Monday, December 31, 2012

Instructions for the new year

Whatever 2013 brings, I want to make the best of it, so I'm writing myself a few instructions for being a better robot...

Breathe.

Relax.

Be. Content, grateful, curious, optimistic.

Do what you love.

Let go. Of worry, judgments, expectations, sugar.

Embrace opportunities and experiences.

Love your life and everyone in it.

Also, what they said:

"When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be. When I let go of what I have, I receive what I need." ~Tao Te Ching

“He who is not contented with what he has would not be contented with what he would like to have.” ~Socrates  

Lyric of the moment: "For long you live and high you fly, and smiles you'll give and tears you'll cry. And all you touch and all you see is all your life will ever be..."


Wednesday, December 26, 2012

A choose your own adventure kind of life

Christmas, I'm sorry I doubted you. It's not you, it's me. I never fully believe anything until it actually happens. And even then, I question it, doubt it, poke at it, not trusting that it's real, wondering if it's just a dream.

I've never liked getting gifts. It makes me uncomfortable, like I haven't done anything to deserve them. I've never believed that, out of all the possible options, someone would ever choose me. Continually, every day, forever.

But it's ok. Maybe I don't get one great love story. Maybe I get a bunch of weird, hilarious, epic ones. Maybe I'm right where I'm supposed to be. I've always preferred the ridiculous and the impossible to the traditional. It kind of makes sense that I would end up here, in this choose your own adventure kind of life where anything could happen. I have no idea how it's going to end, but for once I'm going to be patient and enjoy the journey to get there. If I end up on a path that I don't love, I can choose at any time to take a different route. Because if nothing else, I always have me, with all my restless energy and crazy indomitable will.

I'm starting to think that maybe it's not about finding what I'm looking for, or even knowing what I'm looking for, that it's about becoming the person who can see what is already there in front of me.

I don't know. As usual, I don't have any answers. But I do have dark chocolate covered pretzels, which taste better anyways.

Christmas did bring me a bunch of gift cards and tickets to shows. Yay for future adventures! Plus my new friend Elliot. He's a humidifier shaped like an elephant! And the steam comes out of his trunk! The best ever, right? (Yes, I know this product is intended for children, but I don't think there's an age limit on awesomeness).

Lyric of the moment: "And do you ever see yourself in love? And do you ever take a chance, my love? Because you know that I will, because you know that I will...Just sit back and hold on, but hold on tight. Prepare for the best and the fastest ride. And reach out your hand and I'll make you mine. Everything, everything's magic..." (Because this is the adventure I would choose.)

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Nonsensical logic

Sometimes Christmas puts me in a mood. I want it to be all magical and meaningful and romantic and when it doesn't turn out that way I feel like an idiot for being sucker punched by my own optimism. I knew it was getting bad when the season finale of How I Met Your Mother made me cry. So I did the only logical thing...I bought Wonder Woman underwear. I was walking through Target and there they were and it just seemed like a sign. I mean, when awesomeness calls, you have to answer.

Sometimes I think I'm failing the Turing Test. But for some reason I keep trying. I don't know why I do some of the things I do. It doesn't make sense. But sometimes I think all the very best things in life transcend logic. So there's that.

Lyric of the moment: "They say that the world is built for two, only worth living if somebody is loving you..."

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Things that I hope are ok

Things that I hope are ok. As in, other people sometimes feel/think/do these things too. Otherwise there is probably something wrong with me.

*Feeling simultaneously grateful for every mile I can run and also being all this shit is bananas whenever my freakin' tendon acts up.

*Eating the good stuff out of the trail mix and leaving all the raisins.

*Liking people based on the quality of their hugs.

*Wanting to be someone's first choice, someone's best, one true whatever. And feeling sad at the thought that this may never happen. Then deciding not to think about things like that because I'd rather spend my time feeling awesome, not sad.

*Not believing that the world will actually end on Friday, but thinking that if it did, it would be an amazing event to witness. And hoping that of all the possible apocalypses, it would be zombies.

*Wanting more reasons to stay up late. And also more sleep.

*Having questions. About everything.

*Starting a book, realizing I'm not that into it, returning it to the library and getting something I can't wait to read instead.

*Being happy when the Magic 8 Ball answers: without a doubt. Because at least someone in this house is capable of certainty, even if he is made of plastic.
Lyric of the moment: "The best things in life aren't things. They're living and breathing. The best things in life aren't things. They're something you can believe in..."

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Ridiculous things

I can't remember ever trying to impress anyone. First of all, there's nothing particularly impressive about me. Secondly, why would I pretend to be something I'm not? I want people to like me for who I am. So I have to be who I am. The good, the bad and the ugly.

Sometimes what I am is a person who, when overtired, says things that are ridiculous and/or probably better left unsaid. But I'd rather err on the side of honesty than omission.

It occurred to me that maybe I have been afraid to like anyone because what if he doesn't like me back? My gut reaction is that would be sad. But the truth is that all it would be is a blatant sign that he is not the right guy for me. And I'd rather have unrequited feelings that no feelings at all.

Sometimes...ok, often times, I do this thing where I ponder all the what ifs of a situation, all the things that could go wrong. And I mean crazy, ridiculously improbable things. And then I ask myself if it's worth the risk. The answer is almost always yes.

Because the good things can't get in if I don't open myself up to them. And yeah, some less than desirable things might sneak in too, but I'll learn from them or laugh at them or make the best of them and keep going.

So whatever happens, I think it will be good. Though I really hope the next guy I date, if he decides to break up with me, does so in a robot voice. Because that would take something sad and turn it into something amazing.

Lyric of the moment: "So I'll be bold as well as strong. And use my head alongside my heart..."

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Graced with clumsiness

In what can only be described as an act of unparalleled grace, I whacked my knee hardcore at the gym Friday morning. It takes a certain amount of skill to injure oneself while getting off a treadmill. But the bruise is pretty sweet. And I think my tendons and I may be starting to reconcile.

I spent the weekend with friends old and new and I laughed so hard my face hurt. Every time that happens I think, this is the life.

Today I ran 7 miles at the gym (the last mile of which I was unfortunately stuck between Mr. Coughing-like-I-have-SARS and Mr. Wearing-way-too-much-cologne. Seriously? This is a gym, not da club), then took a glorious nap and relaxed at home. I ordered Chinese food and the old woman who delivered it said "It's hailing out here. Did you bring this snow? I love you baby." I can't decide if that is crazy or the best ever.

I feel that way about a lot of things.

Fortune cookies say: "Love is on the way" and "Just wait for the right moment. Keep your eyes and ears peeled." I hope the cookies are right.

I think on 12/21/12 I'm going to rent the movie Seeking A Friend For The End Of The World. And anyone who wants in is more than welcome to join me.

Lyric of the moment: "Why do we fall in love so easy? Even when it's not right. Where there is desire, there is gonna be a flame. Where there is a flame, someone's bound to get burned. But just because it burns doesn't mean you're gonna die. You've gotta get up and try and try and try.."

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Waiting for the Tardis

Yes! Story of my life.
Lately I just want someone to hug me and tell me that I'm not a mean, awful, broken down robot with no feelings. But I doubt that is going to happen so I've been watching Doctor Who instead.

And I love it. The Doctor is quirky and funny and British and best of all, travels through space and time. He is the consummate adventurer. But it seems highly unlikely that a man and his blue box will ever appear at my doorstep, so I'm going to have to find my own Tardis. Though in my version, all the robots would be for good, not for evil.

The thing I find sad about Doctor Who is that he has some kick-ass companions over the years but he never has a long-term partner. Maybe that's the price of life as an explorer.

There are so many things I want to see and do and read and climb and eat, but I have plenty of time for all that (hopefully). Life is exciting and funny and amazing and I want to experience all of it. But I don't want to do it alone.

Maybe the life I want is impossible and I should give up on it. But I don't think I can. I will probably always be searching, just on the off chance it might be out there somewhere.

Lyric of the moment: "He can show you the planets, he can show you the stars, he can love you more because he's got two hearts..."

Monday, December 3, 2012

Kinda sorta some of the time

Over the weekend, I watched the movie Ruby Sparks at a friend's place. I didn't like most of the characters, (except for the dog. And Antonio Banderas!) or the way it ended, but I found the subject very interesting. The main character is a writer, struggling to follow up the success of his first novel and with his personal relationships. He invents a female character who becomes real and whatever he writes about her actually happens. Whenever she does something he doesn't like, he runs to his typewriter and changes her. They get into a big fight which culminates in a heartbreaking scene that is hard to watch without wanting to punch him in the face. He is jealous, whiny, needy, controlling and acts like a complete asshole. But it all stems from his underlying loneliness and insecurities, and ultimately he does the right thing. Which doesn't excuse his behavior, but makes him entirely human. And I have such a soft spot for humans. So while I wanted to dislike him, I mostly felt bad for him. My favorite part was his monologue at the end, where he says "falling in love is an act of magic." Because I hope it's true.

We all want to be accepted for who we are. But I think we're a lot more likely to find an accepting and loving partner if we ourselves are an accepting and loving partner. Relationships aren't about controlling the other person and always getting our way. They're about love and compromise and making a continual, conscious choice to be with someone and give him/her our best.

Or at least that's the kind of relationship I would want. So I hope it exists. And that I kinda sorta know what I'm talking about. Some of the time.

Lyric of the moment: "I guess we thought that's just what humans do. Letting darkness grow, as if we need its palette and we need its color. But now I've seen it through, and now I know the truth. That anything could happen. Baby, I'll give you everything you need. But I don't think I need you..."



Thursday, November 29, 2012

Jackpot

Am I the only one who didn't buy a lottery ticket yesterday? The jackpot was some insane amount of money that I would never, ever want. I'm very lucky that I have enough to live comfortably. I don't need or want anything more. The real jackpot is people, not money. It's love, health, happiness, effort and meaningful relationships.

Someday I'd like to live in a blue house that is full of happy people and robots and a dog called The Dude. I'd like to meet someone I'm excited to spend the rest of my life with, who also feels the same way about me. And I'd like to somehow acquire better entertaining/hosting skills so I can have people over more often. For euchre and fun runs and theme parties and good times.

That's a jackpot I very much want to win.

For now, I'm enjoying my present situation, the abundance of space, solitude, quiet and order, and the luxury of being responsible only for myself. But I would welcome a little more chaos and responsibility if it happens.

I feel surprisingly content. I don't really understand why, but I'll take it. I guess I finally realized that I'm enough, that whatever happens I will be ok. I have faults and that's ok. I want to keep growing and getting better, and that's ok too. It doesn't mean I'm inadequate. It's just that I want a passionate and adventurous life. As long as I'm here, I'm trying to experience as much as I can and figure out what it really means to be alive.

Life is good and people are awesome and everything will work out in the end. Or the beginning, or the middle, or wherever it is I am.


Lyric of the moment: "I always could count on futures, that things would look up, and they look up..."

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Everything. All the time

I could definitely get used to 4 day weekends. I spent Thanksgiving with some of my crazy extended family, which was pretty hilarious. I ate way too much dessert. (I think need a break from all the sugar. Maybe I should find another vice.) I spent some solo time running in the woods and doing random cardio at the gym. I went to see Skyfall (some cool stunts, but not enough scenes of Daniel Craig without a shirt on) and a double feature at The Cinema of Robot and Frank (funny and adorable and now I totally want a robot butler with gardening and cooking and lock-picking skills) and Seven Psychopaths (definitely messed up but funny too). I watched more Doctor Who (I'm not sure how I missed out on this show for so long but I really like it). I took Maz for a drive-thru oil change (so cool!). I read and relaxed and slept. I went grocery shopping. By myself. Like a real person.

I didn't worry or feel bad about anything. Because my time here is finite and I'd rather spend it experiencing as much life and getting to know as many amazing people as I can. There is good in everything. There is happiness everywhere. And I want to enjoy all of it. Everything. All the time.

Lyric of the moment: "I'm here, I'm now, I'm ready..."

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The light at the end of the tunnel

If I had a dollar for every time in the past few months I've said something like "I'm sorry. I enjoyed meeting you but I just don't feel a connection," I could buy a lot of ice cream. Which I could really use. I'm not cut out for this whole dating thing. Internally I still feel like the wallflower, all braces and awkwardness, not getting asked to dance. Now somehow I'm on the other side of it, turning guys down. And it's the worst.

But I figure things will work out eventually. And in the meantime, I'm enjoying my ridiculously fortunate life. Yesterday was another funny day at work in which I got a bonus and Bill kept insisting on paying my cell phone bill and adding me to their corporate plan and I kept insisting that no, thank you very much but I can pay my own cell phone bill, and Bill told me I could leave early.

So I went to a coffee shop to read and drink chai. And this guy started talking to me about how he was being stood up. He was supposed to meet a girl there at 2:30 but she hadn't shown up yet. I was like Dude, I would have left at 3:00, but he said he was waiting until 5:00. In retrospect, I should have known the direction this conversation was headed. The only strangers who talk to me in public are elderly, homeless and/or crazy. (It would be nice if just once a single, hot, well-balanced thirty-something guy would strike up a random conversation with me. Dear universe, hint hint.) I felt bad for the poor guy until he said "Well if she doesn't show up, God will punish her." So yeah, he had a one way ticket to crazy town. Granted, it's inconsiderate to be a no-show and not even call, but it's possible this girl narrowly avoided becoming an episode of Criminal Minds.

Then a nice guy took me out for sushi and chocolate lava cake and said "I don't think you're weird." That makes one of us, but it's still nice to hear.

There is a light at the end of the tunnel. I don't know when I'll get there but it's comforting to know it exists.

Lyric of the moment: "Take me out tonight. Because I want to see people and I want to see life...There is a light and it never goes out..."


Wednesday, November 14, 2012

No worries, only awesome sauce

The other night I ran a few miles on the track at dusk. It was just an ordinary run. Not very fast or very far, but entirely perfect. Because I enjoyed every step. No watch, no worries, no expectations. Simply running for the love of running. I'm still hoping to get back to longer runs as soon as I can, but in the meantime I'm grateful for every mile my ankle will take me.

I'm not really sure how it happened, but I'm becoming more patient and less critical of myself. I'm finding a balance between striving for improvement and accepting who I am. I will probably always want to test my limits, to do more and be better. But I'm learning how to do it without judgment.

I'm going to let things work themselves out, as they are wont to do. Maybe I just like saying the word wont. In any event, I'm not going to worry about it. Whatever life brings, I will make a sundae out of it, with awesome sauce on top.

Lyric of the moment: "And what she said was something beautiful. To give your love no matter what..." (My second favorite Red Hot Chili Peppers lyric, the first being "I'll make it to the moon if I have to crawl.")

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Brief dalliances in irresponsibility

Last week I thought I would try being irresponsible for once. Blow off some steam, act without considering the consequences, enjoy the immediate gratification. Just to see what it was like, because it's so unlike me. And maybe I've been missing out somehow. So I did. And it was fun in a way. But mostly it felt sort of hollow, like this isn't really me and this isn't really what I want. This was only a baby step towards irresponsibility, and even that didn't sit well with me. I'm all for a bit of mischief once in a while, but I think I have to accept that irresponsibility is just not my style.

Oddly enough, that moment is when it finally hit me that this is never going to work out. Rationally I had known it for a while, but the emotions had yet to catch on. It was only in that moment that I finally felt it on a visceral level. This is never going to be what I want and it's only going to make me unhappy.

I don't feel any sadness over it anymore. Remember the love and let go of the hurt and keep going.

Lyric of the moment: "Take your entrance back. Can't let you roam inside my head. I don't want to take what you can give. I'd rather starve than eat your bread..."

Monday, November 5, 2012

Weekend adventures

This past weekend I went to see Blue Man Group (thanks to Adam for the invitation!). It was weird and funny and really neat. I'm not sure who came up with the concept of blue faced men playing percussion on PVC pipes and other random surfaces and seeing how many marshmallows they can catch in their mouths and eating Cap'n Crunch on stage, but it was a very interesting show.

Sunday morning, Sheila, Eric and Picasso came over for a Daylight Savings run. We left my house at 1:15am, ran until 2:00am, then turned the clocks back to 1:00am, so technically we ran about 5 miles in negative 15 minutes. We're awesome like that. Then we ate bagels and tater tots for breakfast. Good times.

I'm trying not to think about anything too much, just letting the thoughts come in and go back out again without judging or reacting to them.

I don't know what will happen. I don't even know what I want to happen anymore. So there's no point worrying or getting upset. I will do the best I can with what I have. I just want to have fun and be happy and spend time with awesome people.

Lyric of the moment: "Settle down, it'll all be clear. Don't pay no mind to the demons, they fill you with fear. The trouble it might drag you down. If you get lost, you can always be found..."



Friday, November 2, 2012

Robots just want to have fun

Things that are funny:

The other morning I went to get in my car and the driver side door wasn't shut all the way, my sunglasses were on the seat and the glove compartment was open. Clearly someone had been in my car, looking for who knows what. Nothing was taken, but then again there is nothing in there to take. And luckily my robot is super glued onto the dashboard so he's not going anywhere. Now I kinda want to leave random things in my car overnight and see what happens.
I think my boss feels sorry for me because several times a day he will come into my office and say a bunch of nice things and tell me that some lucky guy is going to be so happy to meet me, etc. Then we have ridiculous conversations like this:

Bill: "I saw you coming in and I thought to myself isn't little Jen beautiful. And I'm not just saying that to make you feel better."
Jen: "Yeah but don't you have glaucoma? You only think that because you can't really see me."
Bill (holding water bottle): "I'm going to dump this water on your head, kid."

I know he means well but I don't even want to think about it anymore. If it happens, it happens. And if it doesn't...that's the way the cookie crumbles.

My ankle feels suspiciously better. I'm hesitant to test it because it has fooled me before. And right now I just want to feel hopeful instead of discouraged.

I don't want to think too much or worry about the future or feel bad about anything. Robots just want to have fun.

Lyric of the moment: "Heart still beating but it's not working. It's like a hundred thousand voices that just can't sing. I reach out trying to love but I feel nothing. Oh my heart is numb..."



Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Letting go. For serious this time

I don't like this part of the story. When the right thing to do feels sad and difficult and not very right at all. But deep down I know it has to be done. Because I don't want to get stuck here. I don't want to settle for something that is not really what I want and definitely not what I need. As much as I wish it didn't have to be this way, sometimes it's necessary to let go of the thoughts, behaviors and sadly, a person that I am letting hold me back.

I don't know what happens next. I only know that I am moving forward, wherever that leads.

Lyric of the moment: "It isn’t easy for me to let it go. 'Cause I swallow every single word. And every whisper, every sigh, eats away at this heart of mine. And there is a hollow in me now. So I put my faith in something unknown. I’m living on such sweet nothing..."

Monday, October 29, 2012

But who knows, maybe someday it could be a little bit true

From the novel I'm reading, There But For The by Ali Smith:
"She had not expected, out in the world, to find herself quite so much the wrong sort of person."

I have often felt this way, like I am irreparably weird. I can accept being weird. Everyone is weird in some way. But I can't accept feeling bad about it. I don't want to do that anymore.

He said "Thought I forgot about you, huh?" And I said "No. I am unforgettable." I don't know why I said it. I was just being a smart ass. But who knows, maybe someday it could be a little bit true.

I'm trying not to take things personally. I'm trying to remember that the way people react is more about them and what is going on in their lives than it is about me. And I'm trying to react with love instead of feeling hurt. But it's really freaking hard.

I can't remember where I read these, but I wrote them down thinking they might be helpful later:

"You have to accept whatever comes and the only important thing is that
you meet it with courage and with the best that you have to give."

"Do your best, control the elements you can control, and then let it be.
Once you have done what you can, if it's meant to be it will happen,
or it will show you the next steps that need to be taken."

So about those next steps, I could really use some sort of sign. It's kind of confusing around here.

But the truth is that I'll see the signs I'm looking for. I can choose to see beauty or ugliness, hope or despair, happiness or sadness. And either way, I'll be right.

So I need to relax, be patient, do the things that make me feel happy and healthy, focus on one day at a time and let everything else work itself out.

Lyric of the moment: "Let's dance to joy division, and celebrate the irony. Everything is going wrong, but we're so happy. Let's dance to joy division, and raise our glass to the ceiling.'Cos this could all go so wrong, but we're so happy..." (Because I like this idea, of celebrating even when things are going wrong, of finding happiness even in calamity.)

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

It's my birthday and I'll run if I want to

Pure awesomeness
I woke up this morning, 31 years old and, all that be-in-the-moment, the-happiness-is-within crap aside, not quite where I want to be in life. It was raining. I could tell it was going to be a no good, very bad day. And I thought fuck it, I'm going running. So I did. Not very far, but it was just what I needed. I kept expecting it to hurt and it didn't. I thought don't get too hopeful, don't push your luck. So I ran home, took a most excellent shower, and put on the most ridiculous piece of clothing I own - a shirt depicting a pug wearing a top hat.

I've started to get glimmers of excitement, but I know I have to shut it down or it will only lead to crushing disappointment. And yet, every time I try to type the word hopeless, it comes out as hopeful instead, and then I have to go back and correct it. Stupid optimism. Why do you build me up just to let me down? Apparently crushing disappointment is a risk I'm willing to take.

My friend George told me I am "a force of awesomeness to be reckoned with." And I thought, not yet. But that's it. I have finally figured out what I want to be when I grow up...a force of awesomeness to be reckoned with.

I hope birthday wishes come true. I could use all the help I can get.

Lyric of the moment: "Thirty-one today. What a thing to say...I thought my life would be different somehow. I thought my life would be better by now..."

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Impossible things: grocery shopping

The good news is I finally went grocery shopping. The bad news is I am probably a lost cause. Maybe it was a bad idea. But he offered to go with me and I knew I wouldn't go shopping by myself and the fridge situation was getting a bit desperate. The only thing in there was a pack of Polaroid film. But the real reason I went is that I haven't liked anyone else lately, which is utterly depressing, and I just had to find out if I have become completely devoid of feeling.

We got lunch first and when the woman making our sandwiches asked "Are you together?" I thought I wish, even though I knew she was only talking about our order.

The good news is that my heart still works. The bad news is that it gets stuck on the most hopeless and impossible things.
But at least the Polaroid film now has some company.

Then later I went to see The Perks Of Being A Wallflower with a friend. And Paul Rudd's character said "We accept the love we think we deserve."

So I'm screwed. Utterly hopeless.

But then a bench told me "No excellence without toil." And the one thing I've always been good at is toil.

So maybe it's not entirely hopeless.

Lyric of the moment: "I'm just as fucked up as they say. I can't fake the daytime. Found an entrance to escape into the dark..."

Friday, October 19, 2012

Times like these

Sometimes I feel like the little bee girl in Blind Melon's No Rain video. Maybe someday I will stumble across a field filled with other dancing bee people.

Sometimes I wonder what I've been working towards my whole life. What is it for, all the effort, sweat, saving? Future robot uprising?

Sometimes I worry I'm searching for something that doesn't exist. But even if that's true, I know I can't give up. It's epicness or nothing.

Sometimes I think everything happens for a reason. But I really, really, really want to know the reason. I could endure anything if I knew for certain that it would all make sense somehow. Eventually. And by eventually I mean really freaking soon.

Sometimes. Okay, a lot of times, I think too much.

Sometimes I wonder what the hell is going on. Why do I have all these black and blue marks?

Sometimes I think the road less traveled is overrated. It's confusing and lonely and damn near impenetrable. But as much as I want to keep getting better, I wouldn't want to be anyone else. I wouldn't want to live anyone else's life. And even on the worst days of mine, I wouldn't trade it for the world.

Sometimes I feel like giving up. And then I think, don't give up, give more.

Lyric of the moment: "Don't you worry, you'll find yourself. Follow your heart and nothing else. And you can do this if you try. All I want for you is to be satisfied..."









Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Things that are good

Even though I'm not very good at it, I enjoy meeting people and hearing their stories, who they are and where they've been and what they like to do. But the thing about people is that they are so nice. And then I feel bad. I feel bad if they pay for me. I feel bad if they give me things. I feel bad that I don't have anything to offer them. It's as if I'm a detached observer, interested in the conversation and the person but with no expectation or attachment to the outcome. I like people and I want things to go well for them, but lately I find that I don't care what they think of me. In some ways I guess it is sort of zen, but I don't want to become apathetic.

But enough of that. Things that are good:

*I now have 3 houseplants. And they are all still alive! Ok, so one of them is a cactus (thanks, George!) and probably doesn't count. But the other 2 are orchids, which as far as plants go, are on the fancy and persnickety side. Since all of my previous houseplants met with an unfortunate and untimely demise, I'm considering this a success.

*While I was driving, a yellow exclamation point light started flashing on Maz's dashboard. I looked in the manual, expecting it to be something bad. With Bug, it was always something bad. But luckily it was just the low tire pressure indicator light, so I stopped at the gas station and put air in the tires. Unfortunately, the free air pump doesn't have any sort of gauge on it so I couldn't tell how much air I was putting in the tires. I just counted to 30 Mississippi (and one for good luck, 31) for each tire. Apparently this worked because the yellow exclamation point went away and has not returned.
*Burn Notice. I started watching this show on Netflix and it makes me wish I had spy skills. Though I would be a terrible spy because I hate guns and I have no interest in fighting anyone.

*The ring I bought for $4 at a household sale from a woman wearing a turban who called me "Doll."

*Going to the library and reading in coffee shops and driving through roundabouts and going to my thinking spot and getting up early to use the rowing machine while watching music videos (because early morning is the only time MTV and VH1 play music videos anymore) and listening to my iPod in the shower. These are the things I do when I want to feel better but I can't run.

Lyric of the moment: "Oh, an incurable humanist you are..."

Thursday, October 11, 2012

I wonder

I wonder if I'm the only one who thinks about how strange it is to be alive. How one moment I didn't exist and the next moment, through fate or luck or randomness or whatever, I did. How one day I will once again cease to exist, except maybe if I'm really lucky, in someone else's memory. How infinitely amazing it is to be anything at all.

I wonder why it is so much easier to love than to be loved.


I wonder if my enjoyment of something increases in direct proportion to the amount of time I had to wait for it, if deprivation begets appreciation begets satisfaction.

I wonder how this is ever going to work out.

Universe, I really hope you have some kind of plan, because I've got nothing.

Lyric of the moment: "And love, we need it now. Let's hope for some, 'cause oh, we're bleeding out..."






Saturday, October 6, 2012

The part where anything could happen

I am very lucky and I have a ridiculously good life. It feels greedy to ask for more. But isn't that what hope is? Trusting that there will be even more goodness around the corner?

I'm trying not to want. But it's hard. Because I do. I want a perfectly healed tendon, more people, maybe another robot. I want everything to be momentous and meaningful and memorable.

I can't stop wanting impossible things.

Because there's a part of me that believes anything is possible.

And I don't want to lose it.
It's my very best part.

Lyric of the moment: "But now I've seen it through. And now I know the truth. That anything could happen..."

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

I'm prepared to wait however long it takes

Sometimes I don't know how I'm going to react in a situation until I get there. I thought it would be lonely living alone in my house. But I'm finding that I actually enjoy it. Though when the time comes to live with someone again, I will enjoy that too.
Lately I don't like anyone. I mean, I like everyone. People are awesome. But I don't like anyone. In that I-can't-wait-to-spend-time-with-you kind of way. I'm just not feeling it. It's like my heart is still stuck on something else or is on vacation or something.

I miss that feeling. It's similar to the way I feel about running. I like spin class and rowing and rock climbing. But running is the only thing I'd happily wake up at 5am for or stay up until 1am for, that I could do every day for the rest of my life and never tire of it. It's the difference between liking something and being truly passionate about it.

I'm prepared to wait however long it takes. To get back to running. To find the right person, or for the right person to find me. That doesn't mean I'm going to be sitting around idly in the meantime. There are too many other adventures to be had. But I want a life full of the things I'm passionate about. So I'm going to follow my heart, wherever it leads. Because it always knows exactly where to go.

Lyric of the moment: "And my head told my heart, let love grow. But my heart told my head, this time no, this time no..."


Monday, October 1, 2012

The truths we hold to be self evident

Two things I read recently that have been following me around ever since:

"People become trapped by their own conception of their limits." (from 30 Lessons for Living)

and

"Fear, to a great extent, is born of a story we tell ourselves, and so I chose to tell myself a different story." (from Wild)

Oh right, of course. It seems so apparent now, but I hadn't been aware enough to articulate it myself. The only thing holding me back is me. I have these limiting thoughts - no one will like me or I am unattractive or I can't do that - that I hold as truths and they color the way I interpret everything. Even if there is obvious evidence to the contrary, I don't see it. I am a bad scientist, ignoring any data that doesn't support my hypotheses. But what if the truths I hold to be self evident are actually false? What if the story I've been telling myself is fiction? What if I choose to tell myself a different story?

Or what if I don't tell myself a story at all? What if I see things simply as they are, unbiased by my preconceptions?

This would be a herculean task. I have almost 31 years of preconceptions filed away in my brain. How can I ever escape from that? I suppose the answer to that is one thought at a time, one day at a time.

Lyric of the moment: "I, I tried so hard to let you go, but some kind of madness is swallowing me whole. I have finally seen the light. And I have finally realized what you mean..." (because sometimes I hear a song and think, story of my life)

Friday, September 28, 2012

And I can't decide which side I'm on

Last night I was stopped at a red light and I gave $5 to the homeless guy standing at the side of the road. He said "Alright! My girlfriend and I only need $15 more dollars to make it to Richmond!" I can't decide whether to think Even the homeless guy has a significant other. There must be something terribly wrong with me that I don't. or Even the homeless guy has a significant other. Maybe there really is someone for everyone.

All week on my way to work I've driven past a dead raccoon on the side of the road, body in rigor mortis, arms in perfect Heisman trophy pose. And I thought, Well, I'm having a better day than that poor little guy.

The ice cream cone is either half full or half empty. And I can't decide which side I'm on. I'm too optimistic to give up hope but too realistic to have lofty expectations.

I feel adrift because I have nothing to look forward to. No upcoming races, no epic trips, no exciting changes. Well, nothing that I know of yet. It's a little upsetting, but then I think...So don't look forward. Just take one day at a time and make it the best day you can. Love and appreciate the crap out of every day life gives you.

Lyric of the moment: "I know you're wise beyond your years, but do you ever get the fear that your perfect verse is just a lie you tell yourself to help you get by..."

Monday, September 24, 2012

On showing up

On Saturday afternoon, I got a call from Chris, who had signed up to volunteer at the Rochester marathon the next day. When someone asked if he'd be part of their relay team, he figured why not run the first leg of the relay then finish the race to get his Boston marathon qualifying time (because he is super hardcore like that). He asked me if I'd take over his volunteer spot so he could run the race, and of course I said yes.

I'll admit there was that instant pang in my heart where I wished I could be running a marathon too, but the reality is that I can't run long distances right now. It is what it is. I'm doing what I can to get back there, but it's a slow process. And it's not about me. Sometimes you have to put aside your own shit and show up for your friends. I'm incredibly happy for and proud of all my friends and their amazing athletic accomplishments, regardless of whether or not I can be out there running with them. As they say in Grease, "If you can't be an athlete, be an athletic supporter."

And volunteering was a lot of fun. I was a road marshall near the 9.5 mile marker and it was great to be out there cheering for all the runners and chatting with other volunteers and spectators. Plus I got to wear a sweet orange vest, wave an orange flag and yell "woohooo, good job!" approximately 3,000 times.

Last fall I was not a very good friend and I regret it wholeheartedly. So I'm not going to let a boy or an injury or anything else keep me from showing up for the people I care about.

Lyric of the moment: "If you're lost and alone, or you're sinking like a stone, carry on. May your past be the sound of your feet upon the ground, carry on..."



Friday, September 21, 2012

Because if I can't run, I will climb

Last night I went rock climbing for the first time. I'm not sure why it took me 30 years to do this. I love heights and I spent my childhood on monkey bars and climbing trees. But like anything else that is new and potentially epic, it was easy to make excuses and talk myself out of it.

What if I'm terrible at it? What if I can't make it to the top? What if I fall? I don't have a partner to go with and then I'm going to be that loser standing around by herself. I started to think, what if I'm so heavy that no one can hold me and I break the ropes? And then I thought, 'Seriously, woman? You are being completely ridiculous right now.'

So I told myself, just try it one time and if you hate it, you never have to go back. But of course I loved it. I was pretty terrible, but I enjoyed it. I made it to the top a couple times. I fell even more times, but that was just as fun. Everyone was really nice and it turns out one of my high school friends was there. Plus there was pizza! When I woke up today, everything hurt in that slightly uncomfortable way that's indicative of awesomeness building up inside ye olde body parts. And I knew then that it would be more than a one time thing.

I can't say I'm happy that I'm still injured and can't run. I'm not there yet. I may never get there. But in a weird way, it has been more of an opportunity than a limitation. Sure, I miss the long runs and especially the camaraderie of the running community. But it forced me out of my comfort zone, out of some things I didn't want to admit weren't working for me, and opened me up to new adventures and hopefully future marvelousness.

Lyric of the moment: "And I went crazy again today, looking for a strand to climb, looking for a little hope..."

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Robot's log: stardate 41023.5*

I went on a few really cool dates with a really cool guy but unfortunately I didn't feel any chemistry. So I had to be the jerk who says "I'm sorry. I like you and you're so nice but I don't feel a romantic connection. I'm very sorry." He was exceedingly nice about it, because he's an exceedingly nice person. And later he told me "You are an amazing, wonderful woman. Don't let anyone, or yourself, tell you otherwise." I can only hope that if the situation were reversed I would have reacted with as much magnanimity.


And all I could think was, wow, people are extraordinary. And surprising. In all the very best ways. I feel lucky to have met everyone that has come into my life.

If, as my old roommate Jeff posited in 2005, I am a robot fueled by sugar and sent from space to learn about the human race, I couldn't have picked a better subject.

*Because Jean Luc Picard's voiceover "Captain's Logs" were my favorite part of StarTrek: The Next Generation.

Lyric of the moment: "And after that the floodgates opened up, and I fell in love with everyone I saw..." (I got excited that, for once, the radio was playing a Snow Patrol song other than Chasing Cars. And because it's one of my favorites.)

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Life is funny

Life has an infuriatingly fantastic sense of humor. Sometimes Life gives me what I wished for and then I realize it's not what I want after all. Or maybe I'm too messed up to accept it. There are too many signs and I don't know how to read any of them.

The thing that Life keeps trying to teach me and I keep failing to learn is that happiness is not in wanting things to be a certain way and in seeing those things come to fruition but in recognizing the inherent happiness wherever I happen to be and trusting that things will work out in time. Which is very easy to say and incredibly hard to do.

It's exquisite really, the way we can torture ourselves by wanting something so very badly that we currently lack, convincing ourselves that there's something wrong with us because other people have it and we don't. I don't want to play that game.

I know that I am notoriously bad at predicting my own reaction to future events, that my head and my heart aren't always on the same page, that sometimes I don't know what I want until I see it and that other times I am completely oblivious to the obvious. I know that certain things may not happen for me and I will have to find a way to be ok with that. I know that I will always be awkward and weird.

I know that Life is funny. I don't understand its method but I appreciate the humor.

Lyric of the moment: "Call it surrender but you know that that's a joke. And the punchline is you were never actually in control. But still, surrender anyway. Tell me what you said you'd never do. Tell me what you said you'd never say. Read me off that list of things 'cause I used to not like you but now I think you're OK..."

Sunday, September 16, 2012

This time

Sometimes I think this time is going to be different, I am going to be different. But how much can a person really change? Despite my best intentions, the reality is that I'm probably not going to go grocery shopping. I'm probably always going to have doubts about everything. I'm probably always going to be suspicious of the things that come easy and keep fighting for the things that are challenging, as if I don't deserve something unless it has taken all my effort to get there. Sometimes I wonder if I am incapable of making decisions that are good for me.

The only thing that saves me is that I am incredibly lucky. Evidently someone somewhere is looking out for me, even if I'm not doing it myself.

Thank you to whoever brought back the little fence that went missing from my front yard, even if...no, especially if it was the person who took it in the first place.

Lyric of the moment: "And if you're paralyzed by a voice in your head, it's the standing still that should be scaring you instead. Go on and do it anyway..."

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Seemingly contradictory things

The thing about life, and especially about love, is that sometimes seemingly contradictory things can both be true. A good person can do a bad thing. You can love someone you don't like and like someone you don't love. Someone may think that you are amazing - attractive, kind, intelligent, all that good stuff - and not be the right person for you. Or be the right person for a short time but not forever.  It's possible to feel simultaneously wistful yet content, nervous yet hopeful, a sense of loss but also of wonder. Sometimes the best way to love someone is to let go. When you love new people, it doesn't crowd out the ones you loved before - somehow the heart has an infinite capacity to expand.

The thing about life, and especially about love, is that it is heartbreakingly beautiful and overwhelmingly amazing.

Lyric of the moment: "There are places I remember all my life, though some have changed. Some forever not for better. Some have gone and some remain. All these places have their moments with lovers and friends I still can recall. Some are dead and some are living. In my life I've loved them all..." (Because it will always be one of my favorites.)

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Because maybe there is some hope for me yet

There's an episode of The Simpsons where Homer tells Bart "You tried your best and you failed miserably. The lesson is never try." And it's funny. But it's also tempting to think like that sometimes. When I try my best but don't get the results I was hoping for or when I put all my effort into something that doesn't work out, it's tempting to think that it was all a waste of time. But it all depends on how I look at it. If I really think about it, every run has made me stronger in some way, whether or not it was fast or felt good and every relationship has made me wiser in some way, regardless of how long it lasted. I can take something positive away from every experience, if I choose to do so. The lesson is not never try, it's keep trying. The only true defeat is in giving up or becoming bitter.

I went to physical therapy yesterday morning and there was a sign on the wall that said "There are two ways of meeting difficulties. You alter the difficulties or you alter yourself to meet them." There are some difficulties that can't be altered, but there is usually a way to alter myself or at least alter the way I perceive/think about them.

And then I found myself at Starry Nights on a starry night and a homeless woman asked us for $2, which we gave her, then she came back and asked for more money because she spent the $2 on lottery tickets, then the homeless guy who tells racist jokes came over on his bike, did his stand up routine and asked us for money, so we gave him $10 and he blessed us and told us to "Keep laughing" and "Take care of each other" and then we figured we should call it a night before we gave all our money away to everyone in Rochester and then he said "You are pretty fantastic" and I thought, just for a second, that maybe there is some hope for me yet.

Things that are ridiculous: mosquitoes now love me so much they are biting me on the face.

Lyric of the moment: "You'll be loved, you'll be loved like you never have known. And the memories of me will seem more like bad dreams. Just a series of blurs, like I never occurred. Someday you will be loved. You may feel alone when you're falling asleep, and every time tears roll down your cheeks. But I know your heart belongs to someone you've yet to meet. Someday you will be loved..." (Because I hope Death Cab For Cutie is right)



Saturday, September 8, 2012

Right here, right now, there is no other place I'd rather be

One day I got an email from Adam asking if I wanted to go to the Metric concert, to which I replied "Yes, definitely!" (because when awesomeness calls, that is the only answer). And then we were waiting in line and a random guy on a bike, who actually looked like Rodney Dangerfield started doing his Rodney Dangerfield impersonation and it was hilarious. And then I said I probably wouldn't know anyone else at the concert, but it turned out that the Zarcones were there too. And then it was crowded and hot and smelled like sweat and I kept waiting for the part where my brain would be all "What are you doing here? You're not a concert person. You don't stay up late. You hate crowds." and where my body would get all restless and want to run away. But it never happened. I was happy, content to be exactly where I was with whatever was happening around me.

And I thought this is how I want to feel all the time. Like wherever I am at that moment, there is no other place I'd rather be. Maybe I just need more reasons to stay up late. Maybe that feeling I thought was sadness was actually relief.

***

The reason I find meeting new people uncomfortable is that it seems rife with potential disappointment. Either people aren't interested in me or I'm not interested in them, but either way I feel like I am letting them down. I actually prefer the former to the latter. I can totally accept that some people won't like me for whatever reason. But I don't like being the one who doesn't like someone else enough, in the way that they want you to like them.

***

I read this article the other day and it made me feel like a real jerk. Here I am giving my body shit for its tendonitis and cellulite and all the parts I think are ugly when I should be thanking my muscles for not turning to bone overnight and thanking my blood for not being full of ammonia and just generally being over the moon with gratitude that I am even alive at all. It's a slow process, but I'm working on it.

Hopefully someday I will finally outgrow this awkward phase. Hopefully someday I will wake up in my body and realize there is no other place I'd rather be.

Lyric of the moment: "Now you see life, these colors shimmering around you. You must decide to risk your heart for love to find you..."

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Destination unknown

I saw a bumper sticker that said "I took the road less traveled. Now where the hell am I?" I feel like that sometimes. But the truth is that everyone's destination is unknown.

They say there are plenty of fish in the sea, but I don't want a bunch of fish. I want a peanut butter and banana sandwich.

I feel like I have options, but they're not ones that I want. I could swim, bike, row, go to yoga, walk. They're all perfectly nice activities and enjoyable on occasion. But all I want to do is run. Even though I know I'll get about 3 miles in and it will start to hurt, I want to do it anyways. I don't want a lot of options, just one option that I really, really love.

I tried to give up. I tried to let go. But my heart is unruly and never listens to me. And the only thing my brain likes more than glucose is hope. One doctor told me tendonitis takes 3-6 months to heal. So I keep thinking maybe today is the day I'm going to wake up and it will be all better. But I don't feel better. I feel worse for being fooled by my own stupid optimism.

The thing is that I would be okay with all of this if I knew that there was a light at the end of the tunnel, that someday my future self, looking back from my new residence in Awesometown, would see how it all made sense. I'm hoping that perhaps there is a cosmic reason to be here. But I'm secretly afraid that is is all for naught.

On the bright side (perhaps I should attend some kind of Optimists Anonymous meeting), I'm getting to do a lot of things I wouldn't have been able to otherwise. I watched hot air balloons take off at the Dansville Balloon Festival, I'm going to the Metric concert and a hot potato party this week and on a camping adventure later this month. I signed up for rock climbing lessons at the end of September and a beginner Spanish class in October. I found a pair of jeans that fit perfectly and only cost $3.27 (and if that is possible, I have to believe anything is).

I haven't been able to give up hope or effort, but I'm having better luck letting go of control. So I'm up in my metaphorical hot air balloon going where the wind takes me and and accepting whatever invitations come my way.

Lyric of the moment: "The trouble it might drag you down. If you get lost, you can always be found. Just know you’re not alone 'cause I’m going to make this place your home..."

Friday, August 31, 2012

Embarrassingly true things

Reflecting on past relationships, I noticed that their demises were usually preceded by me finally standing up for myself and expressing what I wanted or needed. I didn't want to live with an alcoholic. I couldn't tolerate cheating. I wanted passion, not just friendship. I needed support/affection/help around the house while I was going through a difficult time. Was I asking for too much? Are these terribly unreasonable desires? It took me a while to say those things because I was afraid. That I wasn't good enough. That I didn't have anything to offer. That no one else would like me so I couldn't be greedy and ask for what I wanted.

So there it is, all the embarrassingly true crap from the ridiculous relationships of robot.*

T.E. told me that I have all the skills I need to be in a great relationship and he would tell me if there was something I needed to work on. But I don't know if that's true. Clearly what I've been doing hasn't worked out for me. So maybe it's time for a different perspective.

If I'm ever in another relationship, I'd like to feel safe to express my feelings without negative repercussions and I'd like to feel heard and understood. That has to be the deciding factor for me. If someone can't acknowledge and accept that my thoughts and feelings are valid too, then I have to walk away. If someone isn't willing to invest as much effort as I am into creating a happy and healthy life, then I have to say so long and on to the next one.

I'd like to think that out of the billions of people in the world there are at least a few who could feel as lucky to know me as I feel to know them. But I'm making peace with the possibility that it may never happen for me. Maybe I won't find what I'm looking for, maybe I don't even know what I'm looking for, maybe something completely different will find me instead.

I've learned a lot from the past. I'm thankful for every experience because it made me who I am today and I'm looking forward to the new experiences that will make me who I will become. But it's time to let go of everything I've been holding on to so that I can be truly open to what's next.

*I wrote this because I needed to get it out and let it go. Sometimes I think I shouldn't say certain things here where anyone can read them. What if they think I'm crazy or weird or a terrible, awful person? But then I thought that's not what this is about. It's not about what other people think of me. It's about my life, what I do and what I love, how I feel and what I learn, the stumbles and victories, the sweetness and the suckiness. It's honest and it's real.

Lyric of the moment: "Hold my head inside your hands. I need someone who understands. I need someone, someone who hears. For you, I've waited all these years. For you, I'd wait 'til kingdom come. Until my day, my day is done. And say you'll come, and set me free. Just say you'll wait, you'll wait for me..."



Wednesday, August 29, 2012

How it's supposed to be

Someone said to me "It will work out how it's supposed to." I believe life does have a tendency to do that. But I also believe in being an active participant in your own life. Even if you're "supposed to" be a doctor, you still have to go to medical school. Even if you're "supposed to" be with someone, that person is not going to just show up at your door and say "Hey, I heard we're supposed to be together. So let's get it on." If you sit around simply waiting for the things that are supposed to happen to you, you may be waiting a very long time.

Sometimes I get little glimpses of insight, little hints that seem to be pointing me in the direction of "supposed to." They're the ideas that pop into my head, from who knows where, the ones that for whatever reason I just can't shake. And if I focus my attention and effort on those ideas, things don't always work out how I expected or how I hoped, but usually there is much awesomeness to be found. I believe that effort is its own reward. I'll admit that sometimes my efforts are misplaced, sometimes I fail to realize that I am fighting for a lost cause. But I'd rather go down fighting than give up too soon. I'd rather show up and give my all to my one and only life. Sometimes I get lost, sometimes I make mistakes. But I like to think that those things are supposed to happen too.

I don't know how it's supposed to be. All I know is that I'm going to keep putting in the effort. In good times and bad times, if you love me or hate me. I'm going to keep giving my best and trying to be a better person.

Lyric of the moment: "She runs up into the light surprised. Her arms are open. Her mind's eye is seeing things from a clearer side than most can dream. On a better road I feel. So you could say she's safe. Whatever tears at her, whatever holds her down. And if nothing can be done she'll make the best of what's around..."


Thursday, August 23, 2012

Dear whoever is in charge of these things:

What is the deal with life, man? A lot of it doesn't make any sense. Until sometimes I look back and everything makes hilariously, ridiculously, unexpectedly perfect sense. Though I can never see it when I'm actually in it. Like now. They always gloss over this part in movies. Everyone wants to see the before and after, but everything in between is reduced to a 2 minute montage set to an emotionally evocative soundtrack. Sometimes I wish I could fast forward over these times myself so I could get to the good stuff. But it's here amidst the hard stuff where the real transformation occurs. It's the process of going through all that and putting in the necessary effort that leads to the good stuff.

Whenever I've reached a point where I didn't know what to do next, I did the thing I was most afraid to do. That's how I ended up leaving grad school, taking a totally random job at this weird and crazy and amazing place, moving in with the strangers who would become my roommates for several years, buying a house, running a marathon (and meeting some kick ass people along the way), letting go of something that was good but not great, falling in love - so basically, all the very best things I've done. So now I'm facing my current fears. That of being alone (and trying to believe that being single doesn't imply that I'm horribly ugly or fundamentally unlovable or fated to die alone). And that of putting myself out there and being open to whatever happens, despite a very real risk of failure, rejection or heartache.

So if my life were a movie, the montage would look something like this: taking a road trip to visit Emelyn and Jeff in Pittsburgh, playing mini-golf and eating ice cream, walking through Highland Park, sitting in coffee shops reading (where elderly people shake my hand and tell me they like my sandals when I hold the door open for them or they ask me to watch their purse while they go to the bathroom. Evidently I am a hit with the AARP crowd), going kayaking (and getting hissed at by angry swans), reading, going to the gym, listening to Bill's "pep talks" (as he keeps coming in to my office to hand me random $10 and $20 bills and saying "I just want things to go well for you, kid" and bringing me 2 bike locks and half a dozen slips of paper with combinations written on them and asking me which combination goes with which lock), going on a family trip to visit TJ in Boston. And I think probably Aimee Mann's 'Today's the Day' or Rachel Yamagata's 'Reason Why' would be playing in the background.

But still, President of Life or Fate/Destiny or whoever you are, maybe you could see it in your heart to send me a little clue, or a bit of help or some kind of sign pointing me in the right direction. Or one of those moments that changes my whole life for the better, only I don't know it at the time. Or maybe just enough hugs and cookies to get me wherever it is I'm supposed to be.

From Robot, with love.

Lyric of the moment: "I've been trying to do it right. I've been living a lonely life. I've been sleeping here instead. I've been sleeping in my bed. So show me family. All the blood that I would bleed. I don't know where I belong. I don't know where I went wrong. But I can write a song..."

Monday, August 20, 2012

A playlist for uncertain times

I don't know what life has in store for me next. I don't know where I'm going or what will happen. But I hope it sounds like this...

Ho Hey by The Lumineers

In My Life by The Beatles

Live and Die by the Avett Brothers

Video Games by Lana Del Rey


I Will Wait by Mumford and Sons

Til Kingdom Come by Coldplay

Under The Milky Way Tonight by Church

Throw Your Arms Around Me, the cover by Pearl Jam

I want to feel alive and happy and human and loved. I want to believe that all these things are possible. I want to be in that moment where I'm bursting with so much happiness that I can't help but dance. Even though I can't dance at all. But I'll be so content I won't care who's watching or how ridiculous I look.

Lyric of the moment: "And it's something quite peculiar, something shimmering and white. Leads you here despite your destination..."

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

It is the struggles that shape us

There is a saying: "Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle." I try to remember this so I can do my best to react with compassion and give everyone the benefit of the doubt. Everyone has difficulties. But I'm learning that it is those struggles that truly shape us. When times get tough you find out what you're really made of.

Will you run away from problems or will you face them head on? Will you take responsibility for your actions or will you blame others? Will you give up or will you give your all? Will you act from a place of fear or of love? Will you get stuck in the past or the future or will you embrace and accept the present?

I don't have any answers. I'm still trying to figure it all out. Sometimes I wish life was all ice cream and hugs, but then I think who would I be if everything always came easily to me, if I never had to struggle? I probably wouldn't be very interesting or empathetic or adaptable. And even ice cream loses its appeal if you eat it for every meal of every day.

I'm trying to remember that the times I feel the weakest are probably the times that are making me the strongest, that there are people who will accept me as I am, on good days and bad days, that even on the worst days, life is full of beauty and light and love.

Lyric of the moment: "I love the things that we should fear. I'm not afraid of being here..."





When things don't go according to plan, forget about plans & enjoy the adventure

Sign at the fancy acupuncture place my boss
sent me to. I thought it was a nice reminder.
Sometimes I feel anxious to have my life all in order and frustrated that things haven't really gone the way I wanted this year. But I know that life rarely goes according to plan and a lot of things that happen to me will be out of my control. I still don't know how to completely accept that, but this year I'm learning from experience that certain reactions aren't terribly helpful.

Such as, beating myself up for things that are out of my control and/or not my fault. I give my all to the things and people I love and as long as I keep living that way, I have nothing to regret. I don't want to feel bad about myself because I got hurt or because someone else didn't think I was worth holding on to. Sometimes these things happen. I know I'm nowhere near perfect, but I think I have at least some good things going for me. And if anyone disagrees, I'm certainly open to suggestions on how to improve.

I guess when things don't go according to plan, I should forget about plans and enjoy the adventure. I don't know what will happen or where I'll end up. I hope I make it to Awesometown, but I'm at least going to have as much fun as possible on the way. All I can do now is focus on the things that make me happy, spend time with friends and family and hope for the best.

No matter how many times I fall, I have to keep getting up and putting myself out there and being open to life's possibilities. I think I have a pretty strong foundation - physically, mentally, financially - which will hopefully put me in a good position to seize opportunities that present themselves.

Lyric of the moment: "I know someday you'll have a beautiful life. I know you'll be a star in somebody else's sky..." (because I hope Pearl Jam is right and this will happen to me.)

Friday, August 10, 2012

Things I learned while buying a new car

Sometimes I miss Bug, but he was unreliable and I've got places to go. Maz is a much better vehicle for adventuring. The whole car buying process taught me a few things about decision making and life in general that I can probably apply to other areas of my life.

When Bug first died, I took a mini break from the whole car experience. Luckily I've built my life in such a way that it wasn't a big deal to go without a car for a few weeks. This break gave me the needed space to avoid making a decision based on urgency or emotional reaction.

Lesson: Sometimes it's good to take myself out of a situation and give myself time to reflect before moving forward.

Then I had to figure out what I wanted next. My dad and I spent a few weekends driving around to car dealerships so I could get an idea of the options out there, what I liked and disliked and to go on some test drives. As I walked or biked to and from work, I also started paying attention to the cars parked on the street. If I saw something I liked, I researched the prices and reviews online.

Lesson: Remain open to life's possibilities and seek out alternative options, then focus on the ones that will work best for me.

I thought I had decided on a Nissan Versa, but when I went to the Nissan dealership, I had a bad experience. When I test drove the car, I found it had some features I didn't like. Plus the salesmen were pushy and I knew more about the car and the dealer's current incentives than they did.

Lesson: Trust myself and my instincts. When I get a bad vibe about something, it's usually for a reason. It's helpful to listen to other people's opinions, but I still have to do what's best for me.

In the end, I'm glad that things didn't work out with Nissan because otherwise I wouldn't have gone to the Mazda dealership where I ended up finding and buying Maz. I never realized how nice it is to have a new car and not feel limited in where I can go and what I can do. I'm hoping that with regular maintenance and some luck, I can drive Maz for the next 200,000+ miles of my life.

Lesson: Sometimes the things I think I want don't work out, but they usually lead to something even better.

Zoom Zoom!

Lyric of the moment: "I guess you're just what I needed..."

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The boot. And other things I do for the love of running.


A typical rolfing session
Running, I must love the crap out of you because I've been putting everything I have into getting back to you. I got over my insecurities so I could put on a swimsuit and work out in the pool. I went to rolfing, which makes me feel like I'm being drawn and quartered. I've gotten x-rays and gone to a chiropractor, a sports medicine doctor, a general practitioner and a podiatrist. I have an appointment with a renowned foot and ankle doctor at the end of the month. The podiatrist taped up my foot and told me to keep the tape on for a few days, so I've been showering with my right foot outside the tub so the tape won't get wet. He also suggested that I stretch my calf muscles every time I go to the bathroom, which should be interesting when I have to use a public restroom. And now I've got big blue Dorsiwedge, the boot I have to wear to bed every night for a few weeks. I'm not supposed to stand or walk in it, so of course every time I put it on I immediately have to pee. And since I don't feel like taking it off and putting it on again every 3 seconds, I have to hop to the bathroom on one foot. And then stretch my calves. It's getting ridiculous up in here.
Sexy, right? My Dorsiwedge
brings all the boys to the yard.

Sometimes I question the sanity of giving my all to something that hurt me, but I can't help it. I'm a runner through and through. And I never give up on the things I love. I will try everything I can think of until something works. Even if it takes me 26 years to get there, I will run another marathon someday.

Lyric of the moment: "I’m never ever gonna quit. 'Cause quittin' just ain't my shit..."

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Because the sun is shining somewhere

From an email I received today: "The beautiful thing is that somewhere the sun is always shining. And concerning your future it is very bright." It was from my new financial advisor, so I'm assuming he meant my financial future. I'm not concerned about that. I'd rather have people than money. But the sun is shining here today, so there's that. And my future has always been a great unknown. I've never been able to predict where I would end up, so I should be used to the uncertainty by now. But the older I get, the more I crave some sort of security, even though rationally I know security is an illusion. None of us know what's going to happen or how many days we have left. Maybe I'm just looking for someone to say "However many days I have left, I'd like to spend them with you." Maybe that is what everyone is looking for.

I read the most adorable book - Dave Isay's "All There Is: Love Stories from StoryCorps." It's a collection of interviews with real people about their relationships, stories of love found and lost and found again. I like the old couples the best, the ones who have been together for 50 years, through all the ups and downs. I think I just like knowing it's possible, an ultramarathon of love.

One of the stories included the advice that for a successful marriage, there are 6 things you should always say to your partner: You look great, Can I help?, Let's eat out, I was wrong, I am sorry, and I love you.

I'll have to remember that.

Lyric of the moment: "However far away, I will always love you. However long I stay, I will always love you..."

Monday, August 6, 2012

New perspectives

They say that when the student is ready, the teacher appears. This is what life's teachers are telling me today:

"You are a trapeze artist. You have to let go of one swing in order to grab the next one. There is that moment of being airborne in between when you are holding on to nothing, and trusting that the other swing will come toward you." (from Beth Howard's Making Piece: A Memoir of Love, Loss and Pie. I'm a lover of both memoirs and dessert, so it must have been kismet that the library brought us together.)

"Love what you are doing, until you can do what you love. Love where you are, until you can be where you love. Love the people you are with, until you can be with the people you love most. This is the way we find happiness." (from www.marcandangel.com).


That sounds way easier said than done, but I'm going to give it a try. I know I have to let go, to stop wanting things to be a certain way, to stop wanting at all. I have to find a way to be in this moment, to experience the joys and the sorrows without judgement, without attachment, without fear.

I'm so lucky to have parents who love me and want the best for me, who came over with all new plants to replace the dying ones in my front yard and to have a boss who told me "We just love you so much. It breaks my heart whenever there is a tear in your eye." I'm so lucky just to be here at all, surrounded by all these amazing people.

Lyric of the moment: "Cause my head just aches when I think of the things that I shouldn't have done. But life is for living we all know, and I don't want to live it alone..."


Saturday, August 4, 2012

And I'm forever missing you

I am restless. I feel like I should be doing something, anything. But I know that sometimes the best thing I can do is nothing. I have done all I can do and now I have to let the chips fall where they may. So I'm feeling whatever I feel and not judging myself for it. It's not that I did something wrong, it's not that I wasn't enough. Sometimes the way someone treats you is more about them than it is about you. I can't control what anyone else does. But I can forgive and ask to be forgiven. And after that, it is out of my hands.

I don't know what other people think about love. But to me it is about acceptance - accepting another person completely, both strengths and weaknesses - and commitment - making a conscious choice to share your life with someone in triumph and tragedy and everything in between.

That is what I want more than anything, more than running another marathon or traveling the world or finding the most delicious ice cream sundae. And I don't care if that makes me sappy or naive or just plain stupid. I don't care if it makes me look weak or vulnerable. I'm not afraid to be any of those things. I'm only afraid that the thing I want most is the one thing I may never find.

Lyric of the moment: "And if you're in love, then you are the lucky one. 'Cause most of us are bitter over someone. Setting fire to our insides for fun, to distract our hearts from ever missing them. But I'm forever missing him..."

Friday, August 3, 2012

Wishlist

I have everything. But all I want is everyone. Maybe if I'm really lucky the universe will send the following people my way...

Friends who know how to play euchre or who like independent or foreign films.

A travel buddy.

Someone who wants to go skydiving. (I feel like jumping out of something again).

Frozen yogurt lovers.

Fellow adventurers.

And if miracles do exist, someone who thinks he's so lucky to have me in his life that he would never let me go.

Lyric of the moment: "I was staring at the sky, just looking for a star to pray on, or wish on, or something like that. I was having a sweet fix of a daydream of a boy whose reality I knew was hopeless to be had..."


Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Everything's not lost

Suddenly, and I have no idea why, I feel strangely content. For the first time, I'm alone in my house and it doesn't feel empty or lonely. I feel lucky and grateful for everything I have. I feel like, even if I never belong anywhere else, I belong here. I feel genuinely at peace with myself for the first time in probably forever. The most impossible of all the impossible things has found me when I least expected it.

I was down on myself for a while because I couldn't run and I thought that diminished my worth as a person. And I was making myself miserable because I didn't think I deserved to be happy. But that's pointless. Happiness is a choice, not a prize I have to earn.

Now I feel like, whatever happens, I will be fine. I even wear a bathing suit in public on a regular basis and don't feel bad about it. It's no Victoria's Secret runway show, but as far as I know no one has turned to stone at the sight of me.

I have faults. I fail. I make mistakes. But I try to learn from them, to make amends to the best of my ability and to keep making progress. I will try to give my best to every day, to do all that I can do in whatever moment I find myself in, and then hopefully awesomeness will ensue.

Lyric of the moment: "I'm bulletproof, nothing to lose, fire away, fire away. Ricochet, you take your aim, fire away, fire away. You shoot me down, but I won't fall. I am titanium..."



Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Is it ever gonna happen now?

Sometimes I think, this is what you get for starting to believe that someone could want you around forever. Silly robot, for thinking it could ever happen to you. It seems that the only one who's always going to be there for me is me. It's ok I guess. I have been very lucky and somehow managed to build a good life for myself. But I feel like nothing I do matters if I don't have anyone to share it with. If there's one thing I've learned it's that good company is the main ingredient in a happy life.

But no sense wallowing. Sad things happen to everyone. I just have to keep going and never lose my sense of love or optimism. Every obstacle can make me stronger, every loss can make me more grateful for what I still have and every struggle can make me more compassionate and empathetic.

Still, what I wouldn't give for a movie scene moment, to be on the receiving end of a grand gesture or epic declaration. Not likely, but maybe someday.

Lyric of the moment: "When the night falls on you, you don't know what to do, nothing you confess could make me love you less. I'll stand by you. Won't let nobody hurt you. Take me in, into your darkest hour. And I'll never desert you. I'll stand by you..." (because this is what I want love to feel like.)



 



Monday, July 30, 2012

I want so badly to believe...

So here I am at a crossroads and I have a choice to make.

Instinct tells me to close up, shut everyone out, run away, hide, become so small that I am invisible, never let anyone get close, never depend on anyone except myself.

But I don't want to make that choice. I want to choose love over fear and an open heart over a closed one. I want to trust that one thing ends so that a better thing can begin.

I find it hard to believe that right now, but I'm still hoping that it's true.

Lyric of the moment: "never let your fear decide your fate..."

Sunday, July 29, 2012

And so it goes

This week I bought my first new car and had a new roof put on my house and went through another breakup. So it goes. I used to think I was an easy going person who was easy to get along with, but I guess I was wrong. I know lately I have been depressed about my ankle and unhappy with myself, and I'm probably no fun to be around. I haven't wanted to be around people because I don't feel like I have anything to offer them right now. I just thought...I don't know...that love means loving someone even when they're at their worst, not being upset with them when they're down. But what do I know? And why is it that the times I need people the most are the same times I feel most like being alone?

So now I have a hotel reservation in Cape Cod for the end of August and no one to go with. I don't want to cancel it because I could really use a vacation. But I don't want to go alone either.

All I really want out of life is to have meaningful relationships, to have people with whom to laugh and talk and travel and explore and hug. I don't want to be a robot.  But I don't know how to do this people stuff.

Lyric of the moment: "This is how it works. You peer inside yourself. You take the things you like. And try to love the things you took. And then you take that love you made. And stick it into some, someone else's heart pumping someone else's blood. And walking arm in arm, you hope it don't get harmed. But even if it does, you'll just do it all again..."



Friday, July 20, 2012

Vehicle for adventure

Conversation I had with an 11 year old:

Where's your punch bug?
I don't have it anymore. It was old and it died.
(sad face)
But a man in Buffalo bought it and is going to put a new engine in it.
And then he's going to give it back to you?
That would be nice, but no.
You should get another punch bug.

Update: Bug is getting a second life! As a Turbo Beetle! Evidently the guy my dad sold Bug to has a turbo VW Beetle diesel engine that he wants to put in Bug's body. I don't know how he can put a diesel engine into a car that doesn't run on diesel fuel, but that's his plan. Where can I get a new engine and become a Turbo Jen?

I thought about buying another Beetle. It's my favorite car and, after driving around in a bubble for the past 5 years, it's going to be an adjustment to drive anything else. And I will definitely miss the flower. But I'm leaning towards a more reliable car that will take me on adventures, not be the adventure. Plus I don't like VW's redesign for the 2012 Beetle. It's just not as cool.

To some extent I still think a car is a money pit. After all, it is a depreciating asset. But it's also a vehicle for vacation and exploration. Once I started thinking of it that way, the car hunting process became more fun. Though I want to dig as shallow of a money pit as possible.

So I've narrowed it down to two options. Either pay cash for a used 2-3 year old car with low mileage or buy a new car from a dealer offering 0% interest loans. Must be relatively small, a hatchback and blue.

Lyric of the moment: "All there is left to do is get up, get up, get up, there's a dance floor waiting." (Because I've been rocking out to Something For Rockets while walking to work.)

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Once in a blue funk

Lately, I've been in sort of a blue funk. I was trying to be happy and optimistic but it just wasn't happening. And I couldn't figure out why. I mean, I was annoyed at not being able to run how I want and upset about Bug's demise (update: Bug ended up getting towed away to Buffalo by some guy who bought him for parts. I like to think that Bug is now an organ donor living on inside other Volkswagens) and having to spend money on a new car (Of course, the whole point of having a savings account is so the money is there when I need it, but I still get panicky whenever I have to spend some of it). But those aren't real problems. Then I ran up Cobb's Hill and around the reservoir a few times (It still hurts to run but I'm like an addict who needs a fix so I've been giving myself a couple of 3 mile runs a week) and I realized the cause of my malaise may be the feeling that I've lost all my means of escape.

A car is my escape from places I don't want to be. My savings account is a sort of security blanket, the option to escape from potential future situations I don't want to end up in. And running is my escape from stress, negative thoughts and everything else. So at the moment I feel a little trapped - in a body I don't like and a life that I'm failing to live to its fullest.
I don't know why I need all these exit plans. I'm not actually trying to escape from anything. I just like knowing I have options. So much of what happens in life seems sort of random and out of my control, but if I'm disciplined and in control of myself, I feel better able to ride the waves life sends my way.

So either I mope around waiting for things to get better (which is totally lame) or I let go and try to be ok with feeling a little out of control for a while.
Lyric of the moment: "All my life I've been good but now, ooohhh I'm thinking what the hell?"

And the point is to live everything

I recently read Joan Anderson's A Year By The Sea* and the first page contains the following quote from Rainer Maria Rilke:

"Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answers."

I get it. Be patient, be happy with what you have, embrace life, etc. But if the point is to live everything, that means embracing the sorrows and the joys, the challenges and the triumphs. The thing about those "live in the moment" people is that they're probably sitting on a beach somewhere eating ice cream. No wonder they're all "be here now." That's a pretty sweet moment to be in. I don't think a person who is, say, getting mauled by a bear, would be so into the moment. He's not sitting around thinking, I'm so in this moment right now, I mean this is living. The searing pain as that bear rips off my arm. The blood gushing everywhere. This is a totally unique experience I'm having right now.  

I know I'm being cynical, but sometimes it's hard to be happy when I'm just not feeling it. I suppose dissatisfaction can be a harbinger of change. Though I don't want to linger in those moments. I want to get past the bad stuff as quickly as possible so I can get back to the good. But I'm learning that some things can't be hurried.

If there's one thing I have, it's questions, though I'm not sure how to go about living them. I guess I'll have to keep wandering. And be grateful I'm not being mauled by a bear.

Lyric of the moment: "I'll be counting up my demons, yeah. Hoping everything's not lost..."

*My favorite part of the book is Joan's old lady friend, who calls her up and says "Hi dear, want to get into some trouble today?" That's the kind of old lady I want to be someday. Actually, that's the kind of lady I want to be now.




Friday, July 6, 2012

Bug out

So Bug is dead. Apparently he is not a fan of Dave Matthews Band because, on our way home from the concert on Tuesday night, Bug started smoking and died. He needs an engine transplant, but it doesn't seem worth it to put that much money into a 13 year old car (Sorry, dude. You were an awesome car, second only to Kitt from Night Rider). I don't feel like paying thousands of dollars to fix Bug and I don't feel like buying a new car either (well, new to me. I wouldn't buy a brand new car).

Actually, I'm sort of disillusioned by the whole car thing. Having a car is definitely convenient, but it's basically a financial sinkhole. I enjoy driving and Bug was my buddy. We had many adventures getting lost and breaking down and getting into smash ups and calling AAA. But sometimes I wish I lived somewhere with better public transportation or year-round warm weather so that I wouldn't have to own a car. When Bug died, I had a moment (ok, way longer that a moment) of panic - I'm getting a new roof on my house at the end of the month and now I need a new car and even though I have more than enough savings to pay for both of those things, I still freak out whenever I have to spend a significant amount of money and automatically assume I'm going to end up destitute and living in a cardboard box. You know, because that is the most logical sequence of events.

But after I freaked out, I sort of felt relieved at the prospect of not having a car for a while. It will be like a mini vacation from buying gas and paying for car repairs and sitting in traffic and rushing everywhere just because I can. As much as it may seem like it, having a car is not in fact a necessity, at least for me. I can walk or ride my bike to work and most of the other places I go on a regular basis. I may change my mind when it gets cold, but for now I kinda want to see how long I can go without a car.

Lyric of the moment: "Let me present to you my Volkswagen blues. Ready to carry me away. A long way to reach the moon..."



Friday, June 29, 2012

And the truth is...

...that if you take some bananas, peel and freeze them, then mash them up in a blender, the resulting concoction will approximate ice cream in its taste and consistency. When Mr. Internet first told me about it, I was skeptical, but it really does taste like banana ice cream. I swirled peanut butter into mine for added awesomeness.

...what really happened is that I put the frozen bananas in the blender and it wasn't mashing them up at all. Because it's not really a blender, it's a smoothie maker that I got for Christmas years ago and it's old and woefully incompetent at mashing. So I made pouty faces at the blender and then left it on the counter while we ate dinner. When I went back to check on it, the bananas had thawed a little and the blender struggled and groaned and started to smell like burning, but it did succeed in making faux ice cream after all. Still, it's probably time to get a better masher.

...sometimes I miss everyone all at once and I wish I owned a big hotel (or fancy tree fort!) where all my favorite people could live.

...if the road to growth is paved with discomfort, like the wobbly feeling in your legs after a bike ride or that weird feeling when water goes up your nose or the flutter in your stomach as you venture into uncertainty, then I may be headed in the right direction. But if not, then I'm hopelessly lost.

...sometimes I feel like I'm wasting my life, like I have been given nothing but privilege and opportunity yet I'm not making the most of it.

...above all else, I want to be a bundle of positive energy in the universe, to increase the happiness of others, or at the very least, avoid decreasing it.

Lyric of the moment: "Every waking moment I'm alive, I'm searching for you whether I know it or whether I realize..." (Because Bug and I have been chillin' out to some Citizen Cope. Did I mention how much I love having a CD player in my car? We are partying like it's 1999.)