So, I moved…

I’m sitting in a restaurant just a mere four miles from the Atlantic Ocean. People seem happier in this place. Perhaps it is the result of the always-shining sun, the fresh seafood, the way the ocean makes you feel like you don’t have a care in the world – I’m not sure. But everyone seems to be smiling, living in their sunny-present, enjoying what life is offering.

I’ve envisioned living in a place like this for such a long time. The ability to go to the beach whenever I want, giving away all my winter coats, a permanent tint on my skin; all these things spell out “happy” in my brain.

Sometimes it is difficult to embrace so much change at once. Right now, I’m going through a lot of change. I’m living in a totally different part of the country, in an opposite climate and culture, sans all the people I care about, doing my own thing… and as a mom of three, I haven’t done my “own thing” in a while.

What this time affords me is the opportunity to work on myself. I’m starting a new job that I can completely devote myself to, I have time to delve into my interests… reading, writing, learning the guitar, very amateur boogie-boarding, etc. This is the ultimate “me” time.

While there is so much I miss back “home”, I can’t help but feel the blessing in this opportunity; this chance that I’m getting to “find” myself, to slow my pace, and to enjoy simply living.

I’m so thankful for this opportunity.

Future Short

So, I was watching my children play today. They are content, unconcerned, and present. They are happy. And I started to think about how envious I am of their carefree ability to simply be. Kids are happy because they live in the now; unlike adults who always seem preoccupied with past and future events.

I am very future-oriented. I notice that I spend a lot of time looking forward to what is going to happen rather than enjoying where I am at… I know that a lot of people do this, but after a while it becomes concerning. This future-focused mentality lends itself to being in a state of unhappy… or maybe a better adjective is restless. I’m always restless.

Lately, though, I am worried about the future. I’m not sure if I’m going to like where it is taking me. I am not sure I want to leave where I am at. While my present isn’t perfect, there are a few things I have come to appreciate and to love. And there is a sense of nostalgia emerging as I think about moving on from what has become to dear to me.

There are about a thousand songs over this subject, so I know that plenty of people have felt what I am feeling right now. Change is necessary… change is good, but change isn’t always easy.

So, my resolution (and I am a bit late) is to take full advantage of where I am at right now. To live in the moment, to embrace where my life has brought me, and to mentally detach from worrying about what uncontrollable events are going to happen.

Just About a Poem

I came across the following poem today:

 

Looking up at the stars, I know quite well

That, for all they care, I can go to hell,

But on earth indifference is the least

We have to dread from man or beast.

 

How should we like it were stars to burn

With a passion for us we could not return?

If equal affection cannot be,

Let the more loving one be me.

 

Admirer as I think I am

Of stars that do not give a damn,

I cannot, now I see them, say

I missed one terribly all day.

 

Were all stars to disappear or die,

I should learn to look at an empty sky

And feel its total dark sublime,

Though this might take me a little time.

-W. H. Auden

 

What I love about poetry is the various ways that the author’s words can be interpreted. In my opinion, Auden is talking about caring too much for someone or something and dealing with the fall out of those specific emotions.

I particularly find this interesting because I feel that over the past few years, I have become intensely apathetic to many situations. I haven’t been like this my whole life, and oftentimes in the past I allowed my heart to guide my attitude. However, people and relationships with those people can prove tiring and sometimes simply not caring seems like the best path. Is it worth it to become invested in someone or something that you can’t control? Probably not.

I live by the thought that you can only trust yourself. While this is comforting in some aspects, it is also depressing and isolating. Do we only have ourselves? Is there no other being in the world that has our back? Our best interest?

Ha! And that is why I like Auden’s poem. While the sky may be void of stars and the darkness is overwhelming, with time you will learn to only trust yourself and care not about irrelevance, or ultimately, other people’s opinions.

 

Until next time,

Erica

Changes

I’ve often wondered if life is a series of choices that we make, or if life is a predetermined track and we are all on autopilot; gliding through experiences only believing that the choices we make are indeed ours. While the former seems preferred, I find the thought of the latter comforting. Mostly because if you mess up, you can blame it on whoever set you on that track in the first place and then all responsibility is lifted off your shoulders.

But that doesn’t sound realistic.

I’ve been reading an interesting book called The Compound Effect which explains that small, daily choices and changes you make can have a profound impact on your life. Noticeable changes won’t occur that day, not in 10 days, not even in 10 months. Sometimes, you don’t see the changes until years have passed; but by that time, the change is significant and life altering.

I really like the book; it is insightful and motivating and gives one a sense of self-control and the power to do anything that they want. However, I find it somewhat unrealistic. Mainly because I don’t believe people can change who they are. You are always going to want what you want regardless if it is good or bad for you. Regardless if it is the right or the wrong choice.

But that begs the question of whether we have choice or whether “everything happens for a reason”. Because if everything happens for a reason, then even poor choices have a reason.

Does that make any sense?

I recently watched a TED talk that examines the impact that body language has on your brain. Standing up straight in a victorious stance for a couple of minutes every morning should supposedly send confident chemical messages to the brain and reduce cortisol which causes stress. This could be a breakthrough in the business world; imagine if managers required their employees to do this before meetings and other serious dealings? Would employees contribute more? Would they be more confident; soaring with a rush of testosterone? Would production and enagement rise and the disengaged worker disappear? If the study holds true, why am I not walking into work each morning observing my colleagues in power stances?

Because the results of this study are irrelevant. I can go a week of power-stancing, maybe even a month, but at the end of the day I am still going to be me and will revert back to what I know and what is comfortable.

Really, none of this matters. It is all life, and life is going to keep going regardless of what I think and feel. Regardless if my actions are the result of choice or the result of my predetermined path.

However, it is always fun to wonder.

Until next time,

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Cigarillos

I’m sitting outside on the porch swing enjoying the spoils of a hot summer day while burnt ashes of my sweet-tasting cigarillo float to the ground.

I have a bottle of Pellegrino that I’m pairing with a sweet riesling, two unread musty-smelling books, and pen and paper.

I feel like I have all the tools I need to achieve my goals and my dreams.

I do consider the books and the cigarillo and the wine all instruments for success. I also have my thoughts and my experiences and my determination at my disposal.

My favorite thing to do most any night is think and observe and then write about my thoughts and observations. However, lately I feel like I can’t truly write about everything I am thinking and feeling and experiencing.

Writing is best when one’s happenings are the motivator. I feel lost in the fact that I’m not going to be able to experience everything that I want to in my life. And I will say that this lost feeling is new to me; I’ve only felt like this recently.

How do you convince your head to master your heart? How can you tell right from wrong when you’re so emotionally invested in something that isn’t exactly the right thing for you?

I know I’m not the first person to feel this way. I’m not the first person to want something that I can’t have, to regret, to feel like I’m missing out. These feelings are human in nature. But that fact doesn’t facilitate being emotionally lost in an unrealistic realm.

At this point I’m just rambling. The wind continues to stifle my cigarillo and I’ve burnt my thumb on the lighter countless times in an attempt to re-ignite. But I’m craving the sweetness and am persistent about smoking this cigar to the end.

Right now, this just seems like the right thing to do.

Sun Memories

The sun is shining as I lay here.

I close my eyes and the blacks of the lids are transformed into purples and oranges and yellows, swirling and dancing in my eyes; their movement energized by the sun.

Aromas and music are often the first evokers of memory. But for me, the sun’s warmth on my bare skin also reminds me of times past.

Summers on the Atlantic coast, spring breaks on the Caribbean Sea. Knee deep in the Aegean. Trips to Sorrento and Capri and Positano; peering down through eighty feet of Mediterranean to the bottom of the Sea, crystal clear.

Experiencing different cultures, speaking new languages, allowing all that is foreign to permeate my mind and forever change my outlook on life.

Embracing the newness that is guided by the heat of the sun.

My younger self – no cares in the world. In love with the idea of life. Aspiring to do everything and nothing at all.

So much changes as you get older. Idealism turns into cynicism and the world ceases to be everything that you thought it could be.

Mistakes aren’t as easily forgiven. A lie can be detrimental. There is no excuse for doing the wrong thing. Carefree sunbathing comes with its own array of having to care and take responsibility.

But today, I’m seventeen again. I’m watching the colors dance while my eyes are closed and I’m reminiscing with myself over all the brilliant moments of the past.

And I’m thankful for every experience that has led me to today.

Writer’s Bloc(k)

If I’ve learned anything, it’s that when inspiration hits… you have to write about it- because it seldom hits.

My last month has been chalk full of revelations, ideas, caffeine, realizations, insomnia, thinking, pondering, over-thinking, and the likes.

I realize that most of the adjectives I just listed are indeed synonyms, but I love words so much that I want to use them all.

Here’s the thing, creativity does not exist without experience. I can’t write a novel if I don’t have something that truly moves me…

I think the best authors out there are men and women who have deeply felt something.

I do not think that age is pertinent, or the amount you have traveled, or your educational background; I think any ol’ schmuck can write something brilliant if it comes from the heart.

And here is the struggle- because matters of the heart can be exhausting. I like to imagine that I can live an ideal life without being emotional about anything. It is so much easier to shy away from feelings and simply act out of logic.

But the best authors- they write interesting people. They write about characters that you can empathize with, characters that you can’t get out of your head; characters that you feel like you really know at the end of the story.

And if you’re unwilling to put yourself out there and let go of your guard, you really can’t get to know people. And if you don’t know people, how will you understand them enough to write about them?

Writing a novel has been on my bucket list since before I could even read novels. When I was little I would write story after story- the ideas and the inspiration were constant; and I miss that so much.

Now I  justify my permanent writer’s block with excuses of being too young, too inexperienced, too naive. In all reality, my inability to be inspired, based on the notion that emotions are weak and to be avoided, is my own fault.

So- enough gibberish; the inspiration is hitting and I won’t be sleeping any time soon… this must be the time to write.

Until next time,

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Trampolines & Dreams

A beautiful weekend-

The weather is finally ideal, the trees are full of life, the flowers are pinks and purples and pungent, birds are especially melodious; spring is vibrant.

Some of my most beautiful weekend moments were spent on my kids’ trampoline. And although the moments are absolutely wonderful when my children join me, I value the alone time I have on the tramp. The time I have to soak in the sunshine and think.

The trampoline is a little oasis for me. It is the ideal spot for dreaming. And it seems like lately, I’ve been dreaming a lot.

I generally like to float through life in somewhat of a logical, robotic state. Actions should be calculated to ensure that the reaction is exactly what you planned.

However, this spring has evoked a new excitement in my mind, a desire to change, to embrace emotions, and to allow feelings of inspiration and rejuvenation to nest in my brain.

After all, you can’t plan everything. It goes against the very nature of life.

The warmth of the May sun, the perfect hint of a breeze, the stack of un-read books, and the circular cut of sky that the trampoline reflects in my sunglasses is the perfect atmosphere to think.

You only have one life to live. You only have one shot to do, to feel, to experience. Life can become so mundane and so predictable. And the thing that frightens me is the predictability because knowing exactly what will happen doesn’t coincide with creativity and inspiration and emotions.

And to get done what I want to get done in my life, I need creativity, I need the inspiration, and unfortunately, I need the emotions.

Every choice you make, whether good or bad, can lead you to a realm of change and revelation. Every story you create is something to draw from, to experience, to take full advantage of- to embrace the nature of life and love.

The most beautiful things are the things that make you feel, the things that jolt you from your normal life and trigger metacognition.

And this weekend, I am so very thankful for beautiful things and new experiences.

 

Until next time,

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