Category Archives: Life Lesson

So Much Life After HS …

I have learned some very valuable lessons in my life – as I hope all have by the time they reach the age of 50.  I didn’t have a good time in high school; I attended two very different schools in those short four years.  The last few years, I find myself back home, close to where I went to high school and so many fellow classmates all still hang out together.  Still.  I have no problem with this until they made an issue with me not attending the school functions, the class reunions, etc.  Some remember those years full of angst or full of joy.  My four years of high school was more full of angst and I have chosen to try to put behind me -especially when many of the same people who made my life unbearable in HS tried to make my life difficult 30 years later.  So shame on them.   And to think many of these people now have children of their own.  I pray for them.  I was shy, sheltered by my immediate family, basically an introvert back then and now I like to think I have graduated to an ambivert.  I tend to only surround myself with calm people these days.  I don’t need to loud, crowd filled moments.  I prefer to look at the photos after an event or party then be the life of the party.  I wish more people would respect that some connections and so-called friendships from a tenuous connection from high schools days do indeed have an expiration date.  I attended my 25th and 30th HS reunions.  It was okay.  I learned I still have very little in common with most people there who showed up.  I tried.  I went.  Now I just want to be left alone by that ‘crowd’.

To me, it seems like some people never leave high school.  They are still jealous, bullies, immature, and many busy trying to relive glory sports days or prom queen days.

After attending the 25th reunion, so many of the same people who tried spreading gossip about me in HS invited me out; I went, I am a forgiving person, chalking all those HS moments to immaturity.  But sitting with these strangers around me, and all talking about things I had no true connection to nor memory of, I realized I still had very little in common with this group of tight knit high school friends.  I tried.  I wanted to know what it would be like to hang out with the HS ‘in-crowd’.  As an adult, being invited to parties I never got invited to while in HS, I thought would vindicate me and erase some of those sad HS moments.  But it didn’t.  If anything some get together’s just exacerbated it.

My curiosities were at an all time high, and I tried to just approach by observing, more like an anthropologist than an active participant.  I was learning a little of what it most of been to be popular in HS.  But curiosity wanes.  People show their true colors, and I was sad – but not for myself, but for them.  So many of these people, left high school, married someone from their local area, and settled in the same area or a place just like our hometown.  I couldn’t truly relate back then nor now.  Most of my friends are people I have met outside of high school.  I have a huge family and am close to my cousins, who will always be my friends, my source of home.  And have been lucky to have traveled and work in many different places, so many of my friends are from shared experiences as adults.

I have been busy trying to put those tough awkward years behind me – only to learn that I am still more awkward than not.  Daily, I battle depression, PTSD, body image issues due to cancer and scars, and have never been the social, bubbly, pretty cheerleader type.  I prefer to get lost in the background, in books, in words, in engaging all my five senses by enjoying wine and food.  I detest dieting and never go to the gym.  I don’t feel the need to look perfect nor do I believe in plastic surgery nor in spending tons of money on wrinkle cream or cellulite cream.   I am happy with myself, by myself.  I don’t need validation from many people, especially those from high school who never had my back then or now, and have never walked in my shoes, Jimmy Choo or not.

I have learned that I didn’t allow those four years of high school to fully define me. I haven’t lived there for a very long time.  I never allowed that HS shadow to linger.  Some feelings did arise whenever I get an invitation and then I write posts like this.  But for the most part, I realize that my HS years were hard but it doesn’t hold much glory days.  I was on the honor society, I had my cousins as my friends, and didn’t need much.  I graduated, moved on.  I don’t have that sense of melancholy from those HS days. I see that those HS years occupy a privileged place for many people.  They reminisce and want to relive their glory days.  Perhaps explains Ralph Keyes’s observation in his 1976 classic, Is There Life After High School?: “Somehow those three or four years can in retrospect feel like 30.”

About the only thing I still deal with since I was a teenager is still learning how to be myself, to not lose control and to continually keep learning.

 

So I wish when I chose to RSVP NO that people from high school could respect that and move forward.  And not feel the need to talk about me behind my back … but sadly, we all know that is not the case.  So I try to remember the saying, “What people say about me behind my back is none of my business.” (RuPaul).  They don’t know me, they can dislike me, well dislike what they think they know of me.  And I will continue being me, living my life, with its ups and downs, but me loving myself each day.

Most importantly, it’s my life, and if something doesn’t serve me, I am learning to let it go.  We have no obligation to someone else. When something upsets you, let it go.  And that includes what other people think of you. If other peoples’ judgement is bringing you down, ignore it.  Try to only hold onto things that make you feel good. Other people can make their choices. They can bitch about you and say nasty things. But don’t forget that you have choices too.  So let’s all try to make better choices.  Shaking off the negativity, moving forward with purpose, and looking forward to all the beautiful, positive things that make me happy … with hope in my heart and grace in my step.

 


Giddy at Fifty

In exactly 7 days, I will turn 50 years old … yes, me turning 50!  I am over the moon ecstatic.  I never thought I would reach this age.  I am a cancer survivor, a crisis survivor, continue to battle PTSD and depression.   I have lost so many loved ones when they were too young – my brother 25 yo, my Dad 57 yo, my fiance 37 yo, aunt 35 yo … I had decided that was my fate as well.  I have spent most of my life thinking I was running out of time.  I lived in the past or in the moment, never fully preparing nor planning a future.

I am almost halfway to 100 and I am so giddy lately.  I am finally midlife.   I will be half of a century old.  How downright exciting … to be me right now??   I am about to finally reach a true milestone and with this I have learned that a happy life starts at whatever age you finally grow up and realize that it’s yours to live … not dictated by family nor work.  It’s all mine.

Sure, I am not naive enough to think it will all be smooth sailing here on out.  I have been through too much to believe that.  But I have been through so much already, I know I can get through whatever life throws at me.

I do worry at times, financially I am not in a good place; nor romantically…even professionally.  Could I have accomplished more?  Sure.  I have spent way too many years in the past.  I no longer live there.  I have hibernated enough.  I have compromised enough.  I have sacrificed enough.  Cancer, regret, loss, crisis, compromise, sacrifice – all have changed the course of my ideal life.   I still have many anxious moments – I still work hard each day to keep my fears and demons at bay.  I have learned and accepted that even with the best planning, we are never fully in control of our own destiny. This lessons learned has come with a high price in my life; it’s a benefit that I have been gifted with the act of getting older, being wise, being experienced.  I am fortunate enough to understand that growth in life doesn’t just stop midlife – it’s a continual realigning, reevaluating, realizing, reexamining, renewing, reconnecting, reacquainting and renewing…and loving the alliteration as always … finally relaxing and just accepting me … yes ME.

Learning as I turn 50, there is so much of life to look back on …and there is so much more to do.  I live for all my loved ones who died too young.  I live for me.  Turning 50 is great because I am still here.  I have learned to be my own cheerleader, my own support system.  I am a survivor.  I have found my smile even through my tears.  I fight through any pain, any sadness, any setback.  I look in the mirror and am happy to see wrinkles, even the gray hair and the love handles.  I have earned this life.  I have lived this life.  And I will continue …. with hope in my heart and grace in my step.  #JustT

 


39 More Days

Only 39 days left until Sunday – January 1, 2017!  39!!  I don’t know where the time goes.  Most days, it all seems to pass in a blur … a blur of depression, sadness, hurt, tiredness.  The past two years, I have to admit, has seen me at my most vulnerable in real time and not just via words on my blog.  I have had some heart-to-heart conversations with family and so-called friends who have hurt me or not been there for me in my darkest hours.  I have done a lot of de-cluttering of my life.  I may still be alone, but I am at peace.

I have tried to make each year better but I failed so many times.   I pray that 2017 is it – the biggest year for me yet.  I have been living off the radar, under the bar for so long.  Now I just want to shine bright.  I want to be noticed – I want to be appreciated.

I wish I knew now what I have learned while dealing with the death of so many loved ones back-to-back.  I believe I wouldn’t have lost so many good years due to my mourning.  I put myself in such a dark place, such a sinking hole.

Ironically, I have complained that I had no support system but honestly I realize now how much I cut people out, and how easy immediate family made it for me.  As for new friends, I rarely let new people in my life the past 15 years.  Working hard on trying now.   I need and want people in my life – but worthy, deserving people.  I want to be able to build each other up, not tear each other down.

For so many years, being strong found me pretending to be okay.  I didn’t want to appear weak.  But this pretending came with a very high cost which I am still paying the price.  I shut people out, I lost interest in so many things, I gave up, I let depression and PTSD keep me mired down in grief.  I hid parts of me away.  I would not get really close to anyone.  I kept to myself, isolated.  I didn’t want to be completely vulnerable nor have anyone worry about me.  So today, I have no support system and no one is worried about me.  I guess I ultimately got what I thought I wanted.  Emotional seclusion instead of a complete and utter breakdown is where I have been residing.  And the few times I have let myself be honest, forthcoming, and vulnerable, I have been met with lack of understanding.  So I withdrew even more.

It’s such a cycle.  When a person like me who is already an introvert, keeps everything inside, never fully accepting how messed up I really was, it’s all downhill from there.  I find myself trying so hard to crawl out of the dungeon I found myself in.  Writing has helped me tremendously.  Social media  has helped me as well – I get to be somewhat social without actually investing in friendships too much or sharing true intimacy.   It has provided an outlet – a necessary one.  I need to search and bare my soul.  I need some guidance, acceptance, understanding – even if it at first it appears shallow.  We all need to feel connected.   I’m thankful that social media has brought people back into my life. To me, the past few years have been a rebirth for me – learning how to crawl, walk, talk … all over again.  Now I am more than ready to spread my wings and fly away … with hope in my heart and grace in my step.


My Last Day …

Have been having a terribly long stint of insomnia lately but I have been resting, laying in bed listening to music and prone dancing – yes just made that up.

Heard this beautiful song last in the wee hours of today.  The English lyrics have been translated below – but as most of us know, direct translation never captures the same meaning.  It’s a beautifully stirring song.

As if it were my last day,
I’m going to live with a sincere love
And show those close to me how much I love them.

As if it were my last day,
I’m going to fight for my dreams,
Living without fear and treasuring every minute.
I’m not going to wait until tomorrow because all I have is the present.

If there wasn’t much time, I would stay and take a moment
To show you that I love you and that I am fully content that I have you.
And if your joy depended on me, I would give everything I can to you to make this day the best day in our life.

If this was my last chance to look at you again,
I would make this moment the most important in your memory,
Because in the times of difficulty and stress of this life, we miss the details we later wish we could remember.
And then regret that we’ve forgotten these experiences, and mourn that we cannot recreate them.

If there wasn’t much time, I would stay and take a moment
To show you that I love you and that I am fully content that I have you.
And if your joy depended on me, I would give everything I can to you,
And make this day the best day in our life.

I would enjoy all that God has given me
friends, family and love,
and I’ll make this day the best of my life.


Romantic Gestures … Chivalry is Not Dead!

Now that summer is winding down and my J months of dating are behind me, I can share my notes on what I have learned from my dating experiences the past couple of months.

I have learned that chivalry is not completely dead.  Thank goodness.  I believe I am finally meeting the right people.  I was raised by very traditional parents.  My Dad did everything for my Mom and his four daughters; and my brother was raised to protect us as well, even though he was younger than us – his sisters.

Being the youngest girl and sickly as a child, made my Dad and brother extra protective of me. They wouldn’t let me do much, nor carry anything.  I was exempt from most chores.  I guess that is why I became a voracious reader and enjoy writing.  But I digress.

One thing I grew up loving, was when my Dad and brother always walked closest to the curb, ensuring I was protected from any oncoming traffic, or splashes from cars hitting puddles.   I’ve known men who religiously obey this unwritten rule and those that don’t even know it exists.  Happily, lucky for me, lately, I have met men who are still old-fashioned, chivalrous and true gentlemen.

I have enjoyed the past few weeks.  I have had men open doors for me, carry my bags, hold the umbrella in the rain, take my hand to help me out of the car, give me their jacket as the sun went down, stand as I entered the room, promptly on time, and ensured I arrived home and upstairs safely.  It was refreshing.

I understand that we live in a society where women are fighting to be treated equally and are fiercely independent.  And many of the traditionally gentlemanly acts are lost to so many.  I have heard some women call men sexist for holding doors and even offering seats to them.  Not me.  Sadly, I think many young men are a product of today’s society and many may think they are damned if they do, damned if they don’t.  They don’t want to be considered weak nor whipped.

Yes, women are totally capable of opening their own door. We are also capable of opening a door for a guy. It’s the kind thing to do for others.   I have held the door open for many a people, regardless of their gender.  I have offered my seat to all sorts of people – pregnant women, elderly people, people with many bags, or small children.  When an opportunity arises to encourage, promote, and kindly accept chivalry, why not take it?  Let’s allow more kindness in our lives.  I will continue to allow the men in my life to be slightly old-fashioned, manly and chivalrous while I graciously respond to their actions.

I enjoy my femininity and prefer a masculine man.  I don’t think I am weak nor helpless.  I do like when men make me feel valuable and worthy of respect.  I truly believe that it’s the small things that count in any relationship. Displaying good manners will always earn extra points with me.  I encourage and appreciate male chivalry.  These little things are romantic and sweet gestures as well to me.

When a man walks around me, so he could position himself to be on the outside, closest to the street and curb, makes me smile.  I think it’s cute and somehow shows me he can be reliable.  And I just know that my Dad and brother are smiling down on me from Heaven when I find a man to make me feel as protected as they did.  I am truly thankful for the care and strength that the men in my life have shown me. I am blessed.

And if someone opens a door for me, offers me their seat, or any other chivalrous gesture – I will always smile and politely say, “thank you” … with a twinkle in my eye, grace in my step and hope in my heart.

 

 


Rose Colored Glasses Broken

Well those lingering thoughts I encouraged, wanted – all dissipated truly fast when my Iceland trekking ‘friend’ returned.  All the pretty words turned into false actions and harsh words.  But at the end of it all, after the tears I shed, I am okay.  I know my worth, know what I want, and what I deserve.

Lately, I was feeling in control of my life, despite ups and downs with my every day health leading to some issues at work, but over all I was waking up happy, going to bed exhausted from accomplishing things.  Then I let my guard down, I met someone tall, dark haired, handsome, funny … He appeared great on paper, even loved his family, was close to them, had a long standing job – I let myself go.  I fantasized, I went way out of my comfort level only to learn I don’t want a pot-smoking man in his 50s, who runs away at the first hint of conflict, and who may or may not still be in love with his ex-wife.  I spent the past few days sad, hurt, stung by his harsh words only to realize that I assisted in the demise of the fantasy.  I tested him when I should have just let it go.  I pushed, when I should have just let it go.  I wanted another chance to make it work, to see where it could go, when I should have just let it go.

Learning that I am getting better at seeing people clearly, so as to not waste my time too much.  But even when I knew he wasn’t for me, I tried because when he took my hand those few times, I felt something I haven’t felt in years.  It felt right.  I tried to base a relationship on that.  Yes.  Insanity at its best.  I clearly see that now.  I thought it was something not to be ignored.  But chemistry doesn’t make a relationship.  I logically get this.

Well I finally took my rose colored glasses off, broke them, threw them forever away.  When the very man you thought you were falling for, curses at you, something breaks, and it wasn’t my heart this time, it was expectations.  I tend to expect people to be nice, solely because I am trying so hard to be civil, to be forgiving, to be nice.  Well I no longer want to be the doormat.   I no longer want to be so forgiving, accepting.  That famous adage, “If you can’t change the circumstances, change your perspective” – could not ring any more true this weekend.  

In a relationship, you cannot be the puppeteer. People have their own emotions, behaviors, actions, beliefs, scars, wounds, fears, dreams, and perspectives. They are their own person.  As I am. I so wanted this relationship to be something that it could never be.

When  I meet people, there are certain expectations, like being treated well or being respected. Yet sometimes we find ourselves in relationships that don’t mirror what we anticipate to happen. We may feel hurt or used.  That was where I found myself this past week going into this weekend.

We cannot expect other people to treat us as we would treat them. We cannot assume anything or force change upon someone who clearly demonstrates he or she is stuck in his or her own way.  When someone is incapable of listening, hearing, understanding what I was trying to convey, share, and only managed to twist all into their way of thinking, rejecting me along the way, sure it was hard, but liberating at the same time.  Lessons learned the very hard way…again.  When this man got mad, he was no longer attractive to me.  I felt such a sadness.  I could do nothing but cry.  I think it wasn’t just for my dashed hopes but for him as well,  I could sense a pain in him that I would never reach.  I wanted to hug him and make it all better.  But I can’t keep trying to fix broken people, when I am still broken myself.  I am fully aware of this.  When he cruelly often used the phrase, “sounds like a personal problem” well it was … sadly. 

I am always so afraid of closing off my heart to new things, experiences, people for fear of being let down, disappointed again.  But as I write this, my heart is wide open.  With eyes full of clarity, I am capable of changing the relationships in my life by adjusting my point of view.  Tired of being disappointed.  I have to constantly reevaluate and adjust my expectations.  I can’t assume that people will respond to things as I would; I can’t assume that one will care like I do; just as I can’t assume one thinks in a similar way as I do.

I was living in a brief fantasy land of my hopes, dreams, ideas, beliefs, expectations, and assumptions.  And I was hurting myself most.  Learning how to protect myself more, needing to change my perception from what I hope would happen to being more open to experiences for whatever may actually happen.  It’s hard.  But I know I need to let go of my expectations … with grace in my step, hope in my heart … no more rose colored glasses!


Linger …

Today …  a very new friend of mine is traveling from NYC to Iceland for 14 days and I find myself obsessed with the very thought of him lingering in my mind, in my thoughts, in my random smile.  As I write, think on this, I hear the song, “Linger” by the Cranberries. Signs are everywhere, if you keep your mind and heart open to them.

I always tend to attempt dating each and every summer … and those months starting with the letter J!  Being June already is no different.  What is different is actually believing this may be a real possibility of me finding myself again, of falling in love – that I won’t get bored, distracted, jaded, disillusioned, overwhelmed.  I won’t make excuses, and go back into hibernation.  I am nearing the end of my 40s and I don’t plan on being alone.  I owe it to myself, and to my Michael’s forever love for me to keep moving forward, accepting love, and no more settling.

We all wish to be wanted, desired – I can easily admit that I need it.
We all want to be understood –  I will no longer settle for less.

I have had so many people I love die way too young.  I want to live with purpose, live more fully for them as well as for myself.  Life moves too fast.  In a blink, you can have it all and lose it all as quickly.

This week, I find myself more alive, carefree.  Wanting … wanting not to be alone.

Longing to be held by strong arms. Feel my fingers entwined with another’s.

Living to anticipate a kiss that takes my breath away …  again.
Looking forward to staying awake until the sun rises.

I want to slow down and listen, breathe it all in.

I want to stare into his eyes, get lost in reliving the moments.

I want to be free to be me around him.
I will sit quietly and wonder if he dares to let our lips linger without fully kissing, breathing me in and holding me tight.

I wish time could stop … I wish I could stop time –  so we can linger.
An honest life is made of moments of both good and bad – I fully understand this.  But right this minute, this instance, this small moment in time, I want my conversations with him to linger … and when I sigh, I want him to sigh.

Is this all too much to wish upon? No – already our conversation linger on my lips …  as always with grace in my step, hope in my heart, smile on my lips …

 

 

 


I Feel Empty …

I came across this quote but I do not know who wrote it.  It captures exactly how I am feeling today …

I feel empty
yet so full
of emotion

Like the smallest thing
could push me
off the edge

What do you do
when there’s nothing
but pain
left inside you

And what if everything
we were looking for
only existed
in our
dream

How do you explain
something
you don’t even understand
yourself


You Only Live Once – False!

I came across this post and had to reblog it.  Thank you Aeron Elizabeth!

You only die once!
It was meant to be funny,
but I found truth in the words.
I don’t want to just live every day.
I want to give my angels a show to enjoy!
Joyce Meyer said something cute,
“The 20 angels watching over you sure are bored to death when you
go about living each day like it’s another ordinary day.”
Exactly.
Each day is a gift.
Don’t let “The Joy Thief” steal it away!
Get up in the morning telling yourself,
I am going to make this the best day!
I am going to overflow with joy, love, happiness, excitement,
even if I just go to the grocery store!
I will not let anyone steal my joy!
We have only ONE life to live!
Every day is another chance to give it all you got!
Living, breathing, going after your dreams, making a difference!
Find the beauty in each day.
It will become a habit.
Make your angels dance for joy.
Give them a show.
 photo 1b88a4c6-1ece-4940-b3b4-9682ee6452e9_zps395bafe1.jpg

Frozen With Fear …

I just learned that I have a new phobia – as if I wasn’t a mess enough as is: Pagophobia is an intense, irrational fear of ice and frost. I am irrationally afraid of slipping on ice and breaking something – especially my right arm and hand.  I can’t afford to break it again – it just will never heal.  After three years of being bit by a car, and over of year of mending, rehabilitation, I still only have 70% mobility in my right, used to-be dominant arm.

Wow!  The total number of days between Monday, January 14th, 2013 and Thursday, January 28th, 2016 is 1,109 days.  This is equal to 3 years and 14 days.  I don’t want to lose anymore time, days to being afraid.

I am grateful that I am not completely paralyzed by my fears of falling.  I still manage to get outside, but I get so anxious, uncomfortable, slightly nauseous; I start perspiring, breathing heavier, walk slower …

I have learned that some people with this phobia have it severe.  They refuse to leave their house when ice or frost is outside.  Heard of a person who was so severely phobic that they couldn’t look at ice cubes or ice cream, buy frozen food, venture out in the snow or cope with ice crunch sounds like egg shells and crisps.

pagophobia

Lucky for me,  I still enjoy ice cream, and love ice even in my coffee.   I am grateful for these small pleasures and indulgences.  Life truly is too short to worry about falling … come spring time.

As if I didn’t have enough issues – mentally, emotionally and physically … moving forward … albeit slowly until spring time …with grace in my step and hope in my heart!


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