Tag Archives: starting over

parallels

There was a time in my life (which, to be honest – sometimes feels like a different lifetime), when I watched a lot of TV.

Really, it was entirely too much TV. But I digress… Anyway, during this time, I watched this one-off episode on NatGeo or the History Channel on parallel universes.

And at the time, the idea was incredibly alluring.  If you could imagine, a universe for nearly every decision you’ve made…the opposite choice was made.

I thought of all of the parallel versions of me.  I had a lot of time on my hands and so I imagined, somewhere in all of those universes – there was perhaps, a version of me that had made all of the right decisions in her life.  Somewhere, a version of me was living my ideal life.  And for some reason, the idea was really comforting – that somewhere, someplace a very different me was happy.

And then, the most incredible thing happened.

Absolutely everything went wrong.

Well, that’s a little dramatic.  Not everything went wrong – just the thing I had built my life plan around – that went terribly wrong.

I stopped thinking about the parallels and focused on rebuilding my life.  I made decisions (some bad, some pretty damn good ones), but I made them for me.  I created a plan based on the things that I wanted.  I crossed handful of things off and added more than a few things to the list.  I met interesting people with amazing stories and I built (and rebuilt) relationships that I could be proud of.  I realized how messed up my life was before and how unhappy I was, and I worked on building something better.

Then a few weeks ago, I was walking my dog.  A gentle breeze stirred by our feet as we walked along the sidewalk that encircles my apartment building and, for no reason at all, I remembered.

I remembered all those thoughts on the parallels.  Those versions of me that made different decisions than I did.  I still haven’t made all the right decisions, but somehow I’ve managed to build a life that makes me happy.  And as for the parallels….well, no where is there someone who has made all the right decisions, living the perfect life.  And even if there were…that person would be seriously boring.

After all, how do you learn if not for all those mistakes?  How do you amass those crazy, funny, and unbelievable life experiences if you do everything perfectly?  And how do you get stronger and smarter if you’ve never been tested?

Just like characters in a novel – the most interesting ones have the best backstories.  And just like stories themselves, life can prove boring without the occasional plot twist or (mis)adventure.

I guess what I’m saying is that I’ve learned not to pine away for perfection.  Life is imperfect.  But in that imperfection, you can find and make your own version of happiness.

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Gone awry

Have you ever felt like your life was supposed to be different than this?

Well, you’re not alone.  When I was in college, I had a plan – I’d get married in my mid-twenties, have a job that made a difference in the world/that helped people,  first baby by 28, traditionally published novel at 30, house at 33, MBA at 36, and blissful family, writing, working life in all of the years to follow. (Yeah, I know my list was a little stacked.  Sometimes I think my super hero name should have been optimist-prime.)

Well, you know what they say about the plans of mice and men…


Yep, sometimes they get all fucked up. I’m paraphrasing, of course.

But what should you do when your life goes off the rails?

#1 Reflect – or as I like to call it: freak out or mope for a little while and get it out of your system.

Whenever something bad happens, I generally allow myself a little while to sit and be sad.  It helps to mope, but I try to place a time limit on it so that I can move past the mope cycle and on to the next stage.  Otherwise, I’d get stuck in the endless mope cycle.  And who wants that?

#2 Rebuild the track – or figuring out where you want to go or what you want to do.

I’m calling it the track here and not the destination because, honestly, who the hell knows what exactly they want to do with their life?  (And if you do know, hush your face.  You’ve won, alright? And the rest of us are jealous.)  Anyway, even if you don’t know where you want to end up, with some time you can probably figure out what you want your next step to be.

So, if you want to get published traditionally – start looking for an agent or a new editor to help you on your way.  Work on that query letter (and then please motivate me to do the same, as those things are tricky minxes).

#3 Rebuild the train – pick yourself up and get your shit together, darlin.

Seek ways to motivate yourself – images of the end goal, picture quotes (I’m so guilty of this one), and positive reinforcement.  If there’s someone in your life that likes to shit-storm on your parade, push them out of your inner circle.  If you can’t push them out, then start singing Taylor Swift in your head (“Haters gonna hate, hate, hate”).  Actually, fuck those clowns – sing Taylor Swift out-loud.

#4 Rinse and Repeat, because let’s face it – this isn’t the last time that things won’t go 100% your way.  That’s life, it’s up to you how you deal with it.

Just where you are – Quotes Day 2

Today’s quote is from  Pema Chödrön, who has written truly inspirational and moving books.  If you haven’t heard of her, or her very wise words, be sure to check her out.

During the hard times in my life, I often turn to quotes for inspiration, motivation, and sometimes solace.  This quote is especially moving for anyone who is looking to start over or begin something new.

“Just where you are – that’s the place to start.” – Pema Chödrön

It’s a whisper of wisdom in those moments of panic where you don’t even know where to place your feet after a fall.  It let’s us know that we can start again, no matter where we are.   We simply have to breathe….and begin.

 

Annie at Gentle Kindness tagged me in this quote challenge and I’ve (obviously) accepted – 3 quotes in three days because well, I love challenges…and quotes.  If you want to play, simply put the link to your site in the comments section and I’ll check out your quotable posts. 🙂

Quotable Thursdays – Fly

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Between starting grad school and some intense travel for work, I’m a bit of a bad blogger this week – only posting my Quotable Thursday post.  Sorry. 😦

But it’s a good quote!

For so much of my adult life, I’ve been timid with my choices.  My ex used to complain about how I had such a low self-esteem (with body image, intelligence, and what I though I could do).  And he was right, I did…sometimes, I still do.

There are times when I quake at the thought of something new.  Or I’m all bravado until just a scant few minutes before when nervousness creeps up, like a colony of angry fire ants, quickly crawling up my legs.

I can’t tell you how many times I wanted to do something and never did it because I was afraid.  Then the most amazing thing happened – everything went wrong.  Something I’d always worried about actually happened.  And it was terrible, believe me.  Until suddenly it wasn’t – until it freed me.

I still get nervous – my hands shake (my voice might too) and my bladder squeezes in nervousness at the most inopportune times – but, I still get out there and do.  You should too, because on brave wings, you can fly. 😉

As a side note: when I was in college, I used to say that if I ever got traditionally published, I’d get a tattoo.  While I haven’t gotten there yet – I’ve a lot of hope for it.  Maybe if I do, I’ll get a tattoo…maybe it will be of this quote, so that I always remember to push myself and just try.

Quotable Thursdays

When I was going through my divorce (mostly last year), I felt like I had wasted so much of my time with my ex…especially since things didn’t work out and that I was missing out on my true self, my true destiny, and my true calling.

And I’m sure I’m not the only person who sometimes feels this way.  But hitting a snag or a roadblock on our own personal journeys does not stop us from getting where we want (or need) to go.  Sometimes, we just have to take the long way around.  And hey, who doesn’t like the longer way?  Sure, it’s a bumpier road and there are far less people on it.  But, you know what?  It’s the scenic route and the path with the most interesting stories, and I am after all, a writer and a reader – who loves a good story.

That’s when I came across the following quote:

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And you know what?  It’s true.  It’s never too late to become who you want or do what you want in life.  Go out and get it.  You can do it and you can start today.