I’ve taken a hiatus from writing. I’ve come to understand there is a time to speak as well as a time to listen. Yesterday I returned home from a trip to California. Before I left I was feeling beat down and in dire need of an escape. Sometimes responsibility piles up and before I know it, I am drowning in myself. What I learned is the answer is not somewhere on a plane. The solution is not skipping town or running away. Sometimes we simply need some time away from a place to really appreciate its value. I cannot even begin to express how much I appreciate being back home. It is quiet here. Except for an occasional red light, there is not an endless line of traffic. My bed is just right and I had to drag myself out of it at ten o’clock today. I have peace here, peace of mind and a sense of calm I won’t find anyplace else. Home is the best escape I have ever known and today I am extremely grateful to be right here in the middle of it. We fool ourselves into believing the grass is greener everywhere else. Sometimes we just lose sight of the grass beneath our feet because we stop looking down. Don’t forget to appreciate what you already have. The grass may look greener on the other side but this is your reminder that looks can be very deceiving.
Traveling always teaches me a valuable lesson.This year was no exception. The way I react to the unexpected ups and downs is very similar to how I handle most things in my own life.
We arrived at Newark airport in plenty of time. Just as I stepped out of the car, curbside check in opened and I was second in line. The whole process was a breeze as I found my way into the security line. To my surprise, I was able to bypass the crowd thanks to that lovely label on my ticket that read TSA Pre-Check. I was at my gate in no time with plenty of time to spare. I actually sat there believing the rest of the trip would be just as smooth.
Everything fell apart from there. Delays, missed connections, more delays and finally a seat that was broken and would not recline. I was miserable and angry that I was stuck in a situation that I couldn’t do a single thing about…well except one thing anyway. I put a snarl on my face and continued to express my disdain through excessive complaining. I wanted everyone to know just how put out I actually was. I was sick and tired and I just wanted to be at home in my own bed.
Looking back, I know I had two choices. I could dwell on every detail that went wrong and coddle the victim inside of me or I could make it an adventure and just go with the flow. I took the dangerous road, the one that is full of darkness and despair. The end result was the same. I eventually got home and I type these words from the bed I longed for all day. The challenges weren’t the problem, my attitude was. As much as I know I have no control over the circumstances around me, sometimes I still throw a silly tantrum like a spoiled toddler.
The lesson is simple. Sometimes I will have to sit in a place that makes me extremely uncomfortable. Sometimes I will have no choice but to follow a direction I would never voluntary choose for myself. What I do and how I react will define not only the entire experience and my perception of it but will also expose to me who I really am. Yesterday I was a spoiled toddler. It is time to stop fighting what is and to find the most comfortable chair in my most uncomfortable moments. It’s time to embrace that a moment is only a short amount of time and that each one that passes by, will be different than the next. So pull up a chair, order a margarita and relax. This too shall pass. It always does. What seems like the end of the world today will only be a distant memory in a couple of days. The sky is not falling unless you convince yourself it is. Cant you think up something better than that?
Today’s the day. In a few hours I will be on a plane traveling to the place I have always called home. When I think back over the years, I am reminded of the joys and challenges that every year brings. There have been years when the loss of a loved one left the house feeling very empty. There have been new babies and new spouses that have added countless chairs around the dinner table on Christmas Day. There has been tough love and the kind of love that makes you drop to your knees and thank God for the opportunity to be together in one place on the same day. Through the immense mountain of wrapping paper and occasional fistfight over a board game not going our way, one thing always remains, love. That is the best Christmas gift of all. Breaking bread with people who will be there for me when the rest of the world goes away. I am grateful for each and everyone of them. They are so unique, so different from one another and they are my family. My people, my tribe, my safe haven. The people who make home so much more than a house on a road in a small town. They are my circle of love and life. I can’t wait to spend another Christmas there and will smile to myself at the new face that will be at our table this year. So many blessings.
I’m not sure what is worse, packing or thinking about packing? Why is the mind so counterproductive sometimes? Just get up and do it. Where is that voice? Suck it up buttercup and get it done. What’s even worse? Procrastinating and then blogging about it. Wish me luck.
I cried my way through the Nutcracker. As I sat in my seat and watched both my 18 and 5 year old niece up on stage, my heart just about exploded with pride. There are no words to describe how grateful I felt to be sitting there in that moment. I miss so much living away from everyone and when I can be there for something important, I am filled with happiness. I got to hold my new nephew in my arms for the first time and stare into his beautiful eyes. Yes Kim, these are the things that are really important. I reminded myself over and over again how blessed I am to be part of an amazing family. We may not be perfect but we fit together perfectly.
Remember what counts. At the end of the day, count your blessings. Close your eyes and envision what makes your heart come to life. Focus on that, every person and everything else you absolutely love. Let your heart be full.
I flew back home today after a wonderful visit with family. It was a hectic ride to the airport. What seemed like leaving in plenty of time turned into a panic of whether we would make our flight at all. It was pouring, rush hour, accidents and bumper to bumper traffic every way we turned. We arrived at the airport at 9:05 and boarding started at 9:25. I was frazzled and frustrated and didn’t even say goodbye to my mom as I ran from the car.
Every now and then I am fortunate to run into just the right person at just the right time. One of the curbside workers saw my craziness and immediately grabbed my bags and took me to a closed check in station. He grabbed my license and credit card and before I knew it, I was feeling much calmer as he handed me our tickets and pointed me in the right direction. Newark airport can be a real challenge, especially when it comes to getting through long lines of security. Fortunately for me, this was not the case today. We were standing at our gate at 9:20 with five minutes to spare. Sure I paid that man who helped me out today but I can’t help but wonder if he realized how positively he impacted my day. I am so grateful to him and happy to be home in my warm bed.
Be kind to everyone you meet. More than ever, people need your kindness. Be aware of the major difference you can make in one precious life. I hope that man knows how much his help and kindness meant to me today.
So I took a short trip back to memory lane. As I stood in front of the house I lived in for seven years, I couldn’t help but wish time would magically dissolve. I miss the days when I lived on a street of friendly faces who took the time to chat it up, hang out and interact. It was one of the happier times in my life and every direction I turned reminded me why. There are some places that seem to fit comfortably and others that never will. The reality is, sometimes we are forced to spend time in a place we don’t want to be and we have to focus on what is good instead of dwelling on what is bad. Until you learn to be happy wherever you are unconditionally, you will never actually be happy. That is my little reminder today to embrace who you are wherever you and be okay with whatever that is.
It’s no secret the kids are off for fall break. One thing I love about my family is we are very spontaneous. Four hours ago, we decided to go on a road trip and I am writing this piece from the road. So, we are off on another crazy adventure, going back to a place we all love, praying everyone behaves in the car.
How about you, are you spontaneous?
I was remembering something that happened a few years ago during our visit to Italy. I remember looking at things to do there and one particular town caught my eye. It was quaint and beautiful, everything I imagined a small town in Italy to be. I remember the frustration over buying our ticket and trying to figure out which platform was the one to board our train. Finally, we were in our seats and the sound of us rolling down the tracks put me right to sleep. We had been going non stop and we had to catch a few zzz’s whenever the schedule allowed.The problem was, my husband fell asleep too so now we had an 11 and 8 year old navigating for us. My daughter eventually woke us up to let us know we had reached our stop and we exited the train. It only took a moment to realize we were in the wrong place. Where were the rolling hills? This place was as flat as a pancake and the whole town seemed abandoned. Luckily there was a McDonalds but we quickly realized no one spoke a word of English. When we said the name of the town, the workers pointed to the right and made a walking motion with their fingers while shaking their head no. We knew now it was too far to walk. We went outside and saw a bus stop and stood there hoping we would figure out what to do. The man there knew we were visitors and pointed to a small shop across the street. My husband went to check it out and came back with four bus tokens. Everytime the train would stop, the man would shake his head no until finally I recognized the town from the pictures and he pointed for us to get off.
The lesson is similar to the one I posted yesterday. There will be times we find ourselves lost in a place we don’t want to be. We may feel scared and panicked and our instinct may be to run as fast as we can. Running in the wrong direction won’t get us anywhere. We must be patient and calm and find a solution despite how uncomfortable we may feel. When we are quiet and settle in, the answers will come. Everything we need will be right there to get us from point A to point B. We just have to believe.
When you miss the boat, do you take the train? There are so many ways to get to where you want to be in life but only if you are serious about finding your way. The problem is, we get this idea of the way we want our lives to be but the second our plan comes to a dead end, that’s it, game over. We give up just like that because we can’t see beyond the end of the trail. We forget we can take a bus, a taxi, a train, rent a car. Where there’s a will, there’s always a way. If one plan fails, find another. Sometimes it’s as simple as that.