What a relief to be out of work for a while, so I can focus on the important things...like blogging!
I jest...but seriously...there is something really wonderful about the release from a schedule that felt really heavy, really constraining, really limiting at times.
And sure, if I listen to "the voices of NO" in my head, I hear things like Who are you to take time off from work? That's lazy. You should be ashamed of yourself. You're acting spoiled. Who wouldn't want to quit work? Nobody's going to pay you to travel and write and amuse yourself.
And those voices, quite simply, suck. There will always be haters, there will always be critics, there will always be the Negative Nancys in life. We all get to tune our own radio dial. So, I'm gonna turn it to WIN-FM. And that's where I hear -- with cheers and applause --
That's awesome! You're so lucky! A lot of people would love to do what you're doing. But you really CAN do it...you have the circumstances and the resources. You're brave! You're courageous! I'm so impressed with how deliberately you approached this. It was a mix of head planning and heart instinct, and you weren't afraid to pull the trigger and do something bold.
And, while I know good and well nobody is going to pay me to have hobbies, there are, in fact, people who get paid to travel...and write...and eat...and share their good ideas! I mean, what about Erma Bombeck? Lewis Grizzard. Anne Lamott. Elizabeth Gilbert. Our beloved Page Leggett, creative writer extraordinaire, who's thrived as a freelancer in Charlotte since she left banking.
So maybe, just maybe, if I have the time, I'll find my way too! I'll figure out a way to make money and satisfy my soul.
Heck, Dear Abby and Ann Landers got paid for YEARS to tell people what they oughta do! Sarah Franklin figured out how to make a living selling candy -- leveraging that sweet nature that's been drawing people to her for her whole life.
Speaking of Say Ray...the Thomas girls dropped by Sugar recently, with "Cheryl," your beach towel. Stay tuned for more on that one. It's a hoot! They are such good sports. They took a crazy idea I had and ran with it. I love them!
(P.S. Meet Quincy the dog! No one will believe it now, but for years I wanted to get a chocolate lab and name it Quincy. I guess I will now have to steal JT's idea and call my future dog Gretna, unless he uses it first.)
Anyhoo, one thing's for sure. Even if I eventually go back into my safe, trusty, nothing-wrong-with-it career in banking, I am about to have myself a kick-ass couple of months in the meantime.
Which brings me to the point of today's post.
One reason I wanted to stop working was I just had too many fun things I wanted to do! Now, that may sound silly. Spoiled. So be it. The fact is, I am about to turn 38 years old, and I am single. I have worked hard for ten years in a fairly lucrative industry. I also went through some fairly heavy, hellacious experiences in the past year. I inherited some good things and some not-so-good things from both sides of my family.
And, while I do not think there is anything more valuable than starting your own family, nothing more special than cuddles from little people, watching others grow and learn, being there for the people you love because you want to, not because you have to...the fact remains... I am single, and I have a lot of flexibility in life!
It's kinda like that moment a few years ago, when Leigh Ann realized she had a "mom car," but not a "mom life." She was driving that Honda CRV so she could haul stuff...but she didn't really have that much stuff to haul. Sister bought herself a convertible!! Yeah!!!
And when we had to get her Christmas tree home that year...we just took the top down, got the elves to load up that tree, and ROLLED ON HOME!
"A convertible is nothing but a city folks' pickup," quipped my former boss Dale Cox from Marianna, when he saw the photo on Facebook.
I love that comment because that's how I see life these days -- Leigh Ann and I can laugh about our "redneck roots" and see the best of the way we grew up. Sometimes these city slickers aren't as smart as they'd like to think they are! New York City may have a lot to offer...but there is still something to be said for the land of sweet tea and grits and, "I just popped by since I was in the neighborhood...is that a new camellia bush out front?" and, "I can't stay but for just a minute, but I wanted you to have some of this pound cake while it's still hot out of the oven!" And, "You won't believe what I heard Flossie say at the beauty parlor while I was getting ready to go under the dryer!"
Speaking of those Steel Magnolias moments...I just had to post this on Amy's wall today for her birthday. And I told her what I knew you'd say: ROLL ON, Birthday Girl!
There are no curlers in sight, but I get to roll around around New York City -- and be beautifully grounded in "the Q," and in Charlotte, which was such a lovely place to live for seven years. And heck, let's not forget my Alabama sojourn! And my little Brazilian godson.
Life feels like this lovely tapestry these days... Tapestry...which was, coincidentally, the name of Carol King's album...and I went to see the musical Beautiful again recently for the second time because I love it that much.
Anyway, so here I was, ready to blast off on the first stop on my new journey...enjoying my freedom. I was scheduled to fly to Telluride this morning to stay with Miss Karen at her brother's condo. From there, I'll go to Charleston, then Quincy. So, it's another big trip, three weeks of being gone.
And then, last week my foot started to hurt. Really hurt. It had creeped up for a while, and I'd been wearing sandals that I knew I had no business wearing all over the city...because they had absolutely no arch support...but they looked so cute! And my red toenails were so cute against those green sandals!
And then, ugh. This weekend, I had to cry "uncle" and admit I had no business going off to Colorado with a bad foot. I had to go to urgent care and get it checked out before I left. And that is a rant in itself, but we'll just summarize it with this:
The health care system in this country can really drive ya nuts, even if you're fortunate enough to have good insurance.
It's no wonder people don't go to the doctor! It's such a pain in the ass to navigate the maze of referrals and specialists and, "oops, sorry, we're no longer seeing patients," and "you'll have to go somewhere else to get it x-rayed, we can't do that here," and "she's booked through December."
But, just when I was ready to bitch up a storm, I called my podiatrist's office to see if they had anyone on call over the weekend (nothing says "I'm middle-aged" like "I have a podiatrist"). There was an emergency number on the machine, so I called it, and he called me back! Bless his heart!
So, I've postponed my flight, and I'm heading to his office this morning, with my mysterious x-rays. And the irony of being "grounded" just when I was ready to "take off" seemed unmistakably poignant.
It made me think of one of our favorite peeps, who's been accepting limits her whole life. And someone who could write a book about the fact she's had entirely too much experience with this nation's health care system. Here she is with one of her sweet little nieces recently.
I remember so clearly the day Mason was born! We were all so worried. And I remember the teachers explaining to us in the auditorium what had happened while Coach Morris was delivering her first baby girl, and watching Mason grow, and how she'd wiggle across the floor in the gym during basketball games. We were leaving Luten's once, and Coach Morris called me over to watch Mason do some silly, wacky little dance in her high chair. God, that child had a big, funny spirit!
And then...a few years later...there was Spenser, who turned 24 last week. Where does the time go?!
And you and Mason butted heads here and there, because growing up is hard for all of us, but she loved you so much for the tough lessons you helped her learn.
And meanwhile...that voice! That spirit! It's still there, and these days, she comes up with things like this:
Honey, if brains were gasoline, you couldn't drive a piss ant's go cart two laps around a Cheerio!
But within all that sass, there's a whole lot of sweetness.
Last week, she told me she's thinking of starting her own blog! Because she knows she has a voice, something only she can say, and she's figuring out how to do it.
So, we started batting around ideas. And you know me...I had plenty of 'em...just like you!
We will brainstorm a title! It should be something to reflect your delightful irreverence and natural, unflinching ability to call it like you see it. What about "From Where I Sit..." Or "The View from My Seat" Or "Oops, There I Go Again..." Or "It Just Rolls Out" "I Come By it Naturally" or "Born this Way." Or something that's a pun on "wheels"? "Roll With It"? "Get Wheel"?! Eureka! I kinda like it... XOXO
And then she came up with
The Wheel Life
I'm Just In It for the Parking
Then I came back with
Belle on Wheels
I like it because it's sassy and classy! A clear allusion, but in that delicate Southern "I'm gonna say bless your heart instead of calling you an asshole, but we both know what I mean" way.
Now...I have a "humble opinion" (or...not so humble!) about what the clear winner "oughta" be. And you know what? It does not matter! Because this will be Mason's blog, and Mason gets to name it.
(No wonder most people have figured out not to share baby names until it's a done deal. You know what they say about opinions!)
Just like this blog, which almost got "rebranded" a few years ago, when Leigh Ann was trying to help me make it more "marketable." And while there's something to be said for savvy marketing...you really just need to focus first on product development! So this blog has evolved from recipes...to a travel scrapbook...to letters to you. Because my life has evolved. And this isn't a marketing project; it's my creative sandbox, open to anyone who takes an interest, but it's just my little playground, with no rules or regulations, other than the ones that feel right for me.
And so, here we are, Monday morning on Popcorn and M&Ms, and if anybody who isn't kin to me...or named Jeff, Grayson, Penny or Michelle...made it this far...well, thank you for tolerating it.
Sometimes ya hit a homerun...and sometimes ya just ramble 'till the podiatrist's office opens.
Wishing all of us a week of gracefully accepting our limits, of listening to the cheerleaders in our heads, not the critics. A week of taking the proverbial top down and feeling the wind in our hair. A week of...you guessed it...sometimes it's just too easy to resist...rolling on.
P.S. I can't resist! This post needs a soundtrack. YOU KNOW you wanna hear it...