T Minus 30 Minutes

I’m almost 31. Right now, it seems like a pretty good place to be – I’m enjoying a glass of somewhat less than cheap red wine, wearing a sparkly scarf, and I just got back from watching Joseph Gordon Levitt in “Looper.” I won’t ruin it for you, but it was a good movie. The CGI was still a bit disappointing, though – the whole time I kept waiting for JGL’s fake face to slide off and give me a scene or two of him looking like his normal adorable self. It’s hard to think that a guy that boyish is actually older than I am, but it gives me hope!

My brain is pretty fried from the last couple of weeks of overload on the work front – I’m juggling a lot of responsibilities right now as I try to keep my bank account out of the red. I’m helping one client write grants, helping another keep her social media plan alive, helping another write their bi-weekly eblasts and newsletters, and at my regular job I’m planning (and executing) a fall fashion pop up sale.

The last task has by far been my favorite, but it’s definitely the most insane. We’re only 10 days away from the event, and we just got our final vendor confirmations on Friday. Our marketing collateral was mostly finished this evening when I left work to go to the movies, and I believe that I’ll be able to get the designers everything they need in the morning. After that, the stressful part of the show starts – daily overkill on online marketing to make sure that we meet our desired 300 – 500 visitor range, figuring out how to run the cash table efficiently (which shouldn’t be too bad, as long as the internet doesn’t go down at the studio and our CC machine keeps working), making sure that the vendors have everything they need, and most of all, make sure that the space is absolutely gorgeous. I’m talking magical.

My design concept for the space is the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul, which I guess isn’t the most creative and inspired idea, but I’m not a designer so I’m going to give myself some slack. I also love rich colors and sumptuous fabrics, mood-setting lanterns, and the sights/sounds/smells of exotic markets, so my gut feeling was to make this project into something I couldn’t help but fall in love with on a daily basis. I’m just hoping that the timeline isn’t too short to get something really good out of our budget and space constraints.

Now, after writing all of this, my brain is even more fried. My eyes burn a little; going to the movies always irritates them a little, and I’m also getting sleepy. The Man wants to give me my birthday presents early, but all I really want to do is pass out and have a good night’s sleep for the first time this week. The sheets are freshly washed and I made the bed myself, so there’s not a single wrinkle to be seen and the bedspread is put on perfectly, to allow both of us enough square area of blanket in the middle of the night. The cats are going crazy behind the couch right now. Isabel has been playing with a little circle that I twisted out of sparkly pipe cleaner; she loves it, and flips it around the house all night long until it gets squished flat. Then she brings it back to me to bend back into a circular shape. She’s a very smart little lady. I think that Munky has been squishing the circle, though. I hear them scuffling a bit right now, but no energy to intervene.

Oh here she is, come to stare at me. I just spent a couple of minutes staring back, then giving her a good ear scratching. Now I’m back. But I really should finish up my wine and stop this rambling. Not too much longer now before I’m 31. Only ten minutes now.

Tomorrow I’ll be making an origami cat. I found the video already, and it’s complicated, but I don’t think it’s too far over my head if I wake up early enough and make enough quiet time to not feel rushed. Here’s the video – cute, eh? Here’s a photo, too:

Another Year

I’m going to be 31 on Thursday.

It’s weird, because when I say “thirty one” I hear “old,” but I’m not old. Hell, I’m taking good enough care of myself that I don’t even have real wrinkles yet, other than my smile lines. I’ve been the same dress size since my freshman year of college, with slight gains and losses as the diets have flown by. My taste in clothing has clearly become more refined, though the other day I was listening to The Cranberries and thinking how I’d really like to have a pair of combat boots again sometime. I’m even POORER now than I’ve ever been – so how’s that for a kick in the face, Old Age?

But is staying somewhat similar the same thing as retaining one’s youth? In some ways, I’m Peter Pan-ing my way through life, I know. I mean, sure, my career ambitions have become defined and I’m finally where I want to be everyday. Otherwise, though…While my friends from high school all have two kids and mortgages now, I sometimes feel trapped just having two cats and a rental apartment. I’ve been dating the same guy for six years, with no intention of getting married any time soon, and definitely no wish to get bogged down by babies or, heaven forbid, a fixed address for more than a couple of years at a time.

The difference is that I’m letting myself age inside more than I wish to admit. I have been following only half of my heart for some time now, and I’m not exactly sure what to do to appease it. The REAL me, the inside me, is a nomad. She hates anchors, despises divulging her secrets, staying in one place too long. She longs to ride with the wind when the urge suits. She sails clipper ships and leads armies. She hunts down poachers in Africa, climbs treacherous mountain trails in China, seeks wisdom with yogis in India.

But me, I’m just 31, and I don’t know what I’ve been waiting for, really. Who will be looking back at me in the mirror when I turn 32?

It’s All Mine

The future looms large. It’s tomorrow. It’s today. It’s a second from now, and from then, and another right after. It’s all mine – every bit of it my own. What else could it be? To whom else could it belong? Who else will be responsible for molding it, filling it, rolling with its punches, sneaking through its cracks? Who else will look back on a future that once was and laugh – or cry – at the way it turned out? No one. Because no one else can have my future. It’s not possible, unless we’re to take body-snatching into account.

So why do I let other people dictate my future for me? Why do I align myself with people intent on crawling on their hands and knees into a bleak obscurity? I don’t mind going silent into the night, but only if it’s MY night and MY silence, a silence of MY choosing. Why do I have to wait beside those who have given up, who believe that fate has dealt a bad hand, and the future (or really, the soon-to-be present of a few minutes, hours, days from now) is entirely out of their control?

It’s all yours for the taking! If you don’t like your job, QUIT. If you don’t like your living situation, MOVE. If you don’t have enough time, MAKE IT. If you are tired, SLEEP. EAT. PRAY. Don’t complain, then sit back and let the future wash over you. Don’t drown in a tide pool without at least trying to swim out past the breakwater!

My choice will have to be made soon. I can’t let it all pass me by because I’m waiting for someone else to get it. You can’t go adventuring with someone who doesn’t take chances.

My future is mine. I guess I was going to do it alone, anyway. I’m still hoping that turns out to be figurative, rather than literal, but hey. That’s life.

 

Thought Provoking Questions

A friend of mine shared a beautiful blog post on her Facebook page earlier. I was so touched by the stunning images and simple but impactful questions that I wanted to share some of the ideas with you, too. The full post is from the blog Random Stuff From My Daily Life, and this particular entry is called 25 Beautifully Illustrated Thought-Provoking Questions. These are a few of my favorite questions…

Adventure!

Living vs. Existing

How Old Are You, Really?

Ignore Judgement - Go for Happiness

These photos aren’t the only big life questioning moments I had today so far – I also had a little chat with my cousin about life and stress and finding out where you’re supposed to be. She’s in college and starting to be scared that she’s not figuring things out quickly enough. From where I’m sitting now, 30 isn’t all that old or wise, but I realize that when you’re in your early 20’s, 30 looks like a lightyear away. I’m not extremely old and wise, but I’ve been around enough times to realize that no one has it all figured out, and it’s pointless to put yourself through the wringer about it. I was trying to write this to her and ended up writing something that I’m so proud of, something I think really does define who I am.

I wrote: “I just figured out what I HOPE to do professionally with my life, provided I can make it happen. Other than that, I’m still utterly lost. But I’ve always liked not being constrained by expectations (mine or anyone else’s), so other than the money woes, everything else can suck it. This is my life, and my time. I’m under no obligation to cut a clear path anywhere.

It’s funny when you’re trying hard to give someone a snippet of helpfulness, and you end up teaching yourself a lesson about you. I’ll come back to this spot when I’m not feeling as driven as I do today, and remember that I’m under no obligation to anyone but myself, and I’m pretty darn happy with me. Sure, improvements can be made – they always can, no matter who you are – but I’m doing a great job at opening my mind and my heart, boldly going where no Anna has gone before in this particular lifetime. That’s the point. I’m getting somewhere.

Hope you’re all feeling at home at your own personal level of success and enlightenment.

Another Day, Another Laundry Pile

Everyday isn’t laundry day in my house, though sometimes it sure does feel like it. I don’t mind doing the laundry, though. This is my first apartment with an in-unit washer and dryer, and they’re both brand new and awesome. For the first time in my adult life, I don’t have to hunt for quarters any time I need clean underwear, and the dryer actually DRIES my clothes. It’s revolutionary, I tell you.

Of course, we all know who absolutely adores laundry day – the gorgeous Miss Isabel. She’s always happiest when towels are part of the mix, but earlier today I was on a roll, and thoughtlessly unloaded and folded a dryer’s worth of towels quicker than she could make it to the bedroom to come play. Realizing my mistake a few minutes later, I threw a couple of the clean towels in with the next load of things to dry, so she could still enjoy a good snuggle. I’m such a sucker, but as you can see, it was totally worth it.

Isabel the Cat in a Laundry Pile

"Mmm...so toasty warm!"

Isabel the Cat in a Laundry Pile - Image 2

"Seriously Mum, this is the best ever..."

Isabel the Cat in a Laundry Pile - Image 3

"I'd invite you to share, but you see, it's such a small pile. It's really only big enough for one of us."

Isabel the Cat in a Laundry Pile - Image 4

"Seriously - you're not going to fit. Especially not with that black box thing strapped to your head."

Isabel the Cat in a Laundry Pile - Image 5

"Oh, all right, you can come play too!"

And much cuddling and purring ensued.

The End.

A Frustrating Day

Maybe not excruciatingly frustrating, but rather one of those days that makes you wish you had just stayed in bed. Except – here’s the punchline – I’ve been in bed all day.

Since I work from home, and my home is a rather small apartment, my work day is conducted from either the couch or the bed. I could sit at the dining table or desk, but neither allows me ability to sprawl out in comfort, surrounded by warm blankets and snoozing cats. It’s finally starting to get cold here in Louisiana, and the house was a humid 61 degrees all day today, which means that along with staying under the blankets, I also stayed in my pajamas.

That’s nothing new, either, though. I rarely get out of my pj’s anymore if I plan to stay in the house. Today I’m wearing what The Man calls my Owl Pants, purple pajama pants with a colorful owl design that my cousin sent me last year for my birthday. I love them, and wear them often. To go with these, I’m also wearing a purple hoodie & black cozy slippers. I’ve worn this ensemble throughout this long and frustrating day, and it’s probably one of the reasons I’ve managed to maintain my sanity.

You see, today was all about putting together an acronym. Well, no, that’s not right. Today I had to force 7 primary concepts to become 10 primary concepts, starting with letters of a pre-arranged slogan. Basically, what I was doing was taking a slogan, for example “We Love You!”, and taking a pre-existing set of concepts (Kittens, Monkeys, Stationery, Motorbikes, etc.) and making each letter of the slogan = the first letter of the pre-existing concepts. Damn luckily, most of the letters match up in my business’ slogan. However, we’re missing a few, which is where things get hairy. In order to make up those extra letters, I either have to cut concepts down into pieces and rename them, or else invent new concepts to join the existing bunch.

Since my boss has already been selling these 7 concepts to our clients for a year and a half now, and even when you align the 7 concepts up with the acronym, it’s still a lot to remember, I believe making up 3 more concepts for people to remember is a foolhardy venture. The point of an acronym is to help people remember a few things – not two hands-full. There’s a reason why acronyms are typically kept to between 3 and 5 letters. It’s not that people can’t remember – it’s that the modern consumer just doesn’t care to be bothered with that much work.

But that doesn’t really matter. It’s my job to do what the boss asks, and in this case, it’s to create an acronym that consumers will find confusing, bulky, and ultimately ignorable. It will be a learning exercise either way, and who knows, maybe it will be a huge, awesome concept that everyone on earth can’t possibly get enough of. Probably not, though. I just don’t see it working.

Hence, a very long day of sorting out words, wearing owl pajamas, and wishing it was Friday again. How was your Monday?

Made of Stars

Sorry that the last post was private. There are two reasons for that:

1) I needed to vent about a problem I’ve been holding inside for the last year or two, a problem that has become more intense since my move. I wanted to share without making my musings public, something I have tried to do in my private journal in the past, but found unsatisfying. I’m a fast typist, and it’s nice to be able to see many full thoughts come out of my head and start to live and work themselves out on the electronic page. Maybe in the future I’ll share my thoughts with the world. For now, however, if you really wanted to read, I wouldn’t mind, I think. The post is password protected, and I’ll share if you’d like to write me for it.

2) Since the problem concerns another person, I didn’t want to air something I really should be able to talk to them about in person. Since this person’s demeanor makes it virtually impossible for me to share real thoughts without getting laughed at for “thinking too much,” and this in itself seems to lead to a much darker future path in our friendship, I didn’t think it good to air grievances quite as publicly as I would like. My few readers know me well enough by now, I think, to know that I really don’t mind telling all about myself. There’s not much about my life that I don’t find is made richer by sharing, but this is one of those rare times when I believe the problem might come back to bite me in the proverbial ass if I let it live outside of my head and one protected blog page. I haven’t even been able to tell my best friends. Another interesting way the internet has changed relationships forever.

But enough with that. I’ve already written a major post on it today, and now I’m tired of letting negativity into my borders. From now on this afternoon, only positive thoughts. The most positive? I’m back with my band again! I have some photos I’d like to share with you of the band’s practice space, so I’ll save more musings on that precious topic for another post, but let it be known that I’m insanely happy about getting to sing again, and also to hang out with dear old friends that I haven’t seen in years, and love, love, love collaborating with.

Also in my personal news? I’m taking two free online courses in pagan studies at The Pagan Campus. I know I told you about these before, but I’m having so much fun that I had to mention them again. One class is in Numerology, and the other is in Sabbats and Esbats. I’m learning a lot, but also learning how much there is to learn, and that I’m only touching the tip of the iceberg. I love it. I’m so excited to spend the rest of my life honing my craft, and following the right path for me. Having grown up in super heavy-duty Christian country, where people believe that the devil ‘planted’ dinosaur bones in the earth to fool the weak-minded (lol, btw) into believing that the earth is older than a few thousand years, among lots of other weird, backward-ass thoughts that make very little sense, it’s so nice to get to meet people who believe in something that makes all the sense in the world, and find a religion where appreciating and honoring Mother Nature is the common thread. I don’t care to separate the Universe into multiple gods and goddesses, as many pagans do, but I also love the fact that for once I’m being given the right of way to practice what the Universe keeps proving to me every day is real and right and logical, and to finally see and embrace the abundance of love and energy we have at our fingertips, just by opening our eyes to the possibility of being proactive healers instead of sheep. Like Moby says, “We Are All Made of Stars“.

What else? Well, I made 100 overall in my last marketing class, which is good. I think that this next class is going to really kick my butt, so I should probably actually be doing homework right now instead of writing a blog post or two. But that leads me to the next interesting bit…

I dreamed a book last night. Not a short story, not part of a storyline, but an entire book. It’s not an earthshaking novel or anything, something more like a Harlequin romance, but hey, a book’s a book, and now I’m going to start putting it together. In all, I have three books in my head now that need to be written. One’s about an old haunted house in NC, one’s about ghosts and voodoo in New Orleans, and this last one is about a centuries-old curse on a New England family. I have got to get a routine developed. This is just getting silly. Think of the money I could be making, or at least the ways that I could be so much freer in my life if I just got some kind of order mapped out. With three books and the idea for a very strong small business in mind, I believe the only thing that’s truly holding me back right now is not procrastination, but rather fear. And for the life of me, I have no clue why I should be afraid of success. After all, I want so much to be self-sufficient.

So I’m sitting in bed on a rainy Saturday afternoon, listening to The Man curse at the pieces of a bench he’s been trying to build from scratch all day, my beloved Miss Isabel cat curled up beside me, thinking of this new book, the many paths of my life stretched out before me in my mind’s eye, trying to choose the right one, trying not to hurt anyone too much, or disappoint anyone too much, but trying most of all to be true to myself.

Esse Quam Videre.

I’m trying.