If you could have the ability to see into the future, to see how things are going to turn out as the result of any given choice, would you want to? Would you want the ability to predict the future? This could be a handy skill, preventing you from taking that one route thereby avoiding that accident that resulted in your car being totaled. It could be a terrifying skill, particularly if you were unable to alter the future events by what you did in the present. I’m not sure I’d like having this ability. I think part of the growth as an individual comes from experiencing the struggle without knowing the outcomes. If we knew for sure everything would be okay or would not be, we might have a tendency to give up completely. Continue reading
Back To The Future
My Facebook feed is flooded with Back to the Future memes showing Marty McFly and the October 26/October 21 dates in the time machine. Tonight my husband and I (what?!) watched the first movie in the Back to the Future series. It was showing here in Lithuania (Double what?! Wait! Whoa! Back up!).
Okay, looks like I need to start over, rewind, back up a bit. If you read my last post and paid attention to the date, you noticed it was written over three years ago. If you checked out this blog at all, you found that I started writing here in 2008. If you spent any time perusing posts, or if you’ve been a follower of this blog, you know that The Wild Mind is not married. And she does NOT live in Lithuania, instead she lives in a small rural city in the southern part of the Pacific Northwest. In fact, if you know anything about The Wild Mind at all in real life you know that there is no way she would ever be able to get out of her small rural location to travel the world. Not with her expenses. Not with her situation. Not with her job. Not with her kids. Continue reading
5 Lessons Learned From My 3-Year-Old Self
Just yesterday,it seems, I was three, toddling around my grandparents’ property in Idaho; following my grandfather everywhere and chasing the neighbors chickens from across the road. These were happy, carefree days. I was surrounded by people I loved, in a location I loved, doing the things I loved, whatever that is at three, and nothing in my world was amiss. I looked forward to each moment. In fact, I was too busy enjoying each moment I had no concern for the next. My old mind now recalls those happy times as the endless days of summer. There were no rainy days both literally and figuratively.
Fast forward 50 years and the landscape dramatically shifts. I’m no longer three, no longer quite so carefree. My free-spirited happy-go-lucky three-year-old self morphed into a middle-aged woman with worries. There are wonderful summer days aplenty in my 50-year-old life. There are also many, many overcast and rainy days too.
When did I grow up? When did I take on the responsibilities and cares that fill my days? How and when did I lose that sense of existing only for the moment without worrying about or anticipating the next? Continue reading
Invictus…or I Decide My Response To The Darkness
I watched the movie, Invictus, last night…for the second time. No, I’m not going to review the movie, nor am I here to wax political about Nelson Mandela. The poem, and the movie, resonated with me on deeper levels, more personal levels, for reasons of my own which are far removed from the movie.
Here is the poem:
Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.
Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.
It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll.
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.
~ William Ernest Henley
Old Dogs and Spinning Plates
Some people are simply amazing in their ability to accomplish a ton of stuff in less time that it takes most of us to get dressed. You have people in your life like this, I’m sure. Maybe you are one of them.
For me, back in college, it was the sorority sisters who could hold an office in our house (a demanding and time consuming leadership position often requiring additional meetings outside our own membership meetings), work, hold student body leadership positions on campus, carry a 4.0 GPA in a fairly rigorous academic course of study (or maybe even two) and still manage to have a social life.
Currently, it is those folks who can juggle more things and accomplish more things in a day than I can even think about. I’m a plodder. I’m a deliberate person. I have to plan then I can do. I’m great as long as I don’t stretch myself too thin, but once stretched things start, well, falling apart. I can only keep so many plates spinning in the air for so long.
I’ve never been one of those people. When overbooked, I tended to crash and burn…or I felt like it from my perspective.
Things are different these days.
Currently, I’ve exceeded my limits, both in terms of number of plates spinning and the duration of the spins on each plate.
In short, I’m kind of surprising myself. I’m overbooked and I’m not crashing and burning. I’m flying. Okay, tonight I’m hobbling, but most of the time it is more like flying than hobbling so I can’t complain.
I love to work hard and have my game on.
I love to play hard and enjoy doing nothing related to work in the off times.
(I’ve been accused of not liking to go to work. This is so not true. I love the work I do. I simply hate the process of waking up every day!)
And today, after an especially long day, where I slept fitfully, at best, the night before, I am glad to be home. I am glad to be done. I am also glad to have done it all, and I am pleased to have done it well.
Tonight, I finished the seventh night of working with parents.
My computer froze during the presentation. (Last week’s presentation was even more humorous, but that’s for another time and place.) I had no presentation for the last half hour of the session and had to wing it once again thanking my experience in debate and theater for helping me to get through without appearing flustered though I felt very flustered.
My body cramped up and I could hardly stand. (I’m an ex-theater person so I can fake it through almost anything and I did tonight.)
All that, after a day with kids who have no idea the weather is gloomy and are experiencing Spring Fever anyway, in order to come home to more of the same with my own four children. (Who by the way, really were amazing when I got home tonight.)
My body hurts. (Starting up a workout routine can really bite.)
But I read feedback forms from my presentation that were positive and encouraging in spite of the glitches I experienced.
It all goes to show that things are not always what they seem.
Things you might think are bad are not always unpleasant.
And sometimes, we are quite capable of surprising ourselves.
This is why I will always believe that old dogs can learn new tricks if the dog is motivated enough to do so.
Sometimes, it just feels downright good to step out of the comfort zone and attempt something, to risk failing, to succeed instead, and to simply enjoy how good it feels to have done what you set out to do, in spite of frozen computers, aching bodies and too many spinning plates.
I do not feel like this today.
I do not feel like this today.
I do not feel like this today.
The reason is because when I tried to do this:
I ended up with a wonderful (to me) post about my upcoming high school graduation. And then somewhere between writing it, proofing it, reworking it and looking for pictures for it (who would think finding pictures of my small home town back in the 80’s would be so tough?) I decided against posting it. I had second thoughts. Something inside me said wait a day or two. Something else inside of me shrieked, “But I need a post today!”
Now, I am out of this:
And I have so many of these:
My writing time expired long ago and my day is mostly gone. My butt hurts and as any good writer knows, no good writing happens with a sore butt. I must give it up for today.
Further, Number 3 still wants to go to the skate park. I still need to work out. Fortunately, I have dinner figured out for tonight. I won’t be getting that load or two of stuff to the Goodwill today, I’m afraid. Did I mention I haven’t showered in a long, long time, like days. I can’t remember…
I’ll just have to try again tomorrow, because I promised Number 3, I’d take him to skate park if the weather is good. The weather is good and a promise is a promise.
Some days are just like this, I guess.
Elton John, Weather, and Oops! There Goes The Last of My Sun
“Don’t let the sun go down on me”…
I can hear those words now just as I heard them during the summers of my childhood blaring out of the community swimming pool loudspeakers. I haven’t heard them in a while. Those old Elton John lyrics are running through my mind this morning. Southern Oregonians this last week experienced a beautiful week of sunny weather in the high 60’s to mid 70’s. It was a definite precursor to the wonderful sunny and dry weather we usually enjoy during our summers. Contrary to popular folklore, not all parts of Oregon are soaked in rain most of the year. I live in one of the sunnier regions. Less populated for sure, but it’s worth the wonderful warm dry summers and mild winters and the year round outdoor activities we enjoy.
This morning, however, the weather abruptly changed. Lower temps and some rain welcomed me upon waking. I figure now is probably as good a time as any (and probably long overdue) for me to reveal my last three picks for the Sunshine Award.
There is one particular blogger I especially enjoy. She’s the first I check on my iPhone, when I do have time to check and won’t risk being interrupted. She’s an excellent writer and she’s set the bar for me in writing, blogging, and enduring all of life’s craziness in stride. Hopefully a stiletto adorned stride, but in stride none the less. She’s an amazing person and if it fits within the parameters of the Sunshine Award to receive it twice then BigLittleWolf at Big Little Wolf’s Daily Plate of Crazy gets it from me for sure! C’mon, she should win the award for her blog title alone, but read her stuff. She writes daily and it is never the same ole, same ole. I love this woman.
Next on the list is a fun foodie mom with a big blog I like to visit called, The Kitchen Witch. She cracks me up and, well, one of these days I’ll try one of her recipes…maybe. Those burgers she had posted today looked pretty delish. I’d rather use her personal chef services but, well, post divorce finances and all, I’m going to have to just suck it up and learn to cook. Ugh. But seriously, go check her out if you haven’t already. The picture on her blog is hysterical! Are you kidding me? Who would think to do that? Props for that! I think TKW already got this award from someone somewhere but WTH she’s getting it again.
The third source of sunshine for me on this day (oh, my the sun really is coming out again!) is a new blog for me. Not a single mom blog, but definitely a fun read is Gabrielle at The Wifey Blogs. She’s funny, and takes me back to the days when my own children were young. She’s starting out on some amazing adventures in her young married life and you can read about it all at her blog. She’s also got an amazing blog roll so when you get done reading Gabrielle’s stuff you can go visit the many other amazing bloggers she’s listed there. I intend to do just that, even though for me it could take thousands of years and cost millions of lives.
So, that wraps it up for the Sunshine Awards, for me, anyway. Whew! Now, blog friends and award winners, go spread your own bit of sunshine by awarding this award to ten other bloggers of your choosing. I look forward to visiting you and those wonderful sunny bloggers you pick. Enjoy the sun while it lasts!
Awards, Recognition, Reality & Paying It Forward
Sometimes life is funny and when you least expect it, it happens. Whatever “it” is.
I was gifted with my first blog award by my friend Amber over at Making The Moments Count. To be honest, she completely blew me away with this! She awarded me with The Sunshine Award. She mentions in her post that I pose questions that make her think. I’m pleased that what I write resonates at some level with someone. On a more personal and direct level, thank-you, Amber for letting me know in such an affirming and public way that my Random Musings means something to you. Your appreciation means more to me than the award itself. Thank you!
I’ve long desired to be recognized as a blogger, but I’ve also been realistic in my thinking. I don’t have the time available to me each day to really do the kind of consistent search engine optimized writing every day that I need to be doing in order to really be an award winning blogger. This post is likely a good example of what I’m talking about as I’m writing it at nearly 11 in the evening after a full day at work with kids and then a full evening at home with my own children. I won’t edit effectively, I know. I get that I can’t devote all my time to blogging and it shows. I’m also not so certain I am the next J.K. Rowling or John Grisham of the blogging world. So be it. I have to write to please me instead of for other reasons at this time of my life. I’d given up whatever fleeting hope I had of being recognized in the blogosphere. And then…Amber.
I’m so honored that I was noticed and recognized by another bloggy friend in spite of the fact that I can only visit and comment sporadically on her posts (or anyone else’s for that matter these days). I am especially amazed that I received it given that I don’t write daily and blogging is such an “if you write it they will come” sort of endeavor.
Amber has given me the gift of a positive recognition for something I do that she appreciates. When she gave out the award, she didn’t just say I was great or that she loved my stuff. She specifically named what I did that meant something to her.
Think kids or dogs are the only ones who appreciate some positive recognition and attention? No way! I’ve basked privately in this one for the last week (or has it been longer?) since she awarded it. It means something to me. It means something to me to know that something I thought and took the effort to put in print resonated with someone else. It especially means something to me that it resonated with Amber, because when I read her blog, I read myself, 19 years ago or maybe 17, with two young girls and I feel all the same things all over again. Mostly the fatigue! I’m so grateful I could impact her life positively if only to question, to challenge, to stimulate thinking, because I sure can’t help with babysitting, though, if we lived closer together, I’d certainly be glad to help!
Paying It Forward
Amber received something from my writing and she paid it forward by letting me know. Now it is my turn to pay ten other bloggers the compliment. I will be paying it forward in the next few days (I am preparing for a big presentation at a state conference while also preparing for a professional development class for educators next week so, please, be patient).
Further, I’m going to encourage my readers to consider paying it forward positively as well. Have you had someone do something or say something that mattered to you in the last week or month. Has someone done something or demonstrated some quality or skill that you admire? Has someone made your life better, easier, more joyful in some way? I encourage you to take a moment and let them know. It could be that the positive response from you is just the thing they need to hear at just the right moment.
If it matters to you…if it resonated with you…if it made you think or impacted you …won’t you let the person know? I’m certain they’d appreciate knowing that their contribution to this thing we call life didn’t go unnoticed.
Fun vs. Duty
I’m crazy busy these days doing what I consider to be a number of very fun things. The time it is taking away from my writing, however, is less than fun. As I was pondering this minor dilemma I began thinking how much of our society panders to our desire for self-gratification. We want our needs met in relationships. We want to be fulfilled in our careers. We want to be entertained and amused. We work all year to blow our money on once-in-a-lifetime vacations that we take year after year. We leave marriages because we’ve simply fallen out of love. We ask, “What’s in it for me?”
What are your thoughts?
Are we a hedonistic society that panders to the pleasurable? Do we look for the easy way out? Has duty disappeared with disco?
I’m working on a post that further elaborates on this topic and I’d sure like to know what you think. (Yes! You!)
Soap Operas, Harlequin Romances, and Heavy Drugs
There are some things that have never been a draw for me. Soap operas, Harlequin romance novels and heavy drugs (or even really mild ones, for that matter) have never posed any particular temptation for me. Even so, I remember the words from one of the soaps my mother, or maybe it was the babysitter, used to watch: “As sands through the hour glass, so are the Days of Our Lives”.
Sand, hours, days, lives, soaps, romances and heavy drugs. It’s an impressive lineup don’t you think?
Most of my childhood occurred during the seventies when there was a real emphasis on educating children about the dangers of drug use. Fat lot of good that did any of us! Sadly, all that well intentioned tax money was wasted on me. I had, after all, the very best, real life, hands on drug awareness experience a child could have. I had someone in my own home overdose, get hauled out on a stretcher (yes, picture three wide-eyed children under the age of eight, two bewildered and alarmed parents, large medical emergency vehicles with lights flashing, watching the live-in babysitter get hauled off on a stretcher). Take one wild guess which of those three children was tasked with trying to awaken the body that had already slipped into a drug induced coma. That’d be me.
No. Drugs, even in an effort to satiate my deep seated need to be accepted, approved of, and mostly to belong, never ever posed even the slightest temptation to me.
This is easy. Force something on a child all the years they are growing up and, well, chances are they will either acquiesce and adopt the thing or they will rebel. I had soap operas and TV and noise going on all throughout my childhood. I think this had something to do with having an aging father and two other siblings and living in a home where conversation and opinions and even dissension were not only tolerated, but welcomed. I rebelled against the TV and noise but retained a love for all things passionate and articulate especially if they tend toward the nonconformist. After leaving home, I never watched an episode of any of the daytime or nighttime soaps, I loathe TV except for the express and planned purpose of vegging out because I am so overwhelmed and just need to turn my mind off. If given the choice to stay in and watch a movie or something on television, I will opt to read a book, do something in the yard, surf the net, take my dog for a walk, invent cryptic status updates to annoy all my friends on Facebook (who haven’t yet hidden me) with, or write. But, lately, I don’t have time for even that. Lies! I’ll always make time for the status update messages, because, well, now I has iPhone!
This is a bit more convoluted because I love romance. I love the idea of it. I love the feel of it. I love the hope and passion it can inspire. But really? If you’ve read one Harlequin romance novel, you’ve read them all. Give me something along the lines of Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities, or Dumas’ The Man in the Iron Mask, or even the much more recent and sadly deceased, Stieg Larsson’s The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo trilogy and I’m all in, but a Harlequin romance. Ugh. Yawn. Not a draw for me.
A Rehabilitated Internet Dating Junkie
In posts past, I’ve alluded to the fact, correction, I point blank declared, that I was an internet dating junkie. I was. I admit it. I was successful with it too, if you consider being able to get dates with attractive, intelligent, employed men by merely posting a profile successful. If the truth be told, I am still meeting and getting to know people that I “met” and began corresponding with online, over two years ago. My social calendar is exceptionally full these days and I haven’t had an online profile anywhere for months. Okay, I lied, I tried out OKCupid.com and Zoosk on Facebook because I have several friends on Facebook that are dating coaches and, well, curiosity killed the cat. They suggested, I bit. I’m over it now. I was on each of those for two weeks, met one person in person who is fabulously interesting, but I could quickly ascertain that I neither have the interest or desire or energy to get back into the online dating thing. Screening profiles, deleting winks, and wading through thousands of misspelled, poorly punctuated and horribly written profiles is, well, a lot like reading a Harlequin romance. When you’ve read one…
Temptations and Time~Living Life in Face to Face World
The days of our lives can slip away from us like sand pouring through the narrowest portion of the hourglass. The sand at the top appears untouched, but the sand at the bottom is fighting desperately to comply with gravity’s demands. Eventually, the entire lot of it cascades into the bottom portion of the hourglass. This seems an appropriate analogy for much of life.
For me, spending time in fantasy land like soap opera world, internet dating, drug use or reading Harlequin’s is just not something I want to do. The false and superficial have never attracted me. Give me an authentic disagreement (done respectfully, I hope) over a false veneer of cheery friendship any day. When it comes to internet anything, it is so easy to hide, to disguise, to pretend, to escape. This, I’m learning, is a temptation that can be very deceptive. After all the internet comfortably keeps people at a distance. You can connect, without really ever having to connect. Don’t want to talk to someone, just show up in stealth mode or “unfriend” them. It’s the convenience of digital relationship. Besides, who wouldn’t love to recreate themselves (if even for a few minutes) into something that only mildly portends a resemblance to the reality, or disappear into a relationship that holds the promise of the upside (fun, flirty, romantic and non-invasive) of relationship without any of the downside (how the heck are we going to decide which side of the bed you’ll be sleeping on? And why do I have to make room in my closet for you?).
I’m also learning that this kind of relating, while useful for providing some entertainment value and escapist fun, does not really work for me. I’m not twenty something anymore. A few years back, I had to renew my driver’s license. My picture, is awful, as most of them are. Mine was especially bad, because as I was going through the renewal process I was crying. I was aging, caught in a nightmare at that time I felt I could not escape and I truly thought my life was over. My outlook is so different today.
I’m still aging. I can’t do much about that. I ended the nightmare the best way I could, but I ended it. The fallout from that has not been easy but life is good. I’m meeting many fabulous new people through the adventures I’m having with the friends I already know in my face-to-face world. Some of the digital relationships have bridged the gap from being merely digital to actually tangible, and, while romance isn’t running rampant in my life like weedy vines overtaking my garden, some very valuable and wonderful friendships have developed. I’m busier than ever with work opportunities in an area where people are struggling to hold onto their homes after losing their jobs. I’m meeting people in my community that I enjoy spending time with and who, while very different from me, are a source of friendship and camaraderie. I’m healthier than I was at the start of the year, in every sense of that word, and I like it. I’m busier than I’ve ever been and yet, less stressed and more content. I find all of this slightly ironic, but I’m not going to look a gift horse in the mouth by over-analyzing it.
I’m simply going to ride this horse where ever it will take me.
After all, life is short. Far too short and far too valuable to allow it to disappear into the meaningless, the shallow, the pain-dulling fantasy escapes that come in so many forms whether, digitally digested, inhaled, injected or imbibed.