In a cabin in the woods

In a cabin in the woods

Oprah has this section at the end of her magazine where she shares “What I know for sure.” And I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately about what I know, or rather what I thought I knew. So what do I know for sure? Turns out, not a hell of a lot. Growing up in London, Ontario, Canada, I never for one moment thought I would be here. In this cabin. In the woods. Curled up in front of a fire, the Blue Ridge mountains framing the double doors behind me. I never even dreamed I would live on this side of the border. Even when we lived in a city shared a border with the US, it always felt so exotic when we exited our home country and explored the “other side.” Today, though I will always be Canadian, I proudly carry a U.S. passport. What I DO know for sure? Never say never. Two years ago, when we traded in the cul-de-sac two-story for the condo in the “big city,” I thought I knew exactly what the next 10 or so years would look like. By downsizing our life, we gave ourselves more room to explore. We would walk to local bars, restaurants and coffee shops. We would take in the outdoor concerts on the square and take cooking classes. We would sit on our new patio, sipping manhattans and waving to neighbors passing by. We would visit museums, stroll through art shows and make our own wine at the you-brew. And we did. We do. When we moved to the condo, we were moving away from a time...
The Journey – Just Busy Being Me

The Journey – Just Busy Being Me

One day you finally knew what you had to do, and began, though the voices around you kept shouting their bad advice – – – though the whole house began to tremble and you felt the old tug at your ankles. ‘Mend my life!’ each voice cried. But you didn’t stop. You knew what you had to do, though the wind pried with its stiff fingers at the very foundations – – – though their melancholy was terrible. It was already late enough, and a wild night, and the road full of fallen branches and stones. But little by little, as you left their voices behind, the stars began to burn through the sheets of clouds, and there was a new voice, which you slowly recognized as your own, that kept you company as you strode deeper and deeper into the world, determined to do the only thing you could do – – – determined to save the only life you could save. ~ Mary Oliver Note: I am good. Very good, indeed. After posting this poem, a friend reached out with “Are you ok?” I guess I can see where she might think I was digging through something re: THE JOURNEY… but I just love to read Mary Oliver’s words and this one struck me today. So, no, my life doesn’t need mending, but I do love at the end of this poem where it says “… there was a new voice, which you slowly recognized as your own, that kept you company.” My birthday is next week and it’s always a time of reflection for me. Every...
Reverse Culture Shock

Reverse Culture Shock

Every day since returning from my trip to Costa Rica, I’ve been restless and irritated. Thrown back into THIS life, after experiencing THAT life, has really messed with my brain. Just last week I was living in a bathing suit.  I was awake every morning to greet the sun and started the day with a walk on the beach — stopping on the way home to pick up fresh fruit for breakfast. Just last week I was swimming in waterfalls and hiking to volcanos. Just last week, I was calm and happy. Just last week I felt healthy and more like myself than I had in a long, long time. Re-entry is tough. And I think I might be experiencing a little reverse culture shock. I feel as though I am not where I belong, which is weirdly unsettling. As the distance between then and now widens, I feel like I’m losing a part of myself that I was just getting to know, and like. That girl wore two-piece bathing suits and didn’t straighten her hair. That girl breathed slowly and floated without care in swimming pools. Since coming home, I find myself oddly disconnected from the things I used to think were important. Frustrated, even, that so much time is spent hashing and rehashing things that just end up stressing us out. You know, that whole “why are we sweating the small stuff?” thing…Yea, I’m there. My heart is more open to the idea that there is not just one path in life. That we don’t have to live up to anyone else’s expectations of us. We have to be true to ourselves. Take good...
Because I Can Choose

Because I Can Choose

The woman crossing the road walked with intention – a huge smile on her face. We were at a stoplight when I spotted her out of the corner of my eye. She was walking alone, without an audio book or playlist to keep her company. So what was it that was making her smile with such willful abandon if not a catchy tune or sarcastic commentary of a serial podcast? The expression on her face was that of a person who just discovered a big secret. A big happy secret. I wanted to know. I wanted Dave to stop the car so I could find out what it was. I felt this urgent need to invite this smiling woman to the coffee shop or the wine bar and find out why she was smiling — for no reason. I wanted her to share that joy with me. The older I get, the more I’m drawn to happy people. People who make me laugh, are comfortable in their own skin, and aren’t afraid to color outside the lines. And by that, I don’t mean the I-don’t-care-what-people-think-this-is-who-I-am kind of people, because as much as I believe in being authentic, there are too many people who use that “take me as I am” attitude as permission to be an asshole. I’m at a point in my life where I have no time or patience for bullshit. For insincerity. For agendas. For mean people.  I just want it to be easy. I want to be around people who inspire me. Who are loyal and honest. People who give a shit. I want to be around people who...
25 Things I’m Glad I Didn’t Know Before Middle Age

25 Things I’m Glad I Didn’t Know Before Middle Age

So on this day, the day after I turned 50 years old, I guess I’m supposed to share some of that wisdom I’ve accumulated over the years, right? Write one of those “25 things-I-wish-I-knew-before-I-turned-(insert milestone age here )” kind of posts? Filled with regret – those articles leave me wondering why. Why do you wish you knew? Would you truly do things differently? And did you really not know? Come on. You knew that you should have exercised more. Flossed more. Slept more. Spent more time with family. You knew. Well, screw that. In the spirit of “why the hell would I ever want to know that, anyway?” — here are a few things I’m really glad I didn’t know sooner. That my eyelashes would fall out and not all of them would grow back. That there are 35 symptoms of perimenopause, and I would experience 87% of them in just one year. That I would need a stash of reading glasses (was in so denial here for so long). That I would be that person who never knew where her reading glasses were. That menopot was a real thing. That I would still worry too much. That I wouldn’t always like my adult children. That my adult children wouldn’t always like me. That I would not always recognize the face in the mirror. That even at 50, I would still care what people thought of me. That I would have a love-hate relationship with Spanx. That friendships aren’t always forever. That I really can’t always get what I want. (If you’re not middle-aged yet, sorry for the spoiler.) There are definitely worse things than...