Life Is An Awfully Big Adventure.

Sometimes I wake up in the morning with my heart pounding.

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It’s as if I’ve been running up a hill, or maybe running away from something or someone. Maybe I’m running away from myself. Maybe I’m running to myself. All I know is that something has triggered my fight or flight response and my heart and mind are RACING. My legs are twitching. My eyes are wide open. I have awareness of every fact of every day of every week. Maybe I have been dreaming about doing a wonderful life adventure. Maybe it really happened. Maybe it has yet to come.

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If I have the time and the space, I am most adept in the morning at freeing my mind and breathing into my stomach in a meditative exercise. If I don’t have the time or if someone has tiptoed into bed in the middle of the night and is now kicking my back, or whining, or meowing, the spell has been broken. I get up and start my day. I wish I could tell you that this is a rare occurrence, but it happens quite a bit lately. It happens a lot during stressful weeks, and it even happens during nothing weeks because the opportunity is always ignited for a fight or flight response to be on deck. The opportunity to be needed.

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And sometimes I even mean that in a good way.

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Life is an awfully big adventure. Life is THE awfully big adventure.

It’s an adventure when you’re a super sensitive soul with loss of control fears, a dislike of loud noises, and you experience life transitions as little earthquakes. Even though life IS a transition, or a series of them. It’s not just earthquakes – it’s waves. Some of them are easy laps. Some of them knock you down and tear you underwater, with no access to air. And some of them knock you down, but almost joyfully, and then they set you right again – right where you were already standing..

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..but maybe slightly to the left, or slightly to the right. Or slightly more upright, more tall and more powerful.

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More than previously. More than maybe ever before.

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This. Is the adventure. It’s staring you in the face. It’s everywhere you turn. You cannot hide, even in sleep.

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My anxiety comes from three places, that I know about. It’s not just the toxic buildup of sadness, anger and loss that is not properly processed. It’s not just the PTSD of seeing my father fall on the ground, and never wake up. Never come home. It’s the fact that all of that had happened to a little girl who already had a sensitive temperament. It’s the fact that I was born to hear things loudly, see things brightly, and sure as hell smell and taste things strongly. Oh yeah. And there’s the feelings.

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Some of us are made to feel things like full body earthquakes, but hey, we’re meant to withstand the shudders as well.

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And I wouldn’t be Tamara Like Camera if not for the whole package. Thanks, Dizmommy, for pointing that out beautifully.

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This is my challenge, and this is my adventure. It’s an awfully big challenge..

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..and it’s an awfully big adventure.

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What is your challenge? What is your adventure? Where are the places where they meet in the middle?

And now for my Second Act, I’m going to go completely wordless. Dog-park wordless.

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  1. Tamara, I can honestly say yet again I get you more then you think, because yes I do also totally feel so similar to the way you described in the morning when I first awaken. Although some might be more of the I am not a morning person variety, but still. Oh and great challenge of being wordless and think you met and totally exceeded that challenge 😉

    1. I am so not a morning person! Today we were woken up by a dirty diaper scream. It was 6:30 in the morning. It was raining and it was still dark. No one is made for that!

      1. So don’t miss the diaper days with girls, but still no one is truly meant for this. Sorry this was your wakeup call and would so give you hugs if I could see you right now!!

              1. Trust me I am now asking myself what I got into. For starters, there are two class moms per class and my co-class mom just happens to be the co-president of the PTA.

  2. LIfe is my adventure too. And while I don’t have anxiety (typically), I have plenty of little challenges, and some not so little. They are hard to put into words, but they are there. I’m not usually very introspective about them, and I wonder why that is sometimes. I try not to over think…that’s one of my challenges!

    1. That is a great way to be, I think.
      One thing I always think about is how there are so many struggles that are external, and at least in my case, there are so many struggles that are internal. They only exist inside my mind and they are either an added struggle, or they are just potentially easily dismantled. I hope.

  3. I feel like I am missing the adventure lately. I feel like I am on a hamster wheel and I never get caught up.
    And I am in awe of that dog park! That place is huge! My pups would love that. We never take them to the dog park. Bad puppy parents. But they get their run every morning in the woods. That counts for something.

  4. The pictures from the dog park are exquisite. I often feel like my days (and life) would run much smoother if I could just take those few moments when I wake up to breathe, set an intention(s) and/or just be intentional with how I approach those first minutes of the day. Life is a series of transitions, isn’t it? Shudders and waves and all of it. My challenge is that I think that I keep expecting the other shoe to drop, that I don’t always believe that I deserve whatever it is in front of me. But in those rare moments that I do, it’s an amazing adventure!

    1. That is so interesting and I feel the same way sometimes. I wonder if it’s a result of having the other shoe drop, literally, to us when we were young.

      I am glad you like the dog park photos. I have a second set coming that were used with my favorite lens. This was just a kit lens so I think of them as amateur.

  5. Life definitely seems like equal parts adventure and challenge these days. I have dreams and goals and achievements I want to achieve. It’s kind of exhausting. And maybe somewhat exhilarating. I want to give up. I want to keep going. It’s all very confusing right now. Oy. Your blog is like therapy sometimes! And dog park pics are awesome. The lighting!

    1. I loved the lighting that day! it was right before that golden hour before sunset. These pictures are actually a little old. This was early May, when the leaves hadn’t grown in yet. Right now it’s a lot more beautiful.

  6. Oh Tamara… oh how I love this. I just soaked in your words like honey to my heart. I am still jet lagged and exhausted and overwhelmed at this re-entrance – this ‘transition’ that shuddered my world and I still am grappling with the earthquake trembling under foot since late last night… and into today with kids arriving back home with loads of laundry and excitement. Drowning in the chaos and the carnage of leaving my world for a week and attempting to find my ground again…

    I want to read this again. You are so gifted at using your words to illuminate the underground world of our emotion and daring existence of the adventure. Oh, how I missed you!! And to read this as I just begin to adjust to getting back in the game- pacing myself with baby steps- tiny tiny little steps- on purpose- like 5 loads of laundry and cleaning the ransacked house and going through1000 emails and signing up the swim meets and going through piles of school papers and getting my LIFE back in order before I dive into the blogosphere… but feeling the urge to at least check in on my besties…

    And I find Jennifer’s post that takes me in deeply and still triggers tears… and now yours. I picked the perfect people to love. Thank you friend. You are a gift to me.

    1. Ahh! You’re back!!!
      I’m so touched that you came to my post and Jennifer’s post. I picked the perfect people to love too! She is wonderful and I’m actually going to see her next week and we’re going to talk about seeing you too.
      Hope you’re getting through the baby steps ok.. making your way to bigger steps. Hope your house is filled with laughter and stories!

  7. Life is one big adventure. I’m experiencing so many life-changing events this year, I’ve actually enjoyed stepping back and acknowledging how I’ve gotten through it. I’ve woken up as you described once or twice like that this year. Not typical at all for me. Kinda scary actually. But it didn’t last. So thankful. Also, that’s quite the dog park!

    1. I’m impressed that it only happened once or twice for you! I feel like that can be once or twice a month for me. I don’t handle stress all that well, though.
      The dog park is insane, and that’s just one field of it. It’s a lot bigger! And now that the foliage is changing, it’s even better. These photos were from early spring so the leaves hadn’t grown in yet.

  8. Life really is THE adventure! I always start the day so hopeful and full of promise it’s the nights that are hardest for me. It’s then that I have the clarity to see all I didn’t get done or how I should have handled something better. I read an article about how your circadian rhythms affect your perspective on the world. Don’t know if that is true, but I am a morning person. The sun is amazing in your dog park pictures!

    1. I used to be that way too – all about fresh mornings and nights were full of accumulated stress. Something happened when I was pregnant with Des, though. After Scarlet was in bed and I was lounging, that’s the only time of day I’d have zero nausea. So even now, I love morning and I love night when they’re in bed and I can finally unwind.

  9. I’m a super sensitive feeler that is sensitive to loud noises and can hear way more than I want to. I think you have made a huge connection here and I’m digging it! And you are so very welcome! I love the Tamara like Camera package- it’s the real deal!!! PS I always feel very spoiled when you photo dump!

    1. What’s funny is that when I’m controlling the remote, everyone is all, “Turn it up! I can’t hear it!”
      And when someone else is controlling the remote, I”m all, “Are you all hard of hearing? This is way too loud!”
      Spidey senses.
      I love that you love my photo dumps because these photos are from May 1st. So uh.. there’s a lot to catch up on!

  10. “where do they meet in the middle..?” Oh gosh, I wish I could have an intelligent and inspiring thought off the cuff that I could leave. it’s such a great question! Just know – the biggest compliment I could give, is that you HAVE inspired me towards thinking about something. Reflection. Soul Searching. and this is what I dig about you!

    1. Oh, I bet! I wonder if that happens to me, if I’ll be totally understanding about it or more frustrated with her because she inherited something about me that I’m not so sure about.

  11. As always, your photos are simply stunning! You capture life so well in each of them, I’m always in awe of you!

    On the other subject, I know these kinds of dreams. I’ve had then before abd they always rocked me. Mine, too, were rooted in anxiety over things in life. My journey has been that the more I understand myself and my anxieties, the more I take their Pete away, the better I am. 🙂

    1. I think my journey has been very similar lately, thank you.
      I’m glad you like the photos! Most were taken with a cheap kit lens, so of course my critical eye isn’t happy.

  12. Sometimes I don’t know how to reply to your posts because your words are just so exquisite, and there is nothing I can write that can even hold a candle to your words.

    I will say that life definitely is one big adventure, with twists and turns along the way, some bigger than others, some which knock you flat on your back and others which you just sail along.

    I love the black & white photo of Des with the light shining down on his face.

    1. I really appreciate that. And you know you don’t have to comment at all, or you can just say, “I get you.” Or something like that! I appreciate so much that you took the time, though.

  13. Love the photos, the lighting is awesome. – that is a really cool dog park!

    I like some alone time in the morning too, but that is hard to get. Hope you get some soon too 🙂

    1. Thank you! The dog park is amazing. It’s paradise for dogs.. and people too.
      I just want my kids to sleep later. But then we’d be late for school. Can’t win there!

    1. Ok, I tried to reply to this and my own blog sent forth just a simple “Ha!” without letting me finish.
      So here I am. There should be a technical term for that if there isn’t already, huh? Did you ask your husband?
      I mean, bokeh is a word!

      1. LOL!!! I got “ha” in the email and so i had to come back to see what I said. He doesn’t take artsy photos and probably doesn’t know. I’ll have to ask my dad, he actually took college courses in photography.

  14. Oh my goodness- those dog park pictures! The light is so perfect. The one of Des looking up in to the light is breath taking. And I love the line about you only being you with all of the package. It is so true. Just this week I was talking with a friend about we show and feel our emotions. Our oldest children are off on a two day camping adventure with their new middle school. My friend is a pile of crying tears while I am not. That said, my temper is short and my attention span shorter. I think she has the better gig- she, and you, feel the emotions as they are. This is my challenge- to feel the emotions as they are. Thank you for making me think about this- I have never expressed it this way, but this is it. For sure…

    1. That’s interesting! I always feel like people like you (and my husband) have the better gig. I guess they all have their pros and cons. I feel the feels. A lot. And when I block them, they turn into anxiety. Wonderful. Sigh.
      Thank YOU for making me think.

  15. Ooo so green. So pretty! Love the scenery. Oklahoma is brown. And flat.

    As I read this, I thought about the movie Hook. “To live…is an awfully big adventure.” Something like that.

    1. I’m laughing because these photos were taken months ago, because I’m slow to catch up, and this was the tail-end of the brown season! In New England, we call it “Mud Season.” So right now it’s lush and green and also now yellow, orange and red. Back then, it looks a little dead.
      So for you to call it green makes me happy. I should take more recent ones. Will blow your mind.

      My favorite line from Hook too!

  16. You’re right, life is the ultimate adventure. Somehow, no I have a song stuck in my head after reading this post: “Life is a roller coaster, just gotta ride it”. The rest of the song is not very memorable but this particular part is somehow ingrained in me.

    1. Hmm.. I’ll have to check out that song! Now you got “Life is a Highway” in my head, which is a nice song for this rainy day. Makes me think of sunny days in a car.

  17. I love your perspective! Perhaps if I thought of life as an adventure more often, the anxiety wouldn’t keep me from doing seemingly simple tasks. There are so many great photos in this post. I love the one of the dog on the couch, the one at the dog park of Scarlet and Des holding hands is another favorite!

    1. The anxiety stops me too sometimes. And other times, I can fly. Who knows??
      I love the holding hands photo! They were holding hands this morning and he was smiling, but it was too dark to take a photo. I LOVED it.

  18. Life is certainly THE biggest adventure, ever, well said, Tamara!:-) One quote that I’ve been holding on to recently to help me power through some challenging moments is “there is a huge amount of freedom that comes to you when you take nothing personally.” p.s. love the dog park photos!:-)

    1. I want that kind of freedom so badly! I don’t know if I know that feeling.
      I’m so happy you like the dog park photos, because they were taken with my kit lens so I wasn’t very sure about them.

  19. It’s indeed true that life is either a daring adventure or nothing. So I guess yeah, my life is totally an adventure no matter how many stressful weeks there are in my one month. I’m really wishing for lighter days with lighter work load though and a trip to a park (just like your dog park) may do just that. 🙂

  20. You are the whole package and I wouldn’t want you any other way and yes, life is a challenging adventure. However, if it wasn’t challenging, it wouldn’t be any fun either! 😉

  21. Excellent “wordless” post. I also believe that life is an adventure and definitively an adventure worth taking on. It’s fun and it’s terrifying. My new motto is just believe. Believe in myself and my decisions and make life worth living!!

  22. SO true, every part of you, even the challenging parts are worth something amazing. And these photos, they make me want to LIVE at the dog park. 🙂 xoxo

    1. I know, right? I love the dog park. I should take recent photos of the full foliage, because these are from early spring and the world was still a bit barren.
      And thank you, love! Happy birthday to your little one!

  23. I appreciate the wave analogy. When you’re in the ocean, there is no standing still. Sometimes you will move gently, sometimes violently, but you will always be moved. And so it is with life.

  24. You take the most glorious pictures. I deal with anxiety as well – mine is due to similar circumstances from my childhood, although not form such a young age as you. I also worry about the future of my son with autism. And then there’s the anxiety I basically produce from over-scheduling myself – and the children. There are days when I swear, my heart never stops racing.

  25. I so know what you mean by the earthquakes and twitching! Menopause is getting the best of me and I am so not enjoying all the anxiety! Hope that the day gets better and brings you lots of light!

    1. I’m so sorry about the anxiety! I can see how it could happen, though, with the change in hormones and the hot flashes. Hot flashes can definitely trigger anxiety.

  26. I have no idea where my anxiety comes from – i think it’s inherited, and I’m definitely the sensitive type. Luckily I fall asleep easily at night – but I wake up every morning with a dreadful feeling. I have to get up and get moving – meditation, exercise – or it swallows me right up. Ah….your pictures. So beautiful and soothing – I love them!

    1. My father had it too – the same way I did as a kid. Nothing extreme. Adulthood has been more challenging with it. Glad you find things to prevent yourself from being swallowed by it!

    1. ha! I did! I’m so terrible at really going wordless but hey, it was part of the post.
      And thank you – for me, words and photos go hand in hand.

  27. Love it! My challenge is staying awake and focused. Until the day I die I will be a sloth – I will prefer sleep over anything else and require coffee or some form of stimulant to function. Then add in a sprinkle of anxiety and you are in for a treat 😛 The biggest adventure? Ensuring my son doesn’t catch any of this and to detect any symptoms before it disrupts his life, if any hopefully none. It’s a spacey week for me – That beautiful time of the female month when I should not be immersed with society and yet, I have to go to work :'( Love your photos Tamara 🙂 Have a great one love! Thank God tomorrow is my Friday!!!!!!!!!!! xoxo <3 -iva

    1. I hear that about the anxiety. I got it from my father. I had the symptoms from birth, though. My kids seem to have NONE. Yet. And I hope it stays that way. But I’m watching them, the way you are.
      Enjoy your long weekend!

      1. My son has some anxious tendencies but it’s something we’re working on. He’s a lot more outgoing than I was but still new things can make him sketchy. It’s nowhere near as bad as mine was so that makes me happy. I’m more concerned about the schizophrenia on the father’s side, thankfully since the father doesn’t have it the chances drop to 5% but if he doesn’t learn to manage the anxiety it can flare the gene. So there’s that!

  28. What an adventure you’ve had so far. Awful and heartbreaking to be sure…but I don’t know anyone else who can experience so joyfully; who isn’t so muddled in the weeds of daily life that sunlight shining over a roof is lost. But you feel so big, share so big and capture it all so beautifully in both words and images. Thank you for sharing. It must be so difficult, but at the same time, you’re spreading the best parts for others to enjoy with you.

    1. It can be very hard. I know some people can be critical of certain ways I do things. Mostly in this blog, I just find love and support.
      I do think my genetic makeup has a lot of joy, and with the anxiety I was certainly born with, they meet together somewhere fantastically. Mostly it keeps me safe.

  29. Once when Marie was a toddler I watched her try to pick up all her toys in one armful, and she lost something every time she added something. Her hair fell in her face and she lost her balance and sometimes everything fell to the ground. I stayed back. She kept trying. She got close. She lost things again. But then, you could see it. The shift. That the things in her arms weren’t coming out, even when more came in.

    She didn’t get everything in her arms that day, but she got enough.

    Reading you, watching you progress, it’s like that all over again. And I’ll stay back and appreciate what you do.

    My challenge: To be a good man, a role model and strength bearer, a confidant and protector and teacher, to my girls. A coach, a guide, a trusted corner, despite what my life’s record says about me.

    My adventure: Living it and learning it. And growing myself. And being able to write it in a blog that will be around for them long after I’m gone.

    1. I have seen Scarlet do the same thing. Sometimes you just have to stand back and watch. The best thing about love, though, is that there is a lot of room for embrace too.

      And they need it.

      I do wonder what my kids will think about this blog when they’re older. Will they think they have a nutcase for a mom? I hope not.

  30. On many days, I feel like my life is rather small. Just the day to day, waking up, doing the same things, over and over. Rather like a broken record, no end in sight. Then I look at the little things that are just little things to others, but are big things to us, as a family, to my kids. And I know that life is as much an adventure as we make it.

    May yours be always exciting and not anxiety-inducing. xo

    1. As for you!

      Your life looks so big to me. Opening wonderful companies, having four beautiful children, being a writer. Being in a book! I think some of our journeys are similar.

  31. You did it. You went wordless and it was as beautiful as your words. Oh sweet sister wife, I hate the anxiety, the self doubt, and all of that. I don’t know that mine comes from PTSD, unless that happens when a person is a baby, and given a new family? Maybe. I dunno. But I do know that I relate, and that I adore you, and that we’ll all be mostly just fine, because beauty and laughter and all the things… here’s to light and laughter.

    1. Some of us are born with it, and some of us pick it up along the way. Some of us have both. I’ve always considered mine to be pretty low lying, except for very recently. So that’s been a slap in the face, but hopefully strength building too!

  32. I feel like being a good mom is both my greatest challenge and adventure in life. I hope that I do a good job and prepare my little people to be loving and kind people who are able to raise their own children with love and empathy.

  33. First, I love the last few shots with the gorgeous light. Light, that is what you have within you…whenever you feel anxiety, sadness, or self doubt feel that light and remember what you have. Lovely as usual.

  34. You actually describe perfectly something that psychologists firmly believe – a lot goes into the way that we feel (especially when we’re dealing with negative feelings). And we all respond to situations differently because we are all wired to have things affect us differently. But that is part of the whole package that makes up who you are.

    I love the pictures of Des at the dog park. I also love that Athena gets to lounge on the couch in the sun. What a life.

    1. I do want Athena’s life!

      I think that’s one of the most interesting things I’ve learned about psychology! That how I take things in and spit them back out, is partly due to how I’m wired. Maybe a large percentage. Maybe not. That’s all the good stuff you know more about!

  35. Tamara, this is beautiful. I agree that it is all part of who you are. It is because you are such a deep feeler that you write so beautifully, find & highlight the emotion in your photos. Of course, that is also the reason (at least some of the reason) things have affected you so immensely. I hope you know, though, that you are a light to everyone you encounter – even on your darkest personal days.

    My challenge is self acceptance. The challenge comes from my own deep-seeded scars that I will probably struggle to overcome for always, but I hope not. I hope that, throughout this adventure of life and all the the wonderful people who are part of my adventure, I can find a sense of self contentment and see myself the way others see me.

    1. I hope so, because I was fortunate to meet you, and I think you are so beautiful inside and out. I always thought that by now I would think I was pretty. Like a reward for being an adult. It hasn’t happened but I hold out hope. I want to appreciate the youth I still have.

  36. I think morning is the best time to read your blog… your pictures have brightened up what is a dreary day here. And I love having a new perspective to ponder during the morning school rush. Yes, I will think of life itself as the adventure. My challenge is not giving up completely when I can’t fulfill my wildest expectations, especially now that I’m working part-time out of the house.
    And I would love to be lying where Athena is, next to that stove!!

    1. I swear I almost put that stove on last night!

      Today is either day three or day four of very dreary days. And mornings are hard for me. Especially mornings with 5 AM kitten wake ups! Wishing you lots of luck in love with everything you do.

  37. Oh – that second to last photo of the kids walking hand-in-hand… I die.
    I love how you phrase it — adventure and challenge. Challenge has both negative and positive connotations for me, but I admit that far too often I think about the challenges ahead of me with dread, rather than thinking of them as adventures. I’m pretty sure I’ve never made an experience better by dreading it, so I really need to work on changing my attitude.

    1. You and me both! I dread many things, and then I think it’s no way to live. But I should be more excited. I wish I could be more excited.

  38. Life is an adventure. A lovely, heartbreaking, tear filled, laughter filled, beautiful adventure. It will take you up and bring you down, and as long as you have faith in better tomorrows and your support team, you’ll be back up 🙂 Thankfully, I wake up a different woman than I did a few short years ago… the woman who thought “what ifs” would take place while she slept.
    We’re all working through something…

  39. You may have super powers when it comes to your senses and unfortunately this may add to your anxiety…but that also gave you the GIFT of your written words (from your HUGE Heart) and that incredible, AMAZING vision for photography.

  40. Dang it, Tamara….I really thought I was going to make it through this one without tearing up. I was doing so good and then you swooped in and got me near the end! Beautiful photos as always, and beautiful, raw and honest writing.

  41. Life is soooo and adventure. I love how you explain it and it’s true. All of these things in your life and how you are make up so many details about you. If all of those things had happened to someone else they wouldn’t necessarily be the same way about them or have the same response. I think that is something very awesome about getting to know different people in this life…who they are and what they’ve been through can make up so many things I can learn from. You all went to the dog part at sunset or about that time and you know I love sunsets so I’m loving the lightening in all of the pictures!

  42. It’s all about the journey that makes us who we are. And I think as adults and as we age that sometimes we find it harder to branch out of ourselves and take risks. I know for me I used to be a go, go, go kind of girl. But once I had kids I crave the off and quiet days. If I know I have a lot of events, plans, things to do…it gives me anxiety until it’s off my list. Sometimes it’s not a big feeling but just enough to make me unsettled. I think back to when I was younger…was those feelings there? Or did I just live braver. I don’t know…but we can only take one day at a time 🙂

  43. Some things in our lives are certainly just waves, soft but still knocking us down. And then there are certainly earthquakes. Happy to hear that you are embracing them all, and every part of you. PS. That’s the biggest most beautiful dog park I have ever seen!!!!

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