Friday, August 29, 2014

Do We Let Our Fears Paralyze Us Or Push Us Forward?

Fear is a powerful emotion. It can’t stop you in your tracks or sending you fleeing in the other direction.  It can also keep you from doing something stupid. The trick is to recognize when fear is holding you back and use it to push you forward.

I was not an adventurous child. I think I became aware of consequences too young and was forever shying away from activities that were potentially painful. Bike riding, tree climbing, jumping off the high dive at the pool – these were all activities that frightened me. Had I ever fallen out of a tree – no, but something told me it would hurt if I did. When approaching the high dive I could only think about what would happen if I miscalculated and hit the side of the pool. 

Yep, I was a weird kid and probably a pretty boring one. I prized comfort, safety and routine. Most of my days were spent reading about adventures, not living them. I would build elaborate stories in my head about all the things I would do “someday”. But fear was always there, holding me in place.  It was a constant barrier between me and what I wanted to do.

I was 24 and having a conversation with my mother when it hit me, I could live the rest of my life saying “I wish I had…..” or I could use the fear to push me forward. I needed to be more afraid of living a life of regrets than I was of a possible bad outcome. In other words, wouldn’t it be worse to come to the end my life with a list of things I would have liked to have done than to end it with a few failures? So I made a promise to myself to live a life without the limits of fear, a life without regrets.

As an adult, I have jumped off a 60 foot waterfall in Hawaii, learned to swim properly so I could take a surf lesson, traveled internationally by myself several times, and gotten a tattoo (three in fact). And on this day 13 years ago, I packed everything I owned into my Hyundai Accent and moved to Los Angeles. My life is now one of adventure and not just dreams of adventure. Don’t get me wrong, the fear is still there but now it is a quiet whisper that is mostly drowned out by courage, stubbornness, and encouragement from my wonderful friends. 
Is fear holding you back? Is there a list of things you want to do but are too afraid?

Friday, August 22, 2014

My First Love Letter

This past weekend I wrote my first love letter.. ever. Weird that at 41 this is the first time I have done so, especially since I love to write. Don't get me wrong. I have written notes in cards, sent love texts, but never written a true love letter. This one was in honor of my first anniversary with JB. Apparently it was a really good one because he suggested I post it on my blog. So here it is - with a few parts edited of course. 

My darling JB,

The last year of my life has been the most exciting, scary, emotional and joyful year of my life. There are times I look at you and can't believe that we found each other. If I didn't believe that God had a plan for my life before I met you, I definitely do now. You are everything I wanted and needed and so much more than I even understood. Your humor, kindness, intelligence, loyalty and love for your family are just a few of the reasons that I am head over heels in love with you. 

You fill every day with light and love and are teaching me to trust, in you, in God and in our future. I can't believe I am in love with someone that makes me feel special, loved and cherished. I want to spend my days talking to you and hearing you laugh. When I hear or see something interesting or funny during the day my first thought is always, "I can't wait to tell JB". You are my best friend. 

........................edited for sexy content.........................................

I can't imagine what our life will be like a year from now, or ten, and I can't wait to find out.

Thank you for being my "person". I plan to spend every day being yours. 

I love you from the bottom of my heart. 

Friday, August 15, 2014

Do we hold too tightly to the things that we want?

Have you ever wanted something so bad, convinced it was the only thing that would make you happy? Held on so tightly to something that you couldn’t see any of the other possibilities in life? If anyone says no, well I don’t believe you.  Because I think it is human nature to wish and hope and dream, and to find yourself consumed by those hopes. We hear it from everywhere, every day, “Believe in your dreams. Hold tight to what you want. Put it out in the universe and it will come back to you.” But what if by holding so tightly to these things we are missing the “amazing” right in front of us. 

I can wait FOREVER for something, not because I am patient but because I refuse to admit defeat. I’m monumentally stubborn. On many occasions I have found myself stuck because I can’t seem to let go of something I want. I have stayed in relationships long past their expiration date, held onto friends who were hurting me emotionally and waited for my dreams to come when what I really needed to do was move on to a new dream.

A really good example of this would be my last relationship, the one before JB, the Nigerian. This is the part where all of my friends who were with me during that relationship laugh and shake their heads because really, what was I thinking? Well, in retrospect, I was dreaming, not thinking. I was planning a life, a future and a family with a dream and refusing to see my reality. I was so determined to get to my goals that I couldn’t and wouldn’t see the reality staring me in the face. The Nigerian was a decent guy. He said all the right things and in the beginning he piled on the charm and seemed to want what I wanted. But the farther into the relationship I got the less and less that version of him showed up. Instead the version I got was half assed, dismissive and at times down right mean. My friends all saw this. My family definitely saw it and at one point they were staging an intervention. 

Thankfully I hit a wall (in the form of an ex-boyfriend) and was forced to really see. And the truth of my future was nowhere close to the fiction in my head. See I had been so determined to believe in my dreams, and visualize my goals that I was actually burying my head in the sand. I wasn’t paying attention to the million signs the universe had sent me that this was not the right dream. My determination had become my stumbling block and now the rerouting that was necessary to move forward involved moving The Nigerian out of my apartment. And while this was definitely un-fun, it taught me a valuable lesson. Dreams are meant to be held lightly in an open palm, not clutched with fear. They should be an outline, a goal, not a fixed destination. In remembering this I found what I really was dreaming of, a person who is my family, my home and my love, JB.

Friday, August 8, 2014

“Our Lives Can Change with Every Breath We Take.”

This has been my motto, creedo, favorite movie quote since the first time I saw “Where The Heart Is”. I have held it high as a banner when it has proved to be true and clutched it like a lifeline when I needed it to be true.  And over time, I have learned to embrace the changes that have come. 
My journey to this point has been varied and full of unique adventures. Many times I have started down a path sure it was the route I would be taking for the rest of my life only to have it detour into another path or end entirely. About 5 years ago my dream job, the pinnacle of my career as the uber assistant, crashed into a wall. My boss was taking a new career path that would directly impact my job. Major Life Change!

I decided to see it as an opportunity and started my own business. It was a lovely concierge assistant service that catered to the busy working mom, the young executive who worked too many hours and the generally overwhelmed. In a time when the economy had people cutting back on non-essentials I was able to build a strong clientele of people who were willing to try out a “pay as needed” assistant service. For 3 years I bopped along happily, juggling a multitude of tasks but as the economy rebounded, my little business began to lag. Time for another Major Life Change! 

It was back to the 9 to 5 (or in my case 7:30 to 7:30) grind of an office job. I loved being back in the steady pace and surrounded by people I liked. There was the daily challenge of working for a busy and fastidious executive. After a month or two I was convinced that this was the right path. HA! I should really stop saying that cause 6 months into the job, BAM. Boss is leaving. Bring on a Major Life Change!
Don’t worry. I landed on my feet with another great job and a fabulous boss. But it reminded me of my motto and truth behind that simple statement. Our lives truly are constantly growing, shifting and changing. Anyone who thinks differently is either fooling themselves or just not paying attention. All you have to do is look out the window and you will see proof of this. Summer is winding down. The days are getting shorter again. The leaves will start turning soon. The temp is changing. The air is changing. 

Life is constantly changing. Some of these are good changes. Some, not so good and some just downright scary. We can choose to embrace it, be ready for it, expect it. Or we can be drug kicking and screaming thru it. I for one have learned to embrace it and see where it takes me. When these changes are scary or hard I just keep repeating, “Our Lives Can Change With Every Breath We Take.” Breathe….