Sail At It [on Merely A Thought Monday]

Kerri said it best: I can’t believe we are back in this place again.

I’ve been rolling this quote through my mind each day as I enter the job-hunt. I remember Tom telling me that he’d crossed a magic line and the world perceived him as “old.” He desperately wanted to direct more plays but his vast experience wore grey hair and a chiseled face. Even former students turned the other way when he called. Eventually he stopped believing the opportunity was out there. He made his peace with retirement on the ranch. He settled into a quiet life and a quiet life settled into him.

As I stare at job listings I dream of wealthy patrons knocking at my door or a fast-track Patreon membership that floats my/our artistic boat into new and exciting explorations. There are paintings in the stacks that are gorgeous and worthy. I fantasize that a syndicate will want Smack-dab or a publisher will ride over the horizon with a book deal. I know that Kerri has more music to play and record. I am not imagining that.

Tom’s reflection is poignant because he felt he was, after a lifetime of experience, coming into his most potent artistic years. I feel that now. I am now the age he was when he uttered his disbelief at crossing the magic line. It’s taken a long time to recognize the worth of my doubt, the power in my perseverance stepping into the unknown. There’s potent artistry in here. As the Wander Women said best, “We might have 20 summers left and want to be intentional in how we spend them.” Yes. How to best dedicate and experience the time? This day?

I believe the opportunity is out there. I wear a grey beard and, as my niece said, a weathered face. But, beneath the wear-and-tear, my heart is young and my tank is full. I am foolish enough or naive enough to imagine. To dream. To point my intention toward the edge of the earth. To believe opportunity is serendipitous as well as something created.

read Kerri’s blogpost about OPPORTUNITY

Notice It [on Not So Flawed Wednesday]

I’m chuckling at the absurdity of myself.

Yesterday, I wrote that the theme this week at the melange was “noticing.” I wrote that everything we write is, in one way or another, about noticing. Paying attention.

Nothing gets by me! Nope.

Recently, we shared with the Wander Women our smack-dab cartoon featuring their impact on our lives. They shared our cartoon and blogs with their audience. Our readership exploded, some very nice comments rolled in, and while reading the comments, Kerri urged me to check the “comments” tab. “The what?” I asked. “What ‘comments’ tab?”

Years of generosity and kind responses flowed just beneath my nose and I had no idea. None. I never saw it. In my very weak defense, there’s a notifications-pull-down menu with comments and I assumed…

To the writers of kindness and sharers of thoughtful story, thank you. Tom told me of his great grandfather, Lak, who, as a young man, travelled west across the country in a covered wagon and took a ship through the Panama canal to arrive at last in California. A letter from his siblings took several years to travel from Ohio to his promised land. I live in the age of the internet and, although your letters reached me instantly, it took me longer than the pony-express-letter-delivery-service to notice your correspondence. Lak saw his mail faster than I saw reader’s comments.

There is, of course, no expiration date on gratitude, and I am as grateful today as I would have been on the dates those thoughts were sent. I can only hope my appreciation reaches you with the same force as your words impacted me.

And, remember, I notice everything except for what passes just beneath my nose.

read Kerri’s blogpost about CHERISH

“Get Outside, People.” [on saturday morning smack-dab.]

When the Wander Women pulled the plug on their cross-country cycling attempt, my esteem for them, what they do, and how they live, skyrocketed. No small statement since they were already high on my list of the people I admire.

In this age of manicured image, they are refreshingly real. They decided in their retirement to use their precious lives gathering experiences instead of stuff, to open themselves to adventure rather than live in a comfy fortress. In the past three years they’ve completed thru-hikes of the Appalachian Trail, The Continental Divide Trail, and the Pacific Crest Trail.

Although that is impressive, the reason we follow them is the hope they inspire. They’ve developed a community of support that shows up for them. Because they are generous, they attract generosity. Rides appear. Baked goods show up. Offers of places to stay. They say, “Yes” to whatever life throws at them and know that life will throw a “Yes” back to them.

Sometimes saying “Yes” means to stop. The plan falls apart, the elements do not cooperate. Every good adventurer knows it’s not enough to get up the mountain, one must also make the return trip. The variables have to align and, if they don’t, it’s wise to wait. Saying, “Yes” means saying, “Not today.” As Kristy said, “It’s best not to get lost in the goal.”

It’s the reason I admire them: they are not stacking achievements. They are having experiences. They are enriching their moments rather than hanging certificates on the wall. They lead with joy rather than acquisition.

They end each of their vlog installments with encouragements: Live. Get outside, people. Make the tough decision. Say, “Yes.”

read Kerri’s blogpost on this saturday morning smack-dab.

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