Tomorrow’s Promises

Are we always living for future? When do we decide to live for the present?

One of the things that I’ve noticed lately is that I am forever planning. Planning to write, planning to travel, planning to figure out my career path. Planning to figure out who my future will include. I’m starting to wonder if this is all I’m ever going to do. When do you start feeling like you’re just living to enjoy life? Are there people who spend their whole lives squirreling away for the future only to have it cut short? Am I one of those people?

I find that there are a lot of things that I want for myself that I can’t currently work out, so I plan. I want security. I want to write full time. I want a partner to share life with. I want to live healthfully and fully. Hell, I want a dog. But I can’t achieve most of this right now, due to various circumstances. Lack of capital being a big one. So I try to plan pathways to get me there. They’re not always successful paths, but they are attempts. 

Are my wants just unrealistic? Am I just not dedicated enough to making these wants my reality? Sometimes I wonder. 

I will say that I’ve turned a corner on living healthfully. A few weeks ago, I made some lifestyle changes that I’m hoping that I can really commit to, and I’ve seen some change in a short period of time. I just need to keep moving forward with intention. 

I am going to start with today. Making a concerted effort to work on my path more often. Tracking my progress. Not let myself fall off and impede my own dreams. Not let fear keep me from things that I believe will make me really happy. 

Goals: be more present, more mindful. Be more dedicated. Get more sleep. Enjoy right now. 

Tomorrow isn’t promised, so it’s time to start acting like it. 

Rum and Holly

This year, I’m spending the holidays with my family in the Caribbean.

Thus far, we’ve gotten lost on the island maybe three times, we’ve gone grocery shopping twice, we’ve cooked three meals, we had some amazing seafood, and we’ve gotten settled into our rental house. We’ve got a good amount of space, everyone can go to their respective areas when we need to get away from others, and the weather has been pretty perfect: just a little humid, breezy, and mostly sunny.

We’ve got small gifts for each other, with most of the goodies designated for my teenage niece. At least 5 alpha personalities are present, with one trying to lead the charge in determining what our daily plans will be. I find that highly annoying. I am on vacation; I don’t want anyone telling me how to relax.

I just want to sleep, and tan, and write, and laugh, and drink, and unplug. I don’t want to answer to anyone, and I don’t want to have a schedule. My first rule of vacation: no obligations. I skirt obligations so often already, why not try to curb them during my vacation time?

That being said, my ice is melting. Where’s the rum gone?

Let Men Be Gentlemen

So I’m boarding a plane, and thankfully I received an upgrade. As I go to situate myself in my seat, tossing my purse into the seat and preparing to put my roller bag into the overhead compartment, an older gentleman tells me to take my seat and he’ll take care of my bag.

I turned to the gentleman, smiled, and said, “thank you, but I’m capable.” I lifted my bag easily and took my seat.

Muttering to the other men in first class, he says women never let them be gentlemen anymore.

Yes, times have changed, but there is chivalry and then there is control. And maybe I’m just a little more sensitive on this point, but I don’t appreciate being told to sit down so that someone can do something for me. Why should I sit? Why should I cater to your “manly” ego?

Women appreciate chivalry to a point, and men appreciate independent women, but only to a point. Men appreciate knowing they don’t have a gold digger on their hands, but any ability a woman has that could best her man stands the chance of bruising his ego.

I appreciate chivalry, but only to a point. I appreciate the gestures. The door opening, the walking on the street side to protect, the pulling out of a chair. But I don’t need it, nor would I allow someone to use it to create the impression that chivalry is necessary to care for the weaker sex. Really, it’s in the approach.

Had the male flight attendant come up and asked me if he could help me with my bag, maybe I would have let him. Maybe I wouldn’t. But don’t tell me what to do and hide behind the guise of being a gentleman, and then subsequently get all your boys to chortle and chuckle at another one of those “feminist” types.

It’s not that I won’t allow you to be a gentleman. The truth is in the gesture. If you offered, you are a gentleman. If you tried to pay the check and she wouldn’t let you, or if she got to the door and opened it first, it doesn’t take away your intention. Why does it seem like these actions on a woman’s part are to be seen as emasculating?

I completely understand and applaud those gentlemen who step in and help those ladies who overpack their carry-on bags, who couldn’t lift them if they tried. Honestly, I’ve stepped in and helped those ladies too. Not because of my sex or chivalry, but because I felt it was the right thing to do. So I guess that means I’m not a gentleman.

To me, the question is really do you want the title of gentleman, or do you want to be recognized as one by your actions? Either way, I have no intention of feeling bad for being capable, strong, and independent. There are plenty of men out there who can appreciate that.

Reminiscing

A little piece if my heart is still in México…

Bands competing for attention en el Zócalo. Families walking, couples kissing, wrapped in each other’s arms like they’d lose each other if they let go. Little kids toting balloons.

Breeze floating dry leaves. Street performers dancing to whistles and cheers, a drum line marches in.

Everyone is so relaxed. No one is rushing into the streets. Lazily sitting in benched in the shade or under big umbrellas enjoying crepes and churros. Strolling while eating an ice cream cone.

Es Puebla.

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Another Way of Life

I’ve been in Mexico for over a week, enjoying the sights and sounds of El Centro Historico de Puebla. It’s a gorgeous city with a slightly unnerving view of an active volcano. There’s no mistaking this thing for a mountain; the ribbon of smoke is clearly visible.

I’m here for a Spanish program, but I’m finding myself learning more than language. The culture here is palpable and embracing. The people are proud of their city, and they want to show it to you. The history, the churches, the art, the music, it resonates with me. Beautiful murals, graffiti art, and street vendors. The smells of grilled meat, car exhaust, and fresh crepes. Cobblestones, brick, slate, and marble; iron balconies with canvas awnings, and cabbies dodging in and out of traffic like they were trained in Manhattan.

But everyone is calm. No one is stressed about their jobs, their lives, or their circumstances. No one rushes down the street. People stroll. Couples walk around holding hands, or arm in arm, and they whisper while stealing kisses, unaware of anyone around them. Children tote balloons of their favorite cartoon characters, as they walk with their parents around the Zocalo.

Walking into any of the 300 iglesias around Puebla, there’s a sense of quiet reverence. Lit candles, people having confessional, others taking pictures of the ornate and elaborate ceilings and fixtures, gorgeous chandeliers, and quiet mass services. I even walked right in and witnessed a wedding on a Friday afternoon. It was different than others I’d witnessed in a Catholic church, but it was gorgeous. I could feel the nervous joy of the bride and groom, the amusement of their families, and the excitement of the children trying their hardest to keep still.

The music, almost competing from the four corners of the Zocalo, is rhythmic and romantic. The mariachis play, and then a drum line appears, and crowds gather in appreciation. It’s hard to decide which one you want to listen to. Hearing the different bands play at the time still sounds like music, and not just a bunch of noise. I have no idea how that works, but it does.

Street vendors, performers, and people handing out flyers. People sitting at patio tables under big umbrellas eating ice cream cones. Folks standing in line for street tacos. The scents of chocolate and mole sauce as you pass the closest restaurant. Museums standing open, waiting for you to come in.

It’s a lovely place. If you haven’t visited, you should.

Hotel Palacio San Leonardo