Sunday, August 12, 2012

Live, Love, Laugh, Dance

It’s my birthday and I’ll dance if I want to . . . dance if I want to. Okay, so that’s not really the way the song goes, but it’s what I’m feeling today. It’s my birthday. I turn forty-five. A milestone year for me. For some people it’s thirty or forty or fifty, but for me forty-five is that magical number. Part of the reason may be because my mom died at the age of forty-nine. So each year becomes a milestone year as I draw closer to that age. I hold my breath and wonder if this is the year for me. It’s the fear and the reality I live with. However, one thing I’ve learned from that experience is to enjoy every moment and live life without regrets. Don’t put anything off, because you just never know. That was over thirteen years ago and some years I do better than others remembering this life lesson. So this year, I’ve re-determined to live life like I mean it and to grab hold with both hands and be the heroine of my own life.

This past week, we spent time on a family vacation in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. I was totally unplugged for the first time in a long time, which gave me a chance to reflect and enjoy the pause, which I seldom seem to do these days. And it felt good, if a little scary! We had a blast. We walked miles on the beach, searched for sand crabs at night, ate too much food, played hard in the ocean and at the pool, got too much sun, shopped until we dropped, listened to good books and read a few as well, celebrated birthdays, built sandcastles and watched the ocean reclaim its own. We cried at the emergency room, but laughed while we played 18 holes of putt-putt golf with son number two in a wheelchair. We floated with family on the lazy river, tapped along with a live rendition of Layla and Margaritaville at an outdoor café while eating dinner, took naps, played games, and just hung out and enjoyed the company of those we love as we did life together. It was amazing. We crammed lots of living in to that one week.

And that’s what made me realize that life is what happens between the pauses. It’s important that we take time to reflect on life, analyze, set goals, work hard, push, push, push. But it’s also imperative for our health and well-being to remember what this journey is all about. Life also happens between those bouts of vacation stays, planning and reflection, and hard work.

We need to make sure that our lives reflect the journey we want for ourselves. Are we making the most of every moment and cramming in as much life as possible? Are we living life without regrets? Or are we waiting for that magical moment when something happens to begin living? Truly living. Are we waiting to grab life with both hands for that someday when our life is perfect, our marriage is perfect, we’re published, we’re working our dream job?

My challenge to you, and to myself every day this year, is to make sure no matter where the journey leads that I’m living life on my terms and making the most of every opportunity because you just never know. You never know where that next step will lead or what that next day will bring.

One of the beach slogans I saw this past week that resonated with me was YOLO--You Only Live Once. Sometimes I don’t live life with the YOLO mindset. I don’t make the most of every moment. I let life beat me up and push me around like I’m someone floating along on a life raft on the ocean waiting to be rescued. But this year, this milestone year of forty-five, I’m determined to live my life on my terms, like I’m the heroine of my own journey and the master of my own destiny. Because I really want to look back at the next pause and know beyond a shadow of doubt that I’ve lived life to the fullest. How about you? Will you take the YOLO challenge? 


  1. Yes I will! I've been on vacation this week as well. Not unplugged, but definitely in a place out of time. Lost all track of the days, etc. It's been restorative for sure. I hadn't seen YOLO before but now that I know what it is, I will aim to embrace it!

    And Happy Birthday, Candy!!!

  2. YES!! Just what I needed to read today while feeling like total ick fighting strep throat and a sinus infection. I have let life brat me up and leave me bashed and bruised and I have the illness to show for it.

    NO MORE!! YOLO Baby!! It is time to make some changes and revel in some JOY!

    Thanks Candy for the life/attitude check. We only get one shot at this and it's time to make the best of it, no matter what my world looks like.

    So Happy Birthday my friend! Enjoy the moment and relish where you are now. It's YOLO time!!

  3. That would be "beat" me up...oy vey...spell check kills me...

  4. Ha, Mary, I thought "brat" me up worked too. Because there are days where my husband would say that I'm letting life brat me up.

    Glad the post helped. I know there are days and weeks that I often need to seek inspiration to adjust my own attitude. Good luck!

  5. Evie ~ Yay for restorative vacations! They are essential. Glad you're open to taking the YOLO challenge. ;0) We'll be in it together.

  6. Happy birthday, Candy, and many, many more.

    I got to thinking about it (because of your words of wisdom here) and I was surprised to discover I get to grab hold of the YOLO plan often. In fact, it's why I'm doing what I'm doing these days and it's certainly why I've done a lot of what I've done. Of course, I'm driving a 10+ year old car...

    But that's what it's all about, right? It's what birthdays are about. That is, it's about figuring out what's really important to you. Not a new car every ten minutes, but YOLO.

    I hope we can all continue to figure that out.

    Hooray, Candy, that you know what's important for you. Happy, happy birthday!

  7. Great minds, Candy! I've done a lot of thinking about this over the summer - I think I've done a lot of fear-based living in my life and I'm tired of it. I'm ready to be bolder and take more risks. Not sure what that looks like, but my heart is open to the challenge!

    I'm a big believer in not wishing your life away (can't wait for Friday, vacation, retirement, etc.). Love the moment, love the one you're with. Love the life you're leading now.

    YOLO, baby! Love it.

  8. Way to go Candy!

    What a great challenge. I'm off to OBX next week and I'll just take this challenge with me and see what I come up with.

    I have lots of excuses as to why I'm not living life on my own terms-- my job, my family... it's all BS, and I know that but I still have trouble seeing around the BS. It looks so formidable.

    Thanks for shining your light on this and bringing it to the front of my thoughts.


  9. I totally get what you're saying, Shellie. Sometimes life takes a good whack at you and sends you into a tailspin. Feel that way today. And funny how when you determine to do something different, something better how things will suddenly pile up on you. I'm holding on to YOLO today, because I know it's right and true. The things that suck at me and try to drag me down will always be there. I need to learn to live the life I want despite the obstacles. It may not happen overnight. But I do believe it's a mindset. And if we can hold on to that, we'll begin to see a change.

    Good luck in OBX. Enjoy. Hope you find your YOLO mindset there! ;0)

  10. Awesome, Keely! I think that's right thinking. To be bolder and without fear--the heroine of our own journey. You lost all that weight. I believe you can do anything. You have a strong enough will to do whatever you set your mind to . . . as long as you have a plan. ;0) Good luck figuring out what YOLO means for you. I'll be excited to watch it unfold!

  11. Nic ~ Good for you! I think most successful people do live life this way. The Steve Jobs, Oprah Winfreys, Nora Roberts, and Katy Perrys of the world. They don't take no for an answer and they find a way to live life on their terms and get what they want from it.

    Good luck on the next leg of your YOLO journey! ;0)

  12. Well, I don't know if I'll ever be able to fill the shoes of Steve, Oprah, Nora, or Katy, but I've got to build an interesting resume, take time to help out a sick family member now and again, and even drop everything to run to Europe when I've had the chance.

    I hope I can keep doing what I do and that we can grab life with both hands. After all, YOLO!

  13. Hmm. YOLO. I would rather not think of it in terms of "once." But rather that one could live a million times and still living and embracing each moment would be a lovely thing!