Monday, April 28, 2014

Coffee Shop Wisdom

If the term, “hell on wheels” could be exemplified in a human form, I think it would be this lady. She was probably in her early 80’s; barely five feet tall and maybe weighed 100 pounds soaking wet. Her face and hands told a story that perhaps she’s had a hard life. The wrinkles around her eyes when she smiled also told of a woman who wasn’t a stranger to happiness.  I don’t know her name. I probably never will.

I had stopped to get a cup of coffee (I take mine black, like my soul) before my shift started at my second job. I had about 30 minutes to kill so I sat down in the back of the shop just to think and clear my head.

“Do you love him, honey?” she said as she plopped down at the empty chair at my table.

She had startled the crap outta me.

“Pardon?” was all I could manage.

“Honey, it’s a simple yes or no question. Do you love him?”

I had to have looked at this women like she had completely lost her mind because let’s be honest, I thought she may have been off her meds.

“I guess I don’t understand the question.” I said.

“I’ve been watching you since you walked in here.” She countered, “I’ve seen that look before. I’ve worn that look before. There are two looks on a woman’s face that only a man can be responsible for: a smile bigger than a Buick and this furrowed eye brow thing you’ve got going on here. If you don’t love him, you at least care a whole lot about him. People that we don’t care about don’t possess that kind of power over us.”

This is the second time in two weeks that I have encountered Ghandi reincarnated as an elderly woman rocking a four-wheeled walker.

I am now just resigned to the fact that I am also going to meet eccentric people in eccentric places that say eccentric things and that’s just how it’s gonna be.

She just stared at me with her arms crossed, as if to dare me not to answer her.

“I guess I don’t know how I feel” was all I replied because quite honestly, this was a complete stranger.

“My advice to you, young lady, is to talk to him. What ever he did, whatever you did,  communication is what is going to make or break you. You've got to communicate. Without put downs, without yelling. Back and forth conversation. Maybe this man will be in your life forever; maybe just a short time. Maybe he is just an adventure. Maybe a lesson. If you think there is a chance that he might be worth it, you have got to fight like hell. If not walk away right now and smile for what it was.  But, honey, trust me, you are solving absolutely nothing by glaring at that coffee. Remember that.”

Quickly changing the subject, because, frankly, that’s a whole lot to process. I asked her about her family. She told me about her kids and grandkids. She told me about her late husband. All with this happiness that even now I can’t really put in to words.

 She asked about my family. I gave her the simplified version. Not wanting to be one of those people that just talks about themselves. I tried to ask more about her but she would have none of that. She insisted that I tell her more about my family. I toId her that my mom and dad are probably my two favorite people ever. I shared with her that my greatest fear on this earth would be to disappoint either of them. That I hope they will always be proud of me and that they respect my decisions even if they don’t always understand them.

She reached across the table and grabbed my hand and said, “Oh, honey, daddy’s aren’t supposed to like the men we choose. It’s their job not to.”

Alright, Teresa Caputo, what the hell is going on?
Unfortunately, I had to cut this conversation short so I could get to work. I apologized for having to leave so abruptly and thanked her. She stood and hugged me.

“Honey, you will figure it out or it will figure itself out,” she shouted as I walked out the door.
Every path we cross is for a reason.
God bless that crazy, beautiful, wise woman.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Runaway Days

"Kid, let me tell you what the secret to life is," she said, looking me straight in the eyes. I looked up and smiled. It doesn't matter that I am 28 years old, I think I am always going to be a person people refer to as, "Kid" and I am completely okay with it. Without any further hesitation, I put what I was doing down. Anticipating that the next thing out of her mouth would most definitely be a pearl of wisdom, I gave her my full attention.

Boy, was I right.

"The secret to life is to stop making plans. You gotta be willing to stop everything that you think needs to be done and go out and live a little. The dishes will be there tomorrow. Your work, it will be there tomorrow. The bills, they will be there. Live, Kid, you gotta live, that's the secret, simple as that."

Some of the greatest life lessons have came in moments like this.

"Kid, some of the best memories I have are when my husband and I would take off for the day on an adventure like we didn't have a care in the world. A full day with absolutely no plans. Those are what we call Runaway Days. We didn't have a lot of money but we sure made up for it in memories. And Kid, that's what gets me through times like today."

Having just met this woman, I was honored that she chose me to share these wise words  that reverberated in my soul.

"When's the last time you had a Runaway Day, Kid? You look like you could use one."

She patted my shoulder and then with that she walked out of the room.

I guess, I've always kind of considered myself a pretty go-with-the-flow kind of gal, but in all honesty, I don't think I've ever had a day like that.

That needs to change.

Life hasn't been exactly going in my favor lately. Perhaps, it's time for the pity party to cease. Maybe a few Runaway Days are just the trick...

Live life while there is still life to be lived.

Do something that you've never done before.

Stop scheduling everything.

Be a little outrageous.

Love who/what you want.

Don't be so damn hard on yourself. You're doing the best you can.

Don't make work your life.

Do something that just absolutely scares the shit out of you.

Be willing to see the beauty in all things. It's there. Just look.

Don't rely on anyone else for your happiness. Make your own.

If someone wants to share their story with you, give them your full attention. A few simple words have the power to change your whole perspective. Listen.

In closing, I want to pose the same question to you: just when was the last time you had a Runaway Day?

You look like you could use one.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Things I have found to be true

The following is nothing more than my meandering thoughts. I am not taking ownership of every and all ideas. Some I've heard along the way, some I've experienced first hand, ALL are relevant.

18 Things I've found to be true as of 7:45 this evening

1)  Be nice to others. Genuinely smile at everyone you meet, actually acknowledge them. If you meet someone in the hallway or on the street ask them how they are....then actually wait to find out their answer. You never know the power that a smile and a few simple words may yield.

2) Do not become jaded. The world is full of so much ugliness and hate, do not let it consume you. I had little idea of how many callous, calculating individuals I would come in contact with throughout my life. I was also not prepared for the surplus of beautiful souls, either. Never underestimate anyone or overestimate them either, for that matter. People usually shock the hell out of me every day.

3) #idonotunderstandhashtags #istillusethemthough #ispunctuationrequiredinsaidhashtags #donthatetheplayerhatethegame #YOLO

4) Get to know your parents, I mean, really know them. Most likely, they are the coolest people you will ever meet. Parents are the best kind of friends because regardless of how you act, they HAVE to love you. They signed contracts...

5) The adage, "What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas", is actually a real thing. Trust me on this one.

6) Just because you have a bunch of letters behind your name, does not give you license to treat anyone as if they are beneath you.  Some of the smartest people I have ever met in my life had no formal training. Some of the dumbest have graduated from accredited universities. This concept never ceases to amaze me.

7) Professionalism should be implied as part of your career, it should not have to be mentioned in the explanation. I am a Social Worker. I have never once said, "Hi, I'm Laura, I'm a Professional Social Worker." If someone has to use Professional as a precursor, they most likely are not one........

8) Nothing in life is free. Everything comes with a price. Sometimes you will pay with money. Some things are a little more costly, those are the items you will pay with, with a piece of your soul. Either way, don't bankrupt yourself.

9) Take too many pictures. Take them of yourself. Take them with the people you love. Take them of your dog. Just take them.

10) I firmly believe that your soul mates do not have to be romantic partners. They are the people you choose to share your life with. The people you text or call with news about your life. The people that love you through the good and the bad times and sometimes can't tell the difference between the two. They are the people who are blatantly honest with you. Who have the same humor, the same values, the same morals. Those are the people who make life worth it. The ones you could do everything or nothing with and still have a great time. The ones that love you, even if they think you are The Hot Mess Express, those are the people worth keeping around.

11) Do not be too idealistic. Don't let your expectations get in the way of something with the potential to be great. Model the traits in which you are seeking and perhaps you will encounter the type of individual you are hoping to find.

12) Don't take shit off of anyone. Stand up for what you believe in. Tell someone if they've hurt you. Don't let anyone make you feel like you are less than what you are. Be too busy worrying about your own happiness to give a second thought to what others think of you.

13) If "Ice, Ice, Baby" comes on the radio, dammit, sing along with it. Guaranteed, it will improve your mood.

14) Don't plan too far into the future or worry about it too much either. What ever will happen, will happen.

15) It's a probable law that if you go to Wal-mart looking a mess (I'm talking no shower, greasy hair in a bun, glasses, no make-up, sweat pants, cut off, slippers) you will inevitably run into your ex. Act like a boss (pronounced BAWWWSSSE) regardless.

16) Pizza and wine will not solve your problems...then again, they won't hurt the situation either.      

17) I still maintain that everyone should own a sword. Don't ask me why, I just think it is a necessary evil. You may thank me some day. You're welcome.

18) You know that tag on mattresses? The one that says, "Do Not Remove by Penalty of Law", should you ever encounter one of those, simply ask yourself, "What Would Laura Do?"