Looking For Serenity

For the past several days I’ve been admiring the beautiful photos of serenity being posted by others in response to the DP Weekly Photo Theme.   There have been gorgeous sunrises, sunsets, landscapes, and sleeping furry friends.

…. but I’m not feeling the serenity.  In fact, I might go as far as to call this the anti-serene month.

Lately, it seems like all my projects have me on edge … much like watching the traffic circle around the Arc de Triomphe in Paris.  I have so many different things I’m juggling right now, I often find that the tension is building up as if waiting for that inevitable collision to occur.

Paris - cars 2005-2

Paris traffic – April 2005

I have this unsettling sense that things aren’t quite right … that same apprehension that every parent of young children recognizes when they suddenly realize the house is too quiet.  That’s usually a good indication that there is some kind of mischief in progress.

Misha

Son #2 caught amusing himself on the kitchen counter with water everywhere! Year 1991.

What has me feeling so upside-down? It would be my 2015 plan to try 52 new things.

I started off this initiative with wild enthusiasm and high expectations, but 3 weeks into the new year and reality has set in.  This is not going to be easy.

I started off with a few new things that are not one-offs … like going to the gym 3 times a week to do yoga and strength training.  Last year’s myopic focus on running was considerably easier.  I’ve recently discovered a plot by certain body parts – instigated by my glutes and triceps – to overthrow the ruling brain.

At the same time, nothing has gone smoothly according to plan.  It’s like discovering that my highly anticipated adventure now has an unsettling twist in it. I keep picturing scary biker dude I was paired with for a one mile freefall in a 10,000 foot tandem jump from an airplane.

It’s all fun and excitement until he casually announces that if anything goes wrong, he’s going to save his own sorry ass and unclip me on the way down.  Riiiight – all I can do is smile bravely and hope for the best.

Joanne Skydiving

Prepping for one of the scariest adventures of my life. Year 1998.

In the past 3 weeks, there have been so many cancellations, failed starts, missteps, and generally things not turning out quite the way I thought they would.

Could that the fiery little planet of Mercury in Retrograde be responsible?

In the meantime, this tenacious little train is going to keep on chugging and pray that the grade will soon level out.

I’m hoping that serenity is just around the next corner.

 

About Joanne Sisco

Retired but not idle. Life is an adventure - I plan to continue to embrace it.
This entry was posted in Photo Challenges, Random Stuff and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

85 Responses to Looking For Serenity

  1. beeblu says:

    I find that the less I plan, the more I accomplish (in my private life, that is). A friend brought me a 3-year sentence-a-day diary for my birthday last year. One of the questions towards the end of the year was: What dreams have you achieved in the last year? I realized, then, that I had achieved 4 major dreams (two of them, lifelong) without planning to do so in 2014.
    Planning is useful, but it can sometimes make us less mindful and more stressed about what we fail to achieve on our list of goals.

    Like

    • joannesisco says:

      A sentence a day is an interesting concept. It seems it would force you to really clarify your thought or experience for the day.

      I guess there are different ways to look at plans and goals. For some, it is a highly deliberate process to provide focus and direction.
      For others, like you, your actions have a purpose but without a hard goal in mind.
      The beauty is … they both seem to work 🙂

      Like

  2. Making changes is hard… all sorts of unanticipated obstacles appear, and on a bad day, or if there’s too many hurdles in a row, I feel like throwing a tantrum. And frequently do! Maybe you should just order different kinds of take-out for a while 😉

    Like

  3. Mara Eastern says:

    Yes, hopefully serenity is round the corner! I love your unserene serene post, it happens to coincide with my feelings these days too…

    Like

    • joannesisco says:

      I know, right?!! I blame January. It really isn’t a very nice month … and it’s twin sister, March. Not my favourites!

      I hope you can find some humour in your unserene days. Writing this post actually helped me purge some of that irritation 🙂

      Like

  4. I did a new thing each month one year. It was harder than I thought, but really good for me! Good luck with 52 new things!!! Perhaps thou dost taketh on a wee bit much to be serene? 😉

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    • joannesisco says:

      Oh yeah – it’s a big audacious goal indeed! I may not make it to 52, but I’ll go down with a fight 😉
      I’m interested in your 12 new things. What was your favourite?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Parasailing in the Florida Keys. I held on to my date’s arm as if he would catch me if the cable broke! Scary, but, oh, so amazing. It was so quiet up there. I could see dolphins, stingrays, and the colors, breathtaking. It was a big year for facing fears, and discovering fun!

        Like

  5. bulldog says:

    They say January is the worst month for anything new…. wait for Feb and don’t sweat January’s mishaps, just sweep them under the carpet and make Feb success month…

    Like

    • joannesisco says:

      I’m glad I’m not the only one who thinks January is a dreary month. My plan to inject life into it by adding ‘newness’ didn’t help at all. I just tripped over one obstacle after another.
      Lesson learned!!

      Like

  6. Well, you never said you were going to do one a week, did you? Take your time and get yourself and your mind back in a good place and I’m sure you’ll make up the difference quite quickly! I have total confidence in you!

    Like

    • joannesisco says:

      Oh thank you for the total confidence!! 🙂
      I agree that there is nothing golden about doing one a week. It seems to be harder to make plans during the heart of winter. There are warmer and brighter days ahead!!

      Like

  7. jannatwrites says:

    If the 52 new things is overwhelming, I think it would still be a good goal to do 26 new things. That car photo is the perfect depiction of anti-serenity. I hope things fall into place for you soon 🙂

    Like

    • joannesisco says:

      Thanks Janna 🙂
      It’s not so much the goal of 52 things that has me on edge, it’s the relentless delays, cancellations and other frustrations I’ve been encountering the past 3 weeks.
      It’s as if the universe is throwing obstacles in my way and I can hear it laughing at my folly 😉

      Like

  8. pscapp says:

    Two thoughts… One – If you want to feel as though you have stepped off a spaceship and landed on a foreign planet just be a person in your mid-60’s and walk into an Apple store. Two – according to my Paris guidebook if there is an auto accident at the Arc d’ Triomphe the insurance companies immediately split the costs as it is nearly impossible to assess blame for the mishap. Apparently they gave up trying to figure out who was at fault a long time ago. Might be a life lesson in there somewhere.

    Like

    • joannesisco says:

      LOL – I’m familiar with the Apple experience. I felt ancient.
      … and I’m not surprised by the Paris insurance strategy. We watched two motorists, who had been in an accident, yelling and shaking fists at each other while a police officer simply stood there leaning against one of the vehicles and watched the spectacular. I thought it was a miracle that someone isn’t regularly killed.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. NancyTex says:

    Dude, I am so with you. It’s been early starts, back-to-back meetings all day, catch up on work email that piled up while I was in work meetings at night, squeeze a workout in at the hotel gym and then TRY to catch up on blog reading for a brain break, lather, rinse, repeat, every day this week. My head is spinning.

    Like

    • joannesisco says:

      January is a pain-in-the-ass month at the best of times but it’s worst than normal! … although I must admit I’m the author of my own misery right now 😉 Type A behaviour on overdrive!

      Like

  10. Oh, that’s just the Mid-January “What on earth was I thinking??” New Year’s Resolution Reality Check. You need a quick and easy ‘new thing’ to make you feel you’re moving forward. I highly recommend a packet of textas, a colouring book and your favourite cafe. 😉

    I’m so jealous you had the forethought (and calm) to snap of photo of the miscreant in action. I wish I had a photo of the Great Christmas Flood. Just so they would stop thinking I’m joking.

    Like

    • joannesisco says:

      LOL!! I forgot about your great flood!! One of the funniest posts I’ve ever read!! … sorry, you’re easily in the lead with that one 😀 I’m thankful it was water and not fire!

      It’s funny you should mention the colouring pens and colouring book. I can’t draw to save my soul but today while I was waiting for a friend at a restaurant, I wondered if I could tap into my artistic side by switching to my left hand instead.
      OMG – I couldn’t believe the woman’s face I was able to sketch out with my non-dominant hand!! It now has me thinking …. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  11. What’s this? All these hits on my site today when I’ve been slacking off? To whom do I owe the pleasure? Why, it’s my buddy Joanne! Thanks sweetie. Love the image of your babe. What a heartthrob!

    Like

  12. SERENITY NOW! SERENITY NOW!

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  13. Just keep plugging on, as the song says ‘things have to get better’ (that’s often my theme song on the farm). I’d rather try to meet the goal and at the end of the year come up a bit short than stop – I did love your post, love honesty! I often crave boring and smooth sailing just for a little while…I wonder what that would be like? I don’t think it would really be living but rather just existing.

    Like

    • joannesisco says:

      … and now you’ve hit on my problem. Although I crave ‘serenity’ and smooth sailing, when I start to get close to it, I start poking around for something new and challenging to do.

      I’m with you … I’d rather have a difficult goal to meet, and fall short, than not trying at all 🙂

      What’s the expression? … if it was easy, everyone would be doing it … 😉

      Like

  14. It was the January blues: dark skies, the cold weather, after-holidays drop in festivities.
    I feel overwhelmed this year (this month) and can’t put my finger on why.
    Spring is around the corner. Let’s see if one of us can flag it down. 😀

    Like

  15. Ok, the photo of your precious, adorable son has totally made my day! I know you are feeling unsettled, but if that feeling generated you posting the cutest little photo EVER, then it’s not all bad.

    I love the idea of discovering 52 new things. A totally admirable and ambitious thing to strive for and who knows where it will lead you. My thought is take the pressure of yourself, don’t get caught up in the number, and just go with the intent. After all, who’s counting? XXX (Now I have to go look at that little boy again.)

    Like

    • joannesisco says:

      Ohhh thank-you! As his mother, I’m totally biased of course … but I’ve always thought he was cute as a button 🙂

      I know that I tend to create my own stress. I’m a ‘wee bit’ goal oriented and big hairy audacious goals are like a red flag waved in the face of a bull.

      I’m sure this won’t be the last time I wlll feel like I’m trying to push cold molasses up hill 🙂

      Like

  16. Heyjude says:

    I love your twist on serenity! Hang on in there Jo – we’re all by your side (well, maybe not if you are going to fling yourself out of an aeroplane – then you are on your own)
    xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • joannesisco says:

      LOL!! – now I know how far your friendship will go … Sharing a bottle of wine to commiserate? – CHECK!
      Jumping out of a plane? Nope! 😉

      I’m glad you got that this post was intended to be a bit tongue-in-cheek. I’ve known for a long time that I tend to go all Type A on myself and create self-imposed stress. This is definitely one of those times! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  17. Sue Slaght says:

    Loving these photos Joanne. Try to be easy on yourself. Setting goals is good but remember it’s all supposed to be fun. Not all new things need to be like jumping out of a plane. 🙂 xo

    Like

    • joannesisco says:

      I’m well aware that I am my own worst enemy when it comes to biting off more than I can chew … but still having high expectations.

      Every once in a while I need a reminder that it’s supposed to be fun … until I go all Type A on myself 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      • Sue Slaght says:

        Do the new things have to be one each week? I’m thinking aometimes things get clumped. This week I have gone whale watching, deep sea fishing and saw wild dolphins and that was three new things in four hours. 🙂

        Like

        • joannesisco says:

          I’m not hung up on something new each week … and I have done things on my list that are quite simple and easy.
          My frustration has been around all the obstacles I’ve been encountering. As you said, there will be weeks when everything runs smoothly.
          It sounds like you’ve been having a stellar week! I’m just going to pause for a few moments to soak up some of your bliss 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

  18. Megz says:

    Someone else having issues finding serenity! Sorry you are going through it but relieved I’m not the only one 🙂 Good luck, things have to get better next month, right?

    Like

    • joannesisco says:

      You too?!! Oh no!

      I blame some of the problem on the time of year. Let’s face it … January in our part of the world isn’t the brightest and most energetic month of the year!!

      It will get better … if only because we stop trying so hard 😉

      Like

  19. Sammy D. says:

    Joanne, sorry you are so unsettled. If it’s not our personal workd, it’s our global world. And as I’ve noted, we try to do all our re-arranging and commitments in January, which is really a hangover month from nov & Dec frenzy, so we’re always unsettled in Jan.

    Here’s what I’d do : throw out ‘serenity’ and seek ‘a little more settled’. Then I’d drastically reduce that 52 to something far less intimidating – for me that’d be once a quarter or maybe as ambitious as once a month. I remember gasping when I first read your 52 thinking “i’d buckle under that self-imposed directive!” I think sometimes we don’t realize we need to give ourselves permission, as we age, for more downtime and longer ‘start’ times. Sort of like how we do with children!

    Hugs 💖

    Like

    • joannesisco says:

      You definitely hit the nail on the head with the ‘self-imposed directive’. That seems to have been my modus operandi for my entire life.
      I like the part about giving ourselves permission as we age for more downtime. Most of the time I feel like I’m fighting against a clock and running out of time!!

      Like

      • Sammy D. says:

        I know that feeling – that our time is running out. But somehow I’ve been able to overcome that in favor of appreciating one or two activities a day with some ‘down’ time instead of being frazzled that I didn’t get four activities done. I want to enjoy the minutes even if the hours are rushing by. I can say I’m much more content with this ‘new’ mindset.

        Like

  20. Helen C says:

    Good morning, Joanne. Who need serenity when one has so much fun? 😉 Helen

    Like

  21. Probably too early to tell if your anxiety will last but I’m at the stage where I enjoy a challenge but it has to be fun! You seem to have a very determined side though so probably don’t quit as soon as I might. Love that photo of you and your parachute jump friend.

    Like

  22. Joe says:

    I’m sure things will turn around for you Joanne 😃 My plan since I retired is not to plan. This way everything I do seems like an accomplishment 😃 The old saying is true ” the best laid plans of mice and men” but I’m sure if that was written in today’s society it would say men and women.

    Like

    • joannesisco says:

      I like your thinking 🙂
      If I survive this year of “discovery” with body and mind intact, your concept of zero planning has a lot of merit for 2016!!! I think I’m going to keep that idea in my back pocket 🙂

      Like

  23. treerabold says:

    Great post! We all go through those crazy overwhelming times when nothing seems to be going right…yet someone says, “How are you?” and we respond “Fine!”
    For everyone out there that is struggling for perfection thanks for reminding us….its ok to chug along!
    And yes…it will work out! I mean the guy didn’t unhook you did he? See there’s a positive for you!!

    Like

    • joannesisco says:

      Exactly!! … inspite of the gut churning that often happens when we are outside of our comfort zone, things normally end reasonably well.

      Sometimes the perfectionists … ahem, like me … need to modify their expectations along the way 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  24. Well I’m sure things will work out eventually. You’ve certainly put a lot on yourself. Did you actually do the jump? Sorry, I was a bit confused.

    Like

  25. Mrs. P says:

    I like that you posted an honest post in regard to the serenity challenge. Sometimes things don’t go as planned and that sucks big time. Keep creating your ideal life and your mojo will come back. Have you written out any lists of things you would like to try? Another possibility…keep things simple and doable.

    You are funny…crowds make you nervous but you’ll jump out of airplanes. 😀

    Like

    • joannesisco says:

      LOL – you’re not the first to suggest I’m a contradiction 😉
      I do have a ‘working’ list. It’s a mix of ‘easy’ … such as new recipes, foods etc … and more challenging. Some are one-offs and others are development of new habits.

      This was a somewhat tongue-in-cheek post because I know I tend to create my own stress when things aren’t flowing the way I thought they should. This is one of those times 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  26. Lynn says:

    I do think that January is a time of year that many find challenging. Try not to get too frustrated, sometimes we just need to give ourselves a chance to step back & breathe a little. I hope you find the sense of calm you are seeking Joanne.

    P.S. – love the picture of your son! He has mischief written all over his face:)

    Like

  27. Uncle Spike says:

    Like winter… eventually spring does arrive

    Like

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