Archives for category: Oregon Trails

I’m drinking coffee and giving thought to the day ahead. Days ahead. The weekend, too. Building a mental map of what is likely to come, and also gently letting that go; the map is not the world. Hell, it’s not even properly a map; it’s just a sense of direction. 🙂

A local transit map gets me across town, but tells me nothing much about the places to which I travel.

Maps are funny things. They give me a sense of security about the direction I’m headed, and some hints and pointers about how to get where I’m going. I appreciate those things. I also recognize that there are some limitations. Maps have scale, and boundaries; anything too small disappears from view, anything outside the borders isn’t shown. Depending on the distance I want to travel, or the complexity of the journey, any one map may be unsuited to the purpose.

Other maps, other details; not all maps suit all purposes.

If I take the wrong map on the hiking trip, I could easily become very lost. 🙂 Too little detail, and I don’t see the trails to follow. Too much detail, I don’t see important details of the terrain. Get in too close, and I can’t see “a bigger picture”. Pull away too far, and I lose a sense of context, and place. Perspective matters, on the trail, on the commute, and in life. The accuracy of the map matters, too.

I fell yesterday. I was walking briskly across a busy street, after work, heading to the train platform, and slipped on a rain-slick manhole cover. I fell hard, into the street, onto the train tracks. I hit the ground hard enough to knock the air out of my lungs, and I struggled to pick myself up easily. I was shaken, and stood confused, on the sidewalk for some moments. Passers-by expressed concern. I wasn’t entirely coherent, for some seconds. My jeans were soaked on the side of my body that took the impact. I walk across that street almost every day. You’d think I’d have mastered it by now. My mental map did not have that manhole cover noted anywhere, and the risk escaped my notice as I hurried along.

I got home with minimal frustration, still aching all over from falling. I made a trip to the store, because I’d said I would, but my head was still reeling a bit from the fall, and I made the trip short and very efficient. I really just wanted to go home. I felt vulnerable, raw, and very very mortal. I felt betrayed by my awareness, and overly sensitive to the excessive real-world detail strewn about all around me. Overwhelmed by the sudden awareness that I just don’t notice everything, I was feeling a bit anxious, and still kind of dizzy from the fall.

I got home, and just as I was breathing a sigh of relief, hands full of shopping bags, and also juggling my keys, my cane, and my backpack… the door would not unlock. Fuck. I snarled at the door and tried again. Nope. Not unlocking. I snapped. I felt my consciousness winding up to prepare me to lash out against that wretched, cursed, unresponsive door, and just as the stream of invective began to leave my lips – my Traveling Partner opened the door with a sheepish, loving smile, and an apology; he’d locked the door knob (I lock the deadbolt). I started to cry, he immediately offered me comfort. We moved on from the moment very quickly. He made sure I was really okay, and helped me look after my health properly. No obvious lasting damage, honestly. I just fell. I got back up. I got home safely. We enjoyed a lovely evening. Well and good. 🙂

The mental map matters every bit as much as any physical map ever has. Expectations, unchecked, often result in disappointment, confusion, resentment, and frustration. Assumptions that are not verified against actual facts, can lead to some terrible decision-making, miscommunication, and poor quality relationships. Even simple lack of awareness can wreck a map and render it entirely useless due to lack of relevant details. I’m just saying – it’s not enough to take just any map, it also needs to be a map of the correct place, and drawn to the correct scale, using an accurate perspective.

If you’re struggling to get where you are going in life… maybe it’s time to redraw the map? 😀

 

I’m looking ahead at the year and sorting out time off plans. Yes, already. I am soooo “that” person. lol I find that doing so gives me a better idea of where I hope to spend my time, and on what activities. It gives me a chance to ensure that I’m also allowing enough opportunity to recover and rest between adventures, festivals, weekends away, and all of the busy things about living life.

There was a point in my life, not too long ago, when such attempts at planning was pure lasting frustration; my planning wasn’t respected by partners, even when the events were shared. It was… hard. For me. My subjective experience, and internal narrative, suggests that I “bent over backwards” to accommodate change, and to be flexible, but… here’s where honest self-reflection has some pay-off; I’m pretty sure I made everyone fairly miserable with noteworthy displays of disappointment, dissatisfaction, and frustration, as much as anything else. Unpleasant on all sides.

Last year was complicated. Lots of well-intended changes of carefully laid plans. Lots of life, and interrupted or changed plans following through on circumstances. Also, rather an enjoyable amount of things that were also planned, and enjoyed precisely as planned, with considerable satisfaction and merriment…so… there’s that. What got missed, often, last year (until near the end) was to also plan, skillfully, with real commitment, the time I needed to care for myself, too.

This year, I hope to improve on that. 😀 It’s not a resolution. It’s just a commitment to myself; I do so much to meet other needs, for myself, for other people, this year I also want to meet my own. Seems doable on paper. I’ve a quantity of time off to use. I’ve some key dates I reliable want to have off every year. I’ll start there. Request that time off now, and see what’s left. Check in with my Traveling Partner on some shared activities and interests. Secure that time off, next. It’s a system that works. This year, I’ll also be mindful that major events need major rest time, and ideally, no two consecutive weekends will have major plans – and definitely any two consecutive weekends of major events or activities needs a real weekend of rest (maybe with an extra day) between them, and anything else planned. Calendar filling up? I start saying “no, I can’t this year – next year?” and getting some variety in the rotation using alternating-year planning. 🙂 Will it work?

…I guess I have to begin again to find out. 😉

Another Monday finished off, in due time. Hardly a routine work day, and I could have easily arrived home in a completely shitty mood, after spending the last half of my work day struggling not to snarl at people (it was that sort of day).

I didn’t. I made other choices, although, honestly, I’m sort of tired now, and… just a tad uncertain which choices had what result. lol Choices were made, however, and some were made differently. New perspective? Different perspective. Close enough.

I got home tired. I’m not even bitching; it wasn’t a particularly long day, and I still have some evening ahead of me to relax, read, write, and do some things to support my own wellness and quality of life. It feels good. It’s a small thing, but keeping some of my focus on my own needs really does make a huge difference, and when I don’t – however worthy the reason, I eventually pay a price for it in a reduction in quality of life, health, emotional resilience, or some moment of aggravation blown out of proportion.

I sat down to write and found this:

…Has it been 6 years?

Funny thing, though… I mean… I write like I breathe (which is to say, reliably, most of the time, and without any particular effort or need to think about it, and fairly unavoidably; it’s part of my existence). How is 6 more years of writing actually an achievement? I nibble at my fairly nutritious dinner, and give that some thought.

6 years ago, I was walking a very different path.

6 years. 6 years of living life. Now that’s an achievement. 6 years of learning to love truly well. 6 years of sharing my heart and my moments with my Traveling Partner. Hell of an achievement right there; love takes some major verbs, done well. 6 years of forgiving myself. 6 years of forgiving others. 6 years of laughing at my own dumb jokes. 6 years spent doing more than crying. 6 years of hiking, camping, and pouring over maps of trails yet to be walked. Those are pretty cool achievements. 6 years of work I can be proud of. 6 years of lasting friendships, and new friends. Definitely some achievements in there. 6 years of more daydreams than nightmares – that’s a big achievement, most particularly because it has continued to improve over time. 🙂 6 years of practicing practices, sharing tales from a journey through a wilderness of chaos and damage, traveling in the twilight of evening light… and somehow, it seems a stroll through a sunny meadow much of the time, in year 6. That’s an achievement I don’t even know how to measure. Feels good.

So… yeah… I guess the tl;dr is “I registered on WordPress.com 6 years ago”. This may not be “happily ever after”… but it is pretty nice, generally. 🙂 I chose to make a change. That was an achievement. I’ve just kept making changes, and when I falter, I begin again. That’s an achievement. Thanks, WordPress.com, you’ve been a hell of a platform for change. 🙂

Still walking my path, paved with verbs and new beginnings, illuminated with love.

It’s the morning of the first day back in the office in a new year. Somehow, this particular day, each year that I’ve been a working adult, reliably feels very much more… significant (close enough) than other “first days” and new beginnings of various sorts. I’m aware it is a matter of subjective experience, my own notions, and context, nonetheless it feels “special”, in neither a specifically positive nor specifically negative way. It is one of the most obviously “this is what I make of it” days in my year, each year.

…Sometimes it is very hard to go back, and really feels like “going backward”.

…Sometimes it is easy to return to the job, and feels very promising.

Today? Today is a Thursday. 🙂

My experience reflects my choices.

I took some additional self-care steps this year, and built my holiday around some skillful choices in time management, and activities. One of those was to allow myself adequate travel and recovery time, instead of rushing myself to get back and also be in the office as of the day after New Year’s Day (you know, the 2nd of January). As it happens, I was so not up to working a shift yesterday, and although the resulting 2-day work week is so short that both days will be (most likely) both a bit long and very busy, I am ready for it, today.

I got to bed relatively early last night, still pretty fatigued from the holiday excitement, and slept soundly through the night. I woke up a bit early, and got up feeling pretty good. Very little pain, and only from all the usual unavoidable bullshit. I sip my coffee contentedly, ready to greet a new day and year. Today effectively restarts the last bit of routine life post-holiday; the job.

…I take a moment to appreciate that although I was “on call” the entire holiday, no one, apparently, needed to call me. Nice. 🙂

The new year will also be the starting point of a new schedule (for me) that should (ideally) allow me to improve on my self-care, by giving me a week day off into which I can schedule appointments and get some things done. Having to take time off of work for every medical appointment gets annoying fast, as well as being overly revealing of how much time I need to spend on that endeavor, which, from my perspective, is a rather personal matter that needn’t be a topic of office conversation. Aging already sucks enough. lol

I’m stalling. It’s time now…

Start where you are. Look toward the horizon you’d like to stand upon. Start walking.

It’s time to begin again.

Although I had intended to write over the long New Year’s holiday…

…I didn’t.

Interesting break from a great many routines. I took time to live life, to reflect on this life I live, to question my choices, gently, to consider new choices to come, to contemplate the path ahead, to let go of expectations, and to clarify assumptions. Productive lifetime in the company of friends, and my Traveling Partner. Solo moments, shared moments, moments of adventure, emotional moments, and a handful of moments of epiphany, all mingling with… moments of pure, lived lifetime. It was lovely.

It was also clearly missing something, but until the moment that 2018 expired, it was less than ideally clear to me what I thought might be missing…

…We really needed a piñata. Seriously. One that could be just beat to fucking death, and explode in a shower of trinkets, mementos, sweets, intoxicants, bits of wisdom gathered through the year, money, glitter and confetti. lol No kidding. I am considering making this a new New Year’s tradition at home. A piñata. 🙂 Something more lasting than a kiss, more visceral than a ball drop, a more powerful metaphor, something a bit physical. 😀 Who’s with me on this?

All of the routines that will remain routine have recommenced. A few got cut from the roster, being less than helpful, or too complicated, or driving more stress than they manage… changes over time mean choices over time, too.

Speaking of time, welcome to 2019. It’s time to begin again. What will you do to save the world?

The world awaits your choices. Your results may vary.