There’s a song by Enya called “Pilgrim” that mysteriously presented itself this year with lyrics that guided me through each day.One of the lines goes as follows: “Pilgrim it’s a long way to find out who you are.” Indeed, my lifelong journey to find myself has been filled with more detours and doubts than straight routes and certainty. Thankfully, my days as a 45-year-old perhaps showed me who I am more than any other year I’ve lived. As my journey to find myself still has a long way to go, I can’t think of any better way to welcome my coming year than by remaining a pilgrim along the journey of life.
I am a writer, but the truth is, I always was but didn’t believe in myself. The words and stories inside me are finally seeing light as my voice is continually being refined and improved. There’s still a lot of work to make my voice exactly as I dream it to be as I look forward to continuing my journey as a writer.
Oh, Dublin…how I am in love with you! I followed my dreams and lived in Dublin for a week with a longtime friend, which was in itself life changing. I don’t want to continually talk about Dublin, but man…what an inexplicable connection I have to that simply wondrous city. The memory of my Dublin days are ever-present, and I can once again hear her siren song, luring me back to explore and to live and to write…
On the downside, many of my days as a 45-year-old were very difficult as I endured a severe lupus flare for over a year. I am extremely grateful that my last major lupus face rash was at the end of September, another sign that my new medication is working. If I’ve got anything to be positive about, I consider the daily pain and fatigue I experience a blessing because it makes me know I’m alive. As a result, I know the value of a good day and cherish each one now more than ever. I took the initiative of sharing my story on NewLifeOutlook: Lupus so that others with Lupus might be able to have hope.
There’s so much value in being an active participant in life, and with each day, I say YES to life more and more. I’m finally comfortable in my own skin, with my presence and living, my “I am here” statement more important than my skewed perception of how I think I look.
I wouldn’t be human if my 45th year didn’t bring with it the wistful longing for those who have passed on, such as my father, my father-in-law, my spirit guide, and other special people. But you know what? I’m at a point now where instead of mourning their loss, I celebrate their legacy and the fact that I was so lucky to have them as a part of my life, no matter how big or small their role might have been. When I consider that these special people can no longer see the sights I am able to see (at least from this dimension), I appreciate what I do see with my own two eyes more and more. Because I can, I now let the snow and cold hit my face instead of hurling expletives. I listen to the singing birds instead of yelling at them for waking me up. I touch the flower’s petals instead of walking on by. I let the waves break on my feet with a renewed appreciation, and I value the treasures left behind by the sea.
I am absolutely blessed with having family and friends standing by my side with unconditional love and support. And because of that little 2.75 year old best friend of mine, I finally know I am truly good.
And don’t forget, I got to meet Boba Fett in August! I’m still giddy over that!
The giggles, the memories, the tears, the sights, the guidance, the words, the insight…I wouldn’t change a thing. Words, stories, laughter, lessons, and life…the tenants whose lease will be renewed for the upcoming year. I’ve got a few exciting intentions and projects for my 46th year, which begins tomorrow.
But for the rest of today, I’m celebrating day 16,801 of my existence, the last day of my 45th year. Thank you, 45, for being so good to me.
My 45th Year in Facts and Statistics:
Number of Yankees Home Games I attended: 2
Number of Yankees games I got to watch on TV: 10. Thank you, Comcast, for bringing back YES this season!
Number of presentations I gave at conferences: 2
Favorite Summer Song: Encore by Red Hot Chili Peppers
Favorite Winter Song: Bad by U2
Most played artists on my playlists: Red Hot Chili Peppers, U2, The Cure
Favorite Toys I Bought: My little wind-up sock monkey that jumps rope, my cricket driving car, and my Jyn Erso Funco figure
Number of times I saw “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” in the theater: 3. The best was on opening night (actually, the night before opening night) with my husband.
Number of Monarch Butterflies I raised from caterpillars and released: 26
Favorite Books I read: Ulysses and Us by Declan Kibbard, The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho, The Art of Work by Jeff Goins
Number of pins I added to my collection: 28
Favorite Sound: the laughter of my niece and nephews always, morning bird songs, and the lull of the traffic outside my window in Dublin
Favorite Christmas Gifts: My iPhone 7-Plus from my husband and my Seinfeld 2017 Calendar, picked out by my brother-in-law.
The Best Part of the Year: Going to Dublin. Looking back with gratitude for the signs and for my spirit guide, I can’t believe I had the balls to do it. I loved every single thing about my experience, other than I had to leave. My feet will find Dublin again someday, undoubtedly led by my heart.
Town/Local Events I Attended: Earth Day Celebration, Memorial Day ceremony, rode the town trolley, Seafood Festival before it was evacuated because of a coward’s actions, one Car Cruise, Xmas Tree Lighting/Candy Cane Hunt/Santa’s Workshop, Wings of Freedom Tour, NJ Run for the Fallen. My favorite: Point Pleasant Beach Offshore Grand Prix.
Some of my favorite memories: seeing The Cure with treasured friends, the Point Pleasant Beach Offshore Grand Prix, Star Wars night at Yankee Stadium (Castro’s grand slam was super!), The Firefly at the Baseball Game, Yankees with M/D/D in 95+ heat, trick or treating dressed as a fairy godmother (at the request of nephew H), NYC and Navesink Lighthouse with C. (especially the Brooklyn Bridge, 9-11 Reflection Pool, Grand Central Station, the Empire State Building, and Bryant Park), the blindy-bird that visited me for a few days, finding my voice, riding my bicycle around town, the new opportunity for a wonderful classroom-mate and his successes, so many laughs with friends, the Gingerbread Boy, “My doggie guitar! And my Elmo letters!,” the little one who sits on my lap because I am his best friend
Special memories with my niece and nephews: E’s mystery trip to LBI, N’s mystery trip to Lucy the Elephant/Rainforest Café, aquarium and lunch with both H and I on separate trips, the boat village with H and I at the Point Pleasant Beach Offshore Grand Prix, swimming, Skull Mountain 22 times in a row and the VR ride with N, playing with tsum tsums/Paw Patrol/Star Wars/the lollipop game/with the gears, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Sesame Place and Christmas train trip, riding in the horse and carriage and pulling my strings, Operation Christmas Tree Hunt
Places I Ate: Frankie’s, Shrimp Box, St. Stephen’s Green, Mastoris, Applebees, Turning Point, Lubrano’s, Bubbakoo’s, Five Guys, Wharfside, Charlie’s, 709, Asbury Festhaus & Biergarten, Max Brenner’s Chocolate Bar, Chipotle, Winward Tavern, OB Diner, Brick Diner, Cookie Lady’s Café, Chik-Fil-A, Simko’s, Captain’s Inn, Lobster Shanty, Mariner’s Cove, Friendly’s, Shut Up & Eat, Taylor Sam’s, PJ Sweeney’s, Vesuvio’s, Mustache Bill’s Diner, Shake Shack, Long Point Café, Bizzaro’s, Too Jay’s Vero Beach, Rainforest Café, Anderson’s Coffee Shop, Red Robin, Saladworks, Smashburger
My LIVING 45 Bucket List
- Watch a sunrise in all 4 seasons.COMPLETED!
- SPRING 3/26/2016
- SUMMER 8/31/2016
- FALL 11/27/2016
- WINTER 12/24/2016
- See at least 1 new place a month.
- MARCH: Twin Lights, Mount Mitchell Scenic Overlook, Farias Surf in LBI, DeAngelos on the Beach.
- APRIL: Renaissance Faire at Smithville. I’ve been to Smithville once, but never to a Renaissance Faire.
- MAY: Brookdale Community College (conference)
- JUNE: Brooklyn Bridge, Madison Square Garden (first time), 911 Memorial, Freedom Tower, Red Robin
- JULY: Double Trouble State Park, PJ Sweeney’s
- AUGUST: Too many to list! Most are in Ireland.
- SEPTEMBER: Cookie Lady Cafe
- OCTOBER: None but I made up for it in November. See below.
- NOVEMBER: NY Public Library, Grand Central Terminal, Bryant Park, top of the Empire State Building
- DECEMBER: Smashburger
- JANUARY: None, unfortunately.
- Walk across the Brooklyn Bridge: COMPLETED on 6/22/2016.
- See The Cure in June at MSG: COMPLETED on 6/19/2016. See blog entry here.
- Have firm plans to travel to Ireland and/or Iceland by the end of 2017.
- Completed! 8/14-8/22/2016. See blog entries.
- Go to the Point Pleasant Beach Grand Prix powerboat weekend and race in May: COMPLETED! 5/23/2016
- Take each one of my 3 nephews and niece on a “mystery day” with Auntie Jill as well as spend time with each and make them laugh a million times throughout the year.
- DAY WITH EM 3/12/16 (LBI)
- DAY WITH H 6/9/16 (Aquarium, Rides, Diner)
- DAY WITH I 6/16/16 (Aquarium)
- DAY WITH EM & N 6/17/16 (Six Flags)
- DAY WITH EM & N 7/21/16 (Six Flags)
- DAY WITH N 7/27/16 (Absecon Lighthouse, Lucy the Elephant, Rain Forest Cafe
- TIME WITH H & I 8/5/16 (Yankees Game…Star Wars Night!)
- DAY WITH N 8/10/16 (Six Flags): We rode Skull Mountain 21 times in a row.
- DAY WITH N 10/9/16 (Six Flags)
- HALLOWEEN PARADE & TRICK OR TREATING WITH H & I 10/30-31/16
- DAY WITH I 11/8/16 (Aquarium, Diner)
- DAY WITH H 11/11/16 (Aquarium, Diner)
- BEACH TREE LIGHTING WITH H & I 11/25/16
- CANDY CANE HUNT WITH H & I 12/2/16
- SANTA’S HOUSE & WORKSHOP WITH H & I 12/11/16
- 2016 TREE HUNT WITH EM & N 12/20/16
- SESAME PLACE WITH H & I 12/26/16
- TRAIN WITH I & BROTHER 12/28/16
- LIVE! Just life and enjoy life without taking it too seriously. Some of what I did:
- Florida in March with my husband
- Visited my friend Lynette before she left for her 50 State Tour with her MotivateMe! Team
- Visited my friend DP in May
- Honoring my friend RB at a celebratory gathering 6/24/16
- Celebrating Nephew H at his pre-school graduations
- Spending time with family at the beach for fireworks on July 4
- Double Trouble State Park & Batsto Village with my friend C 7/14/16
- Summer boat rides
- Thursday lunches at Frankie’s with my uncle all summer long
- Seeing Finding Dory for our anniversary
- YANKEES on July 23 with friends: Military Appreciation Day, extra innings loss
- YANKEES on August 5 with family: nephews’ first game, Star Wars night, getting my picture taken with BOBA FETT, Starlin Castro’s GRAND SLAM, an all around awesome time