Soulmates.

I was out, but at a computer, missing the Artist. I was studying for a midterm, and of course full of stress and anxiety about it. I am waiting to hear if I got into the MA program I applied to and interviewed for, and I am really stressed about that too. Stressed if I don’t get it, yet anxious if I do. If I don’t get in, that is a lot of hard work applying (and applying for a scholarship) that didn’t pay off, and my plans will have to change. But if I do get in, that is 2 more years of what I know will be really hard work. I want to take on the challenge, but still, I know that lots of hard work would be in my future. Not to mention the stresses of daily life, trying to find time to do laundry and cook and all that.

I had been feeling particularly stressed at that moment, my body feeling restless and anxious, and I was yearning (and still am) to take a vacation with the Artist. We took an amazing week long vacation to the Dominican Republic in 2010, and we went to Chicago for a few days exploring in 2015, but that is it. We have bee talking about wanting a vacation together for so long, even just a few nights away somewhere within driving distance where there is a cheap motel where we can watch a “movie on TV” and order all kinds of takeout and junk food for a few days while we enjoy an outdoor pool, restaurants, sightseeing, a beach, etc. Even that seems impossible when you are broke AF, let alone going somewhere tropical or otherwise expensive like NYC or Florida.

But, my number one way to redirect my anxious thoughts it to think about my love, and how we get to share our lives together, no matter what. No matter where we are or what we are doing, we get to be together. Master’s program or no Master’s program, vacation or no vacation, money or no money, we will make it. We will figure it out. And then I checked my email. The Artist sent me an email with nothing in the body or subject line, just a link to a video. The video was of a car commercial, and the song of that car commercial has become associated with our lives. I was just saying that every time I hear that commercial, I think back to last summer. We had just moved, it was a hard, hard move with lots of obstacles. We were even more broke than we are now. I had classes start the day after we moved in, I didn’t know my way around and had no phone to use GPS, on top of the nerves of just going back to school after 5 years off. The summer was spent in a realm of anxiety and stress, with boxes everywhere as we tried to balance school, job searching, and unpacking. I was so stressed that I had no appetite and didn’t sleep well, and if you know me, you know that this is VERY unlike me. And somehow, with that commercial always coming on, the song somehow became associated with that period of our lives.

But now, the song is a reminder that no matter how stressful life gets, I have this guy by my side making me laugh, supporting me, and enriching my life on a daily basis. He sees beauty in such ordinary things that I never would have noticed before, and it reminds me to stop and smell the roses. So we would stop the craziness for a few hours, go exploring in our new city, and have some laughs.

I teared up watching this video, it was like he knew exactly my stress levels and that I was thinking of him, and sent this video to let me know he was also thinking of me, and that whatever happens, we will find a way to flourish, together ❤

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Isn’t Life Beautiful?

Isn’t life beautiful?  After all, you only get one!  I highly recommend watching this amazing video: http://www.wimp.com/survivorsay/

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How incredibly moving was that?!  I am lost for words.  It was just so inspiring.  Sometimes I feel like “time is running out” and I have to get my education moving and my career on the go etc., and women have more of a “biological clock” then men do, so what about trying to have children?  That is a lot to take on over the next decade, and sometimes I feel like I am sort of “behind schedule”.  But then I stop and think, behind what schedule?  Who made these schedules about the so called order of things….education, marriage, buy a house, have kids?  And who says I need to be doing any of these things even at all?  I have to stop and remind myself that this phenomenon of social pressure is what is making me feel like I am “running out of time”, and that I am “behind schedule”, that I should be developing in this quite normal of a pattern, which isn’t for everyone.  I am 24 years old and I have been married for going on 4 years this August, with no kids.  But that doesn’t mean I  don’t want children of my own someday!  It’s just that right now, in this very moment, what is important to both the Artist and myself is reaching our education and career goals, and enjoying each other to the maximum.

This can sometimes be a great source of stress for me, but after watching this video, it completely diminishes.  And I think this source of stress itself is going to completely vanish, because Alice makes such a good point: everything in life is beautiful.

It really is, isn’t it?  If we don’t stop and smell the roses, where is the enjoyment in life?  Finding passion, being interested in new things, and as one of the ladies in this video said, “putting as much into your head as possible, because no one can take that away from you”.  I really like this statement.  Because you may not have a lot of material things, or money in the bank, but if you have passion within, you will always have that inside, and you can experience it whenever you want.  This video was so inspiring, to empower myself, to inspire myself, and to see the beauty in life every day.  She talks about her love for music, and how Beethoven is a miracle, and how intensely she feels the music, is very similar to what I was trying to write about during my experience at the St. Louis Symphony: https://emilyandherartist.wordpress.com/2014/02/03/a-passionate-life-filled-with-love/

There is another video that I love, and highly recommend viewing: http://twentytwowords.com/sweet-old-lady-smiles-and-waves-at-passing-kids-every-day-they-finally-show-her-what-it-means-to-them/

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Amazing, eh?

What I love about this video, and how far a simple, friendly gesture goes to making life that much more beautiful.  One of my best friends in the world is a 70-something year old lady whom I carpool with to go volunteering at a domestic violence agency, and she is so full of love and life, it is contagious.  She is so sweet and kind and generous, that she always makes my day a little brighter. She has been travelling for the last few months, and I am finding myself craving her company!  What does that say about something as simple as being kind to others?

I always say that the Artist and I are contagious to one another.  He does something really nice for me, like make a nice dinner even though he is exhausted, and then I am really excited to return the favour and find my wheels spinning thinking of what I will do for him.  Then I grind him fresh coffee beans the next morning and bring him his hot coffee, and he is so happy and grateful that he starts thinking of the next thing he will do for me.  But the same goes for something as simple as a hug, or kind words.  The same cycle exists especially for kind words!

We are only the experts on our own lives, we have no idea what exactly another person’s life is like.  Especially strangers.  So if someone isn’t as friendly at the drive-thru window as you would like, instead, give them a smile, maybe a compliment, maybe wish them a nice evening or great weekend, maybe ask them how their day is, or thank them for their service.  Because we don’t know exactly what is going on in their life, maybe it is just one of those days, maybe they are grieving the loss of a loved one, maybe they got some bad news, but wouldn’t some kindness brighten all of those things?  And maybe that was the thing that just made their day, and they go home feeling a little better about whatever it is that is going on in their life.  Personally, if that happened to me and I was the one who had their day brightened (like this one bus driver who out a smile on everyone’s face, and made an effort to say hello to every passenger!), I would be grateful for that stranger’s kindness 🙂

Clearly, I am a big believer in the power of optimism and kindness 😉

These videos were so inspiring and uplifting, I watch them over and over, and get teary every time.  These women are just so beautiful, and convey such a powerful message:  ultimately, despite struggles and stresses, in the end, we are alive.  And if we aren’t alive, well, then what is it that we have?