Change is Good

I could feel the idea float down as I drove through the fallow winter landscape from Sacramento to San Francisco. The fields were grey and spread out into the distance in the dim winter light. The idea was that I can fall into fear and indecision, or I can step into my power and create a life that is truly magical.

This was early December before I decided to let my daughter buy me a plane ticket to Rome on Wow air as an early birthday and Christmas present. Initially, I thought spending New Years in Rome was a bad idea. Looking back now this is laughable as it was one of the most cherished memories of my lifetime.

As I begin to make concrete decisions about my future I can see that I have a very clear and distinct choice. I can cling to the past, I can even live in the past as many people do. I can keep the status quo and allow fear to be my guide keeping me safe, but stuck, or I can completely break with the past and put all of my energy into building a spectacular future.

When my daughters were small I knew the most important thing I could teach them was the ability to be comfortable with change, being alone and trying new things.

Often I would get calls from the mothers of their school friends asking which extracurricular classes my daughters were taking. These well meaning mothers would suggest we sign up together so the girls would have a friend. I would explain that we did not do things this way.

It did not make me popular on any front to drop my six year old off alone at an oceanography class at UC Berkeley. I even avoided the cliques in dance classes signing up for the off days of my daughter’s friends. Thus putting them in the opposite cast as their regular school friends. This allowed them to meet new people and be comfortable on their own.

I grew up on a fifty acre farm. I spent a great deal of time alone. Our dog, the barn cats and the horses were my friends. Rainy afternoons were spent indoors with my books. In this way I became my own best friend. It allowed me to go to school in London without knowing a soul. To travel through Europe alone. To leave the security of my hometown and move to California. To meet new people, take interesting jobs, fall in love and so on.

After twenty years in Moraga, I’m comfortable with my cliques. I have friends galore, a beautiful home and a wonderful life. Yet, change is good. I want to evolve and have new experiences. I want to believe that I can not just have a good life, but a great life. This means I will have to step out of my comfort zone in so many ways. Am I scared? Yes. Will it be worth it? Probably.

Love and blessings.

One More Day

As January and a new year begin, I also find myself in the second half of my youngest daughter’s last year of high school. Therefore, I am simultaneously shutting things down while beginning what will be my next chapter.

I’ve always been a planner with big goals and dreams. I love timelines and project plans and any form of matrix for decision making. I’ve essentially mapped my entire life out on paper. Yet, as someone who studied computer science I’m adaptable. All of my plans include those decision points that allow for “yes” or “no” thinking and the associated variables that lead to a second work flow.

When my husband died suddenly, the entire schematic changed dramatically. As a planner I had to adapt. This is also not dissimilar to the product mapping I did as a Marketing Director. I was required to look at where I was, where I was going, where everyone else was, and all of the variables that flowed in. Elements like college choices, how to pay for everything, where to live, what work to pursue, how to balance two kids, two homes, two cats and a dog. Needless to say, it took all of my skill, knowledge, and creativity to get through the last several years and attain the results I was seeking.

Most of the decisions I have made have been based on these two central questions; how can I protect the mental heath of my daughters after tragedy and how do I build a strong foundation for myself that will allow me to emotionally and financially support myself and them?

As with anything in life, if there is a will, there is a way. Although, I am a rational logical thinker I infuse my plans with faith. I believe faith is the magic that makes the impossible possible. So far, the course I charted in my darkest hours, is coming to fruition.

My older daughter is in London studying finance. She just finished another college semester with a 4.0. Was it easy? No. It was full of pitfalls and unbearable sacrifice.

Like train tracks that run in parallel, while I am planning a secure future, I am also living my life day to day. Often, I remind myself that these days are precious. I will regret not being present and enjoying them fully. Because of this I host my daughters friends. I spend time with them. I listen to them and most importantly I love them unconditionally. It took a long time to do this, but I can now accept them for all of their undefined beauty, idiosyncrasies, and inconsistencies.

My youngest daughter just finished finals and now has only one more semester of high school left. Soon, she will be off to college.

This morning I was talking to her and her four girlfriends that had spent the night. The bedroom floor was littered with clothing, the night stand covered in dishes from the night before. The flowered sheets and pink bedspread tousled. The girls were relaxed and sleepy, and as I approached laughter was the predominant element.

I told them one day you will remember this moment and wish for just one more day like this. Carefree, happy and hopeful. A typical January morning and the five of them in pink pajamas and sweatshirts lying in bed together. They looked at me and smiled. A beautiful poignant moment I will not soon forget.

It feels strange to not know where we will all be. By this time next year all of the most important decisions will be made and the girls will likely be in different places as their college choices are wide and varied. I am deciding what I will do next. I am getting to a point where I can think more concretely about where I will be and what my life on my own will look like.

As usual, I am mapping out my future. I am developing my diagram and working on those hexagon decision points.

Change. Transition. Adaptability.

Yet, no matter how beautiful the present, or how compelling the future there remains a desire for the past accompanied by the wish for one more day. Sometimes, the thought of holding one of my babies in my arms again will creep into my consciousness. The memory of the weight, and smell of each child as an infant is still like a dream. Or, for my daughter it might be the wish to be lying in bed on a sunny January morning with your four best friends before your lives have begun.

Either way. One more day.

Love and blessings to all.