Live and Love Without Regret

Mary Oliver, Elaina Avalos, Live Well Be Well, Wild and precious life

The great thing about getting older is that you start to hone in on what really matters. If you’re seeking answers and determine to live authentically, that is. Because you could definitely chase poop that doesn’t matter, right on until your last days. But if you are truly seeking to live out your best life, I think you find with time, that some things just don’t matter anymore. And sometimes that means you’re okay looking like a fool to everyone else – while doing, saying, and living as you feel compelled to.

The older I get, the more certain I become about what I do & don’t want to give my time to anymore. I also know that I can’t stomach regret. Through therapy and some tough knocks the last couple of years, that is becoming even more clear. I’ve promised myself to live a life without regrets.

Recently, I went down a rabbit hole of regret when I was second guessing sharing my heart openly, with someone I cared about. I shared my heart with him and there was no response, (which is a response). It sucked. That’s the thing though, I don’t want to make space in my heart or mind for regret. I told him because I promised myself I wouldn’t live with regrets. I didn’t want to figure out what came next for me, without telling him how I felt. And while that didn’t really work out for me, what’s worse is always wondering. I have my answer through his silence.

We can trick ourselves, when things don’t work out the way we’d hoped, that maybe we’ve made the wrong call. But the truth is, sometimes the gift is in the practice of trying, stepping out onto the limb, or trying something we’re terribly afraid to try. The more we exercise this muscle, the stronger it becomes, and the easier it is – when those moments of self-doubt pop up – to squash them. We only have this one life to live. I can’t fill it with regret. You can’t fill it with regret. None of us should.

At 45, I’ve spent the better part of 20 years around a young crowd. I haven’t had kids of my own. And something about those two things, has kept me feeling pretty young in many ways. But where I am happily feeling my age is in figuring out what matters and where to focus my energy and time. Now more than ever, that means to live and love without regret.

So – as I look toward my future, there is freedom in choosing each day to live my one, wild and precious life. If I’m focused on living fully – no matter where it takes me (even if it’s in the city I least want to be in), I’m able to see the beauty in each day. Life is not some far out thing that happens “someday.” It’s now. I refuse to look back someday with the realization that life was happening all around me and I missed it. I just won’t do it. The older I get the more certain I am that our opportunities for the life we want are in the every day choices we make now.

“Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?”
—Mary Oliver

Expectant Hope

It has been stirring for some time – this longing to be free of the constraints of my 9-5. It has grown in intensity since last spring. On days like today, my heart and mind is elsewhere. Free. I need to be free. I have come to the end of this road. And while I’m not sure what awaits me, I can’t go into my Monday-Friday dreading the day – anymore. I refuse.

This particular day – May 4th – is set in my mind and not discussed with anyone else – signified a change for me. It was the day I decided on as the one for making decisions and stepping out in faith. The first full day back to normal – after my week of birthday vacation days – isn’t going to be normal. Today is the start of a whole new way of doing things and stepping forward in faith.

Expectant hope & faith – hope & faith were my words for 2021 and I know that wasn’t by accident. I recently felt a pull toward looking to the future with more expectancy. That’s tough to do sometimes, no? It has been for me. And frustratingly, it seemed like every time I turned around, circumstances made it harder. But I think that’s probably what can also make what comes later, that much sweeter. The tough road to getting to your destination makes the destination more beautiful.

In the days when the Israelites were wandering about for years on end & even after, they’d mark a particular place with stones of remembrance or an altar and name the place something fitting with what God had done. The place came to symbolize something God had done or was doing. It was meant to be a reminder to them and future generations. Today is one of those days for me. I’m marking this place – knowing because of this expectant hope – that great things are ahead.

Author * Dream Chaser

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That’s me. I’m an author. I’m a dream chaser. There are some nay-sayers out there that wonder about all this “dream” talk. I get it.

I really do.

But let’s look at this another way. What if your dream was better defined as that thing that makes you, you? What if your dreams are perfect visions of what you were made to do and be?

I believe our “dreams” are part of our calling, or that mark we’re meant to leave on our world. Maybe our world is within the walls of our own home? Maybe it’s something we have to contribute that could literally change our world or make a positive impact on society in a major way? Maybe it’s the way we are called to support others, from behind the scenes?

I don’t know what your dream is or what that calling is. But I do know that you are here for a reason and have something that only you can bring to the world.

So what is it for you? What dream should you be chasing? What dream have you let lie dormant for far too long?

I’ve been chasing dreams for a long time. In fact, I recently realized that my dream chasing goes much further back than the most obvious things I think of {foster care & writing} when I think about chasing dreams.

One thing I’ve learned, as I’ve chased hard, is that the your reasons to quit can sometimes be greater than your reasons to keep pushing. This is a fact. But you’ve got to keep pushing & fighting your way through. Opposition to the dream doesn’t indicate a darn thing.

People of faith are often uncomfortable with this, believing that “closed doors” indicate that it’s time to end the pursuit of . . . whatever it is.

But this is faulty thinking. Maybe it’s our “first-world” issues in America that make us give up so easily – as if everything should be handed to us on a golden platter.

What I know? Sometimes the most beautiful gifts in my life have come after the toughest climb. Sometimes opposition actually means you’re in exactly the right place. Some of you are there right now.

In a way, I’m kind of there too. There’s a lot of reasons I can’t or shouldn’t. But I’m going for it anyway.

I don’t know what your dream is, but I’m here cheering you on. I’m cheering you on, while I chase mine.

Tell me about your dreams {if you feel a need to “speak” this dream aloud}.

 

 

 

Advice from Oprah on Trying & Failure

Oprah, Oprah Winfrey, dreams, leap of faith, trying, failure

A few years ago, I ran into the image below on Pinterest. I immediately added it as a profile photo on Facebook. I could not even help myself. It’s adorable but also a reminder for us dreamer types. To keep pressing forward, we have to believe in our abilities and in the rightness of the journey (see what I did there), in the first place.

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I jumped into the fire in June, by becoming an indie author. My first novel is called Chasing HopeI’m not sure I was ready. But knowing how I am, I’m so glad I jumped when I did. I’m not sure time would have better prepared me. It’s far more likely that I would have found a multitude of reasons why I shouldn’t publish my novel.

Now that I’m a month into this process, I am not selling as many books as I would like. There’s a temptation to let that discourage me. I certainly felt that a few times this weekend. But this is just a distraction from the main point . . .

I took a leap of faith. Now is not exactly the time to stop believing.

Duh.

Like with anything, when you take a big risk, or at least what feels like a big risk, you hope to see some reward. That’s a no-brainer.

Do the one thing you think you cannot do. Fail at it. Try again. Do better the second time. The only people who never tumble are those who never mount the high wire. This is your moment. Own it. – Oprah Winfrey

But some of our reward comes from choosing to step out in faith in the first place and then not giving up. No, really. If you’re not trying, of course you’re not failing. If you’re not trying, you’re never going to accomplish those big dreams of yours.

But taking those steps of faith, whatever they are, are part of the joy of the process. It’s thrilling (really) to do something you’ve dreamed about for decades. It’s actually thrilling.

The thing is, I might fail at this.

There are moments that I care about that. But most of the time, I’m just so excited that I’ve become more focused on finding my way to success. Keep in mind that whatever it is that you’re aiming for, jumping into the fire is not just your first step to success.

It’s actually your first reward along the way, too. Not everyone takes these leaps of faith. Many like to talk, dream, or think about it and yet, they remain fixed and focused on the potential for failure. Their focus on the potential for failure keeps them mired in the same spot.

But, I can tell you that the joy (mixed with a little fear and trembling) that comes from stepping right smack dab into a dream, is the best feeling ever. It has taken me long enough. I hope you will jump in, too.

Feel like jumping into the fire, with me? What’s your big dream?