creativity, experience, fate, frustration, future

This just in: Place your bet on the Universe

Image from "Life in The Universe" documentary
Image from “Life in The Universe” documentary

“In the fight between you and the universe, back the universe.” ~Frank Zappa

Have you ever just wanted to understand why something has happened, why life has unfolded in this particular way that doesn’t match the vision we have for ourselves and our futures? I spend a lot of time thinking about this idea, and when something doesn’t go my way I often go through the classic stages of grief. Because let’s face it, having life not pan out as we hoped, in big and small ways, is a kind of loss or at least a recalibration of expectations. And it feels awful.

No matter what I’m facing, the idea I come back to is the one Frank Zappa references in this quote. I’ve got grand ideas about how life should go, and they rarely, if ever, happen. But here’s what I know to be true—never, not even once, have I looked back on any time in my life and said, “If life had gone the way I wanted it to go, I’d be so much better off now.”

The Universe always gets it right, and I’m so grateful for that. It’s so much wiser, more experienced, and generous to us than we are to ourselves. That knowledge temporarily stops the whirring in my mind. It stops the incessant analyzing, bargaining, and blaming that I usually direct inward in a moment of disappointment. It helps me smile, pick up, and go on. Double down on the Universe—it’s there to support you.

faith, future

This just in: These are the days that must happen to you

Brighter days ahead
Brighter days ahead

“These are the days that must happen to you.” ~Walt Whitman

We can’t be sure of any moment’s purpose as it happens. That’s why recording and reflecting on our thoughts and experiences is such a valuable practice. Now that I’ve had a number of years to collect and review my own stories of life as it’s unfolded, I’m finding that my faith in the universe, myself, and others is growing at an unprecedented rate.

In reflection, I understand the tough times. The disappointment, anger, and sadness, even the injustice, makes sense. I can see that it had to happen that way to lead me along the path meant for me. As Whitman says, those were the days that had to happen to me. And so are these. And so are the many days to come. With that perspective, hard times are easier to navigate. It’s easier to keep breathing.

Maybe you’re going through difficult terrain now. Maybe it’s hard to see any hope, light, or change ahead. I’ve had so many days like that. Days that stretched into weeks and months and years. But now, from where I am, I’m glad I kept going through the dark. I’m glad I didn’t give up. I’m grateful that I found a way to keep looking up and reaching. And I hope you will, too.

change, future, home, research

This just in: My future, a step at a time

The colorful row homes of Columbia HeightsWhen I settle into new circumstances, I find it’s helpful to take things one step at a time. Sometimes those steps will come quickly in succession and sometimes one step takes many months, or even years, of planning. With my move to D.C., things moved quickly and so did I. Phin got the all-clear from his doctors post-surgery, I learned it was better to job search locally rather than long-distance, and my wonderful friends had a fantastic space that was immediately available for me. All within about a week. Once I arrived, there was the matter of figuring out how to get around the city again, what to do with my car, and how to set up my life once more.

Now the job search is moving along and I’m slowly getting to know the city after a decade away from it. I’m loving life in D.C. as the perfect combo of so many things I loved about New York City in a more easily livable setting. Spring is on the way and I’m looking forward to being outside as much as possible along with everyone else in the city. Phin is also loving it, especially spending a lot of his time with his new canine pal and neighbor, Otis.

Today I’m taking the next tiny step and going to a real estate presentation. My hope is to buy a home here in D.C. at some point. I’ve got a lot of things to line up before that can happen—namely a job and exploring more neighborhoods (so far the one I live in is my favorite for its charm, convenience, and diversity)—though I’ve learned that with something as complicated as buying a home, it’s best to get started long before I’m ready to make the leap. This real estate session will be a bit like looking around the corner to get a tiny glimpse of what my future might look like. I’m looking forward to the view, even if that view is miles away in the distance. It’s comforting and exciting to make tiny steps toward such a big, long-wanted goal.

action, choices, decision-making, future

This just in: Can you do fewer, better things?

Shiny lights
Shiny lights

Now that I’m a few days past the 39 year mark, I’m reflecting on what this next phase of life and career look like. What I’m certain of is that it will include fewer, better things. In the past I’ve spread myself very thin over a number of projects and ideas. Now I’m trying to more heavily invest in a small number of things that will make a significant impact.

This sounds easy, though I’m finding it’s difficult to do. I have a lot of interests and hobbies. I’m intensely and endlessly curious. And I do know this: I want what I do to be meaningful. I want it to matter that I took it on and put my best into it, and that means focus.

There are a million shiny lights. The question is which shiny lights are meant for me? That’s what my 39th year is all about. After all, our lives are a reflection of our choices.

action, adventure, choices, future, Life

This just in: Your life is in your hands

Your life is in your hands
Your life is in your hands

“The best day of your life is the one on which you decide your life is your own. No apologies or excuses. No one to lean on, rely on, or blame. The gift is yours — it is an amazing journey — and you alone are responsible for the quality of it. This is the day your life really begins.” ~Bob Moawad, author

This is a magical moment. It’s also scary as hell. All of a sudden you wake up and you realize your life is really all up to you. You steer it. You make the choices. You build your own road. It’s a lot of responsibility. It’s also one of the greatest privileges of being an adult. You aren’t trapped. Starting right now, you can make choices to change anything and everything in your life. The road to where you want to go may be long and winding but you can start your journey in that direction right now. One tiny step leads to another.

creativity, future, time

This just in: Ready to meet what’s been waiting for me

Future - straight ahead
Future – straight ahead

“As is a tale, so is life: not how long it is, but how good it is, is what matters.” ~Seneca

Today’s my last day in Florida. Tomorrow I’ll take off for Washington D.C. to start the next chapter of a good life. I don’t know what I’ll find there. I couldn’t tell you what my life’s going to look like a week from now much less a month or a year. I should be nervous or scared or at least hesitant, at least for a moment, but I’m not. Not one bit. I know that something wonderful is there for me, that something wonderful has been there for me for a long time. Now I’m just ready to stand toe-to-toe with that future and say hello. I’ve finally found my way.


change, future, time

This just in: Feeling down? Write yourself a letter from the future

Write yourself a letter from the future
Write yourself a letter from the future

Everything, good and bad, is temporary. It can be hard to remember that in tough times. A while back my friend, Alex, gave me some great advice. She said that in tough times it helps to imagine our lives 3 months from now.

To take Alex’s advice one step further, I decided to write myself a letter as if I were 3 months older looking back at myself now. Sort of like a letter to my younger self, in reverse. I told myself what life looked like then in every aspect that mattered to me, and it helped. It helped a lot.

Sometimes the best we can do is pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and start all over again. And that’s a good thing. We come back stronger than ever. I’m excited to take this letter out 3 months from now and see how it all turned out.

future, patience, peace

This just in: We’re not meant to see everything that’s meant to be

IMG_1150.JPGIt’s hard to understand life in the moment, especially the tough moments. When I look back on my hard times, I know now why each of them happened. This is why reflection is so important, why it helps to move on from and let go of any negativity as soon as possible. It’ll all come out in the wash and the wash is time. Time doesn’t heal all wounds but it certainly makes sense of them so that we can wear the scars proudly. Peace is just up ahead around the bend. Move toward it.

balance, career, frustration, future

This just in: 2015 is already a year I didn’t see coming

Who knows what's around the bend in 2015?!
Who knows what’s around the bend in 2015?!

Whenever something surprises my 4-year-old niece, Aubree, she says, “I did not see that comin’!” in her trademark raspy little voice. I find myself saying that on a more than daily basis this year. At the end of 2014, I looked up my horoscope for 2015 and it emphasized that this year would be tumultuous to say the least. I dismissed that prediction as sensationalism, laughed, and moved on. Or at least I thought I did.

A word to the wise: when you doubt the stars, they get ticked off and feel the need to make their presence and power known. For entities that are over 4 light years away, these little buggers bring their force right to the doorstep the moment they feel disrespected.

We’re only one month in and the first word that comes to mind when I think of 2015 is “mayhem”. Nothing’s going the way I thought it would. My pup, Phin, had surgery, some of my clients are throwing curve balls at me right and left, I’m contemplating new career opportunities in new places, and some of my nearest and dearest people are having deep troubles and challenges. What’s going on?

What’s saving me now is what’s always saved me—the authors I read, the characters I write, and my friends. They give me hope, courage, inspiration, and the will to keep going. They’re lighting the path ahead of me one step, one word, at a time. And I’m learning that this slowly advancing light, however frustrating, is something to be treasured. It’s teaching me to trust in every day, in every experience. It’s not easy, and it’s about as fun as having my wisdom teeth removed. Still, I’m willing to go along for the ride. I’m willing to lift up my head and squint into the distance to see what there is to see.

Last week during a particularly low day, my friend Alex said that whenever she feels down she tries to envision her life 3 months from now. That quick technique helps her to keep going. The challenges of today are the victories of tomorrow, and the course of those victories largely depends on what we do right now with the resources we’ve got on-hand. We do what we can with what we’ve got.

I may not have seen the events of January coming, but I am equipped to handle them whatever they are. One at a time, day by day. In the words of John Lennon and Paul McCartney, I’m getting by with a little help from my friends, real and imaginary.