Summer is quickly coming to a close. Weather-wise, with the exception of a little weekend storm called Irene, it has been one for the record books. I confess that I’ve spent a great many gorgeous sunny days in a lounge chair on my front porch. Legs stretched out with novel (thriftily borrowed from the public library) and a handful of SourPatch Kids at the ready, half of me felt really guilty, the other half really didn’t give a crap. After all, this journey is about happiness, right? About doing what I want to do when I want to do it? Great. I’ll log my porch time as ‘working on my tan’ and ‘cultivating cavities.’ I really need both. Wrinkled, leathery skin and rotted teeth!
Oh I know. I’m being mindful and present even while in a sugar-induced haze on that lounge chair. Mm hmmm... I’m working on healing my inner self. Getting to my center... zzzzzzzzz
It’s Back to School time my friends. The time of year that still excites my inner little Lelly. Corduroy and tights on an 85-degree day, textbooks covered in Stop N Shop bags and filled with unfamiliar words and pictures, the smell of ripening grape arbors on my walk to school. New notebooks. New teachers. New friends. New SHOES!
I’m heading out to my front porch in a minute. Today, however I’ll be rocking it Back to School Style. I’ll be cracking open a brand new notebook and using a freshly sharpened pencil to work on the following homework assignment. They are essay questions.
What is it that I’m really wanting in my life right now?
WHY am I wanting this?
What’s standing in my way of moving forward into this?
What inner pieces are calling to be seen, to be heard right now?
Oh and instead of stiff corduroy and scratchy tights I’ll be wearing a hat AND sunscreen.
July 21 marks 6 months into my crazy, dangerous year. I cannot believe how quickly time has passed; how easily my days have filled. In the last 180 days, for every hour of productive, value-adding activity, I have spent another 2 hours spinning my wheels, going left instead of right and backward not forward. When the world is your oyster and the sky is the limit, finding true north and setting your course is damned difficult, if not impossible. Think shoe clearance at Nordstrom. 31 amazing Baskin-Robbins flavors. The display case at Korb's Bakery. What do I choose? What do I choose? What do I choose?
Lest I remind you, this was my year to live dangerously and FULLY. My luxurious, self-indulgent freedom to do whatever I want within financial and legal boundaries. Have I wasted 1,920 precious hours? To what to I attribute this time in my Good Girl Gant Chart? If time is money, have I squandered my savings?
I am exactly where I am supposed to be. I'm learning to listen and remain open without judgement. I refuse to self-flagellate. I am happy. I've explored some opportunities that I would not have even NOTICED were I still in corporate mode. Yep, almost none of them have made me rich or even made a dent in the monthly mortgage payment. But. Dancing with 12 amazing octogenarians in an Alzheimer's ward? Snoozing on the couch with a very special man? Laughing with my cousins? Drinking coffee with new friends? Time well spent.
Yesterday the cosmos gave me an interesting gift in celebration of my six-month anniversary. A fortune from a cookie eaten at least a year ago fluttered out of its hiding place in my wallet.
Happiness is around the next corner, wealth is down the street.
In a recent series of conversations with a new acquaintance, I saw with crystal clarity how often I refer to myself as one of the following three characters. I’m pretty sure I’m not schizophrenic, but chances are you’ve heard me refer to myself as at least one of these broads. Allow me to introduce you.
Miss Tallulah Devyne Chardonnay is penultimately feminine, charming and flirtatious. Sequins and pearls and matte red lipstick, fine leather gloves and cashmere sweaters and a walk that makes men dizzy. Tallulah is a soldier in the online dating world. Long legs, sultry voice and big doe eyes. Ever the Lady (capital L), she is the guardian of my “fine china.” Tallulah is responsible for 75% of my shoe collection and all of my Little Black Dresses She wears Big Apple Red on her toes and Bubble Bath on her fingers and has a fondness for cocktail rings and statement necklaces. Her signature fragrances are Angel, FlowerBomb and Prada. She was born in the late 90s while dating a tall handsome tradesman with a penchant for tailored suits, the Bay Tower Room, dirty martinis and Frank Sinatra. She enjoys dancing cheek-to-cheek.
Nana is slightly scattered peri-menopausal, and not quite ready-for-primetime. Nana is learning how to text. She blushes frequently and often forgets why the hell she walked into a room, opened a closet door, ran down to Shaw’s. She is a master knitter who is baking her way through Rose Levy Berenbaum’s Cake Bible. Nana hates online dating and frets over the first meetings. She’d much rather sit at home with a good movie or good book. She jokes -- perhaps a little too often -- about getting hacked to pieces and dumped in the Charles. She parks the car under a streetlight, keeps her keys and phone within easy reach, checks in with loved ones from the ladies room and again when she is home safe in her bed. Nana wears tasteful diamond studs, progressive lenses and Dansko clogs. Her signature fragrance is Inner Grace. She moisturizes and wears a hat in the sun. She refers to her guests as “Company” and uses words like “golly” and “yikes” in daily conversation. Nana evolved out of a particularly troubling relationship with neurotic an older man. She secretly wishes that Rose, Blanche, Dorothy and Sophia were her housemates.
Lelly is secret code for my true self; my essence. She was the bubbly chatterbox at age 7, the wannabe hippy at age 13, the awkward brainiac at age 16, the fractured divorcee at age 39, the spellbound auntie at age 45. Lelly is a bit of a conundrum, counting “Hell Boy,” “Hard to Kill,” “Con Air,” “An Affair to Remember,” “Send Me No Flowers,” “Pillow Talk,” “Lover Come Back,” “Scarface,” “Terminator” and all of the “Child’s Play” franchise as all-time favorite movies. You can easily find her in a crowded room by listening for her laugh (usually punctuated with a snort). She knows that the real reasons that she enjoys knitting and baking and sewing is that they provide real world math problems to solve -- but she’ll never admit it. She prefers “Angel” or “I Love Lucy” over “The Today Show” for her morning soundtrack. She loves dark chocolate, Sour Patch kids, dry red wine with Raisinettes, dirty vodka martinis and the occasional Quarter Pounder with Cheese.
At the end of it all, Lelly is equal parts feminine and flirty Tallulah, kooky, old-fashioned Nana and calm and focused Helen. I blog as Lelly because my ultimate goal for this crazy year is to step out of the drag and live an authentic life.
Each day in this wacky new life of mine brings new challenge (start-from-scratch business opportunities, job interviews, sales calls, first dates, etc.). I've got to whip up a fresh batch of courage each morning along with my breakfast smoothie. A dyed-in-the-wool Yankee stoic, I confess that I've needed double batches of courage and fearlessness to post my vulnerabilities here in this blog. Taking a bit of a breather, here are some quotes about fear that I turn to for support and inspiration. I hope they help you too.
Fear is only as deep as the mind allows. -Japanese Proverb
When I hear music, I fear no danger. I am invulnerable. I see no foe. I am related to the earliest times, and to the latest. -Henry David Thoreau
You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing which you think you cannot do. -Eleanor Roosevelt
In skating over thin ice our safety is in our speed. - Ralph Waldo Emerson
The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown. - H. P. Lovecraft
Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy. -Dale Carnegie
Try a thing you haven’t done three times. Once, to get over the fear of doing it. Twice, to learn how to do it. And a third time to figure out whether you like it or not. -Virgil Thomson
The enemy is fear. We think it is hate; but, it is fear. -Gandhi
Never be afraid to try something new. Remember, amateurs built the ark, professionals built the Titanic.
People living deeply have no fear of death. -Anais Nin
Curiosity will conquer fear even more than bravery will. -James Stephens
I must not fear.
Fear is the mind-killer.
Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.
I will face my fear.
I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
Where the fear has gone there will be nothing.
Only I will remain.
I am not afraid of tomorrow, for I have seen yesterday and I love today. -William Allen White
Who sees all beings in his own self, and his own self in all beings, loses all fear. -Isa Upanishad, Hindu Scripture
Where no hope is left, is left no fear. -Milton
I live in a state whose motto is Hope. - Lelly (circa 1977)
Many thanks and mad respect to The Positivity Blog.