I have two books in my beach bag. One is a book written by Jim Simons, a highschool classmate, titled A Dog in the Manger. A collection of short faith-based stories. Maybe they’re sermons that he gave at one time or other. (he’s now a priest) Anyway, I decided to read one or two each time I went to the beach.
Then Ellen Green Morton (a very dear longtime friend) became famous by having a published essay in the book at my pace, ordinary women tell their extraordinary stories. The format is the same. Each chapter is 3-4 pages and each a different woman’s story. I have decided to keep the faith-based stories to read around the holidays. And the other one, I’m reading at my own pace, each time I’m at the beach.
Truth be told I hate most of the women in the book. Well, hate is a strong word and mostly I hate myself after reading their stories. I don’t really hate them at all. Each woman has floundered to some degree, and then have found their way. Jennifer and I have commented that reading each of these has made us feel less than adequate. Each for different reasons obviously because Jennifer’s life makes me, or probably anyone, feel less than adequate. Well anyway, there is one story that is my favorite (other than Ellen’s of course) where the woman was living large, big house, ski condo, cars, blah blah, lost it all and slept in the basement of her brother’s house in her nieces Little Mermaid bed. She pulled herself out of her funk, not sure if it was weeks, months, or years but now has a successful travel touring agency living in the Caribbean. She knew that she wanted to travel. She knew what she wanted to do and figured out how to get it.
The next story in the book is the story of a woman who is a social worker. Someone once asked her to describe her best day. So I presented this thought-provoking question to Phil while we lounged on the beach. He said he needed more parameters and dismissed it by saying he doesn’t have a best day. At first I thought that was sad. But then when I tried to come up with my best day I couldn’t do it either. But true to form, you know the way I over think things, I kept thinking about it.
At first I thought about where I am now in my life. Here in Florida with this family. I liked it when I had the mornings to connect with myself, whether it was just doing dishes, making beds, sitting by the pool, definitely writing the blog. Those days also included picking up the girl from school. I also like my Reiki time and hospice visiting. I kept mulling it over trying to think about the “work” aspect. What is it that I want to do for work? I can’t google “be paid to travel” like the woman did who was sleeping in the basement. That’s really not my dream. Do I even have a dream?
I am often taken back to a day (in my thoughts) when I was having breakfast with Jerry, on a Monday, and I told her that I loved my life. I had no money, but for the first time I loved my life. Jerry of course picked up the check, she’s good for that. So I thought about what I was doing at that time of my life that I loved so much.
At that time I was going to college, working part-time with the meeting planning, at home for my kids whenever they needed me, attending every parent function required and still had time to walk my dog, have lunch with Jer on a week day (her treat of course) and have some other personal interests. Believe me the college experience was a BIG personal fulfillment component.
Thinking of where I am right now in my life, my perfect day consists of a lot of “me” time. A lot of it. I love the quiet time when no one is home. Then there’s the family component. I like being available. Not helicopter available but I don’t think it’s spoiling to pick kids up from school. It’s a luxury maybe but not over the top by any stretch. I like them coming home to a clean house, and even beds made. I like planning a dinner and making it. Shopping for it, cooking it, cleaning up before and having it ready for them. I LIKE doing that. So the family component is important.
I like having a “job” where I feel competent. I liked PPU because I felt like I knew my job. I was often complimented by faculty (I know believe it or not) that they could come to me with anything because I was competent and helpful. I liked the meeting planning at Federated because I felt like I was good at that – plus I LOVED the flexibility of the schedule. Flexibility is a key component in my perfect day.
Then I started to realize, it’s not the activities, it’s the elements. If I can include all the elements then maybe, just maybe, I can have a goal or a direction or something to work towards. Too much, ok ALL of my life, I’m just been sort of flailing. You know like a noodle, just taking whatever happens and figuring it out. The college days were near perfect but I had no money. And honestly after almost 4 years of college I was done. I mean I was done. I was ready for something else. But I didn’t know what else I was ready for. I assumed it was just to get another job.
The perfect day answer needs to be perfect for this moment in time. These times. Do I want to be back in college? No. And here’s another thing, a “day” is rather short. Can I fit all the elements into one day?
Okay so let’s give this a try.
#1 – in my perfect day there is nothing physically wrong with me. My feet don’t hurt and my teeth are all fixed. That aside, my perfect day consists of me time, like a big chunk of me time, I’m going to go as far as to say 50% me time. Included in this me time can be many things. Not just lyming, it can be hospice work, learning more Reiki, going to lunch, walking on the causeway, going to yoga, reading by the pool and yes sleeping if I so desire. Blogging definitely comes under me time. There are a lot of things about blogging that are important to me. Connecting with myself, mulling over and getting these ideas out of my head and putting them on paper, and I feel connection to “home” (Pittsburgh).
Then there’s family time. Picking kids up from school, taking them to lunch (not every day of course), having food in the house, listening to their days, being present. I mean I’m perfectly fine with bringing them home and locking myself in my bedroom continuing whatever it is I’m doing (blogging, reading,) but I’m here.
Then there’s work. I need to feel competent in something. I don’t even know that I care what it is, but I need to feel competent outside the home. I take that back, I do care what it is, but I think it could be a choice of several things. AND I need to be paid for it. Paid fairly. And I need it to have flexibility. Lots of flexibility as far as time constraints and/or location requirements.
Also my perfect day includes time with my BF. I consider myself pretty darn lucky to want to be with my boyfriend. I’ve never had this before. After years of listening to people who were often wanting time away from their husbands I feel lucky to really want that time with my other. (yes I know we’re new, I get it) Today we spent the end of the day and stayed for sunset at the beach, alone, together. Without analyzing it we both felt like we were re-energized, reconnected and well me personally I started to muddle over my perfect day. I had time to think. I thought about the fact that we were at the beach, thought briefly that it’s not my favorite beach, and then I realized how crazy of a problem is that? I have my choice of beaches!! I mean what a problem right?
I recently read an article posted by a fellow blogger, Amy Sampson, regarding Moon phases. (love her blog, check it out) The article is titled 7 Moon Cycles for Manifesting Magic. The idea is during a New Moon you plant a seed that will harvest six months later during the Full Moon. The new moon is “blank canvas” time, a great time for setting intentions, making wishes, and taking the first bold step towards a new goal. Today, September 13, is the New Moon.
So today I am setting intentions and making wishes to have all these elements, in balance, in my life, and I wrote them all down here in this blog and giving them up to the Moon. Even coming up with these thoughts about what I want is a first bold step. It’s not a perfect “day” I’m striving for. It’s a balanced life with many perfect days.
You know what else? If you stand on the beach where I was today and look south you can see Cuba. It’s there, right over the horizon. I’m throwing that “wish” up to the Moon too!
What is YOUR perfect day?