How Do You Compare Yesterday to Today?

What once was, is no more. When you juxtapose the past with the present what do you see? How does today compare? Does who you are today rival who you were yesterday?

For years I remained essentially the same. Year after year, my beliefs stayed consistent; my core values never varied. Any attempt at self-Improvement was squashed by those around me who felt threatened by any attempt to change. Each day was essentially the same, the routines carved in stone.

Over time I convinced myself that this consistency was a noble attribute. I fooled myself into thinking that I did not need to grow because as an adult I had reached the end of that part of my journey. I bought into the erroneous belief that only people with serious problems had to change. Others felt that if I wanted to be different it reflected negatively on them; if I improved myself it meant they were somehow not good enough; if I continued to grow I might leave them.

But deep inside, a piece of me knew that I needed to change.

In February 2011 I faced a crossroads. I had interviewed for two different positions. One would easily maintain the status quo, allow life to continue in NH the way it had always been. The other would take me to a new life in Florida where everything was unknown.

We moved to Florida and nothing has been the same since. My life today is completely different from the one I left behind. I am completely different from the person I was. There are times my past seems so foreign it’s almost as if it happened to someone else.

I won’t deny, growing pains are real. I learned most lessons the hard way. I fought and struggled; I read and researched; I denied and rebuffed. I felt alone, scared, and unsure of the right path. But through it all I changed. In fact, I have changed more in the past 7 years than I did in the 20 years leading up to those years. Given the freedom to truly be who I wanted to be I flourished.

And this is just the beginning. I don’t know where this road will take me, but this is far from the end.

This post is in response to the daily writing prompt Juxtapose

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You Are Invited to the Kitten Graduation

****WARNING – Some images may be too cute for some audiences****

There won’t be the usual ceremony, no caps and gowns, no long inspiring speeches about the future. You don’t need to bring flowers or a balloon. But the kittens have grown and it’s time they move on to the next phase in their lives.

It’s bittersweet knowing that I may be forgotten, that the lessons I’ve taught them may be ignored. I will no longer have little ones who are blissfully excited every time I open the door. Okay, so they’re just kittens, and I’m not even a cat person, but it does cause me to reflect on other transitions, other graduations.

My nephew was the first, graduating two years ago now. My niece will be next as she finishes high school next year. My kids will soon follow and it has me wondering what our relationships will be like when they no longer need me quite so much.

But let’s get on with it. You’re here to see kittens, not listen to me lament about the passing of time as my kids grow up before my eyes. I promised you no long speeches.

It has been quite the experience to have so many kittens for so long. In the beginning they were required to be isolated from our household, this ensures they don’t pass any diseases onto our cat. Those early days they spent a lot of time in a cage as we got to know them and they got familiar with us.

Being set free from the cage and instead confined to one of the bedrooms, I have been greeted each morning by them swarming around my feet. Whether they’re happiest for the company or the breakfast they know I’ll bring is hard to tell.

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Gradually they have been allowed more freedom in the house, at times seemingly taking over every available surface.

They have become playful and cute, and I can enjoy them a lot more now that they have stopped climbing the curtains and regularly use the litter box.

My cat has now accepted them as part of the household and so may miss them more than I will, since he doesn’t have to clean their litter box.

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Our other resident, a hamster, isn’t quite sure what to make of these guests but remains somewhat curious.

It is with a mixture of sadness and utter relief that I say goodbye to these little monsters. It has been a lot of work, more than I expected, but worth it in the end. Please join me in wishing them well on their next adventure!

This post is in response to the daily writing prompt Ceremony

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How Do You Make the Most of the Ticking Clock?

Life is short. Anything could happen tomorrow. Today is all you can count on and it will be over before you know it.

Time is the most valuable gift we are given, yet there never seems to be enough of it. What are the things that take up your time every day? Facebook, Twitter, Instagram? Game of Thrones? Cooking, cleaning, working, homework with the kids?

There is always so much that needs to be done, there never seems to be time to do the things we want most to do. What are your goals? Do you want to be rich? Are you hoping to find the love of your life? Do you aspire to be famous?

The clock is ticking. How will you choose?

I learned early how fragile life is. When I was 9 my 16 year old neighbor died in a drunk driving crash. He never got to graduate, fall in love, or have a family. His life was over before he even knew who he really was. When I was 15 my mother nearly died of a brain aneurysm. She never again worked a regular job, rode a bicycle or took the dog for a walk. Her life changed in the blink of an eye.

I’ve known this, yet it wasn’t until after my divorce, when I looked back at the 16 years we were together, and realized how much time I had spent on things that added no value to my life. Countless hours had been whittled away watching TV, doing chores simply to please my ex and working at a job I hated to buy the things he wanted. I had let all those years slip away, almost without even thinking about it.

It is because of this that I choose to live much more intentionally now. I know the things that truly add value to my life. I make my relationships a priority. I take time to do things that bring me joy, like spending time in nature. I cherish my kids and pay attention to them when they are with me.

My life is full and I try to make every moment count. A good friend of mine sent me a link to this video below. She said it was because she sees me as someone who uses her 86,400 seconds each day wisely. Do you?

Before You Waste Your Time

This post is in response to the daily writing prompt Famous

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Don’t Be Fooled By My Evil Twin

I have a doppelganger, an evil twin of sorts. My friends have all met her. They assure me she’s not “evil” in the traditional sense, but I have my doubts.
Even though she looks like me, she is definitely not me.

She will say things I would not say. Do you want to know what I really think, deep down? Just ask her. She’ll tell you.

She is brave when I am afraid. She will talk to anyone, strike up a conversation with complete strangers out of nowhere. She doesn’t care what they may think, or if they will reject her. She just does it.

She will do things I will not do. Do you want to dance in the rain with carefree abandon? She’s your girl, although be careful, she can get a bit wild.

She is strong when I am weak. She sticks to her resolve no matter what happens. Apologize all you want; she’s not the forgiving kind.

She will lead when I would follow. If there’s a battle to be fought you will want her on your side. She can be ruthless so watch out!

There’s no telling what she might do.

Want to meet her? She’s not hard to find. A couple of drinks won’t do it though, I’ll need at least 3. We’re like Clark Kent and Superman, never in the same place at the same time, so if you see her would you tell her I said hello?

This post is in response to the daily writing prompt Doppelganger

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Please Wrap Me in Your Warm Embrace

Knee deep in snow, the bright sunshine reflecting off the white pristine surface gently warms my face, the only part of me left unprotected from the cold. Similarly, my inner turmoil wages war; frigid loneliness battles tepid peace. Who could fail to appreciate the beauty of this winter morning? The sun glints off the tips of frozen pine boughs; icicles cling to naked branches as barren as my soul.

Standing here I relive each heartache, each twist and turn that has led me to this life of isolation. Every painful sorrow has added another brick to the wall around my heart. I have united all my personal demons, strengthened by my disabling fear of being hurt yet again, to create a ritualistic dance of protection; first I lash out with words as sharp as a sword, then quickly withdraw out of reach.

Apricity wraps itself around me like a blanket, like a lover’s arms.

Only an archaic word like apricity will suffice on such a day, as I stand wallowing in solitude. It shelters me. It defends me. It thaws my frozen heart.

I long to share this moment; break free from my self-imposed quarantine. I need to devise new moves, ones that welcome instead of repel. I yearn for tools to break apart the mortar protecting my heart.

I crave the touch of another, a warm breath on my chilly skin. I ache to feel my heart racing with fervent anticipation, instead of crippling worry. I want to be able to surrender completely and trust that someone will be there to catch me.

But I am afraid; in truth I am terrified.

I dream of carefree days, playfully frolicking together instead of facing each empty day alone. I fantasize that someday I will find a way to break down the barriers; shatter the glass cage I have forced myself into. I imagine a life where I am free of the confines of my cowardice and allow another to share my darkest secrets.

I know I can’t do this alone; I’ve tried endlessly and failed. Who has the chisel that can crack through this hardened shell? Who will wrap me in their warming embrace and melt the crystals that are now the foundation for my heart and soul?

This post is in response to the daily writing prompt Archaic

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To the Daily Post Community: Thank You!

I am saddened by the announcement that there will no longer be a word of the day. This word has been my inspiration for each post, and motivation for me to practice writing every day. It leads me to write things I would never write otherwise and in ways I would never otherwise write. I need to continue to find inspiration and so I will be finding my own word of the day. I will post the word on my blog but will schedule it ahead of time so that I don’t cheat and use a word that fits what I want to say.

I will begin 6/1. I hope you will join me! Pingbacks are allowed on my site so you can link back to the post if you wish.

The Daily Post

Almost seven and a half years ago The Daily Post opened its virtual doors to the WordPress.com blogging community. It’s been an incredible ride, and incredible rides, too, sometimes come to an end. As of the end of this month (and 2,000 Daily Prompts, 380 Photo Challenges, 260 Community Pools, and 100 First Fridays later), we will no longer publish new posts, prompts, or challenges on this site.

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You Are My Guilty Pleasure

When I’m feeling down you lift me up.

When life becomes overwhelming you listen without judging.

When I’m scared you tell me everything will be okay.

When I think I can’t carry any more you share the load.

When I’m tired you help me rest.

You are my guilty pleasure.

I should be able to stand on my own, but I’m grateful you are there when I just can’t.

I want to be strong and fearless, but it is your friendship that gives me strength and courage.

I need to take care of myself, but I appreciate more than I can say when you take the time to help.

I could continue to do everything alone, but I’m happy you are with me.

I wish I could do more for you, but I need to let you support me as much as I support you.

Thank you for being my friend.

This post is in response to the daily writing prompt Guilty

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Bravely Living an Amazing Life!