Archives for posts with tag: choices

…It’ll be another. πŸ™‚

In this case, it’s a lovely sunny Spring morning, a Friday. I took the day off because I’ll be on a plane heading to a work conference late tomorrow evening, sleeping thousands of feet overhead as I wing my way to the conference location. I’m not exactly excited about it… I’m not exactly not excited about it. I spent so many years as the partner staying behind, staying home, venturing out seldom, that this still has some novelty and interest – especially after two years of pandemic life. But, whether I am excited or not, I definitely do want and need time to chill, to plan into it, to prepare with care – because when I give up that time and don’t do those things, my experience feels frenetic, chaotic, and stressful. Besides all that, a Saturday departure makes a short weekend with my Traveling Partner (who is the more likely of the two of us to be staying at home, these days). I didn’t want to undermine those limited precious minutes we share, so taking the day off results in something more or less like a normal weekend, at least in duration.

I’m sipping my coffee contentedly. Just finished off the payday stuff – that’s a pretty low stress endeavor these days, and I feel that. The lack of stress, I mean. It’s pretty splendid that the mere mention of a payday, or a bill, or indebtedness, or budgeting doesn’t send me into a massive anxiety attack of some kind, or trigger my PTSD. A lifetime ago, being even a penny off on the painful process of balancing a checkbook with my first husband would almost guarantee I’d have terrible dark painful new bruises afterward. Literal violence, over pennies. What a lot of horrible bullshit. I can look back now and see that I should have walked away much sooner, but it wasn’t so obvious at the time. Understanding now that I was also viewing life through the lens of a fairly serious brain injury that was not actually rehabilitated (and that I was not, at the time, aware of), I am much more compassionate with that younger version of me.

Have you ever thought about that? How easy it actually could be to cut your younger self some fucking slack? Bad decisions are pretty commonplace when we’re young; we have limited life experience, and we’re the sort of creatures that commonly learn best through our mistakes. So… yeah. Every one of us has fucked something up, probably pretty badly. The world is going to make a point of ensuring we get a proper reckoning, more often than not. We could at least be there for ourselves, after the fact, right? We could bring our wiser perspective to our recollection of events, be kind to that younger self who just didn’t have all the tools or knowledge to do things much differently, and be just a bit more nurturing of ourselves on that look back – couldn’t we? And why not? The events of the past are past. Treat yourself more gently now and then. It’s okay to be your own best friend.

I’m not saying ignore warning signs that you need real help – definitely seek out and get the help you need. Think your mind “doesn’t work right”? Get therapy. Just like you would if you had a broken bone, or a terrible case of flu – get qualified help. Get treatment. Embrace change. Don’t like who you are? Make other choices. Change your thinking. Change your practices. Walk away from a situation that you are not thriving in. Jobs? There are plenty. Find one that you enjoy and doesn’t entirely drain away your joy in life! Relationships? Yeah, I know, we get attached, we feel that connection, we hope… But a bad situation is a bad situation. You could walk away. Maybe you should? Don’t like where you live? Move! Okay, resources are limited, so maybe that feels out of reach – but setting a goal is within reach. Making a plan is within reach. Exploring options is within reach. Steps. Incremental change over time adds up.

Anyway. It’s a lovely day, in spite of this being a world filled with violence and chaos, and threats to our freedoms, and shitty entitled ass-clowns seemingly just every-fucking-where… it’s okay to choose joy, and to live life. Savor what feels good. Seek to change what isn’t working so well. It’s okay to look back on yourself with kindness, and with respect for what you have endured so far, and how far you’ve come to get where you are now.

…It’s okay to begin again. πŸ˜€

Springtime is flowers, morning coffees on lazy Saturdays, sunny mornings that still feel too chilly to take my coffee out to the deck… and seasonal allergies. Yeesh. These fragile meat suits we wrap ourselves in to tackle this mortal lifetime are annoyingly prone to stuffy heads and sneezes.

The pollen count is high. Trees are blooming. My Traveling Partner’s Spring allergies are going absolutely nuts. Mine are not so bad, but they crop up in Spring. There’s some particular tree… I’m not sure which one. It isn’t all of them, and it’s a brief period in the season, for me. I know other people whose seasonal allergies associated with pollen are all Spring, all of the summer, and right into autumn when the last of blooming things gets done with blooming. My mother didn’t care for flowers, much, her allergies were pretty bad. I could – for most of my life – bury my face in flowers loaded with Spring pollen and have no reaction other than pure delight in their fragrance. That’s less true now, than it was then, but my allergies are nothing like his. As I said… there’s a particular tree. It happens to grow plentifully in our community here… whatever it is. LOL

Blue skies and flowers; it’s Spring.

I’m not really bitching about my allergies. They’re not that bad. Maybe you’ve got it much worse? If so, it may dull the shine of Spring for you, and if so, you have my sympathy, and my well-wishes: I hope you find relief. Allergies suck. If you’re among the ludicrously robust and strong-of-constitution, be kind to those who suffer. Just saying, the suffering is very real.

I see the sunny day beyond the neighbor’s fence. There are two pear trees and a cherry tree in my neighbor’s yard. They’re blooming. It’s quite lovely. There is so much I love about Spring. I’ve been watching a lot of gardening content on YouTube. By far my favorite gardening content, at least right now, is from a UK gardener named Huw Richards. His climate is rather similar to the climate here in McMinnville in most regards. His philosophy and practical approach suit my own inclinations. I’ve got a much smaller space, but the basics are the basics – are they not? I bought his book. lol It’s excellent with my morning coffee on a Spring morning.

What can I say? I like books.

I spent a portion of yesterday’s sunshine out in the garden, planting kitchen herbs in the front flower beds. I’m not personally a fan of the American “standard Pleasant Valley Sunday suburban curb appeal landscaping” that is so common in suburban communities and neighborhoods. I know, it’s a template that’s easy to work from, but omg – so lazy, and unpleasantly homogenous! I get that developers building a community of homes to sell to consumers would want to be easily (and cheaply) able to purchase and plant the necessary landscape, but for fucks’ sake would it really be that hard to provide some variety? In the case of this little house of ours, it’s easy to point back at the developer although the house is 18 years old; it was clear that most of the landscaping was wholly original, never altered by the previous owner. He wasn’t a gardening sort. lol (I’m sure the handful of recently-added primroses in the flower beds was something the realtor thought of to prepare the house for sale.) Now, a couple cycles of seasons has passed, and I’ve got a sense of where I’d like to take this garden… it’s time to get to work out there!

Kitchen herbs waiting to be planted.

…It was very satisfying planting some thyme, oregano, sage, and flowers. The lupines and nasturtiums that I had planted last year are making an appearance this year. That delights me. The roses are wide awake and growing fast – soon the small buds will be blossoms! (Well… soon-ish.) The veggies are planted in grow bags, along the rock walk that tops the retaining wall, just past the deck. Later, when the weather is warmer, I’ll plant peppers in hydroponic buckets. I also plan to have some Japanese eggplant (most of the veggies this year are chosen for stir fries, which I’m doing a lot). The eggplant has a lovely form and flowers; I’ll tuck a couple of those into the front flower beds as “showy annuals”. πŸ˜€

My thoughts are in the garden on this lovely Spring morning… it’s a distraction from the task ahead. I’m taking down my aquarium today, permanently. Oh, no tragedy, it’s not like that. It simply takes a lot of time to maintain, and in this little house there just isn’t an ideal location for it that suits the purpose. Where it sits now, it is too close to a big sunny window, which has led algae to proliferate and I’m over fighting with it. It’s noisy to live with, and it’s adjacent to the bedroom wall… and the entire point originally was a soothing “noise cancelling” device to allow my living space to preserve some sense of privacy and solitude in the midst of a noisy household that was triggering my PTSD regularly. I don’t need that, now. Now the noise is an unwelcome distraction, and the tank has become problematic to maintain. So.

…The hardest part has been re-homing “Teller”, my now-at-least-seven-year-old clown pleco. He’s the one creature in that tank that is truly “a pet” to me. The rest are well-cared for, greatly enjoyed, delightful dΓ©cor. Hardly seems reasonable to keep creatures captive for that purpose. So… today I will carefully remove the creatures and take them to their new home. I’ll shut down the filter pump and the heater. Tomorrow I’ll finish taking down the aquarium. In the long term, that’s one less complex, highly demanding, time-sensitive household chore to tackle every week. I could use that added bit of ease; I no longer have the boundless energy of my youth, and honestly, I’m neither surprised nor complaining. I’m just taking care of myself the best way I can figure out how to do. There have been a few intensely poignant moments along the way – making the decision was the hardest part. Writing about it? Probably the next most difficult piece; just saying it, acknowledging it, and allowing it to be part of my reality. πŸ™‚

It’s hard to say good-bye.

…Not all of our choices, however wise they seem, or may in fact be, are easy to make – or to implement. It’s a very human experience…

It’s time to begin again.

I slept deeply, living an alternate reality, rich, colorful, surreal, and woke to recollections of some other life. Some other self. I remember lights, and music, and abundance, holiday festivities. Giftmas dreams. I woke, also, to a visceral recollection of sitting forlorn and draggled at a rainy city bus stop during the holiday season, surrounded by holiday lights and late afternoon winter darkness – thinking thoughts, then, that had a striking resemblance to the dream I woke from, this morning, but from the perspective of yearning, rather than celebration. How very strange. Later, with this cup of coffee, I’m struck by the unlikely coincidence of seeing a thumbnail for a video (the one I linked just now, earlier in this paragraph) that very much looked like the scene I was remembering! Stranger, still, it looks very like the city I once lived in, too. Odd morning.

…”It’s a journey.” Life, by way of metaphor.

Dreams are only dreams. Progress is made through actions. There are verbs involved. Surely I could sit at a bus stop in the rain, crying over what is not, for endless hours – but doing so changes nothing. I’m just saying; misery may love company, but it also tends to be lazy as fuck. πŸ˜‰ Choose a verb, choose your adventure, take a step on your path… there is no “too late” if you’ve another breath to take.

Wins and losses in life don’t have to become a punishing point system that nags or mocks you for your perceived failures. Let that bullshit go, if you can. Dream your dreams, choose your verbs, find your own way – one step, one beginning at a time. πŸ™‚ Try to be kind to yourself along the way – there will always be plenty of other people around you ready to be discouraging assholes, or just plain mean or discourteous. πŸ™‚ No reason to add to all of that.

‘Tis the season

I think about the day ahead. The year drawing to a close. Thanksgiving already over. The Winter Solstice, Giftmas, and New Year’s ahead. I sip my coffee and enjoy the sound of rain (on this video, that I’m not sitting in, wet, at a lonely bus stop, broke, and alone). I think about the things that went quite well this year, in spite of the pandemic. I think about things that continue to challenge me, as a human, seeking to be the woman I most want to be. I think about love, and my Traveling Partner, and the life we build together every day. I feel fortunate. I feel thankful. I take a breath, filling my lungs with air clean enough to breathe. I sip coffee made with clean filtered water, and locally roasted, sustainably-sourced (they say) coffee beans. Choices that became advantages. Advantages that represent privilege – and good fortune. I did not build my life alone with my own two hands “from the ground up”, myself. To say that I have feeds into the cultural lie that is the “bootstrap fallacy“. This has always been a shared journey, and I am wholly interdependent on lives around me, and the actions and choices of others. That’s just real. Yeah, the verbs are spread out; I can choose my own. None of us get where we are without help, good fortune, useful circumstances, and a sprinkling of coincidence, however “self-made” we’re inclined to make ourselves out to be.

The day ahead is not really a holiday. Just a day off. I took it easy all weekend after getting my seasonal flu shot and my Covid booster. Choices. Today I feel pretty good. A good day for housekeeping, tidying up before the next holiday. Maybe playing some video games, or getting a hike in, if the rain stops. Choices aplenty. Choices, followed by verbs; doesn’t matter what I may “decide” to do, if I don’t act on that decision. Seems obvious enough.

I made a lovely plum pudding for Giftmas; I remind myself to baste it with spirits, again today. Odd tangent – my Granny once invited me to make a Christmas Pudding with her from an old recipe she’d found in her grandmother’s handwriting, tucked into an old cookbook. I was visiting, (my last visit with her as it turned out) over a holiday season. I was moody and she was seeking to lift my spirits and help me regain perspective. I declined, rather flippantly saying something about making a plum pudding seeming the sort of thing I’d only want to do “once I had a proper home of my own”, somehow. She was pleasant about that rejection; she didn’t want to put in all the effort if I wasn’t also into it, and we quickly found other delightful ways to enjoy our time together. This year I remembered. So… this year I made that plum pudding (linked recipe is very traditional, also very large, and was not the recipe I used, myself, just looks like a good one). Rather hilariously, my Traveling Partner has zero interest – it just isn’t his sort of dessert. So, this one is for me. A memory, and a celebration. I do wish I actually had that original recipe in my great-great-grandmother’s handwriting, though… what a treasure that would be. πŸ™‚

My coffee is finished. My cell phone has finished re-charging. The rain outside continues to fall. Seems a good time to begin again. πŸ™‚

Hey there – it’s summertime. What are you doing with that? I mean… yeah. Pandemic. That’s a thing. But, in spite of all of that, and it’s a lot to take, what are you doing to enjoy the season? Breathe it in, at least, these sunny days, and yeah, even the heat, and the sweat, and the struggle – all of it makes up “now”. Be right here in it, fearlessly you. How good could that feel?

…It’s not a perfect world…we’re not perfect beings…and omg, aging is a real thing, too. I’m just saying, embrace your moment. Make that hard choice. Ask that hard question. Do that thing you always thought you’d maybe like to do. If not now, then when will you? Don’t let your moment slip away – don’t you already have a pile of regrets stacking up? Why add one more? I’m just saying… we’ve all got “now”, and not much else besides our memories, and our yearning for something more. πŸ™‚

I’m sipping my coffee and smiling, enjoying a slow morning in the middle of the work week – I took the day off to have coffee with a friend, and run an errand in the afternoon that didn’t fit nicely into the work day. It’s a pleasant departure from the routine. My Traveling Partner is working on this and that, and I feel his love infused in the morning; he makes me 3D printed fidget toys that satisfy my restless motion.

It’s just a button to press, but so satisfying!

I sometimes find it hard to remember to really take it easy and chill and enjoy the moment. I don’t mean that I don’t know to do that, just that, sometimes, when I think I am doing that… I’m not. I’m fretting over some other moment. I’m reviewing some past stressor and wondering if I handled that well, or I’m projecting into a future moment of anticipated anxiety, wondering how to best handle that when it eventually arrives. Being here, now, is sometimes a bit of a challenge. You too?

I breathe, exhale, relax. I pause for moment, just to listen to the music in the background. I sip my coffee, really attending to the taste of it, the feel of the warm cup in my hand, the vague hint of something I never can quite identify (it’s not unpleasant, and I suspect is the “missing” taste of “bitter” that I am not very sensitive to). After all these years, I still enjoy a good cup of coffee (and still tolerate a bad one! LOL).

So yeah… there’s “now”, and there’s everything else that is not “now”. Grab a moment and get started – it’s already time to begin again. πŸ™‚

I’m sipping coffee and listening to videos in the background. Pleasant Sunday morning. Housekeeping on the agenda, not much else. I expect it’ll be a hot summer day. I’m okay with a couple hours of chores and a few moments for myself, and some pleasant hours with my Traveling Partner.

Our path may not always be level, the day may not always be sunny.

…Love isn’t “perfect”. Life either. Nothing really is. (Maybe this cup of coffee…) I make a lot of choices, and some of those are compromises, and some are just poor choices…on the other hand, I’ve got a lot of very cool opportunities to choose from, and fascinating people with whom I can choose to associate. Kinda neat, actually. Even our most intimate relationships are filled with choices.

We choose our path, and we choose what we consider our choices to be.

I chose my Traveling Partner a long time ago (11 years)… on a commute, I think. There was a hug involved. Hours of conversation, over time. A friendship developed. I adore this human being. He is “flawed” (inasmuch as he is quite human), as I am myself. There are days when one or the other of us seriously aggravates the other. (Just being real, and let’s be frank, one thing I know I can count on in life is that life will be, generally, quite “real”. lol) I enjoy him, as a friend, as a human being, as a partner… I smile when I think of him, and he is the person most easily able to unintentionally hurt me emotionally with a harsh word in a difficult moment. I still choose him, and yeah, even when I’m crying over a moment of hurt feelings, I still choose him.

He’s very dear to me. πŸ˜€ (bad pun intentional)

Why bring it up? It’s been a lovely weekend. This is all pretty obvious practical shit, right here, and hardly bears pointing out. Don’t we all go through it? Some moment that contrasts the wonderful qualities with the very human, sometimes much less wonderful qualities? Again – pretty real. Pretty ordinary. I dunno. I was thinking about it as I walked yesterday… “What matters most?”… “What builds a firm enduring foundation for love?”… “What does a healthy relationship look like, over time?”… “How does healthy boundary and expectation-setting look and feel in the context of a healthy adult relationship?”… “What part do I, myself, play in ensuring I am treated well based on my own understanding of “good treatment” – and how I do ensure I am skillfully, authentically, ensuring I treat my partner well based on their understanding of “good treatment” – and my own?” Big questions. (Long walk.)

Growth isn’t about what’s easy or comfortable. It’s often about hard questions, and answers that require rather a lot of real work. “Is the effort worth it?” is one question that is easy to answer, for me, in the context of this relationship: yes.

Sometimes choices seem so limited… or complicated… those perceptions are also choices.

I’ve had 3 other “long term relationships” of any notable duration. Two ran far longer than the quality of the relationship warranted. (Okay, well, all three of those, actually, were far longer than what was healthy, but I did manage to cut that last one short before my life or mental health were in complete chaos.) I’ve often been that person working at it longer/harder and loyally clinging to the carcass of a relationship that did not at all rate such a ferocious commitment in the first place. “I didn’t know better” doesn’t describe the goings on so much as “brain damage”, honestly. Yikes. That feels “too real”, right there. I sigh, finish my coffee, and let it go. πŸ™‚ I’m rather happily in a very different place these days, different relationship altogether. “Learned my lesson”? Possibly not – more than I’ve been fortunate, and this particular relationship grew and developed largely in the context of ongoing therapy and other positive life choices (and changes) that took me down a healthier path.

Choices.

Don’t sit around miserable, is what I’m saying. You have choices. You don’t have to wait for decades of your life to slip by – you can choose change. Any time. You can begin again. Oh, I know, it’s a difficult sort of choice to make, but truly, it is yours.

Maybe what looks like a dead-end just isn’t your path at all?