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Where Has The Time Gone?

Once upon a time in a faraway land, people made eye contact during a conversation…the end. I’m kidding, this is only just the beginning. Do you ever find yourself in a room, filling someone in on the hardest part of your day? Sharing a hugely exciting moment in your life or a work-related topic and they just say uh-huh and stare at their phone scrolling like a zombie? I have definitely found myself in these situations. I just say am I bothering you right now (after already having placed myself in a comfortable seat and started talking about something that held interest to the other person) or I’ll come back when you aren’t so busy on your phone, how could you not be annoyed at someone staring at their phone instead of being involved in the conversation. But truthfully I don’t come back and the next time I have something to share, I no longer go back to that person to share my news.

Is it really that hard to give someone your undivided attention these days? I will say, I have been guilty of this, especially in my profession. At times there are so many responsibilities, obligations and decisions to be made that while doing my job I have to respond to work emails, text messages and calls so while trying to focus on the task at hand, I am distracted by the chaos of technology. Don’t get me wrong, I am grateful for a cell phone and the ability to contact someone while out on the road, however, it is a huge distraction.

How many times have you been at a family function, special occasion or just hanging out with family or friends and they want to take a picture to capture the moment? But instead of actually enjoying the moment, time flys by as they edit and update to social media, and don’t forget about tagging where you are, the people in the picture and of course typing a description of what you are doing in the caption above the photo. How much of life is wasted just to ensure people you probably don’t even like or know can see exactly what you are doing at that moment, just curious? I’m not against sharing, I share this wonderful blog here and the poetry I love to write as well as memorable moments with those close to me on Instagram, occasionally. This world is all about sharing these days, what happened to letters, developing pictures and calling someone on the phone?

I have made the decision to rid myself of facebook as I haven’t scrolled in well over two years and do not see the point in having it any longer. I’m a pretty private person, thus the reason social media does not appeal to me. I have however created a Facebook writer’s page so I can continue to share my blog and poetry with the people that I yes, do know personally and will be forever grateful to them for reading my work. You see, there are good points to sharing and social media, without it, how would you be reading this blog?

What I cannot fathom is the endless amount of time wasted scrolling on social media sites. What did we do before social media? Is Google helpful? Absolutely! But think about it, how much time do you spend day in and day out checking a notification that pops up on your phone because someone or something you follow just posted an update or status? Why do we as a human race feel required to click on that update and take a look? What are we lacking to feel the need to be entertained by whatever that post has to show or say? How boring is life if in your free time you spend it checking social media notifications or scrolling?

Think about it, when you are bored you pick up your phone to see what you’ve missed. Is that living? Just how much potential is being wasted looking at a phone? What happens when you devote those ten minutes or an hour of free time to a hobby or new strategy for creating a better life or even getting to know yourself a little better? Has the human race become so uncomfortable with themselves that they can’t just sit in their own space, uninterrupted without logging in? I thought “Where Has the Time Gone” would be a fitting title for this blog, as I hope that it makes you think. Where has your time gone? Life is short, as we all know. What will you remember? The moments you spent living, growing, seeing and appreciating this life, or all of the status updates?

Thank you for reading,

The Wandering Soul Writer

Live A little Or A Lot: Part One

When opportunities present themselves, do you run with them or do you question and/or allow fear to take hold? Do you follow your heart or your paycheck? Believe me, I of all people get it. When people ask, are you happy? Do you like what you do? How many of you have said, “it pays the bills”? Unfortunately, I’ve heard this more times then I can count, even out of my own mouth. At a very early age, my mom showed me just what following your heart and dreams looks like. I am and will always be grateful to her for instilling guts into my upbringing (at the time, of course, she didn’t know she was teaching such a valuable lesson).

My mom taught and showed me in more ways than one how to stand up for yourself, (get ready for the swear words) take no shit, follow your passions and most importantly, follow your heart. She taught me literally one hundred million other things and continues to do so every single day but that’s a story for another day and we are on a different track tonight. Let’s get back to the point, shall we? Do you live where you are truly happy? You might not work where you thought or hoped you would, but at the end of the day, can you walk out of your front door, take a deep breath, and do what your heart longs for? How about the views? Do you long for and see sky scrappers and beautifully lighted busy streets or wonderous mountain views with the fresh smell of every tree you could possibly think of? Are you where you want to be?

My boyfriend and I recently took a trip, knowing this could very well be the place that we would want and need to spend our lives and guess what, it was and is! I have played the song “Sleep on the Floor” by the Lumineers for him for over a year and a half. (“Pack yourself a toothbrush dear, pack yourself a favorite blouse. Take a withdrawal slip, take all of your savings out. Cause if we don’t leave this town, we might not ever make it out. I was not born to drown, baby come on” (lyrics from the song). If you don’t know it, I highly recommend! I have always known I was meant for somewhere else, nothing against where I am now, but it’s just not for me. I have lived in so many places and been all over. I did exactly what I was meant to do here and I am truly grateful for the experiences and people I have met here. Leaving will definitely make me cry but there comes a time in your life when it’s just time to go.

At the end of our trip, I cried. I cried grabbing our bags out of the lodge, I cried giving back the key, I cried as we drove away in the truck, I cried once on the road and I cried when we got back to where we are currently living. My boyfriend and I have made the decision to follow what truly makes our hearts happy and that is to move. It takes a lot to leave what you know and where you are comfortable (not to mention having the funds to do so). We both have such a strong pull to where we were that it only makes sense to follow that deep down, know it in your soul gut instinct. We’ve been back for less than a week now where we currently live and we are so heartsick. We will be back to our dream location in just under five months to look at properties and such and we have a plan to move within a year. Sometimes something happens or you see something that just triggers a distinct feeling that you know deep down you should follow.

Where I am going with this, is that life is short! How many times have we all heard that? Too many right? I have said before, live, really live! Yes, I know it takes time and money to pursue that which makes you happy but damn it, do it! Sorry for yelling through my blog but if that’s what it takes. No matter what your situation or where you are, you are capable of achieving, please always remember that. This world moves so fast, and the bills will always keep coming. Put some dollars into that savings account every pay, even if it’s just a couple. Your situation isn’t permanent, you are here now, living. I’ve seen a lot and lived through a lot (that’s an understatement) I can truly say with experience I am where I am today because of everything I have been through. Was it easy, hell no! Was it worth it, absolutely!

You aren’t where you grew up, you aren’t your surroundings. If what you want is the complete opposite of what you know, that’s okay, as long as you live! Work towards what you want. Believe in yourself and your goal and/or dream. I see day in and day out people who talk but don’t put in the action, dedication and work needed to get where they want to be. Guess what? It’s not going to be handed to you. Drive, ambition, grit, gumption, tenacity, accountability, and responsibility are what it takes to make it happen. But it can happen. Live the life you want and can look back and say I did it! Not one that makes you look back and regret. Life is full of lessons, good, bad, beautiful and ugly. Learn, grow, move on and keep going!

Thank you for reading,

The Wandering Soul Writer

Don’t Be Afraid To Own It

What’s your style? What’s your niche? Do you rock it proudly or try to fit in? I apologize for taking a while to write this, I have been writing down ideas for weeks. Thinking relentlessly, my thoughts scrambled on the pages. Are you saying and doing what you feel you have to, to join in the crowd or are you holding tight to what makes you, you?

I’ll break the ice for us, in case your hesitant. I personally rock me all day, every day. Do other people’s opinions affect my everyday living? No, they absolutely do not. Do they cause me hurt feelings or the occasional deep breath from time to time? Yes, absolutely. The choice is yours really, do you allow it to affect your day to day living or do you choose to take it with a grain of salt? Others opinions aren’t really any of your business, truth be told. Especially if they are negative or unsupportive of your dreams and goals. Regardless of who they are from. Yes, they are about you. However, do they matter?

Good question, do they? Let me take a step back. If they are from your editor, boss or supervisor, then yes they definitely matter. If they come from other outside sources though, they really don’t. I hope that I can convey this to you enough, that other people’s opinions of you do not matter and are not your business. The reason I say this is due to, well to you! Family, friends or anyone else who feels they know you well enough to put their two cents in, listen, take it for what it is, an opinion and only that and continue doing what you’re doing, ( As long as it is safe). Let me say here, there is a difference between constructive criticism and opinions. Aside from those you care about, take that for what it is also.

The fuel behind this blog really is due to this feeling like I have to fit in. But do I really though? I am an old soul, those who know me will happily agree. My nephew (who is 11, nearing 12) recently referred to me as a “hippie” at lunch one day. When I asked him what made me a “hippie”? He said it was because I did not own a microwave or toaster and I had all kinds of “hippie” things in my house. I laughed of course, but then it occurred to me, that’s what “today’s” generation sees.

As I’ve said before, I own who I am every single day. As a person who is not really into social media, I have dappled with the idea of getting rid of Facebook. I will admit (those close to me already know this, (sorry, not really) I have not scrolled on facebook in about two years). Truthfully, living this precious life of mine and taking advantage of every moment and seeing it for what it truly is has overrun any urgency to scroll. I originally created a “FB” page to locate a family that I had always known about, but they did not know about me (another story for another day) back in 2012. My page has been my writing, “other people’s tags” or monumental moments, which I am grateful for, of course.

When I presented this lack of love for social media to my love, he, who has currently rid himself of social media, suggested turning my “FB” page into a writer’s page. I thought, how lovely, yes, yes I will turn my FB page into an authors page. When talking to close friends of this, I received support as well as, “no, you can’t, how will I tag you in memes?” Of course, these friends support me regardless, but really who am I keeping “FB” for? “Most” people, family included having smartphones who are able to send pictures via texts or emails are capable of sharing memorable moments, are they not?

Yes, I have an Instagram page, but again, meant for memorable moments, my poetry and writing. I do not have a “twitter” or “snapchat” or anything else out there that exists. I am soon to be 35, do you know how hard it is to live in a world that wants “needs” you to see social media first? I can relate and respect wholeheartedly to my dear friends who are wise within their own right, that have chosen the “unsocial media” path.

My question is this, what do we do? Those of us who aren’t “into social media?” Where do we go? Where do we post our work? I will say, thankfully I have a blog and website that allows me to vocalize how I feel whenever I please. But if it wasn’t for my blog, where would I go?

If we can’t say what we feel, what do we have? I am not writing this blog about “anti-social media”, I am writing this blog for those of us who are “old school”, or “old fashioned”, those who do not feel the need to post updates every day and enjoy seeing life in person. How do those of us, living in a world unlike today’s exist and get out there?

Write, feel, live and exist! No matter what, be you!

Thank you for reading, Dani

Do you have Grit and Gumption?

This is by far, my absolute favorite poem. To me, this poem is an inspiration at it’s best if you are a nature lover like myself. I don’t want to exclude anyone from this as anyone can love it as much as I, not just nature lovers. When I read this, it reminds me to always stay grounded and to constantly follow my dreams. To pursue a love no one knows but you. That in itself is absolutely amazing. It’s your own personal secret. It’s the permission to pursue what makes your heart the happiest. But do we really need permission?

The answer is no, no we do not. Now let me back up a bit and explain. If you’re at work and want to leave early or you scored amazing tickets to a concert or game for the next day and need to call off, then yes, I recommend asking your supervisor or whoever will be covering that shift absolutely. But for everything else, once you’re an adult, who do you really need to ask permission? Whether you are married, a mother or father, single, a friend or relative, if they know you, they know what you love and where your passions lie. Simple as that, right? Wrong. There are multiple reasons people don’t pursue or follow through with the things that make them truly happy (minus anything extremely inappropriate or disrespectful to yourself and others in your life of course). For some, they have lost themselves within the title, mom, dad, wife, husband, sister, brother, friend and any other title that automatically removes who you are. Here’s the thing, you are still you, right? If you have surrounded yourself with super awesome people, then they will understand and support your dreams and goals. If only it was that easy.

In a relationship or marriage, you’d respectively talk to the other about your ideas and what you’d like to do and if that person respects you as an individual, they’ll understand how important this is to you and say hell yes! Or they’ll simply say, that’s awesome. Some people don’t swear, don’t ever trust those people. I’m kidding, of course, you can trust them a little. If you’re lucky enough to have found someone who supports who you are, as an individual human being, then my friend, you have hit the jackpot! Kudos to you. Instinctively together, you’d work out the kinks as a whole and find what works best for the both of you and if children are involved, for them as well. When you are in a relationship, yes, you should consider the other’s feelings. But like I mentioned before, as long as it’s not inappropriate and can mesh with your family life, why not?

Okay, let’s get back to the real reason I’m writing this tonight at 7:42. The title of this blog is called: Grit and Gumption. So let’s talk about that. Either you have it or you don’t. I hate to be that brutally honest (no I don’t) but it’s true. Either you want it or you don’t. In my current line of work, I am constantly hearing excuse after excuse. Let’s face it, even in my personal life, I hear excuse after excuse. Anyone and I mean anyone can reach their dreams if they would only put in the effort to do so. I don’t mean to make this sound easy, I of all people know that it takes extreme work and dedication. You literally have to force yourself every single day to pursue that which you truly want. It does not come easy. How does that quote go? “That which comes easy, is not worth having?” Side note, I find sometimes I talk and write in primitive languages, just go with it. I read obsessively and find comfort in how things (some of them) used to be.

Honestly, I cannot convey this enough. I am living and breathing proof of what may come if only rejection did not discourage you. Rejection is everywhere. Doubt, criticism, and judgments will come, that’s a given. It’s how you handle it when given that stands out. I cannot stress this enough, be the bigger person, always. Easier said then done I know. I have swallowed countless words I’ve wanted to say, but chose to always take the higher road. Stop doubting what you’re capable of and keep going. Use your words and actions wisely. I have to say here also, choose your battles. With anything in life, if there is something weighing you down, depleting you of that good energy and does not support that which brings you peace or fuels what gives your heart it’s happiness, get rid of it.

We all have to work and support ourselves and/or our families, that’s a given. What I am saying is this, work towards your dreams, please. Don’t forget who you were before all of that. Before any titles, you were you. Hold onto that. Remember that. Remember what made you, you. What made you stick out from everyone else. What made you different, regardless of what that is. Grit and Gumption are what makes us stand out, from all the rest. The determination to not give up, not to quit, despite what has been handed to you. One of these days. I just might write my story. You might be surprised to see what I have overcome (it might take two or three books). I’ll write them, one day. Regardless, we all have our stories, maybe you scared, completely understandable. It’s scary out here. Maybe you have someone in your life who has manipulated you so intently, your life is no longer yours? They have honestly fed you every guilt trip possible, to make you feel as though you are the most horrible person for wanting to live your own life. I am sure I will not be the first person to tell you, this is extremely toxic and unhealthy. If you have someone like this in your life, please as hard as it may be, try and develop healthier boundaries as I know this could be someone close to your heart. However, it is not true what they say. Those that love you, care about you, will respect and truly want for you whatever your heart desires and gives you peace.

I can speak honestly of this, as my mom has always been my sounding board and supporting rock. I feel it’s important to mention, she is also my editor, (She did not ask for this, but she does look over my work and let me know where my mistakes lie, punctuations and wordy sentences.) Thank you, mama! She also supports any decision that I make, whether it’s up her alley or not. “This is your life honey, do what makes your heart happy. I may not like it, but it’s your life, she says”. I cannot express enough how grateful I am to her. For her unlimited support and respect towards anything that puts a smile on my face. Of course, she is a mom first and foremost so comes the guidance and advice. Truthfully though, she is my friend. At the young age of 34, I truly know I can say anything to her and she will love and support me regardless. How many can say that? I know what I have with her and thank her daily for the love she provides and constant arms that hold me through all of it.

That said, live! I mean really live, please. Give it all you have. Circumstances do not make who you are, you do. Negative outcomes, bad work days, unpaid bills, untraveled places, unhappy people (family or not) and goals yet to happen are not who you are. They are only points in time that can change with any given breathe. The Universe is only waiting for you to decide. Here I will list synonyms for Grit and Gumption: Initiative, resourcefulness, enterprise, imagination, ingenuity, inventiveness, cleverness, astuteness, understanding, backbone, guts, moxie, determination, spine, common sense, anchor, courage, bravery, spirit, steel, nerve, and valor. Do any of these sound familiar? They should. One last word here, please if you share in these and feel you are or will fulfill these with action, please do so with kindness. Kindness above all speaks highly, higher than anything else.

Thank you for reading!

What Never Was

Below, is the poem I wrote inspired by "Mrs. Dalloway" written by Virginia Woolf.
This was my own personal take on the book and what I felt she longed for,
the life she longed for.

As I walk the streets of Westminster,
Many of faces I see.
As I walk the streets of Westminster,
How many really see me?
Ideas fade to thoughts,
Thoughts fade to wishes.

Dreaming each day of the sun on my face,
Thinking to myself, how many memories I could replace.
I imagined a life without you,
Far too great a thought.
I imagined a life without you,
For it is I, that you have caught.

Making my presence known,
For you I wish I could do.
What a lovely thought,
Envisioning us under the moon.
My life looks ideal,
To those on the outside.
If only they knew,
How it feels on the inside.

Moments of joy shared between two,
What a shame,
You don't see them as I do.
I never knew life until the moments I spent with you,
Can we go back to who we were?
Or am I alone in this too?

My journey is one of excitement,
Others wish to be.
The woman I portray,
The woman I wish to be.
This might not ever reach you,
You might not wish to be found.
But I hope in the end it will teach you,
A lesson learned through sound.

A heart beat reacts to the kindness in a voice,
Maybe it was for me,
That I was unable to make that choice.

The life I dreamt of living,
Will be one of my last.
It's amazing how the heart does,
To feel, what never was.

Thank you for reading!

Here it goes

It’s 3:21 in the morning and I am sitting here writing to myself, at least that’s what it feels like. As of right now, anyone out there who could possibly ever read this seems imaginary to me. As I write, listening to Mumford and Sons, Lumineers and the wonderful sounds of my kids (dogs, Bella and Bruno) snoring, the thing that sticks out most in my mind at this very moment is how the most unexpected moments lead to the most beautiful outcomes. I can say this about many situations and opportunities in my life. Like falling in love, a niece and nephew creating an awesome title (Aunt), getting accepted into college and the steps it took to get there, no matter how many tries. The relationship of a mother and daughter growing together through love, patience, forgiveness, respect and understanding.

Funny little things you would never think could connect one to the other. I have always been a writer, but it wasn’t until 2014 that I brought it back again, awakening a passion that stirred deep within me. Writing is my therapy after all, even if no one ever sees it but me. It was multiple english classes with a professor who I don’t think even realized how amazing she was and is that inspired me to write again. She introduced authors and poets I’d never read before. She gave assignments that allowed creativity to blossom. For a few of them, I could either write a short story with my own personal touch and ending in their style or a poem giving my viewpoint as to what the story was trying to say. I chose both with different authors, Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf for the poem, allowing me to create my own take on the story. The poem was called What Never Was. For the short stories I chose Hills like White Elephants by Ernest Hemingway and The story of an Hour by Kate Chopin. For Hills like White Elephants I chose to write a very personal story in the style of Ernest Hemingway called, Now that Everyone Knows. For The Story of an Hour, I wrote a different ending, allowing the character, Louise Mallard to live a life she was desperate for. I will share these at some point.

My point to this is, it revitized me. When I graduated from Penn State in 2016, I immediately applied to Youngstown State University for their Creative Writing Masters Program. As a non traditional student, having been 28 when I enrolled at Penn State, I assumed making the honor roll every semester, being the student speaker at graduation and submitting my awesome poetry would be enough to get me into the program, wrong. I was not accepted into the program pretty quickly. The reason given, no one writes in rhyming fashion anymore. So basically, I did not fit into the box they had molded and shaped for aspiring writers. I will tell you, this lit a fire under my ass like no other. That was January 2017 and I have been a writing fool ever since. That rejection only fueled that much more writing, especially my style of writing because truthfully, who are they?

This brings us to now. It was a song written by Mumford and Sons called, Hopeless Wanderer that inspired my writing name. Listening to the song on repeat, daily, monthly, yearly. The Wandering Soul Writer was born. I chose this name for the Title of my first self published book. This book contains every poem I had written in the year 2018, 124 poems. The rejection taught me that not everybody will dig what you have to say and that is okay. You’re not writing for them, you are writing for you. You have something to say. I recently read, Girl Wash your Face, by Rachel Hollis. A huge thank you to mom, for putting this book into my hands. After reading, I was absolutely motivated, of course, the book is great! I started this whole blogging notion 2 years ago but found I had no idea what I was doing. I wasn’t really in it. Thankfully, reaching my own breaking point of just say it already, I decided to create a real website. One I actually had to pay for. So here it is, writing to all of you wonderful imaginary people.

I’m almost done with this story, I promise. So coincidentally, the exact same week I decided to really do this, my sister-in-law (who is actually not my sister -in-law) long story for another day, but we’re a big part of each other’s lives, like sisters, called me up on a Tuesday and said, what are you doing Thursday night? Drawing a blank (due to my full time job filling my brain), but knew I had designated Thursday night for working on this exact blog and attempting to teach myself from scratch what a domain name was, how to research hosting sites and how to link both (which was not easy, let me tell you!) I said, uh I’m not sure, what’s up? She said, do you want to go see Mumford and Sons? The exact thought that popped in my head was, do we all want to breathe? Umm yes, yes I absolutely want to go! After ensuring that the love of my life was unable to get off work to go, my “sister” and I made the official plans.

What I am trying to tell anyone who is willing to read and listen is this, I put it out there! I was inspired by Mumford and Sons to create this awesome website name, two years prior and the week I decided to put it out into this magnificent Universe is the exact same week I received the call to go see live, the band that inspired me. Let me tell you, this was the most amazing, interactive, passionate show I have ever been to. I’ve been to a lot of shows, hands down best ever! Life is what you make it folks. If you really think about it, we truly create the life we desire. Our choices lead us to what seems like, at the time, the most unachievable outcomes, but here we are and here I am. I look forward to this journey and what will come of it. Thank you for reading!