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Feel Good 5 Friday … Speeches

21 May

I gave a speech.

Most of the time when I talk I got two television-watching adolescents zoning me out as they watch episodes of their newest show on Netflix or DisneyPlus. But this time I had people paying attention for more than just a minute, or at least it looked that way on Zoom.

An old friend asked for a favor, and even though I thought she probably could have gotten a bigger cheese, you know someone with CEO after their name, I stepped up to the plate and gave my advice and thoughts to a few college graduates.

I hadn’t spoken in front of a group in years, I hadn’t been asked to give a speech before. I mean coaching my kids’ teams I give pep talks and all that, but a formal speech was something different. It was a new experience that just landed on my doorstep and even though I was a bit hesitant I gave in to the opportunity. I remembered that Jim Carrey movie, a while back Yes, Man. He wanted to change his life, as it wasn’t going the way he thought it would. Negative and unhappy with his unfulfillment. He sees the power in yes and it sparks change in him and his life.

And so I Yessssssed my way into that speech and inspired a few women along the way. At least I hope. I wasn’t as nervous as I thought I’d be, perhaps the fact that it was on Zoom, maybe it was the fact that I wasn’t speaking to a crowded stadium. Maybe they all played a role in making the whole production less overwhelming. Speeches can feel that way I guess.

But I felt good about it. I tried to send out those good vibes you need, the kind you feel when you hear a song on the radio you hadn’t heard in a while, and the beat just makes it happen. You feel better. Powerful. Ready. You need those feeling everyday, not just on graduation day. So I tried to get them ready for the “real world” and give them some advice that I hoped would help. I retold a story of my old college days, before computers, where typewriters ruled and white out was your friend. I talked about obstacles and being able to get back up and know that behind every success, failure fueled the engine to reach the top. Personal anecdotes made for funny moments as walking into the dorms for the first time, or meeting a perfect stranger that was about to be your roommate for a year were experiences everyone remembered.

Toward the end, I was glad I had said yes. Sometimes that happens. You’re hesitant about going somewhere, meeting someone, trying something new, committing to an outing. I was glad that Jim Carrey movie popped into my head.

Why not me, right?

And what I learned from writing and giving that speech is that being a motivational speaker is something parents do every day. I mean you wake up in the morning convincing yourself that the alarm clock is your friend, not your foe and that the snooze button is great! But maybe not all the time. After rolling out of bed and doing the million chores, before serving up breakfast, you give morning TedTalks for an audience of two, trying to get them in the right frame of mind to tackle the day, with good intentions and a strong purpose.

You’re a member of the parent world and we have to be ready to talk about life questions, adding and subtracting fractions, prepositional phrases, and SpongeBob Squarepants all in the same day.

Remembered that I didn’t need a CEO title to give someone a little advice, I had plenty of life experience to share. So the “yes” took me to a good place, where I was able to help and pay it forward in some way. Hopefully leaving them with the feel-good feelings you get after you hear the perfect song and it just lifts you up.

The picker-upper. That was me … Buen Camino.

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Matthew Wilder — Break My Stride

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Billie Joe Armstrong Green Day with Susanna Hoffs of The Bangles — Manic Monday

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Kinito Mendez — Cachamba

The B-52’s — Rock Lobster

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Kerris Dorsey — The Show

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Feel Good 5 Friday … On a Saturday Morning The Universe and Signs

6 Mar

One-uppers.

I’m sure you’ve met one in your life. You probably have an acquaintance at work, or at school, or in your family and right about now, you’re probably not missing them. Not at all.

One of my biggest pet peeves.

You’re in mid-conversation talking about how you just ran your first 5k and they be telling you they just ran the marathon for the seventh year in a row. You’re on the phone retelling the epic saga of a day you had on account of work, a small pay check and a parking ticket, to which they respond without blinking how they just had an even worse day followed by a parking ticket and a moving violation. You sit there talking about this trip you just went on to the beach, they talk about a yacht the rented for the weekend but all you can think about is why he or she didn’t go off with Gilligan on that three-hour tour … that three-hour tour.

Whether it’s good or bad news, there’s is always more of something. More intense. More happy. More. Just more. And they burn me out. Being a writer. it’s is always a struggle between what I was programmed to believe to what is actually possible. And one-uppers do not help the creative recovery process, if anything they make the climb up that mountain even more painstakingly difficult by adding rocks … boulders to your bag.

I’m in mid-project, well more the early middle stages, and I’ve been chipping away at it bit, by bit, with what I could do. I got a temporary side hustle for a minute there in order to raise some extra money for my project. Doing what I can to get closer. Research. Writing. More research. Calling contacts. And as I’m inching away with my good idea … here, this week comes Goliath with my envisioned project completed and with their thousands of dollars to back it and get it out there.

I was gutted.

This went above and beyond the One-Upper. It was Checkmate and I didn’t even know I was playing someone else. I didn’t even see it coming or who did it.

It just happened and I sat there in disbelief.

Now what?

Do I just stop? I thought about it. Burned out, I thought about it. I reached out to a writer friend of mine and let her know about the discovery.

Excelsior was in effect. Excelsior! She Silver Linings Playbooked me. She took it from a different perspective and schooled me on the benefits of different points of view and my own voice. I was reminded of that, of my own creative power. The odds were rough, but sometimes you do have a winning hand and The House has to fold. Don’t stop because you saw what The House was holding, you haven’t even flipped your cards over yet. Don’t fold while they’re dealing it out.

And so here I am … playing the hand. Got the pep talk from her and another close friend and I went back to work. Research. Writing. More Research.

And in the midst of all this mini drama, I heard a song, from a commercial, that reminded me of a movie from earlier days, when I wore Levi Jeans and those old school Nike running shoes but I wasn’t running back then, the white ones with red swoosh. Cortez Nike’s. Yup. That was me. That song reminded me of that person. With everything going on but she kept going. The song was a trip too. It’s so cheesy but I love it. And the movie. Montage awesomeness leading to big moments. I figured the universe was giving me a sign … so I smiled and took it. And I’m still on the path, regardless of how many one-uppers I encounter.

Buen Camino!

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You’re The Best — Joe Esposito

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Confident Dance Battle — Leap Soundtrack

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My Way — Aloe Blacc

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Soy Yo — Bomba Estereo

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Another One Bites The Dust — Queen

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Feel Good 5 Friday … Page One

1 Jan

I had my doubts, but the universe kept pushing me in that same direction and now in retrospect I guess it was a good idea.

Instead of staring at it and feeling like a failure for not getting there, not being even close to reaching it, or not meeting certain goals, it just sat there as a friendly reminder … ‘hey you memmmmmber?’

Not attacking me. Not judging me. Just a ‘hey I’m still here.’

Just a small nudge in the right direction. Something to look forward to, something that might happen someday, or something that might happen on a random Wednesday.

Vision boards, Words of the Year, Feel Good Songs of the Year. All of this helped me push through 2020.

Boost. That was my 2020 word. That’s what I relied on … Boost and Mary J. Blige.

The universe working it’s magic to help pull me closer inch by inch. Maybe it was just me. Maybe I was more conscious of it, or maybe it served its purpose. But I found these two prospects of positivity pushing me through when I was down on the ground after a rough fall looking for a band-aid in an empty box. Or they kept me going, through my creative recovery, my arms raised during the little fist bumps of celebration.

Intentions, Goals. Resolutions. Steps. Whatever you want to call them, I looked back at the last 12 months, I looked back at Page 1 to see what I had done. I realized that even through the pandemic and all the personal drama of a Telenovela existence, I ended up blessed. That little reminder that your photos app sends you as the month is coming to a close, the little photo album it puts together for you, reminding you of your highlight reel, I flipped through it already. I looked over all the photos on the phone and remembered why they were worth taking. I made picture-worthy moments, some I didn’t even catch on camera, but knew they were in the memory bank.

Vision board kept me focused and dreaming. Boost, my word, kept the drive going, that little extra umph I needed sometimes, that Jamba Juice boost they give you at the smoothie place, that Vitameatavegamin to remind you of the reserve left in the tank. And Mary J … she woke me up! She kept the vibe going through music, giving me the feels when I needed strength to keep moving, the beats to help me get my groove back, my strut! I got to where I needed to be, and I finally reached a stepping stone and that was a good thing. Anything that keeps me going forward in a year where things felt so stagnant was a bonus. I took a look back and felt grateful for the direction …

Felt grateful for the mini-vacation that came along with a hockey tournament before the pandemic, grateful for the parade float presentations with the kids, for the Outdoor Staycations, for stories on Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon, for Ben & Jerry’s and Parker Brother board games to help with the cabin fever, for the blessings of health and my noisy kids, for quiet morning runs, and epic playlists, for accomplishing creative deadlines and getting up when I got knocked down, for World Series Championships and water balloon baseball with the kids, for bike riding, baking, and badminton, for sunsets painted with Crayola crayons and palm trees, for the peace that Bob Ross spreads, for the sunshine and waves of the beach and hidden lagoons away from the city and for the Saturday Morning Cartoon feels on any day of the week. This is what Boost and Mary J helped give me.

So … I go again.

And my love for movies and great characters helped pick out this year’s word, although with the surprise pandemic that hit 2020 it could have been last year’s word, and that would have fit so well. But I felt that I would continue my forward movement and this would definitely help especially when we’re so close to turning the corner …

I know Stan Lee had a special relationship with the word and I like him, onward and upward. But I got my significance from Pat Solitano …

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“… I’m gonna take all this negativity and use it as fuel and I’m gonna find the silver lining. That’s what I’m gonna do. And that’s no bullshit. That’s no bullshit. That takes work and that’s the truth.”

I didn’t like that saying … the silver lining. Ever since college I’d exhale and roll my eyes, it would burn me out. But looking at it from a different angle, from Pat’s angle, it’s a good spin. And it’s hard work. In the end it will help find the blessings in life and realize what you’re grateful for so that you can keep moving forward. And forward I learned is a direction that’s good, even when it feels like slow motion.

Excelsior and Forward.

That’s what Page 1 of 2021 is looking like … accompanied by an awesome playlist of course — the kind that reminds you to strut your stuff because you’re walking on sunshine and deserve to be.

Buen Camino my friends …

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Katrina and The Waves — Walking on Sunshine

Sir Roosevelt — Sunday’s Finest (the original video is amazing if you can find it, but for some reason I couldn’t)

Pete Townshend — Let My Love Open The Door

The Rolling Stones — You Can’t Always Get What You Want

Los Tucanes de Tijuana — La Chona

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Buen Camino my friends!

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Words on Wednesday … Stuck in an Elevator and Driver Licenses

14 Oct

Remember when you got your driver’s license for the first time? Remember that? You walked out of the DMV like Rocky Balboa feeling like I GOT thisssssssssssssssssss!

Granted I didn’t get mine until I got out of college, but I was living with a driving permit for years. Not because I didn’t want to take the test, but I actually didn’t need a car in school as the subway was the way to do, and walking. So I didn’t have a need for one really. But once I got out into the real world and started working, that license was imperative. Not just for work but for the independence that came with it. The driver’s license was much more than permission to get behind the wheel.

Now, driving doesn’t feel like an accomplishment at all, just an extension of the everyday. Parallel parking in a tight spot while random strangers are watching you from their porch? Now THAT still puts an extra spring in my step! I strut like George Jefferson when I pull that off.

But thinking about my license and traveling back in time, that was an epic day. One I looked forward to most definitely. And so during my little time traveling escapade I realized that I’ve been missing the “looking forward to” aspect.

There are little things here and there to be grateful for, can’t deny that. Parallel parking as I mentioned, rocks. Under current circumstances, gratitude makes this adventure we’re all going through better. But feeling the feels, like that driver’s license vibe … that’s missing. The assuredness that you’ve planned or prepared for something and it’s about to go down.

That’s been missing a long time.

I was reminded of that this week, though, as I couldn’t go to any of my kids’ soccer, hockey, or baseball games seeing how there was no season. Looking forward to seeing them play, their hard work and skills learned during the week tested out there, the smiles on their faces when things went right and the sighs when improvement was still needed. Or the feel of the big league stadium when you’re at the ballpark and it’s playoffs, the cheer of the collective crowd. I miss that. I don’t miss the damn beach balls that always seem to bounce in your line of vision when someone has an epic play at home plate.

The “looking forward to,” part was missing and it feels like I’ve been stuck in an elevator between the 7th and 8th floors telling everyone else stuck in there with me, ‘well when I get out, what I’m going to do is this …’ ‘

We’re all making plans, we’re all plotting out what’s gonna happen first. I mean I know Disneyland will probably be packed. No doubt.

But this elevator sucks and those doors are going to be closed for a long time. So I have to find moments until the doors open, even if they’re not driver-license worthy, they still give me something to look forward to beyond the everyday routine.

The race, for instance.

Most of the time my obstacle races and runs present both physical and mental challenges that make me laugh and feel good. Give me those Gatorade worthy moments. But this year it’s done with a virtual twist. I did my dad’s race that way and even though it wasn’t the same it did give me the looking-forward-to-it vibe. I had purpose. I felt that pitter-pat. So when a friend of mine sent me a link to a virtual race for our old school, I thought cool shirt. I’m in. I want a little something different.

It broke up the regular of this irregularity. So I had something to look forward to, something out of the ordinary. A little excitement bubbled as I joined others feeling the same way, participating, being part of a community even if we weren’t at the finish line at the same time. It was good to do a little something different, to reach a goal and to reach it with my kid. It was a good break from the stuck elevator.

🙂

And so my life remains in chunks, and even though I’ve been grateful for the wake up in the morning without Coronavirus chunk, I wish, like everyone else, that there were more driver’s license moments.

Buen camino my friends …

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Hibernation and Boosts

1 Apr

You know, when bears awake from hibernation it takes them a minute to get situated. I mean they just don’t jump out of their cave and be like Yogi where are you at?! They have a sleepwalking period where they kind of ease out of it.

And this is where I’ve been … hibernating writer hiatus. I hadn’t planned it of course, I hadn’t planned any of them. Certain life events hit you harder than others and it takes you a minute to rebound from certain setbacks or bouts of depression. Just they way it is sometimes.

But life keeps moving even if you’re standing still.

After catching my breath, and as I was revving up to make my comeback, this unexpected series of unfortunate life events of blockbuster proportions landed on us all and we found ourselves in different roles with added workloads and no MacGyver-like gadgets to help save the day.

And I was okay. I mean I had concerns, just like everyone else. But because of the rough patch, a different perspective provides the specs for me on this. The Resilience. I was able to find that special place when community connection seemed to have been put on pause.

There’s comfort in knowing that many selfless people like doctors, nurses, janitors, educators, farm workers, grocery clerks and other community members stepped up to bat for a lot of people. Humanity found in the little crevasses of the cities brings hope to a profoundly troubled time, like when you hear of the college student down the street buying groceries for the elderly lady in the pink apartment building, or the teachers in a small caravan of cars driving through the neighborhood to say hello to their students, whom they hadn’t seen in a couple weeks, or to the multiple chalk artists taking to sidewalks across town trying to brighten someone’s day, or the Italian restaurant owner 15 minutes away giving away free spaghetti and meatballs with breadsticks because he felt the need of his community when there wasn’t much left at the markets.

It’s the small things that can create cataclysmic shifts. And so I find that practicing gratitude creates the little boosts needed for the big take-off.

Boosts.

That’s where I found myself. Returning to my Word of the Year and finding that I had picked the one that was right for the moment … Boost!

Everyone could use one, especially now. A physiological, psychological, spiritual, and intellectual uplifting And you can always get that from the good spirit of people, the grace they show for others, as well as for themselves, and these you can find in the tiny cracks and crevasses of communities. The feel-good stories that don’t always make the front page, but should definitely highlighted.

So keep your eyes open and when you find the feel-goods share them. Their impact could be what someone needs to come out of hibernation.

Buen Camino my friends!

The Stumbler … That’s Me … But I Laced-Up My Shoes Anyway

1 Jan

A setback is nothing but a comeback in disguise … that gave me a little umph to push it over the hill. Even with a crappy 60 days close to the end of my 365-day tour around the sun  I still managed to have at least one positive moment each month.

It’s difficult to see the positive when the current existence seems so crappy, but in the moments between your breaths you find something that pulls you out. A good-time-noodle-salad moment, an Andy Dufresne moment, a silver-linings playbook moment, a Zen-moment, or a Gatorade-moment.

Looking back on it I was 12 for 12. 12 months 12 new experiences. I was grateful to have tried new adventures. It helped me step out of the box and create new perspectives for growth, change, and hope. But more importantly it didn’t feel forced. It was opportunity. And at the end of it, I was different each time. Not a dramatic shift, because making cake pops for the first time isn’t mind-blowing, but it does give you a better understanding of the show Nailed It and how I too can do that at home.

Trying new adventures created a shift. As I stumbled through life and weaved through the cracks of this cobble-stoned yellow-brick road, which I thought would be smoother, I learned that these new adventures pushed me along the path. Sometimes when you’re at the bottom learning a new skill gives you a sense of pride that’s waning. Now I’m not saying these new adventures were easy and I was picking up all kinds of new skills. Taking a coding class and learning to speak Italian was extremely challenging, still is, but it added stock to my life.

It pushed me to keep taking it one step at a time.

And sometimes that’s what you need because when you feel like you’re failing digging deep helps you stand up again. And what I was reminded of throughout this journey was that I am a Stumbler. And the stumbler doesn’t build her life by being better than everybody else, she does it by being better than she used to be. That’s me.

” … courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm … “

Churchill coined that one and I was glad to have heard it on a podcast because I was beginning to lose my giddy-up.

But I found it before it was too late. I had my Andy Dufresne moment. I found gratitude in new adventures. I hung on by finding gratitude in undiscovered talents. I was able to take a step again because I found gratitude in comeback stories.

So turning the corner before starting the new year was a blessing. I laced-up my running shoes after falling off the hurdle again, and again, and again, which incidentally happened in real life back in my youth, but currently unfolding metaphorically in life now.

But my point? I finished strong both times. Out of breath, with my hands on my head, looking at the skies above and a smile on my face. I reached up with my right hand, and there they were, my Dad and Uncle Erick high-fived me from the heavens on finishing the race.

Thank you Beth, Cayman, and Susie for checking in during the fall.

Happy New Year my friends!

And of course Buen Camino …

My Andy Dufresne Moment

26 Dec

I didn’t think someone from Shawshank Prison would help me turn the corner, but he did.

Andy Dufresne.

“… who crawled through a river of shit and came out clean on the other side …”

Usually a moment triggers a memory and the sadness of missing him becomes so strong that I need a couple of minutes to get myself together. But this time it was different. The emotion was so overwhelming that I stopped in the middle of the track and began to cry.

It came with no warning and I just missed him. Right there on the bridge, after the big hill. I hadn’t sobbed like that since the year he passed away. But it happened and there I was … I couldn’t get a hold of it.

The feeling lasted a while … all month long. Usually sadness hits during Thanksgiving because it’s the holiday I remember my Dad the most. But this episode cast a shadow on the entire month of November, even December. I couldn’t shake it.

Life felt heavier. Things were slipping. The bottom was coming up and I was trying to hang on by looking for gratitude in moments where it was hard to find.

Family life was stressful as people kept revealing who they really were in times of normalcy and crises. But I always knew who they were, I just kept giving them chances. I was all out. Rejections felt uglier, the it’s-not-you-it’s-me letters were no longer coming in, it was just silence, like they weren’t even going to be bothered with notices. I had been moved over to the don’t-even-bother pile, and I was feeling the strain in every capacity, which incidentally increased my stress levels and decreased my tolerance and patience. Parenthood was kicking my ass and the weight of it effecting me. The year was in the homestretch and I was running out of gas.

While a lot of people I knew were busy getting projects, or writing thousands of words for NaNoWriMo, I stopped. It been the longest writing dry spell in 10 years. There were things happening, life was happening. But I stood there thinking about a future that wasn’t here and wondering whether it would ever show up.

And then I had my Andy Dufresne moment and I found my way back …

I had continued going to the track throughout all this, it was my one constant, if anything I’d at least walk in my hidden forest within the city. But that morning for the first time in a while, I picked up the pace. The storm clouds were hanging over head, and I wanted to beat the rain.

It didn’t work. The light mist turned into drizzle, then fat heavy rain drops found their way through the giant pine trees.

The few people walking through the park ran to their cars. But I didn’t.

I kept going, sloshing through mud puddles in the making, keeping pace while my baseball cap dripped with rain and sweatshirt drenched. I ran about three miles, and when I sprinted to my imaginary finish line I looked up to the sky and let the raindrops hit my face. I closed my eyes took a deep breath.

I found my moment.

I used to loathe running when I was a younger, but it’s become necessary to help me move passed all the crap and come out clean on the other side.

Buen Camino, my friends …

Recovery Mode

17 Dec

I knew exactly what he meant … it clicked without having to wait that moment that thoughts need to take in order to register.

It was instant.

I had it.

“We recover the person we were intended to be … ” Russel Brand.

Nuggets of enlightenment just headed my way through the airwaves of a random podcast and knowledge being dropped by an unexpected dude. I’m not a huge fan but I thought Forgetting Sarah Marshall was pretty funny. Other than that I didn’t really  know much. I don’t pay much attention to celebrity gossip. That kind of useless stuff irritates me. So when I heard this life quote I stopped and had to listen to the rest. This was going to be about substance, not fluff.

The topic was addiction but the information was about life.

I was glad to have found it.

I needed that little push.

You see, these multiple sabbaticals during the last couple of months bring about different perspectives on creativity. I mean after a crazy number of rejections in such a short amount of time a moment of unintended pause takes place. Weariness begins to sit heavy on my mind when thinking about pushing forward on this yellow-brick road and wondering about the journey.

But when I wake up in the morning I think … I have another day, another chance. I just have to find strength to push passed the tiredness. Everyone stumbles, Just have to hit that reset button and remember that I woke up with purpose, and not on accident as Mr. Thomas once said. And then I wake up knowing I’ll recover. I’ll recover.

And so remembering that conversation with Brand and his story about the seed stuck with me the entire day. You see, the seed has an intention and destiny to grow into a tree but it may be impeded by constraints or bad circumstances, whatever they may be, preventing it from becoming what it was intended to be … but that doesn’t have to happen to you.

That reminder came at a most needed time.

And so I held onto it and thought I’d spread the information just in case there was someone else out there stuck in a moment they couldn’t get out of … just stuck.

There’s a way to recover.

There’s a way to return to the person we intended to be … one step at a time.

tree

🙂

 

Buen Camino my friends!

 

 

Mixed Tape Moments

6 Jul

I’m getting the hang of these moments … you know the ones you want to capture … like an awesome mixed tape. I found me some this week, just hanging out with my kids and going on our little day adventures.

I’ve made it a habit to stop time and just appreciate the little moment on the couch during movie night, or reading the newest title from the library, or laying in bed in the dark and just feeling the cool side of the pillow on my face and being thankful for the comfort it brings me.

With everyone I know having so much success in their life, and having all the dots connect, I’ve learned not to pay attention to their race or their place in it. I’m happy for them, but I’ve finally learned that I’m running on a different course, so I shouldn’t feel less because my I’m still walking the trail, while they’re at the finish line. I learned to pick up the moments. And I learned that everyday has some, I just have to remember to catch them. That’s what’s gonna mess me up. Paying attention to others and not catching my own moments can spiral into a crappy day.

But I think I’m getting the hang of it.

Just this week I caught one. Hanging out in the Great Outdoors and I just looked up and caught it. I snapped the shot and thought … yeah … this moment deserves it’s own mixed tape.

IMG_1952

I looked up from the cave and it just stood there.

The possibility.

The twists and turns of the day. The moment where everything can get sidetracked or move a step in the right direction. It stood there. The possibility.

The someday.

That someday was caught, and I caught it. Someday thoughts are what make memorable moments. Someday thoughts are the springboards of dreams. Someday moments light a fire under you so that you can start chasing it, and then it no longer becomes someday because you catch up to it and it becomes today.

The someday I found. I captured it.

I marked it with a picture on my broken down iPhone 0 and remembered. I may not have the house. I may not have the corner office with an assistant outside my door. I may not have pictures posted on a Facebook feed detailing the awesomeness of my universe and all its adventures. But I got the substance of a good life, the kind that deserves a mixed tape.

Buen Camino, my friends …

 

 

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Alternate Universes

7 May

It’s interesting, once you get older you realize the standards you set way back in your younger years may have softened, and sometimes circumstances of life set them in stone. Standards of what kind of life you wanted, what you would tolerate in relationships, what you would do once you had that corner office, what kind of parent you would be, what your Plan A would be, all these expectations of yourself sit on your shoulders.

I thought about all these expectations and standards recently, after hearing an interview with former Duke basketball player Jay Williams. Now I was a big Duke fan and I remember seeing him play ball back in the day, but sort of lost track of him after the NBA and then saw him pop out as a commentator. I didn’t realize what had happened in between.

You see his life didn’t turn out the way he imagined it would, circumstances changed the standards in his life. A motorcycle accident, on a motorcycle he wasn’t supposed to be riding in the first place, changed everything. An alternate future existed. Plan A was no longer in effect and there never was a Plan B. There was no plan for something like this.

But he found one.

It was a long road I imagine, having everything taken away from you. A choice you made contributed to that and now you were faced with picking up your life and starting over again.

In the interview Williams began talking about expectations and life and how angry and embarrassed he was that it had all been taken away. He’s in a better place now and has come to peace with where he is and feels that this was where he’s supposed to because had it not turned out that way, he would have just been another ball player that succumbs to the temptations of most professional players careers.

But what I found amazing was how he changed his perspective on standards. I mean I guess he had no choice, but how is that that you do that? How do you wrap your brain around the fact that you will no longer be able to meet the standards you set for yourself? How do you change the blueprints when the building is already built? People who you thought were your friends abandon you and you found yourself betraying your “I will never allow this to happen to me,” scenario. You fall into the never say never it happened to you club.

Williams talked about all this happening to him and says that he eventually turned the corner. He found acceptance of his new situation through a spiritual journey. He flipped the switch.

Then I wondered, could I do that if I had to?

And then remembered I already had.

You see my future was taken from me, one of my futures and I had to accept something I did not want to because I had no choice. But I wasn’t driving a motorcycle. Just a sports injury that had taken me down my senior year, the year that was supposed to be Big Woman on Campus. I went through this terrible depression at the time. I mean I didn’t even know what it was and I didn’t have a label for it, and no one seemed to understand it, but I felt like the person I was supposed to be was gone. The person I saw myself as, my future, my Plan A was nonexistent. I would have to live by a new set of standards and I didn’t know how to do that. People didn’t seem to understand why I was feeling the way I did. Most of them dismissed me, told me to get over it. But I found it difficult getting over the one outlet that made me feel successful, the one thing that I identified with, the one thing that made me believe in myself, the one outlet where other people saw me the way I saw myself.

It was a long time before I could find the lesson in that one. I don’t think it happened until college and then I found another outlet that made me feel that way I found something intrinsic that helped me flipped the switch. It wasn’t a spiritual journey or relationship that made me turn the corner. It was knowing that so much time had passed and I was still standing, and that somehow on a daily basis I found the 2.0 version of myself.

Time, pain, and humor.

After hearing the Williams interview I was reminded of this struggle and of the standards and of where I thought I would be, and how life was supposed to look. I don’t know if I would have been here at this moment writing this story in the alternate universe, but the experiences along the way made for a roller-coaster journey that I’m still learning from.

Buen Camino my friends.