Oh, The Places.

Last week many elementary schools in the United States celebrated the birth of Dr. Seuss with a day dedicated to his books and beloved characters. Social media was overflowing with cute art projects, soldier dads reading to classrooms full of kids and lots of quotable quotes from the good man himself.  As I enjoyed the total cuteness of Dr. Suess kiddo fandom, I was reminded of a Dr. Seuss book that continues to influence me even as a grown-up.  The book is, "Oh, the Places You'll Go!"

Who doesn't love Dr. Seuss and his quirky characters and perspective on life?  I loved sharing my thoughts on the Grinch last Christmas.  However, this book definitely takes the front row seat of favorites for me.  "Oh, the Places You'll Go!" was published in 1990 and was Dr. Suess' last published work. It was a deeply introspective book that touched many the minute it hit the bookshelves. I was lucky enough to receive a copy of the book from a family friend when I graduated from high school. She had personalized the book with photos from my childhood and teen years to go along with the words. It meant a lot to me, but I really had NO CLUE what places I would really go, literally and figuratively.

Fast forward 15+ years and here I am at a crossroads of life. I wouldn't categorize it as a mid-life crisis because it is far from what I define as a crisis. If anything it is a time of rebirth, redefining and fine tuning. Added to this mix is the experiences my family is having as my youngest sister finishes up her college education and anxiously awaits to graduate from college.  She and I have always been very close and I am almost a second mom (but cooler and mouthier) so I've had some mamma bear sentimental moments with her. She's my kid sister, not this gorgeous grown-up woman. She and I have talked a lot about what is ahead of her and what her plans for the future include. She is MUCH wiser and more sound with her finances than I ever was or will be, but she still experiences a lot of fear of the future like any normal, yet crazy senior in college. She shared some sentiments on Facebook last night that I really loved and had to laugh about because I remember being in her shoes, except Facebook was still being created and the entire universe didn't know I felt this way. She said, "Whoa. It just hit me that I'm turning 22 this year. What the heck happened to, oh, I don't know, my WHOLE LIFE? Oh, the things I have seen and done. There is really nothing that special about turning 22. It's all like, "Congratulations for settling in to your twenties. Enjoy them while you can 'cause before you know it, you'll be turning 30!" Great. Thanks, Karma. I'll try to remember that." I quickly replied by saying, "Enjoy each moment. I spent a lot of my 20's hating life and wishing for something better."

I often think about what I would tell my 22 year old self.  It's basically what I am telling my almost 22 year old sister. There are a few other things that are deeply personal and not meant for the public eye, but I really do think about what I could have done better.  It took me a good 10 years to embrace my imperfections and cut out the noise of those around me telling me what they thought I should be or do. I rang in my 30's not caring one damn bit about what people thought I should be doing, but I was still an internal mess.  I was coming off of two years of crazy tough therapy as well as an awful job that took its toll emotionally and a relationship that nearly suffocated my soul. Every year of my 30's has been a HUGE year of growth and I can honestly say that last year could not have been survived without the years that lead up to it to prepare me for battle.  BUT, that still doesn't negate how excruciatingly hard it has been to recover and grow. But, life goes on and I feel so much happiness as I discover new places to visit and new adventures to start.  And it doesn't hurt that we have KILLER sunsets in the country.  How can I NOT thank God for the stunning view????

The following passage from Dr. Seuss' book really hit close to my heart because of the many adventures I've had in my 30's.  It says,

"Out there things can happen
and frequently do
to people as brainy
and footsy as you.

And then things start to happen,
don't worry. Don't stew.
Just go right along.
You'll start happening too."

I love this so much! Things can happen and they WILL. I, along with the rest of humanity, dream of having a magic wand to change our circumstances, but that's impossible. Each of the places we go in our lives are with much purpose and intended for growth. Growth is best achieved when we are forced to dig our way out of the dark and find the sunshine again.  Each of the places I've been in my life have brought incredible friends to my circle and critical lessons. Last night at dinner I laughed with my bestie and her husband and mused that if she'd had a perfect marriage with her first husband then she wouldn't know me. Her shit storm became my sunshine and 12 years later we still continue to reminisce on those crazy early days of our friendship and what we've weathered together.

As things start to happen for me here in my new home, I am filled with a TON of peace and happiness that I survived last year, both emotionally and financially, and that I was brave enough to take a chance on a place that is not what I expected it to be. I'm excited to discover new places here in Idaho that I've never been to before.  The next couple of weeks include a lot of travel for work and I'm stoked to see new places, try new restaurants and bask in the beauty of nature.  I'm also excited to plan some vacations that have been dreams for YEARS and treat myself to places that I've always held back for the "what if" scenarios of my life. The time is now for Miss Ray to ENJOY her life and show some self love and care.  That is truly the best place for me to be.  Too many years have been about others first and me second.  I can't do it anymore and that's OK. So off to paradise I will go.....fa reals.

The moral of the story: even the brainy people have to use their footsies to make shit happen.  Find your happy place and GET THERE already!

Until next time, my lovelies!

Cure Child Anxiety

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