Since my dad passed away in May, my mom has experienced her ‘new normal.’ She doesn’t love it, yet she faces each day with grace. She’s always loved traveling and most of her trips were with my da. Life has changed as she knew it, so here’s where I come in.
I received a text, an email, and then a phone call inviting me to go on a trip with her. Actually, make that two trips with her. So, off we go, again. Today is a cruise to Alaska; one we have both enjoyed before. It’s not the destination, it’s the journey. Then, in September we cruise again. Oh, the places we will go.**
My mantra I love to share: Have FUN everyday!
*Original author of this quote is Elbert Hubbard. The popular author of this quote is Dale Carnegie.
As I train for the long walk I’m taking next year, (#Camino2020) here is the biggest life lesson I’ve gleaned along the two Trails I take:
The ground comes up to kiss my feet and the trees bend down to pat my head. Whatever I feel in the morning, I feel better when my feet are crunching outside on the pebbly path and I’m under the green canopy of the cottonwood trees. The lesson: just get out there!
Even if there are some parts that are flooded (as of late, that’s been the scenario,) I can bike or walk the parts that are open and just reverse directions to go some more. Or, when the path ends, I just turn around. The lesson: just get out there!
Greeting the other walkers or riders I encounter with a friendly wave, head nod, or “good morning!” feels good. Whether it is solitude we seek or camaraderie, there is no excuse or substitute for poor manners. The lesson: just get out there and smile.
I’ve read in the group forums that some people seek solitude on these walks. I say, “Whatever floats your boat.” I choose happy, people, smiles, hellos, and FUN.
As an Empty Nester Mom, I enjoyed many activities and adventures, alone and with my HH (Handsome Husband) over the years. Nothing prepared me for a daughter’s return to our nest, and yet, happily the new adventures continue.
Errands are more lively because there’s two of us choosing groceries, laughing in the car wash, and doing whatever is on the schedule of the day.
As of late, our evening entertainment has also been “new FUN” as we have attended a few outdoor country music concerts. Usually, Mark and I go to the heavily airconditioned theatre and sit in our cushy red velvet seats on the third row, so going to an amphitheater and sitting on a fold-down plastic seat adds to the “new FUN.”
What a blessing to have our youngest daughter living here with us. She is a hard-working, sweet, helpful young woman who I am blessed to share more life with.
I experienced some electronics/technical issues this week (and it’s only Thursday!) My iNotebooks won’t hold a charge, so I type at lightning speed to avoid the black screen of death and rainbow circle of wonder. Yes, I have two: a MacBook Air (from 2012) that ‘drank’ coffee last year (see blog post https://alohadenise.com/2018/06/19/coffee-and-computers-mix-not-mingle/) and its replacement, a MacBook Pro (refurbished 2017) that will not go on or stay on. So, my fabulous HH brought home a shiny, new Microsoft HP laptop that I cannot wait to open and use.
I vacuumed out our old apartment yesterday in preparation for our final walk-through. Upon shaking out the dirt, dust, and crinkle sparkly gift filler into the rubbish shoot, it came apart and the canister fell into the building’s bin, four floors below. My next stop was Walmart to acquire a shiny new purple Dirt Devil heavy-duty power upright vacuum.
My wonderful, patient, generous husband loves me so much, he just smiles and accepts me for who I am and who I am not. I’m so very blessed having him in my life. Not a day goes by that I don’t tell him how grateful I am and realize how blessed I am.
We must all be grateful for all our blessings, no matter how big or small.
Tuesdays are my days to explore and examine more of our city. I call them Road Trip Tuesdays; and I set an intention to find something new. We’ve lived here for a short two and a half years, which includes rain, snow, floods, sun, and haze. I’ve driven in each of those conditions, and if you know me at all, you know I only like one of them. I have poked around the big city of St. Louis, now it’s time to experiment by getting off the highway and seeing what I can see in the smaller neighborhoods .
Moving to a new place invites many emotions and opportunities. I choose to look for the delightful and FUN.
That weekend was full of family and friends. A little sprinkle of rain fell just as the guests arrived (a good luck omen). The ceremony was over in a blink of an eye.
But the FUN has continued for THIRTY-FOUR years.
First, there was the duplex in Temple, Texas. Then, the funny U-Haul truck drive to Baltimore, Maryland where we lived in a converted can factory then our first purchased home: a renovated 150-year old row house. Seven years later, on to La Habra Heights, California, where we raised two outstanding daughters. Next, we headed to a 50-story high rise apartment building in Honolulu, Hawaii. After that, the kids moved away and we moved to Abu Dhabi, UAE, for four magical, memorable years. Today, ‘home’ is another newly renovated 1800s house that suits our style and personalities. Together we are happy, healthy, and grateful for each one of these moves.
Along this journey, we have made some life-enriching friends (we call FRamily), experienced unique experiences (twice up in the Good Year Blimp, twice up in a hot air balloon, live on stage with the Blue Man Group, packed and unpacked for too many trips to recall, power hang-glider certificate holders, PDBs (permanent scuba diving buddies), to name a few), and still have more life to live.
One of our wedding songs was “Always and Forever” and that is our promise. We have great role models (shout out to Annette, Hank, Marilyn, & Ben) and they believe in us and challenge us to be our best, always and forever.
To me, this journey IS what love looks like. I’m forever grateful I met you at Greenhill School in 1977, Mark Schnitzer. My life has been nothing short of magical and miraculous since we said, “I do.”
SHOUT OUT to Empty Nesters, transplants to a new city, anyone with a story: go out and re-create your tribe.
Your vibe attracts your tribe!
Join a meet-up…I did, thrice. (www.meetup.com) I met wonderful Kim on one, terrific Kathleen on one, and recently I met three more FUN ladies: Taylor, Sandy, and Kris. We met up again last night and discovered even more about each other, our stories. We’ve made plans to meet again AND create something out of wood pallets. We believe in the power of power tools and creativity.
Personally, I thrive in the company of others. Finding like-minded women not only expands my world but also my world-view.
People are faces until they’re your friends.
Celebrate Summer and International Yoga Day 2019 today by making some new friends. Share your story. Share your heart.
When the sun’s out, fun’s out! Go for a walk, ride, skate. Enjoy a pool, lake, ocean. Sit with friends and talk. Extend the “no phone zone” to include your own backyard. Try new water or outdoor sports.
When the clouds open up and dump rain all over the trails, parks, and streets, choose indoor activities: walk the mall, take in a movie, play cards or board games. Choose a music playlist and dance like no one’s watching. Meet friends for lunch.
Host dinner parties. Invite people over and grow your FRamily (friends you choose as your family) and introduce your friends from work to your friends from the neighborhood. Cook new recipes. Create flower arrangements from grocery store bouquets.
Whatever you do, do it with love, a happy heart, and a smile. That smile may lead you to meet new friends.