When one door closes…

Do you remember the blog I wrote a short while ago about the year of 2010 as being the one in which I would live fearlessly? I had several ideas I was mulling over, one was starting an on-line magazine about Lake Marion. It was going to be the site that every local and every tourist was going to want to check out! I had wanted to start this endeavor ever since I quit the newspaper business over three and a half years ago. I had never gotten around to getting started, always one excuse or another, but mostly it was fear of failure that kept me from taking that plunge. Well, since this was my year of living fearlessly, I decided to quit thinking about it and take a step forward. So, about a month ago, I finally bought my domain name –lakemariononline.com. (Actually, I bought three domain names – lakemariononline.com, lakemariononline.net, lakemariononline.org because my site was so gonna rock that someone would surely try to piggy back on my success by using a similar name.)  

I had chosen a magazine web theme that looked great and wouldn’t be too hard for non-geek, non-techno-savvy me to use. I had quite a few notes on what I would be including in my first issues and pictures already worked up and ready to go. On my next long weekend, I was going to begin putting it all together.  Then, just several days before that weekend, I found a glossy magazine on the shelf in the restroom at work. I began to peruse the pages and realized that the publisher, who already had a daily newspaper with a staff of reporters and photographers on the payroll, was now producing a magazine, too, full of the same content that I had planned to have in my on-line magazine. Why, after all these years of publishing a daily newspaper, did this company now want to start a magazine? Well, same reason that I was, I reckon, it was a damn good idea!

So, I began to re-think my idea. Maybe I shouldn’t compete with the big dog. But, then again, why couldn’t I compete? After all, I used to know people in the industry and it wouldn’t be that hard to reconnect with the shakers and the doers of the community. And, I really had wanted to do this for a long time. What to do?

And so, for the next week, I pondered what the impact this magazine would have on my publication. I was still thinking that maybe I could do my thing. Until, I saw a billboard on my way to lunch one day. It advertised a new, online only magazine – Lake Marion Living. A SECOND COMPETITOR! I rushed back to the office and got on the internet to check out this new thorn in my side. Yep, there it was. But, this was worse. Much worse. This magazine wasn’t just similar to what I had been planning, it was exactly what I was planning. 

I felt like I had the rug pulled out from under me. Just like that. Dammit! Dammit! Dammit!

A second billboard touting lakemarionliving.com has gone up just up the street from my house. I drive by it everyday. And, everyday, I am reminded of this painful lesson: if you have a great idea, don’t sit on it for too long, as someone else will surely think of it too, someone that won’t be a scaredy cat like you, and jump on it first!

It is time for me to let go of this dream. I know that. I’m working on it. The hard part is ignoring that one tiny whispering voice in my soul that says, “You never know, maybe someday…”

In the meantime, I have been contracted to create a website for a friend who is in business for himself.

When one door closes another one opens, yada, yada.


My good fortune

If you are a regular reader of my blog, you might remember that I mentioned a dream I had in late December. In it, I was ice skating. There were other skaters, skating on this frozen pond in a clearing in the woods. There were bonfires and people drinking mugs of hot chocolate. Everyone was happy and laughing. The snow was falling and I was skating perfect figure eights. I remember feeling incredible joy. 

I’ve been giving this dream a lot of thought and have concluded there is a message of great import in it for me.

Since I do not know how to ice skate, I think the dream is a metaphor for me to try new things. And, I think I was ice skating and not skydiving because the message is that I need not be afraid. (Not to make light of ice skating injuries, but, really, what’s the worse that might actually happen? [That is a rhetorical question and one I am not asking you to answer.])

The message is that if I am willing to try, I just might succeed and have a damn good time doing it!

Since this dream and my conclusion of it, I’ve been looking for meaning in all kinds of little things happening around me.

For instance, let me share something that happened to me a week or so ago. Brian and I went to the Chinese buffet for dinner. After dinner, I went to the ladies room to wash my hands and when I returned Brian was opening his fortune cookie. I picked up the remaining one, the one meant for me, and began opening it, while he read his fortune. “Your fondest dream will come true within this year,” his said. And, his lucky numbers are 8, 13, 23, 30, 33, 38.

I broke mine open only to discover that mine did not have a fortune in it. What? No fortune? This has never happened to me before. What can that possibly mean?

Figuring there are numerous reasons myths about why a person would not receive a fortune in his fortune cookie, I decided to go searching on the internet.  (This is never a good thing for me to do. I typically get hung up on all the extraneous info and end up spending hours on something that should have taken only minutes. Which is the case here, too.) 

To make a long story short, the general consensus in the world of fortune cookie myths is that it is very bad to get a fortune cookie with no fortune inside. The answer that I liked best, though, is this one on wiki-answers in response to someone very worried about his lack of a fortune in his cookie:

The Ying and Yang fortune cookie company has a telepathic employee who knows who is going to get each and every fortune cookie made. When she came to your cookie, she started typing up your fortune, but since it was so large, she ran out of room. She got a letter-sized piece of paper and began typing again. When she finished, she couldn’t figure out how to insert it into the cookie quickly, without cracking the cookie before getting wrapped and falling into the shipping bag at the end of the conveyor belt. If you call the company, it has your fortune sitting next to the phone, waiting for you to call, because the telepathic woman knows that you will indeed call, having telepathic abilities and all.

Haha! I also read that many people believe that the entire fortune cookie must be eaten in order for the fortune to come true. Or, believe that you should not eat the fortune cookie if the fortune seems unlucky. Or, that the entire cookie must be eaten before reading the fortune (ooh, which means that if you got an unlucky fortune, you are screwed). Or, that the fortune will not come true if read aloud, or read at all. Then there are rules on how to select your cookie. Do you close your eyes, pick one for someone else at the table, or choose a cookie that appears to be pointing at you?

I always let everyone select their cookie by whatever method they choose, and then I take the last one. It is that last remaining cookie that holds my fortune.

I’ve decided that  not getting a fortune in my fortune cookie is the luckiest of all possibilities. It means I get to create my own fortune!

What do you believe about fortune cookies?


The year of living fearlessly

Another year is drawing to a close and I have been doing quite a lot of thinking about what lies ahead. That, in itself, is not unusual, I reckon. People often use the New Year as the place to plan new beginnings. It’s why people make New Year’s resolutions. I get that. It means that people believe they have some control over their lives: that they can endeavor to lose weight, get healthy, quit smoking, learn a new skill, whatever.

I’m doing that, too. I’ve been thinking about the new year for several weeks and I’m trying to wrap myself around a concept that I’m sure I have toyed with throughout my life, and that I am now ready to take to a new level.

This idea is not really a resolution, but if I can make peace with it, I’m sure it will make 2010 be an outstanding year for me. It has to do with fate. Or, more precisely, the opposite of fate. I don’t believe in fate, karma, kismet, destiny, coincidence or luck. Nor, do I believe that everything happens to us for a reason, although this last concept is the closest to how I feel. I believe simply that things happen. And, it is what we do with these things that shape who we are and direct our lives.

As I was searching the internet for a way to explain it to you, I stumbled upon a concept by author Craig Lock. He says that sometimes people come into your life and you know right away they were meant to be there, that they serve some sort of purpose, teach you a lesson or help you figure out who you are or who you want to become. Lock says that you never know who these people may be; your roommate, your neighbor, professor, long lost friend, lover or even a complete stranger who, when you lock eyes with them, you know that very moment that they will affect your life in some profound way.

That’s good, I like it, but it’s not quite right. I mean, people don’t come into my life to teach me a lesson. They come for their own reasons, don’t they? They come because they have changed jobs or relocated or got a flat tire in front of my house. They come for any number of reasons that have nothing whatsoever to do with me. And, I can also honestly say that I have never locked eyes with anyone and just knew we would affect each other’s lives in any profound way.

Lock also talks about the events that happen to us, that may be horrible or unfair, but by overcoming them, we realize our potential, strength and will power of heart.  He says everything happens for a reason and that nothing happens by chance.

Yes, I agree! Yet, I disagree some, too. These life events don’t happen to teach me anything. They just happen.

But, here’s the thing. I believe we can learn from the people we meet, they do create who we become and we can learn from each experience, both the awful ones and the good ones, if, and this is a big if, we choose to be open to them.

I want to share with you a lesson I learned from my new kitten, Charlie. Charlie came into our lives for his own reasons, which I’m sure included food and shelter. He leaped into the unknown because he needed assistance to survive. Our other three cats didn’t like him one bit. Sam Dog immediately took a liking to him, but it was unclear in the beginning if it was because Sam wanted to make friends or eat the little thing.

But, Charlie was fearless. He stood his ground when he was picked on. He pounced on the bigger cats when they shunned him. He didn’t back down or run from the big dog like the other cats do. And, he slowly worked his way into the family fold to make a place for himself even though the odds were against him.

Little kitten Charlie, with no intention of anything, but to survive, taught me that success comes to the fearless!

I didn’t know that Charlie would teach me such an important life lesson when he came up on our stoop that day. We didn’t lock eyes and just miraculously intuit that we would profoundly affect each other. But, it happened just the same.

So, as I reflect on 2009 and prepare for 2010, I am thinking about the people that led me to here. They couldn’t know the role they have played in my life, but here I am as proof!

I expect 2010 to be an epic year for me! 2010 is a new beginning. It is a year to be fearless. It is a year to try new things. Maybe I’ll even learn how to ice skate!

Wish me luck! Oh, wait, I don’t believe in luck.