10 Life Lessons, Courtesy of 2016

Happy New Year!

I’ve never been one of those people who ushers in the New Year with a list of resolutions firmly grasped. Nor am I an idealist who believes that when the clock strikes twelve, the slate is wiped clean. Alas, I’ve spent many years thinking the midnight toast paves the way for exciting adventures only to realize it’s simply a continuation of the same.

No, time has taught me that in not having expectations, I decrease the possibility of being disappointed. So does this mean I’m bracing myself for another crappy year? I don’t know.

I do know I’m not leaning one way or the other. Very much akin to being in a state of limbo, I greet each day with the question, “What now?”

Self reflection is one of the tools I use to battle, embrace, or accept any circumstance that is thrown my way. The minute my head hits the pillow, I play the movie of my life. Not all at once, but instead, one hour at a time; one minute at a time.

Thought after thought, I take in what I did.
Didn’t do.
Wish I’d done.
Realize I’ll never do.

I ponder ways that can help me make better decisions.
I justify my actions.
I pray there’s a reason for every choice I make, good or bad.

I’ve spent the first two weeks of 2017 reflecting on 2016. I want to share my conclusions with you.

10 Life Lessons, Courtesy of 2016

1) Nothing is the way it appears to be. We may think our situation is static but in an instant, life gets worse. Or it gets better. Though we may think we’re in control, the reality is we’re not. The faster we allow things to flow their natural course, the faster life will unfold.

2) Trust should not be given away. We’re fools if we believe we can deposit blind trust in everyone who comes into our lives. Trust should be something that is earned and as such, we should be cautious with whom we bring into our inner circle.

3) You can’t make someone love you. Sadly, they either do or they don’t and no amount of bargaining will change another person’s mind if he or she has decided love has left the building.

4) Our word is better than gold. I miss the days when a handshake was the way to sign a deal. Times when a person’s word meant he or she was trustworthy and had integrity. Sadly, those days are gone. It’s up to us to honor our word and when in doubt, not make promises we can’t keep.

5) Internal beauty exists. I used to think being beautiful on the inside was something ugly people said to make themselves feel better. Fast forward decades and I now understand no amount of makeup or fine clothes can mask an ugly interior. Kindness, empathy, and compassion should be beauty’s measuring tools.

6) The words, “I love you” are overrated. You love me? Do you really? Then don’t just tell me. Show me. Let go of selfishness, make sacrifices, think of others before yourself. But whatever you do, don’t think the words, “I love you,” mean anything to me unless they’re backed up with actions.

7) The truth can be ugly. But it can also liberate the spirit. Truth allows for a person to have closure, move on, and more importantly, heal. Honesty should always be exercised. Even when it hurts. Even when it’s ugly. Even when it means someone will be devastated. Because no matter the pain, no matter the heartache, the sun will continue to rise. Its bright light will remind us we’re still alive and while we may be broken, we can get up and start over.

8) Coffee and chocolate are always the answer. No matter how bad life seems, there’s something comforting about cradling a hot cup of coffee in your hands or savoring a piece of chocolate. Their aroma alone are testament good things don’t have to be expensive or hard to find.

9) Counting to ten before going forth can make the difference between a good or bad outcome. Fools rush in. Every single time. They don’t stop to take a breath. They don’t consider other options. They come in hot and get made. As a result, what could have been hardly ever is.

10) We are never alone. God always has our back. No matter the problem, we can trust that we are where we are supposed to be. Every tear, every moment of uncertainty, every doubt, is part of the process. Trusting in a higher power allows us to believe everything happens for a reason. Be content to sit in the copilot’s seat every now and then. Release the need to control everything and everyone. Liberate yourself from the stress that comes from thinking every decision comes down to you. Believe and have faith that while things may not happen when you want them to, eventually you will find joy.

What life lesson did 2016 teach you?

XOXO,

Do you qualify to be someone’s person?

Childhood best Friends

A person.

My person.

Individuals who made a difference in my life were assigned the title “my person” long before Shonda Rhimes introduced it in the television series, “Grey’s Anatomy.”

Some of the traits that characterize this individual have varied throughout the years, while others have remained the same.

Tonight, as I sat on the couch with only Roxy for company, I realized it’s been a while since I’ve called anyone “my person.”

Wrapping my fingers around a steaming mug of coffee, I pondered what a job profile for this esteemed position would be like. Quickly grabbing a notebook, I began to scribble what I deemed would be essential traits.

When I finished, my list looked something like this:

~ Must be willing to listen without judgement or criticism

~ Must possess the ability to comprehend verbal and non verbal communication, including profanity, slang, and unintelligible babble

~ Must possess empathy, kindness, and compassion

~ Must be able to both listen and hear, without interruptions, and for prolonged periods of time ~ Should possess restraint to keep from offering advice and other “fix it” type suggestions

~ Must be patient, sensitive, and supportive

Optional but favorable skills include:

~ Ability to make “personee” laugh, giggle, and feel like his or her situation has a solution

~ Ability to soothe, placate, and provide reassurance

~ Willingness to commiserate, validate, and offer a shoulder to cry on

Note: Willingness to bring good wine will guarantee potential candidates an automatic second interview

Note: Clock watchers, critics, and pseudo intellectuals need not apply

Yes, I’m certain this is how a “person’s” job profile would read.

Why? Because I’m convinced these are universal needs; needs that require us to reach out to our person in times of duress.

In times we feel lonely.
In times we feel completely alone.

A person.

We should all have one.
Every one of us.

Because no matter how tough, strong, and empowered we think we are, there are times we need to hear, “I am here. Talk to me.”

Do you have a person?

Is summer really gone?

feet

My sabbatical was not planned; it wasn’t intentional. As I boarded the flight that carried me to the land of tapas, I naively believed this summer would be different; that my beloved little beach town would finally have a reliable Internet connection. But alas, this was not so.

Time after time, I attempted to connect, only to lose my connection after only two seconds.

Don’t think I didn’t try, folks. I did. But in the end, I found it was easier to give in to the paella comas and the lull of the waves, than to harbor frustration and irritation.

Now, two and a half months later, I am once again in the place I call home. Sadly, it feels like it’s home that I’ve left behind.

Looking out the window, my eyes taking in the gray and gloomy clouds, I can’t but miss my beloved land of Don Quijote. My eyes tear at the thought of having to wait nine months before I am once again reunited with my mother and her furry friend, Olivia.

It’s barely been three weeks since I arrived, and already I yearn for the sun’s warm kiss on my skin and the tantalizing smell of salt in the air.

The sea. How I miss it! I miss its ability to lull me to sleep; waves gently making their way to the shore, peaks of white foam reaching up to the sky.

I miss the happy disposition of the Spanish and the courteous way they always greet one another with “¡Buenos Días!” or “¡Buenas noches!” Good morning! Good evening!

I miss the little bakery that serves the most delicious “cafe con leche.” I miss its colorful decor, the little rattan tables, and the group of people who gather there every morning for pleasant conversation.

I miss the music, the chatter, the noise.
I miss the passion of the people, the culture, the country.

I miss the fish, the paella, the wine.
Wine that regardless its cost, always tastes like ambrosia.

I miss the Spanish “telenovela” my mother and I watched faithfully every afternoon. I miss guessing which character would marry, die, or become a nun or a priest at the first sign of a lover’s betrayal.

I miss it all.

A heavy sigh lingers in my lungs, unwilling to escape my lips, afraid that if it does, the realization that all that has been left behind will become tangible. Concrete. Real.

Nevertheless, life goes on, my friends, and so must I. I’m grateful for the opportunity to reenter the blogosphere and once again become acquainted with your creative genius.

Reading glasses perched on my nose, I reach for my mouse.

old town 1

old town 2

old town 3

How did you spend your summer?

XOXO,

Note: If you want to see more photos of Spain, visit me on Instagram!