Pursuing Radical Silliness & Becoming Myself

IMG_5045 I think I’m getting closer to being who I am. I’m starting to listen to the voice inside more, letting myself do things I used to put off or talk myself out of that bring me joy. For reasons I don’t understand, I spent many years not really swimming much; I’d go in the lake if the kids did, but rarely just to please myself. Reading through previous blog posts I’ve come to realize that somehow, swimming and connection with water has become a kind of touchpoint for me. So this summer I guess it’s all about the water. Every opportunity I can find, I’m in. I’ve started travelling with my swimsuit and towel in the back of my car. If I forget to bring it and the opportunity presents itself? I guess I’m going commando.

Do women do this more than men? Hold ourselves back from what makes us happy because of some crazy inner voice or fear or sense of propriety? Maybe it’s just me… I recently read a fabulous quote by Anne Lamott and it grabbed me by the throat. I’ve had it on my fridge since the day I read it.

“Oh my God, what if you wake up some day and you’re 65 or 75 and you never got your memoir or novel written, or you didn’t go swimming in warm pools and oceans all those years because your thighs were jiggly and you had a nice big comfortable tummy, or you were just so strung out on perfectionism and people-pleasing that you forgot to have a big juicy creative life, of imagination and radical silliness and staring off into space like when you were a kid? It’s going to break your heart. Don’t let this happen.”

I’m 48, soon to be 49. That gives me a bit of time between today and 65 or 75 but based on the last few decades, it’ll be here before I can say Huh?  My mother is 70, and she’s 21 years older than me. Doing the math left me a bit stunned when we celebrated her birthday. That means I’m only 21 years from 70. Holy…. To me, that means I’m on a mission now. I’ve got a lot of experiences that have been waiting around for someday. I want to go to the night market in Chiang Mai,  to Vietnam,  Positano, Provence… I MUST visit the Caves of Cappadocia in Turkey. I’ve always wanted to, in fact. Now it feels a bit urgent.

I know I may live another 40 years, happy and strong and sassy but I’d better get a move on. I’m not waiting… I’m not waiting to have the right person to travel with. Not waiting for a new partner, a best friend with the same travel style and vacation days and budget as me… I’m going to go. This summer I’ve camped on my own, swum on my own, gone hunting for cool new experiences on my own.

This fall, the universe willing, I’ll be travelling to South East Asia. On my own. That is simultaneously exhilarating and terrifying… fingers crossed it’ll be one of the biggest adventures of my year. I’m not going to lay money that it’s going to be the biggest though; of the 365 days 2015 has to offer I’m hoping to create some pretty spectacular memories. I’ve already tucked a few into my “to be reviewed later” folder… can’t wait to add a few more. Wanna go for a swim? IMG_5073 FYI, these photos were taken a couple of years ago at the summit enroute to Skagway Alaska. That lake… it’s brisk. We’ll call it brisk. But it was glorious and I’ll be forever glad I jumped in.

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Life is short, and all that.

ImageSo what’s it going to be for you? The thing you will most regret, lying on your deathbed, breathing your last? Will it be the trips you didn’t take, the book you didn’t write? Maybe the bucket list items that never got checked off?

Not me. No, I’ll have lots of trips not taken, books not written and all that, but that’s probably not what I’m going to regret. At least it’s not what I fear I’ll regret. I’m afraid I’m going to regret not living enough. Not loving enough, not laughing enough, not making the most out of the friendships and relationships that matter to me. Not having enough sex, not getting my hands and feet dirty often enough, worrying too much, staying too closed and careful.

Life is not the good china. It can’t be saved for when company comes. It’s gotta be used… used up. This is a lesson I need to teach myself every day. You’d think, by age 46 that I’d have clued in to that by now.

I’ve gotta shift the crap around, the crap that keeps me from doing the things I love, the things I want to love, the things I fear. I have to find a way to be fearless in the way I used to be, or fearless in a way I want to be. Maybe not even fearless at all, but brave enough to just take a deep breath, plug my nose and jump into the deep end of living.

So that, my friends, is my Valentines wish. I want to really live. Live big, loud, ugly, funny, beautiful and awkward. Trip, dance, fall, get dirty, embarrass myself, try again, Look foolish, say the wrong thing (at least I said something), make a new friend, mend a lost friendship, find my centre, get lost, get dizzy. Be real. And have more sex 😉

Cheers…