If there’s one thing that I’ve learned by having a kid, it’s how to be present. And let me tell you, I am NOT good at doing this. It’s why I could never do yoga, or, um, calm down in any kind of way. My mind is always dashing out ahead, beating the starting gun, unable to stop even when it should. But factor a toddler into the equation, and forward thinking just doesn’t work. She doesn’t understand “later” or “sometime soon.” It’s either happening now, or it isn’t. And if it isn’t, that’s usually a reason to insist that it does, usually by screaming or stomping feet, whether that happening is reading another book or having a cookie.

I used to be so caught up in my own head. I’d spend vacations worrying I wasn’t enjoying myself enough (psycho, right?) and over think every decision, both personal and professional, until I was so exhausted I’d lost any perspective. But then the girl came, and suddenly I just couldn’t get that far ahead anymore. I couldn’t even catch up. Instead, I find myself like I did today, stopping everything that was planned to pull a big cardboard box into the playroom and cut a door and two windows in it. Forget lunch, or phone calls or emails. It was a box, it needed to be a house. Not later, or someday. Now. So we did.

I’ve had a lot going on lately that’s made me need to pause now and then, take some deep breaths. Work stuff, mostly, all good but the kind of thing that at times makes it sound very appealing to crawl inside your box house and shut the door. While I’m in there, I’ve been trying to look for inspiration, and I’ve been lucky to find it in several different places, not just my daughter. One place is this blog by I read sometimes. I’m not going to link to it, and I’m not going to give the author’s name, although I do have their permission to cut and paste some of one entry here. It was a birthday post:

Here’s to a birthday that was sorta busted, but there comes a time when you need to stop viewing yourself as so precious. Here’s to getting older, having more grey hair than I can comfortably pluck anymore, buying a house and learning to fix things in a house. Here’s to bucking up and learning to do more things instead of thinking it’s for someone else to do – by the grace of God, I’ll learn how to fit an O-ring on a leaky faucet handle if the boards say I can.

Here’s to an ever-slowing metabolism, here’s to accepting things, here’s to not making things so hard, here’s to seeing the solutions or embracing the realities. Here’s to not complaining about something if I’m not going to try to actually change it.

Here’s to giving in. Sometimes it’s not giving up as much as it is giving in. Here’s to a year where I give in more than I fret about giving up. Life is good, there’s no perfection, and there won’t be, and there’s no way to approach it, as zero is always infinitely approaching one, no way to arrive at it. I am on the wrong ride, I am getting off, I’m getting on the other train, and I’m getting dessert and wearing shorts in the yard where I’ll spend the rest of my life fixing this loose board and this rotted board.

Here’s to walking away with confidence if something doesn’t work.

Here’s to nixing unhealthy discussions about weight.

Here’s to quietly deleting assholes.

Here’s to not always being the one who tries to make things work. Or letting people make me feel that way.

Here’s to being enough, whatever that means.

Here’s to giving more face time and lip service to the things that are good. Because I have money and everyone is healthy, so what’s the big deal? Here’s to sorta shutting up.

Here’s to just dealing, instead of talking about dealing.

Here’s to probably breaking these rules, b/c I rarely do so much right.

The only thing holding me back is me, and it’s not brave, it’s total martyrdom, and it’s really annoying. I can only imagine how annoyed other people are with it. It’s a new year. Here’s to letting go.

I just really liked that. So much that I cut and paste in on my desktop, where I can read it whenever I come out of my box house.

The other place I’ve been finding inspiration is even closer to home: my family. Now, I’ve written here before about my parents and how awesome they are. But I haven’t said much about my older brother, just because he’s a private person and doesn’t need me to. But he is also an INCREDIBLE musician, a fact I was reminded of when I looked up his latest jazz ensemble on YouTube and found they had some performances posted. He will probably kill me for doing this, and most likely I’ll remove the link. But watching him play, and remembering how much he practiced, day in and day out, while we were kids (and I was watching TV and eating cookies) reminds me constantly that nothing worthwhile comes easy. If you’re not into jazz, I understand. I’m don’t know much about it either. But you can just watch the start, if you like. He’s the one playing the trombone:

Okay. Off to put another couple of windows in that house….

Have a good day, everyone!

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