Present Tense


Change.  One of the foundational principles of this blog.  Embrace it.  It’s inevitable. It’s part of life.  It’s…completely kicked my ass for the last 6 months.

Change.  I craved it.  Wished for it. Set it in motion.  Did it.  Now, I’ve got a little buyer’s remorse.  I have to be honest and face it.

We sold our beautiful home in Fraser, CO last May and moved to a 10 acre farm in northern Michigan.  A place where neither one of us had spent all that much time.  Where we had only a few friends and no real social support structure.  We figured that we could build that out in time.

It’s not that easy.  The farm takes more time, money and sweat than we anticipated.  When you don’t have kids, meeting people in a new place is a bit more difficult.  Then, the dog got sick, really sick and died.  We didn’t know the vets very well; we didn’t have the help and support of our friends and neighbors, as we would have in our old life.  A very difficult transition.

So, I got my change alright.  Much more change that I had planned for.  There’s that planning thing again.  Seems like I’d get the message, but I don’t.  You probably have been whipsawed by the inevitable evolution of life, too.  We shake our fist at the universe and shout ‘this isn’t how it was supposed to be’.

We set things in motion and sometimes we can’t stop or control where we go.  It’s like putting a rowboat into a river and realizing you only brought one paddle.

So, you have to adapt and you have to let go.  Let go of a lot of stuff; mostly regrets and ‘what ifs’.  Our remaining dog Junior has been a little melancholy since he lost his dog buddy.  As I roused him out of bed this morning for his breakfast, I looked at my husband and said “Junior and I are in the same place.  We miss our old life”.

Our old life where we knew our neighbors.  When Chili was still with us.  When were in familiar surroundings with our social support group firmly in place.  Where we could call for help and see a friendly face.

We’re going through a form of grief.  Grieving what was and not embracing what is.  I know I’ve preached and written and nagged about this, but when the rubber hits the road, it’s freakin‘ hard to put into practice.

So, I must remind myself that this change was implemented for a reason.  We’re closer to family, close to the water, we can grow our own food, we’ve downsized, we have no mortgage, we have some new friends who have been wonderful and helpful and compassionate, we live in a beautiful place in a vibrant community.  More ‘saying my gratefuls’, less pining for our ‘old life’.

Change is hard.  Change is life.  Embrace life.  Even when it hurts.

November 23, 2013 Posted by | Musings | , , , , , , , | 30 Comments

What is your soft, gooey center?

My parents have decided to downsize….now that they’re 93.  Whenever I visit them, my mom sends me home with something from my past.

About a month ago, she handed me an overstuffed accordion file that she had kept of my school days.  Report cards, notes, awards, small art projects, etc, from kindergarten through 12th grade.

I threw it into a bag and was going to throw it away when I got home.  I have a problem looking at things from my past.  I’m not sure why and have not had the energy or will to explore that any further.  Were it not for my mother’s insistence on giving me these things, I would pretend they didn’t exist.

On the drive home, I pulled it out and began to browse.  I began with 12th grade, going back to kindergarten.  I was a kindergarten drop out.  I started when I was 4, but they pulled me after a few days and started over the next year.  I was extremely shy and had no use for a classroom full of strangers.

Here is what I took away from going over 12 years of school:  my kindergarten teacher wrote on one of my assessments, “Jane is a very serious child”.

Yes.  And now Jane is a very serious adult.  Despite being voted “Class Clown” in high school, being described by many longtime friends as “the funny one” and a 30 year career being funny on the radio, I am at my core, serious.  Or sensitive or spiritual or…something.

Any amateur psychologist can peg this one.  Humor is the armor we put on to defend us from feeling inadequate, shy, insecure, unworthy, ugly, unloved, blah, blah, blah.

What’s your armor?  Are you a ‘yes’ person?  Do you put everyone else’s needs ahead of yours?  Do you use humor to deflect the slings and arrows of life?  Do you play the victim?  Are you in control of every situation and emotion?  Are you the ‘take charge’ type?

When I can’t sleep due to worries or anxiety, I often try and go back to my childhood and feel what I felt as a kid.  I try and remember what brought me joy or made me fearful; an attempt to get in touch with the real me because I’m fascinated at how we morph through our lives, often away from our genuine selves.

The older I get, the less I care about the persona that I’ve developed over the years.  There is a soft, gooey center in there somewhere, but I’m having a hell of a time finding it and releasing it.

How do I get in touch with that very serious inner child and embrace her?  Allowing that sensitivity to see the light of day is seen as weakness by many.  How many times have you heard someone called ‘overly serious’ as if it’s a fault?  I’ve said it myself, usually when that person isn’t amused by my snarky attempts at humor.  We often criticize the things we see in ourselves.

I realize that I often make life harder than it needs to be.  It’s my nature and apparently has been since I was born.  We are who we are, but embracing that can be quite a battle.  What’s in your soft, gooey center?

November 9, 2013 Posted by | Musings | 13 Comments


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