Tag Archives: love

Daydreams, part II

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He stood at the front of the classroom. His classroom. His palms were sweaty in anticipation of the first lecture of the school year, just as they were at the start of every year, and his cheeks were starting to flush. He scrawled his name across the blackboard and then leaned over the desk at the front to shuffle through some of his notes one last time. He loved public speaking, especially teaching, but he always got so jittery before any kind of presentation. The exhilaration afterwards was worth a little stress in the beginning, though. Had he ever tried any drugs, he imagined that how he felt after class was what it felt like to be high.

As he shuffled through his folder of notes, he came across a letter from Chloe he had received a few days ago. Even though there had been much time and distance between them since their years together at Dartmouth, they still kept in touch, still wrote “I love yous” and “I miss yous,” and spoke often on the telephone. As he began rereading the note, tracing his fingers along her loopy handwriting, he was startled from his reverie, suddenly, when a young woman walked into his classroom.

She was tall and lithe, with strong cheekbones and a big, wide smile. Her hair was long, a mess of fiery curls and her green eyes sparkled when the light hit them. He was stunned instantly by her beauty and the sense of deja vu that washed over him looking into those eyes. He had to look away quickly or he’d betray the storm of emotions and not-so-kosher thoughts she seemed to stir up within him just with her presence.

“Good morning, Professor,” she said with a smile, “does it matter where I take a seat?”

“Um, uh, a-a-a-a-a-a-nywhere’s fine,” he managed to stammer, turning every shade of red and purple with embarrassment.

“My name is Rosemary Winship, if you need it for attendence,” she stated, as she took a seat in the center of the front row. She pulled out a notebook, a copy of the English literature anthology for the class, and a pencil. Then, she reached into her purse and pulled out a small mirror, which she opened with a quick flick of her hand. She looked at her reflection, using her fingers to rug a couple spots on her face, and then flicked the mirror shut again, placing it back in her bag, which hung on the back of her chair.

He couldn’t take his eyes off her the whole time, and he stared without even knowing he was doing so, still leaning awkwardly on his desk at the front with one hand, clutching Chloe’s forgotten note in a tight fist with the other. His heart beat so fast he could hardly breathe and his mind was racing. It wasn’t just her beauty that had him in such a state, though she was certainly striking, but there was something in the air around her. He wanted to tell her all of his hopes and dreams and fears, he wanted her to know his inner workings, what made him tick, and he wanted to hear everything about her, too, to get lost in her depths and drown in her wisdom.  He thought about winding his fingers through her hair and kissing her passionately; he thought about waking up next to her; he dreamed of sitting across from her at a dinner table, hands interlocked; he longed to hug her until there was no more sadness left; he yearned for the simplicity of sitting in silence in the same room, each absorbed in their own book and thoughts; he heard church bells and babies crying.

She looked up from her desk and smiled at him, and parted her lips as if to say something to him, but then, before she could get the words out, several other students filed into the classroom, and suddenly the moment was gone. The room filled with laughter and chatter, and Rosemary got up and moved to the back row to sit with some of her friends.

He turned his gaze back down to his desk, shook his head a little to release himself from the fog of passion that had consumed him. His fist relaxed, and Chloe’s note dropped to the floor, which he didn’t notice, as he shuffled together the rest of his lecture notes and, with a deep breathe, addressed his new class.

“Let’s begin,” he said.  “I’m Professor Steinberg, and this is English Literature 232.”

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Daydreams

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ImageIt was the quintessential New England fall day, and he spent the sunnier hours of the afternoon wiling away the day reading, people watching, and just admiring the brilliant autumn leaves. Usually lost deep in thought, it felt refreshing to have a day free from the usual weight of his own mind, and, later, thinking back, he would describe that Friday in October of his Junior year as “happy,” a word he didn’t use often (not because he was unhappy on other days, necessarily, but because “happy” was too simple to capture the complexity of emotions he felt most of the time).

Once the sun started to shift in the sky and the day dimmed to evening, he packed up his school books and trekked across the quad to pick up Chloe. He knocked on quietly at her door and she greeted him with her usual smile and timid kiss on the cheek.

“Is it chilly out? Should I grab a scarf?” She asked after letting him inside her dorm. He put his books down on her desk and stood awkwardly in the center of the room while she dug around in the closet. She appeared a few moments later holding a red knit scarf and a camel-colored jacket.

He reached out his hand to take her jacket and helped her into it. She fixed her hair and spun around to kiss him, but he stopped her, just wanting to look into her dramatic, brown eyes. They worked a special magic on something in his soul, made him feel passionate, melancholy, wistful, and ecstatic all at once. He smiled, squeezed her hands, and turned to lead them both out of her tiny room.

Once outside, she snuggled into him to keep warm as they made their way back across the campus to where the bonfire was being lit. He breathed deep — wet leaves, distant fireplaces, hot apple cider, Chloe’s enchanting perfume — and they walked along the pathway admiring the leaves and the last vestiges of daylight as the sun slipped below the horizon. The lamp posts sparkled on and they could see the students gathering around the big wood pile just as it started to blaze.

He pulled Chloe a little closer and had an intense, momentary daydream about his future, as happened to him quite regularly at that time — a wild, red headed woman with piercing green eyes, a feeling of deep regret, an intense yearning for something he couldn’t quite grasp — and he felt a sadness wash over him when he realized that this moment, these simple days of his life with Chloe, a girl he loved so easily and so completely (though he never found the words or strength to express this when he should have), would all come to a close.  Chloe, as if she sensed his thoughts, pulled away.

 “But I love her so much” he thought to himself, “how could I possibly love another more?”

He wouldn’t know the answer to that question until five years later when the red head with the green eyes from his daydream that night at the bonfire with Chloe would come walking into his classroom. His heart would erupt in flames and it would be his undoing.

 

Learning to be Happy…

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I’ve struggled with depression as long as I can remember, and, as a result, I’ve also been preoccupied with the notion of “happiness” and how to get there and stay there. Obviously I recognize that I’ll never be one of those naturally ebullient and bubbly types, but how an I better ensure that I stay within the happier part of my own individual happiness spectrum? How can I fortify myself against the inevitable ups and downs that life will deal me and my family? Can I learn to recognize when I’m slipping and catch myself before I spiral down that dark rabbit hole?

I recently picked up the book “The Happiness Project” by Gretchen Rubin which, while sometimes annoying with her didactic tone and what seems like a fairly “charmed” life that she often takes for granted, she also makes some really thought-provoking realizations throughout the book that have made me re-examine my own life and how I approach it.

 

Goal-setting, but in a small and visibly achievable way, is central to Rubin’s Happiness Project and is a tool that has worked for me in the past for activities like running, but for some reason, I’ve never translated onto my relationships with others or more mundane tasks that make up my everyday. I’ve never explored becoming more myself in the context of concrete goals, and I think that there’s really something to this exercise and remaining more positive and, well, happy.

Rubin uses each month during the course of the year to focus on one aspect of her life. While I don’t think that this particular approach is what I want to do, Rubin did inspire me to sit down and think about the things that make me happy, the things that make me who I am (rather than those things I wish I could be or think I should do/be because others want me to be that way or do those things.

I love performing small gestures that show how much I love, appreciate and celebrate the lives of those I care about, I enjoy being active and healthy, especially with others, I enjoy reading and writing and being creative (though not necessarily in a traditionally artistic sense), being present for family and friends is very important to me, having space and time for quiet reflection and recharging keeps me energized, staying productive, organized and de-cluttered helps me focus — I want to live my life in a way that was authentic to who I am and makes these things central to each day, regardless of what else might be going on. After the Boston Marathon bombings, I also found myself in a heightened state of appreciation and love for the normal, everyday things I would typically take for granted and I wanted to make sure that even after time had faded the memory of the bombings and dulled that sensitivity, I remained more appreciative and aware of the beauty in the people around me and the life I live.

So I sat down and thought about some short-term goals for the summer months that would align with these values I identified for myself. I’ll have to write another post in September to let you know how I’m doing!  In any case, these are my short-term goals:

*be more productive!

*incorporate strength training, yoga and spinning into weekly workout schedule

*learn to play bridge with A

*take a creative writing, photography, swimming and/or music class

*finally get personal trainer certification

*land one or two freelance writing opportunities

*get re-certified in CPR

*finish 3 books

*update blog regularly

*make new recipe cards for new recipes you’ve tried this past winter

*complete a week-long juice fast

*learn to have a daily meditation practice

*take more walks, especially with A

*clean out dresser and closet — de-clutter!

 

So, although Rubin’s book at times has gotten on my nerves, I’d still highly recommend it! It’s certainly made a difference in how I think about my every day, and, if you decide to pick it up, perhaps it will do the same for you, too!

Do you have any goals for the summer? What are the things in life that are quintessential to being you?

 

 

 

Run, Run, Run

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Running discovered me pretty late, and when it did, it was anything but a passionate love affair, at least at the beginning.

See, I had met running before and we had never really gotten along. But then my roommates in college seemed to like running so much, I tried to like it, too. Our love that first year was short-lived, but I remembered how good it made me feel when we were really focused on one another, in those hour-long sweat sessions at Gold’s Gym. Life got busy and complicated, though, as it often does, and we parted ways for awhile.

We met again on a chilly fall evening my senior year in college. It was unexpected, but running felt like the only way to escape from the messy tangle of relationships that had ensnared me. I needed somewhere calm, somewhere that didn’t involve a fight or confrontation, and running opened its arms wide and without judgement. We didn’t meet often, over the next several years, and I was often drunk or crying, but running didn’t care and always managed to soothe me, to talk me down from the ledge.

Then, the winter after I graduated and I turned in one rocky relationship for one that felt more stable (and eventually ended in marriage), running decided to stick around. We got together several times a week, even through a cold and icy winter, for short 30 or 40 minute therapy sessions. Sometimes our time together was intense and physical; other times quiet and reflective.  Our relationship deepened.

The years ticked by, and as I approached my wedding date, running and I moved to the next level, too. I needed a distraction, a stress-reliever, and once again, running held my hand through the process. We picked our first race — a half marathon — and worked together to get my legs and my heart to that finish line and then down the aisle. We grew so strong together as we entered into a commitment we were both sure would last a lifetime, vowing to work through injuries and burn out, busy schedules and competing priorities.

Running, I didn’t love you when we first met, I didn’t even like you, in fact, but these days I miss you when you’re not a part of my day, like I’d miss my arm if I woke up without it. You’ve given me a confidence in myself both physically and mentally that I never would have discovered on my own. You’ve kept me sane when life has gotten out of control. You’ve challenged me and helped me grow in all aspects of my life. You’ve filled my life with joy, and even though we’ve had our disappointments, even though we’ve failed each other on more than one occasion, we always come back to each other full of forgiveness, ready to start a new day together. Running, you are my passion and I love you more each day (even when I say I hate you).