Getting Unstuck

Stuck in a Rut Without an Oar

My coffee’s cold

Shoes are tight

New movies suck

I’m up all night





The phone never rings

Text, text, text

No more flings

Next, next, next





In the middle of a forest

Can’t see through the trees

Virus has me crazy

My dog has fleas





Somethin’s gotta give

Belt is outta loops

This ain’t no way to live

Don’t wanna join no groups





Walkin’ all day

Workin’ it out

Don’t know how to pray

Got a permanent pout





Stop Your Whining

There is only one way out of this rut. No, that’s not true, in fact, there are many ways out of this rut. I’m cheering myself up, bear with me.

The pandemic is/was tough on everyone. Being a unique situation, we all use different survival skills to navigate through it. During two extended lockdowns, I developed a routine that kept me fairly sane and allowed me the space I needed to be somewhat productive.

Developing a routine is good for productivity and bad for creativity. I’ll compare it to a machine that makes widgets. At the end of production every widget is the same; there is no variation in size or design. That’s not what I’m looking for in my life, my creative outlets need to happen willy nilly — when the spirit moves me so to speak. This is the polar opposite of routine.

I’ve been working hard to break away from all of the unnecessary routine in my life. Changing things up, cancelling my plans at the last moment (not plans with others, personal plans). This seems to work well for me. I give myself an internal high five when I can accomplish it. Ironically, it’s just another daily task; however, one worth considering.

Note: Paco’s daily walks have to be at or about the same time of the day, everyday. His internal clock is fairly precise and if I don’t make a move for his leash, he torments me with his eyes and intensity. This is one routine I cannot change. Another is coffee in the morning and many of you will relate to that one.

Precious Time

Time. Once it passes, that’s it, it’s gone, can’t get it back. At times, time seems to almost evaporate into the ether. It seemed that way during the pandemic. I assume it was routine that caused this distorted perception of time. I found this disturbing; as if someone tore a chapter out of my book and I cannot rewrite the pages.

The best way for me to deal with this, is to be more present going forward. I’ve been mixing it up, churning it around, and trying my best to make every moment count.

Putting it All Out There

A friend recently commented that she was impressed with how I was able to, “. . . put it all out there.” Being who I am, I contemplated the thoughts behind the comment. Was she in fact saying, “You overshare” or “Do we really need to know all that?” I’m hoping she shared what she shared with the best of intentions, that is, that my candor was refreshing, unique, or brave. I may never know for sure. What I do know, is that sharing my reality helps me to keep things in perspective.

Travel Helps to Change Things Up

One of the many reasons I love travel, it that my daily life changes dramatically when I travel. There was a time when I would try to have the same schedule: up early, exercise, language lesson, answer emails, etc. No more of that nonsense when I’m on the road. The last few trips did not include gym time. Instead I took lengthy walks or cut out exercise altogether. I’ve discovered that giving my body a few days off is actually a good thing. In fact, I think your body is not the only part of you that benefits from the break — I believe your mind also responds favorably. I cannot quantify positives, but I can feel it and that’s what counts.

Cutting A Former Partner Out

I have a former partner who was in my life in a significant way for a long time. When our relationship ended, we agreed to remain friends. If you can take the best parts of a relationship and savor them, that’s a good thing right? Grown up, mature even. After a while I realized that I was the only one of the two of us, reaching out. That speaks volumes about the other person and what they think of me and/or us. I have decided to cut them out of my life. I found seeing his life laid out in front of me on Facebook and Instagram, hurtful. Removing the thing that brings you pain is mature as well, yes? What do you think?

It’s interesting to know that he will never see this and that he might not even realize that ties have been severed; oh well. I think that says it all.

26 Inspirational Walking Away Quotes to Make It Easier - EnkiQuotes

Going Forward

Life, Evolution, and My Blog

Photo by Robin Schreiner

April was a significant month for me, the United States government officially acknowledged my hard work and said, in not so many words, you can retire now and we’ll give you back a fraction of the money you paid in for all of those years — 43 years to be exact. For reasons I won’t go into here, I have decided to wait on those funds a bit longer.

Still, milestones are laden with questions and expectations: Am I retired? Have I achieved all that I desire? What is my ultimate purpose in life? What matters most? Are there more rats in the world than people? Who really cares?

My Blog

When I started this blog three years ago, I was addressing three important personal concerns:

  1. What will I do with all of my spare time now that I am no longer employed (my choice)?
  2. Does anyone care about what I think? It’s all about feeling relevant.
  3. Can I monetize blogging?

Time is a tricky reality. When you are happily doing what you want to do, it just sort of slips away. I have never truly felt “retired.” My days are filled with so many wonderful and interesting things to do and now that travel is back in the mix, I don’t think I’ll have much time to think about time.

Some people do seem to care about what I have to say; however, oddly, not my family. I don’t think any of them follow my blog. Perhaps if I ask them to read a particular piece, they might. At first I was hurt by this, but I have evolved and now I could care less. I do have several close friends who read my blog each week and some even comment. I convinced myself early on that I write for myself; so much of life is what you tell yourself.

I cannot monetize my blog because I refuse to make it about one thing. My topics are all over the place and that’s the way I want it. Money is important, but it’s not everything.

The bottom line is that I’m been fairly structured about publishing on a timeline/deadline. It’s been weekly from the start and that has worked fairly well for me. My schedule for 2021 has changed dramatically due to my travel plans. Most of my 2020 trips were moved to 2021, making it more difficult to stick with a weekly format. So basically, I will continue to write, but my posts will be more sporadic. This will provide more freedom, less structure, and perhaps my readers will enjoy the anticipation. I’ve been trying to be more loosey goosey for years; I’d like to think I’m coming around. Not easy when you’ve behaved a certain way your entire life. Other people do not impose expectations, it’s all me. Time to get away from that if I can, this is a start.

Routine

My problem with routine is this: I think after a while anything can become boring. I realize there has to be some order in my life; Paco for example expects to go out certain times throughout the day. Sleep on a schedule is important; without sleep I’m useless. But so many other things can and will be more spontaneous. Here are just a few of my daily “must dos” that will hopefully become less structured:

  • coffee in the morning
  • Paco to the dog park
  • gym time (I prefer early morning when I have optimal energy)
  • chores
  • blog writing
  • eating meals
  • reading
  • watching the news
  • catching up with friends
  • journaling
  • cleaning
  • trying out a new recipe(s)
  • tending to my terrace garden (plants and herbs)

Up to this point I actually noted many of these daily to dos on my daily calendar. I find way too much comfort in checking things off a list. Yesterday (Sunday 5/2) I went about my day with a blank calendar. By the end of the day I was amazed how much I got done just by doing things when I felt moved to do it. I planted on my terrace, grilled, and hung some photos; none of these things were planned.

Now you need to stop laughing; it’s just not right. I can do this. I can change. I will change. Now I’m laughing.

There is a part of the day that I have come to love and appreciate; I don’t believe that I should shake things up to much. After dinner I take Paco to the park across the street from my apartment. There are always people strolling, runners running, and other dog walkers — I don’t know most of them and I like it that way. It’s peaceful. It’s the start of the winding down process. Once we are inside and my teeth are brushed, there is no more eating; sometimes a snifter of brandy, sometimes not. I save my favorite series from Netflix or HBO for this time of day. If there is a new film out that I can subscribe to, I order it. My cell phone automatically goes on do not disturb and so does my brain. The light from the sun going down is magical in the late spring and summer. This two or three hour ritual prepares me for sleep. I have learned the hard way, one cannot go from 60 to five in 30 minutes. Why mess with a process that is almost guaranteed to make a restorative sleep possible.

Going Forward

I entitled this post “Going Forward,” in truth, this was a roundabout way of telling you that in the future, I will only be writing when I have something to say. If you’re a subscriber, they will be dropped into your email box whenever I complete an entry. Please continue to comment and provide feedback — it’s fuel.

The importance of leaving room for spontaneity in your life is just as  important as having a schedule in your… | Spontaneous quotes, Cool words,  Inspirational words

I read The Midnight Library by Matt Haig this week. If you’re searching for meaning in your life, I highly recommend this wonderful, insightful, provocative, novel.

Reinventing Yourself

I have always admired people who decide to make themselves over. I don’t necessarily mean changing the way you look (i.e., dress, hair, plastic surgery). This piece is more about changing the course of your life; your trajectory.

Trajectory
A trajectory or flight path is the path that an object with mass in motion follows through space as a …

 

We are all traveling through time and space; no doubt for most of us, it’s happening too quickly. We often feel stuck, lost and out of control. Stop the world I wanna get off . . .

 

 

I love change and I believe change is what we often need to jump-start our lives. It’s way too easy to go about your day just checking the boxes and watching life go by. By thinking  and navigating in a new direction, you can change the course of your life forever. For example, you come home every day thinking about how much you hate your job. You think that if you leave that job you’ll never get another one or you won’t make as much money, so you stay; that’s a rut many of us are in. It’s easy to get there and difficult to get out or is it? Without discussing the details of your situation, talk to people about what they did when they decided that they were unhappily employed. Many people will tell you that they feared the worst possible outcome, but instead, made a move out of desperation and low and behold, it ended up being the best thing they’d ever done. You hear this story over and over again, yet fear holds us back. Risk taking is hard for us, however, it is often the impetus for a very pleasant and much needed change.

Okay, here I go again with the list. Sit yourself down with a pen and pencil or turn on your phone and record. Allow yourself to dream and dream big. You’d be surprised how many people never allow themselves to imagine alternatives. We place limitations on ourselves that prevent us from reaching our full potential. How will you ever know what is possible unless you allow yourself to venture outside of your comfort zone? I remember the very first time I went for a run. I was with my friend Nancy and she said, “Let’s go for a run?” I was 17 years old, grossly overweight and extremely unhappy. I argued that I was too fat and that I couldn’t possibly run more than one block — in Brooklyn distance is measured in blocks. Nancy said, “Well, let’s just run a block today and maybe a block and a bit more tomorrow?” I thought, I could probably run a block and what a wimp I’d be if I didn’t at least give it a try.

I recall struggling to reach the end of our street. I was out-of-breath and certain I was going to have a heart attack, but it felt strangely exhilarating and in truth, I did meet my goal. I agreed to hit the pavement again the next day, except that this time I wore sneakers and running shorts. Nancy and I became running partners. We ran several days a week and when I didn’t run I felt sluggish. Turns out, I was born to run. I ended up dropping quite a bit of extra weight, gaining loads of self-esteem and running for my life. The day I crossed the finish line of the New York City marathon is still one of the best days of my life. I can’t run anymore because of knee issues, however, I have never regretted giving-in to Nancy. I credit running with changing my life in a bigger way than I could have ever imagined.

What I’m proposing is something fairly easy to start or do, that can change the trajectory of your life. The following are just a few possibilities:

  • Take a trip with no return ticket or end date
  • Move to a foreign country
  • Further your education. Even one course could do it
  • Do volunteer work without telling people about it
  • Move to a different city
  • Go on a dating site or hire a matchmaker
  • Learn a foreign language
  • Throw away all of your clothing and start fresh (ALL)
  • Do a gut renovation of your home
  • Sell your place a buy something new
  • Divorce that so-called friend who has been causing you grief
  • Come out of the closet

Please share your ideas; I’ve been a bit stuck lately.

 

One other quick makeover story:

I was attending a small liberal arts college in 1979 and I hated it. The school was in a tiny, depressing southern city; it was expensive and I felt like an alien. I marched into the Dean’s office and pretty much accused the college of bait and switch tactics (being born in Brooklyn has its advantages). I think I was halfway through my first quarter when this confrontation took place. They happily refunded me most of my tuition and I drove myself to Charlotte, North Carolina and was apply to talk my way into UNCC that very day. A State school was exactly what I needed. The students were from all over the world and the campus was fairly modern and nicely situated. I made friends for life and graduated three years later. I learned a very valuable life lesson:  when you’re in a rut and there doesn’t seem to be a way out, there probably is. It may mean that you have to be assertive and venture out of your comfort zone, but it could end up being the best decision you ever made.

 

Admiration

When I think about reinventing yourself, Cher is the person that comes to my mind.

The Academy Awards : Fotografia de notícias

 

Who do you know that has remained relevant to the public decade after decade after decade. She has spunk, chutzpah, and she gives you the impression that she’s fearless. Obviously, most of us cannot say whether or not she is fearless, but in the world of show business, perception is everything. Her public support of her transgender son is also admirable, because we know she must have lost fans. I feel like Cher and I have grown up together (I can happily say that she is older) and I was fortunate to have her as a role model.

I’m sure all of us can come up with a person or two who has reinvented him or herself. Usually, when you put thought and effort into something, the outcome is positive. In the end it doesn’t matter what people think about what you’ve done; what matters is how it makes you feel.

Not sure where I heard this recently, but I do know that I like it a lot:

“What others think of you is none of your business.”

 

I like this reference:

The Ultimate Cheat Sheet for Reinventing Yourself by James Altucher