Monday, October 24, 2011

Seven Years. Time to Change.

My mom used to say that every seven years we go through a major change in our lives. I’m really thinking that there is some truth to that. Though my age isn’t divisible by seven, I can go back 28 years and tell you about milestones on the sevens. The most important, though, is what I’m dealing with now (more so, since I can’t change the past).

I think over the past seven years I’ve been on some type of mental hiatus. I think the stress of coming out and finding myself had me living in a state of complacency in other areas of my life. I don’t think it’s all just me that does this, I bet that many of us get comfortable living our day to day lives accepting what just is. Making the best of our situations or somehow dealing with it and calling it life. We know it isn’t perfect, but it’s what we know. Does that make it good? Maybe not. So how many years do we live like this?

Some people question change. Or, the ability to change. I believe as people, we have to change. If we don’t, we end up just being judgmental of the world and those around us…stuck in the place or level of knowing that we think is right. If we don’t change, we can lose those in our lives that mean the most to us. Making change within ourselves is hard. We get used to being who we are. Yes, we have to like and accept ourselves, but if there is a side to us that isn’t positive, we need to work on it. Change it so it is positive.

Sometimes we don’t see these things in ourselves. Or, it may be there, fuzzily, in the back of our minds. Maybe we know it, but maybe a bit of fear is there and it keeps us where we are? Sometimes it takes a friend with balls (though in my case, that’s figurative to describe my friend) to point out some of these things to us. Then, it takes opening up our minds and finding honesty in our hearts to accept what we’ve just been told. And, maybe some tears.

I’m lucky enough to have a second friend with balls (again, the figurative kind) to back up what the first said (I needed to be sure I guess of what I’d heard). How can I not listen to two honest, kick-in-the-butt opinions? If I’ve learned something in my 44 years, it’s to listen to those around me because I’m too close to me to see outside. Especially outside of the happy little box I’m calling life.

I’ve made a list of what I need to do. To change my life and myself as a person. I’ve already taken some first steps to accomplishing what’s on my list by just accepting the idea that things need to be different. Accepting the idea that I need to be different. And, that's half the battle towards accomplishing my goal. When I set my mind on something, I do it. It may take time to get to the point where I can check off the whole to-do list. It’ll take a heck of a lot of self-discovery and hard work, too. But, if all goes well, the next seven years will be filled with good changes, accomplishments and life in a much bigger (and even happier) box.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Three Days of Autumn

One of my favorite things about living in New England is experiencing the four seasons in full. I know, some people in Maine will say there are five, adding in Mud Season, but I just include that in spring. As much as I love summer and the days on the beach by the ocean, my favorite season has to be fall. Or, autumn, as some of us prefer to call it.

I love the smell of autumn. There’s something earthy and pungent that smells like home to me…especially when I’m walking in the woods. I love the crispness in the air. The heaviness of summer and trying to breathe with those hot, humid days is totally gone. I love the sound. Nothing compares to the swishing and crackling of the dry leaves with each step as I go for a hike in the woods. Or, even the sound of my rake in the leaves and pine needles as I drudgingly clean up my yard. Not drudgingly because of the work involved but because I actually love the way the yard looks with a blanket of fallen leaves and needles.

What I love the most about autumn, though, are the colors. I feel like my eyes can’t take in enough of the different colors that surround me. I find it almost overwhelmingly beautiful. My heart just swells with the joy of having the ability to see such beauty of colors.

On Columbus Day, I noticed that autumn was finally upon us. It wasn’t really here on the day before, but, Bam! that Monday brought forth a fire burst of colors. As I drove my girls south on 95 to meet their dad, I was blown away by what I saw. My oldest daughter and I were pointing out sections to each other that we were just finding so full of colors. My youngest daughter was entranced with her movie in the backseat, but every now and then, we’d coax an ‘ooh’ or and ‘aah’ out of her when we’d yell for her to look out the window.

Driving back the next day from my Sweet-Smelling Girlfriend’s house, I had the most incredible commute I can ever remember. Between the colors on the trees and the skyscape, I wanted to just take the day off and stop all along the way and take pictures. I know it is so hard to capture on film what we see with our eyes; but what a wonderful sense to possess!

Wednesday, the following day, was another incredible day. My walk/run/suck wind before work was filled with the fall colors too. Every tree was at its peak. If I didn’t have appointments after work, I would have made the best of the evening…outdoors.

Then Thursday came. Along with heavy rains. Same with Friday. And there went the leaves. It’s amazing how barren the trees seem after two days of practically torrential rain. Yes, some leaves managed to hang on, and they are still beautiful to look at (even two weeks later), but that postcard image of New England in fall is gone. I’m glad that I was able to enjoy the season when it came. All three days of it.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Love Notes

I admit it…I’m a sap. Most people who really know me wouldn’t hesitate to agree. Actually, you don’t have to really know me. Just know me a little and you’ll figure that out. I’m the one who reads the greeting cards trying to find the perfect message. I’m the one who frequently buys a ‘blank inside’ card and writes my own sentiments. Or, I just make a homemade card.

I think one of the most wonderful things a person can do to show their affection towards another is to write love letters. Or, at least, love notes. Nowadays, they can be via text or email, but gosh darn it, a handwritten note is awfully sweet to give (or to receive).

I’m a fan of leaving notes in places for a lover or special person where they’ll bring a little smile to their face. Who wouldn’t want to see a note with messages telling them how special they are? Or, how they’re thought of throughout the day? Or, a reminder of a special evening or funny moment shared?

When I used to make lunches for my daughters, I’d always put a little note in their boxes. I’d cut a 3x5 card in half and write a short message on it and draw a picture for them. Now, my girls are leaving notes for me after their weekends here. I laughed when I pulled the lid off my hairspray and a little ‘I love you’ note flew out. This same daughter taped a ‘Love U’ to the shower wall. My youngest daughter filled a turned wooden bowl with messages. I’m supposed to pick one every day. Besides the ‘I love you,’ I’ve gotten little messages like ‘love heals all hurts’ and ‘Your one out of a million’ (spelled just like that; we don’t criticize grammar and spelling on love notes…it’s all from the heart).

I love that my love notes to them have made such an impact on them that they’re following in my footsteps. I hope they continue to give love notes to others throughout their lives. And, hopefully, receive them. I know I’ll always be there to give them love notes. And, I have a feeling, get them in return.