Archives for posts with tag: walking my own path

Improving my self-care, and slowing down a bit, along with assorted other verbs and changes, has been having some pleasant outcomes. My fitness is improving (physical therapy for the win!), my memory and ability to sort/store information – and then also find it again – is also improving a bit (I can thank better sleep, and just generally slowing the fuck down for that). All of this adds up to feeling a bit more “on the ball” and cognitively sharper (it doesn’t hurt that I’ve also cut my cannabis use way back – a tale for another time). Ever the student, never a “report card”… except for today. Today I feel like I “got a good grade”…

I had offered verbal assurances to my Traveling Partner that I’d run a couple errands today on my lunch break. Simple stuff, but easy to forget (for me): swap out an empty propane tank for a full one at a local retailer, and swing by the pharmacy to pick up allergy meds. No problem – but it’s the sort of thing that often plagues me with repeated forgetfulness in the busy-ness of a typical work week. I get immersed in the work details, and forget the “us” or “me” details entirely… or don’t follow through in spite of my awareness of the need, in the background, feeling rushed and overwhelmed. Very human.

Today I did not forget. Win! It gets better…

I left the pharmacy and went to my car. I love my Mazda. Fun to drive. Keyless ignition. Great back-up camera. Lots of ease-of-use features that fit me particularly well. Rainy day, so I left my keys in my pocket, grasped the door handle and pushed the wee thumb button that would unlock the door based on the keys being “right there with me”.

…Nothing happened. No click, nothing. Door did not unlock. Fuck. Oh, well. I didn’t panic, I just pulled the actual physical key from the fob, unlocked the car and got in.

…The car didn’t start. Weird. I did some troubleshooting (foot on the break? check! ignition switch lit green? check! car in park? check!). I took a breath, and exhaled. I’ve got a “supercomputer” in my pocket pretty nearly all the time (my cell phone), so I quickly googled “Mazda CX-5 won’t start”. Right there, in a list of the most common causes, the likeliest of the most common causes in bold font: key fob battery. Oh yeah… that battery is the same one that has been in that fob since I got the car… 3 years ago? 4? Conveniently, I was parked at the drugstore… and they’ve got batteries. 😀 I went back in, opening up the fob as I went (a subtle indicator of how much it actually was stressing me out), found the battery I needed, and had the package half-opened before I even got to the register. Checked out, finished replacing the battery in my key fob on my way back to the car.

I pushed the “unlock” button and felt more than reasonable relief when the lights on my car flashed merrily back at me. My car started right up, too.

No panic. No fear. No confusion. Very little stress. I am okay right now, too – no “after-shakes” or pounding heart. No headache. No dry mouth. No madness. No harm done. Hell, I wasn’t even late getting back from my lunch. Who even is this woman looking back at me in my mirror these days?? lol

There’s something to be learned here… or… something that has been learned? Discovered. Renewed? I smile and grab a bottle of water as I head back to my desk. I’ve got things to do, and it’s already time to begin again.

Well, no, not actually. There’s a breeze. It’s a sunny Autumn afternoon. The only “drafts” I’m actually noticing are those piled up in my blog, left behind, forgotten – until a stray mouse click puts them in front of me.

The titles don’t reveal much.

I suspect some of these are just a smattering of notes, taken in a hurry and left for later, and it is likely that any ideas that really “got me” have already made their way into a post somewhere. The others? Like once-favorite toys, now broken, they have outlived their usefulness, but somehow I fail to do the housekeeping necessary to tidy that shit up. I think about that and sip my soft-drink; an afternoon treat (little more than bottled liquid candy, so definitely a treat). I promise myself to look over these drafts, later… another day, perhaps, and clean them up. As with my physical spaces, I do well when my cognitive “spaces” are kept quite tidy. 🙂 It’s an important detail to know about myself.

Weird day. My arthritis is giving me grief. My consciousness feels… “fractured and wild” somehow, as if distractions are piling on distractions, competing with other distractions, with the whole mess blocking my view of what I thought I had on my mind… or my to do list. Frustrating. I rarely have this much difficulty with “focus”, or, if I do – I’m rarely so acutely aware of the issue in the moment. I feel, emotionally, as if I’d like to just chill and read a book, but I also have real, practical, doubts that I could sustain my focus sufficiently to get through a paragraph without having to start over several times. I would say “how unlike me!” but I am also having a subjective experience of being… I dunno… “a bit of a stranger to myself” just at the moment. It’s a subtle aggravation.

…I could just sit quietly for awhile… that might be quite pleasant…

A visceral awareness of just how much small stuff – decision making, task processing, go-getting, grinding persistent care of self and of household and of family and of just… life fits into a single day hits me hard, like an abrupt smack. I become aware of my headache. My fatigue. A hint of ennui. A desire to “get off my feet” (I’m not standing on them) and “just take it easy” (I’m working a desk job) starts to swamp me – how am I this tired, right now? It makes no sense and I try to “shake it off”, rather comically, rather literally, not at all successfully. S’ok. It’s very human. I breathe, and exhale, and relax, and try to make room for my fundamental humanity to coexist with my rather silly expectations of what I can (or should) do.

Time to recalibrate, give myself a break, and begin again. 🙂

Happy Monday, y’all. It’s been hours since my morning coffee, and the afternoon is heating up quickly. I’ve got my bottle of cold water at my desk, and a covered mug of hot noodles for a quick lunch. My Traveling Partner is in his shop, doing shop things. I’m staring into an abyss of spreadsheets and a to-do list that is frankly embarrassing in length. I take a long drink of water and remind myself it is a job, and I’m being paid to do it. This time is not my own (well, I mean, right now is my lunch break, so… that’s mine).

I breathe deeply. My exhale becomes a heavy sigh. I’m mostly fine. I’m just sort of cross. This has, so far, been one of those days that seems as if every attempt I make at affection, appreciation, positive connection… any bid at all really, directed to my partner is met with… a surly, rather terse, somewhat parental tone. I’m annoyed with that. It’s not at all where my own head is at. I’m finding, as a result, that I’m just irked with the whole fucking day I find myself wrapped in. I’m okay with saying I’m annoyed by it. Real enough. What to do about it is another matter. So far, continued attempts are not being met well, so I’ve sort of given up on it for the time being. I’m in “task processing mode”, focused on practical matters and getting shit done, one step at a time, without becoming emotionally invested at all. Considering how much I enjoy my partner’s appreciation, affection, and approval, it’s sometimes very tough to let it go and hold on to the awareness that we’re each having our own experience.

Honestly, we’re a hilarious partnership. We adore each other, and generally manage the day-to-day with humor and delighted affection for each other. Sometimes it’s not that easy, and my brain injury definitely gets in the way of things now and then. I try to be patient with myself, even when he’s having trouble being patient with me, himself. I work hard on not taking his impatience with me at all personally; I know that it is not. I can be surprisingly clumsy sometimes, or awkward, or hapless, or somehow offset from his understanding of whatever the hell is going on at the moment. We are each having our own experience, that’s unavoidable. We are not one being, one mind. We’re two entirely separate human primates, making a go of life together. 🙂 A shared journey, not an identical one.

I give my noodles a chance to cool a bit. I don’t really feel up to adding a burned mouth to my list of bullshit to deal with today. lol I have choices. I can change my experience – and change my perspective on it (I was pretty irritable and on the edge of tears when I started this, now I’m just hungry*. lol). Resilience doesn’t seem to be about never reacting, or avoiding the occasional bad mood, so much as being about shortening that period of time between when a feeling or experience develops, and when I’ve gained useful perspective on it. It’s enough to be able to make that journey. I sometimes even feel that I’m getting pretty good at doing it with a measure of skill. 🙂

…I sure know how to begin again… 😀

*By the time I finished writing through my lunch break, and having a bit of a pleasant chat with my partner about shop-related matters, and connecting in a loving way, I was once again in a comfortable place emotionally. Feels good. Didn’t honestly take that long to get from “there” to here, and the lack of residual negative emotion clogging up my experience of self (and this Monday) speaks volumes for how far I’ve really come since 2013. I’m sometimes pretty blown away when I reflect on the likelihood that a bit of emotional weather of this sort could have been days or weeks worth of feelings of despair, futility, and irritation. That’s a long way from where I am now. 🙂 Worth celebrating. I slurp my noodles contentedly. This works.

Is the dim light of dawn, before sunrise, “too early” to go for a walk? Does coffee actually “taste good” at all? Is a desktop 3D printer “worth the money”? Am I “beautiful”? Am I “fat”? Am I “stupid”? Is that remark on the tip of my tongue “in good taste” or “hurtful”? Is that bag of groceries “too expensive”?

…Is this a moment I can afford to waste on trivia?…

It’s a matter of perspective in every case, and for each question that I’ve listed so far, isn’t it? Is there a single objective truth answering any one of these questions? I don’t think there really is. Perspective is a tricky piece of adulting. We seem to develop perspective over time, and if we’re fortunate we begin from a helpful place with parents, educators, and elders, leading us through learning, with great care to “stay real”. Doesn’t happen for everyone (that’s pretty “real” all by itself), and certainly a great many human primates reach adulthood either lacking any sense of perspective, or mired in weird distortions created by emotional chaos, thinking errors, and misinformation. Perspective is a big deal.

The dim light of dawn, before sunrise, is “too early” to go for a walk, if the path will be treacherous, slippery, or known to be the active hunting territory of a cougar. Certainly there’d be better times to walk such a trail. On the other hand, given a level paved suburban “trail” through a safely lit park, in the company of a friend, maybe not so hazardous after all?

Which one is this?

Coffee only “tastes good” to those who have a taste for it. Just saying; if you don’t like coffee, no, it doesn’t “taste good” at all. Hell, I enjoy a good cup of coffee – and I not-uncommonly quaff a cup that is… just not good. So… yeah. Perspective weighs in, again.

I suppose, with things like “affordability”, the questions are very relative. A desktop 3D printer is probably super affordable given adequate income, bills all paid, surplus resources, or a likelihood that it may itself become a source of revenue. It wouldn’t be “worth the money” if viewed as an entertaining toy coming out of a limited budget that would result in not paying the bills, or not being able to buy groceries, or fill a prescription for life-sustaining medication. There’s definitely more to “affordability” than the price tag of an item.

Beauty, and the evaluation of beauty, is so incredibly subjective and individual. Am I beautiful? I sometimes think so. Sometimes other people say so. My mirror doesn’t lie to me, though, and I am an entirely ordinary-looking middle-aged woman. What is “beauty”? If it is a feeling and sense of self, I could easily call myself beautiful and feel that I truthfully am, most days. If it is a practical matter of size, shape, symmetry, and fashionable aesthetic? I’m most likely not even “pretty”, “cute”, or “attractive”, to most people. I’m just a 58-year-old woman with a few extra pounds. I’m sufficiently comfortable with who I am and how I look that I don’t make any practical effort to change it with cosmetics, and that works for me. I like comfortable.

The “fat” and “stupid” questions work a lot like the “beauty” question, really; they are subject not only to my own perspective, but also to the subjective perspectives of others around me. Am I fat? Well… I guess, yeah. My doctor would use medical language to say as much, and my health would benefit from losing some weight. A male friend of many years acquaintance would disagree; he likes the aesthetic, the softness, and the hug-ability of a plump woman. Is he wrong? No, just has a different perspective on the matter of weight and fitness. Similarly, if I am having a conversation on a topic I know well, with someone who knows much less about it, I may sound very smart. On the other hand, if I were to attempt to chat up a physicist by fronting and showing off how much I know about physics? I’d sound very stupid indeed, and I’d look a major fool. Very relative. Standing alone in a room considering all of what I know in the context of all there is to know, I’d hesitate to call myself “smart” – there is so much more I could learn, know, or come to understand. 🙂 I’d also hesitate to call myself “stupid” – that there is vast knowledge available, and I only know a fraction of it, is not the defining characteristic of stupidity in my dictionary. (Your results – and your dictionary – may vary.)

Is the remark on the tip of my tongue “in poor taste” or “hurtful”? God damn, it sure could be. I hope it isn’t. I’ve grown a lot over the years, and it is not my way to hurt people carelessly (or by intent, generally), or to present myself in a way that is objectionable for people to be around. I would not even be “the one” to get to decide whether a remark is in poor taste or hurtful – that would need to be decided by the recipient, or the individual I hurt by it. In that instance, it is their perspective that matters, not mine.

Groceries can be expensive. Sometimes that is a matter of perspective, sometimes it’s just a painful punchline to a joke that isn’t funny in a life full of struggle. “Can I afford groceries for my family?” is a question I hope none of us this morning has to ask. Wishful thinking. No doubt someone out there is very worried about this question, and it’s a legit source of stress and heartache. Perspective, here, is more about getting through, getting by, and for those of us not facing that specific struggle, perspective has to extend to being kind at the check out line day-to-day; we don’t know what that other person is truly going through.

It’s a strange time. The pandemic had been seeming to recede, and people got excited (and careless). In that careless excitement lurked the ongoing hazard of new variants with new characteristics, and here we all are, trying to sort out when and where masks still just make fucking sense, and whether or not it’s worth the obvious risks to socialize in groups, yet. For me, my own perspective, it seems a bit premature. I enjoyed my coastal getaway, but I still keep my mask handy. I still avoid groups and close contact with strangers. I still avoid crowds and enclosed shared spaces. I go here or there to run an errand, but attempt to minimize my direct contact with people. I work from home and feel fortunate that I can. I hang out with my Traveling Partner, so grateful to share this peculiar time with this singular individual, fortunate to live and love with a human being I value and enjoy. Feels weird to have moved to new community, but never dined out in one of the local restaurants, or set foot in the shops in the downtown area, but… would it be worth dying for? My perspective is that it can wait – living and loving matters more. So, I take care, take precautions, and stay mindful that this is not a universally shared perspective. 🙂

I stare down into my coffee cup, and then at my to-do list for today. Another Sunday. More housekeeping. Aquarium maintenance, gardening, a quick trip the hardware store… It’s time to begin again. 🙂

Some mornings every step is painful. Others not so much. Either way, I generally enjoy my morning walk on a weekday before work, and on weekends whenever the fancy strikes me. I enjoy being out among the trees, most especially, or alone on a wind swept meadow, or at the edge of the changing tide listening to the call of sea birds. There’s a lot to enjoy in life. I wasn’t always able to enjoy that, and there was a time when every step on every walk was punctuation for unspoken thoughts, and unhealed heartbreak, and each pause to snap a picture of a flower was an attempt to do something, anything at all, just a little differently than I had before. Every step, and every mile, on this journey has mattered. Every step, and every mile, matters still – and I’m still walking. The difference now, most mornings, is that I am walking, and smiling. 🙂

…What I’m not doing nearly as much is writing

My morning walk is just as night becomes day. The world is quiet and filled with promise.

I started this blog back in 2013. Here it is, 2021. 8 years on, and I’m in a very different place as a human. Perfectly perfect? Nope. Happily ever after? Hardly. Content and well-cared-for? Generally speaking, yes, and it’s more than I could have imagined, honestly, and I’m fairly certain I don’t need more than this life, right here, as I am living it now. It’s enough. Which, if I’m honest about it, feels a little odd sometimes. What about all of the everything else? Don’t I want or need a piece of that, too? I don’t think I do, with regard to most of the “extras” life may tempt me with from afar. I’m blasted with advertising daily, but very little of any of it gets my interest, even for a moment. Occasionally, some practical something-or-other gets my attention but mostly I’m here at home, hanging out with my Traveling Partner listening to music or watching videos, or playing video games. I’m here at home, beginning the season’s gardening tasks and spending happy hours flipping through garden catalogs, eyes wide with wonder and delight at lovely flowers that have no business in this garden, but… damn, so pretty! My morning walk takes me past other houses, other gardens.

…We each walk our own mile. We each “tend our own garden”. We are each having our own experience. Sometimes it’s hard, and we need help, sometimes it’s a joy and the labor feels effortless. Where do you want to go? It matters for walking those miles, doesn’t it? And that garden? What are you planting in it? Can it thrive in your garden. Yes, obvious metaphors for growth, for self-care, for living life. I’m good with that; it gives me a way to understand myself, and my experience. 🙂

There are sunrises…

I take a minute this morning to think about how far this journey has taken me, and how much joy my partnership brings me, and how much I have to be grateful for.

…there are sunsets.

I’ve been every bit as lax about staying in touch with friends and family, lately, as I have been at sitting down to write each day. It’s Spring here – my first in this place. 🙂 I’m savoring each sunbeam and each raindrop and watching the season develop in the view beyond the deck.

Still taking pictures of flowers. 🙂

I think about this journey to “home”, too… by this time last year, we were house hunting with some seriousness. By the end of May, we’d seen this house and made an offer on it. It’s been nearly a year of finally being home. That first couple of summer months were busy, laborious, and somewhat chaotic as we got moved and settled in and dealt with our first homeownership challenges (a hot tub needing repair, a leak in an exterior wall, figuring out where everything ended up). I’m eager to see the summer all over again – I don’t recall what it looks like. LOL

Life isn’t perfect. Whose is? I’m fortunate, though, and I am grateful. I sip my coffee and wonder if it is time to “wrap this up” and move on to other things… or simply trust that a new cadence will develop that feels natural? I’m starting to spend more time thinking, reading, and looking over creative projects. The garden calls to me. The trees beyond the deck beckon me into the forest to wander hidden trails, and camp under the stars. This life, here at home, is beginning to feel… properly real. I feel more comfortable with my developing routine… a walk in the morning, coffee with my Traveling Partner, a break a little later… Working from home feels natural now, and fits comfortably into my idea of living life well. Now to sort out when I like to write, in this gentle new way of living my life. 🙂

…Incremental change over time… I remind myself to be patient…

It’s time to begin again.