My friend's 16 year old daughter has been snooping at our social media. She told my friend that she thinks we're too old (32 & 33) to be using it. It made me feel like I should pop some dentures in, buy prunes and play bingo somewhere. I thought it was hilarious. 

When I was her age, I thought 30+ year olds were ancient as well. I still feel young and I wonder if that feeling lasts throughout the rest of life. Does the mind stay in a somewhat youthful state while the body declines? I wonder if I'll still use sites like Instagram when I'm in my 80s. If it's still a thing. 


Coffee Dates

I have turned to the internet as a way to meet more local gal pals. That's what people do these days, eh? I went through a few apps to see which one was the best and ended up making a profile on Bumble BFF. Dating apps weren't a thing when I was "in the sea" so it was my first time using an app to meet people. It felt a bit strange, to sit there flipping through people. Making a flash judgement based on a few sentences and photos. I wasn't sure what criteria to use to eliminate people, so I just went with my gut. It felt a little creepy at times, because it felt like I was reading the same profiles over and over. Cocktails. Yoga. Netflix. Dogs. It was hard to get a sense of what the women were really like. When it comes to potentially meeting a stranger, I feel like I want to put them through a thorough screening beforehand before deciding to meet up in person. I don't think that's how it works with these apps though. People don't want to have long drawn out text convos, they wanna meet up quick to see if there is a friend connection. One side of me really wants to put myself out there and meet new people....and the other side is very lazy about the energy it takes to develop a new relationship. I have to push through that and make a good effort, the perfect new friend won't just fall into my lap. 

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Greatest Hits

This past year has been good to me. I've been good to me. Perhaps there is a correlation there? I might be onto something. I have been treating time as a more precious thing. Making time to make time. Sitting down to plan things out; dreams, experiences, goals etc. When I was feeling low in the past, I would spend too much time just shuffling between all the streaming apps. Netflix. Hulu. Amazon Prime. NOT to say I still don't do that occasionally, but I felt like it was ALL I was doing. To just numb myself out from everything. I had a screen soothing every limb and brain cell. G Pixel in my hand and the 55" glowing. Sometimes using the laptop as an appetizer. Not to mention, I work at a computer all day! I felt like my body was morphing into that Voldemort fetus looking thing at the end of the last Harry Potter movie. Enough was enough. 

Anyways, this entry isn't meant to come off like I've turned into some self righteous anti-technology warrior. I just knew I needed to make a change and start branching out into the world to cultivate more genuine good feelings. As opposed to the screen numby feelings. Boyfriend was on board. He is always up for adventure, but often looks to me as the planner. We've been good at saving, so we've had wiggle room to do some fun stuff this year. 

The Hits:

* In the Spring we visited Asheville, North Carolina. We immediately fell in love with it there. The mountains. The artsy setting with murals and street performers. The quaint restaurants and shops. The warm community feeling. We walked through local art studios where I bought art prints. We visited a waterfall and I felt the mist on my face. We gazed out over the Blue Ridge Mountains. Ate too much good food (biscuits!). Sat on a bench in the forest at sunset. Visited the Biltmore and felt like youngins among the elderly tourists. It was such a great trip. Afterwards, we fantasized about moving there. As more time past, that fantasy left with the high of vacation. 

*Radiohead concert!!!! I thought I would never get the opportunity to see them. It was probably the best concert I've ever been to. I was so excited that I almost started having a panic attack when their set began. :D They have always been one of my favorite bands. 

*We went on an overnight trip to Nashville......Indiana. It's this quaint little town a couple hours away. We stayed at this old inn that made me think of ghosts and portraits with moving eyes. We had gravy dinners in the basement of the inn under old chandeliers while wait staff walked in and out on creaky floor boards. We spent the couple days roaming the local shops and going into old fashion jam stores, country craft stores and sniffing locally made candles. We ate croissant sandwiches in this cafe that felt like a secret garden, with wildflowers and bird feeders consuming the side of the building. We sat by the window and had fancy tea and watched the birds dip in and out. We also stumbled across an old timey photo booth and we dressed up like outlaw cowboys and took photos holding fake guns. 

*Yayoi Kusama "Infinity Mirrors" exhibit in Cleveland. The lines were LONG, but it was worth it for the colorful polka dot experience. My favorite part of the exhibit was definitely the infinity mirrors room. I went inside alone and it felt like I was floating out amongst stars. We only had 30 seconds in the room and it didn't feel like enough. We spent the night at Cleveland at a hotel in the city and spent the afternoon browsing shops, eating pizza and eventually visiting the lake. I stopped by a locally made candle store and sniffed about 50 candles before buying one with an "antique lace" scent. I stood near a HUGE weeping willow tree down by the lake, we took pictures and climbed on huge rocks. 

*Renting bikes downtown. This is something we've wanted to do for a while.....and finally did it! We'd ride near the riverfront, across the bridge and back. Huge water jets cascading across us from the river fountain. 

*Finding new local haunts. We have found a favorite downtown, a tavern/venue where they have local music, open mic sessions and a mix of other artsy events. It's got a real nice community feel. One night we went to a Harry Potter party and took photos in their photo booth. The place feels comfortable, with a mix of all ages and all types of people. We've been feeling a little more social. 

*Time spent in local gardens, parks, woods. Taking photos in rose gardens and newly discovered secret town gardens. I used my instax camera a lot this year and I've been pinning the photos to a cork board in my craft room. 

*Wandering local street fairs and festivals. Watching street performers and buying knick knacks like colorful glass rings. 


New Eyes

This year has been all about enjoying the fruits of my labor after clawing my way up from the depths of grief and despair. My mental health, heart, body, family was all in the trash. I've taken them out of the bin and they're still a little crumpled, but they're THERE. I'm still standing and my steps are gradually creeping forward. Sometimes I feel like I'm so close to running, I can feel myself getting into the stance. It doesn't look like the typical runner's stance, but it's enough to propel me forward. I'm going somewhere. 

After Julia (sister) died, I was certain I would never smile again. I thought that was it for me, truly. I would say it took a good three years of diligently working on myself and my healing path before I began to view things differently and see the light at the end of the tunnel. I wouldn't say I'm cured of sadness and difficulties, but I'm able to see that happiness can and will still find me. I can create it for myself. Not necessarily with things, people, or experiences....but with new eyes. Truly seeing the gifts that are still around me. The small things, like a comforting sip of tea or the way the light shines through our living room blinds. How it makes my cat cutely squint. The pain is still there and will linger forever, but I can continue to build upon that pain and hopefully create something beautiful from it. I sometimes get irritated when I read personal writing where the writer is slightly romanticizing the affects of death. I will never feel grateful for such a horrendous experience. For what Julia has lost. For how my family is wrecked. My brain has a default setting it clicks into though, where I try to search for how I can mold the affects of a horrible experience into something a little more palatable. It's like a survival mechanism. 

Julia has given me new eyes and I'm choosing to see through them. I want to keep living for her, for me, making the most out of life and the time I have here. I am carrying her with me.