Tell Me

Would you know me by where I live? Could you locate me in a crowd after wandering around my living space? Is understanding me and my decision to live in the place I do as easy as seeing my surroundings?

This much I can say…

I admire trees. They grow from a nut in the ground and even if chopped down, even close to the dirt, new shoots can grow from the stump of the dead.

I don’t keep up with the Jones or the Warrens (an affluent family in my area.)

I prefer vintage.

I value resilience, a life lived whether that life was long or short, arduous or kind. It’s all part of this blessed aging process. 

I fill my place with cherished items because I’m sentimental.

I inherited a dining table from my grandparents. The surface is marred with markings from my uncles. With only Mom and one uncle remaining of this large family, I hold close to this piece of history of the family. 

A red tractor’s chair came from my dad’s business. It was part of a set, he tells me. I always hear a bit of regret in his voice since he didn’t keep the blue one also. I sat on the red one when I was young. A tractor’s seat welded onto a coil and base.

When I walk into my home, I see the value. But, possibly someone different who may look at me would see my frugality.

I’m eclectic, maybe even cluttered.

My place is dusty and often unorganized.

I’m not wealthy. Still, I value appearance, but it isn’t in a way requiring control. I’m wanting to shake off the chains.

Naps, comfort, books, caring for others, and cats are valuable.

Instead of asking, “What’s your name? What do you do?” Rather, we might have someone describe their car or their clothing choice. I’d like to try that sometime. Maybe I will.

What’s your place like and how did you choose? Is it stamped with all of the trimmings of you? Or, as it sometimes happens, did it choose you? Leave a comment below. I’d love to read it.

Here’s a fun site-Curating Cozy Spaces

A book I enjoyed-Style Statement – Carrie and Danielle

How To Value

Your life is daily. The effort you put into your life — hourly, minute by minute, is the life you live. If you only give your days 50% attention, you’ll get 50% value. Live smarter. Live stronger. Put in what you want to get out of it.

Life is more than work. It’s a blend. When listening to YouTube and podcasts promising how I can be a successful entrepreneur and build my site to six $ figures, not only am I skeptical, I also lose interest. I won’t drown in work.

Inventory:

“Four be the things I am wiser to know:
Idleness, sorrow, a friend, and a foe.
Four be the things I’d been better without:
Love, curiosity, freckles, and doubt.
Three be the things I shall never attain:
Envy, content, and sufficient champagne.
Three be the things I shall have till I die:
Laughter and hope and a sock in the eye.

Dorothy Parker, The Complete Poems of Dorothy Parker

I know if I am paying for 10 gallons of gasoline for my car, I wouldn’t keep going to the one that didn’t get around to fixing their leaking pumps, particularly if they charged for fifteen gallons each time. I like extra.

I want a lot out of life, and I put effort into it. I have ambition, and I have enough eagerness to back it up.

Receive Payment

This week, as an alternative to money, what other payment could we use in society? Value exchange. Time, education, wisdom, silence, ability, grief?

Tell me what you pay attention to and I will tell you who you are.

José Ortega y Gasset

Focus on an object today, such as a cup of coffee or tea. Without currency exchange, how would we value it? To me, it seems a staple of the social network. In some instances, it seems the best item other than alcoholic drinks to create contracts.

Begin by planting pockets of pleasure and encouraging growth in areas of your life that are essential. Choose music that lifts your spirit. And please, could you share it?

Soup is Better the Next Day

Soup’s hard to mess up. You can, but you can fix it by readjusting your ingredients. My life has been a lot like a soup. I’ve learned that life is complex and never simple as I pass the 56-year mark. The postman brings solicitations from AARP and Medicare. I yell I’m not old. My mind believes I’m capable of racing with the children. My legs know different. When a young man on YouTube ridicules me and calls me Old Lady, I smirk, knowing there’s a point when we all get there, even his sorry self.

Why Soup Tastes Better the Next Day (most of the time)

Letting a finished pot of soup hang out overnight means that harsh flavors soften, the ingredients have a chance to absorb the tasty broth, and everything transforms from very distinct flavors into one harmonious soup.

Christine Gallary

At ten, when I had knobby knees, it was impossible to think of marriage and sleeping in the same bed with a man. Oh, I was curious enough, but I thought the world would end before I grew up. My sister-in-law reassured me that there would be time. I kept seeing what the preachers taught, the fear speeches. I saw the cracks in the ground. Earthquakes. Wars and rumors of wars. Signs in the heavens. Yes, the world was ending, and I wouldn’t get a chance to be married or have children. I’d never had a first kiss.

“Well, I suppose nothing is meant to last forever. We have to make room for other people. It’s a wheel. You get on, you have to go to the end. And then somebody has the same opportunity to go to the end and so on.” – Vivian Maier, nanny and photographer

Life isn’t the pretty pictures you see in the magazine. Our moments, each one of them, are important. Live them. It’s not a delicate family portrait. Life is pleasure and pain. I’ve had kisses that made me weak in the knees. I have found a friend and a lover. Joy. Other moments in my life have crushed me with grief.

I was 15 when I kissed a boy for the first time. It was at a park with my youth group—a very long time ago. It was a kiss. No sparks. In those days, I’d pictured perfection, my future unfolding full of joy and happiness. I was good, kind, so I expected rewards.

I once expected a solitary perfect moment, a portrait, but life is a collage of photos. Life is the soup.

Shame on you

Invisible rules, unspoken. You know them. And if you don’t, you may be pulled to the side by the wise leader of the tribe because they’ll correct you. Chuckle. We have too many who think they’re hip.

Why is she tanning in winter? Is she trying to get a man at her age still? Her hair is getting so long. So out of date. I have heard this one from my mom and people at work. It goes with she’s too old to have long hair—over 40—darn rules.

The over 40 men with the flash of a car and smile—well, we know he’s on the prowl. Watch out, girls. Tsk tsk. If he was 38, he could get by with it, I’m sure.

Is it advice or shame? Be careful of the council you take.

DEFINE

According to Brené Brown, a researcher at the University of Houston, shame is an “intensely painful feeling or experience of believing that we are flawed and therefore unworthy of love and belonging.” It’s an emotion that affects all of us and profoundly shapes the way we interact in the world.Feb 17, 2016

How to Listen to Pain – Greater Good Science Center

Some cultures, religious or pagan, use a system of shunning. They will never look at you, talk to you, or in any way acknowledge your existence. I’ve had people attempt to dismiss me, cold shoulder me, which is an attempt to gain control. In my opinion, it’s abuse.

Shunning often involves implicit or explicit shame for a member who commits acts seen as wrong by the group or its leadership.

Shunning

These forbidden activities, taboo behaviors are from a period when we needed shame-based boundaries. We needed the community to survive. Love, with its short-lived blush, planted you into a family and gave you a home. Over the years, you and your family became one. We still want to belong.

When slapped with shame, I feel angry. There’s a tinge of rejection. I want to fight and cry out, Unfair. I hurt, and like any creature, I long for safety. We must find our center. Do you have someone or something to cling to, even if it is a poem?

My one thing was the sunrise. Could you read about it here? Touchstones and Totems

Get Smarts With Stories

I love stories. A good story isn’t only for kids. A hearty tale is filling, leaving me satisfied. I am entertained and I learn, but learning wasn’t the point. Stories are my sunshine, my light. Here are some I enjoy.

THE NORTH WIND AND THE SUN – ÆSOP

A dispute arose between the North Wind and the Sun, each claiming that he was stronger than the other. At last they agreed to try their powers upon a traveller, to see which could soonest strip him of his cloak.

The North Wind had the first try; and, gathering up all his force for the attack, he came whirling furiously down upon the man, and caught up his cloak as though he would wrest it from him by one single effort: but the harder he blew, the more closely the man wrapped it round himself. Then came the turn of the Sun.

At first he beamed gently upon the traveller, who soon unclasped his cloak and walked on with it hanging loosely about his shoulders: then he shone forth in his full strength, and the man, before he had gone many steps, was glad to throw his cloak right off and complete his journey more lightly clad.
Fortune and Fate
Photo by Los Muertos Crew on Pexels.com

Along similar lines, here is an audio which I listened to recently. I hadn’t heard either. I especially enjoyed Luck vs Wisdom. It’s about 15 minutes or so. There’s a commercial and then the second story. No torture, I promise.

LUCK VS WISDOM (with Host Simon Brooks)

What is more important? Luck or wisdom? Discover the answers with host Simon Brooks and Joel Ben Izzy telling “Luck vs Wisdom” and Jenni Cargill- Strong telling “Reaching for the Moon”.

The universe is not made of atoms; it’s made of stories. — Muriel Rukeyser

The Keys to Life

This is an updated version ofWants, Desires, and, Actions

There is an inherent order to life. It’s as old as the earth herself. Desire plus response equals fulfillment. A baby’s cry causes a mother to feed her baby. Want plus action equals satisfaction. It’s how we all function.

I grew up in a time when, as the saying goes, men kept their word, and a handshake was as good as a contract. I’ve known people who practically killed themselves to finish something, not because they wanted it, but because they promised to do it. They desired to be trustworthy. Honest. Culture has shifted, and we now allow more leniency on contracts. Marriages end. Jobs change. We’re more flexible. Some would say that society’s gone downhill because of this—some, but not me. People still do what they desire the most; it’s just that what we want has changed.

Woman on patio

The secret is promoted by many as a hidden treasure, a hoarded bit of knowledge. But it’s as simple as scratching an itch. So the next time you have a desire or urge to accomplish something, ask yourself how big your appetite is? The next time your back itches, how desperate are you to relieve that itch? What hoops will you jump through? Which laws will you break? How many zombies will you kill? Your craving will tell you how dedicated you’ll be to achieving your goal. It’s not just willpower; there’s desire too.

You Already Have Permission

Just saying.

You have permission to create, to speak up, and stand up.

You have permission to be generous, to fail, and to be vulnerable.

You have permission to own your words, to matter and to help.

No need to wait. —- Seth Godin

Like Nike’s ad – Just do it.

It’s different from planning, pushing, and forcing life to conform. They’re two different viewpoints, two different stories, as diverse as a Mac and a PC. Nike and Reebok.

Tacos, Love, and Parenting Yourself

My parents didn’t realize the importance of teaching me, a daughter, to care for myself. They taught me to be kind, thoughtful, and take care of others. My parents and I came from separate sources. It seemed to me as if we were as different as salt water and fresh water.

As society changed for my parent’s generation, they were still swimming in their saltwater tank. From the viewpoint of my culture, saltwater can kill you. Structure. Rules. Binding contracts.

I’ve learned to celebrate discovering my needs, all of them–for comfort, happiness, and safety. It started when I was feeling abandoned. I needed to GIVE and GATHER for myself–not wait and allow resentment to build when another doesn’t come through for me. Being polite wasn’t helpful anymore.

Caring for yourself

Once I was hanging out with a guy at his friend’s house, (boring) which was to be a short visit. After an hour, I NEEDED to eat. I took some initiative and told him I’d be back in a few minutes. I was going to grab a bite to eat (tacos.) It upset him, surprising him a little, but my needs were dire. Blood sugar issues are more important than a man’s ego. Quite honestly, I realize now that I was having a panic attack. But this taco moment is when I realized I had power.

Keep your power. Reclaim any scraps you find along the way–any.

Song Lyrics

Every breath I take has been taken before 
Every note’s been sung…… 
Who can I sing them all again for? Baba, Baba Baba…. 
Please don’t give up - please don’t lose that sound 
So many people fought to gain that ground 
Please don’t give up – please don’t hide your voice 
So many people did not have that choice. - Bellow/Unzip The Horizon, lyrics from a song released on April 7, 2018, Moira Smiley 

The Busyness of Being

Ideas excite me, wake me. I feel the novelty bubble up like soapy suds flooding out of the washing machine. I know joy. At that exact moment, there’s a lie hiding among the zeal of promise. If you scratch away the top layer, you’ll find the untruth—everything would be perfect if I tried harder.

I expect by finishing my tasks, I will feel at peace, and I will enjoy my life, knowing I have things in place. But life doesn’t cycle in that manner. There’s always something that breaks and issues to solve. There’s another needling, prickly urge. And I scratch.

Restless

I’ve often griped about my mom not sitting still. She would get up and down to get things, all in the name of taking care of her family. It was as if she had Mexican jumping beans in her veins. She annoyed me by continually asking if we wanted something else to eat or drink. Do we need a napkin to wipe our not yet dirty faces? As the perfect hostess, she didn’t want to leave anything undone.

Mom called it, “Fretting.” I’ve heard it said as, “Worrying the bone.” At the age of 55, I not only understand, but I have the diagnosis—Attention Deficit Disorder along with anxiety.

Bubbles

I want to do so many things. Travel. Take pictures of places I’ve seen. Buy a rug. Clean the closet. Paint the bedroom. Redecorate. Change something.

Hypervigilance, OCD, and Anxiety- someone save me from me.

I want to write a short story about the dream I had last night. Edit my other stories. Work on a new article that came to me while I was showering. Update blog pages. And I want—more.

Today, I am stressed. I’m having surgery again. In my head, I think if I get everything prepared, all will be fine. No mistakes. I now laugh at my arrogance. I’m not in charge. Fear makes me cling to control. Anxiety isn’t shut off like a water tap, so my brain gives me soap bubbles of new ideas. At least in my doing, I’m distracted from my pain.

For more

If you relate to any of these things and are needing help, please ask. Talk to a doctor or a counselor. I have a great psychiatrist who works with me.
 
I’ve studied my issues for years. My education is in childhood development, so I understand the importance of the developing mind. Trauma and PTSD are real. Abuse of any type can scar a person and even change their personality from upbeat and positive into a frightened, self-loathing person.
 
There’s counseling available, even online. Heal the pain. Namaste. You are worth it.

Itty Bitty Treasures

Life isn’t tidy. It’s not organized into categories for us to tick off the boxes as we go along quickly. Done! There are no rules for life to follow. Life is like a thing with mechanical clockwork, moving faster and faster as we age. Occasionally, we get lucky, and the gears chink and even stick for a moment.

You look up and see a kitten in a window.

Kitten in a window
Cats are everywhere
“I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be.”
― douglas adams, The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul

I was on vacation a few years ago. Remember vacations? My son and his wife invited me along on a trip to France. There were three areas of the country we visited. I experienced a fairytale of a vacation in Aix-En-Provence. We ate genuine French cuisine, drank wine until late, sat out in the sun, shopped in the markets, and went to a museum, all before leaving for Nice and Paris, our other two destinations. I won’t bore you with my details regarding the flight or the ordeals I had before I took off to fly across the big pond. I’ll allow you to believe the flow of my life is perfect.

At a museum I toured with my daughter-in-law, I made a new friend.

A French kitty

My life is busy, painful, and rushed. But there are moments. I remember disagreeing with teachers on their beliefs and opinions. No! I do not have to live my life the way they believe. I am not confined to the rules of another. I am a success or a failure because of my standards, not anyone else. Life is active. It rolls, flows, moves, bumps, rises and falls. Sometimes it even stops. Enjoy the breaks. They don’t come often enough.

“Life isn't about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.”
― George Bernard Shaw

Your Rules

We have algorithms by which we live our lives. Previously, I lived from a list that included too many freakin’ I shouldn’t and Don’ts.

I shouldn't talk about myself. It's bragging. - Thanks, bro!
Don't ask for things. If you're at someone's place, never take sustenance. Never impose. - Thanks, Mom!
I'm too slow. Too much. Not enough. Well, no matter what I do, it won't be right. - Thanks, society!

My old rules have worn me out. I’m needing something new.

I do things because I like them. I eat when I'm hungry and sleep when I'm tired. I ask for what I need.

When your habits aren’t working for you, it may be time to change your ways. Make new rules.

Want to read more?