Archives for posts with tag: do you know where you’re going to?

Early morning quiet, interrupted now and then by the sound of a passing car – a pleasant enough start to the day. I’m groggy. My sleep has been poor for a couple days now. Short nights. Wakeful. Restless dreams. It isn’t what it once was, to have such nights; they lack the stress I would have also experienced years ago. I let go of that, and so, a few nights of poor sleep are merely that; just a few nights of poor sleep. The weekend is almost here, and perhaps a night that isn’t followed by an alarm going off will be just the thing I need. 🙂

I found myself missing my Traveling Partner quite a lot yesterday, and also feeling a hint of playful-but-serious envy for his travels, themselves. I didn’t need any of that to be a thing, and I’m not feeling haunted by regret that I did not make it out to see my Mom in person, before her death. I am, however, feeling something… a certain restlessness, a yearning, a need to “get away” from “everything” for awhile. I need to be out among the trees. 🙂 I haven’t done much camping in the past year, and it’s something I really get a lot out of. Healthy time away. Time to reflect, without distractions. Cell phone becoming, instead, a camera. Just thinking it through got me excited about doing it.

One possible future… and one beautiful now.

I sat down in the evening, after work, and made a plan. Found some likely dates. Booked a favorite camping space in a favorite state park a few weeks from now. Booked a camping space out on the coast even a bit further out, on the calendar, as well as on the road. One trip for the peace among the trees, listening to the birds, hearing the deer step by daintily before I wake, hiking forested trails, and spending time meditating, and writing. The other trip? Beach-combing, and star-gazing. Nice. I smiled all evening, and woke up smiling this morning, too. I feel a certain sense of accomplishment in the background; it feels good to take action on personal needs in a constructive way. Not only that; I managed to plan almost-last minute, and still got a good camp site near the beach in the mid-September (still summer, in Oregon). 😀

It won’t matter about the weather, anyway… it’s about the journey.

…I’ve got to remember to get more Deet (mosquitoes) and sun-screen (omg – what do I do about that now?? I guess shop for a safer sunscreen. lol) Oh, and make a list… lol

I giggle with excitement over my coffee; truth is, I’m fairly well-prepared without lifting a finger. A routine check of my gear (unpack it, look it over for wear & tear, missing essentials, that sort of thing, and repack it), and I should be more or less ready to hit the highway. I like to hike – and I like to hike trails I can’t easily get to, trails that are too remote to be crowded, but still safe for me to hike solo. I end up camping a bunch to get to such places. lol It’s not about the camping, and as a result, I tend to camp fairly efficiently, and purposefully, most of the time. I don’t like to fuss and waste time looking for this or that just to load the car. 😀 I keep my gear ready-to-go, from about mid-March to the end of October. (I still hike in colder months, and talk long walks on nearby trails, but I don’t like sleeping/waking in the cold, so I rarely camp in winter, by preference.)

…I still catch myself musing about what I need, what I’ve got, what I may need to change about how my gear is packed, and making a mental list (or several). I’m looking forward to the time away.

I catch myself thinking about things I reliably always pack and don’t use. It’s so tempting to reduce weight by not taking those things. I already travel pretty light; I can generally carry my gear – all of it – in a single trip from the car to the campsite, if not backpacking it, then coming pretty close with a backpack and my hands full. It’s helpful to keep the load at a minimum (age, fitness, pain management…). So, why the heck am I carrying stuff I don’t use?? That sounds dumb…

…First aid kit? (haven’t needed it yet, still gotta carry one – not dumb) That’s the sort of “extra weight” I tend to carry; safety gear. A spare headlamp. Solar lights. Water filtration (state parks usually have potable water on site). Bottled water (heavy, and generally left behind in the car, once I confirm there is on site drinking water). Emergency blanket. My gear looks like I expect, at any moment, to be stranded unexpectedly in the wilderness, with no clear date of likely rescue. lol Realistically, that’s a thing that could happen, and I’m solo hiking most of the time. Why not be prepared to look after myself with some measure of preparedness and skill, in the event I am injured on a trail, or get stuck, or lost? Just saying… my “extra” weight stops being extra, when circumstances become more challenging.

Life works like that, too. Being prepared for contingencies, having a “plan B” (or C, or D, or E) can make a huge difference to our personal success in life. Being ready to pivot with new circumstances can make the difference between “getting there” at all – and “getting there” comfortably. Still, it matters to “keep the load light” and not carry so much baggage that we can’t really travel with any ease – and again, it’s a metaphor; works in life, and in camping. 🙂 Just saying; it’s worth it not to carry extra baggage. It’s worth it to bring what it utterly necessary on our journey. Having (and using) the right tools is a worthwhile investment in our time, our effort – and our preparedness for circumstances.

What’s in your tool box? Will it get the job done?

What’s in your backpack? Will you be able to reach your destination, with what you can carry?

I notice the time. Finish my coffee, and begin again. 🙂

 

I remember a conversation I had with my Mother, many years ago. I struggled to communicate to her, at that time, my lack of “sense of self”, and waxed poetic on that topic, attempting to make sense of my experience of adolescence. She was amused, a bit patronizing, and dismissive. Another such conversation, years later, sometime in my early twenties, shortly before a long period of time during which I was estranged from my family (by choice), she was blunt, and frank about her thoughts on that. “Don’t talk to me about “finding yourself”, that’s all bullshit; you’re already all you will ever be.” I felt frustrated, unheard… and crushed.

…Could I seriously not ever be more than the heaping pile of disappointment, ugliness, heartbreak, and wreckage, that I perceived myself to be?? Fuck…

For years afterward, that conversation rang in my thoughts, an echo of being dismissed, and I did try my very hardest to crush my own spirit, to squash any “radical notions” into a very small box, labeled “normal”, with little success…but enough to push myself farther and farther from any deep understanding of who I was – or could become. Not helpful, long-term, honestly. I could have done much better by the woman in the mirror.

I mention it because the result was mostly a lot of wasted time. It’s not time that we’re required to waste, and given the chance to explore the matter of self, over a longer time, I certainly could have, perhaps, learned more sooner, about this human being I am, as I stand here now, and who she could become, given the solid foundation of wise self-reflection, considerate decision-making, and skillful selection of practices to be practiced over time. I learned much, regardless… but… it could have been a different journey. Very different.

Okay, now that’s said, I’ll also say that there’s little time, now, to further waste on spiraling ruminations of what I did not do, or failed to choose, or any of all the things that are now entirely and wholly behind me. I’m done with all of that, and the outcomes are now part of my experience – nothing more. Experience is good for what it is, but it also isn’t “everything”. “Then”, as it turns out, isn’t part of “now”.

Beginning again isn’t an empty suggestion, or just words on a page, it’s intended as an encouragement, as a rallying cry for change, and as a moment to break firmly from the past – however recent, however distant – and start fresh. New thinking. Self-reflection. Improved decision-making. Wiser choices. Heading for a future self, someone who is much more like that self I would most like to be. I mention it because it’s a lovely day for self-reflection, and for taking a moment to pause, and see just exactly where I am on this path – and where I want to go from here. It’s a moment. One of many. The only thing that holds me back from forward progress in becoming the person I most want to be is my own decision-making about whether to do so, and the actions I take that follow up on my thinking.

Are you the person you most want to be? Have you “found yourself”? Do you even have a clear understand of what “finding yourself” could mean?

It’s a good day to begin again. 🙂

Who are you?

Where are you going?

Start with a question. 🙂

Sipping coffee on a quiet President’s Day holiday morning, and contentedly relaxing, letting go of baggage and bullshit lingering from jobs past, preparing for a future that begins in earnest, tomorrow. (Doesn’t it always?) I breathe. Relax. “Fuck my bullshit,” I think, smiling.

This seems relevant today (and many other todays as well). Far more experienced and expert words than I could offer. 🙂

I’m comfortable telling my own bullshit to fuck right off. If I don’t, I’m sure someone else will, but… what would I learn from that besides rejection? It’s too easy to excuse bullshit because someone else called it out, and the resulting feelings of defensiveness, hurt, rejection, and possibly resentment and anger, will quite likely blot out my ability to easily recognize that there is real truth to it. It’s important, I find, to be awake to my own bullshit, as much as possible, and do that work myself. It’s peculiarly far less lonely. 🙂

While I’m on about it… fuck your bullshit, too, damn. Can you do a little something about that? (Yes, you can. Choices. Verbs. It’s a lot of work I know.) I’m being somewhat playful, but also quite serious and purposeful. When was the last time you did a serious self-inventory? Who are you? Where are you headed in life? Are you wasting your resources and potential as if there is no future? Are you playing a grand game of Let’s Pretend and failing to understand how very much control you actually do have? Are your thinking errors preventing you from being emotionally and physically well? Are your addictions degrading your quality of life in return for a few minutes of something like pleasure? (Fine, fine, you’re not addicted, it’s just something you do… whatever. Fuck your bullshit.)

Seriously. Fuck your bullshit. Let it go. Change something you don’t like about yourself – because you don’t like it. Change your circumstances, if they suck. Seriously. Make choices. Use verbs. Don’t just party through your heartache or the wreckage in your head that’s holding you back. Educate yourself. Read a fucking book. See a damned therapist. Make every possible effort to be the person you most want to be! This is your life. Live it well, for fucks’ sake – because it is yours.

Why? Well, damn – because it’s what you want. Did you not already catch on to the fact that when what you want (of yourself, and of your life) is very different than what you are providing yourself, a deep despairing unhappiness can set in, an ennui that can destroy your ability to act – or to care – leaving you vulnerable to yet another evening/weekend/week/month/year of going… nowhere. Stress that never ends because you never choose in favor of your own long term interests and needs. Are you on a path that leads somewhere? Are you “wandering purposefully” seeking a greater truth? Or are you sort of just… killing mortal time? You could likely do better, for yourself. Your will to do so will matter a great deal. There are verbs involved. It’s a lot of work, and at least initially (maybe always, just being real; there’s work to do), damn little in the way of obvious pay off. It takes time. Incremental change is slow.

Anyway. What I’m saying is; this is your mess, you clean it up.

…And also? Fuck your bullshit. Damn.

…And also?…

Begin again. ❤

I’ve been sleeping decently well for a couple days. In spite of that, I am still quite fatigued, and right on the edge of that human condition in which I might actually start acknowledging that I am indeed quite exhausted. It’s a thing that builds over time, and that I stubbornly, more often than not, pretend is not a thing until I just… can’t. The result? I wake each morning grateful to have slept well and deeply – and already explicitly excited about more sleep at the other of the day. I’m much less focused on any daytime successes or goals than savoring the moment I woke slowly this morning, and wondering how much more delicious that will be tomorrow, on a Saturday, with no alarm clock. Omg. So good.

I sip my coffee and pull my focus back to “now”. I encourage myself to engage the day ahead. To wake the fuck up completely. To ready myself for work, properly. lol I feel like I’m fighting a young child who doesn’t want to go to school. More coffee? Is that the answer? Well… it’s an answer. I’ll go with that.

Life is on the verge of a lot of changes. (Change is a constant. I giggle at the thought.) The wheel continues to turn, always. My anxiety about my own missteps, errors, and the everyday risk of poor decision-making competes for my attention with my general excitement about a future that isn’t here yet. No point being overly emotionally invested in any case; the future isn’t “real” in any particular sense. That forward look? It’s imagined. Part of my internal narrative. Prone – very much so – to conflation, to exaggeration, to thinking errors, to poor assumptions, and expectations not tied to reality, thinking about the future is more like reading fiction than anything else. Some of it is excellent, insightful, work – some of it is just story telling. I breathe. Sip my coffee. Let it go.

Life has been filled with change – and turmoil – and trauma – and tedium – and opportunity – and also love. My “hustle” isn’t the same hustle as yours, but we’ve all gotta hustle, right? I smile at the open manuscript on my laptop. Where will I take this journey? I give silent props to my writer friends. There is a canvas on my easel; it too is a tale of past experiences. I smile a silent “thanks” to the friends who inspire me, and the artist friends who have work in progress staring back at them, too. I think about the trails I have already hiked, sitting here wearing boots worn down lovely through three re-sole-ings. I think about gardens I have grown. Pictures I have taken. Lovers I have loved. I sip my coffee and let those things simply be what they were, and what they now are; memories. I let that go, too. I don’t find my future living in my past, generally. 🙂

The wheel keeps turning. Change is. The next moment will be here when it arrives, and it will be as “now” as all the others. Impermanence.

I finish my coffee as I realize I am “pruning my dreams” as I sift through my thoughts; some dreams need to be let go, too, not due to any inherent flaw with the dreams themselves, but rather because they skipped over the part about having a shot at ever realistically being part of the present, at all, and have gone from the future directly to the past, unnoticed, unfulfilled, unrealistic from the vantage point of “now”. Why isn’t that more poignant? It feels so… practical.

I’ll raise my now empty coffee cup in a vague gesture of salute to life, on my way to the kitchen… it’s time to begin again. 🙂

 

I woke with a smile this morning. My dreams were filled with love and images of some vision of the future, and as I recall there was a kitten involved, somewhere, or perhaps an avocado tree – I’m not sure. It was, after all, the content of dreams. 🙂

The morning feels good. The recollection of a long pleasant phone call with my Traveling Partner lingers, and mingles with the content of my dreams, and the smile on my face feels quite reliably part of my experience. I’m not in much pain, which is another excellent quality of the start of this particular day, and I pause to wonder if it has to do with the acupuncture I’d tried for the very first time this week? It was a strange experience, perhaps a tale for another time, and I am turning it over in my mind whether to go back for more… I dislike pain, and it may have helpled. I prefer “evidence-based medicine” – but have no requirement that the evidence be guided by, limited by, or informed by, “western medicine”. Medicine is medicine. Practices are practical inasmuch as what matters most is “does it work”? Even placebo effect can bring an individual real relief from real suffering… so… I don’t know. I suppose the time-money-pain variables and some committed study will eventually make my decision easier than it is at the moment. lol

I am beginning to feel quite settled in to the new place. I feel fairly at home here. I am pretty continuously aware that it is not actually mine. It makes me ache sometimes; it’s very much what I’d like in most respects. I could so easily make it my own. I smile understandingly at the thought. At 54, I should be planning my retirement, and I guess I sort of am, though I do not feel particularly well-prepared for it. Retirement is something we would do well to be planning as soon as we begin our professional lives, in early adulthood, but I suspect most of us are far too busy figuring out how to get enough laundry quarters together, pay off student loans, figure out how to make rent and utilities payments every month… Retirement is so far from our experience we foolishly believe we can put it off. There are a lot of folks, like me, who end up counting on their Social Security income as the bulk of their retirement planning. Scary. Still… I don’t want to work forever – hell, if I were financially prepared, I’d retire today. lol

One possible future is spent at ease in a garden…

I don’t know what the future looks like. No one does, really. We make all that shit up. Our “vision of the future” is hand-crafted narrative from start to finish, sometimes supported by fantastical unchecked assumptions and expectations of others that aren’t at all realistic. I find it hard to let go of the beautiful daydream of a future in which I’ve retired to write, and paint, and garden, happily sipping my morning coffee with my Traveling Partner, making conversation, making love… never mind that we’re both super cross before our coffee, and that I really like writing at that early morning hour while I sip mine (neither of which is conducive to conversation)… the fantasy future remains what it is. Where does it come from? Why does it linger? Is it truly what I want? Is what I want likely to fill my days with joy, or is that also just one more untested assumption?

One possible future is spent hiking remote trails…

I smile and let go of that daydream future long enough to contemplate the weekend immediately ahead; I will be The Traveler on this adventure. I will make my way to my partner’s home, and enjoy the weekend with him. Fuck, I love this guy! There is something ruinously amazing about being romantically sprung over my best friend. I’m eager to see him. Eager to chatter away about all the things he’s missed, to hear about all the things I’ve missed, to share and connect and get “synced up” again. To feel that natural rhythm of loving each other. To live and work and play together. To discuss. To create. To share. I could happily spend every waking moment in this human being’s company, and dream away every minute of every night in his arms… if I were a different person. LOL That’s the weird thing about daydreams of the future – just as often as I may overlook realities of other people, or realities of circumstances, when I dream of the future, I often also overlook very real qualities about the woman in the mirror, who she is, what she wants, what she needs – and how she actually experiences life and behaves day to day! Damned inconvenient. lol He’s right; I do thrive living alone. I’m right, too; I miss living with him, terribly. There is no particularly obvious or easy way to reconcile those observations. Silly human primates. I wonder what the future holds? I’m content with wondering.

One possible future includes leisurely travel with my Traveling Partner, seeing the world…

I sip my coffee and entertain myself imagining “alternate futures” with equal detail to what I might infuse in my favorite future fantasies. I keep my focus on the woman in the mirror – on being the woman I most want to be – and let the scene around me change. Am I living in poverty? It is one possible reality. I let myself imagine finding contentment alongside privation; I have been poor. I know what that feels like. I understand some of the constraints on my comfort and wellness I would likely face. It’s not my favorite daydream of the future. Am I living with a partner? Am I alone? Do I have a quiet little place of my own? Am I sharing a room in an adult care-providing establishment of some kind? Am I immobilized by unwellness of some kind? Am I stronger, fitter, funnier, angrier, thinner, fatter, happier, sadder, solitary, or the powerful matriarch of a vast social empire? (That last seems wildly unlikely, but somehow it made the list nonetheless. lol I recognize that as a common enough tendency of fantasy; go for the extreme if it promotes a chosen narrative.)

How many shards of daydreams of the future become choices in the moment, and eventually… memories? “I’m in the same place you guys are.” Seriously, aren’t we all? I mean – we’re human. It’s a very human experience. What will you practice? Who will you become?

What does the future look like?

Another morning suitable for beginning again. 🙂