A Walk in the Cold

On Fridays I usually take a walk from my office to the local grocery store a few blocks away to buy a sandwich for lunch, or a coffee, or both.  Today I was feeling particularly antsy and restless, so the walk felt really good.  Invigorating.

It’s been particularly cold here the last week or so (meaning that I’ve had to scrape ice off my car at 8:45am more mornings than not…which is cold for not-the-mountains-in-NorCal) and I packed one of my mom’s hand-knitted slouchy hats into my bag and it came in handy for the walk today.

I walk fairly fast compared to most people I know.  My family was raised with German common sense and efficiency – you just gotta get there fast.  Dilly-dallying is for the weak.  I am The Short One at 5’6″ in a family of basketball players and giraffe lasso-ers, so I learned to pump my legs at twice the speed or be left behind to eat their dust.

Needless to say, I found myself at the grocery store in a very short amount of time.  As I walked back with my delicious white chocolate mocha, I had the realization that I’ll be 30 soon.  Thirty.  This is the first time in my life where my age is starting to sound old, and that’s kinda scary.

This, of course, brings up a lot of existential issues, one of them being regret.  I worry a lot about wasting time.  Too often I find myself waiting for things, and that takes me out of the present.  I wait for the weekend.  I wait to get married, buy a house, have kids.  Hell, some days I’m looking forward to coming home from work and I haven’t even left my apartment yet.  I don’t want to live like this, and I worry about looking back on periods of my life and regretting that I didn’t do more, whatever that means.

But I suppose I really do need to figure out what that means.  I’ve asked myself what it is I really want to spend my time on, and right now, I think the answer is wrapped up in three themes: I want to spend time creating, I want to spend time (and money) seeing the world, and I want to spend time cultivating relationships with people I love.

1. Creating

I want to invest more time and energy into writing.  Could this really go somewhere?  I feel like I need to give it a fair chance.

I want to set aside a place and more time to paint.  I think I’ve only done two major paintings in the past 4 years or so, and that makes me sad.  I have oil paints that I haven’t even learned how to use yet.

2. Travel

There are few places on this earth that I don’t want to see and experience.  I’m pretty thrifty with my money, but I have no problem spending it on plane tickets, museum tickets, and amazing food half a world away.

3. Relationships

The time I spend at work with clients who come to me at their lowest and in the most need has really highlighted how important friends and family are to me.  There is nothing like spending time with healthy, supportive people to recharge my batteries and remind me that not everyone in the world is either a victim or a perpetrator.  I’m also reminded that life doesn’t feel worth it if it’s not shared.

I also can’t wait to create a family of my own and have a relationship with little people who are half me and don’t even exist yet.  This part overlaps with the first theme of creation, although I hope my future kids aren’t offended by being lumped in with blogs and watercolors.  I’m sure they’ll be too screwed up to notice, at any rate.

So.  Are there ways to begin working on these things now and stop waiting for them to magically happen?  Absolutely.

Are there ways to stay in the present and stop waiting?  Yes…This is the part where I should actually practice what I preach to my clients.

I didn’t really start out to write a new years resolutions-ish post, but I suppose I just did.

Sometimes just taking a walk in the cold can do a person a whole lot of good.

36 responses

  1. Lyssa! It’s like you’re in my head sometimes. I live so far ahead of myself, I barely notice what day it is. Living in the now. That’s a good resolution. I’m turning 30 in March and I’m kind of surprised with myself that I’m not MORE introspective about it. But. Being me, I start feeling like I’m the next age up at the 6 month mark, so I’ve been mentally identifying with the 30 for a couple of months already… I really look forward to little half you’s. The humans you create are going to be fantastic.

  2. Just being open to these things and wanting to better yourself will go a long way in terms of accomplishing your goals. I have the same thoughts you have. Try to devote a little bit of time every day to doing something you want to do–like the walks you take–and things that make you happy. Small things, big things–they all lead somewhere. Try new things, go new places, say yes more, reach out to people when you get the urge, even if you feel silly. You’ll get there.

    • Thanks. And actually, for me I think I get hung up on thinking that there is a finish line and that I will, suddenly, somehow “get there.” But honestly, I think part of my work is to be ok with the fact that there isn’t a finish line and there is no “there” and that I’ll be working on myself until the day I die.
      Thanks for your comment – it made me think.

  3. Well, now I really feel old Lyssapants! If you saw my post about my 50th birthday this past week, then you know I share many of the same thoughts. It may sound patronizing but my 30s were really great years… all 10 of them. Yet, in many ways, they were also my most flustered years, for the very reasons you discuss here: waiting and hoping for things. Once the little people come, you are IN IT. Hard to write or paint, or make time for yourself, when that 1/2 of you person needs so much, and you want so much to be with them. Such a magical time, but focused so much on outside your own aspirations… if that makes sense? I have come to believe that the detaching from outcomes really helps… expectations so often lead to disappointments. When we learn to truly be in the moment: grow from it, experience it, enjoy it, or suffer through it (and learn), we grow. When we expect an outcome, we are left chewing on a piece of gristle that rarely is satisfying. You have a lot of wonderful things in your life, and coming into your life. Carpe that diem! ;-)

  4. I was dreading 30, and not because of the age factor, but because I didn’t do a lot of my pre-30 aspirations. Then I realized it was all garbage because I’ve done other really cool stuff, and shouldn’t worry about it.

    30 was a great year for me, and 31 is shaping up to be even better. I think the same will be true for you.

  5. Sometimes a walk in the cold air can clear the cobwebs out of your head and you can think clearly. It seems that’s what happened to you. You embarked on stream of consciousness that led you right into some goals to strive for, places you want to be, maybe not at the moment, but at some point in your life. It’s good to have a direction in which to go. That’s what my therapist would tell me. And he’s right. You’re a good therapist. You know this, too.

  6. Not being in the present–that is a common problem. For instance, I have been wishing desperately that it was Monday so I could view the next episode of The Bachelor. Or that might be a lie. Anyway, it’s something I do too and I think the best you can do is what you’re doing; stopping and recognizing the present even for just a moment. And I would give Hugo’s left eyeball to be turning 30.

  7. I always knew watching “Friends” instead of “being friends” was a bad deal! (OK, snark quota reached, thank you).
    “Worry” is the wrong verb, I would suggest “ponder”…it’s a word hardly seen outside of the bible, but it’s a useful word; you can ponder while you paint, or blog, or rear children (Mary did it!); you can ponder lying down, standing up, running a 5K (sneaky reference to other blog, hee-hee-hee) or in any other position/orientation/occupation/whatever…it allows you to give things their due consideration, AND keep moving toward your dreams.
    I make 45 in 6 weeks, and I have done far too much worrying about the same stuff in that time…but I have learned to enjoy a good ponder!

  8. Sweet mother would call these “champagne problems”, and you know from your “clients” what constitutes real problems. As Doug said, “You’re just a kitten.” Enjoy it!

    • I very much understand that I am more privileged than most, please don’t get me wrong.
      And with all due respect, even though I wasn’t whining about “problems,” my post and feelings expressed in it are real.

      • I appreciate your apology, and I assumed that you of course didn’t mean any harm by your comment. To let you in on what was going on with me: it’s a huge button of mine to be told what to do or be given advice when I didn’t ask for it. I was just pondering life for a minute…
        No worries! :)

  9. “Hell, some days I’m looking forward to coming home from work and I haven’t even left my apartment yet. ” Yes, this. I had this same thought when I woke up this morning! So glad I’m not the only one!

    Also, as someone who’s just turned 30-years-and-one-week-old today, I can tell you: it’s not as scary as you’d think! (I blame Friends. Those birthday episodes messed with my expectations).

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