Frances Mayes writes of the sun-dappled hills of Tuscany, and I can smell the fragrance of herbs, earth, and cypress trees mingle in the air. I love the idea of driving to a vineyard to purchase house wine in demijohns and stopping alongside the road to forage for prickly asparagus. I can daydream about life in Tuscany with its frequent visits to the piazza for morning espresso and for evening wine. Dreamy…
As I lay in bed last night trying to fall asleep, feeling pressured to fall asleep (it was 3:30 am for goodness sake!), I realized that what I have already is quite dreamy. As beauty is in the eyes of the beholder, so is the kind of life you want to live.
When I gave up trying to make myself sleep, I moved to the sofa and turned on Netflix. All the lights were off except for the television. All was silent except for the dialogue of the TV show. When the episode ended I was still no where near drowsy, but I turned off the TV anyway and laid there savoring the comfort of my surroundings (by now it was nearing 5 am).
If I were to take a road trip I’d wake up around this hour and load up my car. The golden hour when the community teeters on the last fringes of sleep. It’s that moment when time is about to begin.
One of my closest friends came over for dinner one day after work. We scheduled the time for catching up. I had a half day meeting out of town that ended three hours before dinner. When she arrived, I diced garlic and an onion for marinara sauce. We boiled pasta and simmered the sauce while bok choy, banana peppers, carrots and yellow squash marinated in olive oil, salt, and pepper cooked on the stovetop grill. We uncorked a bottle of Clos du Bois Shiraz and visited while the food finished cooking.
After we had our second helping and poured the last of the wine, she asked me how business was doing. I filled her in on the details. I told her that with the workload I currently have, it would be helpful to have an assistant, even if it’s just a part-time assistant. She asked what needed to be in place for that to happen. It was at that moment I recognized that my dream to have my own company and hire employees (even if it is only one for right now) is much closer to becoming reality.
Life is a masterful teacher. The thing about the lessons life teaches is that you must be able to discern what it is life is trying to teach you. The lessons presented to us are not clichés; neither are they steps to memorize. The life-altering lessons are the gritty and messy ones, the ones that challenge your belief and worldview, the ones that take you out of your comfort zone.
There is no formula. What works for one person is not meant to be scripted for you.
“Nobody really knows the end-all be-all answer to anything. Everyone is just making it up and hoping it sticks. The brave ones who are able to trust in the process and honor the mess are the ones who stick their necks out and have a chance at greatness.
It’s hard. It doesn’t ever stop being hard. Any pro can tell you that. Because if you’re constantly pushing your edge, then it’ll never get dull.” – James Victore
What I have learned is to be patient, to not rush things before their time.
A friend took me to see Jersey Boys, the Tony Award-winning hit musical from Broadway based on the life and music of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, last weekend. “Sherry” is still playing in my head, along with “Big Girls Don’t Cry”, “Walk Like a Man”, “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You”. Songs I had heard while growing up (especially from the movie Dirty Dancing) that were already labeled as “Oldies”, but I didn’t know who the artists were. It was a fantastic show, one that I fell madly in love with because of the music. Those performers can sing! Anyway, the story goes that as these four obscure Jersey boys were about to record their first song in the studio, one of the team members (the one who writes the songs) is running late, not just a few minutes late but a couple hours late. Two of the guys are pissed while the lead singer, Frankie, is saying there must be a good reason why this guy is late. This was their one shot to record their songs. They’ve been working as backup singers in the recording studio for quite some time now, and they finally were able to convince the studio manager to record them. Now Bob was late. When Bob finally arrives, he explained to them that as he was about to leave the house, a song popped into his head. He had to write it down. It was this song that propelled these Jersey boys, the Four Seasons, into the limelight. “Sherry” became a number one hit single.
Be patient. Don’t rush things before their time. Let time begin.
All images © 2014 Sriprae P. McDonald