When Today Was Tomorrow

Today sign Those of you who are reasonably quick thinkers will already have figured out today’s topic. When today was tomorrow. That was when? Yes, of course! Yesterday. As time passes, I grow older and a beautiful spring is turning into a hot summer, I find myself contemplating about my yesterdays. That puts me in a pensive mood. My yesterdays have not only been filled with happiness and joy; there have also been very dark and unforgiving moments. And yet I know without a doubt that ALL my yesterdays as a complete whole have made me into the person I am today.

Time is an imp

… that sits on your shoulder, a little cheeky leprechaun that keeps on reminding you every so often that indeed, time flies, stops for no one and carpe diem. Early this year I turned the Time is an impcorner to the big four-oh. I dreaded that and yet it hasn’t really had that much impact on me. Age is just a number, after all. Oh, but especially for women that isn’t quite true, is it? For those women out there who have already come around that corner, you will know exactly what I am talking about when I say I hear my biologic clock ticking. I look at our children, beautiful and healthy and smartasses all around ;-), and the bigger part of me is grateful that at almost 7 and 8, they are finally getting more independant. Gone are the days of complete 24 hour physical dependancy on us as parents; basic human nature is beginning to be tended to by themselves – going to the toilet, brushing their teeth and hair, shoelaces, showers and sandwiches can all be mastered without us. YAY! A sense of freedom! And yet, where I should be absolutely ecstatic because it “frees” us of having to be available 24/7 – I can’t help but feel a little wistful as well. Our babies! It seems like only yesterday when we took away the last dummy (not without a fight), changed the last diaper and were, without a doubt, the biggest heroes for our children. Now spending time with your parents is gladly traded for hanging out with friends and the moments of hugging, kisses and cuddles become rarer and much more precious. I feel it myself and I can see it in my wife – the reluctance to let go of this time, to let them grow up into needing us less and less. And maybe this is the quintessence of being parents – the bittersweet of realizing that our children’s childhood, just as our’s was, is borrowed time and our job is to raise them right and keep them safe and sound until they can set their own sails – and help them on their own way.

So, I am 40, and I find myself thinking “what if”. In my wistful moments the thought of another baby is a wonderful one that I want to pursue. In my mind I have pictures of an angelic bundle wrapped in pink or blue, smelling like baby powder and innocence, safely tucked between my wife and I and our kids the proud big sister and brother. In moments where I am more lucid and realistic I shiver with horror at the thought of sleepless nights, breastfeeding, teething, colics, the noise and the stress of giving up your own needs completely for the coming three, four years easily. I can feel time and biology on my shoulders and yeah, I see that imp. He winks at me. And I know I will have to find a way to either mute the clock or make it happen 😉

Achy Breaky Back

40. Gone are the times of being able to eat what I wanted and just exercise an hour more if I felt my pants were getting a bit too tight around the waist. Chocolate and chips settle on my hips and thighs much faster and are much more difficult to lose again. Seriously, if you are 30 plus years old, do you remember a time when you woke up and nothing hurt? I mean nothing that was hurting or irritating or just not a hundred percent up to speed? Either it is really early onset dementia that I am suffering from or it has really been that long ago for me but folks, I am the first to admit this: I don’t remember. That doesn’t mean that I have aches and pains and little complaints all the time (although if you ask my wife, she might tell you a different story ;-)) – but dear Lord, sometimes I feel like 80 and not 40! I have done physical labor all my life since I was a kid, really, and I feel each hour of it in my back. Every bone that I have ever broken aches with the change of weather or the wrong shoes; it takes much longer to rebuild my fitness level  from “dying slug” to “acceptable” and aren’t you supposed to need LESS sleep as you get older?! Guess I haven’t crossed that bridge yet. Fell asleep in front of the TV at 9.30 p.m. yesterday. Urgh. 🙂

So, we all get older. SO what? We can adjust, and thats the key. If we believe and try to do things the same way at the same speed we used to when we were half our age, we set ourselves up for a huge disappointment of failure. Getting up at 6 a.m.  jumping out of bed (rather than rolling one vertebra at a time), eating a hearty breakfast of pancakes, bacon and eggs without any regard to weight gain or cholesterol levels or working (out) for hours without feeling our aching limbs just isn’t going to happen anymore! Personally, I find that the healthier and better I eat and live, the more power I still have left in this aging body 🙂 I believe in fresh fruit and veggies, in whole grains and powerfood, in red meat and dairy products and even sugar and cholocate, so long as it is all well balanced; my body functions well at 6 to 8 hours of sleep, plenty of fluids, good food, sun and physical exercise in any form – workouts, physical labor, sex 🙂 I believe intimacy with your partner is very important and you should never cease to make time for it or create the opportunity! Fast or slow, romantic or sexy, often and intense will make you a happier – and fitter – person ;-))). And who knows, it may even make you feel younger 🙂

The past and it’s exes

When we talk about yesterdays we also have to talk about THEM. The EXES. Most of us have them. Some we’d rather forget; some we remember kindly; and very few we may have even ended up being friends with. Lets be honest, though. More often than not, the EXES are a dangerous and uncomfortable subject. I will tell you to what conclusion I have come: exes are exes for a reason – and oftentimes for a multitude of reasons. They were a part of your past and that’s where they should stay. Does that mean that they can’t be friends or you can’t be friendly with them? Of course not! I am not preaching that you should strike them from existence in your book of life. That would be a ridiculous notion, and in my opinion a wrong one. And, by the way that holds true for the exes of your partner, as well.  Once upon a time those were people that you cared for. That – for whatever reason you may not be able to fathom anymore 😉  – you ended up being intimate with, sharing yourself with to a certain extent. Through this, they became an ingrained part of your history. True, with some exes it may feel to you like Hitler being in Germany’s unlucky history for good ….. but alas, that’s the way the world works. All of them were pebbles that made ripples in our soul’s sea — for better, for worse. Don’t dwell on the past, its a waste of time. Seriously. Remember the good times and try to forgive the bad, whether they cheated on you or lied to you or you simply fell apart. They just weren’t meant to be. You may share important memories with them; they may have been there when you encountered milestones in your life; you may even share children with them. But as much as they are an integral part of your intimate yesterday and have added to shaping you into who you are – they are not a part of your intimate today – even if effects from them are.

Which brings me to another important piece of advice: drop the jealousy. Our partners most likely haven’t entered into the relationship with us as virgins, and neither have we. Which one of us really actually stays with “their first” for life? Or their second, or third or or or 😉 Let me tell you: you have absolutely no reason to be jealous of an ex. Your partner chose you. He or she is with you. Chances are, he / she simply didn’t get what he/she needed from their ex and life happened. It happened for a reason and it made you two end up together. Don’t get stuck in thoughts of yesterday and what your partner may or may not have had with their ex. Thats of no importance and also completely irrelevant. With you, your partner reinvented him/herself. They have learned a new and, as I like to believe, better way to live with you by their side; you teach each other lessons, learn from one another and you bring with you all the experience of the past – making you BOTH more complete. Chances are you are both more empathic partners, you both know better what you do or do not want and you can bet your ass that you are both better lovers :-). You have learned all of this by more or less failure in the past. Be honest for a second and allow yourself to gloat, too, if you want – you KNOW that the level of intimacy you share with your partner is wonderfully new and more intense than anything you both knew before. Well, of course it is! You have learned, gathered experience and have gotten to know yourself better along the journey of your relationships so if anything, you should be grateful to your exes – or the exes of your partner – for adding to that well of knowledge. I love my wife both spiritually and physically with a depth and intensity and also a certainty that I have never possessed or known with anyone else and she tells me the same is true for her. By no means do I wish to say that I didn’t honestly care for my exes and I know so did my wife. The past teaches those who want to learn. We should be wise to pay attention to those lessons – and then focus all of our attention on the present and the future.

From childhood to old age

There is a country song called “Don’t blink”. It sums up life in a few blinks of an eye and tells you that before you know it, years have passed, you have grown up, you live life, your kids are grown, and eventually you die. Along the road of our lives we walk through deep, dark shadowy valleys and climb steep mountains; we know despair and elation; we know anger and forgiveness; and most of us believe in a higher being, a God, a transcendental something; we believe that everything happens for a reason. That is both a scary and a comforting thought and it relives us of the ultimate responsibility which we shouldn’t confuse with giving us a free ride in life. Karma is a bitch, and it will come find you 😉

Life is short. Live it. Be kind to others. Appreciate the little things. Give love, understanding and hold out a helping hand. Don’t close your eyes to someone in need. Make love, often and as loud as you want ;-). Enjoy the sun and the snow, take walks in the rain and play with your kids or your animals. Laugh, cry and be yourself. Be grateful for everything you have. Work hard. Forgive. Be humble. And every time you seem to be too lazy to get that butt off the couch ask yourself if that is REALLY how you want to spend your precious time. If it is, by all means, do it! Just do what makes you happy without hurting anyone in the process. And when you wake up tomorrow, actually SMILE when you feel that ache in your back because hey, it IS proof after all, that you made it this far! Be proud of who you are and what you will still become. Look around you with your eyes wide open and help make a change for the better. And for God’s sakes, please, carpe that fu**ing diem 🙂

 

 

 

 

You may or may not be Christian – I have always found the prayer of St. Francis to be my best, my ultimate guide when times got really tough. So, when I need to be reminded of how I want to live my life I speak the words in my mind:

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace:
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy.

O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console,
to be understood as to understand,
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
Amen.

As always,

Deb

I am dying to find out how you feel about the passing of time, about exes and about carpe diem 🙂 Please let me know and leave a comment! Thanks!

 

How To Make Time For Yourself

… and what that has to do with the Internet. Let’s take a look, shall we?Time

I don’t know who you are, I don’t know what kind of life you lead, where your responsibilities lay, your commitments, your work schedule, your agenda. I don’t know YOU, and yet I know OF YOU. You are a wife/husband/spouse; you are a (grand-)parent; you are a daughter/son or an -in law; you are a friend, a boss, a co-worker, a supervisor; you are single, dating, a student, a teacher, or you work the job mill at minimum wage. You are sick, healthy, strong, weak, a native or a foreigner, short, tall, thin, overweight, social or a hermit. In short, you are EVERYONE, and EVERYONE is you. I don’tEveryone need to put a label on you to know that of all the things money can’t buy, time is what you have the least of. We live in a 24/7 world that expects our presence and availability for the same insane hours. We want to be, need to be “online” always, everywhere – linked, connected, in the loop. Our lives are only experienced as fullfilling because they are, indeed, full. As a matter-of-fact, they overflow. Job, family, friends, social media, exercise, Social Media blogs, posts, news, headlines – every “event” facebooked, a picture taken of every more or less memorable moment and put on Pinterest or Instagram, we SnapChat, we WhatsApp, we Skype and Google ALL DAY LONG. Being virtually connected to the whole damnLinked world has somehow become the mother lode. Its not even that we don’t have enough time; we just waste so much of it telling our Facebook friends that we have just bought condoms at the local drug store, that we will make lasagna for a romantic dinner, that we just spent an hour and a half getting ready for our date. Privacy is a term that no longer exists nor is it valued. We don’t want to privately get it on with our hot Tinder date – we want the WORLD to know. In the clusterfuck of social media we lose ourselves and we have forgotten what to actually do with time for ourselves other than be online. And we don’t even realize that that MAKES US SICK. We become socially inept people who can’t interpret their own emotions unless there us a LIKEthumbs up or down beside the post we just put on our profile. We get stressed, our brains go on overload – too much information too fast. We actually check our phones 200 times a day on average, and one in four people spend more time online than they do asleep. To add to that, 70 % of 16 to 24-year-olds prefer texting to talking and 34 % of adults and teenagers admit they find it hard to disconnect. people online

I will make a shocking suggestion: MAKE TIME FOR YOURSELF. I will tell you HOW. YOUR task is to log off. Switch off your phone. Put away your tablet. NOW WHAT? At a loss? Can’t think of a single thing you want to do (other than logging on again as quickly as possible of course)?

Why Solitude Is So Important And Why It Scares Us

Solitude

I am promoting that you log off to seek a span of twenty minutes to an hour (at least) every day for OFFLINE SOLITUDE. Why? Solitude can be a break. It is a resort, a vacation for our minds and souls away from all the hectic and online chaos. We have forgotten to understand our need for solitude, to translate our bodies’ and minds’ signals into acknowledging a deep and true craving TO BE ALONE. Why is that? Nowadays we measure our success in terms of  acquisition and accomplishment. The society we live in sports a huge complex about “being and keeping busy”. We live in a “get it done” culture. Most of us, to be honest, have the time we could devote to simple relaxation, but we don’t. We choose to convince ourselves that something always needs to be done, another email needs to be checked, another blog Social Mediaposted, another picture instagrammed, another social media friend of the 1213 that we proudly present on FB asks for our attention. Imagine telling all those friends that you are logging off, that you are now taking an hour for yourself and no, you won’t keep them in the loop as to what you are doing….. chances are you wouldn’t get a lot of support. More than we fear social shunning we fear ourselves, though. We actually go to any length to avoid ourselves because we are scared of what we might find when its just US with no one else around, OFFLINE, NO MAKE UP, RAW. Maybe, just maybe, we will see a forlorn, flawed someone. Maybe we will see someone with flaws and fears, someone imperfect, someone who we wouldn’t want to link ourselves to on Facebook…….

So, when we accidently DO look we convince ourselves that we see someone who, now that they are offline and alone, is missing out on life’s party. We choose to confuse solitude with isolation because we have actually forgotten HOW TO BE ALONE. Its a downright scary idea. Alone.

Have you ever watched a young child play by itself? They are content and self-sufficient, absorbed in their fantasy worlds, charmed by the stories they create inside their heads, KId drummingtheir own company. They don’t need social affirmation or confirmation and they don’t need to be “liked” or “befriended” by a thousand nameless, faceless strangers. They actually like themselves, are proud of themselves, think for themselves. WHY CAN’T WE?

We have become what I call “online society dependant narcissists”. We think we are the world’s greatest and we just have to share it with everyone for it is only their feedback that will confirm our Status Quo. If all those people like us – what we post, our pictures, our online life diary – then thats enough for us to like ourselves, too. We don’t actually have to be great. We just have to make enough people believe that we are. Sad really, isn’t it???Social media concept

LOG OFF

I am not kidding. Take an hour a day to log off. An hour a day that you usually would have spent on the internet – now spend it with just yourself. What will you accomplish when you follow that admittedly scary and controversial advice?  Let’s see:

  • if our focus is on external stimulation only we miss opportunities for inner growth and renewal. We don’t think about our mistakes and accomplishments, we don’t learn from them. Focus on yourself and be amazed at how much you begin to understand or see differently
  • we are scientifically proven more creative alone. Write, paint, sing, dance, create a flower bed in your yard … whatever comes naturally to you!
  • solitude can cure. If you develop symptoms that your doctor tells you are not related to a grave physical illness and can’t really be explained, look for solitude. Meditate, reflect on your life. Listen to your body, attune yourself to your core, to your inner wisdom. What scares you? Moves you? What is on your mind when you are too scared to look? It wouldn’t surprise me if your symptoms miraculously vanish
  • in solitude, we see more clearly. We are constantly pulled outside ourselves—by other people, by the media, by the demands of daily life. Nothing in our culture or in our education teaches us how to go inward, how to steady the mind and calm our attention. As a consequence, we tend to devote very little time to the life of the soul, the life of the spirit. Alone—in moments of prayer or meditation, or simply in stillness—we breathe more deeply, see more fully, hear more keenly. We notice more, and in the process, we return to ourselves

How To Actually Make More Time For Yourself

  1. Make time: sounds stupid, but can be done. Delegate, recruit your kids and spouse, re-evaluate how important stuff is.
  2. Some Things you do won’t be perfect. Learn to live with that!  Accept that you can’t get everything done. At a certain point every night, put everything down and focus on doing something you want
  3. Schedule in your free time. Hey, you make everyone else’s schedule – why not your own?? Put in a slot each day, or at least a few times a week, that are as solid as a work or family commitment. Block off an hour in the evening that you can’t break unless its an emergency
  4. LOG OFF and spend the extra time for yourself
  5. LOG OFF and instead of an hour on Facebook, do something in real lifeDigital Globe
  6. LOG OFF and exercise. It will make you feel better and give you more energy to stay up longer or get up earlier – hence more time in the day
  7. Prioritize yourself. Yes, your kids are important, your spouse is, your friends are. But PUT YOURSELF FIRST. You will be a happier and better parent, spouse and friend if you are a happier, healthier, stronger and more content person who is more in tune with herself/himself because (s)he actually dared to LOOK

Making time for yourself isn’t impossible. Stop hiding. Stop texting. Start looking, and start talking. You are real. Become real!

Thanks for reading and bearing with my ramblings again 🙂 If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to leave them below or shoot me a PM @ deb@vitalisvitae.com