The Pursuit of Happiness

 

A few years ago,  I was at a low point in my life. Every day felt like a fight and a struggle to get through. While raising my young children, I became so focused on being a mother and worrying about all of the things I could not change, I lost myself. In the midst of the chaos and stress, I became disconnected to the person I was and the person I wanted to be.

It was around this time I met a woman that would have a significant imprint on my life. Thinking back, I can see how we had just missed meeting each other earlier. However, it was inevitable our paths would cross. That’s really all that needed to happen for us to become instantaneous friends, as if we had known each other our whole lives. The first time we spoke on the telephone we talked for three hours! I was compelled to let my guard down and be honest and vulnerable, to share my worries and fears and my hopes and dreams. She too was in a place of discontent, desperate for change and growth. Through our hardship, we clung onto each other, setting sail to cross an ocean with hopes to make it to the other side.

Throughout our many conversations, it became clear on what I wanted from life and for the first time I wasn’t afraid to ask for it.

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Slowly, I recognized opportunity and change happening all around me. The dream that I yearned for would slowly become a reality. I was able to step into the person I wanted to be. The person I am.

We only get a handful of people in our lives that know you for who you really are and can still be loving and excepting.

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My best friend is without a doubt my soul mate. She was the mirror I needed to see what was holding me back and has continued to root me on and push me to propel forward. She is forever encouraging me to grow and follow my heart. My life will never be the same having met her.

The thing is, she too was lost and she too had a dream of a better life. Now, the universe has shown up to grant her the opportunity to step into the change she has been seeking for so very long. It is now her turn to pull her boat ashore, having crossed the ocean. 

I know in my heart, that it was no accident we met. It was no accident we both set out on a journey for change and after three long years we were both able to achieve it within months of each other. A soulmate encourages transformation. Neither accomplishment would be as rewarding if we did not both succeed. I raise my glass and tip my hat to you my friend, from the bottom of my heart, wishing you every single ounce of happiness you fought so hard for. ❤

Perhaps a little dramatic. . but i will miss the days when you lived close by!

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Running In a New Direction

Today I will begin running, as in one foot in front of the other, down the street, at a fast pace. I am always envious when I see a fit person on the run in my neighborhood, device strapped in securely by their armband, tangled up in earbuds, ponytail flapping side to side, their clothing blotched with sweat. There is a notion of freedom and empowerment these runners seem to possess. It becomes obvious to me they are in a zone, sorting out their thoughts, stomping on their worries and moving towards clarity.

Today I will strive towards this image, although I am quite sure I will be keeled over midway down the block, desperately sucking in air, feeling like the oxygen has suddenly vanished from planet Earth. My muscle will ache and my legs will wobble. I will have to remind myself that the image I seek begins by placing one foot in front of the other, on repeat.  Today is the day to start something new, to work on a small goal and be the person you want to be. Today I will begin running.

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We will pretend this is me. 🙂

Bittersweet Birthday Cake

From the second they place your newly born baby into your arms your life has changed. Not only because of the sleepless nights and endless diapers, but also because there is a person that you instinctively love more than yourself. I have received so much joy experiencing life through their perspective. Getting another chance to feel excited over the first snow fall or the last the day of school. Raising my children has allowed me to reminisce on my own childhood, to feel the magic I once believed in.

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Today my youngest child turned five. As I write it, I still cannot believe it to be true. It feels like the closing of a chapter that is bittersweet. No more toddlers running through the house with bad pronunciations and a desire to stay in the nude. No more little fingers pinching away at scattered cheerios, or toothless grins. No more wobbly feet desperate to walk and no more teeny, tiny hands grasping onto my pinky finger.

There are many things I will not miss from that era of babyhood through toddler-hood, but somehow those details fade to the background, slightly out of focus.

My youngest child is now five.

Now, here I am, navigating through parenting with their childhood fully bloomed, inflated with feelings of their self esteem, curiosity, stress, fear, ego, anger, just to name a few. As a mother, I feel as though somebody turned the parenthood dial up a few notches. There is more to it than just maintaining their life and teaching them not to bite people. I feel an innate urge to ensure they are each emotionally okay, despite the world of influences they face everyday when they step out over the threshold of our home.

“A mother is only as happy and her unhappiest child.”

An accurate statement loaded with stress and heartache, which cannot be avoided. I know that in a few years, when they cross over to the next plateau of their life, I’ll probably look back and think how easy I had it. Tears and frustrations will fade and I will be in amazement of how fast time is passing and how bittersweet it is that they are minimally in my presence.

However, today I am working hard to make sure they have a childhood they can recall upon one day to fill them up with joy and reminisce the magic they were able to experience when they could rely on their mommy to fix their mishaps and make them feel loved unconditionally.

Happy 5th birthday to my last born child.

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The Art of Gratitude

 

Do you know that feeling you get when you desperately need a new toothbrush? The bristles are worn and rough. Every morning you pick it up and think, I must buy a new toothbrush today!  And every night you want to kick yourself for forgetting to buy one, even though you were in the store. Then, that special day comes where you are both in the store and remember that you need a toothbrush. Hallelujah!  You walk over to the dental aisle and view your options, careful to select the right strength, bristle style and color. That night, you crack open the plastic, place the perfect amount of toothpaste on it, and brush your teeth. The new bristles massage your gums that have been so badly mistreated by your old, crotchety toothbrush. When you are done, you run your tongue over your teeth with the wonderful sensation of cleanliness. You can finally take the perpetrator out of your spot on the holder and sentence it to death by trash. There is a sense of joy that fills you when your new brush is hanging there proudly.

Gratitude can be more than just taking a few minutes to ramble out thoughts of the obvious things that contribute to your life in some way.

For me, I began to practice gratitude when I was at a low point in my life. I treated myself to a beautiful leather bound journal and began writing down things I was grateful for each night. Just as most people, my first couple of months entries were repetitive for the obvious things, health, family, food, a placed to live, employment and a vehicle. Looking back and reading through, I began to notice an evolution of my entries. Gratitude slowly began oozing into the crevices of my life, showing up in minor details. I can tell you the dates I bought a new toothbrush, opened a brand new bar of soap or watched the mail man deliver my mail in the pouring rain. I can tell you when I noticed a bird bathing in a puddle and how it made me feel. Reading through my journal I can tell you when I felt good in an outfit and when my egg omelet was cooked to perfection. I know all the times I was grateful for a good laugh with a friend and each time I hugged my children extra tight, looked into their eyes and told them how much I loved them.

Practicing gratitude has allowed me to observe my life in the moment I am living it. I find myself stopping throughout the day to feel grateful and happy for little details that I might have overlooked in the past, and for that I will always be forever grateful.

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It’s been a hard day’s night, I should be sleeping like a log

The kids had a snow day on Friday and another one yesterday, making today a false Monday and putting an end to their four day weekend. Winter has officially hit Long Island.

The day began like any other weekday, some breakfast, packed lunches and snacks, strange outfits and running down the block while the bus patiently sits at the corner with its doors open, ready to swallow up reluctant children. The day is in full swing with lots to get done.

By the time the evening comes, I sit on the couch with a cup of coffee ready to relax, a reward to myself. Sometimes I make a mental list of all the little tasks that I was able to do and I feel accomplished. I sit there all “Carpe Diem” and “Zen-like” feeling proud of myself. You did a good job. There will always be more to do, but you chipped away at the ol’ block today! You owned it today.   It’s usually around this time it starts . . .

“Go to bed,” I say slightly above my typical speaking voice. I can hear pattering feet above me. I decide to make my trip to the bathroom a surprise inspection, popping my head into their rooms while they scramble like cockroaches to their beds and fumble under the covers.

It’s only a few minutes later, their little voices are carried throughout the house, usually giggling or arguing and lots of shushing one another.

“Get in bed,” I shout out, with hope that they will instantaneously feel tired and fall asleep.

Skipping over the dreadful details, the evening typically concludes with me explaining to myself, out loud, that I am not being unreasonable by asking them to go to bed. We did everything that had to get done, it was a packed day and now its time for sleep. Simple.

If the phone rings and I decide to have a conversation, not work related, not bill related, just a casual, shoot-the-shit phone call, I find myself every few minutes pulling the phone away to scream like I have a disease. I am forced against my will to frequently get off the couch to sort them all back into their correct rooms and beds.

Just a few of the things that fly out of my mouth almost every night.

  • I’m done!
  • I’ve punched out!
  • So much happened today. How are you not tired?
  • That’s it! You’re all going to bed a half hour earlier tomorrow.
  • Please just go to bed. Please.
  • Now you’re thirsty? Really?
  • GO PEE THEN!
  • It’s a school night and because I said so, that’s why.
  • The kitchen is closed!
  • NO! I have already tucked you in twice, now you’re on your own!
  • SLEEP!

Not sure what I am doing wrong here, but by the time they all settle down, I can’t even think straight. Any creativity to write or desire to read has been drained and I just sit there in shock.

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Right.

 

What Matters

When my son was in Kindergarten, the teacher would tell me during recess all he does is sit in the field and dig in the dirt using a branch. She wanted him to stop because of the potential danger of having little holes littering the field where other children run.

When I confronted him on his digging, he brought me to his room and pulled an old lunchbox out from under his bed. He explained that he was searching for special rocks to add to his collection, despite the millions of rocks that blanketing the playground area he could have easily chosen. The rocks in his collection didn’t look special at all. As a matter of fact, some weren’t even rocks, but chunks of pavement or concrete. I left it alone and encouraged his digging to take place at home.

From time to time, on a special occasion, I would receive a small gift, wrapped in a paper towel. When I opened it up, I would find a rock that was carefully selected and washed.  I then understood how special those rocks in his collection really were.

As I have recently moved, and have spent a lot of time deciding what to pack and what to get rid of. It made me think about what really matters. I realize that what matters is different for each person but there is a common denominator, how it makes you feel. What mattered to me was the paintings from our travels, some of my favorite photographs of family, my favorite mug that has magical powers to make coffee taste better somehow, and my books. Each of those things make me feel something, sentimental, love or simply joy. They have the ability to affect my mood and remind me of who I am, at my best. I believe that what we have may be very different, but why they matter is because of the same reason. They make us feel something and remind us of who we strive to be at our best. Some of my most valuable things are not valuable at all. For my son those rocks were special and to me, that is what matters.

 

I would just like to note that a follower had emailed me to see if I am still writing.  She said, that I wrote about things that mattered.  Thank you for your concern, as it has inspired me to continue to do what I love.

 

Tick Tock

Time is a strange concept. We all experience it, yet it feels different for each of us. One year may be better for one person than another. A season or time of day may be preferred varying from one person to the next.

When I was a child, a week felt like a month and a month felt like a year. The minutes ticked by so slowly I thought Christmas would never come back again and summer was a faint and distant memory. I was always in awe of the concept of time, questioning my mother why the day felt so long and the nights blinked past us in a flash.

My mother had told me time is like a triangle. As children we all start at the bottom, traveling from side to side, which takes the longest. As we grow old, we move up the triangle and traveling from side to side goes by more quickly, until you’ve reached the top, when you find you can no longer keep up with the years.

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Well Mom, you were right! I have moved up the triangle and time is really picking up now. The pause button doesn’t work, there is no slowing it down. Another school year has flown by, summer is just eight short weeks and then we can all scurry around for another holiday season.

I understand this realization when I look at my children. They have become kids, past diapers and bottles. When did that exactly happen? An old photograph of them caught my eye the other day and it took my breath away. When did they change? I hope I really enjoyed holding each newborn baby, listening to each first word spoken. I pray that I remember their first steps and how it felt when they would rest their heads on my shoulder.

I hope I am soaking in every moment now that they are in grade school, letting their imaginations run wild and discovering the world they live in. I hope that I can capture their excitement and wonder, never letting a fleeting moment pass me by without indulging and fully experiencing it. I am aware of the importance of right now. 

The clock seems to be ticking by just a bit faster . . .

tick tick tick tock . . .

A GROWTH SPURT

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Experiencing change is a tornado of feelings all swooshed and swirled together to form something that is unrecognizable. I feel flickers of fear, specks of uncertainty, swirls of excitement, dotted with anxiety, all circulating in happiness. The force of change has left me unable to secure my footing. Its fast pace has left me dizzy.

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Although, this is a much welcomed change, in which I am in no means complaining, it has distracted me from writing, blogging and reading.

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My all time favorite quote.

To my WordPress family, I am slowly returning, I am just in a growth spurt right now. 🙂

The Winds Are Blowing In From The East

The casket is closed. It is always difficult to watch such an excruciating death. My knees weakened and tears seemed endless. So difficult to let go, no longer able to be called upon. I have mourned and grieved this death for a long time.

Now, I am convinced that it was for the best. It was my pride that had died that day.

It had been some time ago, I fell down on my luck. I had been filled with a sense of hopelessness which pained me to start each new day. A new day consumed with dread and despair, achieving nothing but to be reminded how my ridiculous goals were far from being realistically attained. My goals were sitting on the other side of the ocean and all life handed me was a paddle, which was broken. I have cried, screamed and complained, which only seemed to spread the gap wider between me and my happiness.

Gratitude showed its face to me out of fear. I was afraid things were going to get worse. I was afraid that terrible things would continue to happen in my life and I was fearful of what would become of my children. Gratitude would stop by here and there to console me. Gratitude made me feel fortunate for the little we did have and taught me the importance of the intangible things, which is too often overlooked. Gratitude eventually replaced the ugly pride that filled my soul, no longer able to consume my happiness.

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I have lived in this quote everyday since the death of my pride.

The other day the sun rose in the sky. It was an ordinary day for most, getting the kids off to school, hauling to work. The flowers and trees are busy carrying out spring. The post had been delivered, filling our mailboxes with empty hands waiting for their share of your hard earned money. Some people probably ran a red light and others needed to pick up a few things at the store. All were completely unaware of the wind’s from the east blowing in . . .

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As many of you were going about your day, my makeshift boat scraped on the shallow bottom of the beach, as my calloused hands pulled it ashore.

I have arrived on the other side of that ocean.

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I used duct tape on the paddle. It turns out, it worked just fine.

Is this thing on?

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Testing . . .Testing. . .1…2…3…

Can you hear me? That is the real questions here, isn’t it? Do YOU hear me? Are YOU listening? We are all here typing relentlessly at our keyboards, giving our words a once over and then holding our breath as we click the “Publish” button. WordPress uses its magical powers, casting a spell or hums a tune while happily busy at work. “Beep, Bop, Boop.” Presto! Our words are displayed for the reading pleasure of our followers.

I started blogging after winning a writing contest. Yay!! Yes, I was so excited because it was the first time I was recognized for my writing. They announced me as the winner by using my name and a photograph, but I was very disappointed when they didn’t publish or post what I actually wrote. I felt very unsettled about it all. I kept saying, “I want to be heard, not seen.” It was a big let down, to say the least.

I am now very grateful for this disappointment because it led me here! I can clearly connect the dots of my journey this far in my pursuit and it feels right. I am skipping down the yellow brick road with no evil witch in sight. I set out to be heard and in three in a half months have gained over 350 followers!! I am grateful for each and every person that has committed to following me and most of all for listening!

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This is us! Our arms are interlocked as we skip down the yellow brick road to ask the Almighty Oz for something, only to discover we had the power all along.

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How did you get here?

Happy Blogging!!