Guess Who’s Been Waiting Patiently For Me?

Photo Credit: Taylor Wallinger

“The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.” Eleanor Roosevelt

There should have been an eleventh commandment. Live in thy moment! It’s so simple, and yet it’s taken me a lifetime to understand the significance of waiting for all the dots to connect. That’s so kindergarten. Get shit done. I’m not talking about the dishes. I’m talking about your dreams. And don’t let anyone tell you it’s not important, or worse, a waste of time.

You’re not sitting shotgun. You’re driving the dream. Go ahead, stick your arm out the window, let people know you’re going to make an unexpected turn, and watch how your life unfolds.

There were so many things I wanted to do with this life. I was going to learn to fly planes like my dad, play doubles tennis like my mom, and create beautiful needlepoint like my Aunt Neva. A few of those might be out of reach, but my most powerful desire has always been to write, and it clung to me as if fleas on a dog. 

The problem is I waited. I thought I needed permission, a bigger vocabulary, a room of my own, a good hair day, and fewer distractions or detractors. 

And guess what?

Just like smooth skin, taunt tummies, and the ability to fly, the opportunities went into a witness protection program, and I never saw them again. Well, at least not in their original packaging. 

The only time that is yours is the present. We know this. And by the way, any given moment is never going to be perfect. Just ask my therapist. [yes, that would be my sister Nancy, she’s not licensed, but she’s seen it all, her advice is damn straight and tends to favor me]

She says, “It’s now or never”(Are you hearing echoes of Elvis?), and she’s never fuzzy about that because life has taught her otherwise.

That might be why I’m publishing my first book, riding a tandem bike, and walking the Camino in my 60s. Trust me, nothing is perfect at this particular juncture, it’s just my moments are scattering as if roaches when you turn on the kitchen light.

As Federick Buechner says, “Listen to your life… touch, taste, smell your way to the holy and hidden heart of it because in the last analysis, all moments are key moments, and life itself is grace.”

That might be why we’re so enamored with Taco Tuesdays. What did you think I was going to say?

And for goodness sake, don’t expect some knight in shiny armor to rescue you from yourself. I found out the hard way that excuses will dictate my potential if I allow them to. Or worse, getting trapped by my own antiquity. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, the best part about the past is its past. Shaming, blaming, and weaponizing the past is asphyxiating, life is breath, not suppression. The most optimistic thing you can do is call PG&E before you bury that shit in the yard.

Speaking of which, your attitude has a lot to do with it, and some wise ass said this is within my control. It’s a glass-half-full kind of philosophy, and this is apparently learned behavior. When my attitude flails, it usually means I’m stuck in some unattractive pattern, like the weather, and it’s holding me hostage.

Those are my clouds, so to speak, “but now they only block the sun, they rain, and snow on everyone, so many things I would have done, but clouds got in my way,” sing it, Joni.

Do you remember Eeyore from Winnie the Pooh?

“Good morning, Eeyore,” said Pooh.

“Good morning, Pooh Bear,” said Eeyore gloomily. “If it IS a good morning,” he said. “Which I doubt,” said he.

“Why, what’s the matter?”

“Nothing, Pooh Bear, nothing. We can’t all, and some of us don’t. That’s all there is to it.”

“Can’t all WHAT?” said Pooh, rubbing his nose.

“Gaiety. Song-and-dance. Here we go round the mulberry bush. …I’m not complaining, but There It Is.”

I’m not complaining. Bahaha

The thing about optimists is they’re always sure the thing will work, the idea will spread, and the right people will find them. And therefore, they are more likely to give it a try. Right?

I have a challenge for you. In the next few days, do something spontaneous, something you normally wouldn’t consider but secretly want to do. If it involves knives, unusual heights, or Thai massage, take along a chaperone. And then share in the comments. Give us all something to gossip about.

Last night Julie took me to an event at a local winery. It was one of those last-minute, spontaneous ideas. Those are always the best. Here I thought she was asking me to babysit, but she was asking me on a date. And our neighbors, Sue and Taylor, who have season passes, joined us. Or, more accurately, we joined them.  

Photo Credit: Sheree Hansen

It’s called the Songwriters Series, and it’s sponsored by Clos Lachance Winery. They invite songwriters to attend the event and share with the audience the circumstances around why they wrote a song, and then they play the song for you. 

Simple idea, huge fun, and damn if it didn’t catch on. There had to be hundreds of people at this event. 

We brought our own beach chairs, picnic baskets, and blankets. After staking out our spot on the lawn, we set up the portable table, munched on Mendocino Farm salads, sipped good wine, and bonus, it’s outside under the stars. A stellar combination. 

The interesting thing about songwriters is they are not usually the ones who make the songs famous. They write songs that well-known singers buy and turn into hits. How these writers are able to find just the right words that resonate with so many people at the same time is beyond me.

Listening to music can be a transformative experience, especially when you connect with the emotion or sentiment of the lyrics.

I think the stories behind the hits are the most fascinating part of the whole experience. One guy wrote an entire song in two days after a painful breakup. Another was inspired to write about her complicated relationship with a man she both loved and hated. We’ve all been there. Sometimes when I listen to the words of a song, it’s as if the artist is broadcasting my thoughts because we’ve all survived painful episodes in our lives, and a song can be a testament to our collective memories.

The lineup last night was incredible. They had Randy Montana, Carolyn Dawn Johnson (love her last name), Tyler Reeve, and D. Vincent Williams. Google any of their names, and you’ll recognize many of their hit songs but possibly not them. 

D. Vincent Williams was about to quit the music industry altogether when he wrote I’m Movin On, and it changed his life forever. He says, “it’s not about being clever, it’s not about being creative, it’s about being honest. And I got that lesson along with an amazing turn of events which landed that song with Rascal Flats who made it famous.”

That’s a powerful lesson for all creative types. Honesty resonates. 

Williams writes, “There comes a time in everyone’s life when all you can see is the years passing by, and I have made up my mind that those days are gone.” Damn. That’s gold. 

And when he sang I’m Moving On for us, it just about took me down. I linked it below, you’re welcome.

Time is too short, do not waste a minute with people, thoughts, or stagnant patterns that don’t know how to trust, giggle, applaud, hope, sing, explore, and believe in the majesty of every moment. The present is best experienced as the eve of life, unselfishly and with enormous grace. And the best part of all, “life has been patiently waiting for me, and I know there are no guarantees, but I’m finally ready.”

I’m Living in the Gap, seizing opportunities. How about you? What’s new?

54 Comments

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    1. Thank you Dorothy. I think at my age there is a proclivity to glance back over your life and compare where you are with where you thought you would be. As you know, life takes you places you never thought you would go, which is fine, but sometimes we allow ourselves to be confined by the circumstances of the moment. I know I have. I think that’s why this song resonated so strongly with me. Thanks for joining me, hugs, C

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I enjoyed this post immensely. I felt like you were talking to me directly. The choice of vocabulary and strong voice were emotionally direct especially in the first 1/3 of your post. I liked your exemplary choices of phrases, damn straight, no given moment is going to be perfect, and scattering of roaches.
    I also appreciated the challenge – I may get back to you on that♥

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you so much David, I so appreciate your sensitive and astute comment. Clearly this is a topic near and dear to your heart. I suppose it doesn’t matter that life has not proceeded as I had expected or that I have not accomplished all the things I’d hope to by this stage, but the point being, it was all preparation for what’s to come next. I suppose we can only move on when we’re ready and I might add, it’s not a race. I hope you get back to me on the challenge! I’d love to hear what you decided to do. Hugs, C

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Awesome as always. First off, Grace is my word for the week and you used it…so you get a point even though you didn’t know you were playing. 2) I read about restorative yoga, thought it sounded cool, and I researched places to try it 3) music always makes me feel better

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you LA, you put a big smile on my face, and can I just say I love your word for the week, and I’m so playing! I’ve heard of restorative yoga, and I want to hear more. Keep us posted! I read somewhere that music is the language of the soul, I think it was John O’Donohue! Now that is grace! Hugs, C

      Liked by 1 person

      1. 💗💗💗💗I think I’m trying it this Sunday. They do a class on sundays at 3, apparently with gongs. I just have to double check the weekend schedule with my husband

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I wish I had the energy to do something spontaneous. Since I turned 70, I feel as if somone found my ‘energy tanks’ while I was asleep, and drained them. You do all that stuff in your 60s, because i can tell you, it doesn’t get any easier in the next decade. 🙂
    Songwriting facts that surprised me.
    Paul Anka wrote ‘My Way’.
    Charlie Chaplin wrote ‘Smile’.
    Neil Diamond wrote ‘I’m A Believer’.
    Best wishes, Pete. x

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi Pete, you have more energy than most people who are a decade or so younger than you! You walk Ollie for hours every day! That’s amazing, not spontaneous, but a worthy effort in my opinion. Make sure you’re getting enough protein and a wee bit of wine! The truth is Larry and I realize physical activity is not getting easier for either of us and we’re motivated to do the things now that require a lot of energy. The prep for this Camino walk is a total time suck but Julie and I did manage an outing! And speaking of songs, your facts did surprise me. I was blown away at the song writers series by the talent of all the writers and how famous some of their songs had become. I’m hoping to go again in September and a whole new crew of writers. Be well my friend, hugs, C

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  4. I did not really have time to read this right now. And I REALLY didn’t have time to respond. But I’m glad I did.

    Let me just say this: It saddens and gladdens me a bit that you wrote this now.
    Sad because that means it won’t be in your first book, as it is one of the best things, if not the very best that I have read from you.
    Glad, because you now have a solid foundation for your second book.

    Cheers Neighbor!
    CT

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hello Chris, damn if you don’t know how to brighten someones day! This comment is going straight to the printers because I want to read it again and again! Thank you is not quite adequate. It means a lot to me that you enjoyed the read but even more so that you think there might be another book in the future! Now wouldn’t that be something! xxoo, C

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  5. So much truth in this. Honesty is what attracts me to certain writers and bloggers. Your authentic voice is relatable.. I like your advice of following your dreams and not getting bogged down by the past.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. When D. Vincent Williams spoke those words, “it’s not about being clever, it’s not about being creative, it’s about being honest.” that just hit me between the eyes, because like you, I’m most attracted to those types of writers. Their words resonate. And the fact that he wrote that song because he was leaving the music industry when he was finally ready to take them on! Crazy turn of events, but as they say if you want to make God laugh, tell her your plans! I have noticed how I allow old patterns of behavior to dictate my future and it’s my goal to let go of the fear and try a new approach when confronting old problems. We’ll see how it goes…hugs, C

      Liked by 1 person

  6. This is the second time I’ve seen a Winnie the Pooh quote this week, and I believe it’s a sign. I’ve been silently stalking your blog posts for a while now, and they speak to me. I feel this was meant to be in my path because I am struggling with something in my life and needed this message to allow that problem wash over me, if that makes sense.

    Last week, I came across a lovely quote by Carolyn Myss. It’s too long to share, but I plan to publish it as a video on my blog next week. She merely reminds us that this day will never come again and that we should cherish it while it is here. Your post is a better version of that. ❤️

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Okay, I did a little field trip over to your site, and damn if I didn’t want to stay and play all day! So you’ve been stalking me have you? I don’t know why but that made me excessively happy. I totally get it, I’m dealing with a rather pesky issue right now too, and that’s why I wrote the post. I’m trying to figure it out and somehow let it “wash over me.” Love that. I read some of Carolyn Myss’s work and she intrigues me. I’m excited that you’ll be publishing it as a video on your blog next week. So until we meet again in the comments let’s hope those issues have slipped down the drain. Hugs, C

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Brian, thank you so much for the lovely comment. I keep coming back to them too, I suppose that’s why we write, to remind ourselves over and over again, this isn’t a dress rehearsal, this is a live production, get out there a break a leg! Hugs, C

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Oh how your last paragraph got me, “people, thoughts, and stagnant patterns…” such a powerful call to action. Thinking I’ve been stagnant and need to embrace some spontaneous fun! Thanks for the challenge! Best Wishes! Leigh

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi Leigh, I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m a late bloomer and while I was trying to figure out what exactly was holding me back I realized it was the barriers I myself constructed. I think it has something to do with allowing the circumstances to dictate the outcome instead of our own dreams and desires. And you’re right, it’s challenging. Hugs, C

      Liked by 1 person

      1. The thoughts you’ve described are among those I call the benefits of aging. Having the time and the wisdom to indulge in things and activities that we know by now we enjoy (or to try new ones that we think we might) are also two benefits of being comfortably retired.

        I wish I had the stamina and physical health to take on those upcoming (and recently past) challenges you’ve set up for yourself, not to mention the companionship of a partner to do them with. After dropping the baggage of my unwilling if ever even able idiot ex, I’m back to scheduling some things in similar arenas with people that I know will enjoy them and will take them on with me.

        I’ve already done some travel with a good friend, who is now hobbled by arthritis that is worse than mine but still willing to give it the old college try, which is where we met. I think I may have also recruited my daughter, the one who likes to walk, to do a 5k with me. The last time we did this was on a Thanksgiving when she was in middle school!

        I’m now at least partially settled into my new place. It’s only partial because I have the luxury of time and $ to spend in deciding how I really want to furnish it so it will make ME happy. As a result, I’m about to return some glass food storage items to Meijer that I won’t need because I don’t have or want to cook for anybody.

        This is an errand I will include in my jaunt to a nearby paved and shaded walking path in a nature area where I will indulge in my solitary mindful meditation, as opposed to one time that I walked it with a person I met in a group and ended up getting lost. After doing both kinds of walks I have decided I need and want to do both regularly. I’m also adding the challenge of trying to figure out how to use the plastic bottle and aluminum can recycling and deposit refund machine at Meijer.

        I don’t know most of the songwriters you heard from at the winery but thought I recognized the name Carolyn Dawn Johnson. It is pretty memorable, after all. I googled her and confirmed she had written the song “Complicated”. It has this great chorus which I vaguely recalled.

        Complicated, get frustrated
        Right or wrong, love or hate it
        I’m complicated, you can’t sedate it
        I heard that song but I won’t play it

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I just found this comment buried in the post. Sorry for the delay! And I think you nailed it, “the time and the wisdom to indulge in things and activities that we know by now we enjoy (or to try new ones that we think we might) are also two benefits of being comfortably retired.” I know you’re reorganizing your life after some major changes but I love how you’re tackling life with intention and pose. I like how you’re taking the time you need to find the furniture that will make you “happy.” Brilliant. Walking as a form of meditation, what an incredibly wonderful practice on so many levels. I have a feeling this half of life is going to bring you a lot of happiness, self-satisfaction, and joy! You inspire me! You got this. Hugs, C

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    1. Hi Diane, it was a fun night but the most surprising part was when she asked if I was free that night and I just assumed she needed a sitter. Hey, I’m always excited to take the grandkids for a night but she wanted to know if I could go to songwriters with her! It made me realize that my patterns of thinking need so adjustments! Here’s to more spontaneity in the future. Hugs, C

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    1. Hi Wynne, thank you. I think I’ve come to the conclusion that I make a lot of decisions by rote instead of actually paying attention to the circumstances. I think it would be better if I learned to make conscious decisions based on what I now know instead of what I’ve always done. Hope that makes sense. Life’s a process and I’m one of the late bloomers. I so appreciate your comment. Hugs, C

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  8. Hi Cheryl!
    Love this post.
    Spontaneity is the spice of life!
    Just do It! Sometimes you just have to do the things you really want to do.
    You have to be with the people you really want to be with (we are visiting next month 😉 ! )
    No regrets.
    We are looking forward to rehashing all of our/your adventures over some wonderful wine. Can’t wait to read your book.

    PS: Love the pic! Great smiles all around.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi Mike, I think you were being rather spontaneous with this comment because historically, you wait for days to join the comment fray! This is huge progress. We can’t wait to see you guys in a few weeks! I’m looking forward to catching up and sharing our stories under the stars! Maybe a wee bit of wine. I think by then, the weather may have cooled, and the evenings will be divine! Hugs, Cheryl

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  9. I’m so inspired by this one, Cheryl. It brings home the true freedom that comes from knowing and (finally) accepting (being older helps, don’t you think?) that I’ll never be perfect and circumstances will never be perfect and the work will never be perfect and still we’ve gotta live to the fullest and let our creative work reflect that full-on living. The songwriting event sounds inspirational and the company warm and cherished. And, on a separate but related note, you, my friend, are most definitely flying.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi Mary Ellen, it is interesting to find out that the very thing I was struggling with, (to let go of the idea that there is such a thing as a perfect moment and to make more conscious decisions) it the topic that resonates most strongly with others. I was surprised and a little horrified to find out I was the one allowing circumstances to dictate instead of my own dreams and desired. Why didn’t someone give me a little shake and say “what the hell are you doing?” I suppose that’s why I wrote this post, it’s my way of shaking things up, hopefully giving others permission (a push) to ship it messy, unprepared, but honest. Seth would be so proud. Thanks for the kind and inspiring words. You always make my heart smile! Love you, C

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    1. Thank you Rebecca! Yes, honesty resonates, I loved how D. Vincent Williams makes that statement so clearly and succinctly at such an important juncture in his life. It really hit home for me. I was tearing up when he sang that song at the event. So powerful. Thanks for digesting these ideas with me my friend. Hugs, C

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Sally, I think you do uncommon things every damn day! Your generosity to fellow authors is extraordinary! You’re changing lives, creating success, and in my opinion you’re making the world a better place! But when Sally G Cronin says she’s going off the cuff I’m all ears! I might learn a thing or two! Hugs, C

      Liked by 1 person

  10. What a blast you guys had! Yep, nothing better than a spontaneous get together – that includes good friends, good wine and good music. You surely have that right attidude Cheryl! Go you!!! ❤

    Liked by 2 people

  11. C,…our hearts and minds are in the same place. As always, your writing tugs my heart and makes me giggle too. You are wise my friend. I never would’ve dreamt I’d be in this current path. BUT,…on it, there are still miracles happening. There are things I hope to still do. I’m excited at the thought of going to a nearby theme park. And I want to see the Grand Canyon. Chemo is almost out of my system. “I’m moving on”…to the next step. That song was a crucial part of one of my divorces. I would’ve loved the event you attended! C, if you decide to learn to fly will you come get me? I love you so much! K 💛🥰💕

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It’s interesting to me that some things have taken me so long to understand. One of those things is recognizing the potency of our dreams and desires. I think I just pushed them aside because there were so many “other” things that needed my attention. But now I think it’s a mistake to deny or ignore that which is so important to us and makes itself known. I’m praying for you Karla, praying for those dreams and desires to manifest, to see that canyon, to be surrounded by love. Love you so very much, C

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    1. Hi Belladonna, thank you. I love that “we are never too old to live our out dreams.” These ideas of continuing to pursue our goals, living in the moment, and being spontaneous once in a while seem to resonate strongly this community! Maybe because most of us are writers and this is something we can do forever! I so appreciate the felicitations about my dream! Hugs, C

      Liked by 1 person

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