So I met with a friend today to talk about life-more specifically about the difficulty in accepting loss and being able to move on. This is a very sensitive topic for sure-and I have just belatedly realized that no one is immune to loss, everyone can relate! Even those who have seemingly perfect lives, those who appear to be so successful and appear to have it all (or have all that we personally desire), all can relate.
What is loss? What does loss mean to you? We go thru life trying to avoid loss at all costs, and when we “fail,” or when we “lose,” we feel bad. We blame ourselves, we blame others. “If only, blah blah blah…” “If only he or she…blah blah blahhhh.” Often times we get stuck and can’t move on. We cannot let go, cannot accept, cannot forgive. We have trouble forgiving ourselves and forgiving others. Why is loss so hard to accept? Perhaps our relationship with loss, and our interpretation of it, is what keeps us stuck.
My friend says, “Ya know life is about loss. As infants it is all about striving to get your needs met. The infant is hungry, so that is a loss, and she cries out to be fed. Now the infant is cold. So, she cries out and when a blanket is given, the infant is content. Suddenly the infant kicks off the blanket, and cries again…again cries over the loss.” Life is hard and life is often an accounting of losses. Loss is not the exception-loss is the rule. “Life is a series of losses,” he continues, “The question is how well do we deal with these losses and move on? How well do we grieve and then come to acceptance?” That is the challenge. Success in life is not about how well you avoid loss- rather it is about how well you navigate those losses and live on.
For me, this was a big paradigm shift. I had to stop and think about it-am thinking about it still! My friend also reminds me that our ability to accept our losses and move forward determines how well we are prepared for recognize and receive future opportunities. For surely, just as loss is an inevitable part of life, opportunities also abound, but if we cannot surrender to loss and move on, we will never be in a place to recognize or receive all the possibilities the future has in store for us!
My friend reminds me that dealing with loss is a process. It takes time to grieve effectively, to eventually come to acceptance, maybe even to give thanks in the end. If we try to move on too quickly and we are not truly ready even though we desperately want to be, we may falter. Sometimes the process cannot be rushed, yet we cannot linger in regret forever, either. Moving on takes strength as well as courage and will. But, like it or not, loss is often the catalyst that causes our strength to develop and our courage to surface. It is this very strength and courage that fuels our will to live on.
There is no magic formula, no one answer for everyone, not even a set time frame to recover from each type of loss or setback. But, understanding that life is synonymous to loss, was a great burden lifted for me. I am not a loser, the only one in the world who loses! We all lose in life-big deal, so what!!! Lets set our eyes on the horizon, and lean forward. smile.
Yes, after I have come to terms with my loss, I may go forward and…I may even lose again! Yet I cannot let that fear hold me back. And if I “lose”…so what? Even this future possibility implies success, for it meant that I got up, moved on, and dared to love again!
So like many, I have always wanted to visit New York City. This was one of the easier goals at the top o’ my list of things to do in this lifetime. Finally, this year I decided to go for it-make it happen! Don’t let anyone hold you back! I had just finished my BSN and needed a plan to celebrate this accomplishment (I also needed to propel myself forward as I attempted to accept the ending of a relationship). So I talked with friends who also wanted to go, but in the end could not, and figured I still had to make it happen. Have you ever heard of AirBnB? What a cool concept! Especially for a woman traveling alone, one can stay in a home for far less than they can stay in a big city hotel and if lucky make a new friend! I contacted this cool New Yorker named Robert in Manhattan and made my reservations. I was having “reservations” of another kind, but was determined to push thru my fears of tackling the Big Apple alone.
Looking back at my September trip now, I can say it was a great experience. Most New Yorkers were friendly and helpful. I got to do all the things I wanted to do, see all the sites. I only stayed a few days, touring up and down and all around. I was doing pretty well with the subway system until about the second day, when I would somehow end up on the wrong train. You know you’re not a New Yorker when you find yourself in awe at just how many people can squeeze themselves onto the subway-surely not one more person can fit-or would want to! Here’s a funny moment. I found myself on the wrong train again on a Saturday night. I had just gotten off, was tired and wishing I was back at the room and trying not to get overwhelmed. I am standing alone on this empty platform, when a woman walked up to me and asked me for directions! Here we are, two women lost in the Big Apple! Well, helping her find her way helped to alleviate my anxiety, as I tried to find my way. In the end, we both got on the right train together. She tells me she is from Uzbekistan, and shares her struggles as a physician in her country trying to find work as a nanny in this country. Eventually, we got back on the right train, chatting and watching for our stops when she said, “Here is your stop!” Without checking, I thanked her, telling her how nice it was to meet her, and got off the train. Problem was, it wasn’t my stop! smile.
By the third day, I was ready to come home. I was desperate to get back home! I was telling a friend about the trip later and about how difficult the trip became, and he said “Sightseeing can only take you so far…” As much as I want to see the world, it is difficult to forget you’re by yourself when surrounded by all these tourists traveling with family and loved ones. You have no one to wander the halls of the Metropolitan with, no one to try New York style pizza with, and no one to get lost with on the subway. For me, I had lost my Mom to breast cancer in the Spring, I had no one to celebrate my graduation with, and was trying to get over a lost love. Emotionally fragile, yet determined to move forward. I see I set myself up, should have waited awhile. I took too big of a jump when I should have just planned an easier trip to San Diego!
So, now what? Do I give up all of my dreams of travel? What if I get to Italy, and want to come back after three days? What if I can’t handle the long, long flight? (Even five hours is too long when you are sitting next to a guy with halitosis and the air isn’t working in your cabin as it was for my NYC flight home). It has been a few months since that trip and now I am able to look at my photos and even be thankful for how great my Airbnb host Robert was, he treated me like an old friend. I have since learned that people drink or take Valium to relax on long flights!
Aha, there is hope still! I tell myself that if I wanted to tackle another trip, I could always join a tour group like “Women Traveling Solo” or even “Elder Hostel”. I am not an “elder,” but those educational trips sound like fun! In the meantime, I will enjoy the photos and stories of the many adventures you all share, hoping I can get to a place where I can take another leap and have a great time doing so.
Ok, first off let me confess…I am becoming aware of this pattern in my life. I find that I get excited about a new project or goal and I jump in both feet, carried along by the momentum of the “newness” of it all. Unfortunately, the “newness” carries me only so far-for abbooout three days! Same goes with starting this blog. I don’t know why…I enjoy the process, the possibilities, and the anticipation of waiting to see how the Universe and you will all respond. Bad Lisa! I apologize! I will work on it, and so here it goes….smile!
When Groupon first came out, I was hooked! I said, “Check out all these opportunities to try something new, for a discount!” So, I purchased the Groupon for the Hot Air Balloon Ride and the Whale Watching for my birthday. I even tried Thai Massage! I did not continue with the Thai massage, but luckilly I found a super great massage therapist who also does acupuncture! (The acupuncture was a first time experience as well). The above picture is from one of my latest adventures. I decided to try out L’Amande cafe in Beverly Hills. Now, its not that close to home, took about 45 minutes to get there, but I had a few days off from work with nothing really planned, and figured I might as well go. To justify the distance, I told myself I may even head over to the beach afterwards-why not?
Long story short-I did not make it to the beach, but I did succeed in breaking up the routine and get out of my neighborhood. The staff at L’Amande was very pleasant and I ordered a very yummy Veggie Panini and bought some pastries to take home. I chose a table outside. I ask you, “What is better than al fresco dining?” So, I sat down and pulled out my latest read, “Beautiful Ruins” by Jess Walter. Very fun and quirky book-check it out! Anyways, you know how when you are out with friends for lunch and you see someone sitting alone with a meal and a book? Do you feel bad for them, thinking they are lonely, or do you think they are fully enjoying themselves? I prefer to imagine they are fully enjoying life, not afraid to eat alone, and not looking to anyone else to fill them up or keep them company. When dining solo, it is always good to have a nice book handy. Sends a positive message-more so than eating lunch while scanning the old IPhone!
Anyways, I bring this up because I realize for a lot of people out there, you wouldn’t even dreeeaaam of dining alone! Well, bring a great book, or a laptop even! The other day I spotted a lovely woman dining alone (again al fresco), perusing her laptop with this glorious plate of salad ala Green Street Restaurant! She was clearly enjoying herself as she idly picked at her salad engrossed with whatever was on her computer. She did not look the least bit alone. She looked like she was fulfilled and focused on something on that computer screen which she was passionate about (ok, maybe she had a work deadline to meet, but you get my point!).
Don’t let the lack of companionship hold you back from enjoying all the great eateries that appeal to you! Don’t let the lack of a partner hold you back from Hot Air Ballooning, or Whale Watching, or trying out a new spa for a massage! Enjoy your own company, enjoy the opportunity to engage with staff and strangers sitting next to you in a cafe. Do not wait! Make a plan to try out that place you have always wondered about. Its perfectly fine to invite a friend, but if that friend cannot join you, go anyways.
This is your life, and your canvas awaits. Color it in…
PS -Listening to Songza- Rainy Day Indie. Currently playing, “See the Light”, by Sparklehorse
“Loneliness and being alone are not the same thing, but both are on the rise. We meet fewer people. We gather less. And when we gather, our bonds are less meaningful and less easy…” from Atlantic Magazine , written by Stephanie Marche, April 2012.
So, I stumbled upon this article earlier in the summer and saved it with the intention of adding it to my “one day…” blog. Very interesting article because frankly, I didn’t realize so many people struggled with loneliness-except me! Surely everyone else is super-connected, with all the FB postings and “Friends” lists, and countless selfies to share with….someone, right? I must say though that I feel like I am in good company, but what does one do about this pervasive feeling of being alone too much of the time?
I am an only child-this makes it easier and harder to manage those feelings. Easier, because only children are more adapted to being by themselves than others. Harder, because even though only children want to have more social connections, some times it is difficult to make those connections, and too much social interaction is just, well, too much for comfort. Yes, I do enjoy my time alone, I enjoy the space and freedom, but there is a balance. Too much alone time, is too much time in my head, and that can spell trouble!
So, what to do? Yesterday, I deactivated my FB acct- I don’t like FB, I do not use it, so finally after talking to a friend who also deactivated her FB, I decided to as well. So how do I connect, and maybe even make new friends? Well, living in Los Angeles, I have stumbled upon “Meetup”. Wow! Look at all of these opportunities to meet people, sharing common interests and activities together! One could really get caught up and fill their calendar with the series of groups that have organized since its inception. So I browsed a bit, and “joined” a few, and now will have to commit to attending a function or two and see how it goes. I did try a few events a year ago, then lost interest, but now I am ready to try again. I tell myself, “Lisa, if you want things to change, if you want life to be different, you gotta get out there and do something different..” So here I go. Posting this also kind of holds me accountable to attend a few events, so I can report back on the outcome. Perhaps some of you have tried “Meetup” events, perhaps this article resonates with you in some way. Feel free to share….
“So there I was, hard at work one day, when….” I snapped this picture a few months ago and just have to share. I work at a hospital and one day I was holding a door open for a patient to be brought in via gurney, when suddenly I heard the most faintest of sounds…so unfamiliar, yet so compelling. Not sure where the sound was coming from, I glanced down at the sidewalk outside the entrance and all I saw was this bug! The gurney is rolling in, and sure enough, that sound is being made by this insect! This tiniest of creatures is emitting a warning, surely a survival mechanism of sorts. Howww cool is that? Now if you are like me, you adore nature and you become absolutely enthralled at all of it myriad wonders. Being thrilled with my discovery, I took a quick snapshot then did another of my favorite things-I GOOGLED IT! Yup-and sho’ nuf, this bug had a name, or a couple names for that matter. I shared my discovery with coworkers, who were only mildly interested-I cant understand why!
So, I share this story tonight, because I am sure I am not the only one out there that gets a kick out of nature, and like a child, delights in new discoveries. “Have you ever heard a Hissing Beetle? Do you wonder about the adaptation strategies of flora and fauna-and “insectia” for that matter?” I say we should never lose our childlike wonder, and we should strive to instill this curiosity and wonder in our children. What would life be like if we stopped noticing the smell of eucalyptus in the air, or orange blossom for that matter? Are you recalling those smells now? What if we tuned out the gentle sound of the wind chimes suspended outside our windows? What if we never had another rainy day to break up the monotony of hot and sunny summers, and we forgot that glorious and distinctive fragrance of pavement still damp after the rain? And what if we never stopped and stared in awe at each new full moon every month on the horizon…?
To share more of the wonders of nature, I will leave you with a link to one of my favorite sites, TEDtalks. Just viewed this segment called, “Underwater astonishments” http://www.ted.com/talks/david_gallo_shows_underwater_astonishments
Find something in nature to delight in, do it right away, and please share it with us all!
listening to Songza-Mellow Indie…currently playing….”Long Night” by Guster
Ok, shopping at IKEA is akin to shopping at Target for me, or even the 99Cent Store-only potentially more costly! When shopping at IKEA, I have to ask myself, “Do I reeeaaaally need another white bath rug?” “Really?” The answer is no, so I put it down. Stick to the plan! Wow! The item I am looking for in Burbank, is sold out-but is still available in Covina, some 35-55 minutes away, depending on what time a day you hit the road. Skipping rush hour traffic, I go after 8pm.
The real point of this conversation is to address the challenges of a single, independent woman, attempting to decorate her apt with ‘build it yourself’ furniture. First thing to consider, “Is my car even big enough to carry the thing?” Or, “Can I get someone to pick up this oversized and very heavy box and place it in my car?” “Can I close the trunk?” I dont know about you, but many a time, I have stood in the aisles staring off into the distance a looonggg time as I have pondered these logistics. I admit as well that I have walked away before, discouraged, because not only do I have to get help to lift the box into the car, I also have to think, “What the heck am I gonna do when I get it home and cannot carry it by myself up to the second floor?” (And why don’t they design lil “finger indents” into the box so one can get a good grip on it when carrying-these boxes are so slippery!)
Luckily, even if you do not have loved ones nearby, nor roomies, hopefully you can knock on the door of a neighbor who is more than happy to help. After all, what is a single, independent woman to do? Short of paying for delivery, that is. I have discovered that it is good to ask for help. It is especially good to know your neighbors. Good to feel connected.
Next challenge. Reading those cryptic instruction manuals! Of yes, these designers do not waste any ink on superfluous details, such as numbering parts. Not to be daunted by the image of the individual building the item-which is “X-ed” out, and next to this, the image of “two” people building the item, which is apparently o.k., I alone lay out all the pieces, fan out the various hardware bits, and proceed with the greatest of care. I must add that I was especially stumped with the LIATORP sofa table. “Wait! Is this a picture of the short-long piece, or are they asking for the long-long piece?” Its not clear by the diagram. Like a puzzle, I move the pieces around, trying to line up the holes. Smile. A lesson in diligence and perseverance for sure!
Finally, the outcome makes it all worthwhile. The satisfaction of seeing the completed product, built aaallll by myself, was worth aaalllll of the effort. Sure, it would be nice if I had someone who could accompany me to the store and help me do it all….but in fact, I did have help. I had the help of the friendly IKEA staff and my wonderful neighbor downstairs. Single but not alone-with a little help, I was able to make it work! Its an IKEA world afterall…
Wow! I didn’t expect anyone to ever stumble across my humble musings, but I am so thrilled and touched that you did! Did y’all get that lil constricted feeling in your chest when you found that someone was listening to or reading your first blogs? Wasn’t it exciting to make new connections and discover someone new out there in this world? So much talent, you guys! I am thoroughly inspired and mesmerized. Getting the hang of this process–pls stand by…
PS-Listening to Songza
Harvest Moon Compilation. Artist currently, ‘Northern Lights by Bowerbirds
Finally! After many months of contemplating starting a blog (its about time!), and renewing again and again “How to” books from the library, I finally did it. How satisfying! I may be the last person in the world to jump on the ‘Blogging Bandwagon’, but I did it! Its never too late to create, and I have a feeling that creating is one of womens greatest, and most innate gifts…presentng gifts to their families, their communities, to the world. Alas, “Creating” is a glorious gift to self, don’t forget! Whatever it is you have an urge to create-DO IT! DO IT NOW! Today is your day to soar…I look forward to hearing about and seeing what others are creating today. Share your stories, post pics, laugh smile, enjoy, and we will share in your joy with you!
ps- Listening to Songza-talk about creativity, so inspiring
This blog is for women, young and old, traversing all of life stages, writing and rewriting the pages. This blog is written to women who for the first time in history (or the second time) have the opportunity to color in these canvases, “My Way”.
A blank canvas can be intimidating, staring at infinity, afraid to make a misstep. Yet a voice cries out from somewhere deep within, “Do it!” “Do something-LIVE!” We are restless and eagerly we begin, creating within each new day, something new. Again and again the voice speaks to us of infinite potential, for the canvas is never complete, and each day presents a new opportunity. Remember, your life is always a masterpiece in the making.