Dragonfly Journal

If your life isn't a journey, you're doing it wrong

I Swear, I Lived

If I do not laugh, I wither.

Oh, I am so starting to understand this about myself: when my day, or my week is a low one without obvious reason, I can trace it to laughter. Or lack of it.

I ask myself whether I have laughed, or whether I have heard much laughter, during that window of time.

When the answer is, “No. No I have not,” that usually explains it.

Further, I understand this: I don’t actually need to be laughing to feel the rush of endorphins laughter brings; hearing the laughter of others makes me feel really good. And, as a side benefit, makes me laugh, too.

For example, it has never angered me to be awakened at night when my children are laughing together. It makes me giggle, and I usually get back to sleep.

All my greatest experiences in life have included laughter. Even exceptional experiences, if devoid of laughter, failed to leave behind the imprint that makes possible a lifelong recollection.

I just saw a video of One Republic’s I Lived. It is full of imagery of those who live large, who run after adventure and seize every available moment to “go and do.” And it was moving, yet difficult to watch without crying. Because until recently, I’ve done nothing deliberately to experience the world, and I felt I had missed out on decades of living.

But no, that isn’t the truth.

My living…my authentic, “I swear, I lived” is to be able to look behind me and see all the memories and experiences that were tied to laughter — laughing with someone, or enjoying the laughter I heard — and live them again by giggling about them anew.

©Aja Hart, 5.31.2016



I must figure this out.

I must discover how I revert to tolerating behaviors and opinions around me that are blatantly incongruous to my nature, and why I revert to allowing the pollution into my life.

Ornery language. Shallow observations. Insensitive remarks.

Absence of the positive. Of joy. Of gratitude.

It has been said that Pisces (by the way, that is likely as much as one will ever hear me speak of astrology) get along with everybody. I scoff at that; I certainly don’t get along with everybody…but those with whom I don’t get along usually don’t know it.

Is that a Pisces thing?

My journey through this adulting business keeps bringing me to a shoreline where the evidence of erosion is plentiful; the waters have left upon the sand — for the millionth time — shells and stones so softened by ebb and flow of tides that Nature’s initial design is long lost.

The fullness of beauty that once was, is now a remnant.

I must purposefully watch for this process; I must determine to evolve personally without permitting the erosion of my essence.

So that not all is lost.

©Aja Hart, 5.30.16


I had many aspirations as I grew up. I won’t name those never realized because…Really? Must I really remind myself of all those things I thought unattainable? I just don’t want to go there.

One aspiration, however, was to be a mother of six children. I may not have done much else as an adult, but having the privilege of nurturing and cherishing my children into young adulthood may very well stand as my greatest accomplishment in life.

Now, having said that, I must add that one cannot make any excuse that legitimately excuses not experiencing the world.

I mean, as I write this, I still rationalize in the back of my mind how it is possible…and how I cannot see having done it any differently…that I kayaked for the first time at the age of 47. And rode my first paddleboard. And first rode a jet ski. And hiked (for real). And had my first margarita. And dove from a boat (no, not after having the margarita!). And did many other things this past week for the very first time…..all at the age of 47.

Can I blame my reluctance to take time off on my late father’s annual promise broken (that eventually became the spiel we disregarded) that he would take us to Guam or Hawaii — or on a vacation — when he got his tax return?

That’s a resounding “No,” though I assert that the seeming worthlessness of taking vacations left an indelible imprint on my psyche.

The bulk of my vacation time has rolled-over, year after year, until it has amounted to a full 10 weeks (well, after this week, 9 weeks. Still…) Why?

Since my divorce, I’ve only met a few personal goals. A friend challenged me today to set three personal goals per year and use some of that accrued time off to meet them, and to bring my children who want to come along. Surely I can take a day or two off on either side of my “weekends” in retail management to do a tandem sky-dive, or to take a ride in a hot air balloon, or to go to Crater Lake….or take personal writing retreats.

Bucket list experiences. Skills I’d like to acquire…

I have a life to live. What am I waiting for? One person to want to share in my experiences? Didn’t I leave that hope behind in my divorce? It’s a lot of introspection that takes me down a familiar road:  I know myself, and once I revert to being that girl who can and will do everything alone, I’ll dive in and do it alone. That’s just who I am.

And if I don’t accomplish anything, I’ll die trying.

©Aja Hart, 5.28.16


When I was 19, I had many reasons to believe the years ahead of me held the promise of those dreams I’d carried since childhood.

But I chose to roll with living life the way others thought best. I always heard the voice of my dad telling me I was too emotional, so I began … without realizing it … ignoring my gut.

I can psychoanalyze it all I want today. The fact remains that I had zero confidence in my instincts, so I decided against them more times than I can count.

Age nineteen is when I recall first denying myself what I knew I wanted for my life.

The beauty of life is that we evolve. Sometimes a bit late, but it happens.

And we journey.

It’s like getting another chance to be young.

©Aja Hart, 4.1.2016

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