November 5th: Now

I’m going to tell you about a weird little personal quirk of mine (What else is new? I hear you thinking that!): Okay…I buy myself really pretty underwear, and then I never want to wear them. I want to “save them” for…something. Some far-off day, perhaps, when my lady bits have earned the distinctive panty award. Oh, right…that’s not a thing, is it? Well, maybe it’s…no, you know what? It just doesn’t make any sense at all, no matter which way I try to rationalize it.

It is, however, a good analogy for the way I live my life lots of times. And I bet, since we have established at this point that I am not nearly as unique and eccentric as I would like to pretend, that you are guilty of the same offense- waiting and waiting and waiting for the “right time” to do all of the things you want to do most.

We like to pretend that somewhere down the road we will be better prepared, more established, more capable of pursuing our dreams. Well guess what? I’m 44. Half my life, at least, is probably behind me at this point. To be honest with you, I don’t feel anymore prepared for anything than I did ten years ago. The main difference is that I’m just a bit more cynical, my body hurts if I sit in the same position for too long, and I like naps more. Just kidding, I couldn’t possibly like naps more. I’ve always loved naps. Seriously, though- on the inside, I’m not much different.

I’m still scared to death that I’m going to mess things up. This move, for instance- I lay in bed at night and I have moments where I’m like ‘I can still just stay. My life is fine here, why am I doing this?’ and the icy feeling in the pit of my stomach is a fearsome thing. But you can’t believe everything you think when you’re alone in bed in the middle of the night. So, every day, I check in with myself- do I still want this? And the answer is always exactly the same- a resounding yes.

Because it might not work out. It might end up being less than spectacular. I might have regrets. But the thing is, those regrets will be nothing compared to the ones I will have if I don’t try. Not someday, not when the time is right, but now. Well, not right now, next summer, but you know what I mean. My life is fine the way it is, that’s true. But man, that’s not really what I want on my headstone. “Here lies Courtney. Her life was… fine.”

Unless you are actively making plans, your “goals” aren’t goals at all, they’re just wishes. And wishes are nice, but they don’t generally amount to much, do they?

Today, I want you to stop saving your good underwear. You deserve to wear the fanciest, laciest, prettiest ones right NOW. And by that, of course, I mean- stop relegating your dearest desires to an uncertain future. Right now is the perfect time to begin laying down the foundation of your dreams. Once you begin, even if it is just in the smallest way, that action has significance. Don’t wait for the perfect time, because the perfect time doesn’t exist. Just start right now, right where you are.


November 3rd: Wonder

This morning, as I sat down to meditate, my head kept filling itself with visions of the life that awaits me just down the road. Moonlight on snow, a sky full of stars, the distinct, salty scent of the Atlantic Ocean. I would chase the thoughts away, return to my breath, and just as quickly, more pictures would dance through my head- crackling fires in a cozy living room, June Saturday’s that are greener than the greenest thing you’ve ever seen, ferry boats and navy seas, lighthouses and briny air.

In my chest, my heart stirred and swelled with excitement, anticipation, and…wonder. I know that my breath was supposed to be my anchor, that I was not really supposed to be delighting quite so much in those daydreams- not then, anyway, not during meditation…but so what? Maybe today, that was exactly the meditation that I needed.

How often, as adults, do we get swept away with wonder? Less and less, it seems, at least for me. Our lives and our routines are not constructed in such a way to leave much room for moments where we simply marvel at the deliciousness of life. And even if we did have a few moments to spare, minutes we didn’t feel obligated to use up folding laundry or pulling up the garbage cans from the curb, more than likely we’d spend them with our eyes glued to our phone screen.

Quite frankly, I think that’s just sad. I think we all ought to work a little bit harder to bring that sense of wonder into our lives. I mean seriously, what in the hell is the point, even, of a life that is spent simply trying to survive? And if not trying to survive, then we are trying to get to the next level, then the next, then…then what? Then we’re old, and we die rich if we’re lucky?

Pardon my language, but FUCK that. When I think about this move looming in the future for me, I’m not thinking about work or establishing a routine or leveling up or checking my Instagram. I’m thinking of the joy of discovering new places, the memories I might get to make, the adventure I will have. I am thinking about rainstorms and laughter, new friends I might make and stories to tell. I am thinking about all of the things that, for me, make a life worth living. And that…that fills me with wonder.

Today, think about the last time you were filled with wonder. Was it a particularly perfect sunset? A breathtaking full moon? Maybe it was staring at the face of your sleeping child or turning a corner to find a view that just stopped you dead in your tracks. Maybe it was just a shaft of sunlight dancing across the floor. Think about how it made you feel, and how you really ought to have moments like that every single day, at least once. Then ask yourself how. How can you invite that sense of anticipation, awe, and joy to show up? What can you do? The answer will be different for each of us, but for sure it is in there somewhere. When it comes to you, listen.