Saturday, July 31, 2010


So it's supposed to be a Friday thing. It is.  But I have to tell you, I can't just walk away from a week's worth of noodling & then a bunch of writing, deleting, and more writing.  So I'll just go ahead & link up. I'm participating in a creative writing meme called the Red Writing Hood. Ericka from Alabaster Cow and Cheryl from Mommypants are hosting it over at The Red Dress Club. Join in, link up, check out all the posts! 


She's six feet tall, for God's sake - she's not hard to miss.  I whip around the corner just to grab a jar of pickles, and there she is:  all seventy two inches of her.  She stands, with that ridiculous perfect posture of hers, squinting at the shelves of canned goods. She's mumbling 'butter beans...butter beans....butter beans...' under her breath.

The exhausting memory of the last time we talked assaults my brain:  I remember the long pauses as she'd furiously searched for the words to make clear to me precisely what a fuckup I was.  

Why her? my friends had all asked the first time.  Seriously?  She's cute and all, but she's a little....boring.  Hell, we were fifteen.  Straight edge, rocker, geek, freak - the labels had barely settled on kids that young. She was.... none of those things. She was just.... not me. Not like me at all.

Why her? my friends all asked the second time.  Only that time it was different friends, a different town, a rougher life.  These friends couldn't understand either, what it was about this plain-vanilla suburban girl that fascinated me. How could I explain to these people that by choosing someone who was everything I was not, and nothing that I was, I could clean the slate? That I could make it all possible, all over again?

This girl - so different.   She was crazy smart, used complicated words to say simple things, made every phone call a challenge to follow complicated metaphors and long-winded ideas.  I wanted it to be simple: her + me = happy.  She wanted.... more than that.  She wanted so much, she was used to so much, and in her quiet way she made me feel, every time, that I hadn't said enough, hadn't said it right.  I was messing up the clean slate.

It was a long hot summer.  I said the wrong things, she said mean things.  Her face soured in the stuffy apartment, and I wished for us that we could be anywhere but stuck in this humid angry city.  I wished we could've found a chilled vacation-y place of possibility, but instead we'd found ourselves in the dead-end alley of unmet expectations.

Any second now she'll turn around and catch me staring.  Of course she'll recognize me.  Maybe she'll smile the fake white-girl smile of HeyHowAREYou?!?!, or maybe she'll give me the flat angry stare she fixed on me that last time.  I really don't want to find out.

At the last second, I look past her, to her cart holding a giggly toddler, crinkling her nose and eyes with a grin that drills a hole in my heart - a smile exactly like her mother's.  That smile I remember, fifteen years later, the smile that made everything right.  I ditch the pickles, turn on my heel, and walk away.

Friday, July 30, 2010

What I want

What I want to do is write. 

What I want to do is sit at my desk and write the Red Writing Hood post that I've been noodling over since Tuesday.  I want to write the article for Classic Play that my extremely patient editor has been waiting on for, oh, say,  TWO WEEKS. [yes - deadline - come & gone.  lost in the wind.]  Hang on:  rather, let's say I want to re-write that article, because I've written it in my head about 46 times, and it's making me crazy, living in there. I want to curl up on the sofa with a glass of wine and write in my journal - write out all the tangly thoughts that won't work themselves into real ideas, write out all the complicated words that are too much ME for the rest of the world to have to suffer through.

But what I want to do is not going to happen.  Not this week. 

Instead, what I will do is my day job.  My day job that's also my night job which is my morning job which is my evening job.  I will drive to and from Vacation Bible School, providing canned good donations on Thursday and snacks on Friday.  I will come home and put stuff away and wash popsicle stains out of t-shirts.  I will nurse one out of three kids all week - they will very politely take turns with their illness, and leave a space of about 2 hours between one recovering from a 103-degree fever and the next falling on the couch holding their head.  I will read stories and practice math facts and clean up grilled cheese sandwiches and wonder about soccer in the fall and wonder about when exactly it was that I got so desperate for time to myself.

I will remember that it was always - that before kids it was work and before work it was school and that there was always something that had to be done, and that this idea of endless hours to pursue one's passions is abso-freaking-lutely unreasonable.  Nice to imagine, but completely without base in reality.

So - I will do what my friend Cheryl so charmingly calls 'putting on my Mommypants.'   I will suck it up and I will do it and I will make long lists in my head in my head of all that I want to do, all by myself.   For that long dreamed of and oft-mentioned Next Life.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010


They didn't think anyone was listening.  Two waiters, gossiping over the canape trays whilst they waited for more bruschetta and mini quiche.

They're so cute, aren't they??
Yeah... they are.
You know, a lot of these gigs you totally know the couple's not going to make it past five years.  But this couple?  You can just tell they're going to make it. They're for real.

Two catering waiters, maybe working a summer job to get back to Georgetown in the fall.  They passed judgement on this young couple, in the midst of the happiest night of their life, passed judgement without emotion, without investment.

What they didn't know was that the best man stood directly behind them, waiting to refill his gin & tonic from the secret stash in the fridge (woot! for non-alcoholic weddings).    He heard them, and his heart swelled.  Because he knew too - he knew this couple was the real deal. He knew that they would fight and they would cry and they would laugh - laugh so much -  and they would be broke and they would be rich.  They would be rich in all they needed.

He knew they would make it.  And on the eve of their 14th anniversary, he emailed this:  "happy anniversary my dears. love you guys!  you have - and are going to - make it."

see the brand-spankin-new wedding band? ooh, shiny!

Happy Anniversary - happy anniversary to the man who makes me laugh, who makes me crazy, who is my biggest champion and my very best friend.  This year we earned it, my love.  May fourteen be the smallest drop in a huge bottomless bucket of anniversaries.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

My BlogHer '10 Post

Did you ever plan a trip for more than four months?

Did you ever look forward to something so much that you woke up in the middle of the night excited about going?

Did you ever plan a trip that was going to be a really amazing 4 day weekend with some of your favorite people in the world?  A trip that would involve a nice long train ride with a dear friend that you hadn't caught up with in like, forever, and have a few juicy stories you've really needed to tell her?

Did you ever psych yourself up to meet people who intimidate the crap out of you but that you were dying to meet anyway?

Did you ever buy a bunch of new clothes for this kind of trip, wanting to find stuff that looked exactly like 'you'?

Did you ever plan a trip that was going to be completely on-your-own adventure in New York, with restaurants and cocktails and museums and hours of writing and coffee with the ladies and... and... everything else lovely that you could pack into a girls weekend?

AND THEN, did you ever send an email to your friend, asking what time the train left on Thursday and have her write back and say "you mean next Thursday, right?" with a little smiley emoticon?

AND THEN did you ever have your heart sink right down to your toenails (those toenails scheduled for a pre-trip pedicure) as you double-checked your calendar?

AND THEN did you realize that for FOUR MONTHS you've had the big trip (organized around a huge conference) written on the wrong place on your calendar?  That you've planned this entire trip on the WRONG WEEKEND?

AND THEN did you realize that the only other weekend that you're out of town the entire summer is the weekend of the actual conference?

No?  Yeah. Well.  Me either.  ME EITHER.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Nothing new under the Sun

I put up corn yesterday.

Do any of you even know what it means, when I say "I put up corn" ??  Maybe you do, if you've been reading your kids the Little House on the Prairie series this summer.

It was me, my mom, and SIX DOZEN EARS OF CORN, fresh from the farmers market, in the kitchen yesterday.  95 degrees outside, two huge pots of boiling water inside, and two women never more glad of the decision to install air conditioning in the Great Money Pit Renovations of '05.

We shucked - and shucked some more.  (No child labor laws were broken.)  Filled a whole laundry basket with uncooked corn cobs.  Dropped corn in boiling water - no longer than 3 minutes, per the matriarch! - and then plunked unceremoniously into an icy bath in the sink.  I was in charge of separating millions of kernels from cobs - spraying corn juice and stray niblets all over the kitchen.

Maybe it felt a little throwback.  Maybe it felt a little excessive, bagging and freezing 72 cobs' worth of corn for the winter months when you can buy a tidy little pound bag of frozen corn at Trader Joes. (Ooh!  Another trip to TJs?  I'll go! I'll go!)

But I'll tell you.  What felt exactly right was standing in the kitchen with my mother, slicing kernels in the same way, with the same knives, that my grandmothers did.  I listened to my mother's stories of canning and freezing with her mother, her mother in law - my grandmothers.  I heard tales of my great-grandma that were entirely new to me (imagine your mother chaperoning you through college! Out of state! For four years!)

What felt exactly right was taking my place in the rhythm of things.  Repeating the patterns, traditions and activities of generations before me, and living lessons for at least one generation after me. This, this is how we preserve the fabric of history.  We remember what has gone before.  We value what has gone before.  We re-live what has gone before, even as we learn - daily - all of the lessons required of us in this brave new world.

As wise old Solomon told us, there truly is nothing new under the sun.  And the sooner we learn to celebrate that, the wiser we all will be.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Wanna Go Deep With Me?

A while back I told you I'd have to explore the meaning behind water's elemental call sometime later, when things cooled off a bit.  Well it's the third week of July, and we're looking at another week of high 90s, high humidity, and I'm still angling to spend the majority of my days in the water.

So I thought maybe we should just dive right in. Ha!  Today I'm guest posting over at Katdish, about an early memory of being alone in the deep water.

Can I just tell you, I'm still hyperventilating a little bit about this, not just because Kathy is a tremendous writer herself, but because she also takes the time to find and really encourage new writers who are just starting to dip their toes in the writing pool.  I was floored and a little overcome by her offer of a guest post, but I was all over it like, well...... like sunscreen on a red-headed toddler.

Random fact:  she was also one of my very first Twitter peeps.  She's on fire on the Twitter machine, let me tell ya.

There's a lot to be said about water, and its profound call to our hearts.  Maybe we'll have to do a little bit of thinking on this in the next few weeks.  Bit of virtual cooling off.

But for now, go on over to Katdish and check out Going Deep - join me in the murky muddy pond water, won't you?

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Busy weekend?

Why yes, yes it was a busy weekend, now you mention it.

Let's see... swim team potluck & pep rally (Friday night) :: swim team photos (Saturday a.m.) :: swim meet, 7.30 a.m. to 1pm :: lunch with grandparents :: big manly chainsaw project :: Tour de France Junior party, complete with a red dotted hill-climb jersey, flags to wave, and Gallic cocktails for grownups :: early Sunday 4-mile run :: church :: lunch at Grandma's house :: Slip n' Slide on grandma's front lawn :: dinner with friends


And no clean up time.  At all.  The entire weekend.  Wanna see?

This is our front hall.  The place where Every. Single. Blessed. Item got DUMPED as we walked in the door this weekend.  Dumped, forgotten, and abandoned as we moved on to next activity, next activity, next activity. [Do you love Mr NilsenLife chilling in the middle of it all?? Oh yes, I do too. Mmm hmm.]

Clearly, I have no shame.  My poor mother will be mortified when she sees I've published this evidence of my slothful housekeeping.

But just wanted to say that even people trying to keep it simple sometimes....... don't.

Have a great week y'all!!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Magic and Meatloaf

Today – and every Friday – I will be participating in a creative writing meme called the Red Writing Hood. Ericka from Alabaster Cow and Cheryl from Mommypants are hosting it over at The Red Dress Club. Join in, link up, check out all the posts! This week’s prompt is to begin a short fiction piece with the words, “Your mother.”  Disclaimer: First attempt at genuine fiction since a very fraught experience in college. I'm generally much better at -ahem- stretching the truth. 


Your mother was magic.  Mine was meatloaf.

Your mother knew you were going to propose, and still she screamed into the phone when we called with our news.  My mother smiled, and murmured approving words.

Your mother let me try on her wedding gown, and even as we laughed at how badly it fit me we both knew the moment had marked our hearts in a happy way.  My mother looked confused when I asked if she had her gown:  "who has the space to store that sort of thing??" she queried incredulously.

Your mother gave a giant picnic basket as an engagement gift:  real linen napkins, champagne flutes, diminutive salt shakers.  My mother gave us a juicer - purchased in the 80s, she'd given it a good wipedown and it was practically new.

Your mother lobbied for engraved invitations, and when we hesitated at the cost she graciously agreed you could scarcely see the difference anyway.  My mother furrowed her forehead in confusion as I searched for the perfect typeface for the program.

Your mother enthused on long-distance phone calls as we described our tiny newlywed apartment, and sent napkin rings in the mail - "to make your dinner table pretty!" the note inside cheered.  My mother visited, and sat quietly as I served roasted vegetables on our wedding china.  "I like the view here" she volunteered.

Your mother kept hugging me with tight hugs when we visited, even as the brightness of happy newlywed anecdotes faded.  If my mother noticed the lack of news, the increasingly-tense emails, the solo visits home, she never mentioned it.

Your mother sent beautiful cards, inscribed with simple messages of love, forgiveness, patience.  My mother came to the apartment one bleak October day and wordlessly packed the china, the napkin rings, the picnic basket, and most heartbreaking: the photo albums documenting our years together.  Certainly, there would be no album documenting our coming moments of leave-taking.

Your mother was magic.  My mother was meatloaf.  Neither was enough to make Us.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Corner of One's Own

So long as you write what you wish to write, that is all that matters; and whether it matters for ages or only for hours, nobody can say.  - Virginia Woolf

And such is the mission of the blogger.  The evanescent thoughts that flit through a scattered brain - the half-ideas that seem to be the tip of the iceberg of Something Good:  these are the domain of the online writer.  The writer of things that may last just a few hours - but a writer nonetheless.

In Virginia Woolf's mind, "a woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction."  The blogger might not create fiction, might be writing the ideas that skate somewhere between truth and fiction, and as such she might be obliged to make do with a (just a little bit of) money and a corner of her own. 

Here's my corner:

What do you find in a Corner of One's Own?

:: my Mac (much loved but as-yet-mysterious) ::
:: blankets, warm with memories and woolly smelling ::
:: an ancient apple-picking ladder from a once-upon-a-time farm ::
:: my well worn mini-Moleskine notebook (1 of 3 on the go) ::
:: iPod shuffle ::
:: pretty folders. because who can pay bills out of ugly ones? ::
:: a favorite painting by Jeremy Satterlund - a friend & incredible artist ::
:: a banged up old table repurposed for My Corner ::

:: my wedding picture, and my grandmother's.  Two very different weddings, two very similar women ::
:: my collection of pens - black ink preferable, rollerball required ::

I choose to ignore the stack of papers to sort on the *other* side of the desk.  I'll ignore the laundry piled in stacks on the table behind me.  I'll ignore the morass of electrical cords snaking out from under the desk.   I'll celebrate the small spots of happy in my corner, and I'll write.  Today, I'll write.


Speaking of writing - maybe even [gasp!] fiction - why don't you head on over to check out The Red Dress Club?  It's a new site for writers looking to take chances, regardless of the state of their Room.  (Or Corner.)

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Summer. And then not.

I only just caught it, out of the corner of my eye.

The air was still - stiller than still, and heavy with mid-July humidity.  The cicadas hummed and clicked their summer song, children around me splashed and burbled in the deep water, and as I caught the hurtling toddler in my arms, I looked up over the lip of the pool's edge.  I saw a little boy staring up into the sky, past the pool fence, transfixed.

I followed his gaze up, past the top of the tall oak trees,  into the cloudy greyish skies of a 90-degree day.

I watched the single yellow leaf twirl down amidst the lush greenery of the woods - the little boy and I watched the one yellow leaf make its way to the earth.

It was the single moment - the moment in which you know the end is coming, that the season is making its shift. It brought to mind the same quote I shared back in November:
It is in the nature of things to change.  Nothing can last beyond its given time.  And I think that instinctively we know what that time is.  What is it that makes us know when the summer turns?  The smallest shift in the light? The slightest hint of chill in the morning air?  A certain rustling of the leaves of the birches?  That is how it is -  suddenly, in the midst of the summer heat, you are overcome by a tightening of your heart.  The realization that it will all come to an end.  And that brings a new intensity to everything:  the colors, the smells, the feeling of sunshine on your arm.  [p. 72, Astrid & Veronika, Linda Olsson]
What?! I hear you cry.  The summer's barely started!  True.  It's barely started, and it's begun its end.  

But don't you see?? Now we can focus on the "new intensity": now that the single leaf has been spotted, we can love even more the antiseptic smell of the chlorinated water, or the briny brackish smell of the sea.  The scream of a child shooting off the end of a slide.  The croak of frogs and hum of crickets in the summer night.  The white-hot glare of the midday sun.  The green earthen smell of fresh-picked tomatoes. The dripdripdrip of watermelon juice from your chin.

I watched the single yellow leaf fall, knew instantly what it meant.  But I love the millions of green leaves that remain.  It is in the nature of things to change, and it is in the best nature of humans to embrace the changes.


This post is linked to Bridget Chumbley's One Word at a Time Blog Carnival on, you guessed it, Summer.  Go check out what the rest of 'em have to say about this intense season.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Reading You Loud & Clear

I spent the early morning catching up on all of the amazing writing that my blogging friends are producing. Don't know what's in their Wheaties, but Mommypants, Bungalow 56, Mylestones, Chatting at the Sky, and Heather at the Extraordinary Ordinary were breaking my heart in a good way, with words, photos, and well.... inspiration.

I commented as best I could - to let them know what they are doing is finding receptive hearts - and wondered (as I always do) how it is I can conceive of blogging when there is so very much tremendous writing out there without my small efforts.

The coffee finished brewing as the the inky thoughts dripped through my own mental filter, and I grabbed a cup from the shelf without thinking.  Set it down to go find the milk, and when I turned back to the coffee pot I had to laugh out loud, all by myself in the early morning silence.

Here's the cup I chose:

Whether you believe in the Divine, or simply being open to communication from the Universe, it seems to me the message was pretty direct today.  I sort of think that the Divine & the Folks @ The Universe have combined forces because Mrs NilsenLife seems so learning disabled when it comes to hearing what They've got to say.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

In My Next Life

My legs were always my 'thing.'  You know, the one part of your body that you didn't loathe at 17 (when really, in actual fact, at 17 most parts of a girl are pretty damn good.)

So I was having one of those silly conversations with my husband about this (the kind of convo that husbands don't really enjoy, but are willing to humor you in if you're not offended that they're watching Jon Stewart at the same time.)  I complained about the sheer injustice of the fact that most guys aren't really into legs.  He laughed out loud, and said Well you can't DO anything with legs! 

Hmph.  Well, said I.  In my next life, I'm going to have stumpy legs and a prize winning rack.  [Crude, I know.  I don't quite believe it either. And here she's supposed to be an inspirational blogger?  What's in the water at the Yellow House?]

I decided that as part of my Independence from the tyranny of What If, it is time to name all that I want for my Next Life, to allow me the freedom to love what I got in this one. So.

In my Next Life I will:

:: be petite, brunette, and have beautiful long curly hair. Fine - I'm going to look like my sister in law. [Actually, if I were to look like any ONE of my 3 sisters-in-law, it would be a great Next Life. But that's a whole other post.] [I digress.] ::

:: go to law school ::

:: take the trip to Thailand, Laos & Cambodia with my oldest friend after college ::

:: ask out the guy in my Critical Thinking class [if for some reason I find myself spending a semester at the University of Maryland AGAIN in my Next Life] ::

:: do the Ironman - and tear it up ::

:: stick with piano lessons, and skip cheerleading ::

:: live in New York City.  And then in London ::

:: embrace my inner goth and wear all black ::

:: wear bikinis more often (see first point) ::

:: worry less, act more ::

:: never attempt scrapbooking ::

:: drink Scotch and eat lobster ::

:: subscribe to the Economist and nod sagely whilst deep within its pages ::

:: not waste a day wondering What If ::

:: have stumpy legs and a prize winning rack ::

Of course, it is entirely possible that in my Next Life, I will be a stinkbug.  Or a skunk.

So what about you??  What's on YOUR Next Life list?  Go on, just give me one.  I'll even let you watch Jon Stewart whilst you're thinking.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

The Gift of Quiet

My mom gives me all kinds of stuff.  She gives me extra avocados when she's bought too many, she gives me sweet sheets for the kids' beds, she gives me flag pillows to make my lawn chairs cuter for the 4th of July.  She's been known to buy a pair of shoes for me when I dither too long about 'spending on myself', and I always leave her house with a shopping bag or two full of little prizes collected from her basement.

Last night she gave me the best, most meaningful gift of all.

Last night, she gave me the Gift of Quiet.

She and the kids cooked up a scheme for a sleepover - just an overnight, and we'd all be back together in time for a 9.30 swim team practice.  Nothing momentous, no major adventures planned.  Just time away. I watched the back of the car drive off at dinnertime.

Packed & ready for Grandma's

The beautiful gradually-cooling evening stretched ahead of me.  I didn't feel the typical exhaustion that cripples me when faced with concocting a summer supper for hot and grumpy eaters.   I faced the prospect of sixteen hours without a single demand, without a single complaint, without distraction.

It was magical.

I would argue that the profound shock of Never. Being. Alone! is right up there in the Top Five Completely Sucky Things About Parenting That No One Mentions When You Get Pregnant.   For an introvert like me, it is - on occasion - physically painful to answer yet another question about the Lego Jr FanClub whilst helping a Polly Pocket out of her rubber gown and supervising the creation of one's own canopy bed using curtains and scotch tape.

I love what I do.  Love it, and love that I'm fortunate enough to be doing it.  But my current 24/7 career makes the stolen hours of solitude (yes, it absolutely is illicit in nature) feel that much more delicious.

I got my sixteen hours to escape.  Sixteen hours to think, to imagine, to create.  A gift of sixteen hours.

[Thanks, Mom.]

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Water. Where Else?

Spent the day in the water today.  Really. THE ENTIRE DAY.

Baltimore came close to breaking ALL TIME RECORDS today for the heat - local experts put the official temp at 104 degrees Farenheit.

I made the executive decision that nothing productive could happen in weather like this.  Oil change?  Forget it.  Laundry?  For another day.  Endless hours on the phone with phone company? Postponed indefinitely.  We had to hit the water, and stay there.

Kicked the day off at 9.45 with swim team for the big kids, and survived that hot 50 minutes by splashing in the already-warm baby pool.  But the minute the all-clear whistle blew for the big pool, Little Miss Two made a bee line for the deep end, and launched herself off the wall bellowing CANNONBALL!!!!!!!!

And so it went, hour after hour.  In the pool, catching one small child, one medium child, one tall child, over and over and over.  Mommy played Dolphin (swimming along the bottom with child hanging on for dear life around my neck.)  Mommy played Tidal Wave (standing firm whilst child tries to drown her with 'giant' splash.)  Mommy watched as the big kids hurled themselves from the diving board, attempting dives and flips and tricks inspired by the hallucinatory heat.

The only food that anyone wanted to eat was watermelon and fresh raspberries.  Peanut butter sandwiches weigh heavy when you need to float on your back in the diving well.  Temperatures above 100 require many doses of freezer pops - homemade AND purchased with our stash of Snack Bar Dimes.

The heat?  Nigh on apocalyptic.  The water? The balm which will stave off the End Times.

The meaning, the metaphorical significance of the elemental, primordial call of water?  It'll have to wait 'til it cools off a bit.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Declaration of Independence

Happy FIFTH of July, everyone!

Thought we could preserve a bit of the holiday spirit here at NilsenLife by joining the fabulous Girl with Moxie in her annual Declaration of Independence - declaring her own personal independence from something that's keeping her down. 

In her words, "Like our Founding Fathers, we need to have a tangible reminder of what we are saying we will no longer tolerate, whether it’s in our leaders or ourselves." So, with apologies to those Founding Fathers, I give you the First Annual NilsenLife Declaration of Independence.

When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one person (your friendly blogger) to dissolve the fruitless trains of thought which have distracted her too often, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the peace of mind to which the laws of nature and of nature's God entitles her, a decent respect to the opinions of humankind requires that she should declare the causes which impel her to the dissolution.

Which is to say that in 2010, I hereby declare my independence from What If.

One of my favorite posts from last year considered the conundrum of What Is.  Some of you may remember it - the one where we talked about celebrating What Is, and the peace that comes with accepting that your situation just IS.  At the end of the post, I asked "Where is the path of peace, between What Is, and What Might Be?"

I spent the last five days crafting a post that explored the world of What Might Have Been.  It was a funny, thoughtful little piece all about how instructive it can be to mentally travel those roads not taken.

Something didn't sit right though - regardless of how often I wrote & re-wrote it, I couldn't escape the idea that no matter how entertaining, the world of What If was crazy making.  Allowing yourself to revisit your past - to question your decisions, to spend your energies wondering what might have been if only you'd chosen 'X' over 'Y' - becomes paralyzing.  If the path of peace lies between What Is and What Might Be, the path of worry and unrest lies with What Might've Been.

I, therefore, the representative of NilsenLife in the world, assembled (along with my mental faculties), appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of my intentions, do, in the name, and by the authority of the good people of the Interwebs, solemnly publish and declare, that my mind is, and of right ought to be a free and independent place; that I am absolved from all allegiance to the question of What If, and that all connection between myself and the State of Wondering, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as a free and independent individual, I have full power to levy war (against a rumpled state of mind), conclude peace, contract alliances (with other future-oriented individuals), establish connections, and to do all other acts and things which independent thinkers may of right do. And for the support of this declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, I mutually pledge to my readers my thoughts, my vast blogging fortunes and my sacred honor. 

That is all.

Finally, if you haven't read the original Declaration recently, I would highly encourage you to do so sometime today.  It is a beautifully constructed piece of writing, and the words stir me every time I come across them.
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