I Got Something Perfectly Right

perfectAfter six long months, my adult children have come to Arizona. It is the first time I’ve seen them since I moved here from Chicago in June of 2014. My daughter has moved here permanently, and my 22 year old son is visiting. Life is good!

My decision to move across the country was met with much judgment and many questions, as I’ve chronicled in previous blog posts. I was looked at as selfish by a few of my closest friends, while others completely supported my decision to better my life and start anew. Regardless, I have held fast to the belief that this move was something I was meant to do, and had been waiting for my entire life.

Now that my children are here, I have this feeling that I’ve done something perfectly right… after a lifelong gnawing voice had been telling me I was not perfect. I now fully realize that I will never be perfect, and I have stopped trying to be. However, when I look at my kids, I realize I did do something perfectly right… right for them and right for me.

If the decisions we make throughout our lives have good intentions, then what we have done has been done perfectly right. It does not matter how others view our decisions. They are not living in our shoes… they have not had our experiences… they simply do not know the whole story. Every lesson I have ever taught my children, every piece of advice I have ever offered, and every word I have ever said was taught, offered, or uttered with love and good intentions. If that is truly the case, then how could I have achieved any result that is even less than perfect?

I choose to look back on my life with pride. I am not saying I never made any mistakes… hell, no!  Instead, I am simply saying that I always hoped for the best and did what I thought was best at the time. You could never ask for more than that.

~ Patti Crowley

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Letting Down Your Guard

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It took many years to build this incredibly tall & stable brick wall. I took great pleasure in laying brick upon brick to keep safe. I stood back and looked upon this wall with pride and amazement at what I had created with my own two hands. I was certain it would keep out all who might do me harm. What I did not recognize, was what it was actually keeping out.

How many people have come into my life, only for me to push them away, blaming them for not letting me in? All along, I thought it was them who had their guard up, when maybe, just maybe, it was me.

Sometimes, we are so afraid of being hurt that we close ourselves off to the possibilities that come with new relationships. How many opportunities for friendships and love do we pass up because we are simply too afraid of feeling the pain of loss?

It may take time to deconstruct these walls I have built, but I pray it will be worth the effort.

~ Patti Crowley

Life Moves Pretty Fast!

life moves fast

 

This quote from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off is one of my all time favorites. However, isn’t it funny that we can hear quotes like this over and over, but we ignore the message. Yesterday, I was on my early evening run, and I noticed some beautiful fall blooms. As this is my first fall here in Arizona, I am constantly seeing new things, and these flowers were so pretty that I had to stop. But unfortunately, I stopped just long enough to snap a quick photo with my iPhone so that I could post on Facebook when I got back.

Did I breathe in their sweet fragrance? Did I linger just long enough to truly appreciate their beauty? Nope! I snapped the photo quick and got right back to my run. Now don’t get me wrong, it isn’t that I do not enjoy the views while I run, but the fact that I stopped long enough only to take a photo speaks volumes about the way many of us, myself included, live our lives.

I have to admit that I am getting much better at opening my eyes and seeing, truly seeing, what is around me. Ever since moving here this past June, I marvel at the views of the mountains on my drive into work each day. Last night, I was driving to a girlfriend’s home at sunset. Up north, there was this gorgeous set of isolated cloud formations in view. Within that formation, there was intermittent lightning, and it was spectacular. I found myself smiling at the wheel, loving the light show.

But the beauty does not end with nature. So many of us would rather text each other, skype, or send messages on Facebook than actually get together and spend time with each other. We say that life is busy. Now that may be true, but life should never be so busy that we avoid that personal connection, that face-to-face time with each other. I miss so many of my family and friends back in Illinois, and have no choice but to rely on technology to maintain the connection for now. But how many of us have our family and friends within reach, yet we rely on texting as our main means of communication?

Worse yet… how many of us find that even when we are in the presence of our family and friends, we are still looking at our phones?! I see this every single day! Sitting at a cafe having lunch yesterday, I watched a family sitting together at a table. The father was on his phone, and one of his daughters was also on her phone. The mother looked off to the side, watching others in the cafe. It made me sad.

This video says it all. Please take just a few minutes to watch this. It’s message is invaluable.

Put Down Your Phone

So even if just for today… Let’s commit to putting down our phones and looking around!

~ Patti Crowley

 

Having Never Been Understood

I was that kid in school who followed the rules, never got in trouble, obeyed authority, but rebelled deep down inside. I was so fearful of not being understood, so I went along with what was expected of me and never challenged anyone. I have seen the following quote from John Lennon before, and I remember thinking, “Yes, I know EXACTLY what you mean Mr. Lennon!!”

happiness

Even a few of my closest friends question the way I live my life. Oh they don’t necessarily tell me how they feel, but trust me, I can feel it in the questions they ask, the comments they make. It has occurred to me that I will never be able to please everyone, so I stopped trying quite some time ago.

One of my closest childhood friends, someone who knows every sordid detail of my life, called me back after I left her a message a few weeks ago. We had not connected since I made this move across country to Arizona. We talked about all of the usual things… how are the kids, how is work, etc… Then she started asking me the tough questions. Do I regret making this move, even though my daughter decided to wait a year to come out after her first year of college? Do I feel bad that I wasn’t there for my daughter while she shops for all of her dorm furnishings? Do I feel that the timing was right?  The judgment was evident in her voice.

If I am completely honest, I have made a few major life changes over the years, always with the intention of bettering the life of my children and my own. I walk to the beat of a different drummer… My goal has always been happiness. I never followed the traditional path… the one that might be viewed as socially acceptable. This friend of mine has been married to her high school sweetheart for many years. She was the PTA mom. She works as a nurse. She has never really understood what it is like to be a single parent, juggling a career and being the sole household provider. She cannot understand what my life has been like, and that is okay.

So when I tell her I just want to be happy, it must sound like a cop out. But that is all I want to be, and I am.  My life doesn’t fit in the traditional mold of what looks like happiness to others. But to me, it is exactly that.

I make no excuses for my life. To explain how I feel sometimes falls on deaf ears. Happiness is all I ever wanted. The road to this point may not have been a perfect straight line, but it was a road that I have been thrilled to travel, and am excited at where it will still lead.

~ Patti Crowley

All Is Well In My World… When I Practice Acceptance

Acceptance is really the key to happiness. When I accept that things are exactly as they are supposed to be, and the people in my life are exactly who they are supposed to be, all is well in my world.

acceptance2

When things are bothering me, and I am feeling unsettled, the truth is that it is because I am finding some person, place, thing, or situation unacceptable to me. I read that recently and it has stuck with me. It made me realize that those occasional feelings of uneasiness, the trouble sleeping, the anxious thoughts… they are a result of me wishing that some person would act better, or that situation would resolve itself, and so on.

I have to remind myself of one very important truth. That truth is that nothing happens in God’s world by mistake. I believe that to the core of my being. If I am trying to control another person or a situation, I am saying that I know better than God.

So the bottom line is this… I have to accept that things are the way they are supposed to be, whether I like it or not. If I can honestly accept that, only then can I find the peace.

Today, I have that sense of peace. Today, I concentrate on what needs to be changed in me and my attitudes, instead of looking at what needs to be changed in my world. When I can accept that I am who I am, and things are as they are supposed to be, then all will be well with my world!

~ Patti Crowley

 

Old Age Beats the Alternative

alternativeThis cracked me up… It is exactly how I feel today. One year closer to half a century old. Okay, okay, so I have a few years left before I turn the big 5-0. For the past 6-7 years, I have said each year on my birthday that old age is still far better than the alternative. Oh, how true!

Growing older brings about feelings of what we could’ve done, should’ve done, and have yet to do before time runs out. Pretty dismal thoughts, right? But the truth is, I am at a place in my life where I simply do not want to live with regrets. I wake up each day and try to do the next right thing. Sure, there are things I have yet to do. I will get to them, and hopefully sooner rather than later.

So today is my birthday. My children are still in Illinois, and I am here in Arizona. I miss them so very much, but they both called to wish me a happy birthday. Trust me, the fact that my 21 year old son remembered AND actually called me is a miracle in and of itself. Not having them here gives me too much time to think about the actual birthday event, and in thinking of turning 47, I suppose I should be making a bucket list. Then I wonder, “What’s the point?” As things come up that I want to do or accomplish, I can either set my mind to make them happen, like making this move to Arizona, or I can decide they aren’t really all that important after all. I look at people who have made up bucket lists with things like the following:

1. Climb Mt. Everest.

2. Skydive.

3. Drive a race car.

I mean, seriously, how important are these types of bucket list items? If you want to climb Mt. Everest, start collecting your spare change in a jar marked “mountains”.  If you want to drive a race car, post something on facebook. Chances are you have a friend somewhere, who knows someone, who knows someone with a race car hobby.

I say, forget the lists. Start living now. Want something to happen? Damnit, make it happen. Have a dream? Start living it right this very minute. There is no dream worth putting off. If it seems unattainable, figure out a way to make it attainable. Where there is a will, there is a way. Believe me on this!

~ Patti Crowley

Life Isn’t About Finding Yourself… It’s About Creating Yourself

Browsing around Barnes and Noble, I saw a plaque with the following saying on it:

Creating yourself

Believe it or not, I had never heard that quote before. The funny thing is, when I moved from IL to AZ just under a month ago, many of my friends asked if I was trying to find myself. I laughed it off, and said that I’ve been looking for a long time and haven’t found anything yet!

I suppose that answers the question for me. I will never “find” myself. The only self I will be showing to the world is the self which I create. I don’t want to find myself… Instead, I want to create the me that I want to be.

We have the power to be who we want to be, do what we want to do, and go where we want to go. I proved that to myself by picking up my life, packing it all in a 20 foot U-Haul truck, and moving myself across the country on a leap of faith. I want to create a “me” with whom I could see myself being best friends. Think about it… don’t we all want to be the person that others want to be around.

I am creating, and re-creating, myself each and every day. I am not looking to find out who I am. I will never know that for sure. So here I sit, writing, looking forward to each new day, and praying for the guidance to help me be the best ME I can be!

~ Patti Crowley