Archives for posts with tag: I am my own cartographer

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.

 

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˜€

It was a good weekend. Relaxed. Filled with reading, conversation, and quality time, well-spent. It was a bit peculiar, but only inasmuch as a 9-hour power outage changed the character of a Saturday, and ultimately of the weekend, but occurring pretty closely to the start of the earliest possible thought of preparing dinner on the grill, and watching UFC with my Traveling Partner… we did neither of those things. LOL The grill is electronically temperature controlled, and has an electrically powered fire-starter. Well, shit. The UFC fights? Yeah, we needed the power for that, too. :-\

Initially, we fussed, in turns, over whether one or the other of our phones would provide enough bandwidth to support streaming the fights… my internet isn’t quite that good. Well, shit.

It was a lovely day to catch up on my reading.

We let it go. We hung out, reading, playing small games on our phones, enjoying the sunny Spring day out on the deck. The day was pleasant. I went to bed a bit earlier than I often do, and missed the power coming back on. lol

The entire weekend ended up being a very pleasant, relaxed weekend, spent with each other. It was quite lovely. Yesterday, I happily ran an errand, then spent the day doing laundry, and tidying up. I dunno… it was a heavenly weekend. πŸ™‚ I sip my coffee, very much aware that it was also entirely ordinary. I’m okay with that. πŸ˜€

56 in just two days. I’m okay with that, too. I grin at myself, thinking about all the things I am – and am not – sitting here today.

…My thoughts are interrupted most aggravatingly by my neighbor revving his car in the drive way, rattling the wall. I haven’t heard it quite like this before, and find myself hoping his cute lowered and modified car is “okay”. Then, the wall rattles again, and I frown, see-sawing between interested concern, and the raw nerves of noise sensitivity. Damn, dude, that car does not need to warm up for 10 fucking minutes… for fucks sake. I note the reaction, and take a slow, deep breath. He pulls away. I exhale and let it go. πŸ™‚

It’s a morning to practice non-attachment, I suppose… πŸ˜‰

I finish my coffee hurriedly, and realize my mistake when I begin coughing (I inhaled some of it. lol). I slow myself down with my whole will, and take another breath. There’s time. 56 doesn’t get here any sooner if I am rushing myself along, it only diminishes the quality of the journey getting there. lol

I consider a moment of contentment, captured in a photograph, and begin again.

I’m sipping my coffee and contemplating the day ahead. Something’s nagging at me, and since it’s to do with how I interact with a colleague, I’m both hung up on the aggravation, and also inclined to stifle that feeling and disregard it. Here’s where finding that subtle difference between “letting it go” and “ignoring it” becomes its own tiny monster of conflict; what’s the difference, actually? What matters most? If I sit by silently and don’t manage my boundaries skillfully… then what? This small insult is actually a pretty big deal for me, and I’m frustrated that I also find myself concerned about “taking it too seriously”, because I am, suddenly, exceedingly aware of simply being female in the workforce.

Damn it.

I sip my coffee. I “let it go”, in the sense that I set it aside for the morning, which I enjoy for myself because it’s mine, and this is what I do. πŸ™‚ When I eventually come back to it for a moment, it does not seem so huge or so looming, it’s merely a moment to “use my words”, set clear expectations about what is, and what is not, okay with me, personally. It’s time to point out that a boundary has been transgressed, however unwittingly, and that it does matter, and that I take myself sufficiently seriously – and treat myself with sufficient consideration – to voice my concern, clearly, kindly, and also quite firmly. It’s for me, definitely, and also for other female colleagues, who likely also don’t want to be treated disrespectfully. The challenge is to prevent a flash fire of emotion in the moment, which can be a serious distraction that holds the potential to undermine being heard. People are so peculiarly uncomfortable with emotions. So. There’s that. lol I move on to new beginnings, and delicious cups of coffee. πŸ™‚

It was cloudy and gray when I got home yesterday. I still have pictures of sunny afternoons, and the memory of flowers in the sun, and their delightful scent on the breeze. There’s something to be learned from this.

Even a small moment to “begin again” can be powerful – this change of paragraph, alone, so small, is ample new beginning to support this moment, right here. πŸ˜€

I sip my coffee. My neighbor’s car starts up in the driveway. The television continues to softly read Herodotus as my Traveling Partner listens, in the other room. My headache is less important than my contentment, and I give it little attention, being much occupied with feeling content, generally. A pleasant morning, actually, and a weekend ahead.

I turn 56 next week. I’m not exactly counting it down, and I’m not grieving over it. I just… don’t know what to do about it, really. I’m going to dinner after work, the night before, with friends. This one makes more sense to celebrate in that way; attend to the end of the previous one, more closely, than to shout about the one to come. 56 doesn’t seem like a significant milestone as numbers go. I just… I don’t know. I feel strange about it. There’s nothing I can call to mind that I would want to ask for as a birthday gift (land and a home of my own seems a pretty tall ask, as birthday presents go!), I’ve got most of what I need in life, and most of what I want. When I consider the day, I only want to spend it well-regarded and in good company. Isn’t that enough? To be celebrated as a friend, a lover, a colleague – valued, enjoyed, appreciated? I don’t really need “proof” of affection, or ritual gifts. So… I took some time off to enjoy with my Traveling Partner. A very long weekend. A luxury. Time to rest, to recharge, to paint, to read, to walk among the trees. It’s enough. πŸ™‚

I look at the time. Almost 56?? Shit – It’s definitely time to begin again! lol πŸ˜‰