Wandering with my eyes and heart open, searching for pieces to add to my own personal big picture.

Tag: changes

An Empty Nest Can Inspire A New Beginning

Photo by Lê Tân on Unsplash

Oh, my sweet readers…I know you were looking forward to another post about “The Art of Happiness” this morning but I sat down to work on it and the next post but found my heart wandering elsewhere. I closed my laptop and decided to take a break for some breakfast, more coffee, and a couple delicious Winternacht cookies that my older son was so cruel to send to me in the mail.

As I sat there, listening to my younger son watch “Clone Wars,” my pen poured out ideas into my journal. I swear it does that, you guys. I’m serious. I sit and look at the page and out come words. Sometimes those cursive sentences are not fit for human eyes. They are uncensored and sometimes very ugly. That’s the process of journaling thoughts as they come up instead of burying them to fester or throwing them out into the world to poison others. I write them as they present themselves in the hopes that seeing them on paper takes some of their power away. It works…usually.

Today was different. These thoughts need to be shared. Maybe I can make them clearer and more useful to myself if I can type them. Maybe you can use them if I do.

There are big changes coming to my home. Those changes were delayed and altered by the reaction to Covid-19, but they are now here big as life. The whole house is feeling it, but unlike my family, my emotions run all along my surface, so I tend to react more than they do. You can usually see how I feel about things without me saying a word. Positive or negative, excited or depressed, love or hate, you know what I’m feeling, but you may not know what it’s about or why. There are many times that I’m not sure either. Let’s just say I’m fun to be around.

So, what are these changes? Every mom reading…hold on to your heart…my youngest is leaving for university in another state.

The empty nest has come.

No need to go into those details. There are movies, books, podcasts, songs, anything you can think of to tell that age old story. But what does it mean to me and you? How will it change our relationship? I know that’s what you’re wondering!

That’s what I’ve been asking myself the past year, and more in the past few weeks as plans became reality. You know what they say, the goal of a mother’s work is to work her way out of a job. My mom career is officially over. What’s next?

I’ve always written and for the past few years, I’ve been working toward writing more and in better ways. This blog was a hobby, then a part-time job, and now that I have no other demands on my attention, it will become my full-time job. I have big plans and I hope you’ll join me for the journey.

What now? I think I’ll change the pace and some of the content of this blog, just a little. I’m becoming burned out writing so much about the books I read. I love it, but there is more that I want to say, and I’d like to work some time into my life for writing more short stories.

I know, “Get to the point, Michelle!” Here’s the schedule I came up with.

  • Monday: Gratefulness Post
  • Tuesday – Friday: Book Quotes and New Read Posts
  • Saturday: Short Story of the Week
  • Sunday: Nothing. It’s my day off.

And, of course, there’s the monthly newsletter. That’s a separate special opt-in list! If you’re interested, go to My Autobibliography page to sign up. That’s another something I might put a spin on this month!

I plan to keep writing every morning of the week. I love creating habits and I have morning routine that rocks, when I don’t get derailed by an extra cup of coffee, “Clone Wars,” and brilliant conversation with my family.

I’ll be totally honest here. I’m terrified by the prospect of my last child leaving. What will it be like? Will I go crazy in the house alone all day? Will I drive my husband and friends crazy? Will my blog end up being a non-stop rant about the birds on the porch or the cat on back of the couch?

…deep breath…

Change is an inevitable part of life. We’ve trained for this. We’re ready.

…big smiles…

Life Changes in Big and Small Ways

“Sometimes your life changes so slowly and imperceptibly that you don’t notice at all until one day you wake up and think: How did I get here? But other times life changes in an instant, with a lightning strike of good or bad luck, with glorious or tragic consequences.”

Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty

Life Changes
Roll with it or Get hit by it

Yeah…it’s a little cliché, I suppose. That doesn’t mean I can’t love it! To hell with your literary rules! Bwa ha ha!

When I look back on the past …gulp… 47 years, I see a slow changing landscape. And the current picture isn’t far from where it started. My life doesn’t feel that much different that it was thirty years ago, but I know some of my friends and family may disagree. Their point of reference is different from mine. Like seeing your nieces and nephews every six months, seemingly growing in leaps and bounds, the actual changes are slow and gradual.

Life is always changing. We all know that, but when we’re in the midst of things it can feel like this moment in time, this situation will last forever.

At 21 years old, I couldn’t have predicted where I would be at 47, weeks before my birthday. What would I have thought if a mythical creature had waved a hand over a still, reflective pool of water and shown this version of me? Would I have been horrified?

“I look so old! And…I’m not working at the park?! Kids?! Nooo!!!”

Probably not. I think I would have been excited to know that my life would slow down, become calm and stable. Hard personal work and a lot of good luck have paid off well. But who knows? Sometimes I wonder if I really remember what I was like back then or if I have created a romantic image of half memories. Where’s my mythical vision giver now?

Have I had any moments that have changed everything?

Strokes of lightning? A couple. Two that I saw clearly as dramatic life changers even as they were happening. Two that I only see now was a game changer. What direction would my life have gone if those scene changes never happened?

We just don’t know where our lives will go.

We can plot and plan every detail, only to have the whole thing scattered with the wind at any moment. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. Like the Gambler, “you got to know when to hold ‘em.” And we don’t even really know what cards are in the deck. It’s probably better to wait and see what happens; play with the hand we’re dealt.

Halloween Hangover

Halloween has come and gone this year, and I hardly noticed. Has that which used to be my favorite holiday, lost its charm for me? I didn’t even buy a bag of trick-or-treat candy to eat like I have the last couple of years. What has changed? Has the spirit of Halloween deserted me forever?

I loved Halloween as a kid because I got to dress up, it was a chance to be someone else for a day. It also gave me a reason to invite people over for a party. My mom worked hard on costume parties and they were always fun.

As a young adult, I worked the Haunt at Knott’s Berry Farm. I was a part of a “world famous event” and looked forward to the creativity I got to use in my lighting, planning, and leading my crew, not to mention the money for all that overtime!

As a parent, it was a chance to share my childhood rituals with my young family and create some new ones. Every year, a few days before Halloween, we’d scour the thrift stores for ideas and grab up a few things to craft the perfect crazy costumes.

There were years that I’d decorate my house to show it off in all its glory, using my creative mind and acquired Haunt skills. There were parties to host, trick-or-treating, and fun adventures with other families.

When we moved to the rural desert, decorating took a backseat. I didn’t see the point of doing all that work if no one but us sees it. I didn’t miss it. I had other things to do. For a few years in a row, we’d gather up a costume and drive to my Grandpa’s house, picking up pumpkins to carve on the way. We’d spend the whole day decorating the front of his house with him, carving pumpkins, and trying to save some candy for trick-or-treaters. When the sun set, they’d wander the streets door to door to get all the candy they could. I loved hearing people’s comments about their crazy costumes, my kids laughing and playing, and the groans about “paying their taxes” at the end of the night. For those that don’t know, your kids owe you a couple pieces of that candy! I mean, I drove you here and helped with the costume! Where’s my peanut butter cup?!

This year was the quietest Halloween yet. There is only one kid home these days and he worked that night. My husband was brewing beer way into the evening. And me? I spent some time with a book and my journal, among other things. It wasn’t sad, nothing lacking, just peaceful.

If you had told me that some day I’d be home doing “nothing” on Halloween, I’d have been sad to imagine it, but experiencing it was something altogether different. Everything comes in cycles and that’s why I get up in the morning, because I’m aware that I’m on the peaceful side of the Halloween experience cycle and that the busy and wild side will come back around someday. There will be Halloween parties with new friends, my kids will have kids to take trick-or-treating.

I was proud of myself this week. Instead of feeling a twinge of sad and jerking back to avoid it, I leaned in to get a closer look at what was bothering me. I reminisced about the past instead of resenting my present, and I looked forward to the future instead of worrying about uncertainty.

Eyesight

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I didn’t know I was having vision problems until the DMV pointed it out to me. A pair of glasses fixed it.

Driving at night was becoming a problem for me. I wasn’t sure if it was the desert darkness on the highway late at night, worn out from long rehearsals, or just the fact that I was getting older, but it was becoming increasingly difficult for me to see at night. The glare of the headlights coming in my direction made it impossible for me to focus. My sons would keep an eye out on the road for people walking along the highway at night. Why people would choose to do that, I will never understand. For self-preservation alone, why do they not carry a flashlight or have something reflective on?

I continued to make the drive, carefully, only because I didn’t need to read the signs to know where to go between the theater and home, but I was starting to limit my excursions to daytime activities. Driving in unfamiliar places in the dark was becoming impossible. This must be part of getting older, I thought, although I would never have admitted it out loud.

As my 40th birthday approached, I found a driver’s license renewal from the DMV in my mailbox. Opening it, I figured I was going to have to pay the fee and be done with it. I’ve never gotten a ticket or been in an accident. To my dismay, I found I’d have to go in for a vision test. No problem, I thought, at least I don’t have to take the test again. Don’t make fun of me, but I barely passed the written and behind-the-wheel test when I was 16! I live in mortal fear of the day I have to study and take it again.

I made an appointment at the DMV and headed into the city the following month. I covered one eye and read the letters on the board ahead of me, as instructed. No problem. When I covered the other eye, the world went blurry. I could only read the first and second line! The DMV employee had me read it off the computer. “Sometimes the computer screen is easier.” She told me. I still couldn’t read it.

It was the strangest feeling. I’ve never had vision problems. My mother always wore glasses and I used to tease her when I was a teenager. Coming home in the middle of the night, knowing she couldn’t see the clock without her glasses, I’d tell her it was only 10:30 when she would groggily ask from her bed when we had woken her. My brother and I thought we were so clever.

I stood there at the DMV trying to focus on the letters to no avail. The DMV worker was so nice about it. She passed me but suggested that I get glasses right away. I made an appointment the next day. My vision was that bad. When I got my new glasses a few weeks later, I was absolutely amazed at how much better I could see. At night, the lights no longer fuzzed out and blinded me and during the day, I could see read the signs so much sooner.

Strange to think I hadn’t noticed my vision getting worse, that I believed I was seeing the world as I had always seen it. How could I have not noticed such a dramatic change?

That’s how we see life. The world around us is only our personal reality, shaped by time and experience that only we can have. No one else sees it just the way you do. It builds up slowly, day after day, experience after experience. And at any moment, something can come along to change that perception, someone can alter your perspective with a word. One experience can show you that you are missing something, and another can offer you new insight. Your whole world changes.

I could have stood there and argued with the DMV worker. There must be something wrong with your machine! Maybe there was something in my eye, I was tired, or it was allergies. I could have stood there holding tightly to my own perception of reality and never gotten any help. I could have continued to squint into the night and cause an accident or gone through life not knowing that there were trees on the top of that hill.

Hold lightly to your perceived reality, it makes it so much easier to change. There is so much we miss by holding on to the past and what we believe to be true, never changing.

A Spiritual Awakening May Make You Feel a Tad Crazy

It’s 10:15AM now. Here I am dutifully writing my morning piece, wondering what in the world I can write about that has any meaning at all. I think I need another cup of coffee and my notes. BRB.

Spiritual Awakening Meme from Facebook
https://www.facebook.com/SassyMantras/

I’m back and THIS is what I want to write about today! Funny side note, the “Alt Text” on this photo was “person holding a sign.” How funny is that?

I saw this in my Facebook feed this morning and thought, “Oh shit! Yes! That’s it exactly!”

What would you define as a “spiritual awakening”?

I liked the first meaning that came up when I googled it. “An Awakening is when the confused and frightened self transcends to a higher consciousness, an awareness full of love and peace.” Hmm…maybe years after the awakening has happened and I’ve recovered from its effects!

Here’s a great article on Spiritual Awakening by LonerWolf!

Every time I’ve felt led to a change in my lifestyle, I’m always hit by a wave of fear and stress. It’s like my current practice is a physical part of my body and must be forcibly torn loose before I can adopt a new, possibly better practice. No matter if it’s a spiritual, emotional, physical, or cultural awareness change, from my experience, it is going to cause some stress fractures somewhere, but it will heal stronger than it was once it’s over. That’s what I keep reminding myself.

Initially though, as the awareness of a change in thinking comes to me, I am laying there in the fetal position wondering if I have actually lost my mind. Passions. Career. Marriage. Children. Parenting. Education. Religion. Politics. Relationship. These are only a few of the choices we make every day of our lives. And each choice we make changes the trajectory of our lives. The best part is that we aren’t an unguided projectile.

When you throw a rock from a catapult, you have to decide where you want it to go and carefully calculate its trajectory. Once it leaves the bucket there is little that will change where that rock land. Its fate is sealed.

Human lives are more like a highly advanced space craft. We can leave the ground with one idea in mind, change course mid-flight, and end up where no one has gone before. But we do have to make the decision to change course. That’s where we start to question our sanity.

We can see the place we first decided to go. Others have been there before us. It’s settled and has a pre-determined place to land. Mid-flight we see something in the distance, beyond that original destination, and wonder what’s out there. We feel compelled to follow our desires and find out what that glimmer out there is. There are so many unknowns. We may not ever get there. And, even if we did, there’s no guarantee we’d want to be there or want to stay. “This is insanity!”, the safety-oriented part of you says.

You have the choice though. Go the way everyone else is and see if you can make it work for you. There’s no shame in that. There is a reason that traditional route is there. It’s safe. Most people are happy on it. You can also travel down the road less followed and find joy there. Or you can be the trailblazer that creates a new way.

Everyone has their place in this world. Find yours, even if you feel you may be a little crazy to start the journey. “All the best people are.” says Cheshire Cat.

My post, “Share the Love,” was another piece of my spiritual awakening journey. It was a moment that I realized my part in the social media chain of negativity and started trying to break it.

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