Those two blogs are sitting in draft status still, but no matter. I’ll get to them later. I haven’t forgotten, I just have bigger things to focus on right now. As I wind down my days spent on Lenape Lake, I go for my walks every morning with the cats and dogs as the horses much contentedly on their breakfast and reflect on where I’ve been, how far I’ve come, and where I am going. It’s a wonderful soulful start to the day and it’s nearly impossible to start my morning in a bad mood when it starts out like this. On rainy days, I lie in bed a little bit longer reading the news on my phone or some more of the book I am immersed in lately – The Happiness Hypothesis by Jonathan Haidt. It was a recommendation from my long time friend, Elliot who lives life with such passion and emotion while always pushing to educate himself and his fellow humans even more. I’ll be honest, it kicked my ass back in gear to get reading again. Despite everything going on, it’s been a good distraction from the stress and excitement of moving, the constant go-go-go of our schedules, and a reminder that growth comes in many ways. Being outside in nature is one of them. Reading is another. Building connections with others is another one.
It’s really amazing to finally be at a point in my life where my core strength is both physical and emotional. I feel more fit than I ever have been in my life, and it’s inspired me to treat myself better. I used to not take very good care of myself. I thought I did, and I tried, but after a childhood lacking any real structure when it came to health goals and nutritional education outside of the classroom or school sports, and an early adulthood spent trying to escape my childhood, by the time I tried to make a change my body had no idea how to do so. Neither did my mind. And that was the trickiest part. I had spent so many years working on my mental health without understanding the correlation to physical health that it took a lot of work to rebuild my outside to look like my inside. But I did it and wow. Taking care of myself feels better than I could have ever imagined.
You know what else, though? That’s not even why I’m here. I usually don’t mention names in my writing (Elliot got that well-deserved shout out above though!) and am intentionally vague in many ways not only out of respect for whomever or whatever may be mentioned in my writing. I do that because I didn’t come here to change your opinion of them. I didn’t even come here to change your opinion of me. No, I came here to reflect on myself and identify ways that I’ve improved, find ways that I still need to do better and push myself for positive change, and most importantly, to remind myself to enjoy the journey along the way.
I know that sometimes it may seem to some people that all I do is talk about my life which well, yes that’s true. This is quite literally my story and I am a storyteller, after all. But there’s more to it than that. You may have heard me mention “my kids” at a few points throughout here if you’ve followed along at all. I don’t usually refer to them as “son” and “daughter” because until two years ago, I was always CJ, the family friend. Things change. Life threw a lot of curve balls at all of us (to say the least…), and now we live together and they’re my kids. They’re amazing. I don’t often say son or daughter out of respect, as that was a request from them some time ago and they don’t call me mom, because well, I am not their mother. It’s a unique situation that needs no explanation to anyone but us. But sometimes they read this blog and I want them to know that I am so incredibly proud of both of them.
They may not realize it, but they’re a huge part of my life in a tremendously positive way. I think it can be easy to see life through the lens of our past, or at least I know that was one of my biggest faults I’ve been working to overcome anyway. When we do that, if we’ve had a rough past, we tend to see all of our negative traits and assume we must be a burden to those around us. It becomes harder and harder to see the joy and laughter we bring. And harder still to see the value we share in our connection with others. Make no doubt – it’s there. And I’ve learned when looking at myself as well as looking at others to see the value there and man, it’s astounding. When it comes to the value people in my life bring me – and I am not talking material things, I mean in matters of life and substance – I am so incredibly wealthy. It’s unreal, and I am so grateful. And I hope these kids realize that I am grateful for them, too.
I’m learning to let go more and more every day. I’m learning that the more I let go of the need to sort everything through in my mind, to have everything planned out, to have a map on how to get from here to there to there and over there and every stop we need to make along the way, the more life just flows. I’m not a planner – I know it may not sound like that from the last sentence but I swear I am not! I need more, like, buckets of what needs to get done in what order. I can rearrange those buckets or move them around, or possibly even hand some of those buckets off. It doesn’t need to be planned to the last detail but I like to have an idea of where I am going, most of all when it comes to the security of home.
I feel like I’ve been finding home for a very very long time, but never really have. I closed on my father’s house a week ago now, and that’s exactly what it feels like – my father’s house. Not my home. Sure, it used to be. It was our childhood home. But it hadn’t been home to me for a very very long time. The last place I owned also wasn’t really home. Sure, I owned it, but with someone else and it was a boarding farm and horse owners were always coming and going and while I am a very social creature, never having any alone time or privacy wore me down after a decade and I moved on (for that and many other reasons…). Living where I am now was a blessing in that it gave me an out, an escape route, and a 5 year plan to make another change. But life kept getting in the way. Add in a few new-to-living-with-me kids (see above), a few deceased family members and friends, and a global pandemic for good measure, and well, that’s enough to turn anyone’s life all topsy turvy. I’ll just leave it at that.
Guys, you know what? We’re so close to finding home. So close. We’re packing up here. We’re winding down our days on Lenape. I’m enjoying morning hikes on Matawa. And I’m looking forward to the next chapter that’s right here around the corner and sharing it with these two incredible kids, our menagerie of animals, and all of you. Just wait.