Hi there and wishing you a kind of late Happy New Year from my roomies garage. It has kind of become my little blog writing office again in the current "chilly" climate of ATX. It really isn't cold...no below zeros and dirty ass snow, but it gets a bit nippy in the early morning. But, nothing my ratty old writing sweater and a hot cup of coffee can't handle. I am Minnesota after all:)
Enough weather and garage talk...YAWN. Seriously what are you thinking of this New Year thus far? Excited that last year is finally F-ing over? Or missing 2014 a bit? I myself am feeling a bit nostalgic and reminiscent. Not a surprise from me:) Just because 2014 was probably one of the most productive and life changing years I have had as a adult.
I really embraced the grown up thing in 2014. *Don't get me wrong I am still far from being/wanting mature:) life is way too short to be a stick in the mud. Really, what I am trying to say here is that I began finding the balance of keeping my youthful wide-eyed wonderment while fully embracing the sensibility of adulthood. It wasn't easy at first, but now I feel so liberated to be evolving into the adult I never imagined:) **You know those childhood ideals about how being a grown-up should of been...but, I am quite fine now with my present state of being, A single, childless 40 year old divorcee. Oh Lord written down that sounds pretty pathetic:) *** So, Jesus I think you need to align those stars soon...All jest aside, honestly I am pretty ok in the moment:)
Speaking of moment, yesterday I had no intention of writing a farewell to 2014 post (in all honesty this post is taking days of writing). But, in my daily blog reads I came across this Top Ten Things I learned in 2014-The Alison Show. Oh I love Alison's blog and her how to be awesome video series. It really inspired and charmed me in 2014. I am so grateful that I stumbled upon her awesomeness during a "obsessive daydreaming festival" about attending a Alt. Blog summit someday. Whoa, She is quite the creative idea entrepreneur, but what really blew me away was her How to Be Awesome Part 6: Invest in People Who Invest in You video. It spoke volumes and found me in the perfect time. So, let's get started on my top four things I learned in 2014. Hopefully this sparks your own little list of what you learned in twenty fourteen. *Why only four? That's all I could come up with:) don't ya know.
1. Invest in people that invest in you. The first thing that came to mind when I read this statement was the infamous one-sided conversation. We all have met a person for the first time and have had high hopes for that perfect conversation... But in the end it feels more like you could literally walk away and the person would still be talking about their life to the vacant spot you once had your ass planted. Don't get me wrong we all want to be heard and tell our story. I know I have had those desperate moments. Where your so lonely and/or starved for conversation that you just want your voice to be heard and with that you unintentionally forget about the person in front of you. Ugh the dreaded social faux pas committed.
I have always strived since I can remember to be a good conversation starter, honestly it was a necessity. My social standing really depended on it as I moved around a lot as a kid. So, My Mother always taught me (and too was a great example) to genuinely engage others in a way I would want to be treated. The golden rule of convo:) Making them feel special, investing authentic time and attention into each person. Listening to really what they have to say and more importantly asking the right questions. Fast forward to now, I still employ these conversation techniques:) yet it never ceases to amaze me how one-sided conversations can be. Or worse how one sided friendships can be.
In 2014, this was a huge lesson for me. I don't want to go into too many details. But, a long story short. I have a dear friend, who really left me out of the loop with another mutual friend of ours. It hurt me more than expected and worse made me realize how our friendship always felt one sided. When they were willing to invest time. I would jump and hop. When they were not willing, which was a lot. I spent so much time feeling rejected and not important. I know life gets busy and I would make that excuse for them. But, last year I had enough and when I saw Alison's awesome video on Investing time in people who invest in you. A light bulb went off, This person really never had fully invested in our friendship and quite honestly I don't think they were capable of ever being the friend I needed and wanted from them. So, I stopped the one way dance and ceased investing more than they did. I still call this person a dear friend and love them to bits. But, the stress and expectations are gone. I now focus that love/investment in others. So, warm and fuzzy I know:)
2. Be Brave. I have never considered myself brave ever. Crazy yes. Irrational ok maybe. But, not brave. Until a dear friend recently uttered the word brave to me, while discussing my move down here to Austin, Texas. She couldn't believe that I had the guts to just pick up and start over. She could of never done it. I gave the excuses, "No, I am not brave. I knew people down here and had a place to live, Blah, blah and blah." Once I got off the phone with her, I thought about it more...maybe I was a little brave after all. I did remember the weeks before I moved. Trying my darnedest to stay in my comfortable little life. But, that life somehow made the move a must. I felt like I had no real choice, that God had something big planned for me. People, places and things I needed in my life. Maybe those very things needed me as well. I didn't know, but I eventually got in my car and drove.
I remember the first day I drove and finally found myself in Oklahoma that night. I was hot (no air in Ancient Uncle Vic Volvo) and utterly exhausted from traveling on unfamiliar roads and highways. I pulled into a Holiday Inn express, checked in and took a warm shower and then crawled into the cozy/crisp hotel bed. Once my head hit the pillow...I cried and cried. What the hell was I doing? Did I make a mistake? Damn I was scared.
The next morning I checked out with a crap hotel breakfast buffet coffee in hand and I was ready for the final leg of the journey. While putting my suitcase in the trunk, I noticed the amazing sunrise across the highway over the railroad tracks. It made me stop and pause. Thinking about how at night I pulled in the hotel parking lot, ready to give up. Sick of driving in the dark night and being afraid of the what ifs. Now standing there watching that sunrise, I felt in awe of what I was embarking on. Even a little excited. The rest of the mornings drive was equally beautiful. Rolling along with scenery of hills and endless lakes. It almost made me want to call my friends and say, "I think I might stay in Oklahoma for awhile". I felt like it was God's way of saying, "Your on the right journey, it might feel uncomfortable at times. But, this is what I need you to be doing."
So, maybe I am brave after all. I am still here in Texas. Pushing through all the change and finally embracing it:)
3. Adventure. Last January, I fell in love...with Mexico. In the Fall of 2013, I met a new friend. Someone over the years I knew of, but our paths had never really crossed. But, once we did meet in church. Our friendship was a sealed deal. We both were on similar journeys, a loss of a parent and a relationship. He really helped me learn to laugh again and look forward to what life still had to offer. I also appreciated that he was seeking out faith in his life as well. I needed that as I struggled daily with mine. Then entered Mexico.
He invited me to tag along with his family and Friends for a "working" pilgrimage. To visit a convent in Acapulco and a short stay in Mexico City. What amazing trip it was, I felt so alive for the first time since losing my Mother and Stepfather. The sights, sounds and experiences of Mexico were intoxicating. An Adventure, I never expected. I felt beyond blessed to be apart of this journey and the connections I made with my fellow travel companions. But,I will never forget the moment I looked out on the beautiful gardens next to the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe. In that moment, I felt my mothers presence for the first time since she had died. She had made this very same trip years prior and I felt as if she had stood in the very same spot as I was now. This too perhaps had been her favorite sight. We always fell in love with the same kind of beauty (after all she taught me what beauty was) and the confirmation that her death had not ceased that.
I am a firm believer now that adventure heals, comforts us and brings us out of the daily grind muck. "Getting away" allows us to breathe life back into our daily existence back home. Seeing different people, places and things lets us see our regular life better somehow. Or makes us want to live our life with more attention and intention.
5. Vulnerability.This was probably the hardest learning lesson of 2014 and it is still on going process each day to wake up and choose vulnerability. I know this might sound weird too many, especially in a world where we are told vulnerability is a sign of weakness. Don't get me wrong I don't plan my days on ways to be taken advantage of by others or beating myself into a worthless shell of myself:) After watching Brené Brown's viral TED talk on The power of Vulnerability, I understand now that the dreaded v-word actually translates into courage to be imperfect. In other words wearing your heart on your sleeve though you might get hurt, rejected or disappointed. After watching my mother die and the lingering broken heart I will probably always carry. I have become not concerned with the if's of life. I have lived my greatest fear...So, as Brene spoke of in her talk, "This is what I found: to let ourselves be seen, deeply seen, vulnerably seen; to love with our whole hearts, even though there's no guarantee." Life has no guarantee's, Ok really two big ones. Life and Death. And what we do in between those guarantee's. Is up to us. Live in fear and the sidelines or Embrace imperfection and live boldly.
Thank you for stopping by and reading my little writing passion here on StoryboardC. I do hope you take the time to remember what 2014 gave you. Every passing year is such a gift. Full of new Starts. Yep, the best is yet to come. Love, C.