Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Random Thoughts While Driving

I have been on a long blogging hiatus and I'm only peeking out for a moment now, just to say hello and check back in. When I follow my friends' blogs, I always enjoy the feeling of closeness I get from knowing what they're doing and hearing the complexity of their inner worlds, the chaos and joy of their lives. I used to feel the same way about Facebook, but since I've taken a month-long FB hiatus, I don't miss all the extra noise. I check on certain friends as I think of them and that's about all I can handle. No offense to the pet lovers, but I've had my fill of adorable kitten pix to last a lifetime.

I took the picture at the top of this post while driving (I know, I'm wicked, Muriel) and of course it's blurry but it was one of those perfect autumn sunsets on PCH, windows cracked to let in the ocean breeze, a smattering of surfers savoring the glassy waters of Surfrider, and I didn't mind how long it might take for me to get home. As I drove, I considered the life I have now, the life I used to have, the lives of my children...

It's hard to pinpoint exactly when life changed, when I grew up, when I began to truly feel my age... But I feel all of these things now, all of a sudden, even though the feelings crept up gradually and I watched them cover me like fog rolling over a mountain. The strangest realization is, I don't mind aging. I don't mind getting older. I don't mind being called "ma'am" because, frankly, I'm not overly concerned about what strangers might think about me. (That doesn't mean I don't care about them or the rest of humanity; I just don't have time to be all things to all people anymore.)

What I do care about is being there - truly there - for four people: Raf and the girls. In the past few years, something clicked and I finally understood the importance of creating the world and life I wanted, rather than waiting for it to magically occur. And, almost as soon as I had this epiphany, I looked around and noticed that the people I loved most - my immediate family and closest friends - were similarly creating the lives they wanted. I also noticed that many of the people who presented major challenges to me - I couldn't deal with being near them, their "energy" was tough for me to handle - were not actively pursuing or creating a life they loved. And that was a huge revelation.

I guess the main thing I thought, as I drove home in the orange autumn glow of that Malibu sunset, was: when we're actively pursuing our dreams, there's not enough time to contribute to the drama and challenges of the world. 

And that's a good thing. Instead of ruminating on negativity, we can choose to focus on the steps we need to take to achieve our greatest dreams. Maybe we get to the "finish line," or maybe we find a new path in the middle of our pursuit and we change direction, following a new passion...

I thought about Frances Mayes recently, the author of the lovely Under the Tuscan Sun books. I met her twice on a single trip to Italy a few years ago - by chance, in two separate cities - and I remember thinking, "Wow, she's got it made. House in Italy, published author. She's set for life." A lot of people/writers may have continued writing only about Italy, continuing the same series about daily life in Cortona. Which she does, of course, but I've been inspired by how she's continued to live the way she wants and contribute to the world by following her passions, with cookbooks, poetry, travel books (about wandering and roaming away from the Tuscan sun), literary fiction... This is not a woman who was content to fall in love, buy a house, fix it up and write about it. Life goes on, new passions present themselves. What is supremely interesting or significant this season may be replaced by a new hobby or passion next season. And, with so many limitless possibilities, there's just no time to waste.

I must go back to the deadline I've created for the "completion" of my current passion, but I hope you're busy enjoying the fruits of this season, and that the next season will bring many more...

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