Who’s ready to take the first step?

cafe con leche

My father used to say that intent wasn’t the same as getting things done.

Intentions are actions placed on pause; projections of what’s to come. They are not the same as those actions that are actually executed.

My lack of execution is all I could think about this morning.

You see friends, before I left home, I had every intention of publishing a post where I would inform you that I was on my way to Spain.

I had every intention of taking pictures of Roxy at the airport.

I had every intention of donning a disguise and setting off in search of Javier Bardem the minute I landed.

I had every intention of writing a whimsical post that would describe the hot Spanish sun and the blue-green hue of the Mediterranean Sea.

I had every intention.

But alas, such has not been the case.

On the day Roxy and I were supposed to fly, after waiting for more than five hours, we were informed that our flight had been canceled.

It appeared that the good French air traffic controllers had chosen that very day to go on strike.

Two days later, we again made the journey to the airport, and this time , while we were successful, we were surrounded by grumpy and irritated people who could only talk about the inconveniences they had sustained.

Perhaps it was the absorption of the negative energy that surrounded us or the cramped seat that did not allow for any leg room, what was responsible for putting me in a funk.

Yet the truth is that in a funk I have been for the past four days.

This morning, as I sat drinking my third cup of cafe con leche, patiently listening to my mother’s banter, I saw a man on the street below.

He must have been around 90 years of age.

He walked slowly but with purpose.
Carefully, he pushed his walker and dragged his left foot which desperately tried to keep pace with the one on the right. After taking only five steps, he stopped to wipe his brow with a handkerchief. He then paused for ten seconds before continuing on his way.

I watched him until he reached the end of the street.

Looking at the clock, I realized it had taken him twenty minutes to walk less than 200 yards.

A countless number of steps, 12 pauses, and three brow wipes later, he had made it to the end of the street.

As he turned the corner, I hung my head in shame.

Not merely intent, but execution, was what the elderly gent had accomplished on this warm Wednesday morning.

I was humbled.

Here I was, just four days into my vacation, sitting on the terrace complaining about my inability to walk the same way I had walked last summer.

Yes, I had every intention of attempting to regain my gait, of going from point A to B, yet here I sat, hosting my own pity party with only my mother in attendance.

Every great journey begins with the first step.

The old adage seemed to perfectly describe what the old man had started and I had yet to begin.

Feeling inspired, I donned a pair of old sneakers, my sunglasses, and a sun hat.

“Mamma,”I said, “grab your hat. Our search for Javier Bardem begins today!”

Pain be damned.

One way or another, one step at a time, I am determined to be reacquainted with my old self, to mimic the actions of the old man and reach the finish line.

I am determined to not allow excuses and self pity stand in the way of reaching my goal.

I smile to myself as I take the first step.

Do your actions stay at intent or do you get things done?

Reporting from sunny Spain,

70 thoughts on “Who’s ready to take the first step?

  1. I’ve heard that coming back from knee surgery is one of the most painful rehabs there is. I can imagine that a lot of people wouldn’t have even tried going on vacation, so bravo for forging ahead. If anyone can get her stride back, it’s you!

    1. Nadine, I have a feeling that this will be the year when I find Javier! hee hee! Love that you like the image. Thank you! Hugs to you from Roxy and me! :)

  2. Bella, already your trip to Spain sounds more lovely than my trip to Ireland — perhaps I should have gone to Spain instead??
    This is a great post. I’m sorry you’re still having pain and problems with your rehab, but knees are special and take time to mend. It sounds like you’ve chosen a beautiful spot to mend in, though!
    And good for you — taking that first step. I know even without surgery if one sits too long without moving, one gets “stoved up.” (Don’t know if that’s correct terminology, but that’s what my relatives always called it!). Moving around, even baby steps, will help. We weren’t meant to sit for hours at a time, you know!

    1. Debbie, thank you for your kind words. I take them to heart, trust me. And yes, you should schedule a trip to Spain in the near future. I’m sure you would love it! The sun and the beach is enough to make anyone smile. And did I mention the food? :)

  3. You write with such compassion, Bella! I hope you are not being too hard on yourself. And I can’t believe you haven’t given up on Javier – now that’s dedication I admire! ;) Take care of yourself, Bella! xx

    1. Joy, I shall never give up on the hunt! The man is incredible eye candy and the accent? Swoon! hee hee! You know what? I think you’re right–perhaps I am being too demanding on myself. Alas, it just seems like forever since I felt good, you know? But now worries–I’ll get there eventually! :)

  4. Bella, I loved this rant! Self pity can always be overcome by looking at those less fortunate….. Can’t wait for you to start walking around and snapping pix of Spain. Go Bella go. And drink a cafe con leche for me, will you??? xxxxxxxxxxxx

    1. Jann, I am honored to have you in my corner! Grazie, amica! Today I went out, camera in hand, and while it took me hours, I did snap some photos. Stay tuned! Hugs! Oh, and consider the cafe con leche petition fulfilled! ha! :)

  5. Good for you! Lesson learned, huh? Yep, I too have worked on ignoring pain, or in my case, sever itching from poision ivy while focusing on your goal. Amazingly, the pain/itching lessens and you enjoy the journey. Hope you have an amazing time in Spain!

  6. I hope you finally found Javier Bardem!! And, what an inspiring story of the elderly man… it’s true, we can’t complain about our lives when others who have so much less work with what they have and carry on, one step at a time. Juan’s granny started going to English classes at the age of 80 years old so she could speak to me (before I started learning Spanish)… and it humbles me so, and makes me want to keep learning new things because I really have no excuse not to..at least not till I’m 80.

    Que disfrutes!! Besos!

    1. Felicia, amiga mia, que tal? Juan’s granny sounds lovely! Que bonita! After learning of her tenacity, we really do not have an excuse to at least try to triumph over adversity! Too right, chica! I’m dropping by your blog later on tonight to check out those recipes! Besos! :)

  7. I had every intention to do several things. Some I did, some I did not. I’ve been feeling very tired lately, and yesterday I discovered my thyroid gland was playing tricks on me. Again. So I’ll be seeing my doctor soon, and hopefuly recover enough to get more things done.
    The old man is better than me, I admit it.

    1. Ivana, I felt the same way when I saw him! I hope you feel better soon! Get yourself checked out ASAP! And keep the faith, sister! :)

  8. Such an inspirational story! I think we all get caught up in the “intent” stage from time to time, but we won’t get anywhere until and unless that first step is taken with boldness and determination. Glad you are recovering and ready to roll, Bella! Blessings!

  9. One of the most beautiful posts I have ever had the pleasure of reading. Wishing you a brilliant vacation, (and Mr. Bardem in the flesh, of course!)

    1. Vanessa, your sweet words make my day. Thank you! And yes, may we experience Senor Bardem in the flesh! Talk about a speedy recovery! hee hee! :)

  10. Kisses and hugs to you and Roxy – and Javier, too, when you find him. ;-)

    Intentions… I am *so* good about intentions, and then get hung up on inaction. I’m allowing myself a little grace, after the past couple weeks. That said, look out, action. I’ve got my sight set on you.

    Love to you, Bella. xoxo

    1. Oh Ellen, thank you, thank you! Kisses and hugs for your from Roxy and me! I believe in the power of your happy thoughts. Please keep sending them my way! :)

  11. When my day begins to swirl out of control (as it has been doing of late!) I will think of you, soldiering on in your sneakers, your sunglasses and your hat under the blazing Spanish sun in search of love, life and mobility!
    P.S. When you find him, give him a hug for me!

    1. Diane, I am honored! Thank you, my friend. I’m wishing with all my heart I can hug Javier for you! hee hee! :)

  12. What a wonderful story and example. Have a good time, and while you’re looking for Javier, please take some photos of the men in their speedos for me. That’s my only request. I think they all look hawt! Seriously. All kinds of men in Speedos = Hawt! LOL! ;-D Photos, por favor. :-)

    1. Paz, your comment had me laughing out loud whilst I sat on the terrace in the wee hours of the morning! Your wish is my command and I shall soon start photographing anyone who dares to wear a Speedo! hee hee! :)

  13. I often get frustrated with myself, at the slooooooow pace at which I get things done.

    Yet, I do get things done. One step/post/page at a time, one course at a time, one book reviewed at a time, I get it done. Maybe I should applaud that, instead of blaming myself for not doing it faster, better, with more grace! Maybe, like the old man you watched, you and I and everyone else is moving at the right speed – for us.

    1. Beverly, wise words indeed. I think that oftentimes, frustration robs us of our power and renders us blind to what we have accomplished. I think back of what I felt like after the surgery and I realize I have come a long way. I think the impatience of wanting to get back where I was before all this happened is what is truly obscuring the goals I’ve already reached. Thank you for the reminder that there is no universal pace! :)

    1. Katie, I think it be wonderful if I could actually meet Javier and do a blog post with pictures! Sigh. If only! ha! :)

  14. Javier better be prepare for some hot latina love!! Actions are the best way to get over many of our obstacles. Its nor easy to take that first step but once you do it you can take the second one.
    Disfruta de Espana y de tu mami, de la playa y de Roxy y continua dando pasos un pie al frente del otro.

    1. Ofelia, amiga mia, que verdad es! El segundo paso siempre sigue el primero! jajaja! You know how much I cherish this time with mamma. Not to mention, the quest to find Javier! hee hee! Besos y abrazos para ti! :)

  15. Bella – you always write the best posts. Your writing paints such a picture, so thanks for being so darn talented with that. Also – thanks for posting that picture – now I’m craving a hot chocolate or something. xo

    1. Hi Kirstin! I love it when you come around! Thank you for your kind words.You know, sometimes when I look at photos of the foodie bloggers, I feel the same way. It will be 2am and Ï’m looking at a photo of brownies and that’s what I want! hee hee! :)

  16. Bella,
    I really loved this post. You go, lady! Slow or fast, you are moving. This is all that matters. Love your attutude and how you put these simple concepts in ways we all just want to say “yes!” Keep those positve affirmations going! I mentioned your surgery in my last post. :)

    1. Jodi, I am rushing over to your blog! Forgive my slowness–you know what the Wifi is here in Spain! Thank you for your encouragement and for believing I can do it! :)

  17. Oh Bella..each step you take is one step closer to your goal. You are such a wise woman to reflect and ponder moments in life such as the man you saw engaged in his goal. I must have clearer eyes and perspective I must admit. I have been in a fog too and will surely remember this post as I reflect upon my aging and aches too. Thank you dear Bella. And I am hoping you find Javier with your mom. It’s a blessing to have her there with you..I send you a hug from CA to Spain!

    1. Shirley, thank you for your kind words and hug! I believe that the foggy state you mention is one we’re all in once we reach a certain age. Perhaps it’s part of life. Good for us that we realize it’s only transitory; a phase before we reach absolute realization, mayhaps? :) Hugs to you, dear lady.

  18. You ask great questions, Bella, and your pops is one wise man. For me, I often intend to do more than one can/should handle. So, I do get things done; just not everything gets done.

    Just yesterday, I looked into my craft closet and found the startings of a travel book I had intended to complete in May. Yeah…it waits.

    Roxy Lee looks adorable! Is she a mix or purebred? How old is she?

    1. Hello and welcome, Laura Beth! I too sometimes take on more than I should and as a result, find myself overwhelmed and frustrated. Fortunately, with age comes the realization that it’s okay to take it easy. Sooner or later, things will get done, right? Roxy thanks you for your sweet compliment. She is a purebred Jack Russell who turned four the last week of May. I love her to bits! :)

  19. I totally understand what you mean. Singapore has been plagued by a hazardous haze by forest fires from Indonesia and all over facebook and twitter, I see Singaporeans complaining and pushing blame. It seemed like a battle of who is more miserable than whom. A battle of who suffers more. Apparently those who started the fires were forced to because of sheer poverty and starting fires to clear land was the cheapest way. Singapore is tiny but densely populated country and wind conditions has caused the entire island to be engulfed by hazardous fumes.

    I read your post and I am reminded of those who are sitting in their bedrooms complaining of the toxic air. Myself included. And I wonder if there is more we can do from within ourselves, then working as a community, to take steps for environmental causes instead of blaming everyone else around us.

    1. Chloe, I read your post about the air conditions and I am so sorry that you and everyone else in the area has had to go through this. I hope that by now things are more under control. Your words are an example of how the saying, “there is strength in numbers” is true. If, as a community, we can strive to improve or eliminate certain conditions, we can make it happen. That’s not to say that one person can’t make a difference, because I believe that is also true, but group mentality goes a long way toward invoking change long term. Thank you for sharing your thoughts, lady! :)

  20. This reminds me of something Alpha Hubby always says. “How do you eat an elephant?” One bite at a time. You can’t accomplish it in one fell swoop. It is a mission, a step-by-step. I am saving this post for those days I hit “Poor pitiful me” moments to help me jerk myself up and take that fits step. I face a lot of intentions. This post reminds me of the determination. That elderly man – and YOU – are my hero’s and I will persevere and execute! Thank you for your brutally honest sharing – it changed my day. LOVE you darling e-friend!

    1. OH, and p.s. – you do realize the healing properties of running for your life, right? Because that is what you will be doing if Penelope Cruz catches you around her man (hoho)!!!!

    2. Nan, you’re right! But last time I heard, the fiery Spaniard was with child. I think that’s give me the advantage even with knee troubles! hee hee! :)

    3. Nan, you are one of a kind, you know that? Love you, sister! Your words allowed me to exhale today. Yes, anything is possible and an optimistic attitude makes it that much more so. Reading Alpha Hubby’s words, I can see why you say he’s a hoot! hee hee! I must write you, by the way. Bear with me and this slow WiFi connection. Mornings are the best time so I will get back to you with a review of the delicious coconut shampoo and Argan oil! Love them both! Hugs! :)

  21. Bella, congratulations on making it to Spain! What a great post. You always give us something to think about and thinking about the 90 year old man walking so slowly but purposely, is indeed humbling. I think I take for granted what I can still do and yet I complain about growing old. Sigh. Well, in other news, I’ve been away and just got back from Chicago. Oh Bella, it meant so much to me to see my daughter graduate. As you can imagine, I’m so proud of her. Now, I have to start getting back into the groove of the blogosphere. I can’t wait until you can walk again, and are more like your old self!

    1. Monica, amiga mia, I’m so glad you’re back! I can imagine how wonderful it was to witness such a grandiose milestone! I can hardly wait for the Son to achieve the same. It makes a mother’s heart soar with pride, doesn’t it? I’m also trying to play catch up, chica. You know how unreliable the WiFi is here and did I mention it’s slow as molasses? Sigh. I’m tickled pink you like the post! Yes, I too am looking forward to getting back to being me, or at least embracing that there’s a possibility that this might be the new me. I pray every night that I can reach this acceptance. I never thought this convalescence period would be so lengthy or so uphill. Oh well, it is what is is. In the meantime, I’m reading your posts as fast as I can! Hugs! :)

  22. I feel you, literally. My back is getting better but, damn, it’s a slow process. I really miss running. I doubt I’ll ever be able to do it again. But I recently moved to a mountainous area and I’ve discovered hiking. It isn’t running but it’s almost as good for my mental state. Best of all it makes my back feel better! (I can’t explain that but I’ll accept it.) Here’s to getting better, mentally and physically, one step at a time!

    1. Nora, I love how you’ve found the silver lining. You inspire me, my friend! Thank you for that. You have no idea how much it helps to read that there is light at the end of the tunnel. :)

  23. Bella, I had a lump in my throat as I read this post. And I’m SO proud of you. Swing those hips on your Bardem search and don’t let pain stop you. You are YOU, no matter what your walk looks like, no matter if your knee swells. Pain does not define you. And the pain will fade, I promise. Loads of hugs!

    1. Lori, I had tears in my eyes reading your comment. Your friends are so damn lucky to have you! Thank you for your support and encouragement. Your words infuse me with strength and newfound willpower. Thank you, thank you! Hugs and kisses for you! :)

  24. I’ve been away for awhile, but what a great post to come back on. Yes, we all find excuses to sit and do nothing. Hope you find what you’re looking for in Spain.

    1. Hi Julie! It’s so great to see your comment! Just the other day I was wondering if you too found yourself in Europe. I’m dying to know how your house is coming along! It’s been too long since I’ve been by your blog. I’m on my way there this afternoon! :)

  25. dear lady, wish you luck recovering that lovely knee!, oh yes, you’re going to have a really fabulous knee!
    Walking on the fresh mornings is my favorite activity and now I’m going to think on you every time I go for a walk!, thanks for sharing your great attitude!
    besos under a spanish shade

    1. Mrs. Allnut, I am loving the warmer weather in Spain! The first few days were chilly! And now, with you, I find myself seeking the shade to keep from burning! hee hee! Thank you for your loving words. Te estoy muy agradecida, amiga! Besos y abrazos! :)

  26. Hey Bella, beautiful post.
    You are right– lets not leave it to intentions and grab the bull by the horns.
    Greetings and enjoy your holiday! Hugs to you and little Roxy!

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