A Manifesto for 2018

We are once again standing on the cusp of a new year.

It’s a time every year when my failures each ring their own bell and demand my attention. “Look at me,” they each scream. “Look at me! Don’t forget the detour I created! You suck and are teeming with regret at the sight of me!”

Frigging bastards.

When looking ahead to a new calendar, I’ve tended to play the victim and blame my failures and shortcomings on my self-perceived inadequacies, half of which are undoubtedly formed by unrealistic societal expectations.

I’ve also blamed time: there’s not enough, or there’s too much.

Either way, I’m continually thrown off the path that I believed would lead me to attaining my goals, yet while I paved it with good intentions, I also paved it with excuses chock full of my own bullshit.

The cycle of getting nowhere very quickly happens every year because I allow it to.

That stops now.

There’s no resolutions for me this year.

No, sir.

Instead, my goal from today forward is to live the hell out of every minute of this extraordinary life and truly cherish the miracle that is the present moment.

Whether I am writing, swimming, driving, exploring, laughing with family and friends, teaching…whatever I am doing, I will give myself fully to that miraculous moment.

The fact that I’m sitting here all snug and warm, with a cup of hot coffee to my left and quiet music playing as snowflakes delicately dance down from the clouds to the ground…there’s so tiny miracles right here in this present moment, miracles that I always took for granted or overlooked.

What matters, I mean what truly matters, is this moment.

I am alive.

And so are you.

This is a time of rebirth, a time to take those lessons from past failures and regret, be thankful for them, and apply their wisdom while moving forward.

No more bowing down to society’s expectations or to feeding the trolls of self-deprecation. I am not inadequate and I do matter, if only to myself.

It’s time to live the hell out of this one and precious life I’ve been given, because I am not promised a tomorrow. Wasting time is no longer an option, either.

I will live with those who are alongside me in real life and for those who are alongside me in spirit.

I will be a beacon of kindness and empathy as I look to stand alongside my fellow humans with understanding and compassion.

I will be grateful for everything I experience and for everyone I interact with.

Most importantly, I will embrace and celebrate the moments extraordinary that fill my days with joy and with purpose as I pursue my passions with conviction.

Let’s do this, 2018!

With gratitude and joy,

Jill

Note: This was also posted on jillocone.com. 

The December Night’s Magic

A quiet blanket of new fallen snow covers everything as the lighted snowman and his candy canes brightly shine in the darkness, waiting to greet the arriving day. It is dark, save for the Christmas tree and the Santa and Snowman lamps keeping me company. With each sip of my peppermint coffee, I embrace this tranquil moment, which is an experience in itself.

There’s no sound except for the ringing in my ears and the keyboard clicks as I type in a vain effort to preserve this moment of seasonal peace.

It is devoid of worries, stress, and doubt, this experience of now.

I just sit and be as each strand of silver tinsel on the tree dances in the breeze from the heat, shimmering and shining and swirling and twirling just like the snowflakes on the other side of the windows.

Night gradually evolves into morning as streaks of light appear in the eastern sky.

Little by little, I hear a different sound coming from outside as the delicate snowflakes transform into rain. Each droplet strikes with a resounding wet “plunk” alongside the new day’s advancing brightness.

Working together, the drops intentionally erase their own night’s masterpiece. The quiet blanket slowly dissolves as the whiteness bleeds into nothing.

The rain picks up pace as each drop falls from its height with more urgency in the light of full morning.

And just like that, the December night’s magic disappears with a swift twirl of its wand.

Abracadabra.

~ Written on December 17, 2016 by Jill Ocone. Author’s note: I intentionally did not include a photograph so that you could imagine the scene based upon my description.  

Something to SEA: Rainy Day Clicks for 3/5/3016

20160305 Blog Photo New Fonts

Hello and welcome once again to the end of another week here on Earth.  An interesting week, with one extra day, snow, the return of Scott Kelly to our home planet after a year in space, the beginning of a new month, cotton candy sunsets, the budding of daylilies, and more. Spring is definitely coming, and one of the yearly signs of spring that I get excited for is the opening of a restaurant in my town called Shrimp Box.  They close before the holidays each year, and when Shrimp Box opens, it surely is a sign that warmer weather is on the way.  Another sign, not so welcome, is that free parking in the meters and town lots along the Inlet and ocean, which began November 1, ends on March 1.  But paying for an hour of parking is better than deal with freezing temperatures (at least to me).

As you check out this week’s roundups of interesting clicks, take a look around your physical world as well.  What signs of spring do you see?  I’d love to hear!  Leave me a comment if you’d like, and take note of the small transitions which will usher in the season of renewal and rebirth.

Despite Mainstream Attention, New Jersey Skateboarder Still Remains Ambitious – wonderful post about a former student, Rob Werner, who is taking the skateboard world by storm.  I love following his journey and the fact a student has turned into an inspiration.

Treasures of Ireland: Along the Banks of the River Shannon – by the Palladian Traveler…oh to return there again!

Only YOU Can Create the Life of You Truly Desire – good post by the Art of Simple

15 Reasons I Think You Should Blog – by Joshua Becker over at becomingminimalist

How to Focus on the Present Moment – some practical ways to be present

90-Year-Old With Cancer Chooses Epic Road Trip With Family Instead of Treatment – I would too!

How To Read the 3 Signs Telling Your Purpose In Life – from Time Magazine

What to Do When You Feel Overwhelmed – by Chris Guillebeau at The Art of Nonconformity

From the Trenches: Phlogging the Cold War Surf Contest in Asbury Park, NJ – by Eastern Surf Magazine’s founder Dick “Mez” Meseroll (one of my inspirations)

How to Read More – by Austin Kleon

5 Minutes With a Photographer: Alex Strohl – from Artifact Uprising (great company for prints and photo books)

How a Small Shift in Your Vocabulary Can Instantly Change Your Attitude – by Michael Hyatt

and finally,

Yes! We Did it! 198 Days! – The Curious Bohemian, aka Suanne Elisabeth, successfully walked from New York to Miami. Her journey was inspiring, and I hope to cross paths with her someday.

Have a splendid day!

Until next time,

Jill