a second chance (or: what a tree taught me about life)

i got into a conversation with my therapist today about how i’ve often struggled with comparing myself to other people.

i struggle with my perception of how friends have it all together, how life is (in a nutshell) perfect for them.

i see friends’ marriages and partnerships with their significant other blossom and flourish and i wish beyond all wishes that mine would do the same.

note: marriage is damn hard. don’t believe anyone who tells you otherwise, princess.

a young jack pine. image from wikipedia

a young jack pine. image from wikipedia

i then told my therapist about a couple of friends that i have that seemed to have the perfect marriage.

i won’t go into details here in order to protect them, but let’s just say their relationship was far from perfect.  when i heard about the major life-changing things they had to deal with as a couple, i was surprised: if anyone had this whole relationship thing figured out, surely it would’ve been these two.  however, despite the challenges they’ve met along the way, they are a stronger couple because of them.

my therapist then told me about the jack pine – it’s a tree that is native to canada east of the rocky mountains.  the fascinating things about these trees is that their cones that contain their seeds only open in heat – when a fire occurs.  for the tree to reproduce in a natural environment, the original tree has to die in a forest fire so the cones can open up and reseed the burnt ground.

i couldn’t help but think about this in real life: sometimes, to be given a second chance, to start anew, we have to experience the fires that life brings our way.  the possibility for rebirth is there, we’ve just got to be willing to go through life’s storms to get there.

going through life fires has a way of refining us, of making us stronger.  sure, we may get knocked down, but we can rise again.

traveling mercies,

jdh

 

 

2/3rds of the Way Finished With My OYAP

I completed a half marathon yesterday.

It still sounds so very strange to say that after having had that item on my bucket list for quite some time now.

Truth be told, I’m proud of myself.  My end goal was just to finish the thirteen point one miles that constitutes a half, and I was able to do that.  A few people asked me for a specific time goal I had, and when all was said and done, I was able to beat my time goal by about twenty two minutes.

I swear that those final miles felt as though there were further in between.

Completing a half marathon was part of my OYAP, or as it is officially known, my One Year Action Plan.

For far too long, I’ve been someone who finds it easier to talk about doing something as opposed to actually going out there and doing it.  My bucket list was getting longer, while I was not even beginning to scratch things off the list that was continually growing.

Last September after talking with different friends, I decided to put three things on my OYAP, giving myself until October 1st, 2014 to complete the following:

  • Complete NaNoWriMo in November of 2013 (Done! – November 2013)
  • Train for and complete a half marathon (Done! – April 27th, 2014)
  • Read The Lord of the Rings

Two down, one to go.

I’m thinking of adding a stretch goal to my original action plan, something else that I can work towards before October first rolls around.  Of course, come October first, I will want to begin a new OYAP, with three new items on the list for the next round of goals.

Traveling mercies,
jdh

time (management)

how do you manage your time?

i’ve been struggling recently with finding a happy balance in life with accomplishing those things that i need to do while still affording myself time to relax and unwind.  i’d almost go as far as to say that it’s a mid-thirties crisis of sorts…

i feel overwhelmed by the sheer number of books i want to read, programs i want to watch, games i want to play – not to mention people i want to spend quality time with.

any tips for how you achieve balance?

traveling mercies,
jdh

paying it forward

i’m not sure what it is about me, but for whatever reason, i am always amazed by the sheer number of people who stop me on the street to ask for directions.

today was no exception.

after spending my lunch hour walking around downtown catching up with a friend, as i was heading back to my office a woman stopped me on the street not more fifteen seconds after i had parted ways with said friend.

“excuse me, can you provide me with directions?” she asked, carrying a large box.

the exchange continued for a little while as i informed her that i had a good idea where place X was, but that i’d better look it up on my phone just to be sure (i would hate to give someone wrong directions, after all).

i apologized for my slow phone (3G), and she laughed as she pulled out her flip phone saying, “that’s quite alright!”

after confirming which direction she needed to head and providing her with the address for her destination she thanked me as i smiled and began to walk away.

“i’ll pay it forward!” she shouted, turning to me.

i smiled at that.  what a beautiful thing to say.

chances are, i will never cross paths with this woman again so she will not be able to “return the favor”, but she can bless someone else with help along the way and that (in my opinion) is just as – if not more-so – beautiful.

traveling mercies,
jdh