Life Is A Journey

If life is about the journey and not the destination, then why are we in such a rush to get there?

As children we keep a sense of innocence for many years. Then, one day, we reach a point where we can’t seem to wait to grow up. Once we’re “adults,” or what’s considered to be adulthood, we can’t wait to actually be adults. Real adults – house, car, job – the whole grown-up package. What we don’t realize is that being an adult also comes with bills, responsibilities and stresses that we didn’t have as kids. What we don’t realize is that childhood is short and we can never get it back.

Once we’re a full-fledged adult the aim, the main goal, seems to be working toward retirement. This is the stage where, once again, we have free time to live and do as we please. But it’s also the last stage of our lives. Let’s face it, much as seasons change, so do we and we also wither and fall like leaves on a tree.

So if the destination, the final destination, is death, why are we in such a rush to get there?

The journey is life itself. The journey is all the little things, all the stops we make on the way. We grow and learn and become who we are. It’s all the memories we have as a child, all the laughs, all the lessons, all the family. It’s traveling, seeing new things and new places, experiencing all that we can and all the world has to offer. It’s meeting new people, making connections, making friends, learning from others. It’s feeling pain, grief, joy, sadness, love, lost and everything in-between.

Life is made up of moments, good and bad. Each moment is as precious as the last. Nothing is guaranteed and nothing should be taken for granted.

So if it’s all about the journey, then, I truly hope we all take the time and enjoy it to the fullest.

Advertisements

Dear Readers

I’d like to take a moment to thank each and every one of my 100 followers as well as all of my supporters. I’m so happy, and a little surprised, but mostly happy at this recent milestone.

When I started blogging, I did it for the love of writing. Not only is it therapeutic, but a wonderful way of self-expression. And this blog was going to be an adventure. I wasn’t sure if it would take, if people would read it, if I could keep it going, but here it is and people are reading and following and it’s still going. This blog has some serious momentum and in many ways is still an adventure I’m glad to be part of.

But it’s not all about the followers. It’s about the writing. I write to express myself. I write to inspire. I write to show others that they’re not alone, that others experience similar situations. I write because I love writing.

In the end, I want to thank you all for following along, for the comments, the conversations and I want you all to know that I appreciate all of you as well.

I look forward to the future.

Thank you!

Maybe We’re All Little Trees

Have you ever noticed those little trees sprouting from rock hills or a cliffs? They’ve successfully managed to squeeze their way between two rocks and continued to grow. There’s no sight of soil and hardly any water, but their roots have taken hold. They’re strong and against all odds have found a way to live and grow.

But even if they find a way, I often wonder how they manage to survive. Maybe it’s determination. Maybe it perseverance. Or maybe it’s a little of both.

I can’t help but think that we can be compared to these little trees. Sometimes life doesn’t give us the best conditions to work with and, every so often, puts us in difficult situations. We might have trouble finding our so-called soil or water or even a place to plant our roots. Sometimes it may feels like the world is against us, rooting for us to fail. And even if we’ve found room to grow it’s possible we find ourselves between two rocks.

At times life is simply a struggle, but that’s life. Although, somehow, we always seem to survive. We always seem to find just enough soil, just enough water and just the right place to put our roots. Even if the elements beat us down we find a way to stand upright again. Often times we realize we’re stronger then we think and that we are capable of much more then we ever imagined.

The Picture of Innocence

It still amazes me that two people can create something so small and beautiful – a child. Everything about them, from their fingers to their toes to their cute button nose, is tiny. At first they can barely open their eyes, but once they do they seem to look at the world in wonder.

When I finally had the chance to hold my cousin’s baby, I was struck by how he seemed to look at the world around him. His gorgeous blue eyes were open wide, taking in everything. As I held him, watched him, I couldn’t help but smile. (It’s hard not to when you’re holding something so precious.) When he looked at me, eyes still bright with curiosity, it was my turn to fully take in his little face. And when he finally fell asleep in my arms (on more then one occasion) there was a sense of trust.

It wasn’t only while he slept, but also while I bounced him on my hip and swayed back and forth and watched the way he looked at me that I realized what I had always subconsciously believed – not only are babies depended on their parents and those around them, but they’re also completely innocent. They know no good or evil. They don’t understand right from wrong. They haven’t had to make any life decisions or choices in general. They know nothing of the world. For a short time they live in their own world and with that comes the beautiful innocence of a child.

I know it’s natural to grow up, become an adult. We live our lives based on what we believe and the choices we make. And those choices, those experiences, shape us.

But what if we clung to a small part of that childhood innocence?

If we could, at times, still see the world through the eyes of a child – what would that be like? Maybe we wouldn’t be so fast to judge. Maybe we would realize it’s okay to need the help of others? Maybe we would laugh more, smile more. Maybe, just maybe, we would not only realize, but see all the wonders the world is constantly offering us.

Something About the Ocean

The sound of crashing waves echoed through the night. The ocean churned, rushing for the shore and touching the sand before being pulled back out to sea. It kept up it’s constant rhythmic breathing all through the night and into the early morning.

HeavenlyAs the sun rose the ocean waves continued to crash. In the light of day the rolling, tossing sea could be seen. The water curled, crashed, whitewash spraying as it advanced toward the shore. And the ocean never stopped breathing. No matter the time of day the soothing sound of the ocean could be heard.

The hotel sat on the boardwalk, facing the ocean. Every night I fell asleep to the crashing waves and every morning I woke to them. The salty sea air blew in through the open screen door and some mornings I was torn between staying in bed and getting up. But the ocean always called me, pulled me, and I wanted nothing more then to be down on that beach before it became crowed with the day’s beach-goers. So, really, there was never a choice to be made.

Every morning I walked the beach with my camera. I took pictures and collected shells. The water was so rough that it was difficult to find one that wasn’t broken, but even the broken and chipped ones were beautiful. I walked under the pier, continued along the shoreline and dragged by toes in my water that would rush up and over my feet. There were only a few times where I walked in deep. (Once I walked in up to my knees and a wave came and pushed water up my shorts. I laughed, not really caring, and knowing Sand, Shells and Stonesthat my pockets were already full of sand from the shells I had picked up.)

There was a place on that beach where it seemed all the shells would wash up. Some were broken, some were shattered, some were in one piece. I had never seen anything like it, but where there should be sand there was a stretch of shells. They laid on the beach like a blanket. There was no way around them so I had to walk on them. I didn’t mind. I was looking for shells. Plus, the way the sun was bouncing off the surface made the shells look like they were glistening.

One day, I went down with my camera, but instead of walking along the water’s edge like all the other mornings, I climbed into a lifeguard stand and simply watch and listened. There’s something about the ocean. Time stops. The crashing waves wash away all worries, if only for a moment. Waves barrel and rush toward the shore, keeping the sound of rhythmic breathing. The smell of saltwater and the gentle sea breeze while the sun warms your skin is wonderful. It pulls me, like two opposite ends of a magnet coming together. Much like the ocean always find the shore, I can’t resist the ocean. There’s something about the ocean and I wonder, even though I’ve written about it many times, if there’s any words to truly do it justice.

And I can’t forget about the boardwalk with it’s many shops and eateries. I love the soft pretzels and how their always warm, the funnel cake and all its confectionery sugar and I think I found one of the best pizza places the boardwalk has to offer. One place I always go is the taffy shop. I’ve tried a lot of different taffy in my lifetime, but Ocean City, NJ has Evening Wavesthe best. (They also have really good chocolate.) There’s also two arcades and two or three amusement parks, one which has been around since 1929. For shopping, there’s even more stores in town which are worth exploring.

The ocean is one of my favorite places in the world. To me, the ocean is many things – feisty, calming, dangerous, strong, beautiful, alive. It’s one of the places I want to go to find peace. The reasons are almost indescribable, but it’s natural, like the rushing of waves to the shore. I also believe the ocean is one of the purest places on earth.

To see more pictures from Ocean City, NJ please check out my photo page by clicking here.

Crossroads

Life is not only made up of moments, but a series of choices. And maybe it’s our choices that help define these moments. It’s like the Domino Effect – each choice affects the possibilities of the next choice and so on.

Recently, I had to make a tough decision. I had to decide if I was going to stay at my day job or leave to pursue my passion. There were so many reasons to stay, but an equal number of reasons to leave. In the end, my gut told me leaving was the right choice, but in the back of my mind I still felt like I was, somehow, letting people down and leaving people behind. In the time I had been there, I made friends and built bonds. And it was the little things I always did that I thought of when I put myself in the shoes of those I felt like I was leaving behind, disappointing, because it’s those little things that are noticed once they’re not done any longer. I’m not only talking about the work related things, but also the jokes I would tell, my silly ways when people were having a bad day, being there for people to talk to or vent to, being a cheerleader for some, the laughs – simply being there. But it wasn’t just the things I did for other – it’s the things others did for me. (Maybe, sometimes, without even realizing it.)

No one said life was going to be easy. (Although, I have a theory on this – maybe life is easy and we, as human beings, complicate things.) There’s no manual, no easy button, no hints or clues on how to live life. It’s something we all figure out as we go.

I always thought, and still do, that the people who are my friends and who truly care about me will follow. That is, I’ve always thought that those are the ones who will stay in touch. Sure, it might take a little extra effort, but, really, I’m not going anywhere. I’ll admit that things may be a little different, but I’m still me and I’m not going anywhere. All I’m doing is following my passion.

So here’s what it comes down to – don’t ever be afraid to follow your passion. It might seem scary, the road may seem unsure, but don’t ever be afraid to pursue what you love. Don’t be afraid of leaving people behind or disappointing them because those who care about you will always support you.

You Are Beautiful

“You should feel beautiful and sexy all on your own.”

That’s what I was told.

And I’ve never forgotten it.

The truth is, or maybe it’s the sad truth, that I’ve never really thought of myself as beautiful or sexy or special in any way, as far as looks go. At least, not when I was younger. Of course I’ve always had confidence in myself and other aspects of life (and I’ve always loved my eyes), but physical appearance is, sometimes, completely different.
In a world that seems to place standards on beauty and how women and men should look, it can, at times, be difficult to feel comfortable in our own skin. We nitpick the things we dislike about ourselves. We think about the things that we believe need fixing. We hunger for the approval of others. I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels this way, or who has felt this way. And I’m fairly certain that we’ve all, at least once in our lives, have seen someone who is a complete stranger to us and thought – “They are so much better looking then I am.” or “I wish I looked like them.”

Now that I’m older and have gained a little more perspective, I believe we’re all beautiful in our own way. That’s part of what makes us unique. And there’s many ways to be beautiful. It’s not just physical beauty, but our inner beauty and the humble confidence we carry in ourselves.

Over time I’ve realized that I am beautiful. It’s not ego or vanity. Those who know me best will tell you that I’m down-to-earth and low maintenance. No, I’ve learned to feel and see myself as beautiful in my own way. Not only that, but I have a new confidence that I didn’t have when I was younger. In the end, I’ve learned to loved myself.

It’s true – “you should feel beautiful and sexy all on your own” – and you shouldn’t need a man or a woman or the validation of a stranger or even your friends or family. Please don’t misunderstand. Of course compliments are nice (and always welcomed) and it’s wonderful to be (and feel) desired, but you should always be proud to be who you are and embrace it.

Those words still resonate with me today and I know it’s something I’ll always remember.

I only wish the person who told me this so long ago would take their own advice.

After all, we’re all beautiful in our own way.