Living Your Best Life at Any Age

Archive for May, 2017

Mood Indigo Blues

You ain’t never been blue; no, no no

You ain’t never been blue,

Till you’ve had that mood indigo. 

That feelin goes stealin down to my shoes 

You know what it is.  The pits, the gloomies, down in the dumps.  Rolled up in a ball on the bathroom floor.  In bed, covers over you head.  Or maybe you are the outdoor type and you howl at the moon or scream into the wind.

Nothing in your life is right. Nothing will ever be right.  I call it my 3 am darkness of the soul. It doesn’t help to know that everyone goes through it sometimes.  You also will chew someone’s head off if they tell you platitudes like “It’s not that bad.” or “It will get better.”  That was not what you want to hear.  Not now anyway.

I also like to refer to the book Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible Very Bad Day in which Alexander keeps repeating after one more misadventure, “I think I’ll move to Australia.”  It ends with Alexander acknowledging: “Some days are like that, even in Australia.”  And they are.

There are books galore on how to get past this.  But right now you really don’t want to.  You WANT to wallow.  You deserve to wallow.  We all do deserve some wallow time.  Never mind that EVERYONE on Facebook is having a WONDERFUL time.  Every one is.  Really!

I  am not here to tell you what to do. I am not here to give you platitudes. I am merely here to tell you that it is ok.  It is ok to wallow, scream, sniff and cry.  Sometimes that is all there is.  When you are ready for more, you will find it.

In the meantime, just get down with that feelin that goes stealin down to your shoes.  Some days are like that.  Even in  . . . .

Australia, or, or or.

crying

OK, this is not crying but laughing as a whole drink had just been spilled on me.  Great beginning to a cruise.

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A nostalgic trip back to a time that never was

On a recent sunny day I ventured out to a place back in time.  Fifty years ago (FIFTY?) I was a new teacher in the small logging town of Snoqualmie and today seemed like a perfect day to visit the famous Snoqualmie falls.  Yes, a perfect trip back in time.  Except I quickly remembered that the entire school year and even though my little school was less than a mile from the falls, I had never actually gone to see the falls when I was teaching.  Too busy.  Too concerned about  learning a new job.  Too sick from all the new bugs you get when working with children.  So yes, I was going to take a trip back in time to a place I didn’t visit when I was there.

Oh I have been to the falls over the years.  The first time was a birthday brunch at the famous Snoqualmie Falls Lodge where I was given a t shirt that something like “40 isn’t old if you’re a tree”.  Funny to think at the time we thought forty was old.  Oh you young things.  I also went to the falls a last year with my grandson.  We even found the school and I could point out the room where the young Mrs. Quirk taught.

Rather than take the freeway, I decided to follow the road that I drove those many years ago.  It looked much the same.  Trees, mountains and lakes don’t change a lot — even in fifty years.  A good reminder.  Most of the houses even looked the same with an interspersing of new development.  The traffic circles where new, however and shot me off in the wrong direction but otherwise the trip was pretty much the same.  Twenty miles to another place in time.

The falls are spectacular.  The old lodge has been replaced by a more luxurious hotel and spa but the scenery remains.  I took what was supposed to be a half mile walk that was really a mile and a half and a steep elevation change.  (39 stories according to my fitbit)

Along the walk, I wondered why I had never been on this trail.  Why had I not enjoyed this spectacular scenery and been refreshed by the mist from the falls.  Then I wondered how many other times I had missed enjoying my surroundings because I was too busy, too concerned, too everything.  What adventures were right there for the partaking.

I returned from my adventure with sore knees, a refreshed spirit, and a renewed sense of awe. Can I live my days now enjoying the sights, sounds and smells that are right there?  I hope so.

falls

Sometimes “I got nothing” can be a good thing

Update:  This was written two years ago   It is amazingly prescient as I sit here wanting to revive my blog.  

“I got nothing”.  That was how I opened a recent speech.  Seriously – I had nothing.

Let me put it into some context.  I attended a speech workshop.  I wanted some ideas for becoming a better speaker and along the way gleaning some gems for new topics.  Little did I know my mind would go completely blank and that that could be a good thing.

We started the day with our previously prepared speeches and mine was pretty good, I’d say.  The presenter called it “sweet”.  I’ve never ever been called sweet.  No idea what that meant.

Then we spent the next several hours learning new techniques.  Mainly techniques for connecting with an audience.  Good information.  I probably will figure out a way to use it – some time, some day.

Then it was practicum time.  We were given 20 minutes to prepare a four minute speech.  No problem, I can do this.  Except I couldn’t.

I drew a blank.  Oh I had a story or two but no way to weave them together and they had no point.  Yes I was being genuine and talking about how I really felt but I honestly had the feeling there was no there there.  There was no topic, no organization.  Nothing.

We gathered to hear each other’s speeches.  I still had nothing.  I am now looking for divine guidance.  Still nothing.

The first four speakers were outstanding.  I mean they were professional paid speakers.  They had wow.   I still had nothing.

Ah, the clock is now my friend.  The workshop is almost over.  I could get out of speaking.  Not only that, but now I had my answer – I am not a speaker and I don’t want to be.  I got clarity.  Oh, really?

I approached the presenter and told him that since we were running out of time, I would forgo my presentation.  After all, I have nothing.

He didn’t let me off the hook.  He told me that I would be the next speaker and I was to get on stage and talk about the fact that I had nothing.  He said “Talk about having nothing and what that feels like”.     “Even if for only one minute.”

I walked up the stairs to the stage, across the stage to the lectern with a huge grin and waved at the audience acting like a big deal celebrity keynote speaker.  The joke was on them, they would soon learn that I had nothing.

And that’s what I opened my speech with.  “I have nothing.”   Laughter.  “No, I really mean it, I have nothing.”  This time they believed me and looked at me with pity.  They were about to see what happens when a speaker draws a blank.

Except I didn’t.  I explained that my theme was starting over – how to reinvent yourself.  Then I shared a few of the stories I had planned to show how I had started over.  Stories told from the heart with real emotion for me.  I even told a story I had never told before – even to myself.  I was drawing them in.

All the time my mouth was moving, my brain was trying to figure out how to tie it together and come to a conclusion.  I was seeking divine guidance once again.  There must be conclusion, a lesson, here somewhere.

And come together it did.  I talked about that sometimes when you are starting over you have to go to an empty place.  A place of nothing. I realized that “I got nothing” was my way of opening myself up to new realizations.

They go it!  They really did.

I learned that sometimes nothing can become something.  That when you just let yourself trust, knowing it’s inside you all the time you will find your way.  You will find the next step.

So the challenge to you is to sometimes let yourself start with nothing.  Trust that something is there and believe in yourself.  Take a risk and step out on that stage.

Stay tuned.

 

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