Archive of ‘Ultimate Blog Challenge’ category

Normally…

This time last year, I couldn’t wait for life to get back to normal.

I don’t know about you, but I’m still waiting.

Normally, I would take my friend up on her offer to attend an outdoor summer concert featuring James Taylor.

Normally, I would plan a summer vacation that involved flying somewhere I’ve never been, visiting new places, and having some fun, once-in-a-lifetime adventures.

Normally, I would be comfortable eating indoors at a restaurant, going to a party, and hugging people I haven’t seen in a while.

Normally, I wouldn’t worry if the person standing too close to me in line is vaccinated.

COVID-19 changed all of our lives. It has made me second guess doing many things I enjoy doing and clearly took for granted. However, being fully vaccinated does give me the confidence to attend the writing conference I’ve been looking forward to for so long. And, I can take Andrew on college tours again. I’m still going on vacation. I’m staying local because flying anywhere is way out of my comfort zone right now. And I’m glad it is summer so that it isn’t weird that I want to eat outdoors. I’ve been to a few small get-togethers, but when it gets to be too crowded, I head home.

I’m keeping my expectations in check. The only “normal” I really want to get back to is watching the kids go to school in person and enjoy their lives. I want Jenna to have a typical junior year of college. I want Andrew to go on his scout trip out west and his senior trip to Florida.

And for me, maybe I’ll hear James Taylor live in concert next summer.

 

Living the Dream

I have this recurring dream of relaxing on the beach, strolling in the park, or sitting in a cafe. I’m sipping on a hot beverage. Time has stood still. There is no place I need to be and nothing I need to do. My mind is clear, and distractions are nonexistent. The only task at hand is to be inspired and channel my thoughts to put words on the page. At the end of the day, my notebook is full of ideas because my head is so clear that it has made room for them. When I get up to leave, I feel accomplished, satisfied, and happy.

And then my alarm goes off, and reality sets in. There is so much to do and not enough time to do it. I’m stressed and frustrated because all I want to do is go back to that dreamy coffee shop.

Carving out the time and space to write has never been easy for me. I tend to put the needs of others before my own because I love them and want them to be happy.  But in doing so, I am not realizing my full potential, which is increasingly becoming a problem for me.

I have to find a way to be okay with never finishing my to-do list and not running that annoying errand. I want to learn to be okay with dishes in the sink and clothes left in the dryer. Above all, I don’t want to feel guilty about the mundane tasks that I should get done, so I can focus on what I want to accomplish. In the end, I think it is all about having a nicer existence.

I want to live the dream.

Reinventing Myself

Here I am on the first day of a new blog challenge, wondering what the heck I will write about for 30 days straight. The last time, I did the Ultimate Blog Challenge (UBC), I focused on one of my favorite topics – books and reading. By honing in on my reading life, I now know my likes and dislikes. I created good habits to get the most out of my books. I broke some bad habits and can easily identify what I want my reading life to look like going forward. In short, it was a reinvention of one of my favorite past times

This month, I’m planning to dive into a much larger and deeply personal topic – reinventing myself and what that means for the next chapter of my life and writing career. I’ve done this several times over. It isn’t an easy process, but always a worthwhile one.

The title of my blog is not just a title – for me, it’s a way of life without any sort of manual. I always do my very best. I succeed. I fail. I make mistakes. I learn from them, and I move on. This ongoing evolution began in full force in my formative years as an often bullied and woefully unpopular caterpillar in middle school and high school. Back then, I reinvented myself into a much more confident butterfly in college. So much so that some people didn’t recognize me at my high school reunion. Talk about a metamorphosis!

From there, I went from being a single young adult and budding writer to a wife, mother, and career woman. And then – before I knew it – I turned 50 this past year. It was quite a milestone in many ways. I’m learning to say yes to the things I want and no to everything else. As an inherent people-pleaser, this is no easy task. But in doing so, I am taking a pause to make more intentional decisions about what I want and where to go from here.

This seems like as good of a time as any to reflect on these things. After all, at the end of this coming school year, I will be an empty nester which comes with a host of emotions. Some of them I’m already experiencing like sadness, nostalgia, and nausea. Others will come out of left field. And all I know is that as I get older, I still find myself in situations where I don’t know what to do. The difference now is that I might be expected to know because I have all of this life experience behind me. But the truth is, I’m still learning and growing, and reinventing myself – and that’s what I’ll explore this month through my blog posts.

Care to join me? Whether you are my age or have reinvented yourself at any stage of your life, I hope you find something that resonates with you here. Please share your comments with me, and I promise to reply One of the best things about writing is sharing my stories and then listening to and learning from other people’s experiences. I hope you will share yours with me. And if you don’t have anything to say but like what you’ve read – a simple thumbs up on Facebook works just as well. It helps me tremendously to know when something I’ve written resonates with you. Writing can be lonely sometimes. Hitting “publish” and posting these posts is my attempt at being brave and expressing myself. Your support means the world to me and keeps me going.

I’d love to hear from you!

XOXO

Elisa

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