Day 323/365 Totally Doable

Lately I have been feeling really happy…

Sunshine-y, even.

I have been in a make-sure-you-tell-people-you-love-them (and not because you’re afraid they’re gonna die but just because you love them) kind of mood. A random-acts-of-kindness kind of mood.

A mood of expansion, a gesture of openness….a heart open wide to life and love, and their infinite possibilities.

I think it all started when we were in Florida. I experienced a shift.

We were nearing the end of the trip (that time when everyone begins to dread leaving paradise and coming home) and I had this revelation…

“Home” for me is a pretty amazing place.

In the most literal sense, we live in a beautiful town in coastal New England. I have settled into a home that feels like a sanctuary to me, but…home is more than a town, or a house.

Home is my beautiful family.

Home is my passionate work community.

Home is my incredible friendships.

Home is also within me.  I am feeling more and more comfortable in my own skin. 

Home is…truly a gift. I am beyond blessed.

I see that. I feel that.

Going “back to reality” isn’t so bad. In fact, reality is…at the moment, pretty damn good. 

Throughout all of the challenges I have had over the past two years, somewhere inside of me (sometimes way, way inside of me) I did always know that the darkness wouldn’t last forever.

Life is a pendulum after all, and things are always bound to swing the other way sooner or later.

Which is what worries me now…in my sunshine-y place.

{Ha…will she ever relax, you wonder? Um…nope.}

Now that my pendulum has swung toward happiness, I can’t help this niggling feeling (or knowing) that the upswing can’t last forever, either. It goes both ways, for better and for worse. That’s how it works, you guys.

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I went on a field trip with Beau‘s class this week. We went to the zoo. Throughout the trip I somewhat compulsively counted heads like a good chaperone…making sure everyone was safe and accounted for at any given moment.

One, two, three, four…WAIT, WE’RE MISSING ONE! Oh, nope – there she is. ALL GOOD!

That’s the best way I can think to describe this niggling.

I feel like there’s a little piece of my brain that is always actively “counting heads.” Everyone I love can’t possibly be safe and accounted for…so I count…

One, two, three, four…

Really? ALL GOOD? Can it be? Better count again, just to make sure. 

Look, I don’t know if I will ever stop counting heads. Experiencing major upheaval and loss will do that to a person. I’m okay with it.

What I am learning to do is to enjoy the sunshine just the same.

Right now, right here –

I’m home…and everyone is accounted for. That’s more than enough.

“DON’T WORRY, BE HAPPY!” may never be my mantra.

But this

Is TOTALLY DOABLE.

Day 272/365 Recycling the Year

Perhaps a bit too eagerly, I pulled the 2017 calendar off of the wall last week. I took it down and threw it into the recycling bin. Good riddance 2017.

A few minutes later, I circled back into the kitchen and I fished it back out again. For whatever reason, I had to take one last look at it – at this terrible train wreck of a year –  a year that began with a death and ended with a fight for life.

Before I could relegate that collection of pages to be recycled…to becoming something else entirely (how’s that for a metaphor?), I needed to see it one more time – my year in review.

Bracing myself, I opened up the calendar to January, and to my surprise I found a completely blank page.

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February was blank as well.

It was as if time stood still for those two months…as if nothing happened, or nothing that happened mattered. 

The living resumed in March…and from the looks of it – I made sure I lived.

Yes, there were doctor’s appointments, school obligations, and other such reminders, but also…

I flew to Georgia, Virginia, Florida and California.

I made two trips to the theatre.

I saw some fabulous live music – The Wood Brothers, Tedeschi Trucks Band, and Ben Folds. I saw Amy Schumer and Jerry Seinfeld perform stand up.

I took two trips to Maine, including our infamous island adventure.

I visited Cape May, New Jersey with my mother for the first time in many years.

I spent more days than I ever have during one year, at my favorite place – Miskiania.

I celebrated the fiftieth wedding anniversary of two of my favorite people. 

Twice I looked on as people I love vowed to love one another in sickness and in health.

I put on two festivals at my school.

I took my faculty out for a holiday dinner.

I threw myself a birthday party.

These are the events of which I was reminded as I flipped through the pages. So many good memories of happy moments, events, or days, sprinkled throughout an incredibly challenging year.

However, these events scrawled throughout the calendar aren’t really what I’d like to take away from my review of 2017.  What isn’t written there in rainbow Sharpies is all that I learned.

I learned so much – about myself especially, but also about others. Tragedies, and what happens in their midst and in their wake, are illuminating in so many ways.

I learned that emotion and self expression are not indicative of weakness, but rather of incredible strength. Nothing requires such a summoning of strength as does complete vulnerability and honesty.

To say here I am…and here is what is really on my mind, and in my heart.

I learned not to be afraid to share from the deepest parts of me – because that is where we truly connect as human beings.

We all have those dark and tender places within us.

You’ll laugh when I tell you that 2017 in true relentless fashion, is wrapping things up for me with a nice little flu virus this New Year’s Eve.

Oh 2017, I wouldn’t expect anything less from you, Sweetheart…but just know that you didn’t beat me. All you did was show me that I can handle more than I ever imagined I could.

Which leaves me with my greatest accomplishment of 2017.

I kept showing up…every day.

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See you next year.

I’m ready.