Raindrops on Roses..

I think Sunday mornings may be my favorite time of the week. Most people assume it is because I love church. Or that I don’t go out on Saturdays. Neither are true. I loved Sunday mornings as a kid because those are the days that my family had breakfast together. We would make a huge breakfast and no one was ever in a rush. It was the calmest meal of the week. Normally filled with lots of laughter. 

As an adult, Sunday mornings mean brunches and farmer’s markets. Both of which are quite possibly my favorite things. Farmer’s markets are just about the same everywhere. They are always full of new discoveries. I have found some of my favorite jewelry. Been talked into trying new vegetables and fruits. I always leave feeling revigorated. 

I hate Sunday nights though. Like most of us, I dread the end of my weekend. It is the reason I have changed my Sunday nights into Self-Care nights. I make no plans to go out or see anyone. I take a bath in my favorite bath salt. I have a facial with my favorite products. I deep condition my hair with my favorite conditioner. I read a book for fun not for work. It is relaxing. It is about me. It makes the end of the weekend a bit more enjoyable. It is one of my favorite things, even though I don’t love Sunday nights. 

But I love Monday mornings. The start of the week is where everything is still perfect. It is when I can still believe in endless possibilities. It’s when I make my plans and believe I can get them done. It is the only time of the week that I am guaranteed to feel six feet tall and unstoppable.  I used to always tell my assistants the same thing –  tomorrow is a brand-new day. Let today go. But Monday mornings are a fresh start. A fresh week. And that is why Monday mornings may actually be my a favorite. Then again, Tuesday are pretty cool…

Say Yes….

A few years ago while in Amsterdam for work a friend had arranged a bike tour for a group of us to go on. I had not been on a bike in years. I actually could not remember the last time I had been on a bike. I wanted to decline. I was the only female in the group and the rest were very athletic. I am not. 

I had several excuses in mind. 

Excuse number one – “Make it a boys bonding experience. I am totally fine sitting this one out.”

Excuse number two – “I have too much work to do. It will be so much better for me if you guys let me stay at the hotel to work.”

Excuse number three – “I don’t want to hold you back.”

I had more but those are the top three. Then I remembered something I had promised myself the previous New Year. Not a resolution. I don’t believe in resolutions but more an intention. The way I wanted to start living my life. That previous New Year I had realized that I was saying No to almost everything. No, I don’t want to go to the club. No, I don’t want to go for a hike. No, I don’t want to go shopping. No, I don’t want to go the party. I was saying NO to LIFE. 

I had reasons, ok –  excuses. I was tired. I was beat up. I wasn’t feeling good about the way I looked. The way my career was going. Or the lack of my personal relationships. I was saying NO to ME. As this realization hit, I made a goal that this was the year I was going to say YES.

Yes, to doing things that scare me. Yes, to trying new things. Yes, to trying things I had done before and liked or even disliked. I was just going to say yes when someone asked. So I said Yes, to the bike ride. I said yes to trying to keep up with guys that ran daily, had competed at the collegiate level in sports and one that had even won the Amazing Race.

You would think that I was excited and proud of myself. I was not. I was scared. Petrified actually. Worried that I would embarrass myself, embarrass them, or worse get hurt. It took everything in me to get dressed that day. To meet in the lobby. To walk to the bike shop. To find out that we were going on a bike tour that would last several hours and several miles. It took everything in me not to leave once they handed me a bike.

I was shaky getting on the bike. We were biking on city streets. We were biking in a line. I was scared I would be too slow. I would fall over. I wouldn’t last the full tour. How would I get back if something happened?

Then something changed. We started onto a bike path through the park. It was beautiful. I started to remember how much I loved the feel of the wind on my face and in my hair. I started to remember how much I had loved biking as a child. I started to remember how I had learned to bike. I remembered the people who taught me and the love I had for them. I remembered how much you see when you are on the back of a bike. I remembered how much I love trees, the sound of birds chirping and the smells of the air around you. 

I forgot about the worry of keeping up with others. I forgot about worrying if I was the worst biker or not. I forgot about caring what I looked like on the bike. I forgot about the fact that I was scared. I forgot about being anxious. I forgot about the traffic. I forgot about getting hurt. I forgot about everyone around me and just lived in the moment. 

And then it started to rain. I know what you are thinking – that I gave up.  It was a perfect and legitimate excuse. Instead, I put the poncho on that the guide gave us and kept pedaling. We pedaled through parks and puddles. We pedaled over bridges and by water. There weren’t a lot of other bikers because of the rain, which was fine by me. We stopped at windmills, strange houses and amazing architecture. It was fun. It was glorious. It was a feeling of peace.

It was then that it happened. Isn’t it always? 

We were crossing a busy intersection. We were in a line. I hesitated so I wouldn’t hit the guy in front of me. I never saw it coming. The Moped that slammed into me. I went down. He went down. I remember the yelling in another language. I remember the police showing up. I remember being mortified. I remember being so embarrassed and scared. I was in a foreign country. I had just caused an accident. I was asked about the accident. Given something to sign in another language. The other person and the accident and I spoke. Realized it was an accident. We gave each other a hug. And then we were sent on our way. 

I now had the perfect reason to get a cab and not ride that bike any more. But you know what else I remembered? 

I remembered that in life we only really have two choices; yes or no. I remembered that I could give up, say no and go home. Or I could say yes, get back on the bike and pedal the mile or so back to the shop. I remembered that it is not how many times you fall down (or are nailed by a Moped) but how many times you get back up! 

I got back on that bike. Put one foot in front of the other and pedaled. I did not think. I remembered. I remembered to hold my head up high. I remembered being thrown from a horse and being told to get back on. I remembered that it was ok to fall. I remembered to feel the wind in my hair. I remembered to get back to the joy of living. 

I remembered ME.

That last mile was hard. I was shaking so badly I am surprised the bike stayed upright. When I got back to the hotel I did not feel accomplished. I felt cold. I felt achy. I felt scared. I felt disappointed. It took me a while to see it more clearly. To have perspective.

Today I look back on that ride, that adventure, that accident, as one of the best memories of  my life. It taught me that it is ok to get knocked down. I will always get back up. I will always try again. It was and is still the best lesson to learn. 

This year I plan on not only saying yes but on looking for more challenges, more adventures and more ways to remember the person I want to be. Because in life, it is not about the storms, it’s about learning to dance in the rain!

IT’S TIME

It’s been a while since I have written. Twenty-twenty was a year that was made for writers, especially me. I was paid to stay home with plenty of time on my hands. More than I have ever had in my adult life. It was time for me to start doing things I never had time for before. It was the perfect time to write.

Instead, I decided to do diamond art. What is diamond art? It is color by numbers with teeny, tiny, jewel pieces. It was annoying, aggravating and slightly satisfying when I finished. I have absolutely no desire to ever do it again. Then I decided to learn how to make pretzels. I love getting a pretzel at the mall. Since none of us were going to the mall it was a perfect time to make them at home. And Wetzels Pretzels had a kit. Just add water. It was delicious. It was easy. It was slightly satisfying but way too instant. It was one night and I didn’t really learn a new skill. It was like making those cookies from the pre-made dough. Good for a moment but not as good as homemade. So I stepped my game up. I learned how to make Chicken Adobo. I do not think I ever even had Filipino food other than when I was in the Philippines. I am lucky enough to have a friend who is not only Filipino but is also an amazing cook and she agreed to teach me over zoom. And it was great. It was not too easy but it was also not too hard. Plus the dish was delicious. I have now made it several times and am looking forward to making it for friends when I finally can. Unfortunately, it was once again fleeting.

So I took up crocheting. Crocheting was simple. (God bless good friends and YouTube.) While frustrating at first, it was easy to master, took a bit of time and had results. I made a huge blanket for my bed. Then I made one for a friend and one for my sister. I can do it while watching TV or talking on the phone. It is a great meditation for me. It is also a massive distraction.

Which I think is the common thread with all of the “things”. They were all time-sucks, preventing me from taking the time do the thing I said I wanted to do. Why wasn’t I writing? I had the time. My bills were paid. I had the computer. I had things to say. And yet I didn’t really want to take the time to say them. To write them down for others to read. There is an old saying that says the more you have to do the more you do. Maybe that was my issue. I had too much time. I would constantly say – I’ll do it tomorrow. The problem with that is that today is the tomorrow of the day I didn’t do what I said I was going to do yesterday. And that is the circle of my 2020. That being said, I am in Seattle. I have the time. It is time for me to make a new practice. Daily writing. I hope that some of you who are reading this right now will come back daily to catch up with me and what is going on. I hope that you will engage with me and tell me what you think. But even if you don’t, if no one does, I am going to write daily because I have the time and I am tired of wasting it.

Lost and Found

I lost a friend this weekend. Lost is such a strange word for death. It is not like I don’t know where to find her, I do. She died. She died crossing the street trying to be safe and catching an Uber instead of a DUI. Life and death are funny that way. About the time you think you have it figured out, life will hit you with something else.

I have been thinking a lot about what I would say to her if I could have one more conversation. We were not in a good place. Hadn’t actually spoken to each other in years. Had a falling out about something that was not important. I remember hearing once that if something is bothering you, think about if it would still bother you in five years. If so, then work on fixing it. If not, then let it go.

I call it the five-year rule. Then again I used to call my dating range the five-year rule as well – no one over or under 5 years of my age, that hasn’t totally worked either. But with this five-year rule in mind, I have tried to remember one thing from five years ago that still upsets me today and the only ones I can come up with our relationships I have ‘lost’. Back to that word again, the one that doesn’t accurately describe how I feel. It is not like I don’t know how or why I no longer have that friendship or relationship. But I did lose that friend or lover. I no longer have them in my world and some of them I would like to still have at least in my orbit.

I looked up the definition of lost and it has several meanings but here are the top two. Lost defined as unable to find one’s way; not knowing one’s whereabouts. I have been lost too many times to count. Still looking for a really good GPS or road map for life. If you have one, let me know. Or lost defined as denoting something that has been taken away or cannot be recovered. I guess death would be the second definition. We can’t always get back what has been taken away. We lose our youth. We lose jobs. We lose drive and sometimes inspiration. And sometimes we lose ourselves. But the unexpected loss of people can feel like the worst thing we lose. What would I say to my friend that I ‘lost’ so unexpectedly? I would tell her that I miss her laugh, her stories, her advice. Most of all I miss just hanging out with her and a glass of wine laughing about those things we have lost and found.

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