Present Tense

16 again…

I’m sitting here pondering what to wear to my class reunion in two weeks.  I don’t have anything in my closet that even approaches dressy, particularly summery, dressy.  I hate to shop and I just don’t care about clothes.  So, I’m fretting.

I haven’t seen most of the people from my high school in decades.  In fact, I didn’t even attend the last class reunion due to pure apathy.

But, in the last several years I’ve re-connected with many of my high school classmates, some of whom I really didn’t know all that well in high school. Thanks to Facebook, some friendships have been kindled and re-kindled and I’m anxious to see them face to face, now that we’re all grown-ups.

I have nothing to prove and no real need or urge to impress anyone. In fact, part of the beauty of re-connecting via social networking as 50-somethings is that most of us have completely outgrown our high school personas.  Thank God, right?

Yet, I feel like I do have to bow to convention or at least make an attempt to clean up and fit in, appearance-wise.  Is this the old, high school need to fit-in, rearing it’s middle-aged head?

Is it the same thing that I feel when I’m with my family?  I tend to revert to my 10 year-old self when I’m with parents and siblings.  Do we revert back to 16 at class reunions?  God help me.

I suppose we all have something to prove, if not to our classmates, then to ourselves.  We want to show that we did okay, that we fit in, that we’re able to dress ourselves.  That last one eludes me anymore. I used to care what I wore, but now I just don’t and I’m not sure why and it’s not worth exploring right now, seeing as how it’s very low on my personal-demon priority list.

So, I will spend the next week and a half trying to scrounge together a presentable outfit, for a get together with people that I only really know virtually at this point.  And it will dog me and worry me and that’s not the reason I’m going to this event.  I’m going to meet the fabulous people that have blossomed into interesting (mostly) well-adjusted grown-ups, the same way that I have.

I can’t wait to hear the stories of struggles and triumphs and growth and regression and pain and joy.  We have 35 years to sift through since graduation.  Who cares about my outfit?

The 16 year-old me, it seems.

July 26, 2013 Posted by | Musings | , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Certified Organic Human

I just spent 45 minutes picking wild black-raspberries behind our house.  Not thinking, just picking.  Wild raspberries require long pants, long sleeves and patience.  The bushes are nestled into the other brush and the thorns are not helpful.  Nature doesn’t plunk our food into nice, little, easy-to-grab containers.  Nature asks for a commitment.

There are tons of berries left to be harvested over the next couple of weeks and that’s fine with me.  Picking berries is my zen task for now.  I’m up for it.  We are finally settled at our farm, learning so much so quickly about some of the new things in our life.

We have an orchard with about 40 apple trees.  In the past, they’ve been cared for with pesticides and insecticides, but we are going to grow our apples via organic means.  Seems simple and well, organic, right?  It’s not.  We’re learning that it’s quite complicated to grow decent fruit, minus the toxic pest control.  But, we only need enough for us and the friends who’d like to share our apples, so we’ll sacrifice bounty for quality.

Organic farming is a long-term commitment.  It’s an entire eco-system that must be nurtured and developed; a 5 to 10 year plan.  Something we just don’t have time for in the modern world of instant gratification, where bigger and more is better.

Pastured chickens and lambs fertilize the crops.  Flowers are planted to bring in bees and useful insects.  The animals and crops are rotated to allow the land to replenish.  It’s a lot of work and planning and for the first few years, there is very little return on this investment.  A commitment.

So, how does this apply to all of us?  It’s worth pondering what commitment you’re making to your health and happiness.  We live in a culture of quick, fast, simple, no effort and we all know in our hearts and minds that there really is no quick fix for anything that’s important.

We are organic.  We require time and effort and patience and diligence to fully flower; nurturing our health, wellness, happiness and growth is a commitment.  Every day.  Stop with the excuses.  “I’ll lose weight when…I’ll save money when…I’ll look for a new job when…I’ll stop drinking when…I’ll take care of myself when…I’ll be nicer to people when…”

You don’t really know when ‘when’ is, do you?  I’ll tell you. It’s now.  Start.  Make a commitment and take pleasure in the nuturing; in the process.  In all honesty, there is never an end.  Forget goals, think now.  Start the process and let it unfold.

Follow nature.

July 20, 2013 Posted by | Musings | , , , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

Is that a unicorn I see?

The cosmos has seen fit to teach me another lesson over the past few days.  I wish it was a new one, but it’s not; same lesson, different day.  Someday it’ll sink in. The lesson is:  planning, schmanning.  Is that a word?

Planning is my forte, my air, my area of extreme expertise.  It makes me feel as if I’m competent and in control and leaving no stone unturned.  I think it’s also a way to avoid being blamed when everything falls apart.  “But I did everything I could!!”

When I made the decision to move from Colorado to Michigan many months ago, I contacted the telecom company that serves our farm to find out about installing a broadcast line.  I wanted to know well ahead of time that I would be able to continue my morning radio show in Denver, even though I would no longer be in Denver.

I was assured by several reps that all was well.  We had a date set to install this special line.  I moved 1500 miles with every confidence that I’d be connected in no time.  HA!  Two days after my scheduled installation date, they informed me that my lifeline to my job was not going to happen.  Seems that nobody had actually checked on the technical availability.

So much for planning.  After a weekend in full-blown panic mode, I turned it over to a higher power:  the radio station’s engineers.  Something I probably should have done months before.   The illusion that if I am in charge, if I expend the energy, then things will go my way blew up…again.

All is well.  We are using a different (and cheaper) technology to beam me back to the studio in Denver.  In fact, I must admit that one of these engineers suggested this technology from the get-go, but I insisted on using what I was familiar with, even though my technical expertise is…um…well…limited.

Letting go. I was forced to turn it over to someone else.  We all have a lot of balls in the air and it’s very difficult to let one drop. It’s nearly impossible to just let them all drop.  Too scary.

We have this cultural ideal that we can never give up.  Don’t give up.  Don’t be a quitter.  Only losers quit and only quitters lose.

I’m calling bullshit on that.  Give up.  Give in.  Let go.  Let someone else take over.  There are people that will line up to help, to ease your burden, to solve a problem, to offer advice and guidance, but we have to open up to these offers.

When I finally made the shift from clinging to my old idea of how my broadcast HAD to be accomplished and embraced the new technology, I heard angels singing and saw unicorns dancing in the yard.  I actually felt a release out of the top of my head; mind blown.  “It doesn’t HAVE to be this way.  It can be THIS way”  Release your grip and check outside for unicorns.


July 13, 2013 Posted by | Musings | , , , , , | 14 Comments

Go ahead….leap

We are settling into our new home.  Actually, settling takes a while.  We are unpacking our new life.  Truthfully, it kind of feels as if we are unpacking our old life, in the new place.  Thankfully, we still need a lot of stuff from our old life.

Even though this house is smaller and not as nice as the last one, I feel comfortable here and though I’ve never lived in northern Michigan before, it feels familiar.  I keep running across fellow graduates of Central Michigan University.  Today, I discovered that my AT&T rep not only went to CMU, but his wife is from my home town and graduated from the same high school that I did.

That may seem silly, but it means something to me.  I blend in, yet have no real history in this area.  A clean slate.

When I announced that I was leaving Colorado, but not leaving my job, I was kind of surprised at the response from some folks who listen to my radio show.  I’ve been on the Dom and Jane Show in Denver for over 14 years, meaning that a two-way bond has formed, so I should have seen it coming.

I’ve always prided myself on being honest on the radio.  I don’t hold back; my reactions and conversations on the air are real.  I’m not an actress or playing some ‘role’ that was constructed for me.  What you hear, is what you get.

So, when I laid out my honest reasons for moving:  a need to be closer to my elderly parents and to satisfy my husband’s wishes to move back to the Midwest and his family, I wasn’t prepared for the reactions that ranged from sadness to anger to subtle accusations of abandonment.

At first, I was feeling a tiny bit angry that everyone wasn’t as happy as I was.  I had made a very personal decision about my life and when I shared it publicly, I didn’t quite feel supported.

But, I get it now.  Since it was a choice about my life and my goals and my needs, it really doesn’t matter what others might think or need or wish for me.  The bottom line is that’s why I made this change.  For me. For my family.  For my life.

And that’s the lesson, isn’t it?  You can’t live for other people, even if they rely on you to entertain them or make them think or accompany them on their morning commute.

I love my job, which is why I will continue to do it, from an extra bedroom at my new home 1500 miles away from my old home.  That bond still exists.  It doesn’t matter WHERE we connect from, but only that we connect.  We live in a mobile world and yet we are probably MORE connected than we’ve ever been.  Granted, much of that connection might be through technology, via media or social networking, but that’s us in 2013.

So, if you’re feeling the urge to break away from your comfort zone; if you are standing on a cliff, struggling to make a leap to something new that is tugging at your soul.  Do it.  People will cling and try to talk you out of it.  They will make it about them, when it’s really about you.  Stay true to you.  Do it for you.  They’ll adapt and maybe they’ll be inspired by your courage.  Go on.  Leap.

July 2, 2013 Posted by | Musings | , , , , , , , , | 20 Comments


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