For the last couple of years, I’ve been preparing to move 1,000 miles away from the only home I’ve ever known. And eight days ago, I finally made it.
Well, WE made it. Couldn’t have done it without the support of my ride-or-die, Tiny.
I’ve been unpacking, trying to re-start my regular workout schedule, getting feelers out for my future entrepreneurial venture, planning out the renovations I’ll be doing for my parents, and getting to know the area.
But I’ll have plenty of experiences to write about in the coming days, so consider this your warning. 😉
Don’t you just hate sitting around in waiting rooms? Whether it’s a doctor’s office, an auto repair shop, or the DMV, you are at their mercy. Are they ever on time?
And who doesn’t feel resentful about it? You have to take time out of work, which infuriates your employer, or you’re losing money or precious free time if you’re taking vacation or are self-employed.
We are constantly running around and sometimes that’s the only thing keeping us from falling apart – inertia.
But while I was on my walk through the woods yesterday, I spotted a snow-covered bench and thought, “Let me clear this off today so that if I want to take a rest on my walk tomorrow, I can.”
So I did. And today, I was grateful. The point is that we’re all going Mach 5, and we never have the time to breathe, nevermind to plan. My work environment was like that. It was unhealthy and counterproductive.
Humans need many things to thrive – not just survive. A tree may get plenty of water, but without the soil in which to plant its roots, one heavy wind can knock it over.
We’re all very fragile these days. Can we at least agree to try not to be someone else’s heavy wind?
Listen, I’m not trying to pretend I’m the Dalai Lama or Confucius or any philosopher capable of deep, brilliant thoughts…but something about being out in nature enables me to think differently about a myriad of things.
Go outside. Take a walk. Change your perspective. You’ll thank yourself.
Oh boy *eye roll* another meditating, yogi-wannabe, vegan, soy-slurping, “peace-is-love” advice columnist.
I don’t blame you for thinking that, based on the title.
In all honesty, though, I’m way too ADHD to meditate, I HATED yoga, I love a good burger, and soy gives me gas.
I tried meditation and yoga because, like most Americans, stress was my natural state. There’s so much to worry about: Deadlines, increasing workloads, increasing costs of everything without increasing pay, physical health, mental health, family, pets…and the list goes on.
That’s when I decided to follow the inspirational poster:
It’s not original by any stretch of the imagination. Yet we can’t quite pull the trigger most of the time.
I pulled the trigger. But I still have times that I’m plagued with doubt. I still find myself distracted at times because I haven’t met all my goals yet.
But then I have moments like this one below (and the one above) that I’m able to capture with my camera because I was paying attention.
And it reminds me to be present so I don’t miss these moments in the future.
Saying goodbye to my favorite fella felt like my heart was being ripped out.
Smitty! Don’t forget me – I’ll see you soon!
What? You didn’t think I was talking about a human, did you?
I bought Smitty (my 2003 Harley Davidson 1200 Custom Sportster) in August 2003. That’s how long we’ve been together.
I experienced my first motorcycle ride when I was 6 or 7. My best friend’s father took me around the block, and I was hooked.
When I was a teenager, I sought motorcyclists to befriend.
It took an embarrassingly long time for me to realize that I could get my own motorcycle and stop relying on others to go for a ride.
The biggest obstacle to buying my own motorcycle was my mother. I can’t say I blame her… I’d been in 10 car accidents – one severe enough to land me in the hospital for two weeks.
My brilliant idea: Take Mom motorcycle shopping and have her pick it out.
You may think that was crazy, but my mother had a knack for choosing good vehicles. Plus, she was the best negotiator I’d ever seen firsthand.
So here I was, 32 years old – a homeowner – taking Mom and Dad with me to pick out my motorcycle.
She chose Smitty. I chose his name. She negotiated an unheard-of $4,000 off the asking price.
And, you know what? It worked. Mom doesn’t worry as much about me riding.
When I’m sad, stressed, or generally feeling unsettled, Smitty and I hit the road. No one has ever made me feel as good. His magical healing power is the reason I decided to move South – so we could spend more quality time together.
If you ride, you get that.
So remember when you hit the road in the warmer weather: Please pay attention to the road. My fellow riders and I are out there trying to shake off the blues, or de-stress.
“...if you didn’t know how old you was?” ~Satchel Paige, American Baseball Player
Age is another concept that we like to think of as malleable … especially as we get older.
“You’re only as old as you feel,” and “We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing,” are two of the more common sayings we trot out to justify behavior that may be seen as immature.
But I’d argue that it is really just our normal, playful nature peeking out that our age and confidence allow us to act upon.
For some, that new behavior is encouraged. Others find themselves having to justify their “immature” behavior to family and friends who haven’t yet developed the self-confidence to buck the system, so to speak.
I think about these things when I go visit my Pepere in the nursing home. Ten years ago, he was adamant that he didn’t “want to live in a place with all old people because all they do is complain about their health.”
On March 24, he turns 98. In the last year, he has begun to show his age.
But always, his brain is sharp, and he knows exactly what’s going on around him. “I thought you’d be long gone to South Carolina,” he said when I stopped in Sunday afternoon.
“I’m in no rush to go live with Mom and Dad,” I replied with a huge grin. He grinned back. “I understand,” he winked.
Sometimes it’s hard for us to go visit our elderly relatives because we don’t know what to talk about with them.
The truth is, they don’t care. Just be there to break up the monotony – it’s all any of us really wants.
“Idle hands are the devil’s workshop” is what people say to encourage each other and themselves to stay out of trouble by keeping busy.
There’s a stigma to being. Just being. Being still, being contemplative. Oh, sure, all the online articles advise us to take a moment for ourselves… “You can’t pour from an empty cup,” and “Self care isn’t selfish,” blah blah blah.
We share the pre-made graphics with pretty colors and appealing fonts displaying these sayings, encouraging each other to care for ourselves.
But we don’t really. We’re too busy.
I’ve been stressed for so long that it’s my de facto state. Between my job, nursing my two elderly French bulldogs, being the handler for my alma mater’s mascot, and renovating my house, I have either been busy or feeling guilty for not doing what needed to be done.
Then the days I worked for arrived: No house, no job, and, unexpectedly, no dogs.
While I revel in achieving most of my goals, I also find myself a little lost and feeling more than a little guilty. From age 16, I’ve had two jobs, or I worked full time and went to school. What am I doing, laying around all day?
That’s where friends come in: Stop. Breathe. You’re not on a time table. Enjoy your sabbatical – you won’t have this opportunity again until retirement.
We all need reminders. I am exceedingly grateful for my friends, many of whom seem to know when I need that pep talk.
For now, I’m going to concentrate on being. Just being. Screw the stigma.