“I wish it need not have happened in my time,” said Frodo. “So do I,” said Gandalf, “and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”
I look around cautiously … my breathing slow, steady, rhythmic.
I listen … John Wick (of all movies) fighting and umph-ing and ack-ing and uh-king in the background. But that’s all. John Wick is riding a horse through city streets, no less. That’s some feat.
It is the day after New Year’s Day. Celebrated New Year’s Eve with my family, spent yesterday with my brother-in-law, reorienting him to the outside world a little. It was a good day.
I look around again … cautiously.
Has the bad luck from 2020 followed me into this Saturday matinee? Is the boogeyman waiting for me to take a misstep so he/she/it can jump on me with both feet?
I didn’t really have a horrible 2020. I lost two people I loved, which was heartbreaking. I cleaned out a hoarder house and had to give up a totally new start on my retirement plans by giving up a few projects/things I wanted to do.
I did have blessings every day. I have a partner who supports me, a dog who hangs with me, a cat that loves me. I have improved my blog ratings and found dozens of fantastic artists to share with you and cleaned places in my house that haven’t felt the dust rag or seen the light of day in 15 years. My mammogram was negative, as was my Covid test.
So the positives really do outweigh the negatives.
But I’ve also become more spacy in 2020. I have dropped more, forgotten more, cut more fingers and gotten more black and blue marks than in years previous. According to my partner I am forgetting more and understanding less.
I find myself watching every step going down the steps and making sure 10 times the stove is off and am self-conscious walking across the snow. I get flashes of what it would be like to slip on the stairs and come crashing down a level, to slice my finger off cutting an onion, or slipping in the shower.
I hate suddenly becoming so self-conscious.
Think of all the things we did when we were younger. We all have episodes where we should have wound up in the hospital — or worse. But we played, we took chances, we goofed off and put our lives in fast forward.
I watch 2021 spread slowly across the world and my life and don’t want to live in fast forward any more.
I find myself taking smaller bites and relishing each, individual one. I have lost some sense of smell, but take one spray of scent every morning. I text friends when I don’t really have much to say, and hang with my grandkids even when they are off playing with each other.
2020 was a year of nightmares — but not being able to move forward is a nightmare, too.
Let’s make the most of the possibilities of 2021 — just maybe one step at a time.
I am trying more and more to live in the moment. Today. Now.
I have a decent past, but not one I’d care to linger in for too long, for I would rethink my mistakes and go head-over-heels in angst wishing I could have done something different.
We’re stuck with our past. So why do we wish we could change it?
We all fell in love with the wrong person. We all did something shady. We all were promiscuous when being promiscuous was taboo. Yet now and then we glance back and say “Wow..I could have died there!” or “Wow..if only I’d listened!” or “Wow..Why didn’t I do that?”
We are all guilt machines of our own genetic makeup. Some are lucky enough to say who cares and so what and move along. Others can’t get their other foot out of the past.
Back to living in the moment.
The moment is really all we have. Whether or not we go to heaven or get reincarnated or take a spirit quest to Mars, it will be what it will be. So why not live today to the max?
I know quite a lot of young people who live like that. They don’t worry about their employment future; there will always be another job somewhere. Insurance? Maybe they need it, maybe they don’t. If they can’t pay their bills they can’t pay their bills. So what?
Every generation has it’s own way of thinking and believing. My generation went out and got a job right after high school or college and stayed in said job for 10, 15, 20 years. Perhaps we weren’t the gold watch generation, but we worked long enough to get social security and a senior discount.
I’m trying to live in the moment and not complain that I don’t enjoy the heat when it’s above 90 and the mosquitoes are making a pin cushion out of me and it’s too hot to even water my plants. The Now is embracing said heat and humidity and making the most of every day no matter how sweaty you are.
After all, it’s only 165 days, 12 hours, 17 minutes, and 40 seconds (give or take) until Christmas.
And that’s a moment that can wait until I get there.
There was a time
The universe expanded before me
Choice was a luxury
Youth my companion
Lost in the sparkle of the stars
Lately the vastness of that universe
Has shrunk before my eyes
The galaxies of choice
Have turned to
Cold hollow moons
Planets of necessity
Funny how small
My world has become
The luxury of time
Exists on fewer and fewer
Planes of existence
In this world and the next
The choices are not the same
As in the days of
Jobs and friends and goals
Now have razor edges
Options have narrowed
Doors once open
Now request verification
Of paths followed
And stars wished upon
In duplicate form
I can no longer shuffle the cards of
Destiny and Delusion
The games have been chosen
Hands have been dealt
Bets are hedged
The world is keeping score
I must play the hand dealt
Watch the glow of dawn
Twist into curls of dusk
Time no longer my friend
Its shadow the scent of musk
Choice is mine no more
My vision has become blurred
Memories have faded
My heart has been broken
By limitations of my body
And the changing of the guard
As they march into the fog
I never forget my heart
The journey that brought me here
I love and I cherish
I live and I learn
But cannot go back
To the land of never was
Even though hope fades
In the emptiness of dawn
And space of my soul
Reality bounds from the sky
Our star’s blinding glare
Reminding me of the truth
All I need to do is breathe
The universe, the stars
Will point the way
And the world of choice
Will open its doors
Claudia Anderson, 2013
I don’t know if it’s a symptom of (self-prescribed) A.D.D., but I constantly find myself in swirling situations where I’m turning and falling and rushing and not finishing.
And I can’t take it.
The other day I dropped something. I bent to pick it up and hit my head against the table leg. Then I stood up and dropped it again. In turning to reach it I swiped all the paperwork off the table and into a raining mess. The raining mess knocked over the stemmed wine glass with a trace of milk still left, breaking the glass and spilling milk all over.
I had to stand still, close my eyes, and count to 10.
Then the reprimand begins.
Who drinks milk out of wine glasses anyway? Why didn’t I just do the dishes and wash the glass when I was finished? Why are all those papers on the table anyway? Why aren’t you paying attention?
One time I was running a little late for work; stepped out of the car in the parking lot and slipped on a slice of ice right next to my door. Those bruises have finally faded.
Why didn’t you leave for work earlier? Didn’t you see that patch of ice when you pulled in the parking space? Don’t you watch where you put your feet when you get out of the car?
It’s like I’m moving through time and space too fast. Keeping up at work and keeping up at home is a non-stop travelogue for me. I find myself forcing myself to slow down. If I don’t, I get bruises from car doors, misplace my glasses and/or keys, lose earrings and other items of jewels — all kinds of stupid things.
Where am I going in such a hurry? What ever happened to stopping to smell the roses? Watch a sunset? Watch fireflies? I know I have to slow down. To think before I do. I’m not as flexible as i was 20 years ago. And I’ll wind up in the hospital if I’m not careful.
It’s just that with (self-prescribed) A.D.D. I feel at times I can’t sit still for 5 minutes. I’m either itching or swinging my leg or flipping through TV channels or snacking. I’m always afraid I’ll be left behind if I don’t get it all done. That I’ll be standing at the end of the driveway waving goodbye to everyone else because I couldn’t get ready on time.
This is especially true because I’m older. Every forgotten thing is Alzheimer’s; every hesitation is senility. Every broken glass is old age; every pain is cancer.
Although I do believe you can’t do everything, be everything to everybody and still keep your sanity, my unconscious mind is trying to prove different. It thinks that if I keep going at 150 mph, I can outrun the grim reaper.
Maybe it’s time for a speeding ticket or two.
I already hear whispers of “I wouldn’t change a thing” or “I love my life just the way it is” or “my scars have made me who I am today.” All of that is good and well, but there is always something we wish we could have done, changed, said.
There are few things I would change about my life. I love where I am, I love my family. Knowing me, I would have loved a different husband, different children, different grandchildren. Love is love. I was not popular in my younger younger years, but I feel my heart has grown into a beautiful maple tree because of that.
But things I would have changed — there are always a few.
I would have gone to college. Back in my day (what a cliche!) half the girls went to college, half got married. Although I didn’t get married I did fall in the second half. Maybe I didn’t have the money at the time. Or the inspiration. But since I’ve always been a writer and an artist, I should have learned more about both. It most likely would have led me down a different career path, but it would have been more of a career and less of a job.
I would have put more effort into saving my bed and breakfast. It was a gorgeous house, a dream come true. I owned it for 7 years, always moving backwards financially instead of forward. Instead of trying to support my end of the upkeep with paying guests, I should have gotten a full-time job and run the B&B on the weekends.
I would have talked to my parents more. I would have asked them about their childhood. Their teens. Their young married years. Who they loved. Who they hated. The hard times. The family problems. The war. Their illnesses. I would not have let their lives be nothing more than spectres dancing in the sunlight.
Hindsight is such a strange bedfellow at times.
It’s not so much living in the past as re-experiencing it. I would still take the hard knocks, but I would savor the sweetness even more. I would have brought the friends I left behind into the future with me. I would right all wrongs, mend all fences, and keep the love the way it used to be.
I would cherish every moment of every day much more than I did when I was younger. I would not, could not change the deaths of those who have gone before me, but I would have made much more of the time we had when they were alive.
If I could turn back the hands of time, I would never have let go of the things that meant the most to me.
But perhaps that’s what the future is for. Never letting go.
No, not the 1 Million Mile Club. The 1 More Minute Club.
You know — that time-share world that is almost always self-serving, self-indulgent, and often futile. The club where you think, “one more minute…”
I suppose if you are watching the morning weather and stay one more minute to make sure you heard right, and you miss the deer crossing the road at 6:46 a.m. that you would have hit had you not stayed one more minute…, then that’s okay.
I’m talking about those every day happenings you think will matter more if you extend them one more minute.
I am a big one in this Club.
In the shower, forehead pressed against the far shower stall wall, hot water soaking my tired body: staying in the water for one more minute…
Laying in my morning bed, still dark outside, alarm goes off, time to get ready for work: staying in bed for one more minute…
Watching the weather channel in the morning, staying to check the weather for the third time just in case I missed something: watching it just one more minute…
Writing: I’m almost done with this chapter. I’ll just write for one more minute…
Reading: Whether or not I’m really “into” the book, there are just a few more paragraphs until the chapter is over: Let me read for one more minute…
Kids use this excuse all the time. We think nothing of letting them have one more minute of bath time or play time or before-bed time. What’s one minute in the scheme of things? Yet these same parents, these same people, justify their own few minutes by pretending to end it in one more minute…
I know that personal time is in a different dimension from the one we live in. We never have enough time to do the things we love, and way too much time to do the things we don’t. That’s the cosmic way. Kids are never aware of the clock. In their natural state they do things until they’re done doing them. They are done when they are satisfied.
Adults, on the other hands, are mostly slaves of the clock. We have to be. Doctor appointments and trains and time clocks don’t wait. They know if they give one minute here it will accumulate to hours there.
Who do we think we’re fooling? If we think the situation will be any better one more minute from now, we are usually wrong. For most of us one minute blends into the next into the next. We have lost track of so many one more minute’s that we could fill the space between the stars.
In defense of the members of this Club, though, I have to admit…when I “allow” myself one more minute of whatever, I concentrate and fill that minute with all the enjoyment and cosmicness I possibly can. That hot shower is like fingers massaging my back; that paragraph that I’m writing is the best I’ve ever written. It is so because I crammed hours of enjoyment into a very small amount of time. And most of the time, it’s worth it.
Just like the minute it took you to read this.
I’m getting to be that way, too.
Sometimes the world seems so stupid. I know that’s a demeaning statement; it’s not fair to the rest of the world who is struggling to make it (just like me). But it’s a blowing-off-steam statement as well. For how many useless things and actions thread through our personal tapestry every day that sidetrack us from getting what we really want?
You know I don’t mean the obvious roadblocks — we all deal with them as they come. I mean the events that can (and should) be avoided that are always haunting us.
Being an “older” sprite, I can see the futility of trying to change a person, of wanting to be a vice president with a high school education, of trying to visit the capitols of Europe on a retiree’s budget. I mean, if you could you would. But some things aren’t meant to be. But instead of accepting what you cannot change (that wonderful adage), people spend hours and days and years trying to do just that.
Maybe it’s just that the older I get, the more roads open up before me. There are lots of roads that are closed, buried in rubble or sunk under the sea. But it’s like the roots of a tree — more sprout out every day. And when I see my friends, my acquaintances, my new found peeps, spending all their tears and energy and lifeforce trying to make it “better”, I get ticked off. For I find beautiful flowers trying to push the boulder out of the way instead of growing around it.
Take Thanksgiving and Christmas, for instance. Big, emotional holidays filled with nostalgia, made-up memories, and TV propaganda. People get so wrapped up in “family” and “being together” for the holidays they lose common sense. Their hearts are broken because A had to work or B got the flu and couldn’t fly in. They dwell in the mist of “this may be XYZ‘s last Thanksgiving with us” or “Why can’t Christmas be like when I was a child?”
Don’t they know that every dinner is Thanksgiving? That every day you open your eyes, take a breath of air, and see the sunshine, is Christmas?
Why do we need a particular day to focus our energy on our friends, our family? A particular day to give gifts, to cook a turkey, or to go to church? A has to work? Get over it! Nurses, waitresses, truck drivers, TONS of people have to work on the days you lay back and sing Christmas carols. B‘s got the flu? Better to stay home and get better than bring the germs cross country to incubate in the stuffing.
The same thing is true about remembering birthdays, anniversaries, and other man-created important dates. Maybe I’m biased about remembering these things because my hubby barely remembers those actual dates. I don’t get flowers or diamonds or fancy dinners on those exact dates. But I’ve got a hubby that’s stuck around for 33 years, and we squeeze in dinners and buy plants in the spring, and it somehow has always worked out.
I don’t judge my life by the rememberance of wedding anniversaries or Christmas presents. I judge it by the times I’ve been able to say “thanks” over a meal, or by the number of sunrises and sunsets we’ve been able to share. I know I’m too old to start a new 9-5 career, but not too old to develop my writing one. I’m too old to play the “if he/she loved me they would ____” For if he/she really loved you, they would. Period. It could just be that, for some reason, they cannot. And so it is.
I don’t think I’m a hard realist as much as I am an experienced dreamer. I have had dreams shattered, plans never come to fruition, loves lost. As I look through the tunnel backwards, I see how I could have turned a lot of keys sooner. How I wasted years angsting on things I couldn’t change. Things that didn’t matter.
Perhaps that’s what the older generation sees. They wonder why we worry about getting together on the holidays and worry about getting together tomorrow.
And that makes a whole lot more sense to me.
Monday Monday, can’t trust that day,
Monday Monday, sometimes it just turns out that way
Oh Monday morning, you gave me no warning of what was to be
Oh Monday Monday, how could you leave and not take me. ~Mamas and Papas
Monday’s really aren’t that bad, but somehow our culture has psychologically made it the fall guy for all jobs we hate and bills we have to pay.
So I put it out to you — If mankind — or rather the working world — could work their “8 Hour Day” any 8 hours straight they choose, could Monday (or any other day) be still successful — and less stressful?
I will use myself as a shining example. As I’ve gotten older I’ve found myself to be a night owl. Or rather my body thinks it’s a night owl. I love the evening, the night — I could stay up until 1-2 a.m., windows open, music, writing, folding laundry, whatever the calling.
I also could sleep in until 8 or 9 a.m. every day after that, too.
So why couldn’t I punch a time clock at 11 am and punch out at 7 pm? Or some mornings punch in at 9 am and get out at 5 pm? Or punch in at 1 p.m. and scoot at 9 pm?
I know — first off you say I should get a second shift job. I don’t think they do my kind of advertising work at night.
I know — you also will say that companies can’t have people coming and going all the time; that their utilities would have to be on 24/7, which would cost more money to them, and less to me. Well, my household utilities are often on 24/7 — or 21/10 anyway, so it’s time for companies to join the millennium.
I want to be able to wake up with the birds when I want or sleep until they’re at their noon siesta. I want to wake up and see it’s raining and turn over and sleep a few more hours. I want the freedom to wake up peppy and prepped or sluggish and sluggy, and have both be an okay start for the day.
I suppose it’s one of those wasted daydreams like what I’d do if I won the lottery or lost 50 pounds. But I live on daydreams. I dance with the Arts, with the Muses, with the Dreamers and the Philosophers. Free thinking is a blessing, a gift, and a burden. Rather to carry that burden than others that exist around me.
But back to the flexible schedule. I suppose the truth is that I’d push the start time further and further back until I was working the night shift. Which is time to go to bed. Guess it is all just a continuous Celtic Knot with me at the center.
I suppose retirement is the only out for me. Or lots of half-days off. Or winning the lottery. My best chance is the last one.
Got a dollar?
This Friday post is mostly for writers, although you of any and all skills can identify.
Yesterday was a pretty crummy day. You know crummies — nothing in particular, but a dozen things coming and going that make you say “I quit for the day.”
I was driving home from work; a lovely stretch of countryside between my work town and home town. Four great 90 degree turns, each one hosting a different view; cornstalks five feet taller than me (which isn’t saying much), no one on the road. It was a slow, steady rain. I was taking it rather slow and steady, too.
A few things happened on this familiar trek; someone driving on the wrong side of the road, a few animals dashing from one side of the road to the other; weird things. The pavement glistened softly, reminding me of my double-rollover last November. People driving on the road who usually never take this route.
You know how a creative mind wanders. Suddenly I had this great idea for a story. A first-person narrative about driving and getting stuck driving the same four turns and all that sci fi eerie stuff. I embellished it and worked on it all the way home.
The sad thing is, I don’t know when I’ll ever be able to write it. And I don’t think it’s ever as good as when it’s fresh in the mind.
Last night was family, tonight shopping, tomorrow family party — there’s a Sunday Art blog I want/need to get done by Sunday, things I ABSOLUTELY have to get done around the house — when is there time for writing? I don’t often write short stories any more, so when this idea hit me it was like a breath of fresh air. Yet now the air is stale, and before you know it I’ll forget the punchline. I’m already forgetting peaks that once made me excited — it’s like overthinking something. Your original idea is not always what you wind up doing.
I hear you saying, “Just Make Time!” But sometimes that’s just not possible. I’ve been fighting/working with sleep issues lately, so I can’t just go in my bedroom at 9 and write. And if I have to make a choice, prime time with my grandbaby supersedes writing a great story.
I’m sure these things happen with painters and graphic designers and everyone who enjoys being creative. Maybe I have my priorities upside down. Maybe I need to find that time-travel hourglass thingy Hermione used in one of the Harry Potter movies (so she could take two classes at the same time).
Maybe I should just give upyadda yadda blah blah yadda blablah……
Sat down Friday evening after dinner with the family, the boys played video games (even grandbaby), pregnant mom just relaxed, I pulled out my computer, and finished my story.
The moral of the story is: write out your whine, get it out of your system, then shut up and write/paint/draw.
As my hero Jason Nesbith from Galaxy Quest says — Never Give up — Never surrender!
I have the world’s best intentions — I really do. And sometimes I’m even able to carry them out. On the other hand, sometimes my intentions last as long as a thought. Big burst of emotion/intention, then big hit of sidetrack/misdirection.
Now that I’ve finally found the loves of my life (except from 9-5), I am finding it nearly impossible to balance it all without falling asleep at my desk.
Everything is temporary, I know. My kids living with me for a few months has been the greatest gift I ever could have received. I spend my day thinking of what my GB and I can do when I get home. He is a bundle of energy (vs my total lack of it), so I try and plan accordingly. I also plan time for him to be alone with his parents. After all, they all WOULD be alone together if it weren’t for me. First act of balancing.
But spending the 5 hours (ideally) between work and bedtime have drastically cut the time I have to spend on the other love of my life: writing. Specifically (at least at this moment) my blog(s).
I know there is no comparison between flesh and blood and words on a screen. No comparison between talking to my daughter-in-law and responding to posts online. This time will soon be gone, and I’ll have evenings to myself once again. Every day is a new experience, a new adventure. Who want to miss that?
But I am a Sagittarius, and I want the glory, the excitement, the magic NOW. I am an adventurer, even though I may fall flat half way through my trek. And I (like all of you) are multi-dimensional. I love creating, researching, building, perfecting whatever it is that sets my heart a flutter. My blog (especially the Art one) is quenching my thirst for personal satisfaction. It is something I can call MY OWN. Not hunting or fishing like the boys; not going back to school like friends; not raising children like my kids and friends kids. It’s something created out of my soul and warmed by the sun and fertilized by the moon. It’s something that has turned from a fad idea to a real pursuit of the extraordinary.
I think I suffer somewhat from the life-is-running-out syndrome, too. I’m getting older: there are fewer years ahead of me than behind, and there’s tons of things I still want to do. I’ve given up dreams of visiting the museums of Rome or wandering through the moors of Scotland. Discovering the planet China is off my list, too. But I can still do things that make me happy, that make me proud. I’m just running out of time to do them.
My circadian rhythm is so out of whack I doubt I could get it back in line with a baseball bat. I get home, am awake, creative, love the evening, the sunset, the kids, the night. Then I can’t fall asleep. Midnight, 1, 2 a.m. and I’m still cruising through the galaxy. I get up at 6 so four hours of sleep isn’t doing it for me. I’ve tried everything to calm down at night. My fear is that I’ll have to give up everything creative if I want to sleep. Or clean my house. Or even make it to work on time.
I admit it. I want it all. I’m too young to retire, too poor to quit working. All of you creative sprites know how it is when you just start getting into your project and you look up at the clock and it’s midnight. Einstein’s time travel continuum has struck again.
So. I ask you. Any suggestions on how I can do it all?
In this lifetime??
More often than not my life is like that. I feel like I’m going frontwards, backwards, up the center of that tornado, and not making much headway. So I had a long talk with myself on the drive home from work today, and have decided that I’ve got to quit fighting with the world and to just be myself.
Now, I tell myself that every other day. I’m sure you do, too. And yet you go back to work, to your family, hiding the same thoughts, acting like a semi-obedient kid, counting the days until vacation, until Saturday, until retirement.
In my little one-on-one today, my good girl/bad girl really struggled to find a happy balance. Now, I am a happy person. I love my family, my paint-in-the-butt pets, my house and my habits. I’m not what you’d considered repressed — more like befuddled.
I never thought about retiring. I am too young to retire. Retirement is for old people. I know I wrote a blog about that some time ago, and the truth is that not much has changed. And that’s the problem. I haven’t noticed the clock moving backwards any, so all I have is the NOW and tomorrow’s NOW and so on and so forth. I told myself that it’s about time to stop wasting the NOWs wanting things that just aren’t going to change. There will always be worlds that fit like a glove, and others that fit like size 6 spandex. And not being “there” is alright all on its own.
My Goddess self said Knock It Off.
And so I have.
I really am going to (try) stop whining and get to gettin’ on. I have novels to finish, novels to edit, boho clothes to buy, and star roads to wander down. I suppose this wanderlust looks a bit like dementia, but since it’s purposeful, on-purpose wandering, I’m not too worried.
Have you gotten to the place in your life where enough is enough? I’m not saying I’m going to tell my boss off or spend lots of money on foofy things or start ordering from Amazon and Zulilly, but I am tired of feeling the victim of the world all the time. The bullying stopped by the time I was in high school. It started again about 10 years ago, but it stopped last November. So there’s no reason why I can’t live my life the way I want to. Who knows what that will be? I’d like to get to the point where I don’t feel guilty sleeping in on the weekends or having ice cream for breakfast. I want to write instead of do dishes and work on my blog instead of researching pin numbers.
It’s so much easier said than done, isn’t it? I know we all have different learning curves. Some curves have been much more brutal than mine, some easier. But we’re all striving to find out who we are.
No — we’re all striving to BE who we are. And it can’t be that hard.
I think if we were honest, we’d all be some jagged, bejeweled, bewitched, unpredictable conglomeration of blood and bone and pinky guts that is full of love and hope and magic.
I can be that. How about you?
So many things make us happy; so many things make us sad. So many times we wished we had turned left instead of right; so many times we are soooo glad we did turn right instead of left. Sometimes I get really sad that I’m soon going to turn 60 — where has my life gone? Other times I look back and am sorry my mother never made 54. I’m sad that I had breast cancer; other times I’m so glad they found it when they did.
Life is packed with highs and lows, yellow and blacks, snow and scorching heat. That’s what it’s all about. That’s what it’s always been about. For us, for our grandparents, for George Washington and Kublai Khan and St. Joseph. I’m sure they all had a hundred things they wanted to do at one time, too. Just like us. We all want to be appreciated for what we’ve done. What we’ve become. We all would like to think that our time here on Earth has been for the Greater Good.
This is not a confessional blog; this isn’t a tell-all or a bad news bomb. I’m sitting on my sofa this cold Sunday afternoon, looking at the bare treetops in my front yard. Of course, you know me — I’m also watching football, eating lunch, doing laundry, getting ready to write some in my latest novel, wondering what I’m gonna wear to work tomorrow. I’m also thinking about the fun I had with my grandbaby this weekend, thinking of taking some drugs for my achy legs, and feeling guilty I haven’t played fetchie with my dog today.
That’s really what this blog is about. Sometimes I feel I should be pushing this blog harder, trying to share the Word with more readers. Other times I think I’ve run this horse to the finish line, and should start a new creative venture. Yet more often I think I’ve let my writing simmer on the back burner for so long it’s started to dry up and stick to the pan.
How do you know if you’ve succeeded at what you tried to do? What is the measure of success? Big paychecks often are an indicator; good health, always. Waking up every morning is a success all on its own. Family? Kids? Making the perfect apple pie? All of the above are successes if never done it before. Success has always been measured from the heart first, from the masses second. And often it takes on a meaning more cosmic than one thinks. I think I make the best spaghetti sauce this side of the Mississippi. If you don’t agree, does that mean it’s not good? Of course not. All it means is that I can eat it all myself.
Writing is the same thing for me. What is being a successful writer? Have I ever been published? A short story here or there in the past 10 years. Have I won awards for my creativity? No. Have I ever I gotten a call or email from a publisher? No. Do I think I’m a successful writer? Yes. Definitely. I’ve had people say positive things about my stories; I’ve brought smiles and tears to readers. I’ve written 4 novels, 1 novella, 32 short stories, 42 poems, 84 blogs, and 3 novels in-progress. I think that’s being successful. Why? Because Ive continued to do what I love, no matter what the result. I’ve had fun making friends, creating worlds, and trying things that make me uncomfortable. I encouraged people to believe in themselves, given life to middle-age heroines, and never killed off the main character.
There are still so many paths to follow, worlds to explore. And that’s only after I play with my grandbaby, fetch my dogs, pet my cats, cuddle my husband, go to work 40 hours a week, clean my house, grocery shop, get together with family and/or friends, and dozens of other responsibilities. Life has only so many hours, and I’m still struggling on squeezing a few more out of every week.
So what this all boils down to is that I’ve driven the Humoring the Goddess train long enough. Hopefully I’ve encouraged you to believe in yourself, have fun with your life, and laugh as much as you can. There are so many things you can’t change, so why not toss your hands up and laugh and move on? You’ll know the things you CAN change..that little voice in your heart/head/soul is always there to remind you. Your job is to listen.
I have enjoyed entertaining you all these years more than you know. I have learned so much from you. I might try another blog, or finish one of my novels, or sit and spew poetry until I feel nauseated. I’m sure I’ll be back and visit sometime. If I start something new I’ll post it. I will look foward to hearing from you and YOUR projects. You will always find me at my email world… firstname.lastname@example.org.
There is always a path ahead of you. Always. It’s up to you which one you take, or how often you turn left or right. In the end, none of that matters — the only thing that matters is that you keep walking.
Keep Humoring the Goddess…and Loving your Life…
Does your life often feel like that?? Lately my life has been that! No time to blog, no time to write, barely time to breathe. As I sit here jotting down a few words of wisdom, I am scratching and digging and itching the skin off the top of my feet where chiggers fed a few days ago. What kind of wisdom is that?
I really believe the drought in the Midwest has drained the sanity out of us mere mortals. If I thought I had little patience before, ask me how I feel after camping for two days in 90 degree breezeless weather. (On second thought, don’t ask…) On one hand, chiggered ankles were a small price to pay to be with my grandson for the weekend. But, upon reflection, I could have thought of 50 other places more suitable to both my “temperament” and “temperature.” We won’t talk about sweating, but with temperatures at 100 one tends to sweat in places you never knew you could sweat in.
The heat also messes with my sense of organization. (Like I had any to begin with…) I look around the house and see all the things I should do but don’t have time to do because I’m busy doing other things. We all have days of disorganization. But why does it seem lately that I’ve had weeks of it? Maybe I need a little time management or something. A search in Yahoo brings up time management games, tips, skills, techniques, strategies, software, training, books, articles, and activities. Wow. I am overwhelmed just by so many choices. This is more than just turn right or left; this is riding on the twirliest roller coaster in the land.
Is my madness just a case of time mismanagement? Of poor planning? Or is it that our world has gotten so big, so advanced, so fast, that there are literally millions (as opposed to dozens) of activity melons that are ripe for the picking? Our ancestors didn’t have such a cornucopia of delights to choose from. Extra curricular activities were limited by your pocketbook and your proximity to town. Reading (how about sinking your teeth into The Scarlet Pimpernel?), walking (didn’t you see Sense and Sensibility?), checkers or chess, or singing around the piano (think Christmas Carol), were the highlights of adult play. Granddaughter in another state having a birthday? Too bad — too far. Want to go swimming to cool off? Too bad — closest body of water is five hours by mule. Want to go out for dinner? Too bad. Town is ten miles by mule.
These people didn’t have an unlimited choice of entertainment like we do. Blogging, surfing the Net, playing online or video games, talking on the phone, watching 20 Closer reruns you’d DVR’d, reading Star Magazine, dancing to your IPod — all are activities that would be chinese to them. I know we don’t do all those things, but admit it — we get pretty darn close. Add going to work, grocery shopping, driving to birthday parties and soccer games, watering the garden, mowing the lawn, washing clothes, getting a hair cut, going to the dentist or doctor, all contribute to the roller coaster ride we put ourselves on.
Here are a few tips I found on the “Time Management Tips” List:
Carry a schedule and record all your thoughts, conversations and activities for a week. This will help you understand how much you can get done during the course of a day and where your precious moments are going. How many three-ringed notebooks do I have to carry around??
Any activity or conversation that’s important to your success should have a time assigned to it. To-do lists get longer and longer to the point where they’re unworkable. See my blog https://humoringthegoddess.wordpress.com/2011/05/20/real-lists-vs-fantasy-lists/ to clarify real lists vs. fantasy lists.
Plan to spend at least 50 percent of your time engaged in the thoughts, activities and conversations that produce our results. I already spend 110 percent of my time doing this – where did they get 50??
Schedule time for interruptions. Plan time to be pulled away from what you’re doing. Oh, does that mean I can pull into McDonalds for a hot fudge sundae on my way to the grocery store?
Take the first 30 minutes of every day to plan your day. Don’t start your day until you complete your time plan. The most important time of your day is the time you schedule to schedule time. I do this before I go to sleep and between alarm snoozes in the morning. Plans sound better when you’re half asleep.
Take five minutes before every call and task to decide what result you want to attain. This will help you know what success looks like before you start. And it will also slow time down. When you only get 10 minutes for morning break and you’ve got three phone calls to make, that’s tacking on another 15 minutes to an already squished schedule. Mmmm…
Put up a “Do not disturb” sign when you absolutely have to get work done. Yeah, tell that to your dogs and cats and kids…
Practice not answering the phone just because it’s ringing and e-mails just because they show up. Disconnect instant messaging. Instead, schedule a time to answer email and return phone calls. About the only free time I have lately is on the toilet — not what I consider a conducive atmosphere for answering emails and phone calls.
Block out other distractions like Facebook and other forms of social media unless you use these tools to generate business. I use these to generate the business of friendship and gossip…whatchu talkin’ about??
Remember that it’s impossible to get everything done. Also remember that odds are good that 20 percent of your thoughts, conversations and activities produce 80 percent of your results. Now that’s the smartest thing I’ve heard all day.
I guess I’ll just have to do what I can when I can. After all, there’s so much more to see, to do, to write. And I’m sure there will be plenty of time to get organized on the “other” side.
Okay. Here is one for you to think about and answer. I’ve been running helter-skelter around Wisconsin and Illinois lately: work, birthday parties, funerals, kid’s house, grocery store. I constantly daydream about having a couple of hours TO MYSELF.
So here is your scenario. You have two hours free any time during the day. My pretends fairs better, say, after work. Yours can be whenever. Loved ones: gone. House: clean. No soccer games, hospital visits, or fests to get in your way.
How would you spend those two hours?