Archives for posts with tag: are you going my way?

Yesterday was lovely. I had a decently long list of things I had determined “needed” to get done, and after a leisurely coffee in the morning, some time lingering on the deck in the morning chill, and gently catching up on world events, I got off my ass to work the list.

I gave up after about 2 decently productive hours. The crisp sparkling autumn sunshine kept catching my attention and tempting me into the outdoors, and I quickly “re-evaluated my life” on a small scale and decided to go hiking instead of doing housework. πŸ˜€ Yep. That’s a thing I sometimes do.

I’m glad I did. The two hours I spent walking in the sunshine felt amazing, and I guess I really needed that time, out there in the trees. The local trail I chose is nearby, rather steep, and “doesn’t really go anywhere” in the sense that one must either commit to a very long hike, or do one of several out-and-back hikes possible on a combination of shorter trails. I hear it is a popular area to hike. I had the trails to myself on a beautiful mild autumn day.

Well, I had the trail to myself, except for these guys, and lizards, birds, squirrels, chipmunks, raccoons… I was never alone.

It was quite a lovely hike. I returned home feeling properly recharged and refreshed, and although it had not been my intention, quickly worked off a few more items from my list of things to do.

The busy week ahead may blow me off course in a number of ways, and I contemplate how to best take care of myself this week, as I sip my coffee. In anticipation of my sleep routine being thrown off by my odd work hours ahead (long late shift Monday, very early shift Tuesday, concert night out Thursday…) my brain “helped me out” by getting an early start on that, and I slept like crap last night, waking often, rather pointlessly, and struggling to return to sleep. Anticipatory sleep disturbances are entirely annoying. I’m still smiling. I still feel pretty good. I sip my coffee and put my attention on those positive details; they have more value for building implicit memory that will tend most to support good emotional wellness. It’s a practical thing. It requires practice. πŸ™‚

Figuring out how best to maximize my opportunities to spend time with my Traveling Partner is high on my list of things to do to take care of me. I’m excited that he’ll be in town. Our planning includes a visit to my new residence, and perhaps even an overnight visit, or at least something more than a few minutes to walk through the place. I include in my planning – and in my daydreaming – regular reminders that “things don’t always turn out as planned”; my Traveling Partner lives his life with “spontaneity settings” turned all the way up. lol The way I see it, I may not do any writing tomorrow, and may not write on Friday, depending on time, timing, and how many spoons I really have left.Β  Busy weeks are hard sometimes. Fuck I am eager to see my Traveling Partner, though, and the fact that this is a busy week for other reasons, while inconvenient, isn’t going to prevent me doing it. πŸ˜€

Okay. I’ve got plans. I’ve got a flexible mindset. I’ve got verbs. I’ve made choices. I’m ready for the week… The journey is the destination.

I’m walking my own path. I am my own cartographer.

I’m ready to begin again. πŸ™‚

 

I woke to the alarm. My coffee this morning is a tasty Americano. I am wrapped in modest comfort, and feel safe, cared-for, and content. It’s a nice start to a Wednesday.

I hadn’t been up long before I started feeling that weird nagging sensation that is my half-aware recognition that there’s something I meant to do… right. Chickens. I mean, I’d said I would send my chicken references to Her. (Damn, She really needs a better nickname here…) I was delighted to hear her say she’d like to have chickens (me too!!). It felt like a connection, as much as a shared interest.

I put aside my writing to fulfill this commitment, and email over the links to vendors, resources, references, catalogs, and feel warmed by participating in something we share. I remember her asking about pets… I find myself not recalling why, at first, then – her dogs. Of course. πŸ™‚ Chickens – any livestock, really – are pets enough for me. I like creatures. The small wild lizards everywhere there delight me. The inquisitive jays and wily crows make me smile. Her dogs are fun and friendly. What else could I want? Chickens. LOL It’s a small thing to share an interest with another human being. We are so many, and so many of us share interests. It feels good to connect with another person. Get their views. Hear their thoughts. Share my own. Practice listening more than talking, while I’m at it. lol (Still so human.)

I hit send. Finish my coffee. Contemplate the brief remainder of the work week. It was rainy yesterday. There is rain in the forecast for the rest of the week. I’m okay with that. My arthritis is less okay with it. I think about the climate “down there”… “at home”? (Can I say that? I want to. It is a vision of one possible future that I do find very enticing.) My arthritis didn’t bother me pain-wise the entire weekend I was down visiting my Traveling Partner and Her. (Fuck. I need a better name for Her. Something playful and fond.) I still dealt with the stiffness, some, but it wasn’t so bad. The weekend here is likely to be rainy. I’m likely to be in pain. Still… there is much to do and to enjoy.

It’s a good time to winterize the deck and the potted garden.

It’s a good time to give the place a thorough cleaning in preparation for the holidays to come.

It’s a good time to light the pilot light on the gas fireplace for the cool autumn nights and cold winter days ahead.

It’s a good time for a last visit to the Farmer’s Market – maybe the big one downtown?

It’s a good time for long autumn hikes through colorful fall forest along unexplored trails.

There’s nothing fancy on my calendar this week; this one’s for me. A simple enough quiet weekend at home. Laundry, dishes, vacuuming, tidying up, reading a book with my feet up by the fire, sipping coffee in the afternoon…

“WhatΒ  are you doing this weekend?”

Everything. This precious mortal lifetime won’t just live itself. πŸ˜€

 

I was musing about the future, near term, specifically a concert I plan to see, which my Traveling Partner also has tickets for, but now lives quite far away and likely won’t drive 5 hours to attend it. It’s a poignant realization, to reflect on how unlikely it is that he’ll make the trip up this way casually, just to see a concert, go to dinner, or hang out. He’s never even seen this new place…

…My eyes begin to fill with tears. I take a funny little moment to “mentally hold my own hand” in a comforting sort of way (actually visualizing an adult-me, holding the hand of a tearful child-me); I need my sympathy, compassion, and support in such a moment. It’s only a moment, and without compounding it by additional needless self-inflicted suffering to force it to grow and linger, it quickly dissipates. We’re each having our own experience. Our most reasonable, rational, choices do not reliably also represent the most emotionally comfortable or satisfying choices for those dear to us. That’s something I’m glad I’ve come to understand, because I am also prone to rational, reasonable, choices, and also have loved ones dear to me who may be discomfited by them.

I had been, I admit, daydreaming about making a home here in this new place, in which my Traveling Partner would feel welcome and comfortable, and in which we would enjoy our lives together any time he blew through town. It doesn’t look likely at this point. His job down south quickly resulted in a permanent move. His other partner, having the means to do so, simply packed up her household, and moved also. I definitely feel more disconnected from my partner than I generally have; living alone wasn’t enough to cause that, it required a sense of greater distance and a sense of being less… something. The very fact this lessening is so very nameless, when I have so many words for so many emotions, suggests it is an illusion. My recollection of our conversations, and our time spent together recently, seems to confirm that my sense of our connection being somehow diminished is indeed an illusion.

…Daydreams don’t make much room for change. Daydreams can feel very threatened by change, by variance from the ideal, by realities that don’t match expectations, and by unspoken assumptions. Plans work differently. I smile when I think about planning my retirement. My Traveling Partner and I had discussed our plan for my retirement in detail. That planning touches nearly everything about our shared experience. I can look around this space, and see things that are “not yet according to plan”, that could be, and I find myself moved to action; it’s the action that gets me to my planned goal. Reflecting on that shared planning is less emotional, and less uncomfortable. Funny how my planning is not negatively affected by my emotions, the way my daydreams can be.

I have literally gone to pieces, and wept openly, when a vacant lot I daydreamed about building a home on for many years was sold to a developer and a condo was built there. Wasn’t my land. I didn’t have a plan. There was nothing real or solid there, just a daydream that lingered over years. It was unkind to treat myself so poorly, but I didn’t have any sort of understanding that my daydreams could do me any harm. I’m a big fan of daydreaming. It’s becoming attached to a daydream that gets me into emotional trouble. I don’t know that being attached to a plan would be any different… but I think generally, becoming committed to a plan usually resulted in achieving a goal! (I mean, so long as I am also flexible about rolling with the changes, prepared with a plan B, and willing to also not be attached to the outcome!)

Yes, and I’ve written more than 600 words this morning on the difference between daydreams and plans. lol I’m not sure this was necessary. I’m not even certain it can be fully understood by anyone who is not me, because our personal dictionaries matter so much here. It matters how you define “daydream” and “plan”, for me to be understood clearly. (How much does it matter that you understand my own specific point here, though, so long as you understand something and find some value in that for yourself that makes the time spent reading these words worthwhile?)

This morning I plan the visit down to see my Traveling Partner, while also daydreaming about it. I’ll get to see his new place! πŸ™‚ That matters to me. I enjoy having a good mental map of his physical experience when I think about him. I like knowing, first hand, that he is safe, comfortable, and living well. I am eager to get as many visits down as I can before icy weather sets in; I won’t want to drive when the roads are icy. (Note to self, be sure to verify your VPN connection to your work tools before winter weather sets in! You’ll want to work from home on snowy or icy days.)

My brain sneak attacks me once more, and I find myself wondering a bit sadly if he will still come for the holidays… Seriously? I sigh out loud, and let that go. We can talk about our holiday plans together in person this weekend. That makes more sense. πŸ™‚

I sip my coffee, review my to do list, and consider my plans. There are verbs involved. I’m the only one here right now, so all that is up to me. It’s time to begin again. πŸ˜€

 

Let’s overlook how often I simply choose not to go out to some event, or show, or whatever I thought I’d talked myself into – because that’s a thing I totally do (and I highly recommend it, myself, since I think forcing myself to attend events I don’t feel up to for whatever reason is a rather stupid use of my time, generally). I do like “doing stuff”, going places, seeing sights, hearing music, hiking trails, exploring the world and getting to know its bizarre inhabitants; I love all that. Mostly. Sometimes.

I live alone. Which I also like. Sure, I have a committed and adoring partner. Sometimes there’s a lover in the picture. I have friends. Associates. Assorted hangers-on of one variety or another. A tribe. A social circle. A scene. I live my life in the company of other humans living their lives. Excellent stuff for keeping good company – and I recommend that, too; we are social creatures. Our lurking ever-present need for intimacy, connection, and contact doesn’t somehow dissipate over time spent in solitude. I definitely enjoy the company of others. I don’t always have it. So, okay… what to do in the context of being alone, and wanting to do stuff…?

Go do stuff.

No kidding. It’s that simple. Farmer’s markets excite you? Go to those. Have a determined passion for growing lovely flowers? Go to places where flowers grow, where plants are sold, where gardens are planned – obviously. Maybe art is your thing? Lots of museums, galleries, and art shows to attend! Antiques more your thing? Cars? Beaches? Surfing? Concerts? Travel? Exotic dining? No problem; the world is vast and entertaining, and all the options exist. Do the verbs. Go to the places you dream of.

Alone?!

…Why not alone?

After my break up with my most recent ex I sort of… stopped doing things I enjoyed for some time. I’d pulled the same bullshit maneuver within a short while of being with the ex prior to that one, too. I was just… fuck it. Ennui. I trudged through my experience, supporting my then-partner’s desires to go and do and be, and tolerating the full-time discouragement of my own interests. I didn’t know how to do differently. The relationship before that one… was worse. Over time, learned helplessness crept in, and I failed myself in a rather large way. <shrugs> So okay, fast forward to this great relationship… still carrying these bad habits, and a total lack of skilled self-care. In a practical sense, one reason I made the choice to live alone was to sort some of this shit out. Learning good self-care was a much higher priority than museums, coffee houses, poetry readings, open mic nights, picnics in parks, small venue concerts… surviving was a bit more important, it seemed then, than thriving.

I was wrong though. I was incorrect about the importance and relative value of doing the things I love. Oh, not in a monstrous or malicious or hateful way. I just didn’t understand what living well could look like, built on my own choices; there were verbs I just wasn’t using. I didn’t understand that those things I personally thrive on might help me along my way, even help me sort out some of the chaos and damage, as well as provide opportunities for new connections with other humans.

I live alone. That’s just one characteristic about my life. I enjoy a lovely brunch out with friends. I also enjoy brunch alone. I enjoy brunch. πŸ™‚ I enjoy music, and the events and artists I want to see represent my own taste – sometimes going alone makes for a very special evening, since I won’t spend any of it wondering if the person attending with me actually enjoys it, or is just being polite in their silent misery. I like the things I like whether I am alone or not.

I’m just saying – take time to do the things that excite and interest you, whether you do them with someone else, or alone. They are still the things that excite and interest you. You will still grow from those new experiences. They subtract nothing from your experience to do them alone. It is your journey. Your experience.Β  πŸ™‚

…Clearly ballroom dancing will be easier to enjoy with a partner, but… yeah. In general. Go do the stuff you love. Yes, and alone, also – why the fuck not? lol

My calendar for the autumn and upcoming winter months has filled out nicely. I’ve got tickets for a couple of concerts I’m excited to see. A couple trips down to see my Traveling Partner. Quiet weekends in the studio, or out on the trail (while the weather holds up)… brunch… farmer’s markets… I’ve got a lot to look forward to, which I enjoy rather a lot just by itself. The anticipation, I mean. Choices and verbs. And planning. And living.

Don’t wait around. This is your life. You can live it, fully, delightfully, and even beautifully – even if you’re going solo on this journey. πŸ™‚

It’s one of those Mondays after a long weekend that feels like I have “been away a long while”. It’s highly subjective, and an illusion. I often feel this way after a long weekend – or any weekend that I really succeed in “disconnecting” “letting go” or “recharging”. I almost always feel this way after a weekend in the studio. It’s like taking a step back from a life I love to rejoin a life-in-progress about which I’ve long had mixed feelings. lol It’s a feeling that will fade quickly, as I begin process routine Monday workload and start feeling “caught up”. I sip my coffee and spend a couple minutes contemplating the illusory nature of emotion, the made up nature of personal narrative, the mutability of life itself.

So far it’s a good beginning to a Monday. My coffee this morning is excellent, and I have refrained from looking at the news, or Facebook. πŸ™‚

I sip my coffee a few minutes more, thinking about friends I saw, friends I didn’t see, friends I observed from a distance over Facebook. I think about the past (the weekend), the future (retirement), and notice that I have strayed rather far from this moment now, and pull myself back to the present with a smile, a sigh, and a sip of coffee.

Did I mention that my coffee this morning is excellent? Is it worth mentioning that if I let my consciousness wander to far from being present in this moment, I stop tasting it? That seems relevant. I consider only my coffee for a moment or two, savoring the smoothness of the steamed almond milk, the richness of the locally roasted Ethiopian beans. I take time to appreciate how quickly I’ve become more proficient with the espresso machine, again. I let my awareness become filled with this morning, right here. The coffee. The sound of traffic. My tinnitus. The trickle of the aquarium. The feel of this space I live within. Mmm…did I mention the coffee? πŸ™‚

What a lovely equinox weekend it was. I feel rested and well-cared-for. The world waits…

…I guess it is time to begin again. πŸ™‚