Check it out: http://hemarriedawriter.tumblr.com/
I can’t believe I’m already three months into my ‘Project 40’ year.
Didn’t we just ring in the New Year?
Is it weird that I’m still writing 2014 on most documents?
Do I sound like a crazy person as I talk about how oddly mild the weather is when in actuality the weather is right on track? Because it’s damn near spring and not January like I keep thinking it is.
So I’m hitting the pause button for a second and checking-in.
I look at my ’40 Things to do the Year I turn 40’ list every day (it hangs on the front of our refrigerator) and I am slowly checking things off. Eight things so far, to be exact. With progress being made on five others. Not too shabby.
And as I sit here and reflect on that list, I’m realizing that so far, 2014 (for real. I wrote 2014 for real. See???) 2015 has been pretty kick-ass. And here’s what I’m discovering: it’s kick-ass because not only am I working through my desired intentions, as outlined on my list, I’m also adding things to the list that I didn’t even know to add in 2014 (nailed it).
(2015 hasn’t been all roses and sunshine, don’t get me wrong (hello, acne! So awesome of you to show up this year of all years!) but part of my ‘Project 40’ is staying grateful and living with a mindset of abundance rather that looking at life through a scarcity lens. Bam.)
(Thank you for the inspiration, Mollye!)
Shift your focus. Demand—and declare—gratitude. Take all the pictures. Be still. Keep holding. Power pose. Read it all. Breathe. Close your eyes. Hold on to your heart. Literally. Laugh from your toes, through your belly, and out your eyes. Feel all the sensations and feelings and angst without judgment or cover. Be a soul care-giver. To yourself. Take ten minutes of soul-time to engage-fully—in soul-work every. single. day. And evening. Make it. Take it. Smell it. Savor it. Touch it. Hug it. Honor it. Swallow it. Be so damn brave that you shake and rattle. Connect. Radiate: kindness, hilarity, confidence, passion, authenticity, beauty, vulnerability, sincerity. Observe. Notice. Put the phone down. Turn the TV off. Check-in. Tune in. To the living, breathing world. To you. Often. Walk in their shoes. Walk in your own shoes. Walk until it lets go. Just walk. Consider the other side. See yourself from outside of yourself. Be gentle. Open up. Move your body. And your mind. Daily. Sleep with no alarm. Take a day off. Cuddle. Shut down: the screen, the pressure, the inbox, the notifications. Try just answering to you. Love your greens. Embrace the unknown and see its beauty. Find your tribe. Do not settle. Journal. Without a third point of view—the one called judgment. Inhale lavender and peppermint and lemon. Marvel the moon. Don’t own other’s shit. Be careful and gentle with yourself. Step carefully. Slow down. Take your time. Forgive. Apologize. Mean it. Stop scrolling. Prioritize. Re-prioritize from your soul. Ask yourself, ‘How do you want to feel?’ instead of ‘What do I need to do?’ How does your soul ache to feel? Your belly? Your mind? Your heart? Look forward to something. Meticulously care and plan. Sometimes. Be flexible without guilt. Act as if. Walk as if. Spoil her, him, it, you. Today. Immediately.
So yesterday I wrote a blog post with observations that support this suspicion that I’ve had lately: We’re I’m old. And while all those things were true, I feel a need to write this follow-up post because guess what? Being old is pretty awesome. I swear. Each year just keeps getting better and better and I’m not lying when I say that I’m actually looking forward to turning the big 4-0. (Maybe because I’m only 38 right now. Ask me again in a year.)
Here, let me convince you:
I bought a big bag of Epsom salt yesterday because I read that Epsom salt baths are full of awesome. They soothe achy muscles, reduce inflammation, help you sleep, etc., etc., etc. When I told my husband this and informed him that the bag was in my bathroom if he ever wanted to use it, he simply looked at me and said, ‘Oh good God. We’re old. You should never repeat those words to anyone else ever again.’ And it dawned on me… Oh, shit. He’s totally right. Epsom salt baths are for old people and are just another link in a growing chain of discoveries of how old we really are. Shit.
Here are my recent discoveries/observations. I’m saying ‘we’ just to make myself feel better. This may really only be about me. (Gasp.)
It is December 31, 2013 and I’m bubbling. I’m spending time today saying good-bye to 2013 and deciding how to welcome in 2014. While I typically engage in a ritual to close out one year and welcome in another year, I’m doing it entirely differently this year. And it feels soooooo good.
Rather than lamenting over my muffin-top that has held on for yet another year, I’m reflecting on all that my body allowed me to do in 2013: travel all over the country in tight airplanes, sleep in lumpy hotel beds, do yoga on shaggy orange carpet in a hotel room in the middle of nowhere, run a half-marathon from Loveland Ski Area to Georgetown, CO, walk the entire city of San Francisco, and explore a new neighborhood with Lucy.
Rather than making a list of ‘must-do’ tasks and accomplishments for 2014, I’m thinking about how I want to feel next year and what I need to do to ensure these feelings.
I want to feel radiant so I’m going to ditch the gluten and the dairy for good and move my body more often than I let it sit idle.
I want to feel calm so I’m going to set office hours for myself, unplug on the weekends and evenings, and let go of Facebook a bit. Quite a bit.
I want to be fully present in my own life and so I’m going to spend less time poking around online and more time in my journal, with my watercolors, and looking through my camera lens.
I want to feel nurtured and so I’m not going to always opt for convenience or the easy route, instead I’m going to treat myself more and let the guilt go.
I want to feel authentic and so I’m going to finish my book on supporting beginning teachers and continue to design trainings for educators that are worthy of their time and attention.
I want to laugh at the hilariousness of life and revel in the humor that makes everything ok. I’m going to lean my head back and let the laughter come up from my toes and pour out through my throat until my tummy hurts and the tears flow. Daily.
I want to feel whole and enough. I’m going to change my inner-dialogue and talk to myself just as I’d talk to you, dear reader. With kindness, respect, appreciation, and love.
I haven't been publishing my writing lately but I've filled up an entire 300 page journal since October with 'stuff.' There's something about this, my 38th year, that's making me extremely reflective.
So here's some of what I've been thinking about lately:
1. Starting an art journal is a delicious thing. Pulling out my markers and watercolors and glue sticks and photographs, taps into a creative side of me that I've been hiding for awhile... and she's been missed. I always gave all creativity credit to the rest of my family but guess what? I've got a touch of the trait myself... huh. Who knew?
2. Looking through the lens of my camera feels good again, too. Seeing the world through the small square vision provided by an actual camera (not the camera on my phone), reminds me of the beauty of lines and color and shading and distance. Combining #1 with #2 is a most delicious cocktail.
3. Did you know that you're not supposed to feel like crap every time you eat? Huh. I'll be damned. It's taken me 38 years (38 YEARS!!!!!!) to figure out that what I eat is totally, 100% connected to how I feel, look, and behave. And because of this, I'm going through a terrible break-up with cheese, milk, and gluten. It's horrific. For now. I anticipate looking back on our relationship fondly while I thank my tummy and my skin for showing me my true loves. But right now, I'm grieving. And cheating.
4. There should not be any guilt for doing nothing. This, too, has taken me YEARS to learn. I have not sat and done NOTHING for a very, very, very long time--because it made me feel guilty. And stressed. And I'd run over to my work or my email or stupid Facebook or the TV or... rather than just sitting through it. Hence, I'm also learning to breathe. Again. And take in the world without a screen in front of my face.
5. Gratitude. I've always been a gratitude kind of gal but lately I've amped it up a bit. I'm REALLY stopping to be grateful for that coffee mug I love so much, the ability to walk into a grocery store and have an entire aisle of options when it comes to paper towels, new shoes that make my feet feel pampered, the way that Lucy lays her head in my lap when I'm sitting on the couch, how the sun peeks in our bedroom window in the morning, exploring my new neighborhood by foot... ALL of it. Even better? I'm snapping pictures of those things. (See #1 and #2 above.)
So there you have it. Thanks for missing me.
And then the babies arrived and the demanding work schedules took their toll and the need to save vacation time for in-laws and family treks back to the midwest became our realities and the annual Vegas trip fell by the wayside. Like Thursday night TV nights and Book Club.
While I grieved the loss of the annual Vegas trip (and Thursday nights and Book Club) for a time, I also realized what it meant: We were turning into grown-ups. With responsibilities. And babies. BABIES! And lawns to mow and mortgages to pay and dogs to walk and and and… It’s a natural and expected phase of life. And I love watching my girls raise beautiful children, settle into amazing, love-filled homes, and work hard to balance it all.
But I’ve missed ‘us.’
And so when the words, ‘Let’s go back to Vegas, Baby’ came back onto scene, uttered by my best-friend of 22 years (how can we be this old?), I did my happy dance. We’re baaaaaack, baby. We’re back! We’ve crossed a certain milestone where babies can now be left in the care of Dad for a few days and vacation time has expanded over the years and we’ve got a few more bucks in our pocket so we don’t have to drive across the desert anymore. We can fly away for a long weekend and live like we’re 22 again… for a few days at least.
And I’m so excited I could pee.
Of course I’m sad that only two of us could pull it off this time but I also know that there’s more trips in the making. Perhaps Vegas in the winter? Wine country in the spring? A Thursday night reunion? The rejuvenation of a long lost book club? Oh yes, it’s coming… it’s all coming.
Melissa and I are going to kick it off. Starting in a few hours.
And so as I pack my sensible shoes for walking and new ‘appropriate for my age and body type’ swimsuit, I’m smiling. I have a feeling this is the start of something new—again.
Whaaaaat? How cool is this? My former student (and current friend and inspiration) nominated me for a Liebster Award for this little ‘ol blog.
In her words: This is basically an award from other bloggers that like what you’re writing about. Once nominated, you continue to highlight smaller blogs so they can eventually grow and reach more people as well. I like the idea because it features bloggers that have a lot of great things to say but maybe haven’t gained a following yet.
Thank you to Ali Medina at http://farfromom.wordpress.com for this nomination!
So, here is how it works:
1. When you receive the award, you post 11 random facts about yourself
2. You must answer 11 questions from the person who nominated you.
3. Pass the award onto 11 other blogs.
4. Ask them 11 questions.
5. You are not allowed to nominate the blogger who nominated you!
11 Facts About Me:
Lately, I feel like I spend more time at airports and in hotels than I do at home. Which means that I’m often tempted to hug strangers because I love hugs (I make my husband and Lucy (our dog) hug me everyday when I’m at home. Usually more than once).
I have been known to buy three versions of books I love: 1) The Kindle edition to read while traveling, 2) The hardcover copy for my bookshelf, and 3) The paperback copy to pass on and around to those I demand read it.
I cannot get through a single morning without at least one cup of coffee. Seriously. I think I’d die without it. It’s an addiction.
When people do not follow proper boarding and de-boarding procedures on an airplane I experience ‘plane rage.’
If given the choice, I will ALWAYS choose to sit on the patio at a restaurant. This is why living in Denver works so well with my soul.
I believe in the transformative power of K-12 education in the deepest depths of my being and when I meet a teacher who isn’t doing the profession justice, I take it as a personal attack.
I smell school supplies.
I have never regretted the decision to not have a baby. Ever.
I love how the world changes when I put in my headphones and observe it all with a musical background.
I still get pimples. I am 38 damn years old and just got a new one this morning.
I still look for Eric at the airport every time I arrive home.
My Questions From Ali:
1. Which book do you feel every person needs to read in their lifetime? The Tender Bar. I am so in love with this book that my husband knows there’s a serious danger that I’d leave him for JR Moehringer. (I mean I wouldn’t but…)
2. Best place you have traveled to for relaxing? My parents’ home on the water.
3. Place you have traveled to for adventure? Eric and I like to travel to cities so we make our own adventures every time we explore a new urban space.
4. Life philosophy? Life. Is. Good. Damn good.
5. Person that is not a friend or family member that has influenced you most in your life? Probably all of the authors that have resonated with my soul: Anne Lamott, Brene Brown, Dave Eggers, Dr. Robert Marzano… I know I’m forgetting at least 150 here. There’s just soooo many.
6. One thing you suggest everyone do before they die? This is tough because I believe it’s so personal… basically, if you have a dream, chase it. And don’t look back.
7. Your favorite thing to do when you have a day off/to yourself? Spend an entire day at the bookstore. In yoga pants.
8. The place you want to retire? It’s a tie: New York City and/or San Francisco.
9. Goal for this year? Finish my book.
10. A cause that you fight for/are interested in? Public education/K-12 students.
11. Is there a business you would like to start? I would love to ‘train trainers,’ start my own ‘826 Valencia,’ and/or help women lead their best lives through coaching and writing…
Blogs I am nominating: (Going to keep this list small… but mighty!)
http://susanbednar.tumblr.com One of my oldest friends (elementary school!) and funniest voices I know.
http://www.randomthoughtsbyrebecca.com A new friend who I want to be like in more ways than one.
https://www.facebook.com/MyEquatorSearch A friend from high-school—who is so incredibly brave I am in awe.
http://freckleschick.blogspot.com My girl here has plenty ‘o followers already but her voice—and STYLE—is drool-worthy.
My questions for the blog I nominated:
What gets you out of bed in the morning?
What is your second favorite food?
What did you want to be when you grew up when you were a child?
If you could have any job in the world, what would it be?
What is your favorite day of the week?
If you could have drinks with an-y-one, who would it be?
What room in your house is your favorite?
Morning or night?
Biggest pet peeve?
What are you most proud of about yourself?
What legacy do you hope to leave?
Eight years were lived here. Fully. We were married here. I was a teacher, instructional coach, assistant principal, project director, and MRL associate here. We adopted Lucy here and watched our family of two become a family of three. We sopped up a lot of water here. We had softball championship celebrations, New Year’s Eve parties, Thanksgiving meals for friends, book clubs, and girls’ nights here. Lots of date nights were spent here. We bought that roomful of Crate and Barrel furniture from Michigan Avenue here. We watched neighbors—some crazy, some sane—come and go. Someone slept in my Jeep here. We’ve been snowed in. We’ve sat outside, eating BBQ food, and eavesdropped on our neighbors out back here. We’ve driven around and around and around, looking for parking spots here. We’ve paid a million dollars in parking tickets on the first Monday and Tuesday of each damn month. Because, no, we just can’t learn. There used to be a crack house next door. Now it’s a nice rental unit. We’ve become regulars at Streets of London, The Irish Snug, Las Margaritas, Parallel 17, Hamburger Mary’s, The Tattered Cover, Walgreen’s, Cheesman Park, and Pasquini’s. We’ve had a lot of pizza here. We watched the old Argonaut get torn down and have done wine tasting at the new Argonaut paradise. We’ve cursed that shitty Laundromat, Smiley’s, again and again. We’ve crossed the street to avoid the bus stop at Colfax and Downing. We’ve advised visitors: ‘Don’t go left.’ I trained for the NYC Marathon here. Eric started running here. Ah, the famous 15 bus has provided story after story here. Bar crawls from the Squire to Sancho’s and every dive in-between. The shows. Oh, the shows. The Fillmore, the Ogden, the Bluebird. Voodoo Donuts is coming a few weeks too late. We’ve watched them paint the outside pink. Sprouts sprouted. Our stuff was stolen—not here—but on a weekend away from here. The irony. I got my PhD here. We lost weight, gained weight, lost weight, gained weight here. I got Lasik here. We’ve been well, we’ve been sick, we’ve been well here. We’ve been blissful. We’ve cried and had meltdowns here. (Mainly me.) We’ve moved the family room, painted with red, and installed new hardwood floors after the water main break here. We’ve added cork after cork after cork to our hanging display. We’ve managed to make it across Colfax safely. It’s a game of Frogger every single day. We’ve warded off begger after begger here. We’ve given our leftovers to our local homeless men. We’ve let crazy people pet our Lucy around here. We’ve tripped over the broken sidewalks, bumped bumpers trying to parallel park. We’ve defended our city, our neighborhood, our corner, to suburbanites again and again. We’ve watched it all change. Starbuck’s arrived, new 7-11’s came in, the Rockbar closed down, our favorite coffee shop opened across the street. The grit remains, though. Luckily. Many an evening and Sunday afternoon were spent on a patio, watching the show pass by. The Ramada served as our guestroom. We’ve made amazing friends here. We’ve cursed our historical building and then we hugged it. We loved its brick walls, hardwood floors, and open spaces. We’ve hated the lack of doors, lack of storage, lack of parking. Half our stuff is in the storage space down the street. We’ve watched the feet go by out our windows. We’ve. Lived. Here. REALLY lived. It held our memories for eight years.
We sold it.