The Life Before You

“Write, DAMMIT”. The familiar words tumble across my phone screen as they sometimes do. I never know what time, or day, I will receive the message. But when too much time has gone by my Joe will reach out across the miles to remind me that I have a passion, and perhaps a minutia of talent, and a bucket list. All of which require me to put some thoughts down on paper that one day form into a novel.

I take pause and wonder if anyone cares as much as he does? His not-so-gentle nudges always make me smile, and prompt me to not forget what I really believe I am here for. Well, one of the things. But as a woman who often thinks about mortality, particularly the older I get, and dreams of love and growing old with another human, I recognize that much of my bucket list is gone. I’ve even done the really hard things. At this point, I think of the legacy of what I will leave behind. And I think those are simply my words. Stay on the train.

It is these wee morning hours that often inspire thoughts, random thoughts, that race around my mind and force a blog post in the hope that it resonates with someone or makes some sort of sense. As the Fall season descends upon Michigan, my absolute favorite time, there is recognition that it is also the worst time for others. My Joe will leave me soon for warmer weather for the winter, but we are connected so he never really leaves me. A few of my loved ones will suffer mild to severe depression as the snowy months arrive. Yet others like myself will find solace in these quiet times of hibernation, and use them as a time to read, listen to music, write, and grow. Because at the end of it, there is a blossoming Spring.

As time takes away people we love, for all sorts of reasons, it also brings us new people to learn about. Some we let into our lives. Others just pass by. Some stay. Others leave. I’ve learned it’s important to focus on those that stand before you. The ones that are here, in the present, that make the real effort to be part of your life. It’s pretty simple math. You should not have to force relationships of any kind. They should organically be there in whatever form without any real stress to exist.

I was listening to Jackson Brown’s “The Pretender” the other day and realized how much time I waste. We all do. I find myself reaching out to those I care about for coffee, lunch, for time shared together. Because like Jackson says “I’m aware of the time going by, they say in the end it’s a wink of an eye” and the truth of that lyric really hits me hard sometimes. I know I have done much of what I believe I was put on this earth to do. I created an amazing daughter who will carry on a legacy of kindness and giving of herself to others. She does it everyday when she stops to check in on her grandparents, when she watches little children with mamas that are burning it at both ends, when she spends time with her father who is not a bad man, just a trying one. I don’t know how many young woman can say to their mom that you are their best friend, but her love makes me a whole person. When I have been continually failed in life by friendships, family, and lovers, my daughter has been the one constant in life that I could depend on. She stands before me and I recognize her and focus on her without suffocating her.

My friends Joe, Laurel, Paula, Liz, Celeste, and Lisa stand before me. I talk to some more than others. But they are constants that have not left me. Their friendships mean the world to me. I have broken negative chains in my family history. I don’t need to go into it, I just know that I have made a better life for my daughter, myself, and even my ex-husband by not following the path my own mother laid before me. I was shown the wrong way. I found a different way. A better way. A real and honest way. I take pride in knowing my daughter and all who surround her will have it better than I did because I have shown her life doesn’t have to be as hard as what I was shown growing up. I have shown her that there is a big difference between true friendships and acquaintances. I have taught her that the man who is there for her is the one she should hold on to. She frequently returns my own advice to me and reminds me that I need to focus on what is right in front of my face. She is already so much wiser than I ever was at her age.

How you choose to spend these winter months are important. It will come and go. It will be the wink of an eye. Nourish thyself. Write. Dance. Play. Chase sunshine.

Spend them on your soul.

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