It’s always hard to start the year with renewed energy when you are still depleted from the previous year. The older I get the more important this becomes. This pattern that I’ve created for myself, this ebbing and flowing hits me most this time of year. This is when life quiets down and emotions get disheveled and I’m not always sure what to do with it. I don’t like the term seasonal depression because that’s not what I’m feeling. It’s more that the universe is guiding me but I just don’t listen, because it’s the same time every year. Direct energy comes not only from what you put into it, but from what you are given. Sometimes that energy is not to be absorbed into the rat race but to have moments of stillness. Its not being afraid of sitting in the quiet, embracing the silence, emptying the mind, forgetting the to do lists, remembering to breathe. I seem to be more aware of my time left on earth. I fill every moment when each moment doesn’t need to be filled. I think quietness sometimes makes you feel emotions you’re afraid to feel. I don’t want to be afraid of that. I want to ebb and flow like nature. I want to have balance. I want to have moments to exhale. I know I’ll never be the kind of person that slows down and I’m ok with that, but I do want to be the kind of person who finds balance, even if it’s given in tidbits of time.
It’s always easier to look at your life objectively when you’re on the other side of the trench. You’ve been at the bottom. You’ve been given advice you don’t want to hear, pills you don’t want to take. You’ve desperately tried to hide your pain with food, drugs, alcohol, but that only feeds it. You’re toxic, inside and out. While drowning in the depths of your soul, you’re searching for a life jacket that you want someone else to throw. What you don’t see is that you need a life boat that only you can row. Negativity is easy. Positivity is not. It takes work, strength and courage when you feel you have none. It’s not a day by day thing, some days it’s a minute by minute thing, but it’s on you. So much focus is placed on you, the person in pain, but what you don’t realize is that it infects everyone around you. You just don’t see it. Is it because you’re selfish? No. Do you even care at the time? Probably not, but having been on both sides, having been put on both sides, I’m going to tell you what it’s like standing out of the trench. It’s painful. It’s heartbreaking. You feel more defenseless than inside the trench and quite honestly, it’s unfair. It’s exhausting and it has the capability of pulling you back in the trench. While you grasp and claw, only you can dig deep and pull yourself out. Only you can have inner conversations, drag yourself to therapy, drag yourself out of bed just to go through the motions of a day. You can scream and yell, “it’s not fair “ all you want but the people around you are screaming it too, for you and for themselves. The broken person doesn’t realize that the people around them, the ones that love them are human too. As harsh as this is going to sound, the people around you can only do so much. They are not obligated nor do they always have the strength to help. They love you but sometimes in order for them to breathe, they have to remove themselves from the toxic situation themselves. Am I saying to let our loved ones drown? Of course not but you shouldn’t drown them either. Just be aware that if people are backing away, it’s not because they don’t care or love you, but for a brief moment they are coming up for air and just trying to save themselves. There are so many self help books. Trust me, I’ve probably read them all, that seem to focus on the self. They don’t tell you what you are doing to the people around you. Maybe they don’t want to push you further down the rabbit hole but that’s reality and it should be told. So the answers to the questions are this. No we wouldn’t be better off without you. Yes we honestly care. No we don’t have the answers. Yes we need to breathe ourselves. Yes we will be here for you but you need to do your part. No it’s not easy and yes it sucks. Not just for you but for everyone around you. Toxic spreads. Don’t let it infect. In the end it’s you that has to dig out and in the end it’s you that can say I did it. Remember we are ALL just human, not super human, no matter what side of the trench your on.
The road is lined with apple trees, you slightly feel the breeze.
Your racing heart, your scattered thoughts are suddenly at ease.
You drive along the open fields beside the wooden fence.
You leave behind a crazy world that sometimes makes no sense.
The ducks they play a game of tag, with little ones in tow.
The chickens are all frolicking and putting on a show.
The barns are filled with horses; some donkeys and a pig
The music plays to keep them calm or do a little jig.
The goats all wander aimlessly, the roosters give a crow
The little baby ducklings walk with momma in a row.
The well-worn barns, the fields of hay, the flowers, and the pond,
All create a peaceful home of bounty and beyond.
This place is filled with wonderment, with love and hope and cheer.
A place where love is blossomed, and it lasts throughout the year.
The place is called the Haven, where no animal is harmed.
A little piece of Heaven, that just sits upon a farm.
Twenty one years ago today you decided September was not the month you wished to be born. You preferred a hot summer day in July. This is how you started your life. Choosing to do what you wanted to do from the very beginning. Visiting you every day in the hospital, I prayed harder than I ever did in my life. Each day you grew stronger and more determined to show the world you were here to stay. I never knew a tiny preemie baby would teach me what faith and will really meant. I knew how much love I had for my own children but I could not have imagined how much more love my heart could hold once I became a grandmother. I can distinctly remember holding you and spending time with you and saying in my head , this will go by fast, and it did but I will always have those amazing memories. Thank you for being my grandson. Thank you for your happy heart. Your smile brightens our world. Thank you for your confidence and for embracing who you are. Happy 21st birthday to you, my Zay. Stay safe and don’t ever let the world change who you are. (I give you 21 chin points). Love gram.
Father’s Day had always come with mix emotions for me. I wasn’t one of those kids lucky enough to have a good role model to look up to. Each year for me was, what in the world could I do or say to a man who had hardened my heart so much that it still takes work to break down the walls. When you don’t have a nurturing father child relationship that a young person needs you struggle with a lot of things. That bond is more important that you can imagine. However, I firmly believe in life you are given the people that you need. I had a grandfather who I idolized. He was the absolute best in the world. I learned so much from him. How to love and be loved. I was also blessed with the greatest father-in-law too. He was kind and he listened. Lastly, I was given my husband. I met him when I was broken. He filled the voids in my heart, he gave me two beautiful children and we journey through this life hand in hand and heart in heart. My dad, grandfather and father-in-law are in heaven. Happy Father’s Day to all three because although they were all completely different influences in my life, they helped shape who I am today. To my husband, happy Father’s Day the most. You a my quiet, humble, knight in shining armor and have been the best father to our children. To the people who didn’t have great father role models, become one. Be a father figure if need be. There is always a child out there that needs your help and heart. To the men who choose to love a child that is not your own, you have my deepest respect and love. Like they say, it takes a special person to be a dad.
Today when you walk down the aisle to receive your diploma, you walk out of your childhood and into your journey. Take with you all the words, the teachings, the values that everyone gave you to go through life. May your life be full of adventures. May you make mistakes to learn from and may you always stay humble and kind. Remember you are loved by so many and you are never alone. You have accomplished so much already and there is much more to come. Life has so much to offer. Do not be afraid to try new things, to have fun, to look adversity in the face and conquer. Today you walk out into the world a man. It’s waiting for you. Congratulations.
I didn’t plan on being a mother. It wasn’t that I didn’t love children, it was an insecurity within myself on being responsible for another human being. I barely knew how to get myself through this world so how was I going to protect, nurture and love when I didn’t know how? Like everything else in my life however, god had a different plan. Twice. Apparently he thought I could do it. When I look back I realize the only time I had complete and utter control was when my babies were safely tucked inside my body. They were safe there. As they grew in me so did I. Even though pregnancy had its ups and downs, it’s nothing compared to raising another human being. I became fierce. No one would ever hurt my babies ever. Again I couldn’t have been more wrong. I held these little bodies and prayed for them to have a great life. I prayed for guidance because now I had no idea what to do. I stumbled through motherhood and my children taught me more than I could teach them. Whatever they went through in life it affected me more. Their triumphs, their defeats were magnified in my heart ten times more. I fiercely tried to save them and protect them from every evil of the world. That never went well because they needed to be able to stand on their own. So in spite of me my children grew to be awesome human beings. They continue to inspire me, make me grow and teach me to still become a better mother. I’m still fierce when it comes to protecting them but I stay fierce on the sidelines. These two little humans gave me the ride of my life and I am forever proud and happy that my plan didn’t work out because I cannot imagine one day without my children.
One year ago today I retired. It didn’t matter if I worked for someone else or if I was self employed, I gave it my all. I thought retirement would be an easy decision but it wasn’t. The transition was difficult. I missed the routine. I missed the people I worked with. I missed being a part of something. What I learned was that I was not always appreciated like I should have been. What I learned was my health in mind and body needed to come first. What I learned was I needed the time to explore what my next journey was going to be. Believe it or not there are days I still flounder. After working my whole life I have trouble with the relaxing part. In fact, I cannot seem to lose the guilt of not doing anything on a particular day. I know these feelings come from the way retirement came about. My body was ready but not my mind. Now that I have one year in the record book, I am determined to allow myself a guilt free retirement. To not worry about what I left behind but look forward to what is ahead. To explore new chapters and become whole again as a new person. Leave behind what was and become what is. One year ago I retired. The end. This year with pen in hand, I start a new book.
I don’t want to live in this world sometimes. I don’t want to listen to the hate. I don’t want to fear for my life. I don’t want my grandchildren to never feel safe. I want the protests to stop. I want the bullying to stop. I want the killings to stop. I want the media to stop. I don’t want to look at someone with trepidation. I don’t want people to judge. I don’t want division. I don’t want a soulless world. I want diversity. I want acceptance. I want kindness. I want less chatter. I want more hugs. I don’t want to leave the world to the next generations in such a mess. I want to fix it. I don’t think it should be that hard but it is. Everyone is talking but nobody is listening. Everyone is blaming the other race, the other gender, the other religion, the other political side with such strong convictions, there are no conversations anymore. Apparently to be heard you have to create violence in one form or another; with words, with actions, with fear. Our carbon footprint left on this earth will be a muddy mess, quick sand unless it changes. I don’t want to live in this world sometimes because I know the difference but will my grandchildren? Will they grow up not knowing right from wrong, the laws, a world without hatred and turmoil? A world that is spinning so out of control that this will be their norm. Yet we can simply change it, one act of kindness at a time….starting today.
In a few months I am becoming 60. I say it that way because I am not turning 60, I am doing everything in my power to embrace 60. Letting it become me. Was I defiantly ignoring that fact? Yes, yes I was, but reality set in the day the calendar year clicked over. Turning 20 and 30 was rather seamless. For some strange reason I couldn’t wait to be 40. 50 wasn’t as scary as I anticipated, but when I pictured 60, I saw the faces of teachers I had in grade school. Someone who, at the time, looked incredibly old to me. Being 60 is not about my looks though. For the first time in forever I’m happy with how I look. It’s not about the changes in my body either because I’ve accepted those changes with as much grace as I can muster. It’s just something about the sound of that number. The saying, “age is just a number” is a lot easier to not roll your eyes at when your at an age far below 60. So while I approach my sixth decade of life, I will do my best to wave the white flag of acceptance. To go into it with confidence, with adventure, with 59 years of incredible experience and knowledge. Will I cry? I might. I’m not sure but if I do I’ll be okay with that. After that I will wake up every morning thanking God for yet another day. Look in the mirror and say, “Damn girl. You’re 60. Not bad. Not bad at all”.