My advice to my daughter today is…
I know people who live a life one foot in front of the other.
1st April 2016
(I am posting this today without any edits or changes at all. This was my voice at the time I wrote it down with a pen and paper. I then typed it from my journal. It may be juvenile writing, but it was what I wanted to share today from my thoughts. Thank your for reading)
I am so grateful. I am hyperventilating from gratitude. I am sitting here in the sun, by the Hudson River in the Upper West Side of New York City. My apartment is a Brownstone in the 80’s. That refers to the area of streets. It is almost embarrassing to say that I am living my dream, but I am. I am sure my friends from the city could find amusement in my childlike dreams as a woman in my 50’s. So many people have gone before me. Many people come to New York with the dream of becoming an actor, a dancer, a writer, an artist or a financial wiz. I am here to live, grow, work my program of sobriety, experience life here and then write about it. Those are my dreams. Not to become anything, but just be here.
A few years ago I had the great fortune to paddle the Tennessee River from Chattanooga to Iuka, Mississippi 260 miles, 10 hours per day for nine days. 30 miles a day for eight days and 20 miles on our last day (I think this is the correct math). Three of us made that trip. Two of us in a canoe and the other on a paddle board. The trip was a fundraiser for the Tennessee Riverkeeper. I was a board member, and my only assets to the board were fundraising on social media, my strength and determination and my adaptability to my surroundings. But, I had no gratitude for my situation. I actually felt as if I was doing something great for the organization. At the beginning of our trip, we camped out in Stevenson, Alabama. Anyone who knows me knows I am not a camper. The park service sent over a park ranger to meet us to ensure we had our camping spot and to welcome us. The ranger was a down to earth guy about my age. We all talked about what our organization was doing and our fundraising paddle. The ranger said something that stopped me in my tracks. I will never forget it. He said, “All my life I have wanted to canoe this river.” I still get emotional when I think of this. I was struck. I was living someone else’s dream, and I had no gratitude. From that moment, my entire attitude about what I was doing changed and it shaped my experience. With miles and miles of green trees, I began to see them individually. Every time I saw a species of wildlife I squealed with excitement. I saw a beaver swimming across the river, and I just wanted to thank God and the universe for such an experience.
You see when you are living someone else’s dream you must be grateful.
I sit here sobbing now because I got it. I am so glad I got it. I became grateful that day. I am now sitting here steps from my apartment writing and experiencing. Today, here in the park I met a new friend who has a beautiful dog and we have a lot in common. She is a real writer. The kind who gets paid for her work. I am living my dream, just being. If it’s not your dream and you are living it, then become grateful because your dreams will come true.