It has been a quick year from turning 40 to officially hitting 41. Lots of big changes and new discoveries in self awareness. At times my emotions were at their peak over the last year but also, at times I found solace in quiet pain and giving myself the allowances to grow.
I am most grateful for the loves in my life, the friendships that have grown and the friendships that I am finally recognizing have evolved into something planted in my memory, revisited in my mind but are not what they used to be; beautifully present in my life. They have become a part of my past and I honor them with grace and focus on my tribe now with diligent commitment.
My sons remind me every day, every week, every month and year that our lives are limited only by the limitations we place on others and ourselves. As I slowly loosen my grip I know they are growing so fast and every moment I have with them is a gift and they were created from such an unconditional love. They are and will be the best parts of my past and present.
I have learned moments are just moments, relish in the ones I receive and never hang onto the ones that I miss. Put my tribe first and what happens around myself and them are bonuses. I have a lot more strength that I give myself credit for. I love deeply and hard, I want new, fresh experiences that challenge me and make me feel alive. I want unmeasurable passion. I don’t want to be on my heels in life, I want to be forward like a sprinter waiting for the gun to go off. I want to be caught off guard and stimulated by thought and conversation. I want to be better at seeing things through others eyes because my world can seem small within its own confines.
I want to be better, think bigger, and more brilliant in the next year.
Life catches you off guard. In the last year there have been significant moments where I have had to make choices and chose a new path. Along these journeys, it has given me a new vision, my faith has become stronger, and I have surprised myself at how strong I am even at my weakest. I see the world more clearly; I know that I would rather have fewer amazing people in my life than know the masses of the people around me. A tight knit “extended “family that knows my heart – just as I know theirs. This extended family shows up when the darkest of clouds are over head and when the sky’s are blue and the sun beats down on us we play in joy and laughter at the purest of moments where we find nothing better to do than just be in each other’s company for however long it lasts.
I have had days where life spins me in circles, feelings of being ripped off the ground and I struggle to find my footing. I forget sometimes to breath, pay attention to what’s going on around me and pay attention to self care. I wish I saw more givers and less takers in the world. I want to believe the best in people and forget about the opposite. But this is unrealistic.
People in general spend so much time hiding who they really are and acting in a way that seems natural but just isn’t – depression, disease, abuse, people who don’t have family, some who can’t see their family or children or the millions of people who don’t have a place to sleep or food to eat. I have been looking deep inside to find something that will fill this space or void I have carried around, this feeling of “I am not doing enough”. I said, I want to believe the best in people. I figure, if I am the best version of myself, I believe I can impact change.
This past year, I committed to start working out more frequently so I joined Cross-fit. It is unlike anything I have ever done physically in my life. I have pushed myself to the place where I say, “I can’t” and then others start to cheer you on and through the exertion, sweat, tears, and injuries I push myself to places and complete exercises I never thought my body could do. Yes, I fall but I get up and I have proven to myself that “I can”! I am strong, I get exhausted and I know when I hit that point of breaking, I am capable of pushing forward and not giving up! This “thing” I have become a part of, what I used to say was “insane” purely out of judgment. I participate in reguarlary and it has changed my life. I have power that I didn’t know I had. The gut-wrenching strength I have because I have proved it to myself. In this comes self-care, purpose, and not the idea of; but the self-truth that I will never give up. Cross-fit strips my mind and my body down to nothing and all I can do is to keep pushing forward. This may seem simple but it has empowered me to find great strength inside of myself.
I desire to share my writing about life and what it means to me through self discovery, instead of talking about how I want to help people, I think it is a shit or get off the pot scenario for me (this is a terrible analogy) …. quit talking about it. I need to do and not say. I need to take care of who I am because it has proven to give me great strength and empowerment. I need to get outside the bubble and pop it. All the while, keeping in mind, I need to stay focused on self care and self discipline. Take risks, give back, pray and continue to have faith in life that I am where I am supposed to be!
I have now jumped into a few things. I am a bit nervous and excited but only because of the unknown. I will finish my CASA training soon and I have just started the training process for the American Red Cross Disaster Response team. I have realized over and over…life is so short, too short. I have real life experience (so does everyone else) but for me it is the most obvious in my home with my children. Life changes so quickly. Do what drives you inside, allow yourself to discover new adventures if you have the means, even if you may go it alone for awhile, and may be outside of your comfort zone. Don’t second guess yourself. You may find a new calling something you are drawn too, carry your faith with you and push forward. Keep moving.
I have taken so many leaps this past year – I am not going to drone on about them but if you know me, you may know of my “leaps”. Instead of being complacent I have had to hit the reset button on me. I so value being raw with my people – cut the bullshit and just lay it out there. I don’t want to believe or live in a fantasy world that life is all rainbows and butterflies. Life is also about struggles and never giving up. Take this one life you have and live it!
You can find this in your soul (something pushing you to look for, a person, a place; something simply unexpected and it’s your choice to step off the cliff whether you dive or jump you will instinctively come up for air. Take that leap of faith and in time you just might find a better understanding of yourself and a new purpose. You can find yourself shifting paths, the future is uncertain but what you might find ahead in your new surroundings is a place you find a new hope, a sense of purpose, and a new comfortable fit for exactly who you are now, perhaps a new calling – today keep moving forward with your faith, knowledge and strength.
There is so much life out there, so many moments, so many adventures…so use this opportunity to get up and get moving. The world needs more of these people rather than the whiners and waiters.
On the eve of the new year, I woke slowly and made coffee – sat outside. Knees pulled tightly to my chest, snow under my feet. The sky was so blue, the air so crisp, I could see my breath. The spruce surrounds me, the scent tickles my nose.
Last year at this time, this is where I sat. I wrote 2016 in the snow the same number will be written again but the last digit will change to a seven.
The past year has been full of dreaming, rediscovery, writing, tears, smiles, stress, Cross Fit, energy, passion, love, children who continue to grown every second…and so much more. I could go on and on but I don’t have enough pages. I pride myself on being raw, relishing in the moments, and there are parts of the last year I am keeping just for myself, for my soul.
In May, things changed. I committed to myself that things would be different, change my life, and live in the moment. Something deep down woke my soul and I realized that I am in control of my life (and no one else is) I have to speak up for my needs and I am not going to be someone else’s idea of who I should be. I am not wrapped up in this package. Neat and tidy, every hair in place nor do I want that. (Some may call me selfish, but I am not meaning to be.)
I am not put together all the time, although I love to dress up! Love the fireplace. I love my yoga pants, Nike’s and sports bra because I know I am headed for a kick-ass workout, I love cutting trail and getting off the beaten’ path, running through the mud puddles, I love the rain, I love taking risks, I want to leave a mark when I go, leave something for my children, I am inspired by just getting away for a few nights, get unplugged from the world, blue jeans and boots are my friend and so are patent leather red heels, I crave spontaneity.
New friends have entered my life and I am so grateful for them, they have helped me along this journey. I have so much to be grateful for and to those people; I hope you know who you are – you are a part of my tribe.
Thank you to everyone who has touched my life in the last year and I hope I have given you some joy in the past year. Here’s to next year…
“And while she never felt quite normal, she just loved too much. Choosing to see the world through her heart, instead of her eyes.”
I welcome the silence this morning just as I did last night after my home was empty and calm. The fireplace cast shadows over the destroyed living room and in that place I found quiet solitude and reflections from the last year. The big moments hit my thoughts first and the smaller ones trickled through like snow melting drip by drip in my mind.
Last night, out of the 12 plates I was using; my brother grabbed the last one and it was covered in bugs, it was disgusting (a year in the attic). We all sat at the table (unknowing this) with our plated food and he came, sat down with an empty plate of bugs. (Life, HA!)
There was a fire on my dining room table last night (a burning candle and wrapping paper) and in the chaos of it all and of course, after it was out…I had to laugh. Life can change in a blink of an eye. HA!
People can be in your life and then their gone. Life and death. Feelings of being lost or stuck, wondering who you? And then a fleck of sunlight peaks its delicate ray through the dark clouds and something changes. Maybe you jump off that cliff, go with your gut, take a leap of faith with a job change, meet someone that changes your perspective on the world, make a dream come true, get engaged, publish a book, take a risk you normally wouldn’t, meet someone you feel that gives you that spark (it’s real, it’s raw-pay attention to it), graduations, marriages, children; there is so much life to live. So many places to see and things to do. As I get older I realize I want to have more experiences, I don’t need anything…there are so many other people who actually “need” in this world…in a strange way I feel that this is exactly what I need…. experiences, more of them…act on the experiences I crave and desire. I want to experience life through helping others daily…make that be one hell of new year’s resolution (and of course, 15 pull-ups, 40 box jumps and 40 burpees at Crossfit)!
In my selfishness I want to pack a bag, throwing the camping gear in the car and just go…. just drive…. just explore…leave my camera at home (yes, I said that!) and breathe in the moments that I find myself soaking in, exist in them, actually feel “life” …. make the word “adventure” …an action word (for you, literary peeps)!! Here is my last selfish thought…. when I get back from that trip without being on a schedule I want to fill that same backpack with clean clothes and start over on a plane and actually go to places on my soul’s list…help build a school, be an aide where there has been a natural disaster…. help them rebuild…. things happen everywhere every day and I want to give…give everything that I have to somewhere or someone in need; this is a great desire of mine. Other places: Africa, Nicaragua, Vietnam, Bali, Ireland, Nepal, Iceland, Paris (see where my mother was born), Australia (where my sister was born), oh’ backpack across Europe living simply day to day with no plan, oh’ and join the Coast Guard!!
(Back to last night.) A room of laughter can easily be turned into worry and fraught as people are too worried about who started the fire rather than get that shit out of my house…burnt paper dusted the carpet and tiled floors. Celebrating with family and friends doesn’t need to be just be on those scheduled days on the calendar. Most people will never give those up for “tradition” sake. But why not get off the forged path ahead and be spontaneous…do something different. Be together to just be. Be together for no reason. Be together for an hour two. Sneak off take that trip, commit and go for it, take that leap. Live!
All we have the moments we exist in! If you think about today, Christmas…really think about how long this day is; 24 hours, right!?! But how long does this day actually feel to you? Does it feel like it drags on and on? Year after year it flies by so fast, we hurry through this day not purposefully but because there is just so much too this day. Many days in life feel this way. Take that leap, experience more, when you feel moved to jump, do it, adventure, take the moments, steal them if you too, give them back in another way but do give them back, karma baby.
“And while she never felt quite normal, she just loved too much. Choosing to see the world through her heart, instead of her eyes.”
I spent time with a friend yesterday morning, we exchanged gifts, chatted, drank coffee, and laughed. Family members stopped by and as I watched the kids buzz around together, I realized that although the gifts were wonderful and thoughtfully planned, in that moment – just existing was the best part of the morning. Laughing, a few tears, the huge Christmas tree in the corner, everything was beautiful but the beauty of being in that moment was just being there together.
It felt like home, sitting and talking with her. And playing with her youngest; the most precious little guy…I am blessed to be his Godmother and when I think of the rest of her children there isn’t anything I wouldn’t do for them.
This amazing human being, I have known for awhile. Our kids played soccer together years ago and it was their unique bond that I was gifted with this new friend. She isn’t the kind of friend who is going to come into my life at the time- it is convenient for her, no way! This is going to last for life! I will be in a walker with my dentures, my polyester pants and still will knock on her door and she on mine. She is the kind of human being that everyone should be so lucky in her presence.
I don’t know if everyone will understand this or admit to it but friendships at my age are hard to come by and it’s the people I choose and (they choose me) that is so important. Sometimes you just meet someone and it clicks and a precious seed is nurtured and a friendship begins to grow. For me, friends are no longer about the quantity you have but rather the quality of the relationships you have together. I have said it before but (the tribe) you create for yourself is a protective shell. Sometimes you meet people and there is just a spark, neither parties understand it but there is this magnetic pull that keeps you coming back together.
I watch my kids whirl around me as if I’m in the center of a tornado, standing still. I watch them growing and circling me in an upward spiral going faster and faster and I simply cannot keep up.
I spend so much time not missing events: packing football pads, muddy cleats, backpacks that I can barely lift, now basketballs, building animal cells out of Styrofoam, “trying” to help with common core math, who needs new shoes, new math binders, conferences; there is so much “stuff” that kids need, use, and want but when it comes right down to it – the best thing I can give them is my love, my heart, teach them to be kind, polite, and well-mannered young men. Beyond that, simply being with them in all their moments. My hope is that by loving them, it teaches them how to reciprocate love to others.
I realize now and can see clearly what was happening in my idea of a beautiful childhood. I was loved and cared for in such a way, I was sheltered from the monsters under the bed. I couldn’t have asked for or been blessed with better parents, I love my siblings and I know whatever the status of our relationship is, in any day – everyone in my family would show up and I have NO doubt about that. This gives me an incredible amount of courage and strength.
I am able to see life in a different way now. A beautifully complicated mess of opportunities. Living in the moments we have, today, tomorrow, and what happens in the next two hours or this evening. We have choices to make and in those choices we choose to live in those moments or sit complacent and think about what they could’ve been like. In my strongest and weakest moments, I strive to master perfection in these choices. But this is where I have begun to see life and myself differently. We all have these moments that can have an impact on our lives, that we will remember forever or maybe just an ember that blows from the campfire and disappears into the night. But I write to keep my moments, insignificant or not, alive. I feel alive everyday through my moments and how I choose to use them!!
When the twins were born, I can remember Cole’s entire hand holding the tip of my pinkie and being too afraid to even touch Austin. Their chests concave, literally skin and bones, and the ventilators helping them to breathe. I was terrified, so terrified if they would live of die in those moments.
In nearly a month my twins will be 13 and damn, I am so proud and have been blessed by God that these two miracles are in my life. And seriously, where the hell have the years gone??
This morning, the house was in shambles, Christmas lights reflecting in windows, I was doing laundry, writing checks for the next sport (basketball), lacing new shoes, feeding the dog, loading the dishwasher, and like every morning trying to get Cole out of the shower (he never fails to take every ounce of hot water) and my heart was full. Yes, this happens mostly every morning sometimes the tasks change but the basic idea is always the same.
Life can change from day to day. What you choose to do with your day is up to you but somewhere remember there are people out there who in their current state cannot control what is happening. Everyone needs time to digest, make a plan, and decide what is best for them and their families.
Go after what you want, remember where you came from and who helped you get there, don’t look back because we cannot change the past, if you want something different – something you feel compelled to do or change from your history – change it now, if you need a kick in ass to get you moving, I am sure you know someone who is ready and willing! And maybe if something or someone catches you off guard in a moment and you let yourself be with whatever it is; you may learn more than you ever thought you could. It could possibly change your entire perspective on life.
Sometimes it takes a new perspective to slap you across the face and wake you up. I don’t mean…a strong cup of coffee-type wake up, I mean…running into a brick wall at full speed ahead-wake up.
The same things happen day in and day out, there are seasons in everyone’s lives whether they are farmers, teachers, real estate agents, the list could go on and on. Everyone has a busy time and every one has a slower time. I can appreciate everyone’s busy and slow times-its about what you choose to do in those extra minutes that makes up the surprises in your life. The sparks, the twinkle you see in someone’s eye, the way someone smiles, or doing something for someone else expecting nothing in return.
Pay attention, people! We are surrounded every week by hundreds of people if you take the time to pay attention to others. Yesterday I was in the grocery store and I notice an older woman in a wheelchair putting back groceries as she added her items up with her coupons. I could see she was trying to figure out what she “wanted” and what she “needed”. My heart ached for her, I wanted to say something but I didn’t. I didn’t want her to feel embarrassed or offended by my reaching out to her. Or was it that I was projecting those feelings of mine onto her. My observation was she was was struggling.
As I continued to fill my cart with things that I needed and things that were not a necessity, I continued up and down the aisles, I passed the woman two more times. As I walked up and down the fourth aisle, I realized there was absolutely nothing in my cart that I or my family had to have in that exact moment. Maybe, the milk, the eggs but I knew none of those things were something that my family needed to survive for the next few days.
Selfishly, I walked to the checkout and started unloading my cart as I stood there waiting for my total, I saw the woman waiting three people behind me in line. Something in my gut told me to do something, it was instinctive. The guilt I was feeling walking around the store slapped me in the face. I decided, there is nothing I can do to change her life but I can at least help her pay for her groceries. I bought a gift card and asked the employee helping me to please give it to the women waiting in the line. The employee smiled and thanked me.
I left the store feeling pretty good, feeling blessed that I am able to provide for my family, and that we all can probably live on a lot less than we do. I am challenging myself to do something like this every week for someone…it doesn’t have to involve money…sometimes it’s as simple as picking up the phone and reaching out to someone you know is struggling, or stopping and smiling at someone.
Take time, pay attention, be present in the moments we have, and if you’re drowning where you are, if you are losing parts of the person you thought you were…find a way to climb out of that hole…swim like hell to find something that will keep you afloat, we are the ones who hold our own selves back. Its all on us!
Be courageous! Be strong! We all have this one life!
Life is a funny thing, I constantly am re-writing my life – discovering new things every day and the people I surround myself with has a lot to do with these new discoveries? Life is ever changing and the fluidity of the life “just is,” there is always something happening, right? To me, to you, to the next person you walk past. And none of us truly know what any one person is going through whether it be a great new promotion at work or they have been told that they are losing their battle with cancer. There are so many “what if’s” and I need to work on letting go of the “what if’s” scenario and become focused on the “what is” scenario.
Life is constant…moving in and out, ebbs and flows, high tide and low tides, sorrow and great joy, and there is a lot of truth and a lot of lies, but if life wasn’t this way we would all be standing in quick sand letting our lives and experiences slowly disappear. My experiences shape who I am and why I believe in the things I do. However, there is a time and place an opportunity presents itself to me to help someone else with sharing my experience with them. This is a very valuable trait….to open up and really get raw with someone else (let your soul become raw) when you feel the need, when you feel moved to do so and for me…it’s a very distinct feeling and I know it right away. Sure, I could breeze past these opportunities but down to my core, I WANT and DESIRE the need to help others.
I let myself overthink situations, things people say, and read into words I take completely wrong (that, I believe to be a common trait for a writer), this only speaks more to why I am pondering and starting to figure out to simply, let more shit go.
Don’t get me wrong, I am who I am and therefore parts of me will always just be as they are. Change is possible and you have to let yourself become aware of how you are truly feeling. Be “raw” with yourself!
Some of the things I value about myself are: my desire to always be the best version of myself, the value of family is huge…my tribe (these are the ones I know I could run to no matter what trouble or situation and they would be next to me no matter what), I love hard and I love deeply, I am passionate, I believe the best in people unless they show me otherwise, I also believe in second chances, relationships MUST be nurtured or they can crack and break. There is give and take to everything, I NEED to be more courageous…. I do have hot buttons…. if you want to go there with me…game on! If you want to mess with family, my children, or be disrespectful…game on!!
There are times when family comes together whether it be for Labor Day, Birthdays, or the most celebrated holidays like Christmas but then there are other times that you plan to see each other for no other reason but to just “visit” my family often says. It is the event of just “being” in the same space, same moment, just laughing together…even if you had plans during your time together to forage the bounty of agriculture around you, go to a famous water park, or finally have family photos taken because you are all together. It is these moments that the days and hours don’t matter. Just take that cliché’ term and really “relish in the moments” you have together. No one really knows how much time we have left in this life.
There are so many “holidays” to be together but what about all the months, days, and moments together?? My family was together over the weekend…two birthdays and an anniversary celebrated together. There is hustle and bustle, getting to this place and that, everyone having their own idea about what should or should not happen when we are all together. But that all falls away when you come together with the people you KNOW will always be there.
It was in the moments of sitting in my living room reading “meme’s” from the internet with my sister and our kids in the back room playing that I looked over at her and realized I could just be in the same room with her and know that my life could be peeled back like the skin of an onion and all “my tribe” would be in those layers. In the same space with her makes me feel whole, understood, and complete. She is of my “people”!
Over the years I have gained and lost people in my life…sometimes for the best and for the worst of reasons but these people were placed in my life for a purpose. I have celebrated the holidays with these people. Some are easier to let go of than others. I have learned that other than a few select humans; my family is what is–still, concrete, and steadfast in my life.
I have been told by many over the years to “not over think it” but that is just part of who I am and I don’t think it is necessarily always a negative quality but with some, I think this is how they see it. I admit, to thinking about the consequences of my actions, the things that I say and what will happen even before I have said them, way too much. I think about the words I am wanting to say to someone and then spend too much time trying to figure out if I am going to say them or ask them too much and often, I spend days going back and forth and thus, torturing myself with this second guessing and draining behavior in my life. This was all self inflicted!
There were times in the past that I spent endless amounts of time biting my tongue and trying to be the way I thought others thought I should be because I hate confrontation. I hate the feeling that others might think I am being rude or confrontational. However, who I was, was coming at an expense. There comes a point where you must say what you need too because it begins to tear you apart as a person. This can be where you start to lose who you are or were. So, don’t it! Please don’t!
There are very few people I let into my life some riskier than others but I trust, have faith, and believe the best of them. I will not lie but yes, I do get let down. I will still keep risking this because the value of a relationship/friendship sometimes can change your life forever.
The one true thing I know is that family will always be there. No matter what the circumstances. I could call anyone in my family and if I needed them, no matter what the day. My family is steadfast and loves me unconditionally.