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Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Life stories (and a little tiny bit of Ojai.)

Remember when I said I was really into this Blog Every Day in May challenge because one of the rules was that I didn't have to beat myself up if I missed a day or two?  How about 4?

I have a great excuse, though.  Saturday morning we had to see a matinee of Iron Man 3, and then it was home to get ready so I could be a friend's plus one at a reunion party she was going to.  Although I was a wee bit apprehensive as I only knew two other people attending said party, I promised I'd go and figured it would be a nice Saturday night out with some lady friends (and it was!)  However, I spent a good portion of the evening chatting up a gentleman who holds some pretty interesting jobs, and when I came home, that was all I could talk about.

I've always been fascinated by people's life stories.  I suppose you could trace it back to when I was in the 3rd grade, and we had a new classmate, a boy from Florida, and I asked him if he had ever seen snow.  (He had, which I was a little disappointed about - I mean, I didn't know a single person who had never seen snow!)  Ask anyone I used to work with - when I was making phone calls to recruit volunteers, which generally should have only taken about 10-15 minutes, I sometimes would spend up to 45 minutes on the phone, learning so many things about the persons story.  I think part of it is because we generally don't think our own lives are that cool/amazing/interesting/incredible.  Recently, I posted a photo on my instagram of me straddling a small crocodile, which I had totally forgotten about.  A few days later, a friend asked me about it; how old I was, where I did it, how cool that must have been.  See?  Something I completely forgot about ended up being really cool to someone else.  (Okay, I will admit that when I did it, I did think it was really cool, which is why I have a framed photo of the whole event.)

Sunday, we headed off to Ojai for a night away from Los Angeles.  Ojai is only about an hour and 45 minutes away, but it feels like an entirely different world.  It's settled in a valley surrounded by gorgeous mountains and has an adorable downtown area that has street parking without meters(!) and it's wonderful.

Pretty, even in the rain, right?
Unfortunately, the weather forecast was calling for cool temperatures with a chance of showers, which then eliminated our options of horseback riding, hiking, and laying by the pool in the sun.  Charlie then suggested we schedule massages, but I just couldn't swing the close to $100 price tag at most of the spas.  (I realize that $100 is about what you'd pay for a massage anywhere decent, but I've got college loans to pay, you know?)  We decided to wander around and window shop instead, since there really isn't much else to do in Ojai (and that's kind of the point).  As we made our way through one of the plazas, there was a sign in front of a door for a salon that said "Massages: 1 hr, $50" and I immediately pointed it out to Charlie.  It didn't take us long before we were in the door, scheduling our massages back to back, and looking forward to a blissful afternoon.

I walked out of that room feeling like total amazing jelly, and since Charlie's massage was right after mine, I had an hour to kill.

I was in that post-massage haze where you are struggling to walk because your legs are jello/your feet are still greasy from the oil, and thought a little retail therapy would help.  The boutiques in Ojai are adorable, but a little out of my price range, so I wandered in and out, probably looking like a lost puppy.  The last boutique I wandered into had an amazing collection of funky jewelry that I was fawning over, and I complimented the lone woman working there on her display case.

Next thing I knew, I was handed a coconut and chocolate macaroon, a bottle of water, and having a discussion about asking the Universe for help and receiving it.  I chatted with this woman for the entire hour, finding out that she once lived two towns away from my hometown.  She has a daughter close to my age.  She's a clairvoyant.  She wants to write a book.

I suddenly realized how much time had passed and I had to meet Charlie after his massage.  She gave me her business card, a tiny piece of general info about my "future" and some spiritual advice, and a hug.

Many times in my life, the universe has pushed me towards a place, or a person, or an event, for a purpose.  For the last few months, I had been feeling cabin fever-ish, muddled and distracted, wanting a night away but never mentioned anything... and Charlie planned it without me even suggesting it.  I had desperately needed a massage (its been two years since my last one!) but couldn't afford it.. and I had an incredible massage for the price I could afford.  I had been feeling a little down, like I was spinning my wheels, and the conversation with the woman in the boutique gave me a little bit of renewed faith in what I am doing and, more importantly, in myself.

Even though it was just an hour conversation with a total stranger, it brought me a little bit of insight and some much needed reflection.  It's a nice reminder that sometimes someone's life story can just be cool and awe-inspiring, and sometimes it can do a whole lot more.

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