When I run, I think. Last night I was thinking about the turmoil in our world – the terrorist attacks in our country and abroad, the conflict between our elected representatives and the folks they’re supposed to represent, the wave of anger that sometimes feels like it’s going to drown our country…it was pretty dark. The four letter word that seems to be most prevalent in all of those conditions seems to be hate, a word that I try not to use.
As the miles started ticking off, I began considering all of the other four letter words that I’m more inclined to use and realized how many of them have positive, even joyous, connotations. As I started listing them in my head I knew I needed to jot them down for the days that feel dark and populated by those who would rather hate than love. Here are my top 50, in alphabetical order. You know, because I’m a librarian and all.
What are your essential four-letter words?
- Five hours and two quick flights later, it is possible to be parking your rental car on King Street.
- My curls look best when my hair is dirty and salt water and sand are my chosen hair products.
- Charleston has far more liberals than I expected. There were even Bernie stickers!
- Where to eat and where they worship are two things shared frequently by residents.
- Speaking of where to eat, grits, biscuits, cinnamon rolls and mac and cheese would be my downfall eventually. I’m a carb girl.
- I can change my clothes in a car like a boss.
- The humidity in Charleston in August is a whole ‘nother level. I hope I remember this when we get hit here in Albany by elevated levels of heat and humidity.
- Downtown Charleston is beautifully compact and so very walkable.
- It’s a swamp – not a criticism, just an observation. There is water everywhere.
- Dining out, going to listen to music and having a drink solo is far preferable to not getting to do those things because you’re traveling without company.
- Life is satisfying when what you feel on the inside is radiating out for people to take note of. Case in point, this message from my AirBandB host:
I was so thrilled to see all the ways in which you discovered Charleston! You totally amazed us with your level of independence. Loved it!
One of the roads taken on this trip.
Do you ever have a day or two or three when it feels like you must be doing something right in your life? I mean, how else can you accept the good fortune that you’re experiencing? It almost makes a person believe that old adage about how if you’re happy inside, you’re happy everywhere you are. There’s no other way to explain the feeling of loving everywhere you go.
This trip has been remarkable. As I sat facing the charm of Rainbow Row, I had a hard time processing how lucky I’ve been in Charleston. The rain cooperated and only came at times that had no bearing at all on my activities. That’s saying something considering it rained 3 of my 5 days there. The people I’ve talked to have been friendly, the drinks cold and the food terrific. I scored parking each time I needed to and only hit legitimate traffic once – and that was on a draw bridge. It couldn’t have been a better solo trip.
You know, I didn’t grow up expecting to ever be in a position where I could indulge my itch to travel. I’ve come a long way since my first trip to Florida with one of my dearest friend’s family when I had $50 in my pocket, and that only because my brother gave it to me as I left our house. Along the way I learned to travel inexpensively, meals from grocery stores and delis, low budget accommodations, lots of self guided walking tours…you get it. It was good practice and I learned a lot.
Memories were made and I’m heading home with what feels like a new piece in place in my life’s mosaic. What’s your next destination?
“So shut up, live, travel, adventure, bless and don’t be sorry”
– Jack Kerouac
Why don’t drivers open their car windows on beautiful days? I suppose some may have allergies or might be on a call, but it seems like lots of folks don’t ever let fresh air in.
If we’re all just a moment from a terrible diagnosis, an accident or a horrible tragedy how can we make today count?
How is it possible for so many people to believe in Donald Trump? What does he have to do before his followers will accept that he is unfit for office?
Does anyone else think that time is simply moving too fast? I miss the days when summers felt so long that I was convinced the flowering shrubs bordering our driveway bloomed twice.
Why does leaving my phone at home when I take a walk or go to dinner feel like a rebellion? Is it really necessary for us all to be instantaneously reachable?
When will we stop fighting about civil rights and access to health care and higher education? What makes anyone believe that they’re more deserving of any of these things than anyone else?
Do you miss civility and manners like I do?
If you could time travel, which way would you go – back or forward?
One of the primary lessons we teach children is to share. How does that tenet get forgotten by so many greedy adults?
Why is life so hard for so many and how can I help to make it better?
After giving up vitamins and my apparently naturally high in fiber diet for a week, fasting and slamming water all damn day, I was literally brought to my knees yesterday. Yep, my colonoscopy prep was an epic fail due to an excruciating headache that caused me to repeatedly vomit before I could even begin ingesting the Miralax dosed Gatorade. Crap.
I’ve had what I self-diagnosed as migraines occasionally in the past, but not in a very long time. The one that manifested yesterday was the worst one I’ve ever had – it was totally crippling. The headache began midday and, if I hadn’t been on a restricted diet, I would have swallowed a couple of Excedrine and gotten on with my prep. Instead, I continued drinking water and a little lemonade and attempted to move forward with the plan. I took the oral laxatives and hoped for the best…the vomiting began a short time later.
I spent the remainder of the afternoon and evening alternating between bedroom and bathroom, never experiencing the “benefits” of the medication, nor drinking the necessary proscribed fluids. At about 9:00 p.m., I admitted defeat and called the doctor’s office to cancel my appointment.
This morning, instead of being clean as a whistle, I was physically drained in a different way. Moving forward, it looks like I’ll need an in office consult prior to rescheduling my colonoscopy and, more than likely, a visit with my cardiologist prior to the procedure. Oh – and I’ll probably need to have my colonoscopy performed in the hospital since my low blood pressure/heart rate requires more careful monitoring. What a pain in the ass, right?
This whole episode sucked, but it is an excellent reminder to me about the health challenges some folks deal with on a much more frequent basis than I. An inconvenient diet and some puking really aren’t much to endure in the grand scheme of things, right? I’m know that I’m incredibly lucky to be mostly healthy and in possession of quality health insurance. Hopefully things will come out next time just like they’re supposed to.
Filed under aging, medical, sick
Never in my life have I ever used the word “rejoice,” other than as a Christmas carol or hymn lyric. It hasn’t been in my vocabulary. Yet, when I stepped into the shower yesterday and the water temperature was ideal, when my skin, which had been completely drenched in sweat during a 75 minute hot yoga class then cooled to a chilly dry in the fresh air, practically sighed in bliss, it was the first word that flew to my lips: rejoice.
I started thinking of all things that have recently created a response in me that can only be expressed with that word, rejoice, and realized again what a wonderful life I have. Here are a few of the experiences and impressions that have moved me just this June.
- The rain that fell during Sunday’s run. It was the perfect density, starting as a haphazard spit growing to a steady, light drizzle. Exactly what I needed to propel me forward.
- Two moments at my son’s commencement. The first when my youngest son expressed that he identified with the tall graduate who walked on to the stage to accept his history award. “There’s me,” he said. Goal set. The second, when the young woman, whose situation I know nothing of other than she typically doesn’t seem to walk, walked across the stage with support at each elbow, to receive her diploma. Her accomplishment earned the day’s loudest applause. Humanity affirming.
- The smell of fresh strawberries, basil and tomatoes.
- Watching the photos from my phone load into my iTunes like a slideshow of my life and being blown away by all the smiling faces, scenery and memories.
- Listening to the birds chirp their appreciation for being fed.
Maybe I’m simple for finding so much joy in such seemingly trivial places. That’s ok. I like feeling simply happy.
I had a conversation recently with a woman a bit older than I. She was retiring from a job she had held for 15 or 20 years, a job she had done very well for all of those years. It hadn’t paid her much, but her true calling had been motherhood and she had only taken the job after her children were well on their way to being grown.
Now that retirement was imminent, we talked about what she would do with her time. The topic of travel came up and she expressed how uncomfortable she was about going somewhere she’d never been before without the company of someone who had traveled previously to wherever that destination might be. I nodded as the words bounced around in my head…thinking…wait! How in the world do you ever go somewhere new? Are you saying you’re afraid to ever leave home? How does a competent, intelligent woman allow fear to limit her horizons?
International terrorist attacks are happening with increasing frequency. We’ve all seen it – there’s truly no safe place. Church, work, markets, concert venues, airports, train stations, all have witnessed the deaths of innocent people around our world. I’m not even including the tremendous losses we’ve suffered in the U.S. to gun violence – in schools, night clubs and office buildings. The world is a dangerous place.
There are things that scare me, too. I hate to fly because the more often I do it, the greater I think the odds are for a bad outcome. I don’t like heights or crowds and there are places I’d be hesitant to go to without the company of someone native, like Turkey or Indonesia. But, the world is also a remarkably beautiful place filled with people from whom we can learn. Visiting new places, observing customs and absorbing history and culture are one of life’s greatest gifts. It enriches us beyond any other experience, in my opinion, and I dedicate a lot of my expendable income on collecting memories in new locales. It’s money well spent.
Diminishing our lives as we seek to preserve them seems counter productive to me. If something ever happens to me when I’m traveling, reread this post and know that I wouldn’t have wanted it to be any other way. I’m way more afraid of not seeing everything possible than I am of dying while trying.