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When You Feel Like A Salmon

Keep swimming.

That’s how I feel these days, like I’m swimming against the current. How do I expand my reach, boost my discoverability factor? There’s a sea of books on the market, a torrent of good stories to choose from. It’s overwhelming. For me as a reader, finding that next great book to enjoy can be a challenge. Do I want romance or mystery? Espionage or intrigue? Do I want an established author or do I want to try someone new?

An indangered Chum Salmon, Oncorhynchus keta, (aka. Dog Salmon) attempts to jump a small dam on the Deschutes River in Tumwater Washington. The concrete in the foreground is the opening to a fish ladder.

As an author, it’s proves a different challenge. How do I reach readers looking for stories like mine? Book fairs, expos, online, social media–potential readers are everywhere, but I can’t be. How do we connect? Word of mouth, freebie giveaways or glittery ad banners?

Maybe I should join Kimberly in her yoga endeavor. Might calm my energy, streamline my thought process. Would probably improve my sleep, too! But seriously, as I find myself counseling my high school daughter on her education going forward, I find myself drawing on the tried and true words of wisdom. “Love what you do.” You’ll be doing a lot of it. “Don’t give up.” The time will pass anyway.

“Stay true to your dreams, and your dreams will stay true to you.” Persistence pays. Perseverance makes you stronger. **breathe** Life is a journey to be enjoyed, right?

What We Should Have, What We Should Know

It turns out I’m one of those chicks who hangs onto things, like paperwork, for too long for no reason. Statements and receipts and printouts of interest. Stuff you keep because you just might need it, but then you never ever do.

During my family’s recent move this error of mine became all too clear, since I’d had several boxes filled with the stuff that we had to tote along. And so I spent a few evenings having a sorting-slash-shredding party. No better time than now to get rid of what isn’t absolutely necessary for record keeping, I say. (I’ve decided to change my ways from here forward, too.)

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Image courtesy of fotographic1980 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Among the papers I found something I’d run across some years back, made a copy of, and kept, I suppose, for inspiration or guidance. It was neat to reread the list, now that I’m on the downhill side of my third decade.

I give you:

30 Things Every Woman Should Have

and Should Know by the Time She’s 30

By 30, you should have:

  1. One old boyfriend you can imagine going back to and one who reminds you of how far you’ve come.
  2. A decent piece of furniture not previously owned by anyone else in your family.
  3. Something perfect to wear if the employer or man of your dreams wants to see you in an hour.
  4. A purse, a suitcase, and an umbrella you’re not ashamed to be seen carrying.
  5. A youth you’re content to move beyond.
  6. A past juicy enough that you’re looking forward to retelling it in your old age.
  7. The realization that you are actually going to have an old age—and some money set aside to help fund it.
  8. An e-mail address, a voice mailbox, and a bank account—all of which nobody has access to but you.
  9. A résumé that is not even the slightest bit padded.
  10. One friend who always makes you laugh and one who lets you cry.
  11. A set of screwdrivers, a cordless drill, and a black lace bra.
  12. Something ridiculously expensive that you bought for yourself, just because you deserve it.
  13. The belief that you deserve it.
  14. A skin-care regimen, an exercise routine, and a plan for dealing with those few other facets of life that don’t get better after 30.
  15. A solid start on a satisfying career, a satisfying relationship, and all those other facets of life that do get better.

By 30, you should know:

  1. How to fall in love without losing yourself.
  2. How you feel about having kids.
  3. How to quit a job, break up with a man, and confront a friend without ruining the friendship.
  4. When to try harder and when to walk away.
  5. How to kiss in a way that communicates perfectly what you would and wouldn’t like to happen next.
  6. The names of: the secretary of state, your great-grandmother, and the best tailor in town.
  7. How to live alone, even if you don’t like to.
  8. How to take control of your own birthday.
  9. That you can’t change the length of your calves, the width of your hips, or the nature of your parents.
  10. That your childhood may not have been perfect, but it’s over.
  11. What you would and wouldn’t do for money or love.
  12. That nobody gets away with smoking, drinking, doing drugs, or not flossing for very long.
  13. Who you can trust, who you can’t, and why you shouldn’t take it personally.
  14. Not to apologize for something that isn’t your fault.
  15. Why they say life begins at 30.

 

So, how do your accomplishments (as per this list) stack up? There are a few things I still need to do…

Do you think this is a fair list? There are some suggestions that don’t register on the scale of significance for me.

How else should we measure ourselves and our successes?

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See the original content HERE, courtesy Glamour.

Music is a Beautiful Constant

I’m not too advanced with my methods of listening to music. If it’s not the radio in the car, it’s Pandora on the web. And if it’s neither of those, it’s a good old-fashioned CD.

I have a handful of favorites that I haven’t gotten tired of hearing, like OneRepublic’s Waking Up, released in 2009. I can listen to it from beginning to end, some part of each song — whether lyrics or sound — moving me in some way.

I had it going in the car this past weekend, during a lengthy drive. But the point of my post is not that particular CD, it’s what I realized while listening to it.

Life changes. Weekly, monthly, every year.

We go through divorce or say goodbye to loved ones who pass away. We switch careers, watch our kids grow, in size and in maturity. Find new things that make us happy, people who add to the quality of our days. We make tough decisions about our personal lives, decisions that disappoint or excite and that mean better is ahead, and we improve and learn and become more of who we’re supposed to be. We hurt and we celebrate.

But the music, it doesn’t change.

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Image courtesy of Theeradech Sanin at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

As I drove last weekend, the same music blasting through the speakers as so many times over so many months—and a few years—I realized that’s the magic of music. It’s not just a representation of personal taste, of entertainment, but also of emotion and existence.

The music I listen to, unchanging and powerful, ties my life together, each song a thread through who I was a few years ago into who I am today.  It’s all I’ve been through and all I’ve accomplished, plus my potential, bound by music that affects me to my core.

I think that’s beautiful.

My Tuesday Dad

In a couple of months, my dad will have been gone for five years.

The sting of his passing still strikes fresh, on those days I selfishly wish he could be here, when I want to pick his brain about life, get his opinions and advice. Have him on my team.

But also, same as the very morning we lost him, I am thankful for his release.

My dad was kind-hearted and he talked with his hands and there were certain deficiencies with some of his abilities. He dealt for so long with severe health conditions.

The same can be said of this man I see at my workplace every Tuesday morning. Oh, there are enough prominent differences that I see his individuality, but there’s also a little of my dad in there somewhere. The heart, the hands, the conditions.

Some mornings, when he says, “Hi, young lady,” in the same tone my dad would have, I reply quickly and rush off, before he can notice my watery eyes. Other mornings, we talk about the weather or about his family, and I am grateful for those occasional times I can pull away from my introversion for chit-chatting.

No exchange is profound. There is never a strong undercurrent of my dad himself. It’s just that the similarities bring me some small comfort, a glimpse of who my dad was—and still is in my heart—and that makes me happy.

On Tuesdays.

Time, It Continues

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freedigitalphotos.net

I can’t believe 2015 charged out of the gate days ago. I’ve been holding onto its horns ever since, trying my best to be completely alert and engaged, all while enjoying the ride. It’s how I want my whole year to be.

The way life seems to speed along—and continually gain momentum—isn’t a new phenomenon for many adults. (Though even my two tween daughters mind it once in a while.) Neither is, I suspect, the acceptance that the faster time goes, the more significant it becomes, and how much bigger our job is to make the most of what we have.

Yada yada. I could go on about how important perspective is, how it fluctuates for us, about how life over time is cyclical, but instead I’ve compiled some of what I found to be the most insightful thoughts related to the passage of time.

In 3… 2… 1… (See what I did there?)

“I know this much: that there is objective time, but also subjective time, the kind you wear on the inside of your wrist, next to where your pulse lies. And this personal time, which is the true time, is measured in your relationship to memory.” — Julian Barnes, The Sense of an Ending

“She knew that this day, this feeling, couldn’t last forever. Everything passed; that was partly why it was so beautiful. Things would get difficult again. But that was okay too.” — Lauren Oliver, Panic

“Time does not pass, it continues.” — Marty Rubin

“Life is defined by time, appreciate the beauty of time.” — Lailah Gifty Akita

“Life’s impermanence, I realized, is what makes every single day so precious. It’s what shapes our time here. It’s what makes it so important than not a single moment be wasted.” — Wes Moore

“Everything turns slower when she’s not around, but when she’s with me, an hour feels like a blink of an eye.”  — Rea Lidde

“Time has this way of slowing down and speeding up, depending on how it feels.” — Carol Lynch Williams, Waiting

“Time is your only enemy, it disappears very quickly and never gives you a second chance.”– Steve Douglas

This, you might say, is our time.

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