I woke up to the alarm. Showered quickly. Made my coffee.

…Something missing this morning… something… work, life, time, things, and stuff… what does this moment need? Momentum. Cue playlist. lol I haven’t felt like dancing in the morning for quite a while… this morning, the thought of the work ahead of me today and the hints of the day to come in the changing pre-dawn light slipping between the blinds in my studio mix together and create a moment that just begs for a soundtrack. One sec… I got this. LOL

…How many of those somewhat invisible middle-aged folks around us, and even our elders, are listening to something we might be surprised by, if we slowed down enough to be present and connect? Appearances are only that. Assumptions are a joy killer. Great shared moments are built on presence. πŸ˜€

My choices. My playlist. My coffee. My moment. πŸ˜‰

Life is bigger than “mine”, though, isn’t it? That’s true, too. I smile in the face of 56. I sip coffee quietly before dawn. I am having my own experience – and we’re all in this together. I decide to “change the channel” on the morning, and restart, perhaps a different journey? I scroll a moment, and find just what I’m looking for… right here. Yeah… better. πŸ™‚

…Slow down. πŸ™‚

Hey there, Summer. I hear your footsteps approaching softly, sneaking up on the balmy dawn, just days before the Solstice. Roses blooming everywhere. It’s hard to consider the work day ahead, when the deck, the rose garden, and the sunrise are just over there… out of reach of this moment, and this cup of coffee. πŸ™‚

The blue skies aren’t my doing; how I choose to face the day, is.

I sip my coffee. Breathe. Embrace this moment – and the moments ahead. I let go of the moments that are behind me. I remind myself to call my mother, later. I feel summer coming. I smile. The music keeps playing. One moment of many, this one as good as the next, generally. I notice it with a measure of astonishment; how far has this journey come? 6 years ago, even “contentment” was not a given – I was working my ass off to figure myself out, to find my way, to build a life that could, just maybe, for a moment, be worth living. Did I notice when I got here? I think it is more likely I struggled, fussed, and filled my days with the things I understood most, even then; the chaos and damage, the drama, the bullshit and baggage… and one thing I didn’t necessarily understand, but seemed to be doing something useful; all that practicing of practices. Meditation. No kidding, it really has made that much difference. A journey spanning a lifetime, and cover the distance between despair – crying every day, emotionally raw, unbalanced, disordered, and woeful – and this place, here; generally content, sometimes happy, rarely crying (so rare), easy. Man, I do love “easy”. πŸ˜€

I notice the time. I finish my coffee. I begin again. πŸ™‚

 

β€œLife should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming “Wow! What a Ride!” ~Hunter S. Thompson

…And all the new beginnings that that implies…and perhaps a few more.

I put quite a bit of time, enthusiastic daydreaming, and research, into the trip I planned to take this past weekend. I never did the one thing necessary to bring it to life; I did not begin the journey. I just thought about it. LOL There’s a lesson in there. An allegory. A metaphor. A parable, perhaps. The weekend did not lack of significant XP, however; it was an adventure, a brief journey, and an interesting progression of emotions and events, nonetheless. πŸ™‚

I needed wide open space, and big sky – and found it close to home. There’s a lesson, here, too.

My birthday has been well-celebrated. A new year of life has been kick-started, decisively. There has been feasting, entertainment, the company of friends, and so much love! Errands were run. Housekeeping got done. The garden was cared for. A humble adventure has commenced.

My first orchid. A wee adventure with which to start the year.

It’s been a fast, relaxed, and delightful handful of days, in spite of news of my Mother’s decline. There will be time to process that in full, and there is no need to rush, or to force it down into a dark quiet corner of my heart. It is what it is; we are mortal creatures, and of all the things that will inevitably pass, our brief mortal lives are one of the most challenging to let go of… and then that greater challenging of letting go of those we love. No user’s guide for this one, either. I sometimes feel I am fumbling around in the dark with my emotions. I know that my emotions haven’t killed me yet. πŸ™‚ I’ll get through this, too.

I think about the beautiful broad expanse of meadow, and the scent of wildflowers on the breeze.

I smile, letting the details of the weekend unfold in my recollection. What a lovely time to share with my Traveling Partner.

Life’s pleasures don’t have to be fancy to be enjoyed. Life’s beauty doesn’t have to be costly to be lovely.

I sip my coffee. It’s Monday. I shift gears to “now” and remind myself of the path ahead. The year will continue to unfold. What will July hold? What of September? And the holiday season with my Traveling Partner right here at home? What of the future? And the unanswered questions in life?

Where does this path lead?

It’s time to find out. It’s time to begin again. πŸ™‚

We human creatures make much of some small details, don’t we? Well… I do. lol A birthday is a birthday. It’s a day. Just one of 365 – and an arbitrary sort of celebration, as if to make a point of calling out life for being challenging, and potentially dangerous. “I lived through another year, y’all!!” πŸ˜‰

…Well… I did, though. lol

I enjoyed my birthday in the company of my Traveling Partner. It was sunny, summery, and suitable for both grilling – and air conditioning. Hell of a nice luxury to have on a hot day! I find myself appreciating it, even as I endure a sneezing fit kicked off by the air conditioning starting up, this morning. (Time to appreciate some tissues…)

We’re mortal creatures so skilled at creating our own personal hells… celebrating our own survival once a year seems both worthwhile, and faintly silly. I’m okay with that. I sip my coffee this next day in a new year of aging, contemplating my mortality, without being grim about it. I remind myself to ensure my will is up-to-date, and consider what other steps I can take to ensure my partner is cared-for, not burdened, if I happen to face death before he does.

…I’m also thinking about meaning, context, richness of experience, contribution to society and culture; what will I do with this lifetime ahead of me that meets those needs? Big questions.

Here it is, a fresh, new, summer day. What will I do with it? It’s time to begin and find out… choices, verbs, questions; stepping stones on a path that is a destination, to a finish I can’t understand in advance. πŸ™‚ It’s time to begin again.

 

56 today. Feels a lot like 55, yesterday. lol I’m okay with that, too, and chose a lot of what it has taken to be here, now. I sip my coffee looking back on the year with considerable contentment. It was a year well-lived, and greatly enjoyed – even if the first half was largely spent “being there” for my Traveling Partner, as he extricated himself from a sticky, damaging, abusive relationship (and doing so at some expense). I lived my life, and my values, and that matters, so much.

The garden is lovely. My coffee tastes good – the sort of great cup of coffee that leaves a thirst for more, once it is down to the last sip. I’m home, enjoying the day, in the middle of the work week, celebrating life, and love, and self. I feel rested. The forecast is for another very hot day (above 90 F). I’ll finish here, and take my coffee out onto the deck, water the garden, and meditate.

The pointless loveliness of a flower is, for me, rich with meaning.

This all feels so… comfortably ordinary. This isn’t a feeling that I’ve spent a lifetime with; it’s new. Well, relatively new. New enough for me to be acutely aware I have not always “lived here” in this way. The takeaway, this morning, is that healing is frankly very possible – for a lot of us, many of us, most of us (perhaps), and that’s incredibly powerful. It requires a lot of self-work, a will to be wholly frank with oneself, open, able to reassess implicit assumptions and biases, skilled at recognizing those internals attacks that hold us back, and tear open old wounds unexpectedly. It sounds like so much to have to take on, and it feels… impossible. Overwhelming. Isolating. Depressing. Devastatingly permanent. At least, at first. Is it weird that getting from hell to my garden has been a journey that begins (again and again) with a breath, and ends on a meditation cushion (again and again), feeling content, and whole? If it ever really ends. I could call yesterday an ending…

…But isn’t this morning a new beginning? Am I not here, beginning again? (I assure you, I am, at least for now, in this mortal life.) It’s been a journey. I’ve had help along the way – and I’ve needed it, and often felt unable to ask for it. Being able to accept it when offered, was an excellent place to start. I pause for gratitude. I think of my Granny. I think of friends. I think of my therapist. I think of my Traveling Partner. I haven’t made this journey alone, except in that limited way in which is happens to be mine.

Dinner with friends last night was celebratory and beautiful. It pushed aside, however briefly, the news I’d gotten moments earlier that my Mother is ill… like… end of life ill. Rejecting care, ill. Wrapping things up, ill. My heart, for the moment, is surprisingly light; she has been, in my life, a source of intellectual inspiration, and I find that I am not able to disrespect her thinking on this important choice in life. I feel the hint of the pain to come, like taking a sickening blow the back of the head – I know the pain is coming, but it isn’t here, yet. I’m okay, right now. We are mortal creatures; even life is something we must let go, sooner or later. I’ll call her later. I’ll find words to say.

Beginnings and endings. Mortality. Choices. One pure moment of real contentment, a spot to stand in life’s chaotic stream that feels calm, for just a moment, one deep breath in, released as a sigh – contentment saved my life. I found I could build and sustain it, and that in doing so, happiness could find me, and I could stop chasing it. It’s not permanent. None of this is.

I’ll always remember my Mother’s age; she’s twenty years older than I am, and the dates are rather close. Easy. I suspect I won’t find it so easy to remember when she passes… 56? 57? 58? When it comes, it is likely to hit a year that seems insignificant in so many other ways… (and let’s be real; most of the details of our individual lives are fairly insignificant) I guess that seems reasonable. Isn’t her life of more value to me, even in its end, that her death ever could be?

Beginnings and endings. Birthdays. We live. We celebrate. We die. “This too shall pass…” Even life. Make it worthy through your choices. Take care of the fragile vessel in which you reside. Love with your whole heart – and yes, include yourself. Be present. These are all choices within your reach… if your baggage is in the way, just shove that shit to the side – and begin again. ❀

Tomorrow, 56. Today? The end of 55. It’s been a very much better than average year, actually… seems worth noticing at least that. πŸ™‚ So, my grim titular reference isn’t all that; it’s just a way of pointing out this year has been filled with days, and the last of those is today.

Contrary to what the sign says, I’m pretty sure there’s more than one way. πŸ˜‰

I’m taking a few moments this morning to take stock of the year, much in the way I do on New Year’s, and with a “summer ahead” sort of perspective. It’s time to let go of lingering petty foolishness, and time to revisit old lists of shit to do, and either do what has not yet been done, or scratch it from the list and move on. It’s a good time to celebrate a year of accomplishments, personal and professional. It’s a time to “reset” on whatever I can, and move forward from “here” and on to the next year. πŸ™‚

Flowers fade, sure, and flowers open. The endings are also beginnings.

I sip my coffee and watch the sky begin to lighten, awhile. No pressure. No hurry. Just me, this cup of coffee, and this moment. πŸ™‚ I think awhile about last year, around this time. It wasn’t about me. Really – none of it was. lol I’m even okay with that. It was a year to wake up, to make changes, to move on, and to level up. I learned a lot, and sustained very little damage in the process; I count that as a win. πŸ˜€

I’m tempted for a moment to hop forward to tomorrow, ahead of time, and to contemplate the future, and being 56. I grin at myself, and let that go. Tomorrow is tomorrow; I also want to wholly experience today. πŸ™‚ The last day of being 55. I won’t be “here” again, however long my lifetime may be. πŸ˜‰

So much goes into this journey…

I glance at the clock. I’ve got time to water the garden before work, and the forecast is 95 F (35 C). The garden is so lovely this year; it was the heat that provided the magic fail sauce last year, and my frequent time away. I’ve committed to doing better this year, and clearly, here I am, ready for that…

…New beginnings still need some verbs. It’s time to begin again. πŸ˜€