Remember when I didn't drink coffee for a whole year?

And now I can't seem to go a day without a cup? At least I've gotten away from drinking 3 or 4 cups every day. I try to limit myself to one, maybe two. But I kind of miss those days of freedom where I'd start my day feeling more energized and not like the coffee was the light at the end of the sleepy tunnel that would start my day off right for me. There's just something about that sweet, smokey elixir that makes everything seem right with the world. I can't shake it, and I think coffee and I are going to be friends for a long, long time.

I want to love.

I want to love with my whole heart. Not the pieces that are easily accessible or guarded or dispensable. I want to love with a completeness that comes from all of me.

I want to love, not change. I want to grow in love, not bend it to my will. I want it to shape me as much as I shape it.

I do not want to bring my prejudices into love. I want to love with acceptance. I want to love in a way that brings peace and security, not questions and self doubt.

I want to love brightly and with energy. I want to love actively, forever curious, forever reaching out my hand for more. To help more, to comfort more, to be kind, to hold another hand in mine. I want to love in the time I am awake, so I can take my love to dream.

I want to love softly and gently. I want to love with a calm voice. I want to love sweetly, but never with saccharin or sarcasm. Because my love is genuine and I want its true light to shine through.

I want to love with deep passion. I want to share beliefs about the world and hold them to be true with each step I take. I want to love all creatures equally and never know what it is like to harm another.

I want to love my family, my friends, my peers. I want to love myself. I want to love all of the things we are together and all of the things we can be on our own.

I want to love you as you want to be loved. No more, or no less, with just the right brushstrokes, using just the rights colors, to paint a picture of the love we've shared through many years. So we can look back someday and remember that every day, in love, we were blessed.

That is how I want to love.

California, I'm Coming Home

 

It's been seven years since that trip to California. Since I flew too high and crashed into the sun. Since I felt my brain connecting in a million new ways. It's been seven years of rebuilding, rebirth. Seven years of pills and talking about my struggles and my challenges. Seven years to reclaim what I lost in California and start a new life - one I could be proud of and feel I worked hard for.

It's been a long road to get back here - to get back to a place where I could be on hundred percent ready for these experiences - emotionally, financially, mentally. It's important to me now to do things right - do them well and for the right reasons. I came to California this time for much the same reason I came last time - to experience a new world and and new people, new foods and new sights. To spend time with friends of course, as well, but ultimately, to find adventure and on the way, find out a bit more about myself.

What I have found that is dramatically different about the last time I was here is that I am much more confident in myself, my opinions, my needs and in the things that will make me happy. I feel I was much less likely to speak up for myself at twenty-one than I am at twenty-eight. I am much more fully myself, and while I felt a part of things when we came last time, I feel now I am more present, more connected to the people I'm with and the experiences we share.

To embody this spirit of being truly oneself, speaking up for what you want, being who you are and connecting with everything and everyone around you, is to be more fully alive. I find myself remembering a lot of insecurities from when I came here at twenty-one. I wanted people to like me and I wanted to fit in, I wanted to sound intelligent and I wanted to be desirable. Now that I already feel an internal confidence about these aspects of myself, I am no long seeking this approval elsewhere.

I by no means feel finished these days - I do not feel enlightened or necessarily more empowered than I did seven years ago. But I do feel more myself, more grounded in what I believe and who it is I want to be. I think that the longer we live, the more of ourselves comes out of us and the more sure of who we are we become.

But we will never be finished becoming who we are. We will never wake up to discover that, yes, today is the day I am the person I will be, unchanging, for the rest of my life. We will continue to grow, to build upon our lives in ways that change us and make us more ourselves than we've ever been.

Maybe I can come to California again - if not in another seven years, then sometime in the future. Maybe I can come for new experience, to reset my brain and truly think about what it is that I believe in. I don't know who that woman will be, but I think I have an idea that I'll like her very much.

What Do I Love?

That was my question for today. Yesterday, I touched upon a couple of the things in this world that I like, but love goes much deeper than that. Do I love clouds? Do I love cooking? Probably! But when I think of things I love, my mind immediately goes to people. But is that answering the question? Wouldn't talking about all of the people I love be more of an answer to the question, "Who do I love?" I guess if I were to think in terms of "what" and not "who," I'd be able to come up with just a couple.

I love my body. I love making healthy decisions for my body. I love that I made the decision to start taking care of myself a few years back, and have dedicated myself to that as much as I can. I know I'm not perfect, and I know I sometimes eat dessert, and some days I don't feel like working out...and I just about NEVER work out on the weekends, but what's important is that I'm making good choices most of the time. I love my body for all it does. I know it has lots of quirks. My toe hurts in half the shoes I wear, I always seem to have a pimple on my chin, I can't seem to get my arms toned, but my body has come a long way from where it was. I love that I can run 3 miles now. I love that I can lift weights without quitting after 10 reps. I love that I use music to motivate myself when I run or circuit train. I love the feeling of getting my heart rate up, working hard, and really breaking a sweat. I love making good decisions when it comes to what I eat. I love choosing vegetables and proteins. I love that I can still eat carbs. I love that I DO still let myself eat dessert some times. I love that I can still eat French fries. I love that I've been on this journey for three years, and I am fitter now than I've been since I was 21. I love that I know so much more now about how to treat my body. I love that taking care of myself means making myself a priority. I love that I work somewhere that supports this. I love that the people in my life support me in this.

I love stars. The other night, I took a friend's daughter (1 1/2 years old) outside in the evening, and we looked up at the stars. There were a couple blinking lights from planes in the sky as well, and the whole vastness of it all really sank in. I love that looking at the stars can make me feel so small. At the same time, I love that stars show you that no matter how far away you are from something, you can still shine through and make an impact on it. I mostly love to gaze at stars. I love laying on the ground in the summer at night, and trying to find the constellations.

I love food. I love trying different kinds of food. This is so close to cooking, and kind of close to loving my body, and taking care of it. But I don't care. It must be said. I love food, and I love to eat. I love that in the past 10 years, I have added so many new cuisines to my repertoire. I love Indian food, Thai food, Japanese food, Ethiopian food, Middle Eastern food...and of course, Mexican, Italian, Chinese, Southern, and good old American standards. I love trying fresh foods. I love my organic produce delivery that keeps me eating fruit almost every day, and trying new veggies. I love everything about food, and damn is this making me hungry.

One more. I love Philadelphia. I have had such an incredible time building a life here, and find my decision to move here one of the best things I've ever done. I've never felt lacking in art or music. I've met amazing people. I've been able to branch out in terms of restaurants and plays and bars and stores. I love working in Philadelphia. I love being able to go the gym on my lunch break. I love being able to walk to dozens of restaurants from work. I love my local pub, and my daily free pint I won. I love the skyline. I love the commute into the city. I love it all.