“Trees were so rare in that country, and they had to make such a hard fight to grow, that we used to feel anxious about them, and visit them as if they were persons.”
―Willa Cather, My Ántonia
As my girls head back to their second year of college, the memories of my family’s past summers are making me exceptionally nostalgic this year. Last week I walked Cape Cod’s, Town Neck Beach in Sandwich before heading north to Vermont.
So much flooded back to me…oh, the remarkable nostalgia of middle age.
While admiring the rocks, I got an idea for a photo series and a way I could honor this time of transition.
My memories feel both permanent and somewhat elusive, they can come and go as the tide shifts…just like these rocks do every six hours.
New England Patriot’s recently retired tight end, Rob Gronkowski once remarked, “I just like the beaches in summer, man.”
I wholeheartedly agree, Gronk.
Since I’m not a twin, I can’t imagine what it’s going to feel like for my girls to split up and go to different colleges. I have a hunch they can’t quite imagine what it’s going to feel like either. Please note the title of the article in the first beach picture. I believe it’s about the Kardashians, however, with high school graduation looming, it’s a funny photo to unearth at this time. Oh, the irony of life, isn’t it grand?
- Cape Cod beach day.
- Coming from or going to Mirabelles bakery in Burlington, Vermont.
- New York City for their 9th birthday to see “Wicked”.
- Lucy’s hair flying on the shuttle to the Martha’s Vineyard ferry.
- Getting ready for the Justin Bieber concert, Quebec City.
here in Burlington, Vermont. My twin girls will be seniors next year so I’m heading into my last year of parenting kids in high school. I’m finding myself feeling uniquely nostalgic. I’m not sad about the inevitable transition, but I am mindful.
I have friends whose oldest or only children are graduating on Friday. It’s big. When my son graduated from high school in 2014, I was sort of a mess. I believe there’s just something about transitions that requires us to take stock of our emotions.
The summer between my junior year and senior year of high school was rough for me. I had a lot of friends in the class above me and they were all leaving for college and other adventures. Every time during their senior year when we played a ball game, sang in a concert or went to the drive-in movie theater it felt like we were saying goodbye to our childhoods.
Last weekend in South Dakota I got to spend time with some of those friends who graduated a year ahead of me. It was great! I simply cannot believe how much time has passed…1983 and 1984 just don’t seem all that long ago in some ways. I’m very aware of how my daughters are feeling this last summer before they graduate from high school…perhaps even a little too aware.
I guess to honor life’s transitions, we need to slow down a little and try to understand what it is we’re feeling…the good, the bad and the slightly confusing.
Happy Graduation Class of 2017!
I was reminded this morning of how I can be an ALL or NOTHING sort of person in my proclamations. I LOVE CHANGE. I love change so much more than the rest of my family and it drives them totally bonkers. EXAMPLE: If I could flip the rooms where the kitchen and the living room are I would do that. I have to satisfy that part of my nature somehow and it’s abundantly clear that I must largely do it on my own. No public proclamations…or at least a helluva lot fewer of them.
I can be a little unrealistic: I WILL NO LONGER eat potato chips, drink beer, read news, use FACEBOOK, watch TV, eat meat or sugar, drive when I can walk, be critical of my kids or my husband, spend money on X…blah, blah, blah.
Thankfully, over the course of the positive psychology program I took through the Wholebeing Institute. I was taught something quite valuable and rather easy to incorporate into my daily life. The simple trick of five percent.
I can improve 5% of damn near anything in my life…
then I can build on that incremental change.
I will try to exercise 5% more. I will try to spend 5% less. I will try to eat 5% less sugar. I will try to watch 5% less TV. I will try to eat 5% fewer potato chips. I will try to drink 5% less. (NOTE: I’ve discovered a great trick. My beers are now 1/2 club soda and 1/2 beer. Bartenders aren’t crazy about this order. Who cares? It’s half the calories, half the alcohol and it’s much better for staying hydrated.)
SO, the next time you notice something you would like to improve in your life— think about a relatively painless 5% shift and just do it.
This might be all you need to get started on a desired new path.
Good luck! Let me know what works for you.
What we focus on can give us more clarity OR get us to hyper-focused, losing sight of the big picture. For me, I think this is a crucial distinction to understand right now. Take a look at the very subtle differences in the photos. I focus on the fungus in front and the whole picture shifts. I focus on the fungus in the back and everything changes…even the light a little bit. Perspective.
I feel this shift a lot when parenting teenagers. What do I need to pay attention to right now? Should I use a different lens here? Why am I so focused on this right now? Should I take a broader look OR get in there and really explore one singular issue, letting other things fall out of focus?
These are really hard questions for me to manage in a split second. However, as a very visual learner, a subtle shift in perspective made more sense to me when I thought about it in terms of photography. What we focus on grows and sometimes we need a ridiculously wide lens and sometimes we have to hyper-focus.
I chose to focus on these mushrooms and not focus on other thins for a few minutes. Aren’t they magnificent?
Interesting things happen in our lives when we get curious about the world around us.
One of my favorite lines from a movie is John Cusack’s character Lloyd Dobler in the 1989 movie: “Say Anything”.
“I don’t want to sell anything, buy anything, or process anything as a career. I don’t want to sell anything bought or processed, or buy anything sold or processed, or process anything sold, bought, or processed, or repair anything sold, bought, or processed. You know, as a career, I don’t want to do that.”
This was a line I heard in a movie 25 years ago (oh, how I loved Lloyd Dobler-and he did really remind of one of the boys I loved when I was young). It has really stayed with me and now in 2014 I think it’s becoming much clearer. I am an artist. My studio is filled with tangible original art that I am proud of and theoretically I should show to people and sell. However, I am not a salesperson. Once the piece is created, the last thing on my mind is pursuing the sale-perhaps because I am not very good it. The joy for me is in the idea and process.
I am discovering what drives me more is to show others how to communicate their own ideas more effectively in ways that could open up possibilities for their lives. So, the process I am in the middle of is figuring out exactly how to do that and what training is required of me. I don’t want to shelve my artistic and spatial gifts but I do want to channel them in a way that feels very authentic, resonates for me and helps others. Ideas…?
In my pursuit of spring changes (this girl need a lot of change) I started thinking today about the one thing I could shift to create a meaningful difference in my life. I want to look at the habits or long-held beliefs that I could shift just ever so slightly. As a culture I think we go to extremes…politics, diet, exercise, vices etc. What if, just what if one slight change in your life could net a really significant improvement to the quality of your daily experience? What could it be? What are the possibilities? I would love to hear your ideas.
I found this one line tremendously helpful. It applies to all sorts of life situations. We can get lost in the goal and not appreciate the steps of process. If you are in transition, don’t beat yourself up that you haven’t discovered your one true path, just keep going and listen to what messages are coming your way.