

(I pause a moment and wonder, if I had every list I’d ever compiled, without regard to purpose or state of completion, would I learn something about who I am?)

Seriously, though, who doesn’t have some sort of personal accounting of what they’d like to do, see, achieve, share, experience, know, or understand? Some of the things on my list are strangely specific, others are inexplicably odd (at least to me). Some look like an easy victory in list management, if only I would take the first step and get it done, others lack even the vaguest notion of a starting point, or have an as yet unreachable prerequisite.

This morning I am thinking, perhaps not so oddly, about things that are morning related… I’d like to have brunch with a lover in a lovely regional bistro on the Chesapeake Bay, watching sailboats make their lazy way along the waterfront, and feeling the heat of a summer morning slowly become a muggy summer day.   I’d also like to awaken tangled in clean sheets and heavy comforters in a sunny German Gasthaus, have eager unreserved sex, and a hearty breakfast over strong coffee and bad jokes – in Augsburg, or perhaps Munich – and then stroll the fussganger zone looking at art, crystal, and porcelain. I’d like to visit the Carpathian mountains, hiking and camping with a friend, and learning some Romanian. I very much enjoy supporting a good cause and seeing the world change through actions and voices…I really like that one, it’s one I’d want to do again and again. (In 50 years I’ve been awed to see so much history unfold…eager to see what more there is out there.) I’d like to visit a Pacific Island chain, something remote and simple, and walk on a quiet isolated beach and see the sun rise, and set. I’d like to visit Las Vegas in a very sexy sports car, exploring the city at night, and driving in the desert in the outskirts in the wee hours of morning before heat and sleep become the priority concerns.  I would like to paint in an isolated mountain cabin alone for a week, and in a yurt near the beach during a storm, and in the comfort of a charming bed and breakfast in Carmel, California – painting until inspiration is fulfilled, then wandering the galleries and talking to other artists about other inspirations.

There is a clear theme is my wish list for my next 50, and the theme from this vantage point is ‘satisfaction’ and ‘fulfillment’ – not trophies or brag-worthy endeavors, just simple pleasures of the heart and spirit. My heart. My spirit. My satisfaction. On a morning like this, finding those moments doesn’t really seem difficult. I’m near the end of this latte, and these thoughts… time to live a few moments without words. 😀

...walking a serene path.

…walking a serene path.

I had terrible nightmares last night…a panic and dread infused montage of hate and violence, crafted from ancient pain and damage to bring out my deepest fears and insecurities. I managed to wake with a smile in spite of that – thank you, Love. 🙂

The morning now is made of lattes and love songs. Dire Straits singing to me about the things that life teaches, the things that matter most, and the things that drive us.  It feels like a perfect morning, and such a relief after such a dread-filled night.  There’s something of a refuge and a homecoming for me in the early music of Dire Straits…I remember the first time I heard Sultans of Swing …I was still in high school, it was late, and I was in a bubble bath with my radio perched precariously on the window sill on a warm evening, trying to catch ‘good radio’ on the skip from Mexico, or California, or Texas. I was looking for Wolfman Jack. lol. Without preamble, the sweet soulful notes opening Sultans of Swing entirely changed my experience. I still find it to be … amazing. So… an entire paragraph for Dire Straits – it seems a pretty small ‘thank you’, really.

Today is gardening, and hanging out, and loving…and it is time for another latte. 😀

Love and roses; 'Irresistible' in the morning.

Love and roses; ‘Irresistible’ in the morning.

One of my favorite experiences is the simple delight of a leisurely morning, so much so that I wake each day fully 2 hours before I have to leave for work, with no agenda beyond having my morning coffee and some time for me, enjoyed on my own terms. That my partners do so many things, and make so many small choices, to ensure I have more of these mornings than not, is most certainly one of the most loving things I regularly enjoy.  This morning was one of those delightful leisurely mornings, although it was not in any fashion ‘routine’.

For one thing, I spent much of the morning in my rose garden, sipping my latte – which was a different flavor than what I generally favor first thing – and contemplating the work to come. My weekend begins on Friday. The roses need dead-heading, feeders need replenishing, there are some shrubs I plan to have removed that need to be marked, and I gently considered the fall pruning of trees and shrubs with an eye for future summers; the aesthetic result matters to me. I hardly noticed the drizzle that came and went, and it was well into an hour before I realized time had passed at all.

The blueberries are excellent this year!

The blueberries are excellent this year!

I still had time to enjoy a second coffee, and I enjoyed the robust hit to my taste buds of a favorite morning choice – a double shot of espresso, a little milk, and a hint of vanilla. Yum. I lingered over my espresso while I watched fish swim.  My anxiety about sick fish has mostly receded, and it seems I identified the issue quickly enough for early treatment to prevail.

A good day ahead of me, now, and a lovely morning behind me. I’m eager for the weekend…eager to be in the greenhouse…content to be 50, female, and in love. From this perspective, life feels pretty damned splendid.

...there are seedlings to plant...

…there are seedlings to plant…

…But life doesn’t wait for the weekend, and neither should a good time! Heading to the old-time-y candy shop down the road over lunch with my colleagues.

Enough sugar on hand to fuel a universe entirely populated by hummingbirds!

Enough sugar on hand to fuel a universe entirely populated by hummingbirds!

I woke in an excellent mood this morning, after a surprisingly good night’s sleep. I didn’t expect to sleep well, since I had crashed feeling rather anxious over one of life’s small challenges. I was pleased and surprised to wake in such a good, balanced, place. The loveliness of a calm leisurely morning is hard to describe; too often lately it feels like a luxury. I resent the fragility of exceptional mornings.

Joy meets anxiety; I have a sick fish in the new aquarium.

Joy meets anxiety; I have a sick fish in the new aquarium.

My mood is volatile this morning, and once the peace and serenity that I woke with faced its first challenge of the day, it dissipated like a mist as the morning sun rises on a summer morning. Mindfulness keeps things mostly in perspective, even now, but also has me attentive to the nature of my challenges today, observing them without judgement when I can, and digging myself out – metaphorically speaking – when I fail and discover I am judging myself quite harshly. I feel angry. I feel frustrated. I feel the pressure of unmet needs – and my resentment and outrage when I turn it all inward on myself. I don’t care to indulge in pointless wallowing in the details, or allowing reflection to become self-loathing, or rage. I can’t tell anymore, with any certainty, whether or not hormones are ‘an issue’… I’m so far beyond having a ‘regular cycle’ at this point it isn’t even worth guessing. (That, interestingly, is one more thing that keeps me focused on ‘now’ – when I let it – because I just can’t predict, or plan, for the hormones anymore. They just are, when they are.) My shitty mood is slowly becoming a migraine headache, as I fight the tears lurking just under the surface of my professional demeanor. Today is the sort of day when I feel as if my most fundamental needs as a being are entirely at odds with each other – mutually exclusive, and entirely unreasonable, and not at all likely to be met. Ever. Worse still, I’m pretty sure that if that is true – that it’s entirely my own choices that put me in that position…only…I don’t know…and I don’t know why…and I don’t know how to do what I suspect needs to be done about it…or something.

Simple pleasures offer some relief.

Simple pleasures offer some relief.

I’m able to understand that I have choices that can put me in a better place… working on that. Again and again, I nudge my Observer self back into the driver’s seat, and kick my Thinker self into the background. It helps, but I find myself having to make a firm consistent effort with it. There’s a feeling of internal resistance to it, which I don’t understand, but continue to experience. Still…practice…practice…practice… eventually something practiced enough begins to feel natural…right?

Some lovely things in my experience this morning, too. I so want to focus on those…

Seedlings in the greenhouse quickly becoming plants...

Seedlings in the greenhouse quickly becoming plants…

...the 'Irresistible' beauty of a miniature rose on a rainy morning...

…the ‘Irresistible’ beauty of a miniature rose on a rainy morning…

...the wonder of 'Ebb Tide' thriving in the most amazing way her very first year...

…the wonder of ‘Ebb Tide’ thriving in the most amazing way her very first year…

...the mystery of exotic flowers I didn't expect in my garden, and don't know the name of...

…the mystery of exotic flowers I didn’t expect in my garden, and don’t know the name of…

...quite dramatic up close, and a ready reminder of the variety of unexpected pleasures   in life.

…quite dramatic up close, and a ready reminder of the variety of unexpected pleasures in life.

So…maybe not completely awful, as days go. I vacillate between feeling I urgently need to address specific needs – take care of me more skillfully – and feeling as if I am ‘just being a big baby’ and ‘very high maintenance’. It’s just a Wednesday, maybe, and perhaps this is all a hormonal illusion… what is ‘real‘, anyway, beyond the loveliness of flowers, and the smell of a drizzly summer morning, and the certainty that love is, even when it is imperfect.






It is an unusual Monday. I woke feeling cross and dissatisfied, irritable, almost angry – and my entire being went looking for fight. Well, that’s the feeling of it, when the day started. I allowed myself the respect and consideration of really feeling it, acknowledging the presence of it in my experience, and an honest admission of awareness that emotions can be quite illusory, and transitory, and that the thinking I use to prop up those emotions can be deceptively well crafted to support continuation, rather than resolution. Yay me… I’m still feeling cross.

Roses blooming. My emotions are not relevant to their experience.

Roses blooming. My emotions are not relevant to their experience.

As I walked to work contemplating my feeling of discontent and dissatisfaction, it quietly became more honest, more vulnerable, and a more accurate expression of unmet needs and longing. Longing. (I am finding satisfaction in the word, as an expression of my experience this morning. ‘I woke with a sense of longing’.) I spent the walk to the office musing about longing.  I re-phrased a variety of recent expressions of discontent, dissatisfaction, loss, frustration, and moments that fell short of expectations, turning them into frank expressions of desire and longing. It is an interesting exercise in self-expression that takes garden-variety everyday bitching and renders commonplace moments of unhappiness into something more profound – and constructive.

From my perspective, longing doesn’t feel as ‘negative’ as dissatisfaction – or as hopeless. Longing feels poignant, deep, even necessary. Longing feels respectful of prior joys and experiences, and honors what is valued and loved. Longing reminds me of what I want and why I want it, without attacking someone dear to me as though they are an obstacle in obtaining my desires.  Having said that… I find myself puzzled by longing. Is it a ‘now’ thing? Is it a trap that combines past and present, but delivering nothing of value, merely holding me in thrall to desire?  I am still a student of life, of love…and there seems always to be more to learn.

One very nice thing about longing… my own longing for a thing, person, event, or experience is not an attack on someone else.  It is sometimes challenging [for me] to express ‘dissatisfaction’ or ‘discontent’ without seeming to attack someone else, as though they are the source of my emotional experience. ‘Longing’ seems bigger than that…with a presence in my experience that is clearly ‘of me’ and ‘for me’, part of who I am, and an expression of what I value and what I need.

There’s more to think about here, more questions to ask, more connections to make, more experiences to parse and correlate, more to understand and explore…more life to live…and time to write another day.

A footnote, of sorts: for so very long I experienced longing for a greenhouse of my own. I have such fond memories of the greenhouse attached to my grandmother’s house, so many years ago. I don’t believe I ever really said so, beyond the occasional remark about it being ‘a cool idea’ (not a very precise expression of longing). In a sense, this entire post is the period at the end of a ‘thank you’ to a man who adores me so much that he often knows my heart’s desire long before I learn the words to share it with him.  😀

Thank you, Love.

Thank you, Love.

…Oh, and I no longer feel cross; I am experiencing a sense of longing, and enjoying the satisfaction of understanding myself just a bit more than I did yesterday. 🙂