Words of Wisdom ~ Don Blanding

For as long as I can remember I’ve been at war with myself.  I long for adventure yet I crave the comforts of home.  My soul seeks new people and places to discover while simultaneously wanting longevity and stability and sameness in my surroundings and relationships.

I stumbled on this poem by Don Blanding recently and it sums up my struggles perfectly.

This blog is partly a celebration of that split personality complex.  The simpler and finer things in life, the ways I seek to branch out and explore this amazing world around us and the ways I seek to enrich but simplify my daily sphere of influence which is sometimes so small it’s nearly microscopic.

As an introvert my natural tendencies are to do things like curl up in a fluffy blanket with a mug of peppermint tea and a good book and stay there forever. If I’m feeling really brave (and the weather is cooperative) I’ll venture outside and do a little reading under the shade of a friendly tree. Not a bad existence, really. But there’s also this insatiable itch inside me that has become more and more persistent with the passing years. I think I did a pretty good job of ignoring it all through high school and college until finally, one day it would no longer be ignored.

I never set out to travel the world, or move thousands of miles from home to live in a place where I didn’t know a soul, or even to learn to play the harmonica but I’ve done all of those things and more. And while at first they happened sort of accidentally, I’ve begun to learn how to listen to that itchy inner voice and plan adventures on purpose, as well (it’s a lot more fun that way!)

Some days the introvert wins the battle and some days the adventurer claims the victory but only time will tell which side will ultimately win the war. Accidents still happen, and adventure still isn’t my default setting. I still love to escape into a world where the only conversation that occurs is between fictional characters on a printed page.  But I’m looking forward to a lifetime of continued adventures, big or small, accidental or otherwise, and sharing a few of them here with you.

P.S. I’d love to hear about your adventures as well!  Comments are always appreciated!

**Photo taken in Chiang Mai, Thailand

Music Monday ~ Frank Turner

I was introduced to Frank Turner a few years ago when a group of friends and I embarked on a postal music swap.  We’d been living in the same area just outside of DC and we were all getting ready to move on to new places and new stages of life. One of our last get-togethers included some amazing food followed by a music sharing session. We’d each compiled a mix CD of some of our favorite tunes and bands that had been meaningful at different parts of our life in hopes that the others would find similar solace as they listened in their new places miles and miles away.

It was such a hit that we decided to keep it up. Over the next couple of years we occasionally added and subtracted a few other participants but the three of us remained constant and it was always a great day when you got a CD in the mail. There were old favorites that circulated and new favorites that came along and Frank Turner was one of those new favorites.

He’s got a fabulously rough (sometimes angry) British sound occasionally channeling the likes of the Dropkick Murphys/Flogging Molly but with a poignancy to his lyrics that speaks directly to my soul. He puts on a fabulous live show, though he does have a bit of a potty mouth (so be warned if that kind of stuff bothers you!)  I highly recommend you take a listen! And if you have any suggestions for a new listen, post them in the comments below.  I’m always up for a new favorite!

Words of Wisdom ~ Ortega y Gasset

Beyond living and dreaming
There is something more important:
Waking up.
~Ortega y Gasset

This is a truth I’ve been trying to learn recently. For me, it’s sort of akin to acceptance and letting go. Dreams are great and necessary as is the monotony of every day living but when those two things meld together there’s a beautiful catharsis that occurs. We awaken to the possibilities of our dreams without holding them up as unrealistic expectations that are bound to disappoint and we begin to see the blessings in every day amidst the struggles and drudgery that often weigh us down. We accept the truth and reality of our current situation but recognize that we are not limited by those situations while concurrently recognizing that failure to live a particular dream or reach an expected milestone does not equal failure. When we wake up to each moment and fully live it we can experience something deeper than the moment itself.

**As part of surrendering to imperfections I acknowledge the ‘failure’ of a past blog and absorb a few of those former posts here in the new format. So please enjoy the next few posts, or if you for some reason followed me before please re-enjoy them a second time! 🙂

Welcome ~ Mediocre is More Than OK

I know the idea of mediocrity carries a rather negative connotation. Synonyms range from the underwhelming “not very good” to “passable,” not generally something you’d admit to aspiring to. But the word mediocre comes from Old French and Latin and literally means “halfway up the mountain.” I don’t know about you but halfway up doesn’t sound like such a terrible place.

I live in the shadow of some of the greatest mountains on the planet. I’ve done my share of hiking and climbing them and can testify of the effort it takes to reach the top. But in life there are many of us who decide not to hike at all because of the risk of never reaching the peak, or those who set out for the peak but for various reasons don’t make it and instead of celebrating the vistas they did crest and the progress they made, can only ever focus on the things they missed. As a recovering perfectionist I can relate to both groups of people and I’m sure at least one of you reading this can too.

In this blogging journey I hope to challenge the idea of mediocrity. Halfway up doesn’t have to mean failure. Halfway up proves you’ve worked hard to change from where you started to somewhere higher, and that you are still working! Halfway up gives you a different perspective and provides experiences that influence where you’ll go next.

None of us is a finished product, we are all works in progress. Just because we’ve still got a ways to go doesn’t mean we haven’t already come so far. Only halfway up? Take a look around, the view is pretty incredible.  Join me, won’t you?