Archive | January 2014

When I’m 64

Yesterday, I was 26.

Well not really. I haven’t been 26 in… Never mind. That isn’t the point. I think a lot about getting older, especially on people’s birthday.

Today is my husband’s birthday. He’s as funny and handsome as ever. He gets better with age, in every way, though he staunchly disagrees. He was cute in his 20s and good-looking in his 30s. But I think he’s as hot as he’s everbeen. He’s no longer the 20 something year old boy that I fell in love with. Instead, he is truly a man, wiser than ever and comfortable in his own skin, which makes him incredibly attractive.

As I am aging, Mother Nature and I are definitely at odds. I’m wiser, as well. But as for the other stuff.. perhaps it only works for men? After all, I was more comfortable in my skin in my 20s than I am now. But I wonder if it’s the age that really matters, or some mistaken notion of what growing older gracefully really is?

I’ve spent nearly two decades celebrating my husband’s birthday with him. And even that has gone so quickly. My children are no longer babies and my puppy is now an old lady. As for me, I am at a crossroads. Either I can whine about getting older or just accept that my reckless youth is gone. I have this wonderful opportunity to embrace my mistakes and grow from my past. I have now have gift of hindsight, insight, and patience; all of these things missing when I was younger.

But let’s be honest. It can be depressing to get older. The crows feet, the slowing metabolism, and having things that sag that didn’t used to. Some days it just downright sucks. But it happens to all of us, and we have to accept it.

I look at my husband and I’m encouraged. He will always be a couple of years older than I am, but he makes aging look so good. He’s got the levity of a guy have his age, but the wisdom and perspective that only comes from experiencing life.

I think I want to be him when I finally grow up. 64 is just a stones throw away… my boys will be men, possibly with children of their own. And I’ll be much older than I am now. I hope that when I’m 64, that I still think of these years as my youth. I hope that I’m wiser, better, and that I’m no longer grappling with Mother Nature.

I hope that she’s been kind to me and that I’ve accepted her. And I hope that by then I’ve adapted a little of my husband’s hotness, as well as his levity, when I’m 64.

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Life IS like a Box of Chocolates…

My favorite line from the movie Forrest Gump is “My Mama always says that life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.”

I’ve thought about that line many times in my life since the first time I’ve heard it. You really have no clue what you’re going to get. Things seldom turn out how you envision them to be. When you are at the age to begin to contemplate life, you begin with an innocent belief that life will be an amazing collection of slow motion magical moments. And then you grow up, and life actually happens. Rarely, if ever, is it all rainbows and puppies. Life is harder than we expect or imagine when we are young. We are always seeking our happy place yet seldom do we find it.

We feel entitled to happiness. We believe it is a gift that we are entitled to simply because we were born.

I’ve come to the conclusion that the only entitlement we have is by our own choices. Each step that we take puts us on our own path. Forward, backward, left, or right. Sometimes we get to choose the direction we go in. But even then, our happiness isn’t guaranteed.

Because we don’t always know what life is going to throw at us, that we might want to choose to ride the good karma train… Just in case. If we treat someone poorly, perhaps life will reflect that choice. If we are good to others, then maybe goodness will find its way to us. Yet that doesn’t mean that bad things don’t happen to good people and vice versa, or that people are absolutely good or bad. We have no control.

It’s like a box of chocolates.

We only have our decisions, our free will, and our limited ability and knowledge to choose.

I was abandoned at an early age and I have wondered countless times what would have happened to me if I hadn’t been. I wonder who I would be if my parents hadn’t decided to let me go. I don’t even know if they chose, or if the choice was made for them. But regardless, I still wonder…

Would I have still ended up here? Would I get to be married to my husband and have the exact same beautiful family? Would I be the same person? Would I even be here, in the United States? Would I be writing this blog? I’m certain that the answers to all of my questions would be a resounding “No!”

I’m completely certain that my life would have been astoundingly different. So I am thankful that they walked away from me because I can’t imagine my life turning out any other way. I love my family and my life beyond words and I feel that this was my… fate, although I don’t completely believe that fate exists. At least not the uncontrollable, whimsical, magical brand of fate that you find in movies and fairy tales.

It seems unromantic not to believe in fate. But I do believe that because of choices, our fate is often influenced. So while life is far from predictable, the circumstances and people that we choose for our lives can create another story altogether.

So I think about choices a lot. And Chocolate.

I have been defined by my own good or poor choices, and those of people around me. Other’s choices, regardless of motive or result, have shaped my life in ways that have rendered me helpless. While frustrating, the reality is, that I have to accept it. It’s like biting into that disgusting piece of red cream chocolate that I always try so desperately to avoid. Sometimes, it just happens. Sometimes, life just happens.

It adds a different dynamic to the assortment of chocolates as well as to me. As I get older, I realize that there is so much truth to that one simple line. We can’t predict what we will get in life. But we can choose our path, hope for the best, and choose wisely and with integrity along the way.

And when you bite into that red cream chocolate, you can either swallow it and move on, or spit it out and start all over. That choice is completely up to you!

Laughter~the Best Medicine

Today I laughed. A lot.

I laughed so hard and so much that I was exhausted when I was done. I almost needed a nap. I find that this tends to happen when I’m with family. This part of the family I’ve only been a part of for about fifteen years, but it feels like I’ve known them all of my life.

We are a bunch of irreverent, loud, tell-it-like-it-is, hilarious photo bombers. We fight, disappoint, text, cry, make fun, drink wine, and celebrate each other.

And we laugh.

I realize as I get older that there truly is no better balm for the soul, than laughter. I used to take life so seriously. Everything seemed urgent, dire, and necessary. But part of what I’ve learned from this crazy family, and am still learning, is to lighten up, loosen up, and have fun.

Sadness and anger used to be my muses. The happier I am, the more I struggle to write what I’ve always known. I worry that as I seek to find my zen, that I’ll lose my angst completely and forget how to write.

But laughter inspires me toward different stories, ones I haven’t even imagined yet. And while my muse is no longer shrouded in darkness, she’s still there. And she’s tugging at me to write something…

I am thankful for laughter. It’s healed and strengthened me, and given me perspective. I highly recommend letting go, having fun, and laughing as much as possible. Surround yourself with people who like to laugh, do some photo bombing, watch Funniest Home Videos-especially the segments of people who fall down or get hit in the nuts. Try spending some time with a spirited four year old who is just discovering the world, put a cat on a vibrating chair pad and see what he does, watch a comedy, read a funny book, or do some people watching with a friend after a couple of drinks.

Life is hard. So laugh it off every now and again. Because sometimes, it’s the only thing that you can do!

The More That Things Change…

I’m a romantic at heart.

I love fairy tales and happily ever after. My favorite movies, stories, and books are about love and fluff and magic. It’s strange, but I don’t write those stories, yet I love to indulge in them.

Even though those types of stories appeal to me greatly, I can’t ever seem to find myself in them. I tend to see myself more in the characters that are flawed and lost, which is also what I tend to write about the most. I’ve tried to transform myself over the years yet I remain the same. As much as I would like to change, and adapt, and grow into a softer person; I find that I actually fight the darkness more over time.

It’s not that there isn’t kindness, compassion, and thoughtfulness within me. It’s just that I tend to gravitate more in the other direction. I joke about fighting the demons, but I mean it when I say that I do. Somewhere deep inside of me, there is someone that only three people in my life have ever been able to completely crack. My grandma, and my sons. I find a dormant different side of myself with my sons, as I did with my grandma when she was alive. 

I don’t know if it is because I was adopted, or because I was abandoned, or just a result of life. I’m not sure if it’s because of an early struggle for survival. But I do know that I tend to be in constant survival mode; waiting, and watching, wrought with anticipation. When I was younger, I do think that I was softer. I know that in my youth, I was more free. But as I’ve gotten older, I realize that this is who I have always been. Even as a little girl, I didn’t have the same hopes or expectations as other little girls. I just saw life in a different way.

I do adore the happily ever after and it’s doubtful that will ever change. In many ways, I’m living the happily ever after. I am surrounded by the people I love the most, living a life that I am very fortunate to have. But it is also the struggle with the darkness, that makes me who I am. I have learned to embrace it, with the knowledge that I am who I am, and that it will probably never change.

Because the more that things change, they also stay the same, because I am the same. 

2014!

My children measure time, regularly.

They often remark on how fast the weekend has gone or how slow time goes when they are bored. They are more aware of time than I was at their age. Teaching them to “live in the moment” or “to be patient” have been every day lessons in our home, but ones worth repeating.

As 2013 is now finished, it’s the first time in many years that I can look back and feel peaceful conclusion. The year is over and with it is comes some much needed closure.

Writing two books and finishing them was a huge accomplishment and a lifelong ambition in 2013. I gained a sister-in-law, because closer to my family, and learned how to prioritize the important things in my life. I’ve watched my children grow another year older and seen my niece go another year cancer-free. I’ve grown emotionally and intellectually into a person that I finally feel proud of.

Another New Year means that I’ll be another year older also. I struggle against it like most people my age do. I want my twenty one year old body with the experienced mind that I have now. Somehow it doesn’t seem right to have wasted all of my beautiful youth on such stupidity, though I realize it was just meant to be that way. I realize that I have no choice but to accept it and age gracefully.

I’ve never been one to make NY resolutions. But this year, I am going to resolve to be healthier. It’s selfish really. I want to look better, feel better, and live longer. And while none of that guarantees that I won’t get hit by a bus tomorrow, I can just do my best.

2013 wasn’t the worst year that I’ve ever had, and it wasn’t the best. But there were a lot of beautiful moments that I’ll always treasure.

I know that I have a lot to look forward to, which is a beautiful thing. I am going into the year with a new perspective and excitement that I haven’t been able to muster for a while. Most importantly, I am counting every beautiful thing and person that I have in my life. I certainly haven’t done anything to deserve them, yet they are there.

I hope that anyone reading this has a wonderful 2014. And if life hasn’t been great, I hope that you find promise. Hope is sometimes all you need to pull you into a life that is worthwhile. Believe me, I know.

Much Love and Happy New Year!