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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Aside

Take a walk and call me in the morning…

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Sometimes I believe I know things; I’m known and what I say has weight,  my words can be included – they have merit. Other times, like today, I believe the value of my words is almost entirely dependent on whether my audience deems them worthy. That’s not blog speak; that’s life speak. I’ve been reminded this weekend that it doesn’t take much to silence me. That surprises me…  that it is sometimes dead easy to make me simply shhhhhh. To stop talking. To lose confidence in my own voice.

That sucks.

I felt that today…badly. But then, I took a walk in nature… a hike. I walked with a good friend along a ridge overlooking an achingly beautiful river bend; swans below, ravens and eagles just overhead and magpies calling from the trees. Ha. No silence there… no silence outside or inside of me. I am thankful for the walk, for the insane beauty all around me, for the snowless ground and the startling gift of a few extra days of autumn sunshine in the Yukon.

I came back calmer, more peaceful… confidence in my voice restored. Perspective; it’s out there, thank goodness. Sometimes you just need to take a walk to find it.