Sunday, March 25, 2012

i used to be.

I used to be a horse person. That was like a lifetime ago. I think it started when I was young and shy and lived in a rural suburb in Delaware and right up the road from my house was a horse farm of some sort. In hindsight it was probably some sort of lay-up farm for old, retired, or injured horses, as I never saw any real activity going on there - no riding or lessons or training of any sort. I remember the horses had their names on signs on their large paddocks. I used to lean on Speedy's fence for hours and just watch him graze...his gentle dark eyes focusing my way occasionally to see if I might be holding out a carrot or strand of "better" grass. 

The horses were quiet and accepting of me, they didn't need me to talk or be funny or smart or popular. I could just stand by the fence quietly and eventually they would meander over to me for some petting or head scratching. I think that was the hook for me - the acceptance. The unconditional acceptance, expecting really nothing in return. 

Those days started a long phase of my life where all I thought of was horseshorseshorses. After YEARS of begging, my parents finally gave in, and so began the years of riding lessons and horse shows, then horse college, FINALLY a horse of my own, and then a 10-year career as a riding instructor. 

I loved teaching riding. I was, quite honestly, a better instructor than I was a rider. I had an eye for what was really going on in both a rider's and a horse's body and carriage. There's a lot more theory to riding than the average person realizes, and I could explain it well in a way my student's understood. 

But like any job in any industry, there are downsides and politics, etc...and when I was pregnant with my daughter I left teaching...and when we moved from our first house that had a little four-stall barn, I let the last of my horses go  :-( 

I miss the horses very much. They were such a part of my life and my heart for so long. But now...some of my nieces are riders...and yesterday I had the opportunity to watch one of them try out two horses at a good friend's barn. I felt very comfortable stepping back into the role of teacher, and I was *really* happy to get to shoot one of my favorite subjects while I was there.

I guess everyone "used to be" something that they aren't anymore. What did *you* used to be? 

Sunday, March 11, 2012

i'm declaring this "hug your loved ones" day

While we should all be doing this *every* day, as I mentioned recently in my Valentine's post, sometimes we are busy, annoyed, distracted, forgetful...and we don't always make the time or effort to let loved ones know that we *truly* care for and value them. Sometimes it takes a little shake to wake us up and remind us to appreciate what is most important in our lives. 

A dear friend got a shake yesterday, a big scare with an overall fortunate ending. But his scare reminded *me* and so I wanted to remind *you.* Make a point today of telling someone what they mean to you, giving someone a hug, expressing gratitude, showing appreciation...or just simply (which is really not that simple at all) saying "i love you." 

Picture by me of my kid and dog. My kid and I had a little tiff a week ago and haven't been speaking...I think I need to tell her I love her.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

down the rabbit hole

I've been pretty mopey lately. I admit it. Life has not gone in *any* direction I intended. I'm not sure when I was younger that I really gave that much thought to *what* I intended - I think I just thought life was...upper middle class in a nice neighborhood with big houses, no financial worries, and family and friends always around. I missed that day in school or that parental lecture that said "no, you fool - you have to WORK for that. you have to make SMART decisions and not do stupid things and strive to stay on a path towards what you want...otherwise you wind up in the ghetto and alone." Instead, I just sort of went along, blahdy-blah, and now here I am. Not Where I Would Like To Be. And feeling so far down the rabbit hole that I could not imagine *ever* getting out. 

But I've noticed an interesting phenomenon over the past 10 years - since I started having some minor, but *very* painful, medical issues. Each bout has lasted about 6 weeks and during that time, pain is pretty much all-consuming. Pain, do I have pain, can I get rid of pain, when will the pain come back, rating the pain, naming the levels of pain, can I make plans for the weekend or will I be in pain...for those 6 weeks it becomes All. About. The. Pain. (and just a side note, these issues are not like life-threatening or anything - just PAINFUL) 

The phenomenon is the "banging your head against the wall" rule. And that is feels so good when you stop. And I'm noticing now, as I'm just coming out of my third 6-week All-consuming Pain Phase in 10 years, that AFTERWARDS, it's like a great FOG has lifted - The Pain Fog - and I feel all newly energized and motivated and ready to go. Caveat - this "you go girl-ness" is in my HEAD. My body sometimes has a hard time keeping up. But at least my brain is churning with ideas about How to Get Out of the Rabbit Hole. Financially, mentally, emotionally, socially. 

So. I'm happy to be on The Other Side of the Pain once again. And I'm grateful that my brain is clicking back in and attempting to come up with A Goal and A Plan for getting out of this mess I have created for myself. I'll keep you posted. I'd love to hear your stories - have you ever felt so low you thought you might never get up again? Were you able to get to a better place?

Photo by me. I thought I deserved a little something, so I got these pink tulips at Trader Joe's today. I should have gotten chocolate, too.