Firebirdlifecoach's Blog

Pursuing a Passionate Life

Back-to-School August 30, 2010

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The final countdown is upon us; two more days until the first day of school and the kids aren’t the only ones who are mourning the end of summer. On the one hand I have to say that I look forward to having them back to school – and the structure and stimulation it will add to their days. On the other, it means an end to a more relaxed time for all of us. As their schedules get more filled, so does mine. Events, meetings and added responsibilities for them often mean the same for me. In addition, though I like my quiet time alone, I definitely miss having them around when they go back. It’s a mixed blessing as they say – not fully all good or all bad in either direction. But for me, and I think for many of us, the return to school that we now face with our kids brings up all of the similar sensations and thought patterns that we experienced when it was us returning to school.

There’s a certain hopefulness mixed with a thin wash of anxiety and anticipation. Hopes and wishes that it will be a good year, that you’ll like your teachers, do well in your classes and make new friends are the order of the day. There are resolutions to work hard, to get things done on time and to try our best and a tangible sense of the passage of time. The advent of a new school year brings with it more significant and notable changes than our birthdays or New Year’s Day do when you think about the changes we are about to embark on and the awareness that you are getting older. It’s the equivalent of starting a new job every year for us adults, only with different developmental markers.

So, as we sit here just a couple of days away from this new beginning, planning our last “hurrah” for summer doing things like; hanging out with friends and staying up late those last few nights  – we are also prepping for the new start which is right there on the horizon. And while we countdown the moments, we plan ahead, gathering our school supplies, getting haircuts, buying favorite foods for lunch boxes and new clothes, we are busily taking care of all the last-minute preparations to put us in good stead for the year ahead. It is a fresh start, effected by – but not continuous with – our last year, each academic year offers an opportunity for new achievements and experiences and we queue up to march through those doors and begin again.

Here’s hoping that it will be a good year for all the kids out there who are starting again and for their parents who love them. May it be filled with growth and learning, great experiences and meaningful friendships, may it form the moments of new discoveries and lasting memories as only a new school year can provide.


Re-inventing the “Bucket List” January 1, 2010

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This year for a Christmas present I received a beautiful, acoustic guitar as a gift. You should know that many years ago I was able to read music, but I believe most of those skills are now buried somewhere in the deep recesses of my mind. Over the years I have played “easier” instruments a harmonica and hand-drums, but this, this is my first “real” instrument since playing the violin in 4th grade. Music has always been very important to me and I have always wanted to play the guitar and make music of my own. But over the years I just never got around to pursuing it. When I told family and friends what I had received for Christmas several of them were surprised that at my “advanced age” I would entertain the idea of learning how to play the guitar. Now let me just state for the record I am 47 years old and though aware that things are changing (like the fact that I cannot write this without wearing my reading glasses) I hardly have one foot in the grave. I guess a lot of people believe that when you get to a certain point some things are outside your grasp as “new endeavors” but really? Learning to play the guitar at 47? Am I missing something?

I have been thinking about this quite a bit these last few days and there are many directions it pulls my thoughts. But my mind keeps referring back to the idea of “The Bucket List”. “The Bucket List” a term made popular by a 2007 Rob Reiner film of the same name, is a simple concept. It refers to that mental (or for some of us – physical) list of things we would like to do before we “kick the bucket”. In the movie, two terminally ill men set out to fulfill a laundry list of wishes before their time runs out. But why wait until you are knocking on death’s door to start living your life and doing the things that you want to do? And who makes the rules about what you can pursue and when? Whose life is it anyway?

A few years ago, I started to think about hang-gliding quite a bit. Here again, I had, had a lifelong fascination with flying, I often dreamt about flying as a child and somewhere inside me I never let that sensation go. Hang-gliding seemed like the closest method available for what my mind’s eye often envisioned. (Concurrently, I should point out that I really don’t like airplanes and actually have a pretty significant and irrational fear of that kind of flying, which I have to conquer every time I travel). Somehow the idea of hang-gliding had come into my mind and I realized that for years I had dismissed it saying to myself, “you are not the kind of person to do something like that.” But a curious voice in my head demanded that I consider this one simple question; “Why not?” And though I thought about it long and hard I was unable to produce a satisfactory reply. So, off I went – and to this day I can still feel the breeze on my smiling face as I looked down and saw a hawk soaring BELOW me! Extra-ordinary…

So as we step off into a new day, on this the first day of 2010, the beginning a new decade – here are a couple of questions for you to ponder. What’s on your list? What choices are you going to make today to get you closer to living your dreams? And when you stand at the end of your life looking back do you want to be able to say “I should have…” or “I did…”

Happy New Year!