Flipping Pages, Again

Well fellow friends and followers – it’s time for another change, and another chapter.

I just turned 30, so the blog’s tag line needs editing, but not too dramatically. Instead of “dangerously close to 30,” it shall become “barely 30”. As time inevitably passes, I would like to start making these changes with grace and integrity instead of with resistance. Clinging and resisting, I think, actually just makes time go faster. Feeling and trusting allows it to slow.

The essence and intention of this blog will endure, so not to worry.

Embarking today for my move to Topeka, Kansas (not via a tornado), I chose to begin another blog to record those adventures that will be happened

upon in Middle America. Check it out or follow the new blog: Kansas Adventuring.

While the Kansas Adventuring blog is a side project, Wonderings and Wanderings will continue to be updated twice a month with posts about geography, humanity, time, connections, and duct taped those small truths.

Even though we are now “barely 30,” we are still wondering and wandering.

Forever, and ever.That’s a promise.

30 Plus Infinity

 

I am thirty today.

 

Here are a handful of thoughts and experiences learned during my 29th year about aging:

 

 

1) Watching the Olympics last summer on TV, I accepted that my unrealistic Olympic dream can never be realized. I had scotch-taped newspaper articles about Kristi Yamaguchi on my bedroom wall as a child, dreaming of the beauty in possibility. Now, my irrational Olympic possibility is even more impossible since I am 30, except perhaps in skeet shooting because the gold medalist was a 33 year-old woman. But it’s ok that I will never by an Olympic figure skater, because I have different images taped to my walls now, ones that still celebrate the beauty in possibility.

2) A personal relationship with hemorrhoids. I don’t think I need to say more here.

3) Inspired by a commercial explaining that Julia Child became a famous chef in her 50s and that Picasso didn’t paint masterpieces in his 20s. Turns out it was an AARP ad.

4) My biggest lesson this year: it’s the process, not the outcome. It’s the space to quiet everything and safely ask the question that allows answers to unfold without fear. They are there.

5) I catch a glimpse in the mirror of my face. More refined, grown, beautiful, and not as afraid to look into my own eyes. I see my mother, grandmother, or sometimes my father, and now I am oh so proud of that.

6) Eating a handful of walnuts on the way to the toilet and one drops into the bowl. That’s an unpublicized reason why you don’t eat in the bathroom. (Basically just a life lesson here, nothing to do with aging).

7) We are all connected. Everyone and everything.

8) My nieces and nephews gave me a tour of six bouncy castles at an establishment called Jump ‘N Bounce about a week before turning 30. Occasionally we just have to suspend our beliefs, and our bodies, to feel joy.

9) Sometimes life isn’t perfect: there may be physical pain or emotional sorrow. But we can’t let that stop us from having fun. And living, nonetheless.

10) Goals before 30 included dancing on a pool table to Journey, mastering parallel parking, peeing my name in the snow, being jailed, eating a steak and drinking whiskey and smoking a cigar simultaneously Ron Swanson style. I have accomplished two of these (I’ll let you guess which ones – pretty much the ones that sound most fun) so I suppose the rest will be added to the “to do before 40 list.”

That’s the thing. No matter our age, it’s the process, always changing and ever-learning, that never falters. Our discoveries with age only reach deeper into the heart.

To infinity and beyond.

29 and (Not) Tattooed

The Barabaig men jumped high to the rhythm of dusty chants and vivid yelps. Wrapped in Massai-red blankets and holding spears, they reached high to impress the women standing across from them.

They jumped without bent knees, displaying virility and skill and energy, reaching out to a woman in attempts to find a soul mate. The women, with scars decorating the curves of their eyes and cheekbones, watched and discussed the men as they flew.

 

 

 

 

 

At a courtship ritual on a flat plain in northern Tanzania, I photographed the movement, the intention, the time. I was sixteen, probably the same age as the women. At the end of the ceremony, an elder banged one of the tribe’s heavy brass bangle onto my wrist, and I vowed never to remove it.

It stayed on my wrist, sometimes turning the skin green, for five years. I eventually took it off on the behest of an ex-boyfriend. I now wear it when I want to connect, need a little extra strength, or simply when I feel it.

Suddenly, a few days ago, I knew I wanted the tribe’s design tattooed on my back on the right side of my spine. I wanted it there to always give me strength, a reminder to lead with my heart, and as a memorium to my adventurousness before I would turn 30 in a few short weeks.

I made an appointment, went to a consult, researched the artist and was drawn to his work. But I didn’t feel a connection with him. I tried to justify it, that maybe I shouldn’t need a relationship with the artist since this was my tattoo, but still something was just a little off. Whatever it was, it was in me.

So I listened, and canceled the appointment.

Then another tattoo artist came into my life – one who appreciates the cultural and human connection, knowing that a tattoo is part of a healing and growing process.

But, it still didn’t feel right.

Even though I want the tattoo, the timing is off. And although I want to rush it, I know that it just needs to marinate in my heart for a beat longer. Even though I am growing older and feel that I need this now, I know there is still time. I don’t know why, but I trust that I can’t force this. It’s just not right yet. Some things need to sit. And that’s ok, because there is a time for everything.

Driving by the tattoo studio on the day of my canceled appointment, a few hours after I would have had a freshly minted record on my back, I knew that the tattoo would have been beautiful, that he would have made it beautiful.

But I can’t force my own internal dusty rhythms and vivid yelps. I have to trust that when a decision or action needs to be made, it will happen through patience and space, without force.

It will happen effortlessly, in its own time.