When Life Gives You Lemonade

I am, in my own special way, quite the Pollyanna – life gives you lemons, make that lemonade!  The silver lining, etc. This philosophy has largely stood me in good stead.  It’s not that I’m oblivious to life’s larger horrors and smaller inconveniences.  But I decided several years ago (coinciding with the implosion of life as I knew it – coincidence? I think not) … where was I?  My pithy survival mantra at the time was: lie down and die, or get up and live.

And so I got up and lived.  I Let That Shit Go and mostly it’s stayed gone, and good riddance.  It’s painful but also useful to figure out what you really need vs. what you don’t.  What is essential, what is important, and what is ultimately just some pretty window-dressing.

New Mexico is literally on fire right now – numerous wildfires scattered around the state (drought, high winds) and while I myself am perfectly safe in my urban location – let me make that clear – it’s terrible.  My allergies are terrible.  I’ve been pretty miserable these last few weeks. And as I wrote last time, I’ve felt weirdly … stuck, and my usual, useful toolkit for fixing that hasn’t seemed to work.  It’s been a waiting game.

But sometimes … sometimes, friends, life doesn’t hand you lemons. It hands you the actual lemonade, all perfectly sweetened, nicely chilled, and ready to drink from a frosty glass.

Shortly after my recent wah wah wah I’m stuuuuuuck post, I received a surprise message from a lovely friend inviting me on a trip to Ireland next month.  An unexpected late vacancy meant an unexpected offer.  Ireland!  I’ve been to England and Wales and Scotland, but not Ireland, and it was very much on my bucket list.  And I don’t have to figure out the trip either, that’s mostly done, I just need to show up. So now I have the perfectly pleasant scramble of sorting a few details on my end.  And not just the pleasure but the usefulness of the lesson for me.

I’ve run the last ten years of my life like a ship’s captain, marshaling the crew I was responsible for – four kids as a single mom, planning everything to the nth degree, doing my best to watch for obstacles and not hit any icebergs or run us aground.  I haven’t done it perfectly; my self-assessment of my recently concluded job as captain is “good enough.”  I tried.  During that time, my spontaneity was non-existent. So this trip to Ireland, fabulous in so many ways, is also a chance to Go Do A Thing without six months of cautious prep work, but instead trusting and relying on others.  I think it’ll be great for me and my control issues, letting go of my illusion that I can anticipate all the variables if I just throw enough hours of planning at it. I’m probably never going to be “oh that wild March, footloose and fancy-free!” But I’d like to steer my new, smaller, sleeker one-woman craft in that general direction. I’m excited to try this out over the next few months.

Did you read this far?  I have a question!  I want to subscribe to a couple of additional, fun online reads (I get the NY Times and Washington Post, that’s my news, not my fun).  I’m thinking of getting The New Yorker but also some others.  What online paywalled reading do you enjoy?  Travel mags?  Design?  Something highbrow?  Something humorous?  My interests are pretty wide-ranging.

  • Kathleen says:

    Congratulations on your travel opportunity! This is well-deserved and I wish you the most fabulous time. I’m so happy for you, but envy! Ireland is on my bucket list as well. I hope the fresh air and lush greenery is good for your soul and breathing. (Uggg, I get the dry winds and fires, I’m in Colorado).
    My leisure reading is mostly perfume (grateful to the Perfume Posse!) and fragrantica.com, health and nutrition (human and dog). I subscribe to Peter Attia MD/The Drive for health and longevity email newsletters and podcasts and a few cooking blogs (Heidi at Foodie Crush).

    • March says:

      Thanks, I am really looking forward to it! My allergies have finally abated a bit, now it’s just the wildfires. I do a fair amount of perfume reading too!

  • cinnamon says:

    That’s wonderful on Ireland. Is it a city holiday or mixed? Def a good rain jacket but who knows — weather might be awesome. Reading … Only online thing I pay for is Financial Times (which I write off on taxes). The weekend edition is wonderful: house & home, travel, style, etc (plus their I prefer their news writing to most other services). My thing is home decor mags (in print vs online). A friend once called that my house p*rn.

    • March says:

      Sigh, I remember magazines — used to get a fair number of them in the mail. It seems so distant now, which is weird. I will bring some decent rain gear!

  • Dina C. says:

    Wow, what a wonderful adventure you have ahead of you! Ireland sounds great. Like you, I’m a detailed planner when it comes to trips, so it sounds very spontaneous and exciting. I used to love the paper copy of The New Yorker back in the mid 80s to mid 90s. The essays, theatre reviews, and cartoons were super. I think I stopped subscribing when I got too busy with babies.

    • March says:

      I pick up the occasional back issue of The New Yorker at our public library (people leave them there for others to take) and obviously a lot of is NYC-centric and not useful to me, but I love much of the writing!

  • Maggiecat says:

    Ireland is on my bucket list tool! Enjoy your trip and your new sense of freedom. I don’t subscribe to much online, so I’m not terribly helpful with that, but I’m sure you’ll find something (s) great. Have fun!

    • March says:

      Thanks, I am really looking forward to it! Doing a bit of reading on where we’re going … but I’m also going to just enjoy and not worry.

  • Alityke says:

    I’m another who doesn’t subscribe to anything. I read books these days. When print glossies were proper reads I took Cosmo, Vogue, Elle, Grazia & others I don’t recall. I still read books & read clinical papers for fun too.
    I literally wore my eyes out!

    For news I watch the Beeb & the Sunday morning politics shows. That’s quite enough for me.

    Have a fabulous trip to Ireland. You’ll come back with better moisturised skin & hopefully the allergies might give it a rest. Do pack for the cold & rain though. Ireland does really do warmth

  • Tom says:

    Ireland? Good for you! That’s not lemonade, that’s lemon ice-box pie with whipped cream and a shamrock on top! I know you’ll have a great time, and you deserve it.

    I stopped taking the New Yorker because, well it eventually was magazines and cable or car insurance. Sooooo..

    I really liked Cook’s Illustrated. It’s the magazine from the “America’s Test Kitchen” and I find it fascinating and oddly comforting: knowing the perfect way to cook broccoli or whatever makes me absurdly happy.

    • March says:

      Thanks, Tom! I really am looking forward to this trip. I have no idea how much a New Yorker subscription is, it may be a no-go for me as well!

      • Tom says:

        It’s $169 for the print and digital (but 1/2 off first year) soooo..

        I used to love getting magazines. Even TV Guide. Crazy how the world changes.

  • Portia says:

    WOO HOO! Ireland!! We had a trip ready to go when C19 hit. Paris, UK, Ireland. Four of us.
    You are going to have the best time.
    YAY for you.

    I don’t read a thing and am happily oblivious.

    What perfumes will you take?
    Portia x

  • Ellen Byrne says:

    I love the New Yorker, but honestly reading it is a full time job. How about finding some interesting/ funny/ educational podcasts? Free courses from an online university? I envy you your trip to Ireland- and the spontaneity sounds like a blessing! ?

  • filomena813 says:

    I enjoyed your post. I get the New Yorker’s games, which only costs me $5.00 and change a month. I already get my local newspaper and several news things on my computer and so I do not feel the need to buy yet another newspaper, although I do think it may be one of the better newspapers.

    • March says:

      I stopped subscribing to our local paper when I realized the vast majority of their news from national papers I already subscribe to, so that seemed kind of pointless lol. Thanks for stopping by!

  • Musette says:

    I think this is AWESOME! that you are allowing yourself to do this – the Ireland part is just the cherry atop the perfect brownie sundae (and none of those maraschino cherries, either, though YMMV).
    I used to get The New Yorker but it’s just TOO MANY WORDS, even for moi. I mostly don’t do much anymore, other than Blade (surprise!) and Milk Street – oh! and Garden Gate. Somehow I don’t think any of those will appeal to you enough to want to pay for them.

    Erin! Go!!! Bragh!!!

    • March says:

      Sigh, it’s funny, I used to read so many magazines. BUT that was before we could also spend hours reading online. I kind of miss them.