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Sometimes happiness is thrilling like a ride on a rollercoaster. Sometimes happiness is serene like floating on a mountain lake. But my rollercoaster is also terrifying and my lake can be boring, so I’m glad to be able to shake it up.

I live in a place where I wake to the sound of birds (hundred of them) and running water (the irrigation ditch). I see the sun rising on the far off mountains, turning the white, desert peaks orange. The vast pastures are filled with cows and horses munching on varieties of grasses that are as tall as me. In short I live in paradise.

But even in paradise I manage to get lonely occasionally. The mile-long dirt road where we live has 5 homes on it, and the grocery store is a 40-minute drive. I am surrounded in peace, but sometimes overwhelmed by isolation.

Consequently I become a little manic when it comes time to take a trip. I simply love the chance to be around people again. This week we went to Denver, and I took my bike.

dinosaur footprints dinosaur ridge 480 horizontal
A sunrise excursion to Dinosaur Ridge turned my exercise into a museum experience. Red Rocks Amphitheatre is a Mecca to people with their yoga mats or stair climbers. There was even a group with their trainer: “ten-nine-eight…,” he counted them down until it was time to trade the people they were carrying on their packs and be piggybacked themselves.

I relished my time in the city, where we saw a show, and a baseball game with 5 homeruns at Coors Field. I got to spend a day with a friend as well. But I began to long for my boring life when I got caught behind a cement truck where they were doing road construction.

Rockies game 2015 gorgeous grass and sunsetA line of cars coming the other way made turning left impossible for the cement truck. Green arrows came and went. Horns blared. Impatience flared. What was he to do? There was nowhere to go! Traffic was backing up.

Finally the cement truck turned, blocking half the road. I was left an island sandwiched between raging horns. I waited 2 rounds of lights and listened to the frustration escalate around me.

And then I caved to the pressure. This is the part that upsets me the most. I drove into the mayhem where I knew I neither belonged nor did I fit. My rear end was hanging out into traffic and causing trouble for the other lanes. I was not adding peace to the world like the birds outside my window at home, nor was I offering the adventure of the stair climbers of Red Rocks. I was bringing angst and pandemonium to all the drivers on that road.

I was part of the rollercoaster of life.

As we all are.

Life is a package deal. The birds and the multitude of grasses at my house bring a deep and abiding peacefulness. They also bring occasional isolation and boredom. The plethora of things to do in Denver offers me a bolt of energy. It also drains me when it is too much.

I find these juxtapositions true in life. My husband’s quiet nature helps to ground me and help me feel calm…until I want someone to talk to, then I get agitated because he’s so silent. I’m grateful for my dog’s daily need to go on a walk because she keeps me active, until I’m not feeling well and then her pleading makes me want to beg her to sit still.

fence posts and low clouds view from my porchLife is a package deal. I’m happiest just before I’m not. I hope I can remember this next time I’m lonely because I really do love my life and the birds that wake me up, and the dozens of varieties of grasses that sometimes bore me.

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you are not invisible, i see you

June 22, 2015
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I know how it is when you’re doing more than you feel capable of: stretched beyond your capacity. Just after my son was born, my stepfather landed in the hospital and it didn’t look good. I moved my 3 year old daughter, my new born baby, and my graduate-student-husband in with my mother because she […]

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dropped money, kale salad for hundreds, and a mother’s happiness

May 31, 2015
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Cleaning up what I thought was trash on our lawn, my husband found a check for $182. “I think that check fell out of my purse as I was headed to the bank,” I told him. The last time my life was this full of stress I lost the title to our car. That was […]

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motherhood: shoe battles and dirt digging triumphs

May 11, 2015
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The first 6 weeks of motherhood I found I could do little but stare at my baby. I had labored for 2 ½ days, desperately falling asleep between contractions at the end. I remember the brightness of the noonday sun on my forehead and thinking, when did it become so boldly day? That’s when my […]

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graduation announcements help calm nerves of the season

May 4, 2015
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I like the feeling of folding a paper precisely in half and then half again. It’s a signal to my system that somewhere in life there are exact marking points. 4 corners come together and, Viola! My message is tucked neatly away to be unfolded in the hands of a dear friend. Graduation rituals are […]

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tree down, tidy up, cleaning after the holidays

January 11, 2015
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The Return to Routine: tree down, tidy up. I love a good party, but I love returning to the rhythm of routine even more. Lemon water in the morning as I light my candles and write for 20 or 30 minutes before the house wakes up, then breakfast and dishes before I get dressed. I […]

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love happy, fierce, and vulnerable: like mom

May 10, 2014
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My step-mother was a bra-burner and a banana bread maker. For years I wanted her to choose. Now I’m eternally grateful that she did not. If I take a lasagna to a sick friend or a new mother it is because my step-mother taught me to do so. But she never let artful domesticity keep […]

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don’t call me stupid

April 30, 2014
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I’m slow. I’m a slow reader. I process things slowly. I take a long time making decisions. Sometimes this makes me feel stupid. But I have been telling myself for a long time that slow is many things that look like dumb. Slow is deliberate. Slow is intentional. Slow is methodical. Slow is enjoying the […]

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how dying eggs is a story about grace

April 20, 2014
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My friend puts her lips to the egg –an intimate gesture – and I can tell by the way her feet get wobbly underneath her that her head is about to explode. Perhaps ¼ teaspoon of egg white has appeared at the bottom of her egg and we both burst out laughing. “You’ve got to […]

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how I walked my way right past 1 million

April 3, 2014
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I’ve been taking nearly 10,000 steps a day for 30 years. At age 18 I began taking a walk every day. It was for my mental health. I preferred the outdoors to a lifetime dose of anti-depressant. Occasionally I miss a day. But my average is better than 6/7 days, probably more like 13/14. In […]

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are you afraid of being buried alive while you get a gallon of milk?

March 20, 2014
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Are you terrified of rocks falling on top of you and burying you alive? Not a very realistic fear unless you drive a canyon full of rocks each time you need a gallon of milk. Recently two of my friends arrived at this rockslide just as the dust was settling. It not only made the […]

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