A Traveler’s Terrene

You only live once. What are you going to remember the most?

Your Life Descent… November 18, 2009

Filed under: Inspiration and Motivation — italicana kitchen @ 10:16 pm
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If your life was a movie what would you want to watch? If your life was a story what would you want to read? If you think of life this way…that with each second a camera is watching you…a pen is writing what you are doing, you may choose you actions differently. Life is not a dress rehearsal. There is no practice. You need to perform as though you are enacting the grand finale each and every day. Because in all actuality it could be. The crude fact of life is that you may die any second of any day. There is no certainty. Life is like water. Some days it may flow, others it may freeze, and still others it may dry up into nothing. There is no control over what happens to you–whether you become rain, hail, snow, or vapor–but you can choose that in the moments before outside forces enact on who and what you are, you lived your life to the fullest, and made the most of what you were in those moments you fell from the sky.

Life is simple. In the end, you blend into the trillion snowflakes that have fallen before you, the million balls of crystallized ice that have covered the ground, or the uncountable raindrops that have splashed across nameless faces on a warm summer’s night. When you touch your final destination, you become just like everyone else….but as you are falling from the sky, no matter what form or shape you take, you have control of how you fall. Slow…fast…gently… abruptly. You may not be able to change your size, texture or form, but you certainly can alter one thing…your descent.  It is up to you and only you on how you want to fall from the sky and what kind of imprint you want to leave on the ground below.

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Living life like a Mayfly October 7, 2009

Filed under: Inspiration and Motivation — italicana kitchen @ 5:37 pm
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The average lifespan of a human is eighty years. We are born…we live…then we die. That is the nature of our existence on earth (as for life beyond earth, that is a completely different topic and one I won’t get into here…)

Yet, eighty, this number what does it represent? The answer? Time. This is the average amount of time that most of us will have on this earth baring a premature death caused by nature, disease, accident or an act of violence. So given that we both are alive right now–I am typing this blogpost and you are reading it–we are fortunate to have survived another day and continue living towards that time marker.

Do you think eighty is a large number? Imagine eighty sleek super jets lined up on a runway or eighty warm apple pies stacked on your kitchen table. Eighty is a big number. When we think of these objects, eighty seems like a lot. We have eighty years–many years–so we tend to plan accordingly. We push the things we want to do today down our timeline like one would the tiny white scoreballs on a foosball table. Not today…slide…tomorrow. Not tomorrow…slide…in five years. Not in five years…slide…when I am retired. Before we know it, we have pushed everything we’ve wanted to do to our final years of life because we have a lot. We have eighty by all means!

But, what if the human race was more like our closely related neighbor, the chimpanzee whose lifespan is only forty years. That is half the life expectancy you have now. What things about your life would you do different? What things would you change?

Now, cut that in half again and we are at twenty years, the life expectancy of a penguin. I am 26. I would hypothetically be dead right now. In my first twenty years of my life did I try to do everything I wanted? What would I have changed if I were to relive them all over again? What would I have done differently if that was all that I was given?

Now, let’s talk about the lifespan of a Mayfly. This beautiful little insect experiences our world for 30 minutes to 24 hours, depending on the species. That is their fate. That is there window of opportunity to experience life on earth before they die.

So, what if human life expectancy was the same? What if scientist’s framed our average life expectancy to 30 minutes to 24 hours, instead of 80 years? Would that change the way we think about our time? Would that change the actions we make in life?

What did you do for the last 30 minutes to 24 hours? Are you content with how you passed your time? Or, are there things you would change? Ask yourself this simple question every half hour, or at the end of each day. Imagine that your lifespan is that of a Mayfly and strive to live life with a fiery of passion to experience the day to its fullest, love with intensity and richness and use the time you are given to do the things that mean the most to you, because, right now, these moments are the only secure time you have.

 

Missing Love… April 28, 2009

Filed under: Daily Life — italicana kitchen @ 10:50 pm
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Tonight, I got out of a nice hot shower, laid naked in the fetal position on the pink checkered comforter on my bed and cried. Not because I am unhappy, but rather because I am missing something. Like a child in the womb, don’t we just want to be held? Those were my thoughts tonight as I lay alone, I just want to feel skin on skin, an arm wrapped around me and a face curled up next to mine in the nook of my neck.

I couldn’t ask for a better life right now–I’m in Italy, following my dreams and pursuing my passions- I wouldn’t trade this experience for anything in the world, but tonight I cried because there is no one in my bedroom to jump with me over my triumphs, wipe the tears from my eyes during moments of defeat, and just lay with me in silence without a word spoken but a muted conversation that describes and explains everything words can sometimes never say.

In truth, I should take responsibility as the majority of this solitude is my own doing as I continue to push away every man that tries to enter my life–“I don’t have time,” I say as I try to focus every free moment on writing, my other passionate love in life that consumes me as a real lover would, yet, doesn’t reciprocate with a tender touch that tonight I am missing.

It’s been over a year since I’ve been in the arms of someone I’ve loved and over four years in the arms of someone who has loved me back. Each experience has made me stronger, but in this moment I feel weak. I am tired. I don’t want to look anymore, I just want to be. To be with someone who understands me, makes me laugh, inspires me, challenges me and passionately loves me.

Tomorrow this moment will pass, and I will resume to be the strong independent woman I normally am. But, tonight my heart aches with longing for a man, a lover, and a best friend to hold me and never let me go.

 

Walking in the Rain… April 26, 2009

Filed under: Random Moments — italicana kitchen @ 4:15 pm
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I woke up this morning to a dreary gray sky, the wind whipping through the nearby trees and the sound of a thousand drops falling on the rooftop..pidder..patter…pidder…patter… I walked to the window and pulled it open as far as it would go, took the patched blanket from my bed and curled up in the chair by the lamp and began to write. Just like the fresh breeze blowing through the open window, my thoughts flowed freely onto the paper in front of me until I had three pages full of blue ink.

Although I was finally consumed with inspiration, I also had the biggest urge to crawl out the window. On second thought,  I decided to use a more practical approach by using the side door, but I wanted to go play in the rain! It was only last week that I wrote a chapter about a woman who prefers the cold raindrops hitting her face than the comfort of the house. When was the last time I walked in the rain? Not with an umbrella or a fear of getting wet and ruining my blow dried and curled hair, but actually walking with the intention of feeling the cold water splash across my face and body? Trekking in the Himalayas maybe, but that now has been over six months ago. How have I deprived myself of this simple joy for so long? I questioned as I pulled on my black rain pants, put my arms through my red raincoat and laced up my worn and tattered hiking shoes.

Within a matter of minutes I was closing the metal door of the gate and strolling along the paved street which was void of life except a car every now and then. One car slowed down as it approached me, to stare, the driver probably asking himself, “why is this girl walking in the rain?” Another whizzed past, it’s wheels splashing the water that lay pooled next to the sidewalk as it made it’s way towards me, I found myself moving towards the edge of the sidewalk closest to the car and trying to time it just right so the splash from the puddle would hit me!

Soon my feet found puddles like a magnet to a fridge, and I couldn’t stop them from stomping, marching and splashing through the water–I was momentarily a 5 year old child. The cold water splashed up my pants and onto my bare skin giving me goosebumps before trickling it’s way down to my socks and pooling itself to form a puddle in my shoe. Removing the hood that covered my head, I let the rain stream down across my face as I left the paved streets to walk along an old country road lined with rustic Italian houses and vineyards that stretched towards the horizon for as far as my eyes could see. The green grass sprouted yellow dandy lions and white daisies lined the ground between the twisting vines held up by faded wooden poles and lines of sharp and pointy barbwire.

By this time, I was drenched but I didn’t care. My goal was not to stay dry but to feel the raindrops on my skin, to smell the fresh scent of cleansed air, and to hear the chirping of the birds or the droplets falling through the limbs of the trees, hitting each branch like the ball in an old arcade machine.

I sit here now after a warm shower, wrapped in a blanket and drinking tea–happy that I am now back inside. However, my walk through the rain is a moment I will never forget.

Every day we have the amazing opportunity to create moments and to live life like we’ve always imagined. For me, as I write about these moments for characters in my story it makes me jealous–I want to have a moment like that! I think to myself. The simple reality that we often times forget is that we can. The moments we imagine we can create, just like today–all it took was putting down my pen and walking out that side door.

 

A Continual Quest February 19, 2009

It’s officially official…. in one week from today I am moving to Italy! Although, I already planned to be leaving, until I had my visa in hand nothing was certain. I flew to San Francisco last week, applied for my visa and a few days later walked out of the Italian Consulate’s white wooden doors with a huge smile spread wide across my face, my visa in hand, and the stripes of red, green and white from the Italian flag hung over the door frame waving behind me. Just over a year ago I was leaving Seattle for an around the world trip, now merely 12 months later, I am about to embark on a new adventure. What amazing moments are waiting for me in Italy? What new terrene can I explore?

The world offers endless possibilities if you continually strive for them. The key to accomplishing your goals and dreams is to not stop after completing one goal, but rather to keep challenging yourself to achieve all of your goals on your list. And, when that list is done–time to make a new one.

Never stop aspiring for your dreams after you complete your first round of goals. Of course, take some time to soak in the glory of your accomplishments, congratulations!  But, don’t think for a moment that you are done–your list of dreams should be constant, never ending. No matter how many goals you’ve accomplished or how much status or wealth you have obtained, you should never allow yourself to sit idle in life when you have the potential each day to fulfill a personal goal or to help others achieve theirs.

Obstacles are bound to cross your path stealing your motivation like two black masked men robbing piles of crisp green cash from the vault of a bank, leaving you empty and in disarray.  But, when all is lost, that is when your true strength perseveres. “Okay,” you should say. “What can I do right now to better my situation and what is out of my control?” Be relentless about identifying the things you can change, and let go of the things you can’t.

Life should be a challenge. Whether you create the challenge for yourself, or the challenge falls unexpectedly in your lap like Cancer or paralysis, you still have a reason to push yourself. Don’t give up. Strive for your dreams, and if your current dreams are too far away to grasp or have now become unrealistic given an unexpected situation, create a new list–keeping pushing yourself.

The true prize is your journey in persevering towards your goals, rather than the single moment when you actually achieve them. The gratification from holding a trophy is minuscule to the power of conquering the skills that allowed you to get there which were achieved from hours of practice, diligence to your goal and belief in yourself that–yes! my dreams are important, they are worth the effort.

 

Simple Moments of Country Life January 26, 2009

I love the city. Bright lights, restaurants galore and endless entertainment options. The city arguably has everything a girl could want…well, almost.  After the countless nights of parading across town in high heels, short dresses and makeup, things become routine.  In a city, you are surrounded by what seems like a plethora of options: Thai food or Italian, Hollywood blockbuster or independent film, wine bar or pub, concert or performance, art gallery or coffeshop art, jazz or hip hop, rock climbing or ice skating.  There are so many choices of entertainment but upon closer inspection, the so called plethora of options are condensed into seven main categories: dining, movies, bars, concerts/performance, art, music or sports.  Occasionally you’ll find an event that breaks the mold of a typical Saturday night out like a beer pong tournament or national geographic lecture, but these seem few and far between. And, for the budget conscious person…*cough*…most of these entertainment options cost money! For two people you’re often looking at least $30 on dinner, $15 on movie tickets, $20-100 on your average bar bill, $40-200 on a concert/performance, at least $10 cover for live music and $20 at the climbing wall. This doesn’t even count the parking, gas or taxi costs.  Man oh man…I already feel a hole forming in my wallet.  And, during this economic crisis, that hole just keeps getting bigger and bigger until *poof!* where did my wallet go? Where is my money? All I want is to be entertained. All I want is a fun moment to remember!

One of the so called downfalls of living in a small town is that there are not a lot of entertainment options. When I first moved to Seattle and told people I was from Davenport, population 1500, people gasped, “What do you do? Do you even have television?”

“Yes, we have television and even Internet–crazy I know!” I would say. But, city people are right, there are not a lot things to do in Davenport. Correction, there are not a lot of things that you can pay to do. Besides bowling and…yup, well that’s about it.

So, what do you do in a small town then? Well, you get creative. You turn the simple things in life into entertainment and along the way you find that often times they are just as fun and more memorable than the cookie cutter options of city entertainment.

Last night for example,  I pulled on a pair of old blue jeans, laced up my boots and layered up with thermals and an old coat to combat the 9 degree weather outside before leaving my parent’s house to go help feed a newborn calf that had been abandoned by the mother.

Upon the first visit, we tried to get the mother to let the calf feed from her own milk. After several attempts and the mother nearly squashing her own calf, we left in a big blue pickup and later returned with an esophageal feeder, which basically looks like a giant UV sac and hose. We filled the sac with milk, glided the hose down the calf’s throat and in less the a minute the milk was on it’s way to filling the calf’s stomach.  The calf was so little it wobbled when it walked and you could easily hold it in your arms.

Although I know I could never move back to a town as small as Davenport, I am thankful that I was raised here and learned to appreciate the simple things in life.  It’s made me realize throughout the years that memories don’t need to wear a price tag. You don’t need to spend money in order to create a memorable moment. For me, it the moments that are random, unexpected and often times free that I cherish and remember the most–like holding a newborn cafe on a freezing winter night.

 

Daily Challenge: Express your Love January 6, 2009

This was the first New Years in two years that I didn’t have a kiss at the stroke of mid-night.  And, although I sometimes miss having a special person in my life to share these moments with, I was very content to wrap my arms around my friends in big hugs and watch as others couples shared a sparkling moment to express their love for one another.  

The whole kiss at midnight may be cliche’, but any moment you take to show someone you love him/her deserves some credit. After all, there are those individuals who don’t typically express themselves and a tradition like this which forces them to show emotion can mean the world to the recipient if emotion is a rarity.  

And, for those relationships where emotion is not a rarity, you still have the ability to sweep your partner off his/her feet. I had the sappiest grin on my face and made uncontrollable “cooing” sounds when my friend came up to me moments after her midnight kiss with her boyfriend of five years and told me it was one of the best kisses of her entire relationship.

“WOW!” I responded, while thinking to myself how incredible it is that after five years of kissing the same two lips there can still be a shock factor that stirs emotions you’ve never experienced, or long since forgotten, and which take your breath away leaving you stunned like a deer staring into a pair of shiny fluorescent headlights, unable to move and frozen mid-stride.

Love is an extraordinary gift and the best part it is a present you can give for free! It can be through a hug, a kiss, a special note or a simple smile. Although special occasions are good excuses to let a person know they are cared for, don’t rely on them as the only time you need to express yourself. When you happen to think of someone, let them know they were thought of; when you see someone, tell them they are cared about; and when you’re in love with someone, let them know with a touch…a kiss…or a magical moment that they will never want to forget.