Archive for 2012

Word-drunk…

August 7th, 2012 | Josie

“You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.”  ~Ray Bradbury

 

It never ceases to amaze me how quickly we allow the worries and tedium of our day to day lives sap the joy of things we once loved. 7 years ago I retreated to writing almost nightly… sometimes just a quick sentence or two about a random thought-provoking idea I’d had that day, more often a long and emotional treatise on the melodrama that my life seemed perpetually prone to at that period. Whatever I was writing, be it understated or over the top, I lost myself in the words.

 

Lately, I don’t make the time to write. I find myself lost in the stressful world of the “adult:” I spend hours obsessing over numbers and figures, trying to make the pieces of the puzzle make a picture of financial stability. I expend untold amounts of energy on the problems of my friends and family, doing what I can to help and worrying about what I can’t do. I perseverate on my weight, my looks, my career, my relationships, my general lack of inner peace. I try to patch up the disharmony with buzz words like “yoga” and “date-night,” never taking a moment to realize that what I’m missing aren’t the buzz words, but the words themselves. I’m not suggesting that investing some emotional energy into a yoga practice or a healthy relationship is wasted effort, but it does warrant a moment of pause: why am I spending my time and energy to cultivate an emotional outlet for my stress while my ultimate outlet lies collecting dust at the back of my cluttered list of priorities?

The life in your years…

March 20th, 2012 | Josie

“We turn not older with years, but newer every day.”~Emily Dickinson

 

My dad told me a story when I was young: when his own mother turned twenty-five, he bought her an old glass rose and gave it to her as a birthday present, because it was an antique, just  like her. Twenty-five sounded indescribably old when I was ten, so of course I saw the logic in his childish thinking. I distinctly remember at that age being unable to really envision myself beyond the year 2000, which at the time was only three years away. Later, at the oh-so-mature age of sixteen, I had trouble grasping life beyond high school outside of the fantastical idea that was “college,” impossibly distant for an angsty teen.  Even when I reached that echelon of adulthood that is college graduation, I really couldn’t wrap my mind around the idea of what came next. Sure I had plans, goals, dreams… but they were fuzzy hopes of what I thought the world could be, what I might be if I could just see the outlines a little more clearly.

Now that the monumental  day has come and gone, I have to admit that twenty-five is distinctly anti-climactic. Aside from a few grey hairs (that I think I’m still to young to actually have, despite my husband’s insistence that they exist or the proof I see in my own mirror), I don’t feel any different than I did a year ago, or even five. Now that I have reached the age that my father once called antique, I realize how young I truly am… I look at my sisters, 18 and 20, and think how young they are, even though I know they feel so mature. They have so much more living, so much more learning to do, and I do, too. I’ve learned so much in the past quarter of a century… I’ve loved and I’ve lost, I’ve been hurt and I’ve hurt others beyond imagining. I started the career of my dreams, only to find I loathed the work. I took a job I thought had no future, and have found my future in it after all. I’ve done all the right things and been in all the wrong places, just to find that everything I never knew I wanted was waiting for me where I least expected it. I married a wonderful man, and faced the trials of terrible and unexpected illness with him. I’ve defended my decision to marry young, and struggled with the desire for a family versus the comfort of financial stability. Charlie and I have fought and made up, been silly and cried (sometimes in the same breath), and oft times I still find myself amazed to wake up next to him every morning.  I feel as if I have grown into a woman so full of love and life I might burst, an amazing feat for a girl who once thought her heart broken beyond all repair.

Through it all, I’ve never lost those things that make me most essentially me: I still don’t believe in regretting my mistakes, and I still don’t sleep if I can help it. I throw myself into each new project fully, and cannot always find it in myself to finish everything I start. I try to find the good in people, though sometimes I struggle to be positive. I am my own worst critic, and often the worst enemy I have is myself. I approach love with caution, but don’t hesitate to show affection to those I do hold dear. Above all, I’ve learned to embrace my scars, to see beauty in my own imperfections, and to enjoy life for all of its infinite possibilities.

 

“And in the end, it’s not the years in your life that count… it’s the life in your years.” ~Abraham Lincoln

It’s not what you want…

January 12th, 2012 | Josie

“Some luck lies in not getting what you thought you wanted but getting what you have, which once you have got it you may be smart enough to see is what you would have wanted had you known.”  ~Garrison Keillor

 

Another year come and gone, and I find myself gazing longingly into the distance, dreaming of “might have been’s” and “what could be’s,” before I drag my thoughts back into reality and the solid “what are’s.” The funniest thing about the act of pondering possibilities, past or future, is that you wind up with this odd, bittersweet taste in your mouth. It is one of the few moments in life when you truly feel two emotions, whole and unaltered feelings experienced simultaneously. On the one hand, I can look back fondly on a point in time, sad that I’m not still in that place. Or, conversely, I can remember a moment of my life that was difficult or sad, and still grudgingly acknowledge the positives that were wrung from distress. I’m familiar with the duality of feeling that I can – and often do – experience when thinking back on my life…

I am, however, in fairly new territory when faced with the same parallel emotions as I brood about what the future holds. For so long the concept of ‘future’ was a bright, distant light, something intangible and out of reach. The world was full of limitless possibilities and my life was only a matter of choosing the right path on which to embark. While my past may be filled with doubts and regrets, I never saw my future as a place for worry… hesitation, perhaps, but never true distress.

As I do this thing we like to call growing up, I’ve settled into a life that I never would have envisioned for myself 5, even 2 years ago. Ask a younger me what I thought my life would bring in 2012, and I would have espoused the joy of travel, the thrill of adventure, and the excitement of the very unknown I was facing. Much to everyone’s surprise, not the least my own, I find that the life I’ve chosen, this decidedly safe and un-adventerous life, suits me well. I’m happily married to a wonderful man and gainfully employed. Not only do I have a job in an era when many are out of work, but I enjoy what I do and I love my co-workers… going to work in the morning is not tedium, but something that I can honestly say I look forward to most mornings. Still, despite the happiness and contentment I feel in this life of mine, I can’t help be feel there is something missing, that there is something MORE out there, just waiting for me. I find that, for the first time, I’m sad when I think about the future, afraid that I will never find that ever elusive something, always out of reach, just out of my grasp. It’s like dreaming in a foreign language, one where I don’t know the syntax or grammar… I wake up confused and unsure, worried that I will never be truly content, and that I am doomed to live my life chasing a dream that I can’t even understand.

I need to take a step back, a moment to recognize that some of this is just who I am, the worrier, the one who over analyzes life to a breaking point. I need to realize that life is not always about what might be around the bend, and that settling down doesn’t mean settling. I want to spend this year not thinking about the “what ifs,” but enjoying what I have, here and now. I think it might take all my fortitude, but I hope to live this yea with a resolution to worry less, laugh and love more, and to just simply… live.