There have been a number of things that I’ve said I would “never do.” Things that most people find very rational, justifiable, even good reasons for doing – sometimes, they even end up enjoying them (gasp!). I, however, have an amazing knack for knocking things without any intention of trying them. I just know I won’t like it, so why waste the time?
But there are two things on my “Things I’ll Never Do” list that cause a little bit of frustration – for me and others: running (unless my life depends on it, for which there is a general understanding that if that is the case, then I’m probably going to die) and camping outside in a TENT (heebies – cue mental visions of my maimed and bloody guest appearance on “When Animals Attack 435287”).
I have carried these two around for years – and for years I have passionately preached the words, “I WILL NEVER!” in any instance that it be recommended that I do either.
But I’m at a different place in my life these days. A place where I can stand and look at all the different things that have crossed my path. Things that in the past I’ve said, not so passionately and maybe a lot more regretfully, “I will never…”
Things like –
Move away from California
Move out of country
Hone my domestic skills
Be a “Stay-at-home”
Write for pleasure AND business
I’ve accomplished almost all of these now, but more importantly, I love that they’ve crossed my path, and became a part of my life. A life that had the potential to not know what a perfect fit all of these would be.
And to know that I spent the first 20-something years thinking, “I will never…” What a loss that could have been – what a list of regrets to have lay in bed next to you.
So maybe I don’t love running for fun, and still grossly fear the idea of sleeping outside – but are those reasons enough to say, “I will never”? Are those reasons enough to just cut them from my life now without ever really knowing if they could be the perfect fit?
Running and camping could be heinous – or they could be things that bring me a joy I’ve never known and always hungered – and that is reason enough to give them a chance.
So maybe I should erase my, “Things I’ll Never Do” list and write just one thing – one important thing.
Things I’ll Never Do:
Close myself off to a well-lived life
I am a kind person. A considerate person. An aware person.
Unfortunately it seems that the majority of the population is rarely any combination of those; even rarer it is to find someone that is all three.
Let me clear something up quick – this is not an “I am so great,” story. Promises. This is an, “Asking why” story.
WHY is it so rare to find genuinely kind people? People that smile when a stranger passes, say, “Excuse me,” when they bump into another, let another driver into your lane.
WHY is it so hard to find considerate people? People that say, “Thank you,” hold doors open for strangers behind them, remember not to take their anger out on an innocent stranger.
WHY is it so difficult to find aware people? People that pay attention to the speed of foot traffic, don’t block an aisle with their cart while they’re talking, not go into the “Express” lane with a cart full of groceries.
I don’t think these things are asking too much; in fact, I think it’s the very least I could ask of others. And this is where it gets tricky for me. I am that person. The person that says, “Excuse me,” and “Thank you,” and pays attention to my cart when stopped in an aisle. I can attest – it is not difficult. In fact it’s easier than dealing with a grimace, or a snippy remark, or a dirty look. And it makes me feel good – it feels so good – to show that I care, even about the strangers I will never see again.
So with that I just wonder, “WHY?” Why do those things make me special, when it really should just be the lowest rung on the ladder of being human? Why is asking for kindness, consideration, and awareness so difficult? Why are they things that so many even lack the desire to try and strive for?
This is me not understanding. This is me a whole lot of heart broken at the state of the people in this world. I just can’t understand why asking so little, is asking so much.
Too much, apparently.
The Husb and I just celebrated our first wedding anniversary and really, I can’t believe it. This is my life. This amazing, beautiful, completely unexpected thing is my life.
To describe the past year of my life would be impossible; no words I could string together could ever do any of it justice. The path we have taken has been one of the most fulfilling things I could ever imagine – part of it went like this…
On a Sunday night in February 2009 we were friends discussing our broken relationship. The next day we affirmed the feelings we still had for each other; the feelings that were always a silent presence. The words “I love you,” filtered back into our conversations. By Tuesday the words, “get married” had danced on the edges of my ear. By Wednesday he was on a plane to come to California and we were “engaged.” On Thursday I watched him walk towards me at the airport and it was all I could do to remember to breathe. Friday saw us driving hours in snow; destination, Lake Tahoe, goal, get married. And the next day, Saturday February 14, 2009, we were married. Married.
In two feet of snow, just him and me and Lake Tahoe sparkling in the background, we were married. And I didn’t know until I heard myself say, “I do,” just how much I had wanted this. So much. It was a dream coming true; a dream I hadn’t known I harbored until that very moment. It was, it is, one of the most perfect memories I’ll ever have.
And now I have celebrated my first wedding anniversary to a man that I was in love with before I even knew that I was in love with him. To a man that has made me laugh more in the past 3 years than I ever did in the years leading up to him. To a man whose beautiful eyes can lift my heart, give me butterflies, and say, “I love you,” in the most perfect way.
Nothing seems impossible anymore.
I love you.
Okay so I’ve been slacking a bit the last few days – I can’t say anything tremendously awesome or horrific has happened, I’ve just been piddling around and working on some art projects, reading and telling my cats about the horrors of being a people.
And oh, there are many.
Yesterday though, I accomplished the first of three visits to the gym. I dared myself (which sounds ridiculous, but considering I drive 30 minutes to and from the base to go to the gym, it’s truly some kind of intervention that I even casually play with the idea of going to the gym.) and then made the “mistake” of saying it out loud to both the Husb and our good friend. Basically, now I really have to. And DayOne went pleasant enough – I “perspired”, I huffed, I grabbed my sides, I watched the clock for the glorious second that I would be done and then I stretched. It felt good and I felt accomplished, DayOne, thanks a thow*.
So it got me thinking (it’s a struggle after something so strenuous, but occasionally it works out) about little goals I want to accomplish in the next month or two – goals that are not in any sense unreasonable, or daunting – just normal little goals that, despite their “size,” would make a HUGE difference on how I feel. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is what I need.
Goal One –
Go to gym 3 times a week, use TRX 2 times a week for the next month – then reassess work-out situation and change accordingly.
Goal Two (which should be pushed along by Goal One) –
Drop a pants size by my birthday (March 21st if any of you are feeling generous!)
Goal Three –
Decide on new domain name and buy it. (This would be so exciting but coming up with a new name is tough and frustrating. Emphasis on the frustrating – everything I think of that is available either makes me sound 16 years old or just flat out ridiculous – and I’m only just “so ridiculous”, ask the Husb.)
Goal Four –
Beg, plead, bribe (or just ask!) LiLu to design me a page. This excites me, and if I could just have her design a spot for me without having to buy a domain name (which requires me to think of a new name, BLAST!) I would…that’s how excited I am about that idea. Sigh. Name, name, name…
Goal Five –
Stop being too nice. Sounds completely obvious (and over-used) but I am too nice. I gave up my last Kit-Kat bar to the Husb as a treat in his lunch and last night after dinner I was craving its sweet, chocolatey, wafery taste. And then I remembered it was gone. Sad (but it was worth it). No but really, I need to start saying what I’m thinking, expressing how I’m feeling and being the whole of me – all this “being too nice” is at the expense of me, and I’m over it.
Goal Six –
Post AT LEAST 4 times a week – which I’ve been fairly consistent at since being back in Italy, but I definitely slacked on this week. Got to get back in the game!
That’s it – for now. This is me stating these goals out loud because as I’ve found is my habit, once I say them out loud, I get that, “Oh boy – I have to do it now!” feeling. And kids, I have to do it now!
I hope all of you are having a beautiful week – whether you’re being splattered by rain, or holed up from snow, or just piddling around doing whatever it is that you do. Here’s to a beautiful week to all of you!
*”thanks a thow…” is my shout-out to the Italian language. English speakers say, “Thanks a million!” or “Thanks a mill!” but the same sort of phrase in Italian (“Grazie mille!”) is actually a direct translation to “Thanks a thousand!” It does the work of thanking someone A LOT without it being too excessive. Niiiiiiice.
The other night I was baking cookies (yeah, I bake. And no, I didn’t start a kitchen fire) and due to our extremely unreliable oven I sat on the floor to watch the thermometer we have inside the oven (it may be good to note that I have a horrible history with baking – it hasn’t been a rare occurrence to pull out a tray of charcoal like lumps of what used to be cookies. So yeah, I really need to keep my eye on the goods). And as I sat on the floor my cats were looking at me like, “Wait – whoa. Is she sitting ONTHEFLOOR?!” So over they came and crawled on me and purred for more love. And then I realized it: I don’t spend enough time sitting in the floor.
But even bigger than that, I realized, I don’t spend nearly enough time doing the simple little things that always, without fail, can bring such a pure happiness. Those things we did all the time as kids; those things that made older people remember the kind of uninhibited joy that kids feel on a daily basis doing such ordinary and simple things.
Walking without shoes in the grass, in the sand.
Dancing around the house to music – or just to the beat in your head.
Eating spoonfuls of peanut butter.
Having a bowl of cereal for lunch – or dinner – or both.
Getting out a box of crayons, or markers, or paints and letting out the inner-Van Gogh.
Talking to animals.*
Doing cannonballs into the pool.
Drinking chocolate milk.
Playing “Freeze Tag.”
Counting the number of licks it takes to the get to the tootsie roll center of a Tootsie Pop.
What happens to make us forget about these things? When did we get too old to have the kind of simple fun that helped us grow up? Why does growing up mean leaving these simple joys behind?
But I don’t think there is a therefore – as in, “I grow up therefore I can no longer pretend to be a Thundercat,” (HO!) – I actually think we give these things up willingly. Like giving them up will mean we will be a real adult; make us successful and strong and intelligent. Like they were a phase meant to say, “Good-bye” to and that by doing so, that is the proof that we grew up.
This does not have to be.
And it won’t be for me.
Here’s to spoonfuls of peanut butter while watching, “Beauty and the Beast” on the floor; cheers to the kids in all of us!
*I actually do this so frequently that I think my cats may understand the english language as well as a 3 year old human kid can. No kidding.
**I took a bath last night for the first time in about 10 years – crazy thing is that in our house we have a big, nice tub, and it took almost 8 months for me to use it. There will be a next time – and soon!
I call it Chitten Sabotage – Choochie calls it nap time. Either way his cute little face distracts me, especially when he places himself very carefully between me and my laptop.
I know that some people aren’t meant to be in your life forever; that is the nature of life. Things come and go, and so do people. Some people are seasonal, not lifelong.
I’ve grown to understand this just as I understand that death is a part of life, that heart break is a part of love; some people just don’t stay forever.
The hard part for me is KNOWING when someone doesn’t belong in your life. It is in the fact that not all people leave because of death, or because of an opportunity across the world. Some people leave because they just don’t fit anymore and that is the part that I have a hard time with. The ones that don’t fit anymore.
I have a very strong awareness that some people in my life no longer fit. And I know that just like a puzzle I can’t force a piece to fit, no matter how badly I want it to fit. It just won’t. It can’t. The picture wouldn’t be what it was meant to be.
And so with this I wonder, what exactly happens to make someone not fit anymore?
Is it the phone calls, messages, and hopes for communication not returned?
The forgotten about dates with someone you haven’t seen in months?
The conversations that revolve around only them and their problems?
What exactly happens? Is it a natural part of growing up? Or is it the result of mistakes made on one side? Or both sides?
I just don’t know.
I can tell you though, with much confidence, when it’s NOT time to say “Good-bye.”
It’s when you see a person and just being with them reminds you of the parts of you that you make you feel alive. The parts of you that you have forgotten and neglected. The parts of you that you love.
It’s when inside jokes from a decade ago still make you laugh. Still make your stomach hurt.
It’s when after months and months apart you can continue the conversation you left off at months and months ago.
That’s how friendships are supposed to be; feeling whole, and energized, and loved. They shouldn’t leave you tired, and hurt, and wanting.
But let’s not confuse the fact that because some aren’t meant to be a part of your forever with a judgment that they are not a good person. I know that just because someone doesn’t fit anymore that it doesn’t make them a bad person; it just means they don’t fit. And maybe that’s part of what makes it so tough; they’re good, just not good for me.
And I think we can feel the discomfort in the forced together pieces. Feel how cramped it is, how forced it is, how not-right it is.
But then I still think, are they just the right piece in the wrong place? Could they belong in this puzzle, just not in this place? Is that just wishful thinking to convince myself I don’t have to say the words “Good-bye”? It hurts in so many ways, in so many places of my heart.
Saying “Good-bye” is hard. Knowing that it is time to say “Good-bye” is even harder.