Leave The Door Open

This video stayed with me.  The changing aspect of love’s reality.  What we’re sure we define as love when our notebooks are covered with hearts and initials inside them, notes are passed and love songs are written expressly for you.  Believing that it lasts forever, when one really has no concept of what that means.  Love in later years, with fewer illusions and more complications, yet felt with a deeper understanding of the rapidity with which time passes.  Learning to stay in love and learning to let go should one need to.  Remembering to keep the door open to the possibility that it will return in a different form, with a different song and open arms.  Let love in – however you define it.

It’s All About The Plot

“Become major…Live like a hero.  That’s what the classics teach us.  Be a main character.  Otherwise what is life for?” — J.M. Coetzee

I’ve been thinking a lot about transitions lately.  My friends who are encountering detours and re-routes that they hadn’t anticipated.  Bumps that feel like moguls on one of the Olympic ski runs.  The kinds of change that can leave your posture skewed and your jaw clenched to the point of pain.  Jo told me that she thought transitions were easier when we were younger.  Perhaps.  Perhaps we just weren’t aware of what part of our story we were in the middle of – innocence is a wonderful thing.  But when you get a bit older, when the time comes that you realize that this is in fact the story line in which you are the focal character, perspective changes a bit.  We spend so much of our life planning our next chapters – even when they don’t turn out the way we thought they would.

As a child, I remember feeling that I just couldn’t wait for life to start – I couldn’t wait to be able to ride with the experienced riders; couldn’t wait to be double digits.  As a newly-minted teen, I couldn’t wait until I could wear Yardley’s cake eyeliner.  Then I couldn’t wait until I was legal.  Anticipation in my twenties – to be a mom, be seen as an adult (and be forgiven for transgressions that were a result of not knowing what I was doing as an adult), have my own home.  The thirties brought confirmation that though I no longer had the excuse of being a novice grown-up, I had fertile years to dig into this life I was creating without boundaries or barriers.  Perhaps in my forties it began to wear a little thin, but not so much so that my mind was reluctant to keep moving ahead, anticipating next steps with energy and spirit.

Somewhere along the way, I realized that looking forward no longer held the same thrill.  And despite the gratitude (which accompanies most things for me), there lingers questions about legacy and lasting impressions, an awareness that looking forward diminishes the present and quite frankly, too much future-thinking just makes me anxious.  I can write a chapter, but I’m not prepared for the story to end.

And perhaps that is why these transitions get so damn tricky.  Our emotional muscles aren’t as supple; we have seen enough to hesitate – able now to determine the degree of difficulty associated with our next move.

There is a certain grace in such awareness though.  To be able to be engaged with life and observe it simultaneously.  Moving thoughtfully enough that you don’t miss a cardinal on a snow filled branch or the sound the wind makes right before it blows through your hair.  Arriving at a point where you know what matters more often than not, and staying that course.  Transitions may not get easier as we get older, the choices may change in scope and size, but we are each, still the author.  And I for one, think my story is damn good.

When In Doubt – Be Grateful

“You have brains in your head.

You have feet on your shoes.

You can steer yourself in any direction you choose.

You’re on your own and you know what you know.

You are the guy who’ll decide where to go” — Dr. Seuss

Today for reasons I don’t fully understand, everything seems complicated to me.  Attribute it to lack of sleep, the relentless beating of the rain on the roof, the aches and pains that seem to accompany me uninvited with greater regularity these days.  Decisions are playing hide-and-seek in my head (so I’m choosing not to play, for I hate that game), the banal rituals that provide an outline for my day seem purposeless and silly (ok, brushing one’s teeth is always a good thing).  So, I’ve decided to write about these last three months or so and see if it can help define my day’s path – even if it’s temporary – something that produces more than my frustration with the NY Times Sunday crossword puzzle.

I started blogging because I was curious to see what would come out of this crazy head of mine, because I now had the time to pursue alternatives which had piqued my interest in the past and because I am driven by this nauseatingly neurotic need to make a difference.  Let me clarify – a positive difference.  When I was working, so many people encouraged me to write a book – I’m not sure that will happen.  Blogging seemed like a logical step towards exploring the feasibility of publishing.  I could see if a) I was entertaining enough, b) had a message worth sharing and c) had the discipline to do it.  I’m still not sure I have these answers, but I am truly enjoying this experience even though I will likely never be a candidate for ‘freshly pressed’ (not sarcastic or wry enough, don’t use enough media links in my posts and arguably may not write well enough either).  But – in less than three months, over 2600 people have checked me out (figuratively speaking of course), some incredibly smart people have commented on my entries with cogent, inspiring wisdom (family and friends exempted ’cause they’re already pretty awesome) and I am slowly beginning to find my uncensored voice about work, life, leadership etc – I can only imagine what will flow from these keys once I feel my own personal FCC beginning to fade into the distance.

I have learned that there is so much friggin’ talent out there, that I’m humbled to be part of a circle of people who truly question and opine with thought and humor.  I don’t know any of you, and yet I look feverishly for your responses every time I put up a post.  And you never disappoint.  Every time someone ‘likes’ a post, I feel like Sally Field during her ridiculous Oscar acceptance speech (“You like me!  You really like me!”).  When I see a comment, I feel the same anticipation as I did when I used to get my report card in elementary school (that’s when the comments were kinder, but for the standard reminder that I’d learn more if I socialized less).

Specifically, there are bloggers who have kept me going, totally unaware that their generosity, opinions, and ‘atta boys’ were providing me with commitment to this exercise when my spirits began to flag.  These are people you should read – for their originality, entertaining perspectives, experience and life stories.  Props to them all – and my abundant thanks for keeping me engaged in this process as I figure out where I want to go next.  Here’s my list of tremendous writers – I hope you take the time to check out their sites:  kungfuleadership; manage better now; david kanigan – lead.learn.live; misunderstood genius; greg blencoe; rlagee; business coach steve; girl on the contrary; the good greatsby; where’s my T-back and other stories; never contrary and the middlest sister.  I could go on – there’s truly some terrific talent on WordPress.  But I know what I know and I said what I meant/Your talents inspire me 100 per cent.

That you for your shout outs on Twitter, your encouragement and ability to remind me of the beauty and insanity on this little planet of ours.  I feel like I have found an invisible, yet powerful cohort group, as understanding and accepting as my friends and family.  People who understand that on days like this, sometimes all one needs to do is breathe – and be aware of all there is for which to be grateful.  Consider yourself counted.