Celebration of Life

On Thursday, May 3rd, I celebrated the beginning of another decade of life – 30. This birthday to me, represented the ending of 10 tumultuous years; a mixture of beautiful and painful moments, realizations, friendships, loss, and much more than I can even begin to recall.

Throughout the past 10 years, I learned a lot about one sentiment in particular – love; what it is and what it is not. When I stumbled upon this quote the other day, I believed it was not simply a coincidence, but a reminder of the insight I’ve acquired over the years. To me, love is not simply words; it is not simply telling someone they are loved, but showing it, whether it is by leaving the light on, preparing a mug of coffee in the morning, writing out a reminder; acknowledgements of love can be in the smallest of ways, but mean more than words can explain.

What Love Is

On my birthday, I felt more love than I can begin to express. Having the opportunity to celebrate and commemorate another year of life with my family is a gift of love in itself.

IMG_4619                Age quote

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Poem of Life

Good Morning and I hope your weekend is off to a pleasant start. If you’re not currently following my blog on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/MelissasMorningMusings/) you may not have seen a poem I shared yesterday; a poem which resonated with me and that I found to be quite illustrative of my life experiences, thus far. Therefore, I felt it necessary to share this poem in hopes that it may inspire another, or that whomever may be reading might find strength in this poem, as I did:

Last night as I drifted to sleep, I stumbled across a poem by Mary Oliver, shared by an author I follow on social media. As I read it, her words deeply resonated with me, finding much meaning and strength in the premise of the poem. To me, it means, we always have the inner power to take control and color our own lives, no matter how beyond our control it may sometimes feel.

When we listen to our inner voice, allow ourselves to be vulnerable and sometimes even do something we’ve never done before, but always wanted to, it leaves us empowered and forever changed. Throughout my life, I’ve had to summon the strength to begin again, often times when I felt I couldn’t. As I soon approach a new decade in my life, this begins a time of reflection for me and there is no better time to share this poem, which speaks volumes.

Poem

Unwritten Pages

Happy New Year! A new year is now upon us and has been for the past several hours. The next minutes, days and months ahead are all unwritten pages, waiting to be colored by our choices, chances, decisions, actions, thoughts and beliefs. It is filled with chance and possibility; anything can happen at any moment – this I believe is true, as it was proved me numerous times this past year. Reflecting back, much of 2017 was painful, losing Oliver, not simply a dog, but my family. He is still very much a missing piece to the puzzle that is me. I still sit here looking at the places where he used to lay, wondering if he’ll be back, I still keep the furniture in the same place, thinking he’ll try to crawl between the small spaces, as the inquisitive mind he was. He still lives within me though, encouraging me to continue on, to keep loving animals and dogs like him as much as I can, to go after my goals and my dreams and to simply keep going in spite of the pain of his absence. I know someday the spot where he lay will be filled again with another grateful dog to love, but until then, I’m keeping the spot warm for him/her.

New Year Quote 3

Another truth I learned this past year is we don’t meet people by accident. I’d heard this quote mentioned to me many times in the past, but I never believed it to be true until these past weeks. We meet others for a reason – sometimes I feel it is a lesson, maybe it teaches something about ourselves, perhaps it is a reminder of how far we’ve come or vice versa. Maybe it gives us a new perspective or lease on life, maybe it is a gentle reminder of how insightful we’ve become, or maybe it lets us know that we’re truly doing okay or will be okay. Regardless of the reason, we meet others at a time when we need to and whether we learn the reason why or not, our lives are still impacted, no matter how long it takes us to realize it.

I’d like to conclude this brief post with a quote and sentiment I recently stumbled upon while reading a magazine. It was in the editor’s note to readers and the words she stated were some of the most poignant I ever read, therefore, I couldn’t let it go unmentioned. Here is what she said:

“Years ago, I applied for an internship at the US Supreme Court. During my interview – when asked if prisoners ought to be taught technical and life skills while serving time – I repeated something my mom used to tell me: The ideal way to grow people is the same way you grow tomatoes. A tomato plant can nourish itself with water, air and sun, but without the right support system (like room to grow and a trellis), most tomato varieties won’t survive. In the same way, even though everyone has a personal responsibility, it’s our duty as citizens to set up an environment where people can acquire the skills they need to thrive in a community. When we do this, we all benefit; when we don’t, we all stand to lose.”

She finishes this thought with a statement from Jean Nidetch: “We all have the power within ourselves to create positive change in our lives; once we do, it is our duty to help others find power and strength so they can live the life they want to live.”

For me, when I hear/read these sentiments, they deeply resonate with me. We can’t always help others in the way we want to, but when we seek to guide, advocate and support others, the most important part in this is our intention – whether they choose to accept our words, help and guidance is ultimately their choice, but they can’t choose if we don’t give them the choice. So this year, it’s my goal to be open, to tell my truth and to help others tell or find theirs; lastly, don’t wait for others to be kind, show them.”

New Year Quote 2

Happy New Year!

A Tangled Path to Acceptance

Let me ask you this on this Friday morning: how often have you looked back on your life, no matter how positive or not so positive it has been and regretted a choice, thought, or decision you’ve made? To that end, how many times have you thought, if only? If only I had made a different decision or choice – if only I had taken a chance, or maybe, if only I hadn’t taken that chance? It is often easier and even, sadly, a widely-accepted social norm to berate or chastise oneself for the decisions one made or didn’t make.

Instead of focusing on the reasons WHY we made that particular decision or choice, we focus on where it has lead us to, what we have lost, or the ramifications of it. Instead of focusing on what actually drove these past choices, we may ruminate, analyze, or play out scenarios in our head of what our lives might have been like if we’d made different choices or taken different paths. Often times, this only leads us to sadness or regret and as a result, we spend much of our time dwelling in the past, envisioning a life we don’t have instead of relishing in what we DO have and the time we have been given to live it.

On the flip side, there can in fact be positives to reflecting on the past. It can keep us from making future poor decisions or provide us with insight into difficult choices, decisions and other situations within our lives. Self-acceptance has often been something I’ve struggled with in particular through the years and acknowledging where I am at the present time. Being kinder to myself is something I hope and wish to employ at I begin my 28th year on Tuesday, May 3rd.

Begin Again quote

As I said last year on my 27th birthday, for those of you who may recall, birthdays for me are often a chance to set a new goal, a new dream, or maybe the decision to choose to pursue a goal I neglected, but always harbored within me. With that being said, my goal for my 28th year, is to acknowledge I may not have or be living the life I believed I would, but then again, when I envisioned my life, I was a very young, impressionable adolescent or child, unaware of what life could bring or what I could encounter. I didn’t realize that the plans we make for ourselves can and will change as we grow and develop as a person and see more of what life has to offer. Some of these changes will be positive, some of them will be negative, but just because the path I thought I would take is vastly different, does not mean it is the one I will always lead. To get what we aspire to have out of life, we have to start somewhere. This year will be the year I decide to acknowledge what I’ve lost and the choices I made, but instead of ruminating and wallowing in self-pity, will choose to start again and adjust my sails.

After all, there truly is no time limit on when we can achieve our dreams or set new goals; why not start now?

Starting Over quote

Scenes from a 17th September

Lately, it seems I’ve been more nostalgic than usual. Most of my nostalgia, I feel, probably stems my desire to make some imperative, much-needed changes within my life. I’ve always been a firm believer in the notion: if you’re unhappy with your present life and feel as though it isn’t “you,” then it is worth it to pursue change. Of course, while I’ve been a believer in this sentiment, it isn’t always the easiest to actually implement or attempt this change. Often times, when attempting change, or trying something different, I’ve become sidetracked, discouraged, or traveled down the path to procrastination. The more I age, the more I realize how important it is to take chances, no matter how frightful they may seem. These fears though, as I’ve come to know, are often fears we’ve created in our minds, building up these changes to unrealistic levels, creating negative outcomes in our minds that would probably never happen. There is so much I aspire to in life, so many ideas, creations and concepts I’d love to work on, so many people and families I’d love to help and yet, my fears have always prevented me from doing it. My own preconceived notions about my abilities, or lack thereof, and chastising myself for not being in the place or in the life I thought I would be as I approach my 28th year has led me to where I am today.

That being said, last night as I watched the latest Hallmark Channel movie on TV (yes, I’ll admit to it, but this movie actually proved to be one of the better ones of the bunch!), it prompted a prolonged nostalgia within me for reasons I can’t really understand, myself. So allow me to reflect a bit, without delving too much into the meanings between the words:

It was September 20, 2005, I was 17, and I still remember what I wore that day, a navy, fitted t-shirt, with white lace adorning the collar, fitted jeans and heeled sandals; my unofficial “beginning of senior year of high school uniform,” for the preceding weeks. I can still remember the way the clothes felt on my body as I slid them over my shrinking body, feeling the fabric skimming over my hip bones and the way the tag on my t-shirt rested on bones of my neck. When I look back, I can still feel myself slamming the backseat car door in the parking garage, angry and afraid, unsure if I wanted to scream or cry, wanting both all the same. The scene is still as clear as day; not a cloud lined the sky, the air was pristine, a temperate breeze filled the town of Princeton, NJ. When the parking lot’s elevator door opened, I marched my way into the building in front of me, unaware it would be home for the time being. Both my parents trailed in the background, as I desperately ran from them. They hurried to catch up, but my feet continued to carry me faster.

The next several hours were a hazy blur; papers being signed, questions asked, numbers recorded, heads nodding, tears shed, and my anger mounting. The numbness lingered through my body that first day and night. Words escaped me and my thoughts were scattered that first afternoon, outside on the lawn with the others, all of our respective blankets adorning the first floor lawn. As I lay on my blanket, I closed my eyes and hoped that when they opened, my life would be my own again.”

“Sometimes, it takes sadness to know happiness, noise to appreciate silence, and absence to value presence.”

A “Hello” of a Thousand Words

This morning, I was innocently perusing through Facebook, mindlessly looking over the endless amounts of posts with little or no pertinent information, not believing I would find anything of true substance, but contrary to my preconceived notions, I did. Years ago, when I first became acquainted with her music and at the height of her career, I apparently “liked” Adele, the renowned singer on Facebook. For about two years now, she has been noticeably absent from the music scene, taking time to write, live her life and plan her next steps. Her absence from the music world was upsetting for me, as it was for many and made me curious as to when she would make her return, if ever.

Adele picture

Then, I started hearing buzz on the radio and TV about her impending return, this year, at some point. The other day, a 30-second clip of her latest single, apparently aired on the British version of the X-Factor TV show. Her new album was confirmed (officially, this morning!) to be titled, “25,” which chronicles her transition period, documenting where she’s been, what she’s encountered and more importantly, what she’s learned. I think her album is bound to be filled with bravery, strength and inspiration. I’ve always admired Adele for her talent and presence. She is one of the few singers who can simply stand on stage and sing. She doesn’t need to perform intricate dance routines or wear scantily-clad clothing; she can stand on stage and command the attention of all with her voice.

Anyway, back to the premise of this post – this morning, I stumbled across Adele’s Facebook post. In her post, she explains the concept of her new album and quite frankly, it is one of the most candid pieces of writing I’ve ever read and one that closely resonates with me. I felt compelled to share it on here, in case you might not have seen it, and also, I’m hoping that it will provide inspiration and comfort to some, as it has for me. Here it is:

Adele writing

(Since it is a bit challenging to read the actual text from her Facebook post, as you can see above, I am posting the actual words below)

ADELE’S Post (posted on Facebook and Twitter and shared on various websites)

“When I was 7, I wanted to be 8. When I was 8, I wanted to be 12. When I turned 12 I just wanted to be 18. Then after that I stopped wanting to be older. Now I’m ticking 16-24 boxes just to see if I can blag it! I feel like I’ve spent my whole life so far wishing it away.’

‘Always wishing I was older, wishing I was somewhere else, wishing I could remember and wishing I could forget too. Wishing I hadn’t ruined so many good things because I was scared or bored.’  

‘Wishing I wasn’t so matter of fact all the time. Wishing I’d gotten to know my great grandmother more, and wishing I didn’t know myself so well, because it means I always know what’s going to happen. Wishing I hadn’t cut my hair off, wishing I was 5’7. Wishing I’d waited and wishing I’d hurried up as well.

My last record was a break-up record and if I had to label this one I would call it a make-up record. I’m making up with myself. Making up for lost time. Making up for everything I ever did and never did. 

‘But I haven’t got time to hold onto the crumbs of my past like I used to. What’s done is done.Turning 25 was a turning point for me, slap bang in the middle of my twenties. 

‘Teetering on the edge of being an old adolescent and a fully-fledged adult, I made the decision to go into becoming who I’m going to be forever without a removal van full of my old junk.

‘I miss everything about my past, the good and the bad, but only because it won’t come back. When I was in it I wanted out! So typical. I’m on about being a teenager, sitting around and chatting shit, not caring about the future because it didn’t matter then like it does now.

‘The ability to be flippant about everything and there be no consequences. Even following and breaking rules…is better than making the rules.

’25 is about getting to know who I’ve become without realising. And I’m so sorry it took so long, but you know, life happened.”

Welcome Back, Stars Hollow!

Good Morning! By now you may have already heard, but in the event you haven’t yet heard this exciting news, Gilmore Girls is apparently slated to return to Netflix for an *all new* series of roughly four 90-minute movies, as opposed to a full season of one-hour episodes. The return to the small screen will be produced by original creator Amy Sherman-Palladino and her executive producer husband, Daniel Palladino. Hearing this news, I was more than ecstatic. For the number of years it aired, Gilmore Girls was a TV show I looked forward to each week and highlighted what I had to look forward to in my teenage and college years, as depicted by the stars, Lorelai and Rory Gilmore. It was a show that attacked not only lighthearted topics, but also those with a heavier and more controversial take, such as teen pregnancy, drug usage, and volatile relationships. In my mind, Gilmore Girls was one of the few TV shows where the characters seemed to “inhabit” their roles. None of it really ever seemed “acted,” but rather, it felt as though I was taking an insider glimpse into people’s everyday lives – a reality show without the “reality,” if you will.

Gilmore Girls

Even years after the show officially ceased airing new episodes, I would watch the reruns during my college years, in-between classes, thankful I was able to relive my favorite episodes and see familiar faces. The fictional Connecticut town of Stars Hollow where Gilmore Girls was set, was one that created a concept of the “ideal, cookie-cutter” town, I would later search for. One town I encountered in particular, Newport, Rhode Island, brought this town to mind, and though it wasn’t exactly the same as Stars Hollow, it evoked that small, hometown, locavore feel I looked for. It was a quintessential New England town and I couldn’t help but think about Gilmore Girls as I explored.

The TV show, Gilmore Girls, was one of the few TV shows that shaped my childhood and teen years. Along with Felicity, 7th Heaven and Everwood, they were TV shows that always left me in a contemplative and reflective state. The acting and storylines were emotional and sometimes happy and thrilling and other times, heartbreaking; similar to how a person’s true life can be. The writing was beautiful and telling and the acting even more so. To me, a lot of these aforementioned TV shows were more than just that to me; they were similar to some of my favorite novels I’ve read, serving as a guide for events and situations to come. A lot of the time, situations I would see in these TV shows would mirror my life and at times, provide me with a unique perspective or take on the situation.

Gilmore Girls 2

Needless to say, the news of the Gilmore Girls revival brightened my day, as I learned of it during early evening, yesterday. While of course it is always good to welcome new TV shows in to my repertoire, sometimes, it’s comforting to have a bit of a beloved favorite back for an appearance, even for a short while. So with that, I say, “Welcome back, Stars Hollow.”

Gilmore Girls Quote