Archives for posts with tag: Memories

My coffee tastes different this morning. It’s not because I am sitting cross-legged on the surprisingly comfy Queen bed in this seaside hotel, not even because it’s fairly typically-terrible hotel coffee made in a fairly generically terrible-coffee-making drip machine sitting atop the small room-sized hotel refrigerator, but more because I am sipping it solo, with no chance at all of sharing the moment with my Traveling Partner. Right at the moment, in all practical terms, we’re traveling separately (he’s sleeping still, at home, I hope, and I am sitting cross-legged in sloppy-loose blue jeans, laptop perched precariously on my lap, waiting for my terrible coffee to cool enough to drink properly).

I’d say my goal of relaxing and getting some “down time” before shifting gears to start the new job has been successful; I woke having entirely forgotten about Daylight Savings Time, and looking at the clock and finding “6:30 am” to be both believable, and an acceptable time to wake on a leisure morning… I woke up. I laughed when I finally noticed the discrepancy between the clock that I had checked upon waking (which automatically updated) and the one that did not (provided by the hotel, plugged into the wall in the usual way). I shrugged it off and got started making terrible coffee and looking over the notes I took at several points yesterday, as I walked and wandered, waited and reflected, breathed and meditated.

The ocean does not care when or whether I check into my hotel room, nor when I leave. My presence makes no difference to the timing of the waves, or the fierceness of the winds.

I arrived to the shore much too early to check into the hotel, and my room was not yet ready. Didn’t matter much; the endless ocean tickled the shore without regard to check-in times. The hotel graciously allowed me to use the private beach access in the meantime, and I went down what seemed like 1001 concrete steps to the beach. The wind was brisk and cold. There were bundled up families flying kites and enjoying the day. There were even barefooted kids playing in the shallow water of the waves as they spread across the beach, then receded; they seemed as shore birds, running forward as the water pulled back, running back as the waves spread forward. I found myself reflecting on that. There’s something to learn, there, I suppose.

…This coffee is simply dreadful. I add sugar and the available non-dairy creamer. Still awful. I’m still drinking it…

I gave up beach walking when my legs became tired, and trudged patiently up those many steps once more. Room not yet ready, I headed into town and, masked and distant, and wandered through enticing antique shops.

In a shop filled with carefully crafted miniatures, I find room after room of furnishings that seem to be idealized versions of various stages of my own aesthetic, and wonder if, after all, so many of them could really have come from… doll houses?

The tourist “traps” that line the street are the sort common to any seaside town I’ve visited… saltwater taffy shops, “old time” candy stores, antique shops, t-shirts, sea shells, and nautically themed whatsits of all kinds (lighthouse sculptures, pirate “treasure”, glass fishing floats and paperweights, and “the world’s best” of some local dish). I wandered until I was more distracted by my own thoughts than engaged by what I saw in front of me, and returned again to the hotel, and to the beach, to walk and reflect awhile longer.

I sat for a long while, occasionally attempting to light a joint in the fierce coastal “breeze” without success.

I spent a couple of contented hours walking, and thinking. Reflecting on lessons learned, both generally (and recently), and also specifically (with regard to my most recent job, and how to make good use of what I learned in future roles). It was time well-spent. Aside from the wind and my tinnitus, the only thing I was hearing was… me. I walked the beach listening deeply to what the woman in the mirror has to say… about life… about love… about work… about a future that is unknown (and largely unknowable). I contemplated the confounds of expectations and assumptions.

…At check in time, I made my way to my room, let myself into this small space that is more or less my own (until check out time), and unpacked my baggage – literally, and metaphorically.

…Damn this is dreadful coffee. Wtf? Why am I putting myself through this? LOL I stare into the cup, warm in my hand, astonished by its prodigious awfulness with a certain amount of respect; it’s a hell of an achievement for a cup of coffee to be this bad.

I took time to reflect on all I’d seen, and on my notes, and the many “living metaphors” the day had presented to me.

I ask myself “the hard questions” on my mind as the day becomes evening… What matters most? What has me chained to some past moment? What have I accepted as the basis of my sense of self? Is that truly “who I am”? How do I free myself to soar to greater heights? Where does my path lead? The moments, questions, and the thoughts they carry with them crash onto the shore of my consciousness, and recede one by one. I find “embracing change” to be a process, and an ongoing practice. Taking some time alone to be with my thoughts – and, unavoidably, with my self, is a useful break for “sorting things out”. For finding the signal in the noise. Life may not have a map, but I can sure jot down some notes as I might if I were writing down directions to go from here to … somewhere else. It’s important to be clear on the desired destination. It’s important to be aware of where I stand right now. 🙂 With those things in mind, how much more easily can I begin again?

…It’s that time, isn’t it? Beginning again, I mean. The new job starts tomorrow. The new laptop was delivered Friday, and is waiting for me to set it up.

…Fucking hell I am missing my Traveling Partner this morning. I missed him ferociously last night, too. The value in missing him has nuances that are worthwhile experiences of their own. Missing him reduces the likelihood that I will take his precious presence in my life for granted. Missing him reinforces how much I enjoy him being part of my experience. Being absent the many things he does for me (and for us), large and small, reminds me that I legit don’t do as well for myself on my own as I seem able to in this specific partnership. (Not dissing myself or minimizing how much I appreciate myself for (and as) myself, just saying there’s a ton of stuff that just doesn’t seem to stay on my radar, and my sometimes general lack of fucks to give, or pain, results in more chaos than I easily manage… and that seems far less likely in his company, and with his help.)

…And both of us make an excellent cup of coffee that is so much better than this warm brown liquid that I’ve decided can’t at all be called “coffee” – it’s just that bad, and I am seriously missing something better… and my partner… this morning. 🙂

The sun is not yet up. Check out time is not for another 3 hours. There is time to walk on the beach, time for a bite of breakfast, and time to find a better cup of coffee. LOL There’s time to begin again.

A group of rocks along the shore, exposed at low tide, inaccessible at high tide. Even in that, there is something to reflect on, a metaphor in action, something to learn about who I am, and where I am headed.

I look at the clock, and see daylight beginning to show through the curtains. Definitely time to begin again. 🙂

Just me and this moment, right here, at least for now. My Traveling Partner still sleeping, the sun not yet up – the day feels built on potential and hot coffee; pleasant, warming, and lacking in substance. lol No idea what today holds. I’m okay with that. I take another sip of my still-too-hot-to-drink coffee. I sit quietly, watching the RGB lighting in my computer chase itself. I watch the fish swim in the small aquarium in my office, and remember that more fish are coming, today.

My studio gets tidier each day. Stay-at-home has been helpful for such often-set-aside tasks. I’m getting rather a lot done.

My attention is snatched from this moment by some sub-conscious reminder to back-up various files from various places, in a more organized way on the bigger hard drive now in my computer… I start some downloads, and smile at how far this technology has come in my adult lifetime. I mean… just “wow”. Seriously. I can zip and download a 16 gig file of high resolution photographs, move it, and unzip it so fast; I just did in minutes what would have taken me… days? Even a decade ago. Just wow.

…I’m smiling so hard. lol Happy Saturday. Yep. This is the sort of thing that brings me a moment of great delight. What about you? Where do you find your moment of joy on a Saturday morning? My fingers dance across the keys of my RGB keyboard in time with the music. How could it be otherwise? 🙂

There’s no pressure, no agenda, no urgent meetings or calls… just a woman, and a cup of coffee; I let myself “time travel” by way of my playlist… all the way back to 1997, but with a much improved perspective… It was a different life. I remind myself to reach out to old friends.

…Then I notice, it’s time to begin again. 🙂

 

I woke too early this morning, and by “too early” I mean that I definitely wanted to sleep later, certainly had the time for sleeping later, and just could not convince my brain that sleeping later was the thing to do this morning. I finally got up at 5 am, after tossing and turning, meditating, fussing, and daydreaming for about two hours. I feel well-rested, I just didn’t “feel like” getting up so early. I’m definitely awake, though.

Yesterday was spent quietly; easily achieved without having the temptation of television lurking nearby all the time. I don’t miss the TV. I’m getting by, computer-wise, on my work laptop, although it is not truly a substitute. I can at least write, much more easily than if I had to use my phone each morning. I’m content with things as they are. I have what I need, and that’s enough.

Yule is on my mind this weekend, as I set up the holiday tree, and decorate the house for the holiday season. Each year when I open the box of ornaments, it is as if I am holding precious memories in my hands. I decorate the tree, and remember things. Each ornament is a story, from a place and time before now. Each year I add one or two more ornaments, significant in some way, and they add to this strange memory box that only gets opened once a year – but always does get opened, yearly. Each year I consider who I am in the context of a lifetime. Each year I emotionally gorge on an intense assortment of recollections, until, by New Year’s Day, it is both timely and necessary that it all be put away for another year. Each year I hold in my hands small fragile reminders of good times and bad, of past versions of the woman in the mirror, of old pain, old sorrow, old joy, and old delight.

When I was much younger, the ornaments were selected with less care, more randomly, more about “ooh, shiny!” sorts of moments and impulses, and much less about what story they could tell, later. In recent years, new ornaments have been selected with great care, and the ornaments themselves become part of the story of who I am, told (mostly) in glass… and glitter, sequins, ceramic, paper, and twinkly lights. There is a gap in these memories (my own memories as well, it’s just placed differently in time); when my first marriage ended, I took only my “personal effects”, and my artwork, leaving everything else behind – including 13 years of Yule celebrations, 6 of those in Germany (the lovely ornaments purchased at the Augsburg Christkindlesmarkt we visited each year – all gone).  In their place, the worn cardboard box of small glass ornaments, 18 balls in assorted colors, that were the first ornaments I bought (at the local discount store next to the apartment complex I moved into) to begin rebuilding Yule after my marriage ended (they’re now more than 20 years old). I had visited my Granny that year over the holidays. In a wily Machiavellian act of master manipulation, she engineered a reconciliation between my parents and I, ending an estrangement that had lasted longer than my first marriage had, itself. I returned home with ornaments from childhood, a gift from my mother. She later sent me others. They remind me of childhood Yule celebrations, and more subtle things.

I’ll finish the weekend by finishing the decorating, savoring the moments revealed one by one as I hang the ornaments on the tree. Finally getting to the ornaments I made in that last holiday before I chose to live alone; it was a peculiarly awkward, sometimes rather grim holiday, that year. I celebrated mostly alone, in a shared household. The ornaments I made are lasting reminders that love can’t be forced or negotiated with, and once lost it is gone. They also remind me how much of my experience is chosen, and that even in the difficult moments in life, happy memories can be made, cherished, savored – and can become the lasting recollection of a trying time in life. I’m still working on that; there are verbs involved. 🙂

I sip my coffee and look across the dining table, still covered with ornament boxes of a variety of sizes. I’m only half-finished. It’s a time-consuming process for me to set up the tree alone; I pause for memories rather a lot. Some years I cry rivers of tears, too. This year hasn’t been that way; I celebrate with a quiet joy, and reflect more on what is, than on what isn’t. It’s not a process I rush. I have time – all weekend. Hell, I have a lifetime to unpack what memories I have, to cherish them, to savor them, to return them to their tidy boxes when the moment is done. Time enough to ask myself “why is this one significant?”, and “still?”, and “even now?”, and remind myself it is okay to set down some baggage this year (every year) and go forward a bit more the woman I most want to be.

The story of life's climate, and the emotional weather are told in so many ways; memories, however real they seem, are not moments. :-)

Memories and moments, today will be filled with both. 🙂

Today is a good day for a cup of coffee and a handful of memories. I smile and think of my Traveling Partner, and the memories we have made together, and this strange wonderful somewhat unconventional choice to be both quite partnered and quite solitary. I sip my coffee contentedly. Isn’t contentment enough? Ah, but what about changing the world? Let’s not forget to do that, too. 🙂 I get up to make a second coffee… as with most things, including changing the world, there are verbs involved. 😉