I confessed to being a List Person in my last post and promised an actual accounting of one of my favorite lists: The Most Awesome Moments of My Life. And because there are no coincidences, it just happened to work out that I needed it desperately today.
After complaining to Twitter friends about my alarming state of overwhelm, I asked how they coped when beat down by responsibilities, and was quickly reminded that women are the best. Girls get it: They juggle households, careers, goals and dreams. They keep their family’s lives together and strive to carve out time for themselves. The women I reached out to answered me with compassion, responding that when they feel overwhelmed, some just get up and “do,” some read inspirational quotes, some don’t try to fight it, others seek out exercise, say no! or let go of expectations – all good, positive, acceptable ways to cope with those days when we have too much to do and no energy to accomplish even a tiny piece of what needs to be done. When napping was suggested, I considered going back to bed with two aspirin and a hotpad. Then, I remembered my promise to share this list. Serendipity.
Speaking of kismet, another tweet spoke to me today, a random quote I happened to see in the feed: “No dream was ever made real without an awakening.” Another message from the Universe. Molly, do you have a dream? Then wake up, get off your butt, flee the pity party and make it happen. That was my take, anyway.
Writing this promised blog post reminded me that often a simple review of what’s good can draw me back from the brink. A recap of my personally inspiring experiences reveal that although today may not be one of my “top ten,” surely there are more good – even fabulous – days to come. I spent time thinking about some of the wonderful things that have happened in the past, and that (and a glass of wine) have healed me, for this day, at least. Although not complete, here are a few of the events that have moved me in my life:
- I’m embarrassingly nearsighted and wore huge coke-bottle glasses in my early years. My first pair of contact lenses literally changed the way I viewed the world. My life expanded to include the universe. I gained visual depth and peripheral vision and the ability to see each individual leaf on the towering trees lining my neighborhood streets. I could recognize faces coming toward me, I could see every flower in the cacophony of wild sweet pea vines growing in the canyon below our house. It was my first lesson that everything can change for the better in a single moment. I believe!
- I was horse-crazy as a kid, as my mother had been. My first riding lesson was a dream come true. Even the slightest whiff of manure can bring back the thrill! My best friend and cousin Julie’s family and mine owned a small cabin in the mountains, and one frigid weekend we took a hike and discovered a herd of horses wintering in a field by the lake. We caught (a slow!) steed with a long knitted winter scarf, used it to make a hackamore, and rode that patient horse tandem through the mud and weeds. I nearly burst with the joy and risk of it!
- As a high school sophomore, my tight-knit friends and I read a blurb in the local paper reporting that same lake was frozen solid for the first time in twenty years. We hatched a plan, played hooky, rented ice skates from a local rink and spent the day skating on Lake Cuyamaca – all by ourselves. Glorious for a Southern California girl!
- A year later three seventeen-year-old girlfriends and I got permission to summer in Mexico, living with a local family for six weeks. We rode the train from Mexicali to Guadalaraja without a chaperone, and in three days forged a bond that lasts until today. I’ll never forget that amazing trip.
- A few years later I was visiting a friend attending UCSC in Santa Cruz, California, sleeping on a couch in the common room of her dorm, when I heard buzz about an impending eclipse of the moon. I wandered out onto the rolling, grassy hills of the campus alone at midnight to watch. Ethereal, enchanting, unforgettable.
- My (ex) husband and I drove from So Cal to Idaho in the early 70’s to visit friends on my first trip to the Northwest. I remember crossing the Columbia River at Seaside, Oregon, and feeling absolutely tiny over the huge expanse of water. Soon after, we headed inland toward Olympia at dusk through the misty rain forest of Southwest Washington, when a dozen Canadian geese flew low over the cab of the truck. You had to be there, but take my word for it – awesome and gorgeous and like a well-written script.
- A few years ago I was walking through my neighborhood early on a sweltering July morning when I observed my dog sniffing something in the middle of the hot asphalt road. When I caught up, I found him hovering over a newly-fledged baby bird, exhausted and weary, hunkered in the roadway without an ounce of energy left. I took the baby to a neighbor who told me what kind of bird she was and taught me how to feed her. She stayed with us through the summer, winging her way beside the dog and I and calling to us in the Grosbeak’s peculiar “chit, chit chit” as we took our daily walks – sometimes hitching a ride on the dog’s back. We adored her, and she adored us. Just thinking about raising her reminds me of the way deep, unconditional love can change us all, altering us forever for the better. She took off in September with the rest of her kind, drawn by Mother Nature to winter in Central Mexico. I haven’t held her since, but I still call her name every May when the Grosbeaks return to our rural mountain town.
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