Blackout: Solar Eclipse 2017

I’m starting this post in the middle of my morning, waiting for the eclipse to come and remind us all why nature is totally amazing. To say that I’m excited about the eclipse is an understatement. I don’t really know why. I just am! It might be that this is something so rare and special that it only happens once in a lifetime, or it might be that I’m free to enjoy it on my own terms. I didn’t have to work, I didn’t have to get permission from anyone to go and enjoy it. I woke up and decided that I was going to an eclipse party, and I did.

The first thing on my agenda was to get a pair of glasses because, in my attempt to avoid political news coverage, I also missed the whole hoopla that an eclipse was expected. I had to wake up bright and early to stand in the hot blazing sun at the National Air and Space Museum. However, my persistence paid and I got them.

After all, there was no way I was going to miss out on these glasses. My tax dollars already paid for them!?

Next up, party time. It’s afternoon now and, since I saw on Facebook that the bar I used to work at, Shaw’s Tavern, was having an eclipse party, complete with a DJ and drink specials, I decided that I just had to be there. I worked at Shaw’s back in 2012 when it first opened. That was a time of tremendous hardship for me (the manager even babysat my son in the office once) and the place has ever since been special to my heart.

Shaw’s Tavern is my happy place in a city of fair-weather friends and nonstop construction. Despite the many changes in the city, Shaw’s remains my favorite go-to hang out spot. It’s just nice to go to a place where you can see familiar faces. It’s like the “Cheers” theme song says, “Sometimes you wanna go where everybody knows your name.”?

So here I am, the lady DJ is spinning songs with sun and moon in the title, I’m enjoying my $10 Eclipse Burger, $6 Sunny D Crushes cocktail (Vodka, Triple sec, Sunny D, + Sprite), and $6 Homemade Moon Pie. Yum, Yum, and more Yum!!! It’s a great day and I haven’t even spent $25. It really doesn’t take much money to live a good life. What it does take though is time. That’s why I always tell people that time is their most precious commodity. Once it’s spent you can’t produce more. Days like these remind me of how good life can be if you choose to make it so. I work really hard but I get to make my own schedule and do what I love. Plus when I don’t want to work, I don’t have to. I can take time whenever I want to do cool stuff like this. Now, this is what living free is all about. One thing I learned when I didn’t have a dime to my name was how important the simple pleasures are. The little things can make all the difference. You don’t have to spend a ton of money to go out and live, to enjoy this splendid this called life and all its pleasures.

After getting my fill of yummy eats, getting lots of hugs from friendly familiar faces, and jamming to astrologically themed oldies, it was time to return to be among the masses at the Smithsonian. If there is one thing I love about being in this city, it is being in a place that has such an amazing collection of museums. The National Air and Space Museum is absolutely wondrous and it was the perfect spot to witness the eclipse. People from all over the country in all their diverse splendor, speaking different languages, were all huddled together in one place, celebrating life and the beauty of the cosmos.

The ancients were afraid of the solar eclipse. They thought it was an omen that the world was coming to an end. However, I choose to see it as a celebration of life and new things on the horizon. I live a rather unorthodox life and at times that’s scary. There are always tons of uncertainty and there have been many times things didn’t turn out well for. No question, there is something to be said about the comfort of security, the peace of mind that comes with following the rules, and knowing that more likely than not your life will turn out well. I get why people are so drawn to that life. However, I’m a wanderlust by nature and I’ve got a thirst for knowledge that can never be quenched. I seek to grow and stretch myself every single day and I can’t get that by following the rules. It might seem crazy to the average onlooker but freedom of time, mobility, and of thought is paramount to me.

The eclipse is a symbol that reminds me that uncertainty comes with the reward of new discoveries. Just as the moon blacked out the brilliant light of the sun, so can bad times blackout our inner light. It can be easy to succumb to despair and darkness but we have to be strong and remember that these times are only temporary. As you travel along the journey to live out loud, to be free, just hold tight to the knowledge that the bad times, like the moon, can only eclipse you for a little while because the light inside you is too strong to be darkened by anything for very long.