It’s All in the Perspective

“I can’t believe we have a summer home!” Sarah KramerLee

Nathan and I couldn’t help but laugh at Sarah’s perspective on our summer lives. While my idea of a summer home might be more like this:

A dream home by the lake in Okoboji, IA

with the ability to do this on a regular basis:

Heading back to the dock to hang out after a lovely boat ride.

to Sarah that doesn’t matter. In her mind, and her perspective, this simple little cabin is our “summer home.”

At the cabin at Okoboji Summer Theatre 2010.

To Nathan this place is

“like going back for a family reunion after not seeing them for a while.”

It is a place to focus purely on doing good theater and quality work without other things interfering. In some ways, then, to Nathan it is a home, but it is also a job and an experience that he values every year.

My perspective becomes a little more complicated. If this is a family reunion, then I am the awkward black sheep relative–the one who wants to make her way into the family circle and does not know how.  I recognize and value the wonderful creative atmosphere of this place, as well as the work ethic. I crave to be allowed to contribute to this work using the skills I bring with me, because I do have the talent to participate on an equal level.  But, for a number of complicated reasons, I don’t feel that I have a role or a position to play here, beyond being part of this extended family. So, from my perspective, I can’t quite call it a summer home of my own–rather it is closer to the summer home that I hold in my dreams but have yet to really achieve.

I know that I’ll never achieve the true dream summer home, which requires an inflow of money that could only happen if I win the lottery. But I wonder if, with a slight change of perspective, I can begin to see this place as simply OUR SUMMER HOME.

Only time will tell.

What kinds of things do you think change depending on the perspective?

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Today’s Quote:

“Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth.” Marcus Aurelius 

The American Dream in Reverse

I’ve always wanted to own my own home. I have now owned two. But I no longer own a home as of today.  Neither houses were dream homes (although the first was pretty awesome) but they were mine.

The house in the snow. I won't miss that part. Goodbye Colorado home.

[Well, sort of as of today, since the money hasn't appeared in my bank account yet. Grrrr!]

Anyway, while I know it was the best thing, having to sell the house was bittersweet. Why? Because I haven’t found a new home yet. No, I’m not homeless. We just haven’t found the place we want to settle in, the place where we will all feel comfortable living. I’m not just talking about the physical location, but the community, the town, the state or maybe even the country.

It is also bittersweet because I don’t know if or when we will ever be able to afford to buy a house again.

But, there is a positive side to this. What, I am calling “The American Dream in Reverse.” See, while we did not make as much money on the sale as we had hoped, and technically lost money (because of an evil sale that fell through last summer after the buyers insisted on fixing the house which ended up on our credit card) but we still made some money. And, once we see it, I will pay off our credit card debt and put the rest into savings.

I like a credit card balance of $0.00.

The only people we will owe money to now are Nathan’s parents, who helped us out with maintaining two homes this year while taking a huge cut in income. I’m going to write a nice big check to them as well, and then pay back in increments as we are able. Great rates (0%) and no time limit, but I want to pay them back asap.

Still, I’m not a fool, and I’m putting the majority in savings to make some interest. Perhaps we will even invest it in some way. And then, since a  major move does not seem imminent from our current location, we will save money. We are switching rentals to help with that, and moving into a place that is giving us free reign to paint and decorate as we see fit–to turn it into a comfortable home. And as we save, we will make plans.

A new American dream.

If all works well, next year we will move on. Of course, I’d prefer to move with a job in hand, but if not maybe we can just take a chance and follow our hearts. Maybe we can find a place that calls to us and simply pursue our dreams. I know it won’t be easy, and that we will never be rich, but I am beginning to realize that happiness and fulfillment are worth pursuing, even if they are not easy.

So, maybe not owning  a home will be my key to a new American Dream, one that suits us all  better than the one that has failed us so painfully.

Who knows what the future brings?

Ice Cream Tastes Better . . .

I’m feeling a little nostalgic and lone today. I haven’t given my daughter the Memorial Day she deserves as a child. Maybe next year. But, thanks to her, and the little tinkle of music coming down the street, I got to eat a strawberry shortcake and find some words to write (words that have avoided me all day):

 Ice cream tastes better
when it comes off an ice cream truck.

Fried Dough tastes better at a county fair.

Marshmallows taste better after a barbecue.

Ice cold lemonade tastes better after playing in the sun all day.

Everything tastes better in the memories of childhood.

The Miles We Travel in Search of Ourselves

A Long Road Home

Image via Wikipedia

When you drive alone in a car for 8 1/2 hours it gives you a lot of time to think.

Of course, you can distract yourself by listening to the stories of other people or music. But that distraction only works if your mind isn’t constantly connecting what you hear with what you think or believe.

I learned that as tears poured down my face while listening to “The Tornado Prom” story on This American Life.

I learned that laughing my way through Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me and thinking, I would love to be a reporter on NPR.

I learned that listening to the podcast about Pop Culture from NPR (I’m not sure what it’s called, but it is connected with Monkey See. The discussion of books led me to think, “Oh, I should read that” but even more “How do I get paid to review books.”

When I lost the ability to listen to the podcast, and went to music, every song had a message for me . . . about life, about love, about following your dreams.

And the miles passed.

I thought about the millions of miles that I have traveled throughout my life. Sometimes the miles led to adventures, sometimes the miles led to comfort, but rarely have the miles led to home. I mean, I am technically “home” now, but I haven’t found the home that makes me stop wanting to following those miles.

Will I ever?

I’ve found temporary sanctuaries, but not permanent homes.

I was talking to the cook at the Summer Theater where I left Nathan and she asked “Where are you now?” I answered, with my usual “Kansas face”; the face that says I’m here for now, but hopefully not forever. She answered, “Oh, I thought you would be wandering gypsies” and then told me about this family she met in Florida that were travelling the country just to see if they could.

Part of me thought, how cool is that.

My journey is long–both the metaphorical one and the physical one. I wonder if and when I will ever come to rest.

Learning to Forgive

When the world comes crashing down around you, it seems natural to want to put the blame on someone or something. On the system that let you down. On co-workers who manipulated the system. On your partner. On the universe, or G-d, or some greater power. And, often the hardest to overcome, on yourself.

It is so easy to blame.

It is not so easy to forgive. I have been trying very hard lately to let go of the anger and the blame.  I’ve sent messages out to the universe trying to forgive. But it doesn’s seem to work, because there is one person I cannot seem to forgive. You guessed it, I cannot forgive myself. I feel like I am responsible for the chaos around me (no ego there). I know that, realistically, that is not true, but I blame myself for all my perceived failures. And yet, I know that’s not true. I feel like there are multiple people inside of me battling for supremacy: the talented person who knows that she can and will succeed, the wicked person who seeks revenge, the insecure person who wants to stay in bed and hide, the loving person who does not understand, the hurt child, the strong mom , etc.

How do I learn to forgive all of those selves? How do I learn to forgive others in an honest and true way?  I want to learn to forgive. I really do.