Thursday, December 17, 2015

On the Value of Living Authentically


The following quote flew through my Facebook feed this morning and was attributed to Keanu Reeves. I have zero idea if Keanu really said any of that (probably not), but I agree with it wholeheartedly either way. It perfectly describes where I'm at mentally and emotionally as far as my feelings about living life.
"My friend's mom has eaten healthy all her life. Never ever consumed alcohol or any "bad" food, exercised every day, very limber, very active, took all supplements suggested by her doctor, never went in the sun without sunscreen and when she did it was for as short a period as possible- so pretty much she protected her health with the utmost that anyone could. She is now 76 and has skin cancer, bone marrow cancer and extreme osteoporosis.
My friend's father eats bacon on top of bacon, butter on top of butter, fat on top of fat, never and I mean never exercised, was out in the sun burnt to a crisp every summer, he basically took the approach to live life to his fullest and not as others suggest. He is 81 and the doctors says his health is that of a young person.
People you cannot hide from your poison. It's out there and it will find you so in the words of my friend's still living mother: " if I would have known my life would end this way I would have lived it more to the fullest enjoying everything I was told not to!"
None of us are getting out of here alive, so please stop treating yourself like an after thought. Eat the delicious food. Walk in the sunshine. Jump in the ocean. Say the truth that you’re carrying in your heart like hidden treasure. Be silly. Be kind. Be weird. There’s no time for anything else."

Honestly, I have no interest in living to be super old at any cost. I've never dreamed of making it to 100 just because. Given the choice, I'd far rather live a short life the way I want to than a long one filled with restrictions and missed experiences. I'm only 39, but I'm old enough to already have a few regrets to look back on. I can assure you they are not the regrets other people swore I would have by this age when I was younger.

I regret not living authentically a lot sooner in life. I regret saying "no" to so many things that potentially would have been fun because I was too worried about what other people would think. I regret spending too much time and money worrying about appearances and collecting "things" that I no longer care about instead of investing more in experiences and making memories. I regret not saying "no" to people, commitments, and relationships I didn't want in my life so that I could say "yes" to the ones I did want. I will probably always regret those things because I will never get my teens or my 20s back and I hate that I didn't spend those years actually enjoying being young.

I do not and never will regret eating as many burgers and hot dogs as I wanted at Fourth of July barbecues. I don't regret the chances I took on people that intrigued me, even in the instances things didn't work out. I don't regret the times I flat-out refused to let other people make me feel like I have to apologize for who I am. I don't regret having been someone that actually takes the time to stop and smell the roses. I don't regret saying "yes" to bacon, and sex, and laughter, and art, and love. I never will.

I guess only God knows how and when I'm destined to leave the planet. I will graciously accept however many years he decides I belong in this body and living this life. However, should God's plan actually see me living to be 90 or 100, I fully intend to be able to say that I lived my life the way I wanted to. That I ate well, laughed a lot, and spent my days as joyfully as possible.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

On Dead Men and the Immaculate Conception

I had one of those pleasant little surprises waiting for me when I logged into Elance to transfer a payment a client made this morning. I was delighted to see that there was more than twice as much money waiting for me than I thought there was. I've been relatively busy lately, juggling a lot of different assignments from multiple clients, so I'm a little bit behind on my bookkeeping. When that's the case, this kind of thing can happen, but it definitely doesn't happen often.

A past payment must have taken longer to clear than usual and not have been ready the last time I made a withdrawal. Obviously, I earned the money at some point, so it isn't really free money. It felt like free money though, so it was a really nice way to start our Feast of the Immaculate Conception today. So much better than finding a twenty in your coat pocket or something. It was enough to absorb this month's cell phone bill I just paid, which was nice.

That's the odd thing about how life has changed since I first started working on my relationship with God, and Mary, and all the saints a couple of years ago. Sometimes things happen that make me feel like I've just been blessed or shown in some small way that I'm watched over and cared about. That's a nice way to feel.

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In other news, I feel like I've been thinking about dead men a lot lately -- more than is normal for me. I think the death of Scott Weiland last Thursday is finally coming home to roost on an emotional level. It's not quite the big thing Kurt Cobain's death was back when I was in high school, but I can tell I have some feelings about it that are bubbling to the surface now that I've had time to process that. Scott is yet another little piece of my coming of age that isn't around anymore. I worry that one day all of my creative heroes from those days will be gone... and then what?

I've never even been interested in drugs, let alone actually used them, but for some reason I've always identified so strongly with these tortured artists that were so creative, but eventually wound up destroying themselves -- if not with drugs, then in some other way. Jim Morrison, Jimi, Scott, Kurt. I'm not a man or a rock star by any stretch of the imagination, but I relate to about some of the feelings of not belonging and of feeling like you might just be destined for destruction on some level. 

There are more feelings and thoughts I'm chewing on at the moment when it comes to all of that, but they're not quite ready for the light of day. I just hope I remember to write them down when they're fully formed. I haven't been as good about keeping a running dialogue going with myself as far as what's going on in my head spiritually when things like these happen.

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We'll be celebrating the Feast of the Immaculate Conception tonight in true Cat and Wolf style -- with a Holy Pepperoni pizza from Screamin' Sicilian. Fast, easy, and relatively inexpensive for those days when there's still work to be done -- absolutely perfect. And then there's Christmas to look forward to. My head's been full of thoughts lately and my heart's been full of feels, but life is pretty good at the immediate moment.