I’m not much for dancing, but for you I did.

I’m not sure if everyone has songs they avoid, or if that’s just me. I’m not talking about the ones that are associated with memories of any kind – I’m just talking about songs I avoid because I just can’t handle them.

Patty Griffin‘s “Wishing Well,” Lori McKenna‘s “Your Next Lover” and Taylor Swift‘s “Last Kiss.” There’s more, but those are off the top of my head. I have to skip them each time they come up. Even when I’m happy. They make me want to curl up in bed and not move for the rest of the day.

I get it, Taylor Swift isn’t everyone’s favorite. But I relate to the things she says and they’ve helped me through some tough times and added to celebrations of the good times, too. “Last Kiss” kills me just about every time I listen to it.

This morning I let it play. It’s still playing. I’ve considered closing my office door and crying a few times. Specifically because of this:

And I hope the sun shines
And it’s a beautiful day
And something reminds you
You wish you had stayed
You can plan for a change in weather and time
But I never planned on you changing your mind

So I’ll go sit on the floor
Wearing your clothes
All that I know is
I don’t know how to be something you miss
Never thought we’d have a last kiss
Never imagined we’d end like this
Your name, forever the name on my lips

Funny how things just hit you. Sometimes I wish life had a better sense of humor.

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I think I’ll start it over where no one knows my name.

This weekend was one of my infinite moments. The entire breathtaking whole of it was something I wish I could stay in forever.

It was full of so much laughter – the kind where my cheeks hurt and I forgot what was funny in the first place.

Beauty surrounded me everywhere I looked. The leaves held warmth in their changing colors. The tide showed me peace in its slow movement toward the shore and back again. The people reminded me there are still some good hearts roaming around.

And everything felt right. Like nothing else mattered except that moment and nothing would ever really matter quite like that moment again.

I guess sometimes that’s the point of all of this life – finding a few of those moments and holding onto them with everything. And if even a few more of mine are as wonderful as this weekend, I’m a lucky girl.

Boston

I had butterflies as the plane descended. I wasn’t meeting anyone. They weren’t because I waiting to see someone smile or anticipating a warm embrace.

But I was about to be in the only place that’s ever felt a little like home. Not because I’ve ever lived here, or spent any extended amount of time here. But it holds my dreams, my hopes, my plans – probably because I left them here last time. And I guess if home actually is a state of mind, that’s what would make up mine.

And they’ve been here, waiting. And that makes me a little nervous. But the comfortable kind. Because when I have those things together – that’s what feels like peace to me. And I’m always a little nervous.

Magical thinking

Magical thinking is, from my understanding, the imagined relationship between two unrelated things. You got a promotion? That’s because you bought that other guy’s coffee.

I first read about magical thinking in Augusten Burrough’s book, with the same title. My understanding of it at the time was that if you wanted something enough you could will it into being. I drank a lot at the time. It happens.

I’m a big fan of the idea of magical thinking, mostly because I like to think good things happen to good people and bad people are never rewarded. I know this isn’t accurate, but I spend most of my time in a dream world in my head – this happens there.

I do still often revert to my original definition of magical thinking, though, and wonder if it’s possible to will something into being. If I wish for something enough, maybe it will actually happen. Maybe if I combine my wish with enough work, I can accomplish those far-off ideas that are mostly just dreams most of the time.

And then I wonder about the opposite. What about un-magical thinking of sorts? Is it possible I want something so much, it won’t ever actually happen? Is it possible I could will myself to fail? Self-sabotage for some unbeknownst reason, because it felt like the right thing to do?

Choice.

When I was on my way to LA last month, I sat next to a talker on the way there. He was nice – he offered to move seats so my friend and I could sit next to one another since she was a few rows back. It was an early flight and I planned on sleeping, so I told him it wasn’t a big deal – she and I would be able to catch up once we got to the city.

He reminded me a lot of my dad – just a guy with a lot of specialized knowledge that he wanted to impart on the world. As it turns out, he was a mechanical engineer and built helicopters. He hoped to retire soon. I’ve flown several time now, but I’m still not used to it and I don’t really enjoy the take off. I get pretty visibly nervous about it – not full blown upset, but my face tends to look a little frightened.

As it turns out, this man built airplanes in his free time. He was building his third. He showed me pictures – they were all yellow with various designs on them, and each model seemed to get more advanced. We were sitting next to the wing. As pieces of the wings moved at different times, he explained what they were doing. He also gave me the basics of how the engine worked. For a somewhat scared flier, he was exactly who I needed to be sitting next to.

Our flight continued. I napped and listened to music. He napped. 

Then it was time to land. He again explained how the pieces of the plan were working at each moment. The plane eventually stopped.

“Can I tell you something?” He said.

“Sure,” I said, a little unsure what was about to happen.

“As a man who is getting closer to the end of my life – you’re just at the beginning of yours – I just want you to remember that you can choose. You’re young, attractive and educated – you can choose how you spend your time and who you spend it with. And it’s just too short not to choose the right kind of people to spend it with.”

I didn’t know what to say. Moments like that are how I know God is up there, caring about me, even though I don’t always remember or understand why. That was exactly what I needed to hear. That man made my day, if not my week, if not my month. It seems simple, but I always forget. 

I get to choose.