Tuesday, May 27, 2008

the little things

A friend returned from Hawaii last week and brought me an assortment of my favorite pikake scented lotions and body oils. I dabbed a bit of the perfume oil on each wrist this morning and every time I answer the phone I catch the faint scent of the islands in summer. It's such a simple thing, and yet it reminds me of those moments in which you find yourself on a beach in the evening, nothing but stars above and waves in front, and you marvel that somehow you ended up in this perfect piece of the world. I've had those moments, I'll have more and sometimes I just need a little reminder.

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Thursday, May 22, 2008

not knowing the next

Twenty eight appears to be the year when adulthood takes its firmest hold yet. Sure, you've supported yourself for a number of years, you've made some big steps, you've been to a few weddings etc. But now your peers are having babies, and people's master's degrees and law degree's have some dust on their frames already. You're actually in this thing called "grown up." I think I'm mostly o.k. with this, especially since I'm finally taking some steps toward living a grown up life I can be comfortable in, but it never ceases to amaze me how little I really expect from it all. I look at friends and family who are having babies, and there's this sense of just knowing that this was what this stage in life called for. No question - this is the time, this is what is meant to be done. I have such a hard time relating, because when I look at my future I don't have any must-be-dones or this-will-be-the-times. I can't imagine being pregnant, don't know when that fits into my life, or if it does at all. I can't imagine running a household, or having enough money to fill one with real furniture. I live my life in the context of an individual, a shared home with only a room to fill and a single meal to prepare at the end of the evening (unless I'm cooking for my roommate too, of course).

It's not that I'm worried about this - I'm really not. It's just that it seems so different than so many people who have this clear progression of what life looks like in their heads. College, grad-school, marriage, kids, move, buy house, buy new car, take big trip, get promoted, buy new house etc. etc. etc. I just don't see any of it. I just keep making decisions as they are presented, doing my best to stay in tune with a gut-feeling of what is right for me and what is not, and trying to trust that there's a direction to it all. In my brief meeting with a career counselor I can't afford, I told her about the steps I've taken career wise, and she asked me how much money I'd like to ultimately make. ?????? Haven't given it a second thought. Would like to make more than I do now, that's for sure, but I don't really think about what a future income could mean other than knowing I want to be able to give my hypothetical kids the same opportunities that I've had. Given that this seems 99% impossible with the way of the economy and cost of living, I kind of just push the whole thing from my head and go back to my happy place of "follow your gut and it all works out."

I think to a certain extent I'm taking the same approach to love. I have a vague idea of what Mr. Right might be like, but no real concrete vision. So I base my attraction and interactions with men on the moment - is it there, or is it not? Can we laugh together right now? Do I want him to hold my hand, or more? Instant connections are nice and all - but it seems so shallow in the scheme of things. Wouldn't some sort of expectation be a better bet? And you know what? I'm not even talking about a vision of the person, but the vision of the life as a whole - it's just so damn vague. I don't really know what type of a relationship I aspire to because I can't really imagine myself in one. I don't know where I want to live because I can't really imagine a job that I will do that I might find in said place. I can't really imagine a job I might do because I have yet to find one that didn't make me want to shoot myself well over half the time.

So I plod "forward" but where am I going?

It's strange to be more or less at peace with who I am right now, but to have moments where I almost completely can discredit my entire thought process solely by looking at what others are doing and how much more they seem to have figured out than I do. Though if I'm honest with myself, it's not really about figuring anything out - it's about a sense of peace or understanding that some seem to either have, or don't. And I don't want to dismiss what they have figured out to make my path seem more mighty or prudent - just as I don't want to dismiss myself entirely in order to acknowledge their contentment with their own lives.

It's a funny and fine line, one that wandered a bit throughout this post but leaves me with plenty of food for thought.


Tuesday, May 20, 2008

just an ordinary day

...Dexter asking about me before his nap, my mom flying to Russia to move my brother and his family home after 15 years, my dad calling to confirm plans a few weeks down the road that will take me back to my musical roots, a new friend whose divorce just finalized, a visitor from England, an email (finally) from Kenya, a friend with a new spot post cancer that needs a biopsy, seeing a dear friend prove that Hollywood can make dreams come true, climbing tonight, the eternal to-do and stopping midpoint to wonder at it all...


Thursday, May 15, 2008

oh happy day

So since I seem to be sticking to the blogging habit of 'only write when you're exceptionally blue or anxious' lately, I thought I'd throw out a sunshine post, just to mix things up! This gorgeous, camera-phone captured plate was my lunch today, as my roommate (the vegan chef) brought a lovely meal to our work place today. Under my new favorite greens (mache, I adore thee), is a large samosa with a potato, pea and cumin filling. This lays atop a chick pea curry, with a side of coconut milk, cilantro and lime juice chutney. There is some spicy/salty pickling spices sprinkled for garnish, which led to me understanding for the first time why Indian food is so spicy. Because...hot stuff makes you sweat! And when it's hot, sweat can cool you off! And guess what folks, it's 93 degrees out, so bring on the sweat!

Apologies I don't have a picture of our dessert - homemade spiced tapioca and ginger orange sorbet with candied kaffir lime pieces on top.

Today, it doesn't even remotely suck to be me!


Friday, May 09, 2008

this post is bananas

Instead of posting the incredibly depressing and sulky post I stashed away in my draft folder yesterday (next to many, many more of the same billing), I decided to ponder some potential messages the universe seems to be sending me in the last few days. First off, I've been absolutely swamped with worry about career path and fear that I'm just so far off where I'm meant to be, that I might have missed my chance to do something incredible (or at least...interesting). Everywhere I turn I see someone with a fascinating job - sure, it might not be a good fit for me - but I see why it's a fit for them, and the work it took them to get there, and the sweet relief of a life well-lived playing out in their daily actions (while I stagnate at my computer, furiously resenting any and everyone who hasn't consigned themselves to a similar fate). And with every great green venture I encounter (with happy little workers behind it's growing success), I think of when I was a happy little do-gooder myself, with aspirations to start organizations, go abroad and take some risks. Yes, I am making good on a few of these things in short order, but in such a whack order and time table I've lost site of the straight energy and drive that I feel necessary to make them work. So, though there is a light at the end of this relative pit-stop of stagnation's tunnel, the downtime is taking a terrible toll on my confidence that when I get to that light, I'll be able to get back into the right mode to make it work.

Back when I graduated from college and was fresh off my senior project and volunteer work focusing on the banana plantations in Costa Rica, I believed I could do what I was setting out to do. I didn't question I could make it happen, that my career would be great in some way - whether by impact, or experience, or ideally - both. But then I started on a path of gaining experience as it was presented to me - taking advantage of opportunities that were for all extents and purposes great, because they were there for the taking. And a few years went by, and some learning happened, and some jaded happened, and some energy was expelled while my path looped and twisted and gradually made itself known to me again. So I took some flying leaps to grab onto it, trying to forgive myself for taking so long to do so and see the value in the experiences I'd had and gained while meandering for a bit. But now, even as I wait for the next steps to swing into high gear, I see all these people around me whose paths were a little straighter and more direct, and they're just in a better space emotionally than I appear to be. So I've been trying to learn from them, and cut out the bullshit that always gets in my way, even when I appear to be headed in the right direction.

A few weeks ago my sister-in-law sent me a link to this book. It brought back all sorts of memories about the time in which bananas were a big part of my focus, and how in studying their production my eyes opened to a whole host of world and consumer issues that I internalized and remain with me to this day. I intended to build a career around them - and I'm finally starting to do so with my studies this fall, but it's taken so much longer than I thought. Back then I had business ideas, ideas that I know now were just a smidge ahead of their time, but had they been acted on, would be playing to full effect in today's market and consumer arena. Then a few days ago Shauna had a post about this the most phallic of fruits, and my ears started twitching once again. Later that same night I was indulging in live t.v. at the penthouse I house sit at sometimes, and caught a Disney kids segment on...wait for it...bananas. I mean, since when are bananas fodder for quality prime time children's entertainment?

My world is suddenly raining bananas, and I can't tell what the message is. For me, bananas are in someway where it all started. But in this year of waiting for a scholarship which will finally allow me to pursue the path they put me on, I am more and more worried that somehow the past few years and a host of bad habits might interfere with the potential first laid out. I see all these people who seem to have already made their mark and created something amazing. True visionaries who don't seem to have put up with years staring at a computer screen letting their brain atrophy. So, are all these signs just a reminder to finish what I started, to trust the path and finally, make it happen?

I need to know I'm not past my prime. I need to know that I can be about action, not just ideas and a convoluted path in the hopes of one day making something good come of all my passion.


Friday, May 02, 2008

the heart hurts

I am never more present in my life than when I am in love. It's as if the tendrils of truth that make up my person unfurl one by one as I meet and fall for someone new. Lately, however, I have begun to question these most cherished moments of falling. I've started to tell myself that they were not the real deal, that I will know it when I see it but I couldn't possibly be where I am today, more or less alone, if they were in fact real...for what type of person would have let them go? I dwell on this more than I should.

Still, while romantic love continues to befuddle me in its complex application in my life (I swear, this blog hasn't even scratched the surface of the crazy that is me and men), I will say I am learning more about love amongst friends and family these days than I'm sure I ever have. Perhaps learning is too strong of a word - that would imply I've come to an understanding about it all. An understanding beyond the necessity for constant grace, openness, honesty and from time to time complete and utter humility in order to truly love, and be loved by, those around you. I would like to say that I work on this daily, but I'm not sure I'm at a place with myself where I can truly offer this to those I love. I do know I try. I try so hard when confronted with someone else's pain or struggle. The compassion switch in me electrifies and I pull out each and every experience and understanding I can provide in the desperate hopes of alleviating the heartache. If I could paint a picture, it would show me literally taking a scoop out of my heart and presenting it, palms open, to whoever it is that I love so dearly allowing me to bear witness to their brokenness.

But can I ever really bear witness when I am so very bad at showing my own brokenness? I can remember only a handful of times when I allowed myself to truly wilt in the trust of someone who loves me, pushing aside my assumption of their judgment or pity long enough to bask in their compassion and grace. It is a fine line to let those whose opinions mean the most to you catch you when crumble. But I know now that this is the essence of love. And I would never hold it against someone I love that they from time to time fall apart - it makes them more human and radiant and dear, if anything.

I don't know how this ties in to the beginning of this post. Perhaps my detachment from romantic love stems from my need to more fully understand the fundamentals of love as a whole. Thank God for the gracious beings sharing their stories around me as I take a temporary hiatus from my own heart. I'll get back to it someday, I'm sure.

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