A friend and I have had a series of heart-to-hearts over the past week.
Among many topics, we discussed growing up, regrets, the past, how we have changed, and how we view ourselves.
As human beings, we are constantly changing. Sometimes we change for the better; sometimes for the worse; or sometimes, we're just different. It happens all the time: in big ways and in small ways, physically, mentally, spiritually, emotionally. But, really, we don't notice the changes in ourselves until someone else points it out to us or asks a question that really makes you stop and think.
On one hand, I still feel like I am 17, just a kid playing dress-up. I keep thinking one of these days the "adults" are going to realize I don't really belong at the grown-ups table just yet. On the other hand, I bristle with indignation anytime someone makes the inaccurate assumption in my very senior work environment that my youth means I am inexperienced and unqualified to answer a question or complete a project autonomously. Fortunately, the poor schmucks usually only make that mistake once. I am aware that there's still a lot I need to learn, but I know a lot more than I give myself credit for.
I have learned to love myself. That's a biggie. I know that I am not perfect, nor do I want to be. As Billy Joel said, I'd rather laugh with the sinners than cry with the saints. Saints are boring. I've learned that I like myself much better when I don't try so damn hard. My imperfections make me the sassy, spunky self that I am.
I have learned to like, and, even more importantly, to respect my body. The crazy hair that can't decide if it is curly or straight; the eyes that can never decide what color they are; the ears that need help to hear; the imperfect smile that I can rarely keep off my face; the hourglass curves; the scars that I've earned; the legs that get me where I want to go; the cute little birthmark on my left foot that I love (random, I know); the feet that like to trip me when I dance; they all add up to a body that is beautiful in its imperfections. I realize I will never be "model beautiful," but I am beautiful just the same. (I've also learned that it is possible, and indeed a good thing, to be both beautiful and intelligent.) I've also learned that my body likes regular work-outs, enough sleep, and healthy foods. My body treats me better when I am good to it - both physically and mentally (like when I'm standing in front of the mirror). I am still learning how to like regular work-outs and healthy food.
I still do not believe in regrets. Life is too short to regret. Yes, like anyone, I have things I would say or do differently if the opportunity presented itself. However, I have made my peace with it, and I don't regret those things. The good, the bad, the mistakes, the ordinary - they have all helped make me who I am today. Since I love who I am (and who I am becoming), I can't regret the things that helped me get to where and who I am today. Just the same, I sincerely apologize to anyone I may have hurt along the way.
I have learned how to fall in love without losing myself. Ladies will understand the significance of this one. All too often we change ourselves to impress or keep a man, and in the end, we lose. As I learned how to love myself, I fell in love with a great man who loves me for who I am. In our relationship, I am completely at ease - with him, with our relationship, with myself - and I find that despite how amazing I am, My Love brings out the very best in me. I love him for that. I also love him for a myriad of other equally wonderful things.
I now, after all this time, know that it is okay not to have a plan, as long as you still have dreams to pursue. Life always works out the way it is meant to in the end, so there is no point in driving myself crazy because I don't know what comes next. When I think of all I've done in the last five years, I honestly can say that none of it has been according to the "plan" I had for my life. I like this life better than the one I had planned. So, I'm trying now to learn how to like not having a plan. Accepting and liking are two different things. I'll get there eventually. You can't cure yourself of Type A personality traits overnight you know...
This is the coolest music video I've seen in quite a while. I liked it so much that I actually bought the video off of iTunes. I've been drooling over it for a week or so, but thought I'd share it with y'all as well.
"The first time I went tango dancing I was too intimidated to get out on the floor. I remembered another time I had stayed on the sidelines, when the dancing began after a village wedding on the Greek island of Crete. The fancy footwork confused me. "Don't make a fool of yourself," I thought. "Just watch."
Reading my mind, an older woman dropped out of the dance, sat down beside me, and said, "If you join the dancing, you will feel foolish. If you do not, you will also feel foolish. So, why not dance?"
And, she said she had a secret for me. She whispered, "If you do not dance, we will know you are a fool. But if you dance, we will think well of you for trying."
* Whenever I move again, I will do anything and everything possible to ensure my next place has a washer and dryer in my apartment. A horrendously expensive laundry room in the basement is no longer sufficient. I'm tired of getting up at 6 am on the weekend to be able to snag enough washers and dryers to do all my laundry at once.
* For some reason yesterday I could not bring myself to try on clothes while I was killing time. It had less to do with the short timeframe, and more to do with the fact that I was intimidated. I have lost enough weight to know new sizes will be necessary - I just can't gauge what those new sizes (and shapes) should be. I am dragging myself back to the store today to try again. I look good, and I deserve to show it off!
* I am counting the days until I get to see My Love again. There are two days on this countdown: one for how many days until I leave, and, because of red eye flights, one for how many days until I actually see My Love. The number is still much too high for my liking. Leaving tomorrow would be better. Leaving today would be best.
* I seriously love Wii Fit. I have so much fun with it, that most of the time, I don't even realize that I have been exercising. Yet, I'm not sure I trust it when it comes to telling me my weight. I love the ridiculously low weight it says I am, I just don't think it's my true weight. Anyone else notice that?
* A dizzy spell last week made me realize that it has been ten years, an entire decade, since I permanently lost my hearing. While it was the worst thing that could have ever happened to me, at the time, it turns out, it was one of the best things to ever happen to me. Since then, I am a true believer that life works out the way it is meant to in the end. Sometimes, it just takes us a little time and distance in order to understand why life worked out that way.
*Winter can end any day now. Seriously. I want to give up my beloved boots and my hated layers and go back to sandals and tank tops.
So dear readers, I am back from yet another lengthy blog absence.
Truth be told, I have been logging in some long hours at work lately. When I get home, the last thing I really want to do is sit in front of the computer, composing brilliant! (read: mostly boring) entries about the daily challenge.
The original intent of this blog was to hold myself accountable for challenging myself daily this year. While the daily challenges (somehow, someway) have continued, I find myself bored with writing about the challenges - especially considering how many of them are on a personal level of interest only to me. If I'm bored writing about these daily challenges, then you, dear readers, must be in tears with reading about them. I wouldn't blame you if you've given up reading this blog altogether by now...
....so, to entice myself to keep writing, and hopefully to lure you few readers back, I am switching to a more traditional "blog about my life and my interests" style. Love and feedback as I try out being a "real" blogger would be dearly appreciated.
I need to start carrying a supply of brown paper bags with me at all times. I am that excited.
You see, dear readers, I finally bought that long awaited, highly anticipated, deliriously coveted plane ticket to see My Love this spring. When I get off that plane, it will have been the first time we have seen each other (in person) in 9.5 months.
I can't decide what I am more thrilled about: finally getting stamps in my passport, or finally seeing My Love again.
Alright, alright. My Love definitely wins out on that one. But just slightly... ;-)
Here's the plan:
A few days here seeing all the spots I keep hearing about and meeting the ever growing list of people I just have to meet.
Then a few days bumming around the Balkans. Maybe here, here, and here along the Dalmatian Coast of Croatia. Also planned are stops in Bosnia and Montenegro. And then back to Albania for a few more days.
It may be an ambitious trip, but I have no doubt that it will be full of "one time when..." stories, many, many kisses, more than one vehement "no!" from me when My Love tries to get me to taste number two on this list, laughter, a few suspiciously moonshine-like shots, lots of love, mischief, and a few adventures.
I'm already counting down the days. D-Day (Departure Day) can't get here fast enough!