Tag Archives: reflection

So what’s going on with Colette?

I feel like this post is overdue, if only that a longer post of some kind has been brewing in my semi-subconscious for awhile now. There’s a lot of different things I’d like to write about but rather than overwhelm myself (a tendency of mine), I think I will just write and see what happens.

Two or three years ago – I could figure out which if I really¬† had to – I went into winter feeling a sense of dread.¬† Although I am well-versed in the symptoms of SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder), I had no recollection of ever having felt that specific emotion in regard to the season before that year. I think it was because I have this unresolved problem in my life that has greatly impacted me, particularly¬†quality of life. I have never named the problem in the blog and I don’t want or need to. (No one is dead, dying, or anything like that.) Two years ago I made real strides toward my attitude about the problem; if I couldn’t make it GO AWAY (it’s not under my control to do so), what could I do? I found better ways of coping and my attitude – while not delightful on this issue – has improved. That dread I felt two or three years ago, specifically as winter came on, has not returned.

I am a great believer in¬†controlling what you can control in any given situation. (Yeah, yeah, I know people say you can always choose your attitude, but that’s a lot easier said than done, grumble, grumble.) In 2018 and again in 2019, I set “kinda sorta New Year’s resolutions” for myself, all things well within my control, and I have decidedly benefited from them. (I haven’t said much about the progress of my 2019 goals but while I haven’t nailed all of them down, I have done a lot, and maybe I’ll get to that in another post.) There’s things I’m doing all the time – eating well, staying in shape, maintaining an orderly life/home for a few – but the resolutions were/are about doing very specific things in addition to the “regular stuff.”¬† They force me to focus. To not drift. To¬†challenge myself a bit.

I daresay I have a little kick in my step recently and almost feel if not excited, then almost welcoming, toward winter. I live where there are seasons, and while I adore summer above all, there are things to enjoy in each season, or to try to find to enjoy. A fault of mine is a tendency to believe winter comes immediately on the heels of summer. Namely, if summer is over, everything is about to go to hell in a hand basket. Not so! I paid attention to fall this year. I even liked it. (You can keep your sun-dropping-out-of-the-sky-at-4:30pm however. And I despise being cold, like Jan-Feb cold.)

A lot of things in my life are going right or at least are not going badly. There’s much to say for that, even though I, like many people, are quick to see what is wrong and perhaps to give it too much weight. The perfect life is not coming for me. I’m not waiting any more for it or any other pie-in-the-sky reality.¬†This is my life. Please know these thoughts aren’t related to anybody else or social media (nowadays any malaise and dissatisfaction people feel is often attributed to comparing oneself to other people, especially those viewed on social media). I guess what I’m saying is that in younger years I was guilty, as are many, of¬†waiting for things to happen in my life that would provide satisfaction or happiness or something along those lines. And this: if you live enough decades your life is bound to meander all around, metaphorically if not literally. You never reach a point and¬†coast.¬†I understand that now and more or less accept it.

When your energy is getting sucked up by bad stuff or nonsense, you don’t have enough leftover to better yourself or your life.¬† At least I don’t. Maybe that’s obvious but I don’t think I always understood that. I have more energy and initiative lately. For years, I think I’ve actively been clearing the nonsense from my life anywhere I can. I was always a straight-shooter but I have less and less tolerance for bullsh*t. I used to more or less jump when anybody wanted my attention or time. Over the years I trained myself to respond differently.¬† I freely give lots of my time and attention when I think it’s deserved. Or appreciated. Or worthwhile. I’m not too busy. I’ve never been “too busy.” Never wanna be either. That said, I have bumped myself to the top of my list. I pay attention to my needs first. Some of us don’t come by that naturally. It’s taken awhile.

 

 

Look back (move forward)

I have a reflective nature. Sometimes I’m even more reflective than usual. I think that as I get older, I have more to look back on but curiously, I find myself returning to my earlier years in that they stand out in relief. On a timeline, they draw my attention.

It has occurred to me recently that my life was¬†front-loaded. The specific ages of 19-25 had the most significant events packed into the shortest period of time. I don’t remember thinking that as it happened but here, from a good distance, it looks that way. When I think of the events of my life from those years, I want to lay down and take a nap. As a group, it appears exhausting. Then again, maybe that is from my current perspective. At the time, what the hell did I know? It was just my life.

In part, the importance of those years is tied into a number of “firsts” which lends them a certain gravitas. That’s not the whole of it though; it wasn’t all about the emotional wallop of first-time experiences.

Certain occurrences were brought on by my own hand; others were beyond my control. I simply can’t think of another period in my life so far that had as many of both. It isn’t that nothing much happened after those years – plenty did, has – but for sheer drama and impact, those years are it. (If I can help it, I’ll never again have a set of years like those; once was enough.)

If I go ahead and include the first 19 years of my life in this equation, then the years from birth to 25 had the most intense, dramatic events. It’s no small point that the first 19 years of my life were lived with my family; my many siblings and my parents. It was a dramatic, chaotic, populated, volatile household. While I had some notion of that while I lived in it, it is increasingly with years that I see just how dramatic/chaotic/populated/volatile it was.

In some respects, I’m still working out everything that happened before I was 26. Or– maybe I’m just revisiting them, I’m not sure. Don’t get me wrong – these aren’t bad thoughts. I don’t feel stuck or unable to get out from under long-ago happenings. I just think I’m appreciating it from a different angle. I never thought of my life as¬†front-loaded before this past week and I’m rather taken with the term and the idea. I haven’t figured out everything it means yet but it gives me a fresh(er) way of looking at things.

Gimme some of that sunshine, you stingy weather gods

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I usually associate the early part of the year, marked by its increasingly longer daylight hours with a parallel upsurge in mood and energy. I was starting to wonder, though, what was the matter with me this year; I felt unmoved and pretty unimpressed on a few days when the temperature was noticeably above freezing. Why did I or other people think this time of year was so nice? Why did the TV forecasters carry on so? Had I changed? Was I not remembering things correctly? This really wasn’t doing anything for me.

Then, two days ago I spent several hours outdoors. The day started overcast and gloomy but as it progressed the temperature rose and the sun showed itself without reserve. Not only that, but a magical warm breeze – warm mind you – picked up and swirled the air in almost whimsical fits & starts. It was a breeze, the kind that spins leaves and stray newspapers, not a cold bracing wind that blows hats off or forces walkers to determinedly bend forward and march against it to make any forward progress.

Enchanted by this unexpected treat, I spontaneously stopped in what amounts to our “town square” – an open plaza flanked by small stores and businesses – to enjoy the moment. Dressed in grungy clothes, I felt free to roll up my light jacket as a pillow and put it behind my head as I reclined on a bench. I kept an eye on occasional passerby; the few people around seemed leisurely and almost as pleased as I knew I was with the delight of pleasurable weather. The vibe was laid-back.

As I lay on my concrete and wood bench (nobody said they were built for comfort) I realized it was the most peaceful and relaxed I’d felt in some time. I wasn’t stewing or ruminating about this or that or thinking about things to accomplish, but even more importantly, I wasn’t cold. Now that may seem like an obvious point being that winter is known for cold and spring not so much, but what I mean to say is that I wasn’t tensing against being cold, which I seem to do pretty much from October on, indoors and out. I am almost NEVER somewhere that could be described as overheated [insert eye roll]. I realized that, like with any particular state of being, I become so used to tensing against the cold that I no longer know I’m doing it. Until I stop.

Summer 2014

I liked this summer, when all was said and done. It wasn’t perfect; I had things I was dealing with that were taxing at times, I didn’t do anything particularly amazing, and I felt a potent sense of loss at the recent death of Robin Williams. Still, I felt like I was “in” it, you know? That I didn’t wait around for summer to start or weigh it down with a raft of expectations before it got going. I attribute this in part to a philosophical shift. Instead of waiting or hoping for an optimum this-or-that, I’m more attuned to what is right in front of me. This has nothing to do with seizing every moment or living life to the fullest or any such hoo-ha – I don’t, never have, confident I never will. More a matter of paying attention, maybe, to what is accessible to me now, and working it, if I have it in me to do so. I remind myself that whatever I may think of the present, there may come a time when I am nostalgic for it.

I find myself revisiting the theme from my older post because I’m still exploring it, seeing how it plays out in my life. This summer was a good example. It was different than I thought it might be for a couple reasons, but I liked that I adjusted, focusing on what was working, and not as much on what wasn’t. There will ALWAYS be things that aren’t “working” but maybe I see that age in and of itself has brought me a bit of resiliency. Oh, I do my share of inward (and some outward) railing… tilting at windmills, but more selectively, i.e., just because there’s a windmill, I don’t have to auto-tilt.

I suck it up more. Many a time I tell myself in response to something I don’t like or would prefer different: Tough. Not to be mean – I’m mindful of that – but realistic.

“Suck it up” and “Tough” aren’t going to be too many people’s versions of feel good mantras, but I find them useful notions. The world – my world – isn’t a place that runs ever smoothly, nary a glitch or problem in sight. There is simply nothing to be done about a lot of it, but to adjust one’s thinking, if needed, and if possible. I’m reminded of the saying that success, or something like that, is the result of continuing to get back up. That ties into resiliency for sure, continuing to try, which, in the end, is usually all you can control.

It was a good summer.

Short Thought 57 (age)

I don’t know if I am unusual in this or not, but in the middle of life, I see myself on a continuum. Once in awhile I’ll spy a little girl, with long, light-colored hair, who seems bookish and sensitive, and think to myself, I was you. Other times I’ll see an older lady, one with spunk and her own style, and think, I’m going to be you.