Archives for posts with tag: walking my own path

I’m feeling pretty good this morning. By itself, that’s worth some celebrating. I’ve still got my headache. I’m still in pain with my arthritis. I’m still managing my anxiety. All of that is utterly routine and ordinary (for me), and just part of the background. Other details seem quite… splendid. I slept well and deeply until early this morning. I woke to pee at some point, inadvertently also waking my Traveling Partner. No stress though. We even seemed generally happy to see each other, even at that ridiculous hour.

My homecoming yesterday was delightful. We’d missed each other quite a lot. Other than a quick trip to the store for dinner groceries (the result of which was some amazing roast beef sandwiches), we hung out together at home all day. He cooked lunch. I made dinner. We enjoyed carefully curated content (mostly educational). It was a lovely Sunday.

I’m feeling more stable on the new medication – just in time for an incremental (and quite small) increase in the dosage of one of those on my way to the anticipated “correct dose”. I started that this morning. It feels comfortable, no surprise “other” effects. Nice.

In general, it just feels good to be home. I love that it does feel that way. I sip my coffee feeling festive and celebratory and … relaxed. It’s quite nice. I’m not amped up. I’m not dragging ass. I’m here, present, and content. I don’t think I need much more than that in life to get from enduring my experience to thriving, day-to-day.

…None of this means there is no struggle. None of this means I don’t have to work at living my life to live it well. None of this means I am without symptoms, or free of challenges. Just being real; there are still verbs involved, and I’m not alone in this; we’re each having our own experience. I’m just saying, this feels improved, and if not “effortless”, totally do-able. Just getting here from where I began is hugely worth celebrating. (Personally, I don’t think we celebrate enough, and we’re too hard on ourselves and each other.)

I still have to deal with my chaos and damage. I’ve still got challenges with things like memory and emotionality. All part of living my life, I suppose. Still… it could be so much worse (and has been). I’m grateful to be standing where I am, with the perspective I have gained over time. I’m grateful for this generally very healthy partnership, and to be so thoroughly loved. I’m grateful for this job, for our home, and to live in a pleasant little community. Worth celebrating.

I finish my coffee, and get ready to begin again. 😀

I’ve got a cup of coffee and an open water bottle next to me. The morning began earlier than I expected; the heat in this hotel room came on, I rolled over in bed thinking nothing of it, then woke to a sneezing fit. Well, damn. I’m awake. I did make a half-hearted attempt to continue to sleep, but it didn’t work out and I finally just got up and made this cup of coffee. It’s not a great cup of coffee, it’s just definitely coffee. lol

…A little later this morning, I’ll shower, dress, pack, load the car, and head home…

The sun is not yet up. The holiday lights on the pier that juts out from the restaurant next door are still lit. In spite of the darkness, it’s clear from the street lights up the block reflecting back from the pavement that it has been raining. I yawn and sip my coffee, staring at this blank page until I finally begin with a common starting point: an observation about this moment, and my coffee. lol

Same view, different night.

I consider going back to bed…but I’m not actually sleepy, just a bit groggy, and also in pain. My osteoarthritis doesn’t care for weather that is both chilly and also rainy. I take my pain medication with my morning coffee, figuring it’s early enough for it to fully kick in long before I’m driving. I sip my coffee – it’s honestly pretty bad (instant), but just drinkable enough to still be called “coffee”. I find myself wondering how much longer coffee will even be available as an easy-to-buy beverage…

Did I get what I needed out of the weekend? I came seeking two things: sufficient quiet to hear myself think, and time & distance to get used to my new medication without the constant stress of also meeting someone else’s expectations and needs moment-to-moment. I mostly got what I needed. My solitude was interrupted with conversational moments over chat with my partner; he misses me, and I did not set any sort of “no contact/offline” boundary – I knew he had things going on he might want to communicate or talk about or share. There was also the call from the bank, pretty routine and nothing to be massively stressed out about, though I have experienced an unnecessary amount of anxiety over it, simply because it brushes past ancient trauma from my first marriage. In all cases, these interruptions in my solitude were very practical opportunities to practice some practices, and that’s how I took them. No resentment or agita. “Mission accomplished” then, I guess. Good enough. 🙂

I listen to the heater fan running. It mingles with the higher pitches of my tinnitus. There’s another noise in the background with a cycle that differs, setting it a bit apart… the mini-fridge? I think so. An alarm goes off in an adjacent room. 6:30 a.m. on a Sunday morning? The alarm is quickly silenced and there are no sounds of movement. I smile to myself, recalling times I’ve overlooked shutting off an alarm on a day I could have slept in. I sip my coffee, taking a moment simply to exist in this quiet early morning space. The world beyond the glass door to the balcony is very dark, but I’ve got an inside light on, so… yeah. I do like watching daybreak become dawn, so I switch off the light in the room. It’s too early for that to matter much; it’s just still quite dark. LOL

My phone pings me softly about my morning medication. The intent of the alarm set for each individual medication is as a training tool, not a permanent solution. I am succeeding at rebuilding my timing and habits for taking each one with the correct timing each day (both individually and relative to each other). I feel a small moment of accomplishment every time my phone asks me if I want to cancel the alarm for the day, before it goes off, and I can “say yes” (because I’ve already taken that one); I know it means I’m learning my new timing. Eventually, I’ll cancel each alarm one by one as it becomes clearly unnecessary to have them. 😀

It’s now been almost 3 weeks for the change to my thyroid medication and the addition of the beta blocker. It’s been two weeks since I added the anxiolytic. Everything feels pretty “normal” now – a new normal, with more energy and less anxiety. Nice. Was this short getaway worth it? Yeah. Definitely. I was feeling pretty raw and aggravated, and it was all me and shit I needed to sort out for myself. My partner doesn’t benefit from having to endure that needlessly. I got home in a much better state-of-mind than the one I was in when I got here “days ago”.

I “got my steps in” on this trip – walked a bit more than 13 miles over two days. I got plenty of sleep, too. I wrote. Meditated. Reflected on this-n-that. I read not one word of Proust, and very little of anything else. Though I started reading a couple times, I generally ended up lost in thought, or taking more pictures of the view. I took quite a few pictures – I hope one or two of them are good. 😀

All that’s left is a bit of coffee sipping and waiting on the dawn (I don’t feel inclined to rush home such that driving in the dark is necessary, and I don’t prefer it). So yeah… this adventure wraps up nicely with a few words and this cup of (fairly bad)(instant) coffee. It’s a good moment to begin again.

I’m sipping coffee, feeling comfortable, contented, relaxed, and I am in a good mood. I didn’t sleep that well, but only because the stormy weather was rather noisy during the night and I woke frequently to the bang of a gate or some bucket falling over in the wind, shit like that. I got enough rest, though, I think. 🙂 Nice start to a relaxed Saturday with nothing substantial on my “to do list” – just a couple errands to run.

Not only have I now started on a beta-blocker (my “chill pill” lol), I’ve also restarted on an anxiolytic at a very low dose (baby steps, seeking to find the lowest effective dose for me). Feels like real progress to start the day feeling specifically the way I do this morning. The lesson here? Get the fucking help you need. Consult professionals. Consult other professionals if that doesn’t work out well. Try something. Try something else. Take small steps – but keep taking steps. I could get spun over “waiting so long” – but there’s no legitimate value in doing so. I’m here, now. 🙂

…Now I’ve got to build the habits needed to stay on-time with my new medications, and relearn small nuances in my experience like the subtle changes to my reflexes and reaction time when I’m driving, and shit like that. LOL Everything comes at a cost. I was a bit surprised to observe that reducing my symptoms of hyper-vigilance would slow my reaction-time when I’m driving! All in good time, I suppose – it will take some practice, and there are some verbs involved. 🙂

The point, generally, that I’m working toward is simply that it is worthwhile to pursue wellness and get the help you need. For real. No one else can do that for you, and it is unlikely to happen without you doing something to get to that better place. Maybe you need medication for what ails you? Maybe you need new habits, a new environment, or a change of lifestyle? Maybe you just need to talk about it with a professional listener of some sort? Worth thinking about. 😀

Life’s challenges can’t be “solved with a pill” any more easily than any other solution available – it’s just one of the many options available for some challenges. It’s not always the “solution of choice”, and it’s not for every person. Finding our way as travelers in life is sometimes peculiarly individual. lol

Is it time for a next step? Time to begin again?

The sun rises later these days than it did back in June. The Autumnal Equinox is tomorrow. It’s quite early and I am at a local trailhead adjacent to a meadow, not far from home. I am waiting for the sunrise, drinking coffee, yawning, and wishing I had slept in. I’ve got my camera ready for my morning walk.

My morning camera walks serve a purpose; they get me out of the house with my camera for a bit of fun, exercise, and “me time”, and they also give my partner a shot at some deep sleep. (When I am asleep I sometimes snore, and when I am awake I am often a bit clumsy and noisy at least until I am fully awake). This approach works for us, but tends to be a seasonal solution. Already I have begun to resist waking up so early, where in past weeks I struggled to sleep during these early hours. The later sunrise is the culprit.

…The early hours betwixt day and night are a good time for meditation and reflection.

An orange glow begins as a thread on the horizon, becoming a sort of messy smudge as minutes pass. Still not enough light for my lens, and the trail alongside the park and meadow, which passes through a vineyard, is still quite dark. I wait. I yawn. I tried to snatch a few minutes of nap time for myself, but the mornings are now also too chilly and I don’t even doze off for a moment – I just yawn. lol

Waiting for the sunrise.

…I think about work and routines and future mornings and finish my coffee. I develop a cramp in my right foot and shift in my seat until I can easily massage it until the cramp eases. The western sky takes on hints of ultramarine and dark lavender. The eastern horizon becomes more peach and tangerine, with swaths of gray-blue clouds sweeping across the sky. This is not wasted time; I love watching the sun rise.

The dawn of a new day.

The sun is up. The coffee is gone. I’ve gotten a good walk in and snapped some pictures. My Traveling Partner sends me a message; he is awake. The day begins in earnest. I have no idea what today will bring… looks like it’s time to get started and find out. 😁

I woke early-ish, pulled on my clothes still only half awake, and grabbed my camera gear. I heard my Traveling Partner call out to me as I neared the door (“he’s awake?”) and turned back for a “see you in a little while” and a kiss. The sun hadn’t yet risen as I reached the highway heading out of town to the nearby nature preserve (great bird-watching, and well-maintained trails). Lovely morning for it, I thought to myself.

Sunrise over a misty morning along the marsh-side trail.

It’s a Sunday, and I’m thinking I’ll get out into the garden this morning. After I finish my coffee. After I upload all these photos. After I finish feeling more like relaxing than I feel like getting shit done. lol

It was a good morning for pictures of birds.

I enjoyed the drive. There was almost no traffic at all so early on a Sunday morning. I enjoyed the misty dawn and the pale pinks and peaches of the sunrise as it developed into a new day. I enjoyed the walk down the trail alongside the marsh. I enjoyed the moments, sitting quietly, watching for the next interesting picture to unfold in front of my camera lens.

I wasn’t alone on the trail. I wasn’t even the only person on the trail with a camera.

The last several times I’ve come to this location for my camera walk in the morning, I find myself parked next to the same other person. Another woman enjoying her morning walk, camera ready for action, a portable seat or cushion with her (I have a compact folding stool, myself). We greet each other as friends, at this point, and sometimes share a portion of the walk, even stopping for similar shots along our path. We talk of other locations we favor, and share experiences (“Did you see the pelicans?”, “I got a great shot of the swallows yesterday!”). We make jokes now about the morning not seeming complete if we don’t see the other person’s car in the parking lot. She has a much fancier camera and lens than I do. I mentioned how awesome it would be to have that kind of “reach”… she smiles and admits it is pretty nice, then comments that she often regrets the choice; it’s very heavy, and sometimes the weight limits how far she will walk. I admit that I enjoy the lightweight gear I’ve got so much that I don’t have any immediate plan to get a larger lens. We agree that the gear has less to do with the quality of our images than our limited skill – and our good fortune on timing and location. At some point, if we’re walking together as we were this morning, our paths will take us different directions. That’s the way of things, isn’t it? We are each having our own experience, walking our own paths, and any momentary companionship, however genial, is quite temporary. 🙂

I smile and sip my coffee. Does it taste better because I went for quite a long walk beforehand? I for sure appreciate the warmth of the mug in my hand after the chilly morning on the marsh.

Pelican. Also, swallow. This is what “luck” looks like in a photograph.

I finally see a pelican, after a couple visits to this location. People on the trail had been mentioning them for the last couple times I’ve been here, but I haven’t seen them. Probably didn’t walk far enough in the correct direction…? This morning, I see one solitary pelican. I watch for awhile, take numerous pictures, and while I was doing that, I was got seriously lucky; the pelican flared out its wings, and shook itself out in the early morning light. Amusingly, I also captured a swallow in flight in the same shot. I’ve been trying to take pictures of swallows there over the marsh for weeks without luck; they’re very fast, and swoopy. Hard to get a good picture. This time, I got several good pictures of swallows – but I didn’t know it until I got home. They just happened to be in several pictures I took of other things. LOL That’s so often the way of it, is it not? I think there’s something to be learned here.

Where does this path lead?

As the morning began to warm, more visitors appear on the trail. I turn back toward the parking lot, thinking thoughts of home, of love, and of a good cup of coffee. I think about perspective, and of a future not yet determined. I fill my lungs with the scent of meadow flowers, realizing how very much I enjoy the fragrance of wild carrot (“Queen Anne’s Lace”) and yarrow, mingling with meadow grasses and late summer wildflowers.

What a pleasant morning. I think about the garden as I sip my coffee. Seeds are selected. Crops that are finished have been cleared out, their left over leaves and stems chopped up and mulched into the bed. Crops that just didn’t do as well as I’d hoped and seem unlikely to produce a harvest this year (looking your way, melons) will be cleared away, too. Then I’ll add compost and bring the bed level up again (it compressed quite a bit after I initially filled the raised bed my partner built for me), and plant new crops for autumn harvest and for wintering over. I have a lot to learn about gardening. LOL

I sip my coffee and grin at myself at ever thinking I had any idea about “how to garden”. I’ve been gardening in my half-assed way for some 50 years… since I was a kid. My parents had a substantial garden, and I labored in it weekends and summers (mostly weeding and bitching about weeding). I had a small plot of my own that I rather foolishly planted in Jerusalem artichokes, which thrived to an unimaginable degree – cool enough and the flowers were pretty, but no one in the family actually enjoyed them as a food. So… kinda silly and as it turned out, a waste of garden space. Very low maintenance. I learned nothing much from the endeavor besides this one important lesson; grow what you will use and enjoy. That’s not nothing, but hardly worth the mammoth effort involved in keeping those ‘chokes cut back season after season. lol

I have since had small garden beds, container gardens, and patio gardens… all rather fortunately focused mostly on roses and a few herbs. Occasionally I’d grow some veggies, and get something wonderful for my efforts (supremely tasty cherry tomatoes one year, another year a bumper crop of amazing Swiss chard), but I’ve tended to be both lazy and disorganized, and prone to letting shit fall behind when the heat is worst and the garden most in need of my attention day-to-day. No excuses, and I’m not looking to rationalize my results, I’m just saying; I am not my idea of a “great gardener”.

Now I’ve got this home that is mine, and this raised bed out front that my partner built for me, surrounded by flower beds. I’ll only get the results I work for, and that’s one of life’s immutable truths, isn’t it? My partner has set me up for success, though, with a raised bed that is comfortable to work in, close to water, within constant view, and I do adore it. 😀 I find myself ready to admit I’m not a very good gardener and work toward being a better one. That’s a nice place to find myself. It’s a good place to stand, considering options and looking ahead.

It’s time to begin again.