I Made It

And there it was, the beginning of the year. What happened in the last year that made the start of this one be so welcomed, so needed, so desperately thirsted after?

Honestly, I can’t really remember. The last year passed by in such a slow-motion blur, it felt like sleeping and waking up and then sleeping again. Mixed in with a little, okay A LOT, of Netflix. A seemingly endless rinse and repeat cycle of fog and stress, and food delivery that filled the hours. Days went by and I wasn’t even sure what day it was. Was it even daytime? What happened to the sun at 4:30pm? What’s for dinner?

The time went by and the news got worse. The new iPhone came out and I’m pretty sure I found the end of the internet. Spoiler Alert: The screen goes to black and suddenly you hear “Never Gonna Give You Up” by Rick Astley.

But at 10 seconds before the beginning of the New Year, I had this feeling. It didn’t matter what happened, or didn’t happen, in the last year. It didn’t matter that it felt like the longest decade all wrapped up in one year. What mattered is that I made it through it. I was 10 seconds away from the start. The start of New. I was still breathing. I could still laugh, even though there were times I thought I never would again. I made it. We made it.

And so here I am. Writing again, because I hadn’t in a long time. It feels good. It feels right. It feels, new.

Happy New Year!

Like Before

I told myself it was going to happen. I said it over and over. I was convinced that it was going to be different this time. Because this time I was serious. It wasn't going to be like the other times. Those times when I was less committed, or real with myself. Those times when I wasn't as serious. 
But it was just like before. Like all those other times. 

I told myself I would write today. That I would sit at the page and let the words flow out and, even if they didn't make any sense, would just be written. 
But it was just like before. Like all those other times. 

The carpets needed to be vacuumed. The kitchen needed to be cleaned. The car needed an oil change and maybe some new windshield wipers for the rain that rarely comes in Southern California. 
It was just like before. 

Another day went by and, even though I wrote my Morning Pages and in a journal, nothing much else was written. The pages were blank, the cursor didn't move, the ink in the pen was still fresh and full and everything else got done, except the one thing I told myself I'd do. 
Just like before. 

But then today came. And after a cup of coffee and a walk with the dog, I sat down in my chair and found myself with a pen and paper. Writing. I didn't even have to tell myself to do it. It just happened. 
Like before. 



Untitled Writing

There it is again.

That knock in the back of my head, when I look at the blank page and that little blinking line starts to mimic my heartbeat.

Breathe.

I tell myself. Before I start. Before I place my fingers on the keyboard and just hover. Breathe. It’s all going to be okay.

But it’s still there.

The voice. The familiar voice, that doesn’t sound mean or scary or angry. The voice that sounds soothing and comforting, warm. Like all it wants is to protect me. Keep me safe. Let me know, it’s okay to close the computer and get something to eat, or go for a walk, or sleep.

I’m still here though.

I don’t move. From my keyboard. From the desk and the computer. It’s still open and the page is filling up with digital ink and the cursor is moving and I am writing.

It’s going to be okay.

I tell that to the voice. It’s going to be okay, because I’m writing and nothing bad has happened. You can go find something to eat, or go for a walk, or sleep.

This is going to take a while.

Don’t Let It Get You

It isn’t Thanatophobia, a fear of dying. It’s not even Aquaphobia, the fear of drowning. That’s not where it comes from. It isn’t even Galeophobia, a fear of sharks.

It’s none of that. I actually have a healthy respect and love for sharks. I think they are some of the most beautiful and incredible creatures on the planet. The way they look, the way they swim, the way some of them can leap completely out of the water. I mean, have you seen it? It’s incredible! A marvelous thing to see.

I don’t know. Maybe it’s Phagophobia, the fear of being eaten alive. I guess that’s the closest to come to what I feel every time I get in the ocean. It’s consuming some times. I’ll go to the beach on a blazing hot California day, put the sunscreen on – because you gotta have protection – and start to walk towards the water. The cold will touch my toes and I’ll feel a small relief. Then in a little more past my calves. I’ll taste the salt air and feel the waves roll in and wet my trunks ( why are they even called that?). Then I’ll take a deep breath and think, “I’m gonna do it. I’m gonna drop down and put my head in the water and swim. Like those preteen kids that are doing it. I can do this.” Then I don’t do it.

It wasn’t always this way. When I was a kid, my family would go to the beach and you couldn’t drag me out of the water. I would dodge, duck, dip, dive and dodge all day long in the water. It was freedom. It was beautiful.

Then I got older and realized one thing. I’m mortal. That makes me vulnerable. That makes me a target.

Sure, like so many other people, Jaws had something to do with my fear.

But I do not, ever, blame the sharks themselves for this fear. I know, this is all me. Because I know I’m more likely to get hit by a lightning bolt, contracting an infection in a hospital, or getting hit and dying by a champagne cork than getting attacked by a shark. There’s about a 1 in 3.75 million chance of me being the one attacked by one of these amazing creatures.

But the fear is still there, and that’s what’s keeping me from jumping in the ocean and enjoying my best life now. Maybe I’m not alone. Maybe there are others out there who have the same fear.

And that got me thinking, if I’m not alone in this fear of something that isn’t anything truly to be feared, then maybe I’m not the only one who lets fear keep them from doing things they would enjoy. Like, success.

Jumping in to anything takes risk. It takes a healthy respect for what you’re taking a leap in to.

You want to go to school, but you’re afraid you’re too old. All your classmates will be the same age as your kids, or grandkids. But it’s something you want. Do it.

You want to change your career because what you’ve been doing after you graduated college is what other’s wanted you to do. You want to be a photographer, a chef, an architect. Do it.

You want to learn how to dance, how to play an instrument, how to swim, how to become a coffee roaster. Do it.

There is not enough time in this one and only life to let fear take any of it from us.

Some time ago, I finally – kinda – took this to heart. My family and I went kayaking and snorkeling. In the ocean, in La Jolla. I love kayaking. It feels good to be out on the water and use my strength to propel myself around. See, it’s not even Thalassophobia. We stopped our kayaks near the caves and it was there I did the thing I feared. I strapped my snorkel and mask on, took a deep breath and dropped out of my kayak into the water. It was cold, it was heavy, which surprised me. But there I was, swimming around the ocean, scanning the water with my mask and snorkel and loving every second of it. I wasn’t in long, I will admit. Maybe a few minutes. But I did it. And now I’m writing about it. I survived!

I do still have that fear, but it’s waned a little. I’m pretty proud of myself. Just like I’m proud of myself for writing these blogs and posting them. Because I had a fear of putting myself out there. For showing my writing, which was once relegated to notebooks and hidden from the light of day. Now I write and put it out there, because I don’t want to let fear take any more time from me and my words.

Putting my fears aside and just doing it. Doing something.

I hope you do it too.