Day 151 – Pathetic

These days it’s almost impossible to find time to write. There’s just too much going on. And in the moments where nothing is happening (which are few and usually quite late in the evenings), I just can’t quite seem to corral my thoughts and make much sense of anything. I hate that. Yet, I haven’t been able to find a way to remedy it.

I used to be able to write anywhere, anytime. I used to be able to shut out the distractions and throw a harness on my thoughts to bring out at least a few pages of something.

But somehow, I’ve just fallen way out of practice. Life has gotten busier, and a whole lot more complicated.  The distractions have grown larger and more persistent. So, I’m left with half-formed, mushy thoughts that never quite make it fully-formed and onto the page.

Keep writing. Keep writing. Keep writing.

The words are just getting lost. I can’t explain it. And that inner critic is barking loudly.

“You’re kidding yourself.”

“You don’t have any ideas. No original thoughts.”

“No one wants to hear what you have to say anyway.”

“Do us all a favor and just give it up already.”

“You’re no writer. Writers write things. You’re not writing shit.”

And repeat.

But my thoughts keep returning to the unfinished manuscripts, the projects that keep getting shoved aside because everything else keeps taking priority. And the new ideas keep coming too, but I just can’t carve out the time to devote to any of them. I hate myself for it. I’ve never been my best when I’m not writing. Somehow the world just spins on its side and feels unbalanced.

I hate sounding like such a fucking whiner. If you want to write, fucking write. Stop blaming the world for not having enough time and admit that you’re to blame for wasting a lot of the time you could be putting pen to paper.

I think the problem is that I’m waiting for the perfect words to come. I’m waiting or some epic inspiration, some magi that will ignite the pen in my hand and burn words onto the page that will somehow change the world.

The blank page has gotten the best of the, and it’s as if I am suddenly incapable of finding a way to turn the tables and re-establish myself as the one in charge.

But I’ll keep going. I’ll keep writing. Because if I’m nothing else, I’m too stubborn to really quit.

Day 109 – How you spend your time

It’s a little scary when you think about how little time we actually have in this life. And there’s no real guarantee on how much time you’re actually going to get.

We gotta invest wisely…make the most of every moment we’re granted here on this earth.

And I guess I’m just getting to a point in my life where I don’t believe in wasting time on certain things…things like holding grudges, things like gossip, things like swimming in self-pity. I don’t believe in tearing other people down to make myself look better. I don’t believe in standing on the sideline waiting for things to change.

I’d much rather spend the short time I have helping people, building people up, spending quiet afternoons with my family, eating delicious food, listening to good music, watching great shows, taking long walks and feeling the sunlight on my skin, playing a impromptu game of catch, and having great conversations with my friends. I’d rather spend my time being honest, being 100% myself, and surrounding myself with people who invest their time the same way.

Life’s just too short for the bullshit, folks. So however you choose to spend your time, I hope you choose wisely.

Day 63 – Time

When you think about the limited amount of time we actually have on this earth (and the fact that none of us really knows exactly how much we even have), it gets a little depressing thinking about how much time we waste on things that won’t really matter in the end. We pick fights. We hold grudges. We put each other down. We place blame. We let old hurts ruin a perfectly good day. We spend so much time dwelling on the past and worrying about the future that we make it impossible to experience, appreciate, or gain anything from the present moment.

And goddamn that’s exhausting!

I’m not going to pretend I don’t struggle with it too. We all do. It’s just part of what makes us human. But I’ve honestly worked really hard on not allowing that sort of negativity, that constantly negative mindset, to rule my life.

I’ve learned to let it in and let it go.

I take the challenges, the setbacks, the frustrating moments, the hurt, the mistakes, the hard lessons and I learn from them. I embrace the lessons that they teach. I use them to to readjust, to make changes, to keep moving forward. The goal for today is always to do a little better, to be a little better, than yesterday.

I set my sights and my expectations high, and all I really want is to go to bed at the end of a long day knowing that I’ve done my best, that the people around me have done their best, and that we’re all in it together to get up again tomorrow and try again.

What’s the point of it all otherwise?

Day 26 – Time marches on

One of the interesting side effects of all the writing and the letter writing I’ve been doing the last few weeks is a clearer realization of just how easy it is to fall out of touch, how quickly time is passing. It hit me this week that Henry is just about the same age my youngest brothers Beau and Collin were when I reunited with my birthfamily and met them for the first time.

Blows my mind to think those little boys are in college now, that’s been more than 17 years since I stepped into their lives.

How things have changed! There have been a lot of twists and turns in the 17 years since, but the best part of the reunion has been building new relationships and watching my three different families slowly melt into one. I was having a conversation with some folks at work a few weeks ago, and they were intrigued by my very unique definition of “family,” as I explained that my family doesn’t just include my husband and kids and my closest biological and adoptive relatives, but all of the close friends and people in my life that I feel a deep, emotional, and somewhat inexplicable connection to. My family is the people I was born to, the people I was raised with, and all the people that I invest my time in and love deeply.

And it strikes me sometimes, as time keeps marching on, that I have been unimaginably blessed.

Happy Half-Birthday Henry

As a child, I always thought the adults in my life were lunatics when they talked about how fast time went by.

“This year is just flying,” they would say.

“Time goes so fast, I feel like I can’t keep up.”

“Don’t blink or you’ll miss it.”

And the infamous, “It will be here before you know it” any time I complained about having to wait for something I’d been looking forward to for what seemed like an eternity.

I’m not sure when it was that life started speeding up. I think maybe it began so subtly that I didn’t even detect a difference until it finally reached a speed where I actually started to get dizzy. Like a frog in a pot of heating water, I think maybe I just kept adjusting automatically to the momentum, not even realizing that the current carrying me along was reaching a frenzied pace.

And perhaps that is part of the magic of childhood—the days that last forever. It almost makes me sad that Cadence has begun learning how to tell time. I see her looking at the clock or checking her watch and it makes me wonder if this is where the rat race of adulthood begins.

Henry turned six months old today.

Six. Freakin’. Months.

I feel like I might be going mad, because I seriously can’t even comprehend how that is possible.

I can close my eyes and press my hands to my belly and it’s almost as if I can still feel him moving beneath my skin. I can still feel traces of that overwhelming anticipation, that intense longing as I waited to see him for the first time and finally feel his weight in my arms.

At the risk of sounding very cliché, it seems like I was just lying in that hospital bed yesterday, feeling my heart nearly burst with joy as I watched Cadence tiptoe slowly in to the room, her cheeks flushed and eyes glowing with excitement as she met her baby brother for the first time. I can still see her twisting her little hands in front of her, as if she didn’t quite know what to do with them. I can still hear her whispering, “He’s just so cute” over and over, her voice breaking beneath the weight of her love for him.

And now, here we are, six months later. We’re still climbing out from the deep pit of sleep-deprivation, gaining ground slowly as we continue to press forward after each slide back. We’re closing in on Cadence’s sixth birthday. We’re celebrating the loss of Cadence’s first tooth, and the arrival of Henry’s teeth. We’re cheering Cadence on as she moves up another level in swimming and plays her very first soccer game. We’re cheering Henry on as he tastes his first solid foods and shows off his first attempts at crawling.

And all I know is this year is just flying. Time is going so fast, I feel like I can’t keep up. Another year will be here and gone before I know it, and somehow I feel like I’m going to blink and miss it.

Happy Half-Birthday Henry Boy! We sure do love you little man!

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365 Project – Day 237 – Stones in the Road

These past few weeks, I’ve been working on finishing up the photos from my first senior photo session with the daughter of one of my best friends.

It’s been something of a surreal experience to say the least.

See, I’ve known Katie since she was three, and I was just a high school student myself. It doesn’t seem quite possible that she will be graduating this year. I mean, I know I just celebrated a birthday, but that doesn’t mean that I actually believe that I’m 31. It’s one of those things that I tacitly acknowledged, yet it hasn’t quite sunk in just yet, you know?

See, time is a funny thing. When you’re a child, the days are endless. Hours tick by at a maddeningly slow pace. And it always seems like you’re waiting for something. Waiting to be older. Waiting to grow taller. Waiting for your next birthday. Waiting for Mom to give you permission to spend the night at your friend’s house. Waiting to be chosen for the team. Waiting to get your learner’s permit and your driver’s licence. Waiting to graduate. Waiting to leave home and go to college. Waiting for that 21st birthday to roll around so you can finally go to the bar and have your first legal drink. Waiting. Waiting. Waiting.

But then, something happens. Some night, while you’re sleeping, some unseen force hits the Fast Forward button on your life. Days and weeks and months begin to blur together. And, instead of waiting, you find yourself chasing time like you once had to chase the cross town bus, waving desperately and praying that the driver will see you and slow down. Birthdays and holidays sneak up and fly by faster than you can acknowledge them.

At the risk of sounding cliche, it really does seem like only yesterday that I was graduating myself. Maybe it was just all the time I spent working on Katie’s photos these past few weeks, but the past thirteen years really have flown by. It wasn’t so long ago that I was just a wide-eyed graduate, leaving everything and everyone I knew behind to hop a plane to New York to pursue my dreams. I felt like I had already come so far, and I had no idea all the things that were yet to come.

It has been a long road for me to get here to this moment, a road full of obstacles and stumbling blocks and steep uphill climbs, yet I honestly wouldn’t trade one step of it. There has been love and laughter, joy and heartache, absolute frustration and utter devastation. There have been moments that took my breath away, moments I’m not so proud of, moments I will never forget and plenty of mistakes made along the way, but in the end, the sum of it has only shaped me and made me stronger. Like a carefully crafted chunk of clay, I had to endure the fire or risk being irreparably broken.

I don’t believe in coincidence, nor do I believe that every event in our lives is carefully choreographed and set in stone. What I do believe is that we come to this Earth with some ultimate goal, and that we are presented with options and choices that can help us get there. The choices that we make in those moments ultimately shape our futures, and we must learn to choose wisely or suffer the consequences. Life tends to get confusing and chaotic when we stray too far from our paths, but one thing I have learned is that there are always signs and guideposts to help us get back to where we need to be, if only we pay attention. And I like to think that, these days, I am a whole lot better at paying attention.

Tonight’s 365 Project is dedicated to the roads we travel, and to the amazing people we encounter along the way.

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