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We Are Flying Solo

February 10, 2012

No Day But Today

I'm going to steal that from Johnathan Larson, because there is no better way to put that apt truth.

I know I have hinted, but not explained but some things I just feel are not appropriate or relevant to this blog.  But there are a lot of very bad things going on in my life right now, affecting people that I love very much, and they are things that are impossible for anyone to deal with.  (The horses are fine and I am no more injured than I was a year ago)  I pour everything I have into Encore and Solo, physically and emotionally because right now, that is the only way I can cope.  It is true that, when you boil it down, life is surviving one thing after another, until the thing that kills you.

However, the reason I am writing this sobering post is to tell you with deadly seriousness, from where I am sitting right now, today is all you get.

It's a philosophy I have always lived by, but now it has become very VERY real to me.  In one whispered word, one simple moment, your future, your plans, your hope, anything, can be taken away from you in ways that you never even thought of.  It's like carrying a tray full of promise and then, with no explanation, your hands suddenly stop working and the tray falls to the floor, shattering into a thousand shards of loss.

In no way am I saying that you should live in fear -- nothing lasts forever, we know everything has its end, but we should not dwell in terror of the end.  I am not trying to depress you or worry you.  Rather, I am saying, reminding, relish your today.  And if you have an opportunity, take it.  Because tomorrow, next week, next month, four hours from now, your world can tilt on its axis and change everything.

People often tell me that I am crazy because I'm broke, but I have two horses and I compete (which would not be possible without the help of my amazing mother).  They tell me I should save my money, be more prudent, just wait until later.

But I am taking my opportunity now.  There is one thing, one passion that I know fulfills me and that I want to pursue more than anything.  And I am going to do it every second I have the chance to, to the limit of my abilities.  Because that opportunity may not exist next month or next year or in ten years, for physical reasons, for more reasons I can't dream up.  That's why, even when I have a not-so-great ride, I still untack my horse, pat his face, feed him a treat, and treasure his warm presence that day.

When I took Solo to his first event clinic 3 or 4 years ago, my SO was with us and snapping his usual 500 pictures a day.  I turned to him and said, "You know, you don't really have to take pictures of us just walking around."  A woman I didn't know was riding nearby and she turned to me and said, "You never know which ride is your last one."

Those words hit me like a brick and have stuck with me every time I get on my horse, and recent events have reminded me with crashing force that you can lose your plans in an instant that you never saw coming.  All I am saying is....

Treasure your today with everything you have in you.  Even if it's not the perfect ride you wanted or the score was lower than you shot for or you didn't jump as high as you wanted or even if it is a non-horsey thing....treasure the moments with your partner and treasure the time you spent doing what you love.  Time is yours to waste or use.  Never put that opportunity on a shelf for later, it is yours to make it happen now.


  1. Wonderful post. Thank you. :) And I hope whatever you're going through gets better. *hugs*

  2. Well said. I hope that, whatever's going on in your life and in the lives of those you love, that things get better.

    Hugs from afar.

  3. It's so easy to forget that all we have is now. Thanks for the reminder. (((♡♡♡)))

  4. Thanks. Now go out there and have a great time!

  5. Thank you for the reminder. I hope whatever reminded you to say it will pass soon. :)

  6. Oh, Brena... I am so, so sorry. I can only imagine what you're going through, and even though I don't really know you, I feel you are a friend and I'm terribly sad.

    You are so right about living life today. I think I am always going to remember your analogy of the tray dropping. I would not call myself a pessimist, but I am definitely a major worrier, and have no trouble whatsoever coming up with all kinds of disasters that might befall me or my loved ones. (Not re: riding, ironically; I don't worry about falling off or wrecking. My riding times are so infrequent and precious that I do indeed milk each moment for every ounce of happiness.)

    I found myself sliding into quite a pit of depression at the end of last summer, moping around for weeks with internal whininess about various things in my life that just aren't fair. One morning I woke up, was doing my usual worrying and stressing, and suddenly I realized - JUST QUIT IT. There are many GOOD things in your life and you need to remember that. I really had to give myself a hard mental shake. Since then, I have tried to "think better" and truly appreciate what I DO have.

    Thank you for this important reminder. We absolutely can get so caught up in misery that we forget it. I am SO, SO glad you have Solo and Encore there for you, to provide release. This is certainly an over-used quote but I'm going to say it anyway... "There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man." - Winston Churchill Dude knew what he was talking about.


  7. P.S.

    Hope you don't think this is over-sharing, but...

    In addition to what I already said, I actually have a further reason to reflect on your message. My father died very young of an inheritable disease. My brothers and I live with a virtual sword hanging over our heads. I could get genetic testing done to see I'm predisposed to this, but I'm afraid... therefore, I do try to do things that I just plain WANT to do, because I simply may not have the time or the ability in the future. (My dad was only 10 years older than I am now when he passed away)


  8. RW, thank you and I'm a worrier too, although usually just about the horses. I think I would do the same thing on the genetic tests though -- actually a friend and I were discussing this the other day. Sometimes ignorance IS bliss, it truly is, and you should give yourself permission to go and do and enjoy while you can. And if you DON'T have the disease, than WOOHOO, that just means you get MORE time to enjoy, but you can know that you didn't waste any bit of it.

  9. Thanks for the reminder...and best wishes to you and yours.

  10. Sometimes my barn owner says that my horse is a "great first horse". Honestly, I do not know if there will be another. I am in a place to keep him now, but will I be able to have horses in the future? The way the economy is, who knows. I enjoy every moment with him, take tons of photos, and record as much as I can. He could very well be the only horse of my lifetime.

    Hang in there. Sometimes that is all you can do. I hope things improve for you.

  11. Hugs to you. Take care of yourself and yours.

    And I absolutely 100% stand behind your philosophy. Enjoy life now. Take the extra time to see people (or horses) and don't stress over little things like money and material goods.

  12. Huge like! I'm right there with you - all you get is today and even that isn't a sure thing. All the best and hope things work out quickly.

  13. Thank you all for your support! Writing is very therapeutic for me and it's very kind when people I have never met share such generous words. I know that life is full of bad things happening to people all the time and I am hardly the only one. I am lucky enough to have two wonderful, infuriating, exhilarating beasts who enrich my life just by being in it. Even when they make me crazy. And broke. But mostly crazy.

  14. Absolutely... and to add one thing to your most perfect list... Live life now and believe that it just gets better and it will. When you have these moments that drag onto a period of time, when its over... it will be even better.

    Be good to yourself!

  15. Oh girl, I am sending you the biggest over-the-Internet imaginary gooey chocolatey brownie with chocolate chips, and a Bug Gulp full of alcohol. Also sending some major positive magical fairy dust vibes your way, for what it's worth. :-)

    And while, yes, we never know what will come crashing down on us, we also never know our own strength until it is tested. We never know what we can make it through until we have fought our way to the other side. Let me tell you, as someone who beat her second life-threatening illness and had her second organ removed at the age of 23, YOU WILL MAKE IT THROUGH THIS. And positive thoughts help in a big way--I *could* sit around worrying about developing another autoimmune disease (once you have one you are more likely to get more), but I have decided that I am done being sick. I've been in remission almost 9 years now.

    Ok, sorry for the novel. Stay strong, take comfort in your lovely redheaded stepchildren, feel free to vent whenever, and try to stay as positive as possible. Hugs to you!

  16. This is so very true. I live each day to its fullest for exactly these reasons. It's funny that you posted this today. You talk about being broke and having two horses. The perfect horse fell in my lap today and I keep rationalizing that I'm poor and shouldn't take on a second horse, but... what if she's a once in a lifetime chance? Y'know?

  17. Thank you all, again.

    And Dom, I am more than happy to enable.

  18. I hope things can get better for you!! Such an important thing to remember though.

  19. I loved this post. I'm in law school right now- and broke as hell and strapped for time- but I knew I couldn't give up riding just to get through law school. I work off lessons, I've been working a minimum wage job on weekends to save up to do my first event this spring. I was asked to do a show jumping clinic with Buck Davidson, and while, I can't realllly afford it, I jumped at the opportunity, because- exactly, you never know when it will be all over. For the past year I've also been struggling with a lot of health problems- namely joint pain, among other things. I'm finally going to a rheumatologist in a month, but I'm deathly afraid of getting diagnosed with some syndrome that will slowly eat away at my joints and my muscles- because that's what my symptoms point to. But if that's true, then I have to treasure every healthy day even more.

    But- like you said- tragedy can strike any of us at any time and we all need to live more "in the day." People think I'm crazy for juggling all the things I do, but I do it for the opportunity to sit on a horse for half an hour because that's my zen, that's where I belong, that's my reason for living and the thing that helps me get through everything else. Even if I am completely sore after I get off, and even if my hands can barely buckle up the bridle before getting on- for that half an hour I'm completely out of pain, having nothing to focus on but the partnership between me and the horse. If I go too long with out riding, I get depressed and grumpy and everyone around me notices it- horses truly are the best therapists and stress relievers. :)

    But ignore my ramble- I just really loved this post and it really resonated with me. (I always love your blog, though!). And even though you don't let your readers in on the details of your problems, I know I (and I am sure most others) do wonder, and worry, and hope that things will get better. I truly do. But thank you for sharing all your experiences and wisdom with us :)

  20. Thank you for your story, lyndz -- and I totally agree, keep climbing up there as long as you can, those 30 minutes are completely worth everything!