A father, not mine, dying at 2 a.m., his children surround his hospital bed and he makes it through the night. At work I am tired and hungry, fasting bloodwork for an afternoon appointment where I’m admonished for letting my inhaler prescription lapse as she observes my shallow breathing. Go to the pharmacy now, exclaims my doctor. There is no parking and I pull on the curb illegally to run in for the quick errand but the line is deep and I worry about a parking ticket as the clock ticks. But a ticket does not await me – instead a flat tire – punctured by the curb and my hasty parking. I fret about being away from work so long and yearn for my waiting bed. I pull around the corner of the busy street and call the boyfriend whose father kept us up into the early morning but he cannot help me, too busy with work where he is self employed. I can do this. Our 8th grade gym/science/health teacher taught us and I find the jack nested, but unmoveable and I go to the glove compartment for the manual and as I’m passing by a sewer grate my heavy keys slip and glide cleanly through the slat.
I never realized just how social eating out is until it was just me.
On my own.
Other diners came in pairs and threes and more.
I sat among them, conversations floating
… a woman venting
… a man joking
… a son listening to his elderly mom
Did it feel like I was with everyone or no one?
I was with myself.
On my own.
Sometimes I think of life as a sandwich with three layers. The bottom piece of bread is where you don’t want to do anything. Energy is lagging, you might be feeling like a cold is coming or you feel like getting through each day is enough of a struggle without trying to do much more than sustain yourself and family. You feel weighed down by the rest of the sandwich. The top layer of bread is where you are sitting above the fray. Energy is high. Things get done. And there’s not a lot of work involved. The middle is messy. It’s where you push yourself a little more. You don’t just show up to life but participate in it, making decisions, making an effort, letting yourself shine through your actions.
Until this week, I have never written a formal bucket list. Things would bounce around in my mind through the years and if I did them I would mentally tick them off. Skydiving. Check. Zip line over a rainforest. Check. See the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace. Check. I even got to see a parade for a dead member of the royal family. That was not on my list but we happened to be in London when Queen Elizabeth’s mother died in 2002.
I’ve been at blogging for nearly 4 years now and as I mentioned at the end of my thirty days of blogging in September, I’m considering a need to do something else. These days I’m spending more and more time reflecting on what the future holds for my writing. To be honest I am full on fearful to do anything more than this. I will be a complete failure at trying to write a full blown book. It’s too scary. I’m not creative enough. I’m too old.
If you know anything about decluttering, it might be that it is not easy and it’s not for wafflers. There are many, many sources of information to guide you through, whether you go with Marie Kondo (I’ve read the books The Life Changing Magic and Spark Joy), Swedish Death (I’ve not read this one) or watch videos by the innumerable guru’s on YouTube (done this too). One method that’s recommended over and over is that you should tackle room by room or category by category. I’m throwing caution to the wind and going with my own method which is randomly picking an area and tossing anything that looks like it hasn’t been used in a while. Mercilessly.
This is my 30th blog post of the month. It was a challenge I put to myself to get my creative juices flowing again and I would say it worked pretty well. I found I looked forward to writing each day and words were flowing better than usual. The results were a nice lift in stats and followers but now I’m questioning everything.
It all began while digging into my stats, particularly the search terms that got people to my site. And then it occurred to me I have never tried Googling my site to see how it comes up in the result. Maybe that was a mistake or maybe it was a sign to take a step back and reconsider what I’m doing here. What am I doing here?
So what happened is I saw the title of this intriguing item just two results above the one for my blog and being an inquisitive person, I clicked.
The author listed out several reasons why not to have a personal blog and the first one is it’s a time waster. Personally, I don’t think working on my blog for the past three years has been a waste of time because I was writing, something I have been drawn to do for many, many years. But maybe I’m at the what’s next phase. Do I want to keep writing a blog about my life which admittedly tends to get boring? Should I find a niche and write about something I’m passionate about? Should I give up blogging altogether and start writing something I can hopefully one day publish?
I don’t know the answers to any of these questions. I’m also feeling the beginnings of a cold or something and my body just wants to go back to bed and cancel today. I have appointments (of course) but the urge is strong to reschedule them. While I’ve been blogging a lot, I have not been reading as much and I’m missing that too. My bed and a book might be my date for today.
What is a palanca letter I asked myself as a woman from our congregation passed out a flyer asking parishioners to write one. Oh course, I turned to Google for assistance. Palanca is a spanish word that means lever, an instrument that helps lift something up. The palanca letter is a personal note to someone attending a spiritual retreat and as with many things in life, I was coincidentally being asked from two separate corners of my life to write these letters on the same weekend. One for a stranger, an inmate at a nearby prison and one to my aunt who lives in Texas.
It would not be a complete travelogue if I didn’t mention that this was the most amazing birthday week of my life. I am not a huge “celebrate my birthday” person and I prefer not to note it on social media in general. That is not to say I don’t embrace my day of birth because I do like to spend the day doing things I’ve always wanted to do. When I turned fifty, it was mid-week and I took the day off work to cross off a long-time bucket list item to visit the home Edith Wharton lived in in Lenox, Massachusetts. That day was pretty cool too. But back to Greece.
It was infertility that first attracted me to yoga many years ago. A flyer in my doctor’s office promoted a class for people struggling to get pregnant. I would have tried just about anything back then so I timidly showed up to the home-like studio with nothing but a brand new mat and worries about the myriad problems keeping me from conceiving. It was gentle and peaceful and I felt better for going but I was pretty sure it wasn’t going to help me get pregnant so I stopped going after a few sessions. I eventually became pregnant and he’s about to turn thirteen! It wasn’t easy but that’s a story for another day.