Yesterday was September 1st, and I forgot to ward off the evil spirits! So here we go:
Rabbit rabbit rabbit!
Evil spirits officially warded off.
I talked to one of the possible caterers for our November PAC dinner, and it's very do-able for them with the budget we have per person. I think that's the restaurant we'll want to go with, and have some appetizers, a buffet, and an open bar with beer and wine only. They're supposed to send me details of what they recommend with this budget, and then we'll choose the menu. Let's see, I'm thinking Eggplant Parmigiana, crab cakes, tomatoes and fresh mozzarella...all of MY favorites! Totally kidding. A choice between chicken, beef, and fish, the usual suspects when it comes to sides, etc. I think this is going to be fun!
I read a couple of journal entries this morning that really got me to thinking. (Stand back, she's gonna explode!) Lori over at Dusty Pages wrote about her need for "alone time" (and taught me a new word along the way: anchorite), and Lisa at Life on a Bison Farm wrote about the pathway that has brought her to her current life. Both of these wonderful women could have been writing about aspects of my own life.
Apparently Lori and I share a deep-seated need for solitude. So much so that we recognize our potential for becoming complete hermits! When I retired, one of my coworkers said, "Beth is going to turn into a hermit!" Well, it hasn't happened--yet--but I DO recognize that tendency in myself and try to make sure that I don't overindulge in my desire for solitude.
I think Lori will agree with me in that it's not a dislike for people...well, most people. Okay, sometimes it really is a dislike for people. But luckily, that's a rarity. The vast majority of people I'm around are fun, interesting, and very nice folks, and I always enjoy spending time with them. Part of it is simply being a very shy person, as is Lori. We had a little email discussion about it, and agreed that most people would never believe that about us. I remember having a discussion with a friend at work in which I mentioned that I was always painfully shy, but that I learned to handle it better as I got older. Just as some of you were when you found out that I'm not a "talker," she was shocked and said, "I never would have thought that about you!" I said, "ACTING!"
And that's exactly what much of it was for many years. I would tell myself, "Act like you're outgoing," and then do it. I would say in my head, "Show that you're confident," and I would. It's become more natural as the years have gone by, but it's still something that I have to work at. It's no wonder that I'm exhausted after social situations!
I still find that I'm most comfortable and relaxed when I'm sitting here by myself, or when Ken and I sit in companionable silence while he works and I read. We're fortunate to have found each other, because neither of us feel the need to have non-stop dialogue or constant conversation, and we are quite content to just enjoy the peace and quiet that surrounds us. My friend Jillian and I used to laugh about how she and I were sort of "jealous" of our days off, and just wanted to hole up in our homes and enjoy the quiet. We would joke that because we're so similar in that regard, we could get together and just sit silently in different corners and read. Ha ha!
I didn't used to be that way, and in my younger days, I always wanted to be around people. If I weren't, I would want to talk to someone on the phone. It was a constant barrage of social stimulation, and as I look back, it seems to me that it was rooted in the fact that I wasn't comfortable with myself, and had some sort of nagging question about my own happiness. I wasn't capable of being happy in my own skin, so I had to be around others to make up for that lack of confidence, and to hope that they would provide the joy in my life.
Which brings me to Lisa's entry: the path she's traveled to get to NOW.
Her story sounds eerily similar to mine, with a few obvious differences. Everyone's path is different, and we all must navigate it ourselves.
Her move from an active social life to small town life sounds like it was jarring and disconcerting, and not very welcome. She eventually learned to love what life was teaching her, and she strikes me as a very together and interesting person.
While we all have some regrets about things that have happened to us, and choices that we have made, I find it foolish and counterproductive to dwell on "What if..." questions. Of course, it's natural to think in those terms once in a while, but we can't change what has happened. For me, it's better to realize that the choices we have made, whether good or bad, are part of what has brought us to this point in time, and the important question then is, "Am I happy with where I'm at NOW?" If we answer no to that question, we've still got some work to do. If we can answer yes, we are fortunate indeed.
We can all stand room for improvement in certain things, but if we have come to enjoy being happy with our own company and to not need others to create that happiness, we're doing okay. And while it's understandable to have regrets about certain decisions we've made, it's more important to realize that these are the things that have made us who we are. Whatever pain, whatever joy, whatever sorrows have occurred in our past have contributed to our current outlook on life and our own view of who we are. Learning from our mistakes empowers us and lets us know that while we may not be able to control what happens to us, we most certainly can control how we react to it. Repeating the same mistakes over and over is damaging and dangerous, and results in stagnation and a lack of joy. Taking those mistakes and turning them into learning experiences allows us to grow as human beings and enjoy our lives to the fullest, rather than being mired in regret and bitterness over things that are long past and beyond our control to change.
I wish you all much happiness.
Thanks, Lori and Lisa, for the inspiration!