I recognize that I think and write like autumn and my season has arrived. It’s a time for contemplation and long leisurely walks. It feels like long sips of hot chocolate and lingering over a cup of tea. It’s sweater and boot weather. Breathe it in. Wrap yourself in a scarf and enjoy it.
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The plant thrives.
What is lost is found.
Breaking up is hard to do…wait. No it isn’t. I broke a plate a few days ago. I live in one of those households were the dishwasher has a name. It’s mine. I wasn’t upset. In fact, it gave me a sense of satisfaction, not because I was angry and it felt good to break a plate. The broken plate gave me a sense of satisfaction because seeing something broken always feels like there’s a possibility for something new. Out with the old, in with the new as the saying goes.
A broken plate felt like the symbol of transition, a change is coming. I didn’t fear it. I relished it. It was a beautiful plate. It still is in its brokenness. A previously complete set isn’t complete anymore. I could go to the store I bought it from, get a replacement and put the set back together. Do the same old thing, but I knew I wasn’t going to do that. Truth be told, I already gave the cups to the set away several months ago. I felt the winds of change even then, so no, there would be no repurchasing of the same plate. The breakage puts me at three plates from a set of five, five salad plates, five bowls, and zero cups. I guess I only break plates…and those cups I broke before I gave the remainder away:-)
I came up with a clever plan where I would buy one place setting at a time, each with a new pattern, complementary coloring of course. In the end, I would have eight new place settings with different patterns with similar color schemes. I thought it would make for an eclectic table, and my dinner guests would always have something to talk about…and I would be entertained. It felt like a neat way to live life as well. I wouldn’t conform to the same old pattens everyday. I could live an eclectic existence, and do something different on a regular, not quite daily basis. It gets me out of the same old routine and I get to explore new ways of living. Change is inevitable. We can be as careful and cautious as we want, but breakage is bound to happen. No need to fear it. Let it take you on a new journey. Buy a new plate.
I had a plan. I always have a plan. Ask me how often the plan turns out exactly the way I imagined it would. I’ll wait… Exactly, zero percent of the time. Am I a poor planner? Are the plans any good? I usually think so. The exact one thing that usually goes wrong is that execution takes waaay longer than I thought.
So, I build more time into my plans and they still take longer than I thought. It leads me to ask several questions. Am I planning the wrong things? Is my execution poor? Am I even on the right journey? Oh yea, I get real philosophical real quick.
There are times when my plans turn out really well. I live in a city with a lot of traffic, and I do mean a lot, so I always give myself plenty of time to get to my destination. 99% of the time, I’m early. Exactly right doesn’t seem to be an option for me when it comes to my plans.
The real truth about plans is that they can give you a sense of being in control when you don’t really feel that way. They give your world a structure. The trick is to relax when the plans you made don’t work out the way you thought they would. Going with the flow of whatever is happening and trusting that you can handle whatever happens becomes the plan.
The best thing about life is also the scariest thing. You get to decide what you want to do with yours. We always have choice.
I remember back in college. I met this kid who knew exactly what he wanted to be when he grew up. He was going to be a small town doctor. He was going to be a doctor in his hometown in Georgia and make house calls just like his father did, and his father before him. Boy, was I envious. Growing up I had no idea what I wanted to be when I grew up. I’m not even sure I know now. I liked lots of things, and despised just as many.
The running joke when I was in college was that I changed my major every week, or at least quarterly. I only changed my major once officially, from civil engineering to rhetoric and communications(true story). I was however in constant discussion about a new class or idea I was exploring. Did I have a love for civil engineering? Nope. I was however very good at math in high school and I had a guidance counselor who was completely absent of guidance. I think I may have met with her once. She saw a kid with stellar grades in math, so engineering was the major for me, or so she decided. I got to pick the discipline. I wasn’t completely oblivious. I chose the college I wanted to go to for all of my own reasons, one being if I didn’t like civil engineering, they had other majors I was interested in.
In between civil engineering and rhetoric and communications, I went from landscape architecture to plant science to physical education to a love for marketing and chemistry to anthropology and many more I probably don’t recall. At one point I was going to design exercise wear for Paula Abdul or work for a cosmetics company like Revlon. My plan was to formulate my own lipstick colors of course. I loved chemistry.
From the first day to the last I took a wide variety of classes: anthropology, engineering basics and calculus. Every time I’d take a class pointing to a career I was interested in, only to be bored by the class. It was quite the adventure. I would never trade it. Economics, art history, a smattering of everything until I started to take rhetoric classes, then literature classes, and communications classes both interpersonal and organizational. That’s when I started to light up. Lots of writing in there, which I wasn’t so great at in the beginning, and found to be drudgery. But, I felt its importance immediately. Self-expression, the communicating of ideas, I loved it. I wanted more of it. I wanted to be better at it. I even learned how to give a speech.
What I really learned is that my ideas and opinions were valuable and it was okay for me to express myself.
I interviewed for a reporting job after I graduated and got it. Here’s the kicker, it was as a sports reporter in a city so small I don’t even remember the name of it. Oh, and there’s the fact that I didn’t know ANYTHING about sports. Apparently, I was the only one who interviewed for the job…clearly.
I love Bob Costas to this day, but I cannot do what he does. He is a sportscaster as well as a writer. He group up loving sports. I did not. I was not a sports loving kid. I can’t state the truth in that enough. I was NOT a sports loving kid. Like a lot of girls I took the occasional dance class and watched gymnastics during the Olympics. That’s the end of that sports story.
When you’re young, having to find your way in the world and discover who you are can be quite scary, actually as an adult too, but when you have some years on you, you realize that change happens all the time and it’s not as scary as you thought it would be; in your youth, not so much.
“Change is the handmaiden Nature requires to do her miracles with.”
Change is inevitable. Choices are always available. One day at a time, one choice at a time, that’s how I’ve decided(see that choice there) to live my days, me and nature creating miracles together, or at least a life of my choosing.
You ever take a book from your bookshelves you’ve had for years and start to read it? And guess what? It’s perfect for you at this time in your life.
Now I’ve had quite a year of at home inner adventures. At one point, I decided to clean kondomari-esquely. I know it’s not a word but the idea is, I decluttered A LOT. Anybody familiar with the Marie Kondo books? The bookshelves alone took weeks. Amazon and I are close friends, and not just for books y’all. My local librarians also know my face very well. Go public libraries!
I spent weeks sorting through my bookshelves looking to let go and inspire others. I let go of the books I’ve read that I knew I wasn’t going to read again. Did they bring me joy? Of course they did and it was time to share that joy with others. I let go of books on my shelves that I thought I would read, but never did. Can I just tell you, I don’t even remember those titles. You know how you collect titles. Someone told me to read this person’s work. Okay, I’ll get it. Ooh, that looks interesting. Buy it. That NPR Story sounds amazing. Got it! I’m doing me, I want to know something. I usually look for answers in a book first. You can’t really learn dance moves in a book, but you get the idea.
There those titles sat with their read and unread brethren…not being read. It occurred to me to let them go. Did I feel lighter after they were gone? I sure did. Have I bought any new books? Yes, but not nearly as many as before. It’s worth repeating, not anywhere near the amount I’ve bought before. I filled the local lending libraries around my neighborhood. Here are a few. Aren’t they cute?! They are sponsored by the local neighborhood organization.
I still have books on the shelves that I haven’t read yet. I’ve kept the ones I sincerely think I’m going to get around to reading:-) There are books I’ve read many many times and will continue to do so: The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho and The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz to name two. I have books that have made me laugh and still do just thinking about them and yup, a bunch of reference stuff, you know, for reference, lots of books for classes I’ve taken and books for things I want to learn e.g. cooking in certain cultures and chess strategy. The plan is to live a good long life and get around to reading every one of them in perfect time. Summer is a good time to pick up a book. What are you reading?
I’m starting to believe we live our lives in chapters. We are growing up in the early chapters. We’re getting educated in others. We are focused on relationships in others. We’re having children and building careers in others. Many of those things can occur at the same time, but at various times in our lives the focus is usually on one or two. Some of the chapters can be quite boring, where we’re just coasting along, living each day as it comes, stuck in our routines, sometimes very happily so, and then a change comes to jostle you a bit or knock you completely off your feet: job changes, broken relationships, health issues, moves from one place to another. They can feel like little deaths in a sense or maybe even actually so.
“All change, even the most longed for, have their melancholy; for what we leave behind us is a part of ourselves, we must die to one life before we can enter another.”
I like change, or so I tell myself. One day I have grape jelly, the next, strawberry. Okay, that’s not really dramatic, and I really don’t have jelly that often anyway, so… What I mean is that we get thrown for a loop sometimes. There’s an earthquake under your feet but not under anybody else’s. Your tectonic plates are shifting but when you look across the street, everything seems to be just as it was. What happened? You may be even screaming in your head. WHAT HAPPENED? No answers come, not yet anyway. Maybe never. I am constantly amazed at how life continues even when I decide to take a break from it, let’s say by having a relaxing weekend indoors(staycation anybody?), a spa day, a week away, or a year…
Everybody’s journey is different. Vive la difference! Some travel fast through life, now is the only option, and others take a much slower pace, tortoise and hare, hare and tortoise. There’s a middle road for a lot of people too. Life ebbs and flows. Your timing is your timing. Everyone has to travel at their own pace. How about you? What’s your speed? What chapter are you on?