The Window.

They say that real maturity  is achieved when your mirrors turn into windows.

The quote is one of journalist Sydney J. Harris and implies that when we look into mirrors, we only see ourselves and the things in our immediate surroundings, but when we finally decide to see the world through a window, the view is endless. The original intent of the quote was addressing education, but when you think about it, life is really just one big classroom full of daily lessons.

It’s deep, I know.

Much deeper than many of the other directional quotes out there about windows and mirrors, like: “If a window of opportunity appears, don’t pull the shade down,” or “You can be the candle that is the light or the mirror that merely reflects it,” and, my personal favorite and tad more lighthearted, Lil Jon’s “Get Low.”

Instead, choosing windows over mirrors is something that shouldn’t just be a quote, but a goal for all of us. So many of us are immature, undeveloped, or mildly primitive and it’s slowly killing us. Allow me to explain.

I recently took a small break from Facebook. I was fed up with the way people were talking to each other, the way in which topics were being presented, and the incessant whining by people who aren’t getting their way. The excuses, the protests, the protests of the protests, the tears, the cheers, the “my faith is better than yours,” and the attacks on people who practice any faith. The divisiveness, the racists, the ageists, the sexists, the capitalists – I was over it. I’m still over it.

We’ve allowed ourselves to evolve into this society of bubbles and classifications. We keep ourselves in these safe zones next to people similar to us. Politically, spiritually, generally – we have decided that what we see in the mirror is the correct way of life, that is the end-all be-all, and probably ‘the way it’s always been done.’ Then we become enraged and offended when someone calls a group of us all huddled together…a group. It’s totally insane.

While it’s human nature to seek others who are like us, I think we’ve taken it to the extreme. We enjoy people who share our same faith, or lack thereof. We want to talk about politics and economics and education and relationships and sports with people who share our values.

But it’s important to ask why you want to be – or stay- in the bubble…why you want to see your reflection instead of the outside? Is it because it is safe and comfortable? Or is it because you don’t want to consider that you could be wrong or uninformed and someone else could humble you and teach you?

We’ve decided in our bubbles that everyone on the outside of the bubble is the “default mirror-mirror-on-the-wallwrong.” How we know this isn’t clear, it’s just assumed. Somehow opinions, beliefs and values have shifted into the categories of “right and wrong” instead of “similar and different.”

We’ve decided that consideration and understanding of ‘another option’ is unacceptable whereas it used to be a way to acquire knowledge. It used to be how we made friends and strengthened families.

We’ve decided that if someone asks a question about our opinions, beliefs and values that it’s safe to assume that someone is against us. There is no innocent inquiry anymore. It’s an all out brawl to make sure everyone knows we are right and why.

But it is absolutely, unquestionably, conclusively killing us. We’re cutting out friends, cutting off co-workers, and telling family members to keep their distance. We take a step back or just stop returning calls because someone doesn’t agree. We are choosing to do that.

Divisiveness is not innate, it is learned. It is a choice. We choose to divide and I have nowindow.png idea why. I don’t know why we see what is different about a person in front of us instead of what is the same. I don’t know why we use what is different about someone as a tool, an excuse, to alienate them.

The only explanation is that we all want to look in the mirror instead of out the window. Because that is what feels good.

This world is full of mirrors right now. The mirrors, in an attempt to affirm what we know and feel, have only become fences to keep others out.

The window is the better option. The window lets the light in. You can still be who you are, maintain your convictions and uphold your values while looking out a window. You don’t have to change who you are to do it. You just stand there and look…and listen.

Besides, if you have a mirror in front of you, no one has the ability to see in to learn from you either.

Proverbs 12:1 – “To accept correction is wise, to reject it is stupid.”

The Forks in the Road.

If you’re a believer in Christ, you may believe that everything that’s supposed to happen in your life has already been determined. Who you’ll be, where you’ll go, why you’ll love – all of the circumstances that exist in order to mold you were predestined before you ever came to be. I suppose, in a sense, some non-believers believe in coincidences and things that are determined outside of their control, but that isn’t the same thing. There are different marks on the spectrum of this belief of predestination, most of which align with different denominations of Christianity, but in most faithful circles, there is a belief that God has a plan for each of us.

But something I’ve always wondered is how we’re to know we’re following the path that God has laid out for us. How much latitude are we given with regard to earthly deviation before He considers us to have completely derailed? More importantly, how are we supposed to know when we’re resisting?

The last question has always been one of my biggest concerns when I come to a fork in the road. When it’s time to make a decision that will drastically change the course of my life or my person, how am I supposed to know when I’m listening to what I know I want to do versus what I know I should do.

I’m sure you’ve been there, too. The point at which you’re praying as hard as you can, asking – sometimes begging – for direction, but at the end of the day, you’re dividing your faith between God and yourself and hoping you’re making the right decision. Sometimes this analysis comes after you’ve made the decision, and that’s okay because most times, barring the fact that you’ve killed someone, you can usually redirect the ship and change the course.

I’ll give you a for instance: Moving to South Georgia seemed like a great idea when I made the decision. The fork in the road was either to stay in Atlanta and choose a life most would enjoy, with someone who would love me, and who wanted to marry me…or..move to a new town, follow through with my career choices, and build something of myself as an individual. There wasn’t a day during the decision making process, the transition, and a good few months after the move that I didn’t wonder if I had made the wrong decision, if I was resisting, if I was deviating from what was supposed to be “my path.”

In the scheme of life, these were fairly small forks. Yes, one fork led me over 200 miles away, but the repercussions, while they helped mold me, were not harmful. Much like changing jobs, going back to school while starting a family, or starting a business that goes belly up – all of these things offer us an easy chance to bounce back.

A more serious situation that I recently dealt with myself had to do with my Dad. I’ve made it no secret that my relationship with him was tumultuous. I choose to share that fact because I know not all families are perfect and ‘sharing is caring’ in the sense that our experiences can help others make the same – or different – decisions in similar situations. This isn’t always a bad thing.

Back to the point. My Dad and I had a less than perfect relationship and the in the two years (21 months to be exact) leading up to his death, it was nonexistent. Depending on who you ask in my family, you’ll receive a range of answers as to whose “fault” it was that he and I weren’t talking. I was 12 when we stopped talking and 14 when he died, so I’ll let you make your own deductions about that aspect. To summarize without writing a book, my parents were divorced, I wanted to stay in Georgia with my Mom, and my dad, having raised four boys, and I had immense communication problems.struggled to articulate that he wanted more time with me in any other way than anger.

The summer before I turned 13, I spent some time with him in Texas. He worked a lot and Idirt-road-fork was away from my Mom and my friends. I told him that I missed them and I was lonely at his house, which didn’t go over well. He took me to the airport the next morning and that was the last time I saw him. For some time, we exchanged a series of letters (all of which he typed on a typewriter, in 2003, God bless him) about our relationship. He expressed that he believed I made poor choices and I told him I just wanted him to be my Dad. When we came to the fork in the road, he chose to distance himself until I was the daughter he wanted me to be and I chose to back off because it wasn’t the type of relationship I wanted. It was a lot for a 12-year-old, as I’m sure it was tough for a 55-year-old.

While I was unpacking some lingering boxes a few nights ago, I came across a large ziploc bag full of letters, post cards, and birthday cards from my dad. I held the bag in my hands for several minutes trying to decide whether or not I should open them, knowing good and well it had been at least 10 years since I read them last. Certainly I’m a much different person now.

I ultimately decided to read them, beginning with the post cards and birthday cards, all of
which were soft, sweet, and loving. Before the end of the first one, I was in tears, wondering if I had painted something in my head at the naive age of 12, if I’d made a huge mistake in distancing myself from him. I read on to the birthday cards and post cards from his travels where he referred to me as “Pretty Daughter Jessica,” and reminded me to listen to my mom and “always do my best.” Had I been so wrong about him? Had I chosen the wrong fork?

I didn’t know. Then I got to the letters that led to the demise of our relationship. I was sobbing at this point, wondering how a father could distance himself from his daughter, how he could ignore his only girl. I wasn’t reading them as a 28-year-old, I was 12 all over again, back in my periwinkle room in my house reading the letters I waited by the mailbox for, hoping they would read something different. Even 28-year-old Jessica couldn’t help but wonder if I had made the wrong decision all those years ago, if I had done something different, would the outcome have been different? Would I have known him when he died? Or was this how it was all supposed to happen for me?

I still don’t know. To say that something like that didn’t mold me would be an outright lie. Hell, reading the letters again molded me some. But those 16 years ago, I chose a fork in the road. And so did he. That’s how I know that God’s plan for us doesn’t just involve us – no matter how hard we may try to make it that way.

Sometimes we choose the forks and sometimes we’re on the other side of one direction of the fork and the choices are made for us. Yes, the truth is that God has a plan and I still believe He knows who we’ll be any why – long before we do. What choices we make and how we decide upon them is also part of the process, which is why I believe we’re given a path that’s a mile wide, not a mile long. More importantly, how we handle the choices we make defines us.

Every experience changes us and helps determine how we will behave and cope with the next experience. A broken heart keeps you from loving recklessly the next time. A bankruptcy keeps you from spending frivolously on the uptake. A strained relationship makes you work harder on the ones you have. Unless you choose the fork in the road.

As for the Lord, He’s just hoping for the same end result for all of us, no matter how we get there.

The Obituary.

Have you ever thought about how your obituary will read? How your friends will remember you, what your family will say? Aside from the usual feel-good comments, what will they really say? How will your life be summarized and how many paragraphs will it take?

I figured that, amid all the horrifying political messes facing our country, this was one of those opportunities to search my soul for those pie-in-the-sky answers I’m constantly seeking. You know, the ones you think about when you’re sitting all alone, give a few minutes to, but never address with a full consideration.

So, seriously, what will it say? That you met your annual goals at work for 20 consecutive years? Thatimg_4030 you were stable enough to purchase a new car every two years? That you kept a beautiful yard in front of your show home? That you had the most Facebook followers of any outspoken pundit in the entire region?

I’m not old enough to spend too much time reading the obituary section of the newspaper, but I’ve seen enough of them in my 28 years to know none of the mentioned the things above. Yet, here we are, all just existing and competing and racing.

But racing for what? The finish line? In this game of life, what is the finish line and what happens when we get there?

This morning I had the opportunity to speak with someone that most people would consider one of my competitors. In a conversation that started in a way that I would only describe as “touchy,” I was taken aback when this person told me that while they don’t always agree with me, they respected what I do. More importantly, he said he knew my heart was in the right place.

That’s right. In a professional setting, someone mentioned my heart. Given my work and my political views, I would imagine there are a few dozen people out there who don’t believe I have one, but just like everyone else, I do. So, how did I manage to show my heart and my passion without even trying? How did I manage to set the race aside and use my humanity as my compass? Do I have an honesty about me or is he just giving me the benefit of the doubt? We all have the ability to share out hearts, not our desires, in everything we do.

Of course, as humans we fall short – intentionally and unintentionally. Intentionally when we lose sight of the perfection that is placed at our feet every day. We often bypass the blessing that every day is new. We forget that even the moments of turmoil and grief, we are able to grow and be used for a bigger purpose – that everything that happens “to” us molds us for the next day, for the next person we are to meet. We’re so busy discussing what’s happened to us that we’re not happening to life.

Unintentionally when we close our hearts to protect ourselves and often times when we don’t even realize we’ve done it. In everything we do, there is an end. With that, there is usually both a process and a purpose. We spend so much time on the process that we forget the purpose. It’s just human nature and we choose the easy route, the one that brings us out unscathed, unbruised, and unbattered.

“Oh my darling, it’s true. Beautiful things have dents and scratches too.”

The dents and scratches ARE the purpose. We aren’t supposed to end this life as undamaged porcelain. A mangled mess is the result of being human and offering an open heart in everything we do. In choosing not to show our hearts, we miss opportunities for this world to shape us and prepare us to help ourselves, and, in turn, others. We compartmentalize and weigh accomplishments by tangible “things,” but what it is we take with us when we go?

How we carry ourselves, how we impact others, and what we do in times of tumult are the things people will talk about. Souls, not sales, are what’s engraved on tombstones. Character, not ego, leaves a legacy.

So, are you allowing the world to use you? Or are you using the world??

Are you the tenacious entrepreneur showing you seek to earn respect – not revenge –  through kindness and hard work? Are you the mother who lost a child and spends her time helping other parents who’ve suffered the same loss? Are you the father that’s helping mold an entire little league team into human beings who will console their saddened opponents after a loss? Are you the friend that opens up to people who have nothing to offer you in return, simply to share your experience in hopes of saving a soul? Are you the stranger that does a double take for the struggling person in passing?

We’re here to show others our compassion. We are nothing without personal relationships, and whether it’s seen minimally or massively, it all stems from our hearts.

Her heart was always in the right place.” That sounds much better than ‘hardworking, blonde, white female,’ doesn’t it?

“She was unbreakable. For though they looked at her with scorn, As their tongues pricked her with thorns, she smiled at them with mercy. They say you can’t break a heart that’s not hard. She was unbreakable.”

The Hard Way. 

As humans, we are characters of routine. We like our comfort zones and the safety of our nest. If we didn’t, most everyone would pack up and move to different cities and states more often than we do. But we don’t because we value our roots and the people around us. The sense of community is what builds us to be the people we are.

I am no different.

I’ve always been the type of person to choose quality over quantity when it comes to friends and most of my friendships have been those of longevity. I would rather have a few diamonds than a box full of rocks – the ones where life and busyness don’t get in the way. But your diamonds don’t come along when you pack up and move 200 miles away. When I fled the city and sought asylum in rural Georgia, I knew maybe 10 people. Probably 5 I could call if I needed something. Luckily, I wasn’t intimidated by this because I knew my job would provide for me to meet all kinds of people, often – but that didn’t quite go as planned either. 

South Georgia communities are small. The number of transplants are far exceeded by the number of people who have lived here their entire lives. The cliques are well established and making room for outsiders is almost unheard of. Outsiders are more than likely welcomed by other outsiders who are now considered insiders but have a memory fresh enough to recall the feeling of an outsider. It’s almost like former outsiders lobby for current outsiders to the insiders. 

Did you follow all that? Hopefully, because it gets more complicated. A simple outsider, someone who marries into a family or takes a beloved job in the community, is more likely to be welcomed than a complex outsider like myself.

It’s like middle school – the worst years of all our lives – all over again. 

I’m a complex outsider because not only am I not from around here, but I also have a job that makes some…cautious. 

I already talked about the people who are scared to speak to someone with a job like mine in public in a previous blog. I came to terms with that a long time ago and it doesn’t bother me much anymore. 

But imagine having to build friendships in reverse. Imagine your starting point is a place where someone doesn’t like you because of what they’ve heard about you. Or because they don’t like where you’re from, or your boss, or they spent too much time in the comment section on an article. They’re related to someone in a town you’ve written about or they just think you aren’t worthy of covering the issue, so they have a preconceived opinion of you before even speaking to you. Or they’re friends with a councilman who’s made it his prerogative to taint any public perception of you. 

I was run out of my last town, I’m sleeping with handfuls of people, I’m getting paid by an enemy to write about an issue, or, my personal favorite, I’m a spy. There are lots of reasons given, but they yield the same result: skepticism.

So do I weigh my personal life versus my professional life. Do I try to avoid certain towns so it’s easier to say no? Do I turn people away because I don’t want to stir the pot where I socialize? 

That’s not my personality. Externally, it would make me a bad friend. Internally, it would make me bad for myself. I would no longer carry the same weight of I worried about what people would think of me before I started looking into any given local government or elected official. 

Instead, I place people in two categories: the ones I can win over and the ones I cannot. I do my job and trust that the people I want to surround myself with will surface. I’ll keep writing, doing my job, and staying true to myself and the people who have the ability to see my character…will. 

After 13 months down here, that is starting to happen. Part of me really didn’t think it would take as long as it has, while the realist in me knew better. Like everything else in life, though, I am not in control of the time table. I’m not in control of much, actually, but none of us are and that’s another blog for another day. 

Anyone can pick up and move to a new town and find people with whom they can socialize. Anyone can build superficial relationships. But it takes time and effort to find a circle where you can rely on and trust, and I’m thankful I’m beginning to build my circle. 

The Second First Night.

Well, here I am again. The first night in my new house. It feels like I just did this, quite possibly because it’s been just over a year since I actually did.

But this time is different.

I want to preface with a disclosure on how darn tired I am. I have done a lot of things in my 28 years – worked multiple jobs, played multiple tennis matches in a day during tournaments, campaigned in the summer heat, but construction work is the hardest. My shoulders hurt from the paint rollers, I don’t smell anything but chemicals anymore, and my knees just ache from trying to keep living through it all. I’ve painted, caulked, cleaned, hauled, smashed, scrubbed, flung, mowed, trimmed…you name it. And I’m just tired.

But it really is different this time.

This time I can throw the boxes away, I can hang the pictures, and I can paint the walls. I’ve picked a place to put down roots, and I have all the choices in the world to make it mine. Sometimes too many choices, but choices nevertheless.

It hasn’t been an easy transition and I certainly have a whole blog’s worth on ‘The Home’ by itself, but the scattered boxes and the cluttered freshness of new paint and new floors have me about as excited as one person can be after 26 trips to Lowe’s.

Last fall, not long after moving here, I wrote about “The Ownership.” I talked about wanting to own my own land, to acquire something tangible – and that’s something I’ve wanted for a long time. I wrote:

What is it about owning something that feels so good? You can’t touch stocks and you can’t feel bonds – unless they’re crashing. You can feel the heck out of that. Your money sits in a bank, but on any given day, it could be gone. You can touch land. You can stand on it. You can do something with it. It isn’t going anywhere. It’s yours.

After almost a dozen moves in rentals, I was tired of it. I was tired of living amongst other people’s stuff, living at their mercy, and hoping my rent wouldn’t be hiked…again. This time last year, I wasn’t sure where I wanted it, or how I would get there, but I knew exactly what I was looking for. So I found it.

Today I moved in. Just 45 minutes after the finished the floors, the movers were backing the truck up to my front porch to dump all of my junk in rooms not corresponding to the labels on the boxes. I went from ‘Look how fresh and clean!’ to ‘Start a fire, I don’t want any of this stuff.’ in just a few short minutes of unloading the truck.

I’ve tried not to be selfish, vain, or materialistic about it all, but being reunited with my things – after taking only a few suitcases to Atlanta anticipating a week or two at the most and was there for nearly 8 weeks – was like Christmas morning all over again.

I scurried around this evening trying to make some rooms somewhat livable among the chaos and I couldn’t help but be overwhelmed with my reasons to be thankful. Thankful for my job, for the people who helped me, for the people who didn’t help me and forced me to work harder (especially the ones who thought I couldn’t make it down here or those that figured some elected official would run me off)….my cup runneth over.

It was long after dark before I closed my front door this evening and even the blinds stayed open much longer than they should have. I just couldn’t stop looking, I’m almost in disbelief. This is what I wanted and this is what I’ve worked for.

It’s quiet out here, and maybe tomorrow I’ll have enough energy to be a little concerned about the stillness and the pitch black, but for tonight, I’m tired enough to sleep in the yard.

The Bottom.

The bottom…

…of a bottle, where you might find all of the answers.
…of the ocean, where there is more unseen than seen.
…of the barrel, where the pickins’ are slim.

The bottom is different for everyone and while we seem to reserve the term for alcoholics and drug addicts, we all have a bottom. It doesn’t mean we’re on the verge of death or suicide – no – the bottom is just the point at which you know you’ve hit every limb on the way down the dark hole and you’re alone. You’ve tumbled down what seems to be an endless flight of stairs. You have no more “bounce” and your options include laying there forever or picking yourself back up.

You can hit the bottom for a number of reasons – work, relationships, family, a lack of any of those three. The bottom knows no bounds and no one is too good for it.

I know all of these things for certain as I recently hit my own bottom.

While this cheerful blog is certainly not the place for the details of my internal demise, it’s safe to say I found myself in a place where most everyone else has been (- and the ones who claim they haven’t are either lying to themselves or lying to everyone else.) I’ve made no secret of the fact that I moved to South Georgia last year to abandon some of my problems and distance myself from a few of my mistakes. 365 days later, I can tell you that didn’t go over too well.

Not only did it not work, it actually made it worse. Like an infection on the tip of your finger that spreads down your hand and up your arm, a failure to address mistakes, missteps, and misfortunes will consume you and eat you alive. While it destroys you on the inside, everyone can see it on the outside. As you try to “manage” it all on your own, you slowly drift away from your anchor and the qualities that once made you great.

And unless you’re as lucky as the guy who carried his secrets to his grave only to leave his wife and his mistress unknowingly posting competing obituaries, your secrets and your demons will come out. They always do. And when they do, you’ll fight it, it will hurt like hell, and the despair will be unreal. You’ll feel embarrassed, you’ll want to run away…again…and then someone will metaphorically slap you across the face and remind you this would all be a lot easier if you would just look in the mirror, acknowledge what you don’t like, and fix it.

That’s the bottom…or at least you think it is, until you see the disappointment in the eyes of those you love and adore, that’s the bottom.

“When you decide to hit rock bottom, humiliation is part of the deal.”

The bottom is the point at which you decide you can no longer carry on as you have been. That you’re tired of hurting those around you, and you want to get to the point where you pull people closer instead of push them away.

The bottom also isn’t forever. The bottom is dark, but jessica onionswhen it’s darkest, it’s easier to see the light. The bottom is great even if only for the sole fact that the only place you can go…is up. You know none of these things, though, until you are actually there.

Our daily lives on this Earth are mere Jenga puzzles, teetering and unstable. Our goal is to stay in tact and our hope is that our foundation is solid enough to keep us afloat until the next day. Far worse than an unstable foundation, however, is our own refusal to acknowledge when the foundation needs rebuilding.

My job – and, begrudgingly I admit, my personality – probably exacerbated the problem simply because I always feel as if I have to be “on,” and willing and able to take someone to battle. I felt I always had to be presenting something, if you will, to keep my work on the forefront. I took minimal time for myself mentally, emotionally, or spiritually.

What a mistake that was.

What good is good work when you can’t see past your problems? What pride can you feel when you only see your own negatives?

You can only be your own worst enemy if you’re also willing to be your biggest advocate. Being an advocate for yourself means refusing denial. More importantly, it means showing mercy for yourself, acknowledging that though you may make mistakes, you can grow, heal, and move on from them. Advocating for yourself means identifying the forgiving people around you – those that will acknowledge that while their mistakes may be different from yours, they still made mistakes.

The most dangerous thing we can do is pretend we can handle it all alone. The second most dangerous thing we can do is pretend everything is okay. How are we supposed to believe others have forgiven us when we won’t forgive ourselves?

Besides, that endless flight of stairs that got you to the bottom is exactly what will get you back to the top.

“Rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life.” – J.K. Rowling

*Video lyrics not to be taken literally*


The Transition.

I don’t like instability. I like structure, schedules, and organization. I am the poster child for Type A personalities. Transitions and disorder make me not only uncomfortable, but sometimes unable to function. I can’t stand limbo.

That’s how I ended up in South Georgia in the first place…I fled the city where I’d dissolved my life into chaos and confusion thinking if I just packed up and moved to a brand new place, the instability wouldn’t follow. That’s true to a point, and I eventually found a place of manageable, organized chaos after some time, but reaching stability is like growing a garden: It takes time and it’s seasonal.

And seasons end.

I functioned in this ‘manageable, organized chaos’ for a good while, working to put down roots and dedicating 16-18 hours a day to work…until my lease was up. When you work from home, and you don’t have a home, you suddenly have no office. Take away both those things at the same time and you feel like a newborn caterpillar trying to weather a tornado. Now, everything is in storage, I’m back living like an 17-year-old at my moms, and I’m commuting occasionally to work in rural Georgia from the northern ‘burbs of Atlanta.

I’m trying to buy a house, but that’s proved more difficult than I originally thought, so here I am on day 18 of transition. It’s a mess and it feels like I’m right back to where I started a year ago. If I let my mind think sit and wonder about it all, I can have myself so worked up that I’m convinced I’ll be living here until I’m 40, everything I’ve worked for will go down the drain, and even the dogs will resent me.

But worry is a terrible thing. It blinds us from optimism.

Aside from having mismatched shoes because some are in storage and longing for some of my ‘personal effects,’ transition has made me step back, slow down, and recharge. I was in a cycle of work in South Georgia that had me at “all work. no play.” Is motivation and commitment a good thing? Sure. But I had friends I hadn’t seen since I left Atlanta a year ago, people who were once an important component of my every day life that I managed to put second for work, and a compartmentalized life of “this” and “that.” I don’t regret that decision because I’m proud of what’s happened over the last 12 months, but it’s made me recognize the considerable imbalance.

I thought the stability I had established over the last year was part of my 5 or 10 year plan, and perhaps it is…but when someone asks, “Where are you going with all this?” or “How do you plan to get there?” and all you can offer them is a blank stare, you’re no longer on track. Also, “work harder” isn’t a plan.

I left the city because I felt like I was lacking a purpose. Making money to pay my bills, socializing to say I did, and climbing a ladder that had no top rung wasn’t cutting it for me and I blamed that on my physical address. But that can happen anywhere. They say that goals without a plan are just wishes. That’s what is true. We get into a groove, think we have it all figured out, but in searching for and maintaining stability, we can lose our focus.

This transition is stressful. It’s the first time I’ve been back in Atlanta for more than 4 days. I realize how much I miss some of “my people” and I’ve reconsidered what there is to appreciate about metro Atlanta. That’s a good thing – because I’d grown bitter about the very place I called home for 24 years all because of a few things that happened. At the same time, I long for the peacefulness of my home on a road hardly anyone travels and the smell of freshly cut grass. Part of me can’t wait to get back and watch the sunsets on the porch with my pups while planning my next small town coup.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the last twelve months, it’s that few things in this life are forever. Each day is an opportunity for a transition, a new direction, or an improvement, and if we don’t see it as such, we will sink. We don’t have to keep relocating to keep from sinking, but, like your Internet browser, we do have to keep refreshing.

Aren’t we supposed to ask ourselves, “What do I want out of this day?” every single day?

And the answer every day should be “all of it.” Everything this life has to offer every time the world is offering it. A to Z. 1 to Infinity. No excuses. Every morning that we open our eyes, we have an opportunity. Any day we don’t seize those opportunities is a complete waste. It’s just up to us to decide where we want those worldly opportunities to take us – and that’s what transition is for. It isn’t limbo, it’s just a fork in the road.

I’m a work in progress -and I can try to plan out what’s next all I want -but I have no doubt the targets will keep changing and I’ll keep adding to the list of things I need to work on. Besides, if you want to make God laugh…plan.

“Awareness is the greatest agent for change.” – Eckhart Tolle