This Little Light of Mine

This picture inspires so many different feelings, specifically the drive I have in continuing this new adventure I’m on. This is my grandson Jason. He is 3 years old, very observant, super loving, and he makes everyone around him happy. He gives me the type of joy that heals any heart! He is so full of life and love, his refreshing eyes helps me be a better human being. He sees all the beautiful things in this world for the first time, and it renews my spirit.

I began thinking about this concept; seeing the world with fresh eyes. I imagine it helps push all the cobwebs out of those far recesses of the mind, hiding from the light that pushes its way through. The light always pushes its way through, but sometimes we’re not ready to let it into our world. We have to be ready for this light in order to see it. Life has the capability of offering up some nasty obstacles, and it is up to us to respond accordingly. During my dark days, I didn’t want to respond. I just wanted the dark to go away, but it doesn’t work this way. It works very much like a storm, which is why people use this metaphor so often.

We cannot avoid the dark days or wish them away, we must root ourselves deep, and hold on tight while the shadow of the storms hover over head. I didn’t want to face those shadows, so I ran. I made sure I was preoccupied with anything I could focus on, so I didn’t give my attention to the emotional transition that was happening. This was a mistake. It’s okay. We have the luxury of free will, so we make decisions where some are bad ones and some are good ones. How can we learn if we always make the right ones? I weathered that dark storm, made some mistakes, fell on my face a few times, but when the clouds moved along and passed me up, the sun popped through brighter than it had in a long time. The pain I survived cleared my head out, and gave me a new set of peepers.

This brings me back to this adorable face below. The new insight and perspective I now have helps me appreciate the most important parts of life, even more so. Loss, and surviving it forced me to absorb ALL things life-related with grace and patience. What was important 5 years ago isn’t important anymore. The simple beauties of life aren’t beautiful for any other reason than they are simple. Jason has been a perfect vehicle to teach me details about myself I needed to learn, like the pain I felt during the storms. There are characteristics about myself I never knew existed, and some I am working to smooth out. This sweet little face has brought an endless joy, and a new-found wisdom I did not realize I could have.

The dark times will always be there, they are a part of everyone’s experience at some time or another. You can either let them decide what type of life you want, or you can decide that for yourself. It is an exhausting decision, but must be made nonetheless. It’s easy to let an experience or an obstacle decide for you. It’s the lazy way out! We all like to be lazy once in a while, including myself. But, I get bored easy. I cannot sit still for 20 minutes without feeling the impetus to “do” something.

So, this picture represents what I intend on doing. I intend on moving forward with a smile. I intend on taking on heart-ache and disappointment and exasperation with a smile. I want to continue a journey in my professional life with a smile. I want to do all things with love…..and with a smile. It might not brighten the world the way this one does, but it will spark just enough light.

After all, in the dark, even a spark lights the way!

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Timing is Everything

It’s been far too long since I’ve been here. I took an unintentional hiatus from the professional life I have been working on for years. There are times in life when one realizes the necessity of the soul. Mine required feeding, in many more ways than one. I have reached the point where I recognize this nurturing has helped develop my state of mind. I have learned to let go of those things I could not change, and I’m now more accepting of the things I cannot.

I believe it is in these moments when we learn the most about ourselves. I’ve learned that even though I experienced moments of weakness, I am strong. I’ve learned that even though I have made numerous mistakes as a mother, I’m a good parent. I’ve learned that even if I have to cry from sadness, I can smile through it.

I think it is quite a brave endeavor to smile through the tears. I had to get to the bottom to really see myself behind facade that insecurity builds around us. I had to allow my self image to completely deconstruct in order for me to start at ground level, again. I needed that! It is virtually impossible to rebuild a solid structure over an impaired or broken one. I painted a smile over the most wounded face I have ever had, and my soul knew it was bunk.

I now see the world as it is, and not as I would like it to be. I see my world as it is, and I am working to create a better one. As minute as my results may be, I am still producing results. I am still here carving my place, and although it is different than it used to be, it is still beautiful and mine.

I am here to tell you, only you have this power. Stop whatever you’re doing at this moment and take a good look at yourself in the mirror. The person you see staring back at you has so much more tenacity than you could ever imagine. Your soul will thank you for it, later.

I promise!

 

My 8-Day Cleanse

So, today, May 8, 2017, was the first day of my 8 day cleanse with Xyngular. I took some time yesterday to log my food schedule into my phone, which has been very convenient. So far, I haven’t really felt all that hungry. Only now, I feel hungry, but I think it’s because the last meal I had was at 1 pm, and it’s 6:12pm now.

The directions seem fairly simple enough, but I stopped and grabbed a weekly pill organizer, I knew I’d need one.  The only issue I had today was that I didn’t have my dinner ready before I started cooking for the family, so I allowed myself to get hungry, but I’m going to give myself today to get familiar with this new routine.

 

  1. I woke up at 6:30 AM and drank my 8 oz. of lemon water (this is prescribed, but I do this anyway so it’s not unfamiliar to me)
  2. By about 9 AM, I had my breakfast smoothie, and my capful of Global Blend. I included a tablespoon of cocoa powder in my smoothie. It taste pretty good, but the smoothie mix is super thick. I’m glad it’s not gritty though. I was surprised to find it was fairly filling.
  3. I took my morning “Cheat” supplement and then I had 2 hard boiled eggs with one half green pepper, one half red pepper, one small spring onion, seasoned with Mrs. Dash, and sauteed in coconut oil. (I am also staying on top of my water in-take. My ideal amount is 100 oz. A day)
  4. I made another smoothie, but this time I used a capful of Global Blend in the smoothie to give it a fruity taste. I then took my 2 Accelerate supplements.
  5. I’m now finally getting my dinner off of the grill. (I had errands to run today, and I got back late) I made chicken kabobs, baked potatoes (for the family), grilled broccoli in olive oil, and spaghetti squash in the oven. I’m also having a large glass of iced green tea, plain no sweetener at all. The squash is for meal prep for the week.
  6. My dinner will be another smoothie, probably chocolate again. (I was still so full from my PM meal that I didn’t even make my shake, which is not advised. Lol!)
  7. Then I’ll likely settle down with some tea, and my 2 Flush supplements. 

The only issue I’m finding is that preparing my meals ahead of time makes my schedule run much smoother. I have prepared some, like yesterday I made my brown rice for the week, and today I made the squash that goes with that. However, if I didn’t prep well, I could never get this organized properly. If you don’t prepare ahead, you’ll find that you’re starving while you’re preparing everyone else’s dinner, and you’re likely to sabotage yourself. If I was working fulltime this would be maddening! I also didn’t take my cheat 30 minutes prior to my PM snack, I took it and ate about 15 minutes after, but I couldn’t wait any longer. I needed to get this PM snack eaten.

I’m invested into this program, time and money wise, so I want to succeed and in order to do that, one must prepare well.

May 9, 2017 day 2:

I made some necessary adjustments to my meal reminders; I had to space them apart more, because I wasn’t hungry when the next meal alert sounded. I did follow the plan accordingly, though. My coach reminded me that I may want to decrease my protein intake at meal time which helped. I also had to set a reminder for my Accelerate tablets. I had to set it 30 minutes prior to the actual meal reminder because I was forgetting to take them 30 minutes ahead of time.

I gave coffee up 5 days before I started the cleanse, so that I would be already detoxed some. Yesterday’s PM snack was pretty good. I made baked mostaccioli in the oven for the family, and a ground turkey version of spaghetti for me. I browned ground turkey with olive oil, garlic, basil, tomatoes, and shallots. Then, I peeled zucchini and made noodles. It was honestly very good! I had a good 2nd day, but I did inadvertently cheat though, because I was buying lunch meat for the boys lunches, and there was a plate of samples for Eckrich pineapple ham, and before I even knew what I was doing I grabbed a toothpick with one bite on it. I don’t think my work is sabotaged, thank goodness but I need to be more attentive. Some eats are out of habit, so changing habits are necessary for success. It was a pretty good chunk of ham though! 🙂

May 10th, day 3:

I feel pretty good this morning but I do have a slight headache and I feel a little lethargic. I know that’s from the carb restriction. I’m pretty sure it will pass soon.

  1. I’ve had my first shake of the day, and today I can include whole grains in my program for my first AM snack. I will check back in soon.
  2. I took my 2 Cheat and then had 2 hard boiled eggs and a spinach salad with olive oil & white whine vinegar, and finished with my 1 Xyng.
  3. For my lunch I had some some roasted chicken with herb & garlic, paired with brown rice and red bell peppers. I used low sodium vegetable stock to season the rice, and it came out great! I ended with my 2 Accelerate.
  4. I skipped the afternoon snack of 1/4 cup of almonds, peanuts, or sunflower seeds. I just wasn’t hungry.
  5. I had dinner after my 2 Cheat 30 minutes prior. I made salmon fajitas and everyone in the house loved them! Pretty soon, everyone in my house will be clean eating 😀
  6. I ended the day with some vanilla, chamomile tea, and my 2 Flush tabs.

All in all, so far so good! I feel good, was a little tired today, but no worse for the wear.

May 11th, day 4:

I woke up with a headache this morning. My body is reacting to the lack of carbohydrates so I’m just taking it slow. I dropped Jason at school and came back home to lay down for a bit. I kind of sabotaged my schedule because I slept longer than I thought, but I can make it up later today.

  1. I had my water early this morning as soon as I woke up.
  2.  Then when I woke after my nap, I had my smoothie, GB, and 2 Accelerate.
  3. I set my phone to remind me to take my 2 Cheat supplements 30 minutes prior to my meal. I tend to lose track of time, even when I’m not consumed with errands or activities.
  4. I made 2 hard boiled eggs, and a green spinach salad again. I do love spinach so this isn’t difficult.
  5. Next meal was my Lean smoothie and 2 Accelerate.
  6. I took my cheat on time because my phone reminder is helpful with that. I grilled chicken breast with zucchini and yellow squash, drizzled with olive oil & garlic.
  7. I really enjoy the hot drink at night. I made peppermint tea. I like having tea before bed, so it’s a perfect step, and of course I took my 2 Flush.

May 12, Day 5:

I didn’t feel as sluggish yesterday when I woke up but I was up late, so I did make decaf, and I used powdered creamer minus fat and sugar.

1)  I had my GB, 2 Accelerate and my smoothie, but I ran out of coconut milk. I managed to have 4 oz. so I combined 4 oz. of water with it. It served the purpose for the time being.

2) For my protein meal I had a fabulous tuna and spinach salad, and 2 Cheat prior to the meal followed with one Xyng.

3) It’s day 5 so I follow up with protein and grains. I had herb & garlic chicken with red bell peppers and brown rice already prepared.

4) I’m supposed to have a handful of  plain walnuts or almonds, but I wasn’t hungry. This seems to be a reoccurring thing, and I think it’s because I’m not working out through this cleanse. I’ve walked 3 times so far, but that’s all.

5) For dinner, I had grilled chicken and sliced yellow squash, zucchini, and green onions leftover. (with 2 Cheat 30 minutes before)

6) I ended with with my Flush supplements and lemon ginger tea. It was girls night in at my friend’s and there was food 😒 but I managed to find some clean eating goodies. My friend brought a huge bag of quinoa & chia seed chips. They were really good and have a corn chip consistency. She also put together a Spanish salad called “Nopales ensalada” it’s chopped cactus, tomato, onion, cilantro, jalapenos, and lemon juice. It was FABULOUS! I had at least 2 large handfuls of chips and the salad. I don’t think it counts as cheating but I’m sure the sodium doesn’t help so I’m amping the water from 105 oz. to 125 oz.

May 13, day 6:

  1. Started with my 8 oz. of lemon water
  2. Smoothie, GB, and 2 Axion
  3. 2 Cheat 30 minutes before meal, and I had a chicken breast salad. Took my 1 Xyng afterwards
  4. Lunch smoothie and 2 Accelerate. (I’m starting to notice the bloating is gone. This is a big problem with eating crap. It’s less about fat and more about bloating)
  5. 2 Cheat prior to meal, I made Chicken breast and squash.
  6. Smoothie
  7. Took 2 Flush and had my tea.

I can see muscles on my belly, that were hidden by fat, again. I also can tell my waist is tapering some. Nice!

May 14, day 7:

Okay so first and foremost, it is VERY difficult to properly organize clean eating on holidays, and not just because of potential sabotages, but mostly due to scheduling. Days like this are so difficult to stay on schedule, because we are so busy being preoccupied with other commitments. Frankly, plan REALLY well, and it will not be as hectic, but if you do not plan properly (logging meal times, making sure you even HAVE your supplements on hand, and organizing your meal) it can be very difficult to maintain discipline.

  1. It’s Mother’s day, so I slept in, and was already behind, as I usually make my shake, GB & Axion at 9am, but didn’t get to it until almost 11am, so I had to make conscious adjustments to later meal times (I did get my water though).
  2. I had my 2 Cheat and my one Xyng, but I neglected to get the protein prepared for my salad, but I made a bigger salad.
  3. I found another storage container with chicken and brown rice so that’s good since I didn’t get it earlier (Along with my 2 Accelerate)
  4. Days 3, 5, and 7 call for walnuts or almonds for a snack, but I still haven’t felt hungry enough to need them.
  5. I had my 2 cheat but I took them and didn’t eat for about 45 minutes. I had to wait for my brother in law to pull off some food on the grill so my salmon and brussel sprouts would fit. There’s that organization logistic failure I mentioned.
  6. I had my flush and tea pretty late, like 11pm, but I did get them.

May 15 Monday, day 8:

It was pretty easy to stick to my routine, as knowing the next day provided me a decent cheat meal, I was excited! Lol! I have noticed that I may need to back up off the 2 Flush supplements I take. We shall see!

 

Now…..ON TO days 9-30 🙂 🙂 🙂

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Petrie Dish or Pen

After meeting with my advisor regarding the end of this Masters project of mine, something had occurred to me that I didn’t consider prior to beginning this project. As I began to ponder this subject, I realized how pervasive the idea truly is, and how it may have impacted my perception of education. I have conducted an artifact analysis as part of my project, and in doing so, I knew recording my findings would require an organized graph or table of what these findings were, and how they influenced my conclusion. I emphasized to my advisor that I have struggled with this document, feeling unsure of the hows and whys of producing this table of information. He then said to me, “Why are you fixed on a spreadsheet? What makes a document detailing your findings less valid than a spreadsheet?”

 

Well…shit! I don’t have an answer for that? Why do I feel a spreadsheet is more representative of dispelling knowledge as valid? What makes knowledge valid, the way we convey and share it or the knowledge itself? In my quest for higher education, I have often been faced with inconsistencies embedded into my thinking patterns, having been exposed to them throughout my primary education. It’s an unsaid truth throughout the education community that testable, verifiable knowledge is the “pièce de résistance”, but rarely does the scientific community respond to text the same way. Maybe I’m oversimplifying, or maybe I’m stereotyping education as a whole. Still, I can’t deny that this narrative has been set, and those of us that are a part of the composition community know it all too well.

 

When my advisor asked me why I was set on using a spreadsheet, I wanted to respond in loud bursts of laughter, followed by tears of joy….”I DON’T KNOW!! I don’t know Professor! I don’t know why I felt compelled to use a spreadsheet, other than to say, I’ve been programmed to believe it’s an efficient way to share empirical information”

 

Thus, this experience has propelled me to ask this question: how many other students feel this pressure? How many students have attempted to avoid certain projects or subjects merely due to this stifling? Is the idea that information is useless unless it’s quantified prevalent? Does it in fact stifle learning? I feel as though I’m digging my fingers into a whole new study or project? Could be.

 

I’m interested in gathering the views of other students and professionals regarding this question. If you have anything to add, please do. As most of us life-time geeks know, it is this kind of inquiry that inspires a lifetime of learning, and Lord knows I’m no where near finished with this journey. I’m convinced I very likely never will be, as simple questions like the one I posit here seem to feed my starved brain, regularly.

MP Reflection

Reflection #1: 4/12/16

Today I met with my advisor to discuss the methodology portion of my project. I’ll be working on a rhetorical analysis of a number of blogs to locate key terms, patterns, and characteristics that they all maybe share or do not share. I’m looking for markers of grief and mourning discourse within the blogs, in hopes to illustrate how the internet and writing is changing the playing field of grief coping mechanisms for many people.

It was one of the first moments when I could feel this labor of love piecing itself together. Jason would have scolded me by now and shit on my timeline by now, but he’s partly why the timeline was sabotaged so maybe I’m just being a little self loathing in that assessment. It was a great feeling knowing I will only be visiting Prof. Krause’s office maybe one last time. As much as I love campus life, I have had about enough of it.

He spent the better part of an hour with me today, which I’m really grateful for. He squeezes me into his schedule, and I appreciate that time, immensely. We browsed for blogs, looked at a few specific ones I’ve located, and ironed out what types of keys linguistic markers to look for. I was having a tough time determining precisely what a “marker” is and it’s function, so he asked me to think of genres. For example, when I think of country music songs, what types of characteristics would I look for in songs like this? This really helped me get my thoughts into perspective, and we began listing genre characteristics for my methodology.

Then he said I would need to create a spreadsheet to title the blogs, designate the markers, and tally my findings for each blog. At first I felt uncomfortable, because spreadsheets are the bane of my existence. I’d prefer to create a presentation in front of hundreds of people, instead of such a tedious task, but perhaps it’s a necessary evil here. I suppose there’s ways to make the spreadsheet my own, and not so dry and uninteresting. I’m really looking forward to this aspect, because it gives me a gateway into other grieving minds, and everyone knows misery loves company. I learn more from other people in my field than what I contribute, I can promise you that. Well, the next thing on this project list is to tighten up that literature review, attach my methodology, and the works cited….then it’s off to life in the spreadsheet.

The Winds of Change

Recently, I was asked what is it in my life that gives me pleasure? Then it was, what do I want to do when I retire? If someone had asked me these questions three years ago, my answers would have differed, greatly. I had an incomplete self image, so answering that question would have been difficult for me. I guess I never realized this, but I never did have a complete self image. I was perfectly happy allowing it to be codependent. I didn’t know any better.

What gives me pleasure? It’s when the people I love are happy. I get great pleasure out of helping people, teaching people, and listening to people. I like stories. I like it when people tell me stories about themselves, because I learn so much from others. I also get satisfaction out of sharing stories with others. I like to see the reaction on their faces. I love when someone asks me a question about what I’ve shared, because there’s always a discovery of deeper meaning. I’m a social person. I love to talk with people, and learn what makes them tick. I enjoy people watching, and developing characters from the perceptions I’ve interpreted. I really enjoy what I do. I love gathering new information and processing it. I realize this isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but that’s what I’m for. I want to discover, filter, and share what I’m exposed to in life. I enjoy viewing the world through the many lenses I have refined over the years as a reader/writer. I imagine this isn’t news for those that already know me, but I’m eager to utilize this gift that I have. This brings me to my next question, which was the one that stumped me much more.

What do I want to do when I retire? Well damn, I’m not even close to retiring or wanting to retire so I can’t honestly say how I want to retire. I will very likely work right on into my retirement, not just out of necessity but because I love what I do. However, there are many life experiences I want to explore all the while. When I think of retirement, it’s nothing like what I used to wan,t because I’m not that woman anymore. Three years ago, my answer would have been , “I want to do whatever he wants to do” because that was my life and I was perfectly satisfied with it. Now, my life has been turned upside down, and many aspects are different. I never have considered the latter part of my years the way I do now. I want to travel. I want to have an old, fixer-upper with a great big porch that my grand kids can run amok on. I want a nice garden I can tend to, and a wonderful working kitchen to cook and create in. I love feeding my family and friends. I’m a natural nurturer. I want to ride my bike throughout my community, and drop goodies from my garden with my friends. I want to be busy working around my house or “tinkering” as my late husband called it, protecting my aging skin with a big, floppy hat that my kids can make fun of. I want to make mud-pies with my grandson and put lopsided pigtails in my future granddaughter’s hair. I’m not much for doing girl hair. It’s actually impressive that I can do my own.

Initially, I would’ve felt ashamed of myself listing so many self-indulging “wants” but my life has taught me that it’s okay to make yourself happy. I have learned that my happiness is just as important as the happiness of those I love. It took me a good while, and lots of falling on my face to learn this. I had to make a lot of mistakes, and be burned by them in order to fully understand that I’ve earned being happy. For a long time, I felt like I was supposed to die too. I felt like I couldn’t be loyal to him if I allowed myself to be happy. I’ve learned that this wasn’t my thinking, it was grief thinking for me. Taking care of my family, loving them, watching them grow into the adults we worked so hard to nurture…this is what makes me truly happy. I will probably never retire, because what I do isn’t “work” to me. The winds of change have opened up a new world for me, and I’m finally not afraid to accept it. I’m finally seeing where I fit in my life, my new life. Change is never easy, but nothing worth having ever is. I don’t mind hard work, it reminds me that I’m alive.

Recently, I was asked what is it in my life that gives me pleasure? Then it was, what do I want to do when I retire? If someone had asked me these questions three years ago, my answers would have differed, greatly. I had an incomplete self image, so answering that question would have been difficult for me. I guess I never realized this, but I never did have a complete self image. I was perfectly happy allowing it to be codependent. I didn’t know any better.

What gives me pleasure? It’s when the people I love are happy. I get great pleasure out of helping people, teaching people, and listening to people. I like stories. I like it when people tell me stories about themselves, because I learn so much from others. I also get satisfaction out of sharing stories with others. I like to see the reaction on their faces. I love when someone asks me a question about what I’ve shared, because there’s always a discovery of deeper meaning. I’m a social person. I love to talk with people, and learn what makes them tick. I enjoy people watching, and developing characters from the perceptions I’ve interpreted. I really enjoy what I do. I love gathering new information and processing it. I realize this isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but that’s what I’m for. I want to discover, filter, and share what I’m exposed to in life. I enjoy viewing the world through the many lenses I have refined over the years as a reader/writer. I imagine this isn’t news for those that already know me, but I’m eager to utilize this gift that I have. This brings me to my next question, which was the one that stumped me much more.

What do I want to do when I retire? Well damn, I’m not even close to retiring or wanting to retire so I can’t honestly say how I want to retire. I will very likely work right on into my retirement, not just out of necessity but because I love what I do. However, there are many life experiences I want to explore all the while. When I think of retirement, it’s nothing like what I used to wan,t because I’m not that woman anymore. Three years ago, my answer would have been , “I want to do whatever he wants to do” because that was my life and I was perfectly satisfied with it. Now, my life has been turned upside down, and many aspects are different. I never have considered the latter part of my years the way I do now. I want to travel. I want to have an old, fixer-upper with a great big porch that my grand kids can run amok on. I want a nice garden I can tend to, and a wonderful working kitchen to cook and create in. I love feeding my family and friends. I’m a natural nurturer. I want to ride my bike throughout my community, and drop goodies from my garden with my friends. I want to be busy working around my house or “tinkering” as my late husband called it, protecting my aging skin with a big, floppy hat that my kids can make fun of. I want to make mud-pies with my grandson and put lopsided pigtails in my future granddaughter’s hair. I’m not much for doing girl hair. It’s actually impressive that I can do my own.

Initially, I would’ve felt ashamed of myself listing so many self-indulging “wants” but my life has taught me that it’s okay to make yourself happy. I have learned that my happiness is just as important as the happiness of those I love. It took me a good while, and lots of falling on my face to learn this. I had to make a lot of mistakes, and be burned by them in order to fully understand that I’ve earned being happy. For a long time, I felt like I was supposed to die too. I felt like I couldn’t be loyal to him if I allowed myself to be happy. I’ve learned that this wasn’t my thinking, it was grief thinking for me. Taking care of my family, loving them, watching them grow into the adults we worked so hard to nurture…this is what makes me truly happy. I will probably never retire, because what I do isn’t “work” to me. The winds of change have opened up a new world for me, and I’m finally not afraid to accept it. I’m finally seeing where I fit in my life, my new life. Change is never easy, but nothing worth having ever is. I don’t mind hard work, it reminds me that I’m alive.

Recently, I was asked what is it in my life that gives me pleasure? Then it was, what do I want to do when I retire? If someone had asked me these questions three years ago, my answers would have differed, greatly. I had an incomplete self image, so answering that question would have been difficult for me. I guess I never realized this, but I never did have a complete self image. I was perfectly happy allowing it to be codependent. I didn’t know any better.

What gives me pleasure? It’s when the people I love are happy. I get great pleasure out of helping people, teaching people, and listening to people. I like stories. I like it when people tell me stories about themselves, because I learn so much from others. I also get satisfaction out of sharing stories with others. I like to see the reaction on their faces. I love when someone asks me a question about what I’ve shared, because there’s always a discovery of deeper meaning. I’m a social person. I love to talk with people, and learn what makes them tick. I enjoy people watching, and developing characters from the perceptions I’ve interpreted. I really enjoy what I do. I love gathering new information and processing it. I realize this isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but that’s what I’m for. I want to discover, filter, and share what I’m exposed to in life. I enjoy viewing the world through the many lenses I have refined over the years as a reader/writer. I imagine this isn’t news for those that already know me, but I’m eager to utilize this gift that I have. This brings me to my next question, which was the one that stumped me much more.

What do I want to do when I retire? Well damn, I’m not even close to retiring or wanting to retire so I can’t honestly say how I want to retire. I will very likely work right on into my retirement, not just out of necessity but because I love what I do. However, there are many life experiences I want to explore all the while. When I think of retirement, it’s nothing like what I used to want because I’m not that woman anymore. Three years ago, my answer would have been , “I want to do whatever he wants to do” because that was my life and I was perfectly satisfied with it. Now, my life has been turned upside down, and many aspects are different. I never have considered the latter part of my years the way I do now. I want to travel. I want to have an old, fixer-upper with a great big porch that my grand kids can run amok on. I want a nice garden I can tend to, and a wonderful working kitchen to cook and create in. I love feeding my family and friends. I’m a natural nurturer. I want to ride my bike throughout my community, and drop goodies from my garden with my friends. I want to be busy working around my house or “tinkering” as my late husband called it, protecting my aging skin with a big, floppy hat that my kids can make fun of. I want to make mud-pies with my grandson and put lopsided pigtails in my future granddaughter’s hair. I’m not much for doing girl hair. It’s actually impressive that I can do my own.

Initially, I would’ve felt ashamed of myself listing so many self-indulging “wants” but my life has taught me that it’s okay to make yourself happy. I have learned that my happiness is just as important as the happiness of those I love. It took me a good while, and lots of falling on my face to learn this. I had to make a lot of mistakes, and be burned by them in order to fully understand that I’ve earned being happy. For a long time, I felt like I was supposed to die too. I felt like I couldn’t be loyal to him if I allowed myself to be happy. I’ve learned that this wasn’t my thinking, it was grief thinking for me. Taking care of my family, loving them, watching them grow into the adults we worked so hard to nurture…this is what makes me truly happy. I will probably never retire, because what I do isn’t “work” to me. The winds of change have opened up a new world for me, and I’m finally not afraid to accept it. I’m finally seeing where I fit in my life, my new life. Change is never easy, but nothing worth having ever is. I don’t mind hard work, it reminds me that I’m alive.

Aftermath….

It’s only been a few years since he’s been gone. All in all, my situation is still very fresh and new to those that don’t know me. I have come a very long way since June 26th, 2013, and truth be told, I still have a long way to go. I’m not completely healed, but I’m better. I’m not unafraid of what this life has to offer me, but I’m braver. I cannot say that I’m smarter today, but I’m more experienced. I can’t say that I’m perfect at parenting alone, but I’m willing to work hard at it. My heart is not 100%, but it’s stronger.

I’ve only recently allowed myself to entertain the idea of having a man in my life. The idea certainly crossed my mind, but I wasn’t healthy enough to sincerely consider it. This was caused by a lot of guilt that I felt at the onset of loss. I truly wish I had the presence of mind to have seen this a while ago, but I had to walk through shit and struggle, before I was able to mindfully see this. I deserve happiness. I deserve joy. I deserve to live in peace. I have learned, through much soul searching and solitude, that in order to be happy in any relationship or with any partner, I have to actualize a self-love that frees my soul from the chains of guilt. It took a lot of pain from falling on my face to see this, in order to understand what I needed to do from that moment forward.

I decided that creating a life that makes me satisfied with who I am is what I needed to work on. I am now in a place that I can confidently say, I’m happy with who I am, what I want, and where I’m going. There will always be measures added to this, so I can continuously improve, but for the sake of this argument, I’m a happy person. This fact is what I know will lead someone into my life. Creating a life that illustrates that I’m content will attract what I need and want. I think as a woman, I was under the impression that “finding a good man” is the ultimate goal in life for a woman, (oddly enough, I never really had to look very far as God dropped him right in front of me early on). However, now I understand that the goal in my life is enjoying the family, friends, and experiences I’m having, and always being open to learning new things about myself in this journey. The real bonus of having someone significant in my life will be that they add to an already content existence.

I recently experienced how this premise stands for me. I met someone that I found interesting and appealing. He fit a lot of positive criteria for my lifestyle. Personality wise, we got along like peas and carrots. Time went on and we began to move into a more serious place. He began to withdraw, and finally came clean about his feelings. He confessed that he was highly anxious about moving forward. He was scared of being the “guy” for me. Many people will have opinions about this, and about him. Some might say he’s a coward, and some might say he’s noble. I think I prefer to say neither. His fears are justified. My situation is terribly intimidating to most interested parties. Who the fuck wants to compete with a ghost? It’s impossible to do! Yet, the fact is, there is no competition and there never will be.

I don’t hold any bitterness. On the contrary, I’m heartbroken and I miss him. However, anyone not willing to weather the storm with me, isn’t for me. My personal life can only be polished by someone that, even though they recognize the inherent fear of being a part of this journey, they jump off that frightening cliff, anyway. I’m worth the risk. I’m worth the fear one feels getting involved in such a complex dynamic. I’m worth every little doubt they may have, and I know I am. I know there is a very distinct possibility that I may never meet him. I know that I may traverse this rock, solo because this brave soul may not exist. I know I’ve truly come out of this tragedy having learned major facts about myself, and the beauty is, I’m okay with this. I’m absolutely okay with me. I’m also completely okay with knowing that I may very well have more balls than any of the men that wander into my life, and frankly, I’m the better for it.

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