Appreciating the Moment

I’d always found it easy to revel in the past. Memories of success, memories of failure – of joy, of laughter, of sadness of happiness. In retrospect, everything just seems – better, I suppose? Even the tough lessons I was forced to learn seem to have such glaringly obvious outcomes. How easy I could have made my life if I just hadn’t been so wide-eyed and naive.

I also have a much younger sibling and, at nearly 30 years of age, I find myself pushing advice on her. There are so many things I wish I had known as a high school senior! How important it was to have relationships with your siblings, for example. How significant all of those little details of last dances, last plays, last football games are when you no longer have more of them to look forward to. I try to warn her about the challenges she’ll face in college – peer pressure like she’s never known.

Sometimes, I even find myself wishing that I could go back and do it all over. If I could there are so many things I would change, so many different routes I would take…

But then I have to stop.

I take a breath.

Because right now, this moment, is going to be one that I remember in ten, twenty, thirty years. I’ll remember when I was on the cusp of something amazing. When I had my own business and was working like crazy to write and publish my books. I was planning a move to Portland. When I take my dog on long walks and we enjoy the autumn leaves together because we are both huge fans of fall – all of these things, I’ll look back on when I’m older and perhaps a bit wiser, and feel wistful of course. For my youth. For my energy. For my efforts. For the love I’m surrounded by on a daily basis but sometimes totally am unaware of. But there will be something else. Unlike when I was younger – before I knew better – I’ll have enjoyed every moment IN the moment. I’ll have grasped what that saying means and I’ll have lived it.

That’s something my sister doesn’t have just yet. And it’s okay. She’s young. I know I remember being a teenager romantically. It was NOT that great. But parts of it were. Parts of being a twenty-something and eventually a thirty-something will be great, too. Other parts not so great. But I suppose that’s the ultimate value of appreciating the moments that life throws at you.

Enjoy them, love them, then set them free…

A Big Thank You to my Readers

I got a (kick ass) video review for Sex, Murder & Killer Cupcakes. At one point, Kelli compares my writing style to that of Janet Evanovich (Stephanie Plum series) which was a rather “holy $hit” moment. Listen to the full review here.

This brought about another thought – out of all of the books (and blogs) in the world, you dear reader, have chosen mine. I can’t tell you how much it means that you spend your time and, sometimes, your money, on my writing. Flattered. Appreciative. Grateful. Thank you, thank you. Words are not nearly enough…

XO,
Allison Janda

Technology – Is it Making Us Less Natural?

We’re fairly visual creatures. In all honesty, my day tends to boil down into a series of senses. Smells that I remember, things I’ve tasted or touched and even seen. They trigger memories throughout my day. Some good. Some not so good. One of my favorite smells in the whole world? My dogs. I know, it’s kind of weird. But in the morning, we all wake up and give one another kisses and sometimes I just bury my nose deep into their scruff and breathe. They smell like sweat and sunshine and happiness. Then again, I’m one of those weird dog people.

When I was younger, I’d pour through the family photo albums or the boxes overflowing with unsorted pictures of decades prior. Their edges were yellowed, the film was somewhat faded and many of the faces and places were ones I didn’t recognize. Yet, there was something so present about the past. It was something that I could see, even if I hadn’t been there.

Due to all of the boxes of photographs that my parents and grandparents have, I’m forced to wonder- what will kids today have to dig through?

We live in an age of technology. Just about every phone has a camera built right into it. Computers and tablets do, too. You can take photographs and videos anywhere you’re carrying your device. We upload these photos to SIM cards, online drives and new computers. We text them, upload them to Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Tumbler and Snapchat. This begs the question: when was the last time your kids or nieces and nephews crawled into your lap and asked you to give them the story behind a photo of yours that they found? Where did they find it? Was it a great photo that had been Photoshopped and filtered before it was posted? Are they seeing YOU exactly how you really are?

Those old pictures I would go through- they were natural. Pale white skin on a summer day, squished into a lawn chair and sipping from a can. Smiles and sweat stained shirts following a game of tennis, rackets happily tossed over shoulders in casual abandon. Mid-sentence with mouth wide open and eyes half closed at the family Thanksgiving dinner, gesturing wildly with a turkey leg in one hand and a fork in the other. Are those photos that people can just FIND of you simply by stumbling across them? Or is that the you that you aren’t as comfortable sharing?

Is this okay, or should we be more willing to laugh at ourselves and our terrible photos?

I think that for all the technology- for the ability that we have to show ourselves to the world- we sure are camera shy.

This just goes to show that while technology has benefited us greatly, it has also managed to break down the lines of communication in ways we never counted on. It has made us less comfortable in something as simple as being ourselves. What are additional lines of communication that have been broken down since the age of technology and what remedies have you found to counter them?

Reinvention

I’m excited to say that I’ll be starting up Journey Versus Destination again! Life kind of happened and I stopped blogging. Now, however, I’m back on track and writing quite a bit these days – books, magazine articles, web copy – all kinds of stuff! I know that I need to get back into blogging, though, and what better place to begin again than right here where it all began?

I hope you enjoy this journey with me and always feel free to reach out with comments and questions.

XO,

AJ

PS: Find all of my books at www.allisonjanda.com! My other blog, 365 With A Twist can be found at https://365twist.wordpress.com/!

 

Who Runs the World? Girls.

I was very anti female relationships for a number of years. As many of us often are, I was the brunt of many bad jokes when I was younger, the majority of the taunting coming from my female peers. By the time I hit high school and college, I was incredibly cautious about the women that I let into my life. I gravitated towards men for friendships when I could. Men were far less complicated. My guy friends didn’t care how I looked or acted or spoke. I wasn’t judged for how much I ate or for how much or little I said. I am lucky that this same group of guys is still in my life 10 years later with an addition here or there and I love them all just as much now as I did back when we used to make really lame theater jokes and our idea of a “cool” night out was grabbing a late dinner and being out past curfew (because our parents said we could.) Continue reading

Doing Good

Recent events have made me begin to do a little self reflection. I suppose it is only natural when crazy things happen that you begin to wonder “what if that had been me?” The shooting in Connecticut has taken the nation by storm. Understandably so- 7 adults plus 20 children (all 6 or younger) have been killed. I can’t help but focus on one…Victoria Soto. She was 27 years old, same as me, and while her story is still unfolding, it seems as though she saved the lives of her students by hiding them in closets and cupboards, then telling the gunman they were in another room of the school. Then, she was killed.
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The Strength of a Good Start

I find that it generally takes a lot of strength to start something and to end something. There are always going to be ups and downs in between the beginning and the end, but the piece that always seems to give me the most hesitation is beginning and knowing when to just say “I did my best.”
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