Thursday, September 17, 2009

We are who we are.

Lately (as in this week), I have found myself being more observant than before --tuning in, watching what goes on around me, and DOING less. For once, I feel like I can watch the people in my life with zipped lips, soaking up their actions and words like a sponge, while quietly analyzing the meaning -- if there is one.

Its been interesting, as I have been able to see those close to me in a different light -- almost as if the romantic glow of candles has faded and the harsh florescent lights of the bar have come on. I am happy to report that its not bad, just honest. And sometimes 'honest' is not such a bad thing.

It seems that more often that not, my interaction with people close to me involves less 'made-up' moments -- those when we have crawled out of bed to meet for Saturday AM coffee, or fresh from a work out coated in sweat, watching a hero lose a close-fought tournament and the crummy feeling that brings... All of these are much more 'real', much more honest, much more personal than I have often allowed myself to be. And in its own way that is truly beautiful.

Granted there are moments that are still harsh. Like when friends known for being flakey continue to be that way. Friends who don't bother to call until they are literally on your doorstep. People overestimating how much time they will have to hang out and then the compartmentalized feeling that brings. Friends being passive in making plans, but you know the moment you hand out an invite they are there 159%.

The truth is all the 'negative' things I know about my friends (and myself) don't change. And while the situations around these people may, these characteristics don't change. They are who they are. I am who I am.

Part of the difficulty in relating to others is being able to maintain who you are, while letting them be who they are. Sometimes it is about realizing that this is not about me, its about them being them. Their antics may drive me nuts at times, as I am sure mine do them, but the truth is we want to be in each others lives and we do what we need to do to make that happen.

Monday, September 14, 2009

I don't wany anyone else's life but mine.

This sentence kept flashing through my brain this past weekend. I felt it wanted to be written down somewhere to solidify its existence in my mind, and I figure my blog was the best spot for it.

This sums up how I feel these days. I DON'T want anyone else's life, but I do want mine. I don't say this in a cocky way, in a way that says my life is better than anyone else's. This comes from a place of owning your own experience in this world, and not wanting to trade places with anyone because the journey you are on is about getting 'you' to the highest place you can possibly go --with the situations that have led you to this moment.

When I think of my life over the past several years, I remember always wanting to escape MY life. Always wanting to deny my reality really was that: my reality. I always wanted what someone else had -- whether that be material items, emotional well-being, or mental clarity. I didn't want to be me living in my shoes. I lived in a world of comparison. I lived in a place where I couldn't be content with what I had, because I simply wasn't content with what I had, and without major changes that one fact would remain constant.

Its been a year of changes. A year of moving on, and making my life better. A year of trying new things, going new places, and making new friends. A year of learning to be me all over again, and a year of celebrating all the things (good and not-so-good) that make my life what it is, and I appreciate my life more than I ever have. That one feeling makes it all worth it.

So you are moving to San Francisco? That's cool. Marrying next year? Awesome. Got a new job with lots of travel to South America? Good for you.

I have a life I love and I wouldn't trade it for the world. It has taken me 8 months to be able to say that, and it feels pretty damn fabulous.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Easy as 1 - 2 - 3

One of the things I often struggle with is the art of decision-making. I know I am not alone in this struggle, as making decisions and the choices that stream from that very often dictate our life and how good or how not-so-good it will be.

In the past year -- or 9 months -- I have tried to tune in, go with my gut, and get in touch with the part of me that knows exactly what she wants -- has basically believed these wants into existence -- and then I cannot help but be over-joyed when I see these things in real life. The reaction to going with or going without such 'thing' is an immediate knowing from some deep rooted place. Almost as if the decision were already made and I simply have to recognize it.

My favorite example of this in action is a story of shopping. In 2008, I attempted to find a dress to wear in April 2009. I wanted it to feel right when I stepped into it. I wanted to know it was MY dress, the one I knew in my heart of hearts I was supposed to wear. After many months of looking I settled for something exquisite, but never felt right. I had to wear something, and this was about as close as I was going to get.

Needless to say the events of April 2009 changed, but the inherent knowledge of knowing I needed a dress to wear in April 2009 did not. And easy enough, an afternoon of wandering and trying to adjust to Spanish timelines left me staring into a shop window in Sevilla at the MOST AMAZING dress I had EVER seen. When the events played out that I returned to the shop the following day during store hours, and I put the dress on... I knew. It was my dress. It was the feeling I wanted during my dress-pursuit in 2008. It was the feeling I wanted to have in April 2009, and the act of purchasing the dress and wearing it to Feria at the end of April led to the life change I needed...led to another place of knowing that I am meant to live in Sevilla, Espana at some point in my life. For a long period of time. I am meant to write books underneath the orange trees, or in cafes in Santa Cruz. I inherently know this. I didn't know that buying a dress was going to lead to this learning, but I knew I had to buy the dress. Regardless of cost, it was mine long before I saw it.

Yesterday, I had a similar experience. After getting back from Europe, the need for an apartment was calling me: A place to call home, that could contain my belongings. A place for me to escape from the world, a place for me to be me. A place that would not change for a while. A place I could count on.

Sure enough, one call to a broker led to an apartment viewing of a brand new renovated apartment in Soho -- and not just Soho, but the BEST block in Soho -- and the little New York dream I have been wanting for 7 years slowly began to find a home, to have a place to land, and not just occupy my thoughts and wishes. Yes, its costly, but to have a space that makes you feel good, makes you feel inspired, and ultimately makes you want to dream because you KNOW dreams come true... that is simply priceless.

And so when a decision was needed, it was easy -- Sign-me up. That dream has been waiting there for me.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

The Life I Love

Today is my final day of vacation. Kind of. Tomorrow is the last day that I am officially not working, but with an 830 bus ride to Sevilla followed by a 1315 flight to Paris and an evening in the City of Light for one, tomorrow is seeming less and less like a vacation day and more and more of a day that Paige designed.

Sometimes I really feel like sitting that hyper-active, plan-a-thon of a woman down for a good long chat. =o)

But that's the difference. She does these things when she is in NYC and well, I feel differently here. Here, in the place I love.

Don't get me wrong, I can't wait for an evening in Paris. I love that city. I love the romantic lighting. I love the charming views. I LOVE the food... infact I already know my menu for tomorrow -- moules frites and steak tartare with a lovely Bordeaux. I love Paris.

But I love the life I live in Spain more. This morning I got up and attempted to run, but this non-sensical congestion in my chest eluded me, and I biked a few miles instead. I had coffee and pan at a breakfast spot on the corner and spent the entire afternoon in the sun...broiling. I returned to Eline's (she's working so she can't really play today) and made a mimosa, wrote in my journal, got online to check the tennis scores, and then daydreamed about the day that I can finally figure out a way to make this Spanish escapade happen. I want that more than anything.

In the few days I have been beachside and my mind truly gets to relax, I compare moments like this -- of absolute calm -- to those that I know too well in NYC of constant frentic energy. Here, well, I am here. I have nowhere else I want to be. Even in Sevilla, I can sit in a cafe for hours, on the sidewalks drinking cafe con leche or tinto de verrano. But in New York, there is a state of craze that follows me. I can't multi-task enough, I can pack a bajillion things into one afternoon, or have a dozen things done before noon and still feel like I am not doing enough. Its nuts. Here, I have no need to pick up the phone. Here, I allow my mind to wonder, my thoughts to become what they will. There, I fill every 5 or 10 minutes up with calls to family or friends when we really don't get to chat, but more or less fill 5 or 10 minutes with as much as we can fit in.

I have often said to my mother that when I am here I understand her life in Cartersville and why my sister is there as well. They don't want to be anywhere else. Yes, they lead busy lives, but they are home. When I go there, I get restless. Cartersville is not my home. Its where I am from, but its not where I feel peace, its not where I dream, its not where I want to be. Nor is New York, or anywhere else on that side of the Atlantic.

This life I am staring out at, is everything I want. Blue skies, friendly people, warm weather, and an ease that you just don't find in the States. When I am here I find a way to fit in all the things I enjoy -- writing, being outdoors, beach, friends, reading, catching up, etc. There, its all the things I have to do. Its a depot for me, a stop along the way, until I can get back to where I want to be...however and whenever that may be.

Friday, September 4, 2009

I might be able to laugh at this... but not for another hour.

I am back in Spain. Which is guaranteed to put a smile on my face. This time around things are a bit difficult as I am for the most part flying solo, meaning I am directing my own course and having to fend for myself when it comes to the fact that I don't speak Spanish. (I try, but the going is very, very rough....)

It has been frustrating at times, as I just don't have the vocabulary to tell someone what I want, and they don't have the English skills to understand.

Today I decided I needed to hit the grocery store to pick up a few things -- vino, fruta, queso and serrano. Basic fixings for a light snack while watching the sunset.

How difficult could a grocery run be? Well, let me tell you.

There were a few things about this plan that were already fighting against each other. One, being that I like to walk everywhere. And two, being I really had no clue where I was or where I was going. When I travel, this becomes my way of figuring it out, or something like that.

I start off walking the length of the beach to a little stone opening in the wall that leads to the church that I have been plenty of times with Eline and Miguel. I know the sunglass shop I wanted to stop in was near and I kind of knew how to find the grocery store from there.

Well, I found the church, and after a 20 minute search for the sunglass shop I abandoned the search and would be fine with groceries... if I can find the store. Walking through town, I see several places I had been with my friends, but no grocery. I do see a sign with an arrow pointing to MERCADONA, and I think that is the way to go.

I never found Mercadona but i did find CarreFour, the European version of SuperWalmart. I go in, buy a few things including two bottles of wine and start walking home. It doesn't take long for me to realize that I have NO CLUE where I am going. After two miles of walking, I am very lost, and from the horizon I can tell I am NO WHERE near the beach. Problem.

I don't know why I don't call Eline, I know she would help me out, but there is this independent streak in me that is SO STUBBORN at times, and so I fend for myself. I am pouring with sweat, the sunscreen that I THANK GOD had applied before I left was beading up in white patches all over me, My hair was falling down in a true mess. My arms were hurting from the heavy grocery sacks and I was beyond irate... Where is this damn hotel? And then there was a sign! About 3 miles too late, but it was a sign for the hotel. I still had 3 kms to go... Yeah, we may be rethinking this independent thing next time around....