I write every day, and yet this week, I’ve done a lot more living than writing. Leading up to Thanksgiving, I got a little sideways and pulled away from the present moment taking in too much news and trying to decide what was “right” or “wrong” about going to see my parents. It had been five years since we spent Thanksgiving with them and for a few days it felt like it was going to be another year past. So before the latest round of stay-at-home orders, with negative COVID tests in hand, part of us traveled by plane, masks on, through mostly empty airports, and the rest by car, and all made it safely to see my parents. Barring a positive COVID test, now that I think about it, nothing was going to stop us, but I will admit that 2020 has made me much better at making decisions on the fly…and I’m convinced that we made the right one.
There is nothing that makes you more proud to be a Californian than traveling on our coastline, there is truly nothing like it in this entire world, and Pebble Beach is some extraordinary footage. As always, travel gives me takeaways that I tuck away, things to think about, learn from, and be grateful for.
So here are my Thanksgiving takeaways from this beautiful trip:
After so many years watching over them, I am thankful to have reached the point to get to sit back and just watch...the four of them are so different, and they blend together in the greatest ways. They joke with each other, support each other, enjoy each other, annoy and roll their eyes at each other - and me when I want to take the 1000th picture - but at the end of the day, I get to go to bed and read my book and they handle the rest. To the mom’s out there, you get it, the younger days are physically intense, traveling with blankets, strollers, bottles, baths in weird places and beds they won’t sleep in...it feels like yesterday, and yet we have blown past it. Now we all travel independently, one bringing a friend (loved having you Ricky) and one leaving early to go see friends before he heads off to quarantine with his team (newsflash, that got scratched at the 11th hour and now he’s home for at least another three weeks) and it’s all good because that’s what connection is all about:) The amazing thing for me is that there is energy to spare at the end of the day to do new and exciting things and for that I am so thankful.
Life is meant to be lived and enjoyed.. For so long, I felt guilty for the blessings I have in my life, I allowed myself to feel less than deserving of them. I’ve even had people write me and say “of course you can be optimistic, living where you live, having what you have.” But I realize now, especially after this year, we never know what’s coming or when things could change in an instant, so why would I waste a minute feeling bad about the good of now and not take full advantage of every moment? Have you ever felt less than worthy of a moment or circumstance in your life? If you feel me on this one, I urge you to give it up and accept that every gift you have been given is there for a reason, so use it to elevate and do something great. The trick is to stay present and drink it all in, back it up with a solid routine to keep it moving forward, and if you hit a speed bump, know that you are adaptable and will be able to make the changes necessary to survive. Whatever is outside of my control isn’t for me to worry about. Sometimes those forces have led to incredible blessings in my life, other times huge challenges. But it’s the only life I’ve got, so I’m going to Live it Well…with no guilt, and facing fear, letting it inform, but never giving it the reigns - and let the chips fall where they may.
When you have something you love to do, do it for as long as you can, and don’t stop trying to get better at it. For me this applies to all areas of my life - writing, parenting, relationships, coaching & sports. This is what leads to the connections with people who are on the same quest to make life great, and as you move through life, you end up with these connections all over the state, country, and even the world. Saturday, before we boarded the plane home, I got to play four games of volleyball with players who’s ages ranged from 15-62. Then I got to meet up with another favorite person in my life - a no social media having bright, professional, and accomplished mom from my earlier days of parenting. We talked business, relationships, politics, sports, Jesuit educations, and parenting. This was the day it could happen, and we made sure that it did. Some oppotunities only come up on certain days, some things feel like that may happen again next week, but there is no guarantee. We are alive now, and there is gratitude and celebration in that just that one fact.
I’ve spent the better part of my life fearing something...not feeling like I was good enough, trying to judge what other people expected of me instead of making my own plan, worried that I would fail, or thinking I was not tough enough to take it when life takes a difficult turn. But leveling up means meeting your own story head on and teaching the next generation with the power of what you have learned. I’ve learned I can be respectful and still have my own opinion, I’ve learned that I am ok if you don’t agree with me even though I hope you will try to understand if our points of view are different.
I ’m grateful that we took the chance and took this trip because I got to fit in what makes me feel most alive, and now we come home to a place where they are trying to take that choice away again. There is social distancing, and there are masks, washing hands, and good common sense, but I’m worried about kids not being in school and what that is doing to their education level for years to come. I’m worried about college kids not being engaged academically, socially, and athletically at at time in their lives when there are so many harmful things pulling on their idle time. I’m worried that the unintended consequences of keeping people locked in their homes are going to have a higher death rate than this virus itself. But most of all, I’m worried about people being so afraid of dying, that they are scared to death to live…because this life can be made into a beautiful place when we choose to live in the moment and meet it with breath, movement, and gratitude. To take one more quote out of Greenlights (one more time, go buy this book) I’m ready, despite what 2020 and LA County have to say about it, to just keep livin’.
Sending love, optimism, and wellness,
At least if we are going to find ourselves at home more this holiday season, there is a new double album from Morgan Wallen. Loved this Release Radar this week -Somebody’s Problem - isn’t life all relative anyway?