I confess: I was born into a moderately obsessive family. Some people would say I am driven. I have a hard time truly relaxing and shutting down my mind. As I write today, I am looking out my window at a beautiful mountain range, and there’s a cool breeze blowing. I know I have work to do, but I am also mindful that Maine’s summers are short, and sometimes it’s better to take some time outdoors to put a fresh perspective on your work and your life.
I feel so lucky to have the opportunity to live and work in Maine. I live in inland Maine which is flush with dense forestland, abundant wildlife, clear rivers and lakes, and plenty of outdoor recreation to enjoy. I am into road biking as well as mountain biking. I also enjoy hiking, swimming, golf and camping. I’ve always thought of Maine as one of the world’s top destinations for outdoor recreation and inland Maine is full of opportunities.
Our coast is dramatic and inspirational, too. I have sailed the waters of Penobscot Bay on small sailboats as well as 100+ foot schooners and there’s nothing like the smell of the salt air and the views of lighthouses, seals and the famous rocky coast of Maine. My favorite windjammer captain, Kip Files of the Victory Chimes, is known to say, “Penobscot Bay in Maine is the second most beautiful sailing grounds in the world. We’re still looking for the most beautiful.”
Whether you sail aboard a Maine windjammer, shop or eat in the Old Port in Portland, walk on the dramatic rocks of Pemaquid Point, stroll along the quaint streets of Camden, or hike the trails where the mountains meet the sea in Acadia National Park, you will always come away feeling inspired by Maine’s beauty.
So I’m writing this as much to remind myself as to tell you that summer in Maine is short. Although I feel like a slave to my “to do” list most of the time, I need to remind myself to get out there and enjoy this beautiful state that I feel so blessed to call my home.
I have a fantasy about my life. The fantasy resides in my head, and it visits me from time to time when I least expect it. I have never written about it, and I rarely speak about it, perhaps because it’s not my reality, and it probably will never be. But I thought I would go out on a limb and share it with you here today. I am wondering if you have similar fantasies about your life, or if I am abnormal? (If that statement doesn’t leave me wide open, I don’t know what does!)
My inner drive to create a perfect life for myself is extinguished every day by….well…..everyday life.
My fantasy is about living a totally organized life. In my fantasy, my car would always be clean and free of old napkins and paper wrappers from the straws I get at Dunkin Donuts when I buy decaf iced coffee. I would have the things in my car that I needed for that day only, but nothing left in the car from last week or the week before, or even from yesterday.
My desktop would be mostly clear, except for the papers I am working on right now. The papers would be stored in pretty file folders marked with neatly printed file labels. I would have lots of new #2 yellow pencils that would always be sharpened (I really love sharp number two yellow pencils.) My email inbox would be up-to-date and sorted into logically labeled folders so I knew what I had to keep and what I had to follow up on.
In my organized life, I would exercise every morning at 5:30 a.m. and burn enough calories so I wouldn’t have to worry about gaining weight. The exercise would be vigorous enough so I would think clearly throughout the day, and I would feel good because I had accomplished something while most people were still sleeping.
I would be caught up on all my reading, including the novels friends had recommended or loaned to me, and the marketing/PR books that keep me up-to-speed on the latest and greatest techniques in my life’s profession.
I would play cribbage with my husband on a regular basis, and once in a while we would get together with friends for a cribbage game and a couple of glasses of wine, but never more. I would play Scrabble with my mom at her house while drinking tea and listening to her old stories about the ‘good old days’ when my Dad was still alive. I would not roll my eyes and tell her I had heard that one ten times already.
My husband and I would host elegant dinner parties once a month at our home, and invite interesting guests. I would try new recipes from the magazines I subscribe to (or from the alluring photos and recipes I regularly print out from Pinterest and Facebook), and produce beautifully presented and delicious meals to serve and share with old and new friends. They would be so inspired by my cooking that they would post photos on Facebook and comment about how beautiful and delicious it was.
In summer, I would go to the beach on a sunny day, spread out a big towel, lie down, read a novel, and get a tan. I would also go camping in remote places, having a campfire with s’mores each evening. I would swim long distances in lakes and the ocean, keeping the same rhythm and pace I had when I competed in Triathlons when I was 23 years old.
I would have time to volunteer for organizations that help those less fortunate than me. I would have enough money in the bank to comfortably pay for my two sons’ college tuition and some left over to make charitable donations to organizations I believe in. My retirement account would be flush as well, so I wouldn’t have to continue working past 65.
Each spring I would ride my bike on the roads and trails around my house in order to stay in shape for the Trek Across Maine, which I would ride every June. I would have biking friends who I would meet up with on a weekly basis for a really long, hilly ride.
In winter, I would go cross-country skiing and snowshoeing several times a week with friends, and take photos that I would post in my scrapbooks with little stories about each of my outings. I would go alpine skiing all over the country and enjoy the après-ski scene at the mountains and in the towns near the ski resorts. (Confession: sometimes I go skiing just to earn the après-ski!)
In my organized life, I would always have a freshly-done manicure and pedicure.
My house would be free of clutter and my laundry and dishes would always be clean.
My business be thriving and I would travel around the world for speaking engagements about the value of personal branding and building long-lasting relationships.
I would have a to-do list that could always be completed within a day or two, so no tasks would hang over my head and plague me.
This is my fantasy.
My actual life has remnants of these things, but I don’t think I’ll ever see the day that I will live like this one hundred percent. But when I really think about it, I can’t complain.
I am blessed. Damn blessed, as a matter of fact.
I have a wonderful husband who is attentive to what I do and say. I have two sons who are smart, caring, compassionate and athletically gifted. I have a family that cares about me. I had a father who is gone now, but thankfully he left me with the confidence that I could do whatever I set my mind to doing. My parents provided me with a great upbringing, including a great education.
I have a business that is thriving and employees that work really hard for our wonderful clients. I have a yellow lab and a thriving garden, and all kinds of sporting equipment so I can enjoy all the outdoor adventures that keep me healthy and fit. I have a beautiful home and really great friends. I am in good health and have gotten a lot healthier in the past year thanks to finding a new health care clinic in Yarmouth.
So my fantasy can be just that: a fantasy. But I am thankful for my reality, and I will continue to count my blessings every day.