100 Life Experiences

I came across this list on my friend @mikeneumann‘s blog, “Just As I Am”.  He discovered it by way of @marinamartin and her blog “Marina’s Musings”.  While I am not usually one to play with memes, this one intrigued me enough to keep reading.   The items in italics are the ones that I have had the joy to experience.  What about you?

1. Started your own blog.
2. Slept under the stars.
3. Played in a band.
4. Visited Hawaii.
5. Watched a meteor shower.
6. Given more than you can afford to charity.
7. Been to Disneyland.
8. Climbed a mountain.
9. Held a praying mantis.

10. Sang a solo.
11. Bungee jumped.
12. Visited Paris.
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea.
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch.
15. Adopted a child.
16. Had food poisoning.
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty.
18. Grown your own vegetables.
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France.
20. Slept on a train.
21. Had a pillow fight.
22. Hitch hiked.
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill.
24. Built a snow fort.
25. Held a lamb.
26. Gone skinny dipping.

27. Run a Marathon.
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice.
29. Seen a total eclipse.
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset.

31. Hit a home run.
32. Been on a cruise.

33. Seen Niagara Falls in person.
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors.
35. Seen an Amish community.

36. Taught yourself a new language.
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied.
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person.
39. Gone rock climbing.
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David.
41. Sung karaoke.
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt.
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant.
44. Visited Africa.
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight.
46. Been transported in an ambulance.
47. Had your portrait painted / drawn.
48. Gone deep sea fishing.

49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person.
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris.
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling.
52. Kissed in the rain.
53. Played in the mud.
54. Gone to a drive-in theater.
55. Been in a movie.

56. Visited the Great Wall of China.
57. Started a business.
58. Taken a martial arts class.

59. Visited Russia.
60. Served at a soup kitchen.
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies.
62. Gone whale watching.
63. Got flowers for no reason.
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma.

65. Gone sky diving.
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp.
67. Bounced a check.
68. Flown in a helicopter.
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy.
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial.
71. Eaten cavaier
72. Pieced a quilt.
73. Stood in Times Square.

74. Toured the Everglades.
75. Been fired from a job.

76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London.
77. Broken a bone.
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle.
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person.

80. Published a book.
81. Visited the Vatican.
82. Bought a brand new car.
83. Walked in Jerusalem.
84. Had your picture in the newspaper.
85. Read the entire Bible.
86. Visited the White House.

87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating.
88. Had chickenpox.
89. Saved someone’s life.
90. Sat on a jury.
91. Met someone famous.
92. Joined a book club.
93. Lost a loved one.
94. Had a baby.
95. Seen the Alamo in person.

96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake.
97. Been involved in a law suit.
98. Owned a cell phone.
99. Been stung by a bee.
100. Read an entire book in one day. (many, many times!)

Now is the time, are you ready for it?

We all experience moments of deep awareness of life and our place in it.  What separates those with a fervor for life from those who are just willing to settle is their willingness to expand those moments from single experiences to a lifetime of movement. The ones who are ready to acknowledge that those moments of awareness are our inner selves telling us that this is the time to act.

Remember that nagging feeling that you should be doing something or that sudden insight into a person, place or situation?  How often do you listen to them?  How often do you stop and realize that these moments are your little push to do something.  That somewhere inside you there is a little voice or feeling telling you that this is the time.  The time to think, the time to feel, the time to act.

All too often we get wrapped up in the busyness of our day to day lives that we let those times slip through our fingers.   We fail to realize that by letting those moments slip away we are loosing our chance at the wonder life can bring.   Then along comes those vivid reminders of just how short life really can be.  That phone call that we have unexpectedly lost a loved one, the mother of a friend has been diagnosed with a terminal illness and only has days to live (that was the one I was faced with this morning), a job has been lost, friends are getting divorced…. the list of those life shortening, life altering notices can be endless.

So faced with the reality that life is unexpected and short, the importance of recognizing those moments becomes paramount.  Experiencing those moments of awareness, listening to those little murmers in our ears to take action, allowing ourselves to be fully immersed in life – these are the things that tell us it is time.  Time to make sure we never leave this life with regrets.  Time to make sure that those we care about know every moment that they are important to us.  Time to build foundations under the castles of dreams that we have built in the sky.  TIME TO LIVE, LOVE AND LAUGH!  Are you ready?

Inspiration

It is an individual and curious quest that sends us each on our path to finding inspiration.  Yet once found, it opens a world that few would have imagined previously.  We all know that somewhere inside of us we have unique abilities, talents, skills, whatever you chose to call them.  I've recently come to believe that it is discovering what truly inspires us that leads us to uncovering those hidden abilities.   I know that there are many different things that inspire me on a daily basis sometimes as simple as a sunny day, a smile on my kids faces or a tweet from one of my friends/mentors/educators on Twitter.  The list goes on and on and at the moment that they pass my consciousness they mark themselves as sparks to be remembered.  My problem is that I forget and become complacent, failing to act on the sparks of inspiration that wind themselves through my daily life.  

In exploring the directions I want my life to take, I am realizing that I really need to start paying more attention to the things that inspire me.   That the failure to follow the occasional flights of fancy that make me sit up and take notice is becoming a roadblock on the pathway to my dreams.  I need to learn to put more faith in inspiration to guide me in taking the correct fork in the road that will lead to the center of my passions.  So that now is my mission – follow my instincts, discover my inspiration and follow them both to my passion.  It will not be an easy road, changing old bad habits never is, but it is one that I hope will make my life an inspiration to others.  And isn't that what life should be about, bringing joy, inspiration and light to others?   What inspires you?  And how can you use it to improve the vision and focus on your passion and dreams?

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Limbo

limbo –

The dictionary defines limbo as

an intermediate, transitional, or midway state or place.

Or

a place or state of imprisonment or confinement.

 

The question then becomes how many of us and how often we feel we are in limbo.  That feeling of not knowing where you are going, which direction is the right one.  That place where we have imprisoned ourselves in our heads, unable to move on from this transitional place because we can’t sort out the thoughts racing through our minds or ebbing and tiding with each heartbeat.  

 

I know I am definitely one of those people who sometimes finds it easy to lose her way.   Who finds a temporary home in limbo. In that place where confusion reigns and dissatisfaction is the prevailing emotion.  When work seems to be stuck in a rut – not advancing, no longer caring or being passionate about what you do.  When you unconsciously push away those closest to you because you just don’t have the energy to deal with anyone.  When your romantic relationship seems to be on hold and you can’t tell if it is going backwards or forwards or anywhere at all.  That time when the most satisfying thing is to lie on the couch.  But I am also one of the fortunate ones.  Those wonderful people that I try to shut out because I just don’t want to deal with life.  They stand by me.  They pull me up when I don’t want to get off the couch; they hold me up when I don’t have the energy.  And then there are the loves of my life, my passions, my desires, all of those people and things who, at even the most lackadaisical of my times, are always at the back of mind.  Always there patiently waiting, as they drift through my thoughts, the remembrance of the beauty and light there past the fog. 

 

My limbo is primarily in the winter.  The short days and cold grey skies push me into an even greyer funk.  But as the theory of limbo promises it is just transitional.  Spring does come.  The green does return and with the promise

of all life can be.  Each extra hour of daylight, each new sprouting flower and leaf on the tree, they rouse my soul.  The clean warm air gently blowing and clearing the tangled cobwebs of thought from my head. And the promise of new tomorrows places me back on a path full of adventure and joy for life.   I can once again embrace the day to day, the amazing people in my life and a fresh vision. 

 

I also know that limbo will return.  It is not a stationary place or condition.  It slides in and out of my perspective.  Occasionally even returning in the middle of my favorite sunny summer days.  I can only rely on the knowledge that this mental detention is just that, a temporary detention.  And like the naughty child held after school for talking in class, my detention will end and I will be out on the playground with the rest of kids soon.   So for all of us, the challenge becomes developing an attitude that allows our personal limbos to only be that transitional state and not a permanent confinement or imprisonment. How ready am I to face that challenge?  How ready are you?

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Reevaluation

For anyone that has been following my blog for the last year, you know a major theme has been change and a lot of the focus has been my challenges and attempts in evaluating and trying to find direction in my life.  I had made some decisions to proceed with some pretty major changes in my life, including a move across the country.  Then, as it too often does, fate chose to intervene in my carefully laid plans. 

In the months proceeding my decision to move, I agonized over the decision, weighed all of my options and finally decided to take the leap.  I had explored job opportunities, lifestyle changes and all of the things a major move entails.  (And, having been an Army brat, I am very familiar with major moves!).  I thought I had really evaluated the impact the move would have on my kids, my friends, my general state of mind.   I still believe I did all of the right things in preparing to make the decision. I also don't regret having made the decision and putting the plan into motion.  What I did not anticipate was a major change in the economy which changed my employment prospects significantly.  While I had deeply contemplated it, I apparently also underestimated the intensity of the emotions both of my boys and I would feel at the thought of  such a dramatic separation. There was never a question that my boys would not move with me.  They live with their father, very near their grandmother, in the same neighborhood, going to the same schools with the same kids since they were in kindergarten.  So, at 18 and 16, they were not prepared to leave their lives. 

 

                                                     So now, I am faced with a complete reevaluation of my future plans.  The jobs that were so plentiful are now few and far between.  The tugs on my heart at the difficulty and impact my decision to uproot my life has had on my children are huge.   I had made the decision to change my life because I needed a new perspective, new surroundings, a change.  A friend pointed out recently that maybe what I needed was not so much a physical change but an emotional and mental one.  Maybe it was the actions of evaluating the options, making the decision, putting the plan in action that were what were important, not so much the actual move.  Maybe I needed to discover that I had the strength and courage within me to do those things.  And that maybe, the curve balls that fate/my higher power/karma, whatever is having the impact, are throwing my way are meant to tell me exactly that. 

I think in a large part she might be right.  There is something different about me since I have made those decisions.  It is a welcome positive change that gives me hope for whatever may come my way in the future. Now, I once again have to toil through reviewing my options and the direction my future will take.  I have not yet come to any definitive conclusions.  It is looking like I may stay here, but I may make some other changes in my life to give me the new perspective I was searching for. I may find a new environment in the form of a new house in a new neighborhood, I may start to actively pursue my interest in photography (thanks to some recent glowing compliments from a professional photographer), I may change jobs, I may start a company, I may go back to college, who knows what changes I may make.  What I do know is that whatever decisions or changes I make, I am now making them with a newly found strength, new courage, a new viewpoint.  That's a pretty fabulous feeling. 

  

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I am a Military Brat ….

This was passed on to me by an Army Brat friend. It so clearly expresses what is in my heart also

I am a Military Brat

My hometown is nowhere, my friends are everywhere. I grew up with the knowledge that home is where the heart is and the family….

Mobility is my way of life. Some would wonder about roots, yet they are as deep and strong as the mighty oak. I sink them quickly, absorbing all an area offers and hopefully, giving enrichment in return.

Travel has taught me to be open. Shaking hands with the universe, I find brotherhood in all men. Farewells are never easy. Yet, even in sorrow comes strength and ability to face tomorrow with anticipation….if when we leave one place, I feel that half my world is left behind. I also know that the other half is waiting to be met.

Friendships are formed in hours and kept for decades. I will never grow up with someone, but I will mature with many. Be it inevitable that paths part, there is constant hope that they will meet again.

Love of country, respect and pride fill my being when Old Glory passes in review. When I stand to honor that flag, so also do I stand in honor of all soldiers, and most especially, to the parents whose lives created mine. Because of this, I have shared in the rich heritage of Military life.


Anonymous

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Learning from our decisions – a conversation with my children

What decisions have you made that you would change? And would they really have created as much of a change as you think?  Those are the questions.  The answers should be yes and maybe.  If it's not than you probably made the right decision in the first place. 

The consequences of almost all decisions, except maybe children, suicide or something that lands you in jail, can generally be changed by choosing to make a better decision now.  You also have to remember that we make decisions based on what we know and who we are at the time.  Thus, there really are few "bad" decisions, only ones that change your path in life, no matter how subtle.  The goal is to then look at the new path, decide if is the one you want to take or is there one less rocky or more scenic (unless you want rocks and urban sprawl) and begin turning towards that path.  Sometimes you may have to walk parallel to it until it merges, but with focus, faith and heart, you get on it eventually.  I'm living proof.  I made a lot of self-destructive decisions that not only impacted me but those around me.  It took a very long time and a lot of very painful soul searching to understand what I was doing and why (not to mention some good medications), but once I began to start seeing it, I was able to look at myself in a mirror again without the horror, grief and guilt I used to see.  I don't believe that any of us ever really "get there", no matter what decisions we make.  That is why life has to be lived as a joyous adventure to be explored and enjoyed.  So if you are not happy with the way some of your decisions turned out, it is up to you to decide is making the changes to the consequences of those decisions worth it to you.  If so, you begin the soul-searching that will reveal the steps you need to take to get back on the path you want to be following.  And never underestimate the power of prayer, no matter what you do or don't still believe, the stillness and quiet of unloading your soul to a higher power (yes, AA inspired, been there, done that) makes finding what you are looking for much easier.

So, the goal is to try and make understandable, well-reasoned, educated decisions, but at the times you don't, it is not the end of the world, you just have to make a decision to change your original decision.

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