Thursday, October 20, 2011

The life list, part 2

Thirteen months ago, I wrote a life list, which I came across today. A lot of what's on there remains the same, but some of it changed. Earlier today, I wrote in my paper journal that I need a dog, so that definitely remains on the list. I quit toastmasters, so that's out of the picture. I don't care so much about picking up French again, at least not at the moment. I no longer care if our future home has a bar and I also care a lot less about learning how to brew with Jeff. That'll be his thing, whenever he gets around to it.

1. Have a reasonably clean apartment that feels like home, not a messy pit.
2. Own a dog.
3. Learn to drive stick shift. [Sure, I guess. I still want to do this, but it's not that important to me anymore. Maybe I take it off the list.]
4. Live abroad.... hmm... is this still something I want? I'm not sure. Let's change this to: continue to travel to new places and return to the especially loved ones.
5. Be a mother.
6. Get better at cooking through practice.
7. Write a book.
8. Publish a book.
9. Be able to say, "I'm a runner" and not inwardly say, "liar" because I don't stick with it.
10. Have toned biceps.
11. Learn how to use a sewing a machine.
12. Invest properly.
13. Get to the point where we are living in a home that seems big enough, presumably with more than one bathroom.
14. Find a way to use photography in new ways.
15. Let go of the past.
16. Drive across the US.
17. Come into my own.

I am going to need to revisit this list more often than once a year. Maybe I'll tack it up on my bulletin board and refer to it like some people refer to their new year's resolutions, a practice I don't much like, by the way. If you want to make a change, make a change! Don't wait for January 1 to do it. Do it now.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Thoughts on 36

I've never felt remorse about my birthday. I'm always excited to a) get taken out to dinner but also b) to see what a new year will bring. This is a little bit amusing since many years lately have been pretty much the same, one after another, with some exotic trips sprinkled in here and there.

My 30th birthday
Next week I'm turning 36. This time I do feel something different. It's not like 30, when I was excited to be leaving all the mistakes of my 20s behind. And it's not like 21 when I could finally drink legally. Those are years you're supposed to get excited about. Not 36. No one says, "how does it feel to be 36??"

I will be half my mother's age and therefore the same age she was when she had me.

I'm in a women's group that meets every other Wednesday and I wasn't going to go on my birthday. Because it's my birthday! Even though just saying that out loud seemed silly when I said it. So I will be fĂȘted the day before, which is perfect because my mom will be taking me out for happy hour that evening already. And then I will meet Jeff for dinner.

In my 20s I loved celebrating with friends in bars. For my 30th Jeff organized an outing to a burlesque club and that was the perfect way to seal off my 20s -- with a bang. It feels false to me now, to do gatherings with friends on my birthday. NOT to say that I believe that is true for others. Just for me.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

I've missed this.

I'm thinking about blogging again. I haven't done that in a while. Or whatever it's called. Journaling? Keeping a diary? I never was a fan of calling it a diary. As much as diaryland meant to me at one time, I was never thrilled with the name. Also, I was constantly typing dairyland instead, which spellcheck wants to change to fairyland.

Before the internet, or I should say: last century, before blogging was all the rage or even a medium I had heard of, I diligently kept a paper journal. I wish I could remember what lead me to first keep a diary back in the 4th grade. Although that was a very hard year for me, I was not self aware enough to be able to record my thoughts on what was hard for me at the time. I merely kept a record of what I ate, how I managed to stay up a half hour past bedtime, what games I played with what friends, etc.

I think I started recording thoughts as well as actions a couple years later. There was nothing that deep, though, until high school. And then I went to town in journals. Poems and stories in which terrible or wonderful things would happen to a protagonist not so loosely based on me.

In my late teens and early 20s my journals were everything to me, as was writing letters to my friends (and receiving ones back). I would write to work through my emotions, okay let's face it: mainly about men. But still, this was immensely helpful and for some crazy reason I all but stopped.

Oh wait, not some crazy reason: the Internet. I was 25 for the millennial celebration and a month before that I started a blog. Most people I knew in real life had never heard of blogs. I myself can't remember where I first encountered one, but I can say with certainty that it stirred something in me and I knew I needed one right away.

Blogging was like writing in a paper journal, except with feedback! And praise! And encouragement! I was in a shitty relationship at the time and I needed all of that so very much. But there was also judgement and competition and secrets and inside jokes and cool kids and for the love of god, there were actually awards. I am writing this in the past tense as if this is all in the past. It is for me, but as far as I know it still goes on out there.

And I want nothing to do with any of that. Those things I listed have no place being linked with journaling. I wish blogging was not considered synonymous with journaling. To me journaling is a solitary pursuit and blogging is the public version of that. Not the same at all. I also believe that anyone who claims they blog as openly as they would journal in a private paper book is lying. I have not heard anyone say that lately. I'm just saying.

So anyway. I think I'm going to start using this space again for thoughts, not just as a travelogue. I have come full circle about permanence. I don't really care about keeping these entries as a record of my thoughts at a point in time. I have my paper journals for that. This is a public place and I will not be talking about anything that would make my grandma uncomfortable (in theory. She's not online.), which leaves a lot of room since for a 101-year-old, she's fairly open-minded.

That was an awfully long prologue. Here is the entry itself:

I'm practicing saying no more, or rather not being afraid to say it when it needs to be said. So far, this is going better than I expected. Related: I'm working on telling the truth about why I'm saying no (as long as it's appropriate). I vow to not be vague in this here blog, so here's an example: I have had a very emotionally intense weekend... oh crap, vagueness is creeping in. Okay: I went on a retreat this weekend that was very emotionally taxing (in a good way). More about the retreat in the future. I'm not ready to talk about it yet. On Friday I planned a happy hour this evening with 2 coworkers who live near me. I realized earlier this afternoon that what my soul really needs this evening is to go home and make apple squash soup and be alone (Jeff is away). I was avoiding letting the coworker know that I am bailing because I don't want her to judge me, be mad at me, think I'm a chronic bailer, etc. And guess what: she was totally understanding when I told her the truth. And we made plans to do another happy hour in 2 weeks. How easy was that! Whew. Anyway, I typed this on my phone on a bouncy bus so I'm feeling cross-eyed and woozy now. Over and out.