They’ll be here before you know it…

live-your-lifeSo this morning I started planning our big yearly entertaining event – the 2017 New Years Brunch. So far I’ve created a Facebook event, built a guest list, started adding to the Pinterest board, built a planning spreadsheet… you know, the usual things when you’re entertaining in 2016? Yeah, all of those.

Side note, how did we do this before social media? Wait, what? You don’t do it that way? Whatevs… Paper invites? Spiral notebook lists? In a word… #nope!

And with this step I’m making the decision that come what may with the search for work I’m still here and this is where my life is happening. It’s time to make some plans farther out than tomorrow. Life goes on. And if something happens that pulls me out of here then guess what? I know how to fly home. I’m pretty damned good at buying plane tickets in fact and I can get here pretty fast. So everything else be damned… the holidays will be as I wish. Thanksgiving in North Carolina, Christmas and New Years here. Festive, fun, surrounded by people I love in the places I love, with everything I love included.

I guess the message I’ve been getting from the voices in my head is “live your life”. Out loud. With no need for any forgiveness or permission. These are most assuredly interesting times indeed but putting everything on hold in order to wait for other people to decide things just isn’t working for me anymore. It’s time for me to just do it. Just live.

Today… and tomorrow… and beyond.

 

Changing… evolving… becoming…

Something? Well, what we’re not entirely sure, but it’s going to certainly be something. Or we’re changing for the sake of change… sometimes it feels like that anyway but I sure hope not. However there are days when it feels like we take the pieces of our life and toss them into the air just to see where they land. Like some bizarre game of 52 card pickup, only with people and places and things.

Remember, God always laughs when we make plans… always.

But yeah, we’ve got that change thing going on again… as you’re probaby aware if you follow my Facebook feed any at all. More changes. First, the good news… FunEmployment 2015 is over and I have a new job. Not going into the specifics, already done that other places and thanks everyone for all of your encouragement and kind words! As for what I’m doing, well it’s a brand new thing for me and the best description is some sort of bastart love child created from everything I’ve ever done in the past. Yep, that about sums it up.

Hooray for new challenges and opportunities!

Also filed under yet another big change… the other half’s finally decided to do what we both agree is necessary for his Mom… just be there. It’s important and it’s worth it. We’ve hopefully got an entire life ahead of us… she doesn’t… enough said, decision made. The best way to put it is that if it’s this hard to do then it’s probably the right thing to do.

Just sayin.

So life goes back to the separate and equal world we’ve been living in off and on this year. I will miss him fierce, just like he will miss me, but we’re grownups and we do what we have to do. Life is about adapting and moving forward. Evolution, despite what that total moron Ben Carson says, is very real and happening to every one of us every day. We change, we adapt, we find solutions, we reroute, we move forward…

Or we die.

Wow… pretty hard choices… only not really. Change is part of everything. Change is what it takes for us to remain viable. I don’t know about you but viability to me is very much an important thing. In fact being viable is why I’m still here… how about you?

To close this I’ll borrow JFK’s words…

Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.

Make a difference… embrace the change… grab life with both hands and live – today and tomorrow. Remember, you only get one shot at this…

make it count.

Talking it out…

So… yeah… last post? A bit raw.  Sorry.  No warning on that one.  Just needed to start talking about what we’re going through.  Because the whole “not talking about it” thing? Well that just wasn’t working out for me.  For either of us actually.  While Bob might be okay with it, I am not the type that suffers in silence.

Um, no.

So I started talking.  And now I’m doing it again.  Because you know, I think I’m a little angry right now.  And this is a good spot for me to voice that.  Let that out.  Give myself permission to be angry.  And let it go.

(cue chorus of most. annoying. song. ever.)

I am angry.  Very angry.  This year was not supposed to be like this.  This year was supposed to be about us.  What we want. What we need.  And it isn’t.  Not at all.  And it’s not likely to change any time soon.  And I am angry.

Very angry.

We’ve needed the year we had planned for a very long time.  A year of introspection, working on us, doing what we need to make us better.  It’s easy for that stuff to get lost in the busyness that daily life brings.  But we had decided to recalibrate and make the effort to refind ourselves.  To work on us.  After we had worked on our diet, our exercise, education… this was our time.

But it’s not.

Instead we’re dealing with this other whole mess.  This mess that will not be resolved anytime soon.  This mess that has us physically apart, and mentally connected via texts/calls/Facebook posts.  Totally not the same thing.  Trust me.  And we’re trying to figure out the rules to this new paradigm because apparently living in a small town creates another angle to this story that neither of us had taken the time to consider.  The PR of being separated but not separating.  Because while my emotional life is a mess, my actual life is going on.  I do the same things I did before Bob left.  I go out with friends for dinner, for drinks, for dancing. I go to the gym.  I walk the dog.  I go shopping.

My life has not changed.

But apparently it was supposed to?  Because there’s been rumors and things that have gotten to my ears that there’s talk.  That it doesn’t look like I’m very unhappy.  That I appear to be doing just fine.  Because I’m not wearing black and wailing as I walk about downtown?  Oh really?  Well let me be blunt in my answer to whomever might be saying or thinking that about me… f*?k you.

Yes, you. F*$k you.

There, I feel so much better.  Now if you’ll excuse me… I think I have a bright colored dress to put on and some dancing to do.  And Bob is pretty sure he’s going running tomorrow, eating dinner out whenever he wants, and (quelle horror!) he might even go to a movie and read a few books while he’s dealing with something no one can even imagine.   Because that’s what we both need to do – let our lives go on as normally as we can while we’re living through wartime.  Life goes on.  We’re living it the best we can.  And we know our truth…

You do not.

Oh, and if you see me at Pigfest this weekend please wave but you really need to just keep walking.  I’ll be having a drink and some laughs with friends. And I’m reasonably sure you’re not in that number. Life goes on.  Even if you choose not to live it.

I’m living.

F*$k you.

Life during Wartime…

I think I’ve been separated since 2014… no, wait, I have… wow.  Who’da thunk that?

After all the travel in the Fall and Holiday season of ’14, our plan as a couple was to reunite and tackle 2015 and our list of goals and challenges for the year together.  No more alone time, no more separations, just us again… because neither of us were particularly happy with that situation, even though we both understood the reasons.

For the record? God laughs when you start making plans.  Loudly.  Because if you’re a friend on Facebook then you already know that our household is currently ripped apart, again, and this time it may be a while before we’re back in the same state, let alone same house.  Because while I came home from my trip rested and refreshed, Bob came home with the knowledge that there were serious health concerns with his Mother and caregiving was needed ASAP.  And at the airport, when I went to pick him up on January 4th, he told me this, and he told me he was volunteering to take this on.  For however long it takes.  Because that’s what his Mom did for him.

And I understand.

But a week later he was gone, and I’ve been alone ever since.  Alone again.  With all those challenges for 2015 staring me down, and no partner to help me sort them out.  Of course the problems he has out there were and are so all-consuming that I just don’t feel right about sharing all the silly and ridiculous shit I’ve got going on with him.  But for me this is like losing my other brain.  My sounding board.  I am constantly providing support and reassurance to him, but I’m trying to remain self-contained and keep my fears, worries, and concerns to myself. And yes, I know I sound like I’m whining.  I am in fact doing exactly that.  Because I’m allowed.  Because I can.

This is hard y’all.

I realized the other day that I’ve been married/living with someone for most of the last 20 years.  I never thought of myself as the type who needed someone around.  In fact, for a long time I’ve prided myself on not being one of those women.  I was lying. And the thing I struggle with the most?  The thing that’s the hardest?  That thing is someone just being present.  Someone to talk to.  Someone to argue with.  Someone’s weight on the other side of the bed, even if I don’t reach out and touch them.  Someone to just be there.

I miss that.

And for those of you keeping score at home, no, we’re not having any out-of-the-ordinary marital difficulties, beyond our usual “did you really just eat an Everything bagel on my clean countertop and not wipe up any of the crumbs?” level of crap anyway.  And I think those issues will likely continue until one of us (I’m looking at you Bob) can no longer eat Bagels, or any other solid food for that matter.  But I can tell you that even if a relationship is rock solid, this is hard shit.  Because every day I’m alone is another day that no one is there for me or him.  And it’s another opportunity for me to make yet another minute adjustment toward a solitary life.  A life that we got by default, and that I resent even as I embrace it ever reluctantly.

This is hard.

I’m angry but I’m conflicted because I would do the same thing.  Even if I resent the hell out of his sense of duty and love.  I know this will pass but I just want this to be over, even if I’m not sure it ever will end.  And even as I simultaneously learn that there are things about being alone that aren’t as bad as I thought they’d be.

All of that… at once.

So keep us in your thoughts.  Growing older is not for the faint of heart.  We’re struggling with it.  I keep looking at my wrist and the two twin bracelets there that say “It Is What It Is” and “Everything Happens for a Reason” and I know these words are true.  I just know that there are times when I don’t like accepting them, and now is one of those times.

Now.

You are my sunshine…

you-are-my-sunshine

Lessons learned…

never-150x150

So… don’t know about all of you but every year it seems like Life or Karma or some such nonsense has some big key lesson it wants to teach me.  And each year, just like the Chinese zodiac, there’s a theme.  And of course I know at this point that you’re thinking “seriously… who notices this type of thing?”  Well, other than me that is.  But yeah, I do.  I have.  And it’s really become a thing I watch for every year.  And typically it’s something I don’t even catch onto as it’s happening, something that I may or may not even realize is big, until I look back over the year and see that this one thing that happened during the year ended up being The Thing.  The lesson.  The overarching thread that moved my life in some new direction or taught me some lesson that I needed to learn.

My lesson.

For example, in 2004 the lesson was hidden in heaps and piles of tragedy.  First the loss of my Grandmother, then the loss of EB, but the tragedy wasn’t the lesson.  Yes, both losses were awful.  Yes, both appeared to be more than I could ever survive at the time.  But the lesson I learned was that I could survive.  The lesson was in learning that inside of me there is a core of solid steel and iron and nothing can take me down permanently.  Oh, it may put me on my knees for a while, and it may force me to ground for a short time.  But it will not stop me.  I will survive, I will come back stronger, and I can survive anything.

I survived.

Then, in 2010 the lesson was learned with the decision to go back to school.  Something I had run from for years.  Because I was afraid of failure.  Because I listened to “can’t” and let it lead me.  In 2010 I quit listening.  I decided to listen to can.  And I started changing my life.  With the first classes completed at the end of Fall Semester I knew again that I could do this thing I’d put off for so long.  I was smart enough, and tough enough, and I had what it took to change my own life.  And so I did.

I changed.

And last year, in 2012, when I lost my Mom, again I learned my lesson through tragedy, but it may well be the lesson that I’ll never let go of.  When she died I was halfway through my BAS degree and all I wanted was to quit classes, curl up in a ball, and just let grief take over.  But I didn’t.  I did what needed to be done to say goodbye to her, we settled as much of her life as we could, and I came back home and picked up where I left off.  I finished my Spring Semester classes with A’s & B’s, registered for Summer and finished those with all A’s, and I graduated after a Fall Semester of 16 hours with A’s and B’s again.  Three semesters of Dean’s List & President’s List.  After the worst loss I’ve ever been dealt.  The one that I don’t think I’ll ever totally get over.  But the achievements weren’t the lesson.  The loss wasn’t the lesson.  The lesson was in learning that by doing what I did I truly am my Mother’s daughter.  And I always have been.  So that core I found in 2004?  That steel and iron?  That’s my true inheritance from her.  That’s how she was.  Nothing stopped her.  And I am her.

I took control.

So as you can imagine, this year I’ve been watching, and waiting, and this year’s lesson, as usual, didn’t make itself obvious.  But I think I know what it is now.  And it’s been a good one to learn.  A hard one though.  Challenging to everything I ever thought before.  And truly one that I never expected to learn, ever.  Furthermore, this is one that I’ll have to eat some words over.  Because this year I’ve learned that if you’re living fully then nothing in your past is ever totally past.  And some things never die.  Of course there’s a whole back story, and (of course) this lesson started with another death and a reunion to mark that event.  But from that beginning it has finally culminated in the startling realization that sometimes your first love might actually have indeed been love and not some silly infatuation.  You know, the thing I laugh at the most in my 15 year old niece when she says “Oh I love him” about the most current boyfriend.  The words that cause me to eye roll and say “you love Macaroni & Cheese” and laugh.  Yeah, I won’t be doing that anymore.  Because I just don’t know.  What I do know is this.  Over the last six months the boy/man who was my very first serious relationship has come back into our lives.  And I say our because this re-entry has impacted both myself and Bob.  But before you freak out, we are still most definitely married.  And we’re staying that way.  But it’s been a process for us as I wrapped my head around the idea that this huge, big love I had for this person and that they had for me is still there.  We’re not in love anymore, but love never dies.  It just goes quiet for a while.  But one day, when you least expect it, you find out that it’s still there.  It’s still love.  I still have it.  It never left.

I love.

But that’s not the lesson.  No.  As funny as that is, there’s a much bigger truth in this year’s lesson that goes far beyond just that simple word with all its complications and challenges.  No, the bigger lesson, I think, is that I’ve finally learned that I am never totally alone.  Despite my solitary soul.  Despite my walls and shields and devices that I use to hide away and protect myself from the people who have moved through my life.  I am not alone.  I am still connected to them all.  And every one of them have a huge meaning to me.  To my past – through my present – and on into my future.  Connections.  Deep.  Shallow.  Close.  Distant.  But still connections.  And this lesson, I think, might be the best one yet.  To learn that I have a complex and large safety net, comprised of people that I could not live without.

People I love.

So I’m learning again.  It’s hard.  And it’s tricky.  And I’ll learn more again today.  Just like I did yesterday.  Just like I will tomorrow.  Thanks Mark for this one… it’s all on you.  I’m glad you’re a part of my life again.  We’re much better adults than we were as kids, just learning how to love and like each other.  Today we’re good at that.  And our lives have moved apart from each other but again we’ve ended back together… this time as good friends who truly understand the power of love.  And thank you EB for being the one who moved me forward and finished the lessons I started so long ago.  And thank you Bob for knowing just how much I love you too.  You are one of the three chapters of love in my life and I am blessed for that every day.

And the next time Kaylea says she loves some boy I think I’ll have to control the eye-rolling because you just never know about love.

And sometimes its true.

Love never dies.

Four years…

c-bob

Four years since our youngest graduated from High School… and in less than 2 weeks she graduates from College.

Wow. See also: Where did the time go?

She’s different today, but still the same. Still beautiful… we hope she knows how much… still just as smart as we always knew she was… we hope she knows how smart… still finding her way… we hope she finds the way she really wants, not the one that’s easiest… and still our girl that we love with all our hearts… we hope she knows how much.

Graduation isn’t just an ending… it’s a beginning. The first day of the next chapter. We hope there are many more chapters for her. Lots more new. Lots more different.

We wish you love (which you’ve always had), luck (which you do not need), joy (which you bring with you in abundance), and vision (to see past today and find your tomorrow). Don’t wait for somebody to save you, don’t look for your Handsome Prince on a horse… instead be your own Hero. Save yourself. It’s your future, make it work for you… the rest will happen as it’s supposed to.

Never forget that life is what happens when you’re busy making plans. So make your own plans. Don’t accept others plans for you. Live your life. Not other peoples’ lives instead of your own.

Take the time always to live, love, & laugh… today, tomorrow, and always.

And never forget that we love you.

No matter what.

Love never changes.

Never.