On a Journey

People often talk about being on a journey in their lives. I refer to my own life as a journey fairly often.

The thing that people sometimes forget is that the journey isn’t over until your life is. There’s no such thing as reaching a final destination as long as you are still alive. You’ll get where you want to go and then realize there’s another place, and another, and so on.

Too many times online, I’ve seen coaches and others talk about how they’ve taken a journey in their lives, and they imply or outright state that they’ve completed that journey. Now, they very well may have completed *a* journey in their lives, and I don’t intend to minimize that in the least. Every bit of progress someone makes is something to be celebrated.

The problem, in my opinion, comes when people talk about their journey as though it’s finished. As though they no longer struggle with anything at all. For some of them, that might be true, but we are humans. To say one no longer has any difficulties in one’s life, and that one has created a perfect life, does a disservice to those of us who still struggle sometimes. Who are still on our journeys. Who wonder why we can’t finish our journeys the way the people online say they have. And that’s why I consider it a disservice, because it’s setting a bar so high some people might be too discouraged to even start to try to reach it.

My journey has been going on for years now, and I’m not at the end of it. I have accomplished things. I’ve made a lot of positive changes in my life and have been able to let go of some things from my past, and some of the story I tell myself about who I am and what that means. But there’s still more work to do, and that will always be the case. I will always be on a journey.

And I like it that way.

Polyamory

I’ve blogged before about polyamory. It’s something that a lot of people don’t understand, so for the Ultimate Blog Challenge I thought it was worth bringing up again.

Polyamory, at the most basic, means having the capacity for more than one romantic relationship at a time. Someone who’s polyamorous is able to love more than one person. That’s essentially it.

It gets more complicated than that, of course. People don’t necessarily understand the difference between polyamory and cheating. The biggest difference is that in polyamory, everyone who’s involved knows about and has given their agreement to what’s going on. No one’s doing anything behind anyone’s back, unless that’s part of the agreement. (Some people who are polyamorous go by the idea of “don’t ask don’t tell,” where it’s mutually understood that they’re seeing other people but they don’t talk about it or share any information about their other partners.)

In polyamory, each relationship is its own separate entity, but the relationships can affect and impact each other. Some people practice what’s often called “kitchen table poly,” where everyone involved is friends with each other, even if they aren’t romantically involved with each other. The idea is that everyone involved would be comfortable sitting around the kitchen table for a meal together.

Polyamory takes a huge amount of communication to make sure everyone’s on the same page about agreements, schedules, and so on. Although a common misconception is that people who are polyamorous just don’t want to commit to anyone, the truth is that polyamory in some ways takes more commitment than monogamy. You aren’t choosing not to commit to anyone; you’re committing to multiple people.

There are pluses and minuses to polyamory, and this blog post isn’t going to be long enough to explore all of them. But there are a lot of books and other resources available if you’re interested in finding out more.

Why Meditation Isn’t For Everyone

Meditation is probably one of the most recommended ways to relax and clear one’s mind. There are a number of different techniques and methods, and a number of different reasons for using them.

But meditation doesn’t work for everyone. For me, sometimes it backfires completely. Instead of feeling calm and relaxed, it leaves me feeling angry and anxious. I know other people, most of whom have PTSD or a mental illness, who experience the same reaction.

That doesn’t mean meditation is a bad thing. It definitely is beneficial for some people. Even for me, there are times when it does serve to calm me down and help me focus better. And different forms of meditation might work better for some people than others. For example, some people refer to yoga as “moving meditation,” and yoga is something that might work for those who have difficulty with other forms of meditation.

It’s easy to tell people to meditate on certain questions or problems, or to make daily meditation part of their self-care routine. But sometimes the easy advice isn’t the best. Meditation can be more harmful than beneficial to some people depending on their needs and conditions. If it works for you, that’s great, but please remember not everyone will gain benefit from it.

Medication

I take several medications every day. And I’ve had several people tell me I shouldn’t take them.

I understand that some people are severely overmedicated nowadays, and sometimes medications have side effects that are worse than whatever they’re supposed to treat. For some people, not taking medication would be right move.

But not all alternative treatments work for everyone, and some don’t work at all, just as not all medications work for everyone. In my opinion, unless you’re a medical professional (including holistic medicine, depending on training) of some kind, it isn’t your place to tell someone else they should or shouldn’t be taking a certain medication or following a certain treatment plan. By all means, at least if asked, tell others what works for you, but don’t tell them that *they* have to do something just because it does work for you.

It’s even more unfair to shame someone for taking medication that, for all you know, might be saving their life. I have severe depression, and I take antidepressants. I have tried other means of managing and treating the depression. They did not work, and in one case nearly landed me in the hospital. The medication I take works, and I can honestly say that it helps keep me alive.

Whatever works for you in treating medical conditions is fine, but please don’t take it on yourself to tell someone else they’re wrong about what works for them. That goes for people who are on medications as well; medication might work for you, but that doesn’t mean other people don’t successfully manage or treat their conditions with other methods, and that’s okay too.

10 Things I’m Thankful For

  1. My husband. He’s incredibly supportive of what I choose to do. Even when it’s something in which he doesn’t believe, like energy healing, he believes in *me*.
  2. My kids. Both of them are grown now; one’s out on their own and the other’s away at college. They are both amazing young people, and seeing how much they’ve done for themselves and others helps me feel like maybe I didn’t do such a bad job raising them after all.
  3. My cats. They’re cuddly and soft and warm, and sometimes that’s exactly what I need.
  4. My ability to write stories. Sometimes I do have writer’s block, as I blogged about a little while ago, but mostly those stories are there and I know how to tell them.
  5. Friends. It’s always wonderful to have people around with whom you have mutual respect and support.
  6. My part-time job. Even though I had to leave the job as of last Friday, I still learned a great deal from having it, and I made some great connections. I also got to teach theater to the kids there, and I’ll be continuing to do that, which is something I really enjoy.
  7. My home. It’s a nice, cozy apartment. I have heat. I have electricity, running water, and a kitchen in which I can prepare the food I buy. That’s a huge thing for which to be thankful.
  8. My car. I didn’t have one for over half of 2017, and that made getting anywhere very difficult. I was rarely even able to visit my kids, even though neither of them is far from me. Having a car, I can go places when I want to go.
  9. My computer. It enables me to write and edit easily. It gives me a means of keeping in touch with people. It’s an educational tool, among other things.
  10. The Ultimate Blog Challenge. I’m making some nice connections through it, and it’s been fun stretching my brain to come up with new content each day.

How I Started Writing

 When I was very young, I made up stories that I acted out with my dolls and stuffed animals. Sometimes I shared those stories with my parents; more often, I just kept them to myself. I lived in a very elaborate imaginary world, populated by imaginary people who sometimes seemed more real than the people I knew. I learned to read early, and I was determined that someday, my stories would be in books like the ones I read.

When I got a bit older, I learned how to make those little squiggles called “letters,” and that unlocked a whole new dimension for my stories. I could put them on paper and keep them to read later! Not only that, but I could share them with more people! The first story I remember writing, when I was five, was about a girl named Maria who went to live with her uncle. I wish I still had that story, but alas, it was lost to a flooded basement when I was eight or nine.

In kindergarten, I had a wonderful teacher who allowed me to read books from the classroom library and draw pictures about the stories as part of my reading curriculum. One day, I wrote my own story based on a picture I’d drawn, and she began encouraging me to write more stories. It was the first time an adult had told me my stories were good and had acted like they were something to be proud of.

So basically, I’ve been creating stories my entire life, and I’ve been writing them down since I learned how. Obviously I haven’t been published that entire time. My first published work, a phonics-based reading comprehension program, came out in 2002 (and 16 years later is still available!), and my first novella came out in 2009 (and is no longer available). But as a child and teen, I wrote dozens of stories, some novel-length, many of which I still have. They aren’t as good as I thought they were back then, but I’m still proud of them. Especially since I wrote them all longhand…computers weren’t available to me back then!

Driving

Before I moved too close to a major city, I used to love going for long drives. Sometimes I was alone on the road, with only trees and houses around me but no other cars. It was relaxing, and some of my best story ideas came to me while I was in the car with part of my mind engaged in driving while the rest wandered.

(Come to think of it, the fact that I can’t really go for long relaxing drives anymore might be part of the reason I have trouble thinking of things to write now…)

When I was in the car, while of course I had to pay attention to traffic and signs, I didn’t have to completely engage my brain. Sometimes when depression was kicking my butt, being behind the wheel was all it took to put me in a better frame of mind, because it shut off the thoughts. If I was bored, heading out to see someplace I hadn’t seen before was always exciting.

I think I inherited the driving gene from my dad. When I was growing up, he would often take off on hours-long drives to nowhere, and sometimes he took me with him. I always loved seeing new places and things, and spending time with my dad was a bonus.

Now, I live just outside a major city, and driving isn’t so relaxing. There isn’t anyplace I can go that doesn’t involve driving through heavy traffic for at least half an hour, and while I would eventually get to more relaxing routes and areas, I would have to go through the same heavy traffic to get home. Which would kind of defeat the relaxation of driving in the first place.

I miss driving. Maybe when it isn’t winter here anymore, I’ll try it again.

A Leap of Faith

Today is my last day at my part-time job.

Leaving wasn’t an easy decision to make. I’ve been working in an afterschool child care program, and I’ve gotten to know almost all of the kids, and I like all of them. I also know that having big changes as far as the adults around them can be difficult for some kids. I like my coworkers as well. In general, this has been one of the best jobs I’ve had.

But there have been some issues, mostly involving my health, that have made the job no longer viable. Also, I’ve been feeling like the job is holding me back from some things I would rather be doing. Things that might or might not be sources of income, but I at least want the opportunity to try.

I won’t be entirely leaving the job. I’ve been invited to continue the drama club I started, where I teach the kids about acting in general and theater in particular. I did a session of it in the fall and put on what turned out to be an excellent play with a group of about ten kids, and I was really looking forward to doing it again, so I’m thankful to be given the opportunity.

I’m a little nervous about leaving the job, but I know I’ve made the right choice. Other than continuing the drama club, I don’t really know what comes next, but that’s what a leap of faith is. You leap, and have faith that you land in the right place.