On Turning 30

It’s official, this is the last weekend of my 20’s. I turn the big 3-0 on Monday and I’m having mixed emotions about it. On one hand, I believe age is nothing but a number; intrinsically, I know this. But on the other hand, it feels like leaving my 20’s behind is fully committing to this adulthood thing, and to be honest, I’m not sure I’m ready. So kicking and screaming, I will leave 29 behind and resign to my fate: I’m a grown up.

Last weekend I had several moments where I kind of stopped and said, “huh, I guess this is adulting”. Case in point: Brendan and I had plans to drive to Cuyahoga Falls on Saturday to see DMB and we ended up bailing at the last minute. What other exciting plans  came up instead, you ask? Yard work. Freaking yard work. 27 year old me is laughing at how lame we are. 29 year old me( I’m still 29, dammit!) totally gets it. I started weeding like 6 weeks ago, and then every single time I attempted to finish the job, it rained. And rained. And rained. So while the dog was in the kennel last weekend, we decided to just bite the bullet and finish it. And you know what? I didn’t hate it. Who the heck am I, this yard work loving grownup?

On Friday I went over to my parents to help them spread mulch. Every year growing up I would absolutely dread mulch weekend: the heat , the manual labor, the literal shoveling a steaming pile of crap- I hated it all. But this time, I went voluntarily and actually kind of enjoyed it. There is something to be said for doing yard work. Unlike cleaning a bathroom, which gets filthy in a matter of hours, you can actually sit back and enjoy the fruits of your labor.

To further this point, I’ve told pretty much everyone to get me Lowe’s or Home Depot gift cards for my birthday. I stopped at Home Depot yesterday to buy ant traps and ended up wandering around the nursery for a good 20 minutes, admiring all of the flowers that I want to plant. I’m hoping that next weekend we can at least start to plant flowers, put down pavers and maybe clean out the cesspool of a pond we have out back.

Maybe this is what adulthood is: getting dirty, pulling weeds, and shoveling very large piles of crap. To 30 I say: ready or not, here I come.

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Perspective

This post will be a short one because I’m sitting in Carnegie Coffee with 20% battery left and no power supply. But, I need to write something if only to prove to myself that I am still capable of doing so.

Last week was a struggle, and honestly, this week has been much the same. It is really weird how some weeks I feel confident, and other weeks I question myself non-stop. It is a vicious cycle of highs and lows, and I need to focus on staying even-keeled through it all. Isn’t it strange how when everything is going well, you wonder how you ever get into a funk; and when you are feeling down, you wonder how you ever manage to have good days? I guess that is a good lesson in perspective- it’s always hard to imagine any state other than the one you are in.

This past weekend was our 3 year anniversary, and we went camping to celebrate. It was $100 to put the dog in the kennel, and $50 for the campsite, so I think maybe Kona got the sweeter deal. The past 2 years we haven’t actually celebrated on our anniversary because I was out of town both times- New Orleans for the first year, and on a cross-country road trip last year. Luckily, my dear husband hasn’t held it against me. Either that, or he’s keeping these transgressions in his back pocket for the first time he forgets our anniversary. 😉

Nevertheless, it was a much needed weekend away. We were literally the ONLY ones on the entire campgrounds, probably because it was chilly and rainy most of the weekend. It was raining when we got there on Friday night, which made starting a fire and putting up a tent less than ideal. We only brought one sleeping mat (which I let B have), so I slept with my sleeping bag directly on ground. A waterproof tent and waterproof sleeping bag will only go so far- needless to say, I spent most of Friday into Saturday listening to him snore away, while I tossed and turned in what felt like a giant, wet diaper.

On Saturday, the weather was gorgeous and we went for a long bike ride, and then took a hike down to the river to renew our vows. We bought some beer, cooked out, made s’mores and watched the Pens game from a tiny iPhone screen inside of our tiny tent. We managed to procure another sleeping mat, and let me tell you, being warm and cozy inside of my sleeping bag felt like sleeping in the Taj Mahal. Again, it’s all about perspective!

Time always seems to move more slowly when we’re camping, which can’t be said about spending a weekend at a nice resort. All in all, the rain and wet sleeping bags made for good memories and it was a nice weekend away. Nothing fancy, but totally us. On Sunday we came home and got to see both of our families on Mother’s Day. My parents had been out of town for a couple of weeks, so it was great to see them and hear about their trip. It had also been forever since I’d seen my in-laws, so it was nice to see them and catch up as well.

This weekend I start my Yoga Teacher Training which I am excited for. Two weeks ago, I started teaching 6 AM classes on Monday and Friday, and it’s been great so far (aside from waking up at 5). I think I will feel a lot more confident about teaching once I get this first weekend of training under my belt.

Anyways, I am running out of things to say just as my battery is running out of power- so I guess that concludes today’s riveting post!

 

Ebbs and Flows

I haven’t written all week because truthfully, it’s been a rough one and I feel like everytime I write, it’s about my endless cycles of ups and downs, ebbs and flows. I know that everyone has days, weeks, or months like this- but admitting when you are in a funk (especially on a public blog) isn’t easy to do. Frankly, most of the time it’s easier to bury emotions than confront them head on and admit that they are a force to be reckoned with.

My self-confidence took a major blow this week, and I kept hoping that I would wake up one day and feel back on track, ready to spread some light and positivity to the world. But sooner or later you have to come to terms with your situation, and this is mine. Writing is my catharsis, so I guess the only way to get back to myself is to write, to pour out all of the negativity and allow some optimism to take its place.

It is so easy to allow one misstep to throw your entire life off kilter- especially when it feels like everything has been going your way. Isn’t it funny how one unkind word, one incident of road rage, one personal slight can derail a perfectly good day? Life is a series of two steps forward, one step back- this week was my one step back. On the bright side, I guess that means that I’ll have a few steps forward coming up soon.

My goal of this blog was to be completely raw and unedited. So much of the internet is about projecting the best version of yourself- showing off your new shoes, your adorable children, your recent promotion. What we don’t see is that sometimes the new shoes were purchased on a maxed out credit card, those adorable children can be straight-up jerks, and the recent promotion comes with an extra 20 hours of overtime per week.

Someone told me recently that I seem like I have it altogether, and I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. I never want to project the image that I have it all figured out, all of the time. Yes, sometimes I have it together. Some days I feel like I’ve hit my stride and I can keep confidently moving forward. Other times I feel like I am hanging on by a thread. On those days, I just have to drag myself out of bed and force myself to act like an adult.

We are entitled to our emotions, both good and bad. We are allowed to be angry, frustrated, or jealous just as much as we are allowed to be happy, fearless, or peaceful. What is important is how we deal with those emotions. Do we use them to motivate progress and change? Or do we allow them to beat us down and defeat us? Admittedly, I’ve allowed myself to be defeated this week; I’ve allowed doubt and paranoia to seep into my conscience, and I’ve spent a lot of time questioning my self-worth.

To steal a note from Anonymous groups everywhere: The first step towards recovery is admitting that there is a problem. So, here’s to life’s backward steps. Here’s to acknowledging that I’m having a rough go of it. Here is to facing issues head on instead of ignoring them. Here is to allowing myself to feel down at times. And here is to brushing myself off, and taking another step forward in spite of this.

 

 

 

In Bloom

I’ve realized over the past week or so that the happier I am, the harder it is for me to write. Isn’t it funny how that works? The whole ‘tortured artist’ persona makes much more sense to me now- negativity makes for a very good muse. When I am upset and my mind is racing, the words just flow out of me without me having to give it much thought. When I am especially anxious, my thoughts and emotions are so rapid-fire that I feel like if I don’t sit down and start typing, my head will surely explode. On the contrary, when my mind is calm, I find that I actually have to think about what to say- which is why its been so hard for me to write recently. That being said, I’d rather be less motivated to write because I am more inclined to live. (I mean ‘live’ in the ‘wholeheartedly experience life’ sense, not the ‘opposite of death’ sense).

I said to Brendan at one point over the weekend that I just feel happy, for no reason at all. That sounds melodramatic, but it’s true. For the past 6 months or so, I haven’t really felt happy unless there was a reason to be- a holiday, a vacation, an impulse purchase, etc. It feels so good to find peace with the routine, humdrum pace of everyday life. It took a few weeks to find that new sense of normal, but I think I am finally getting there. I still have my bouts of crippling self doubt, but they are fewer and farther between these days. I’m not sure if I feel this way because I’m finally realizing that the world hasn’t screeched to a halt on account of me, or if it’s because the weather has been absolutely beautiful, but I suspect it’s a bit of both. It’s nearly impossible to be miserable when the sun is shining and the birds are chirping; I want to live in a world where the seasons ebb and flow between perpetual states of spring and fall. Yes, I know  that I probably wouldn’t fully appreciate the beauty of April and October without suffering through February and August, but I’m willing to give it a try!

I’ve been trying to enjoy the gorgeous weather as much as possible- we went golfing on Sunday, and on Monday night we took Kona to the creek for a swim. I felt so at peace, which I always do when I’m out in nature and disconnected from everything else. When Brendan and I first started dating, we used to walk along a  wooded trail and just talk for hours; my favorite memories with him almost always involve doing something outside. We don’t have functioning air conditioning currently (the units will be installed at the beginning of May) so I’ve been loving having the windows open and getting fresh air. The thermostat consistently reads between 72 and 80 degrees, which in my mind is absolutely perfect, although the other 2 members of this household would tend to disagree.

On Saturday,  I took Kona outside in the morning and I noticed one single tulip growing in our weed-ravaged garden. I almost overlooked it at first, since I’ve been trying to turn a blind eye to the disarray of our yard in hopes that one morning I will wake up and find it perfectly landscaped. Alas, this has not happened yet and yard work is on the agenda for this weekend. Tulips are my absolute favorite flower, and it was such a treat to find this little red and yellow gem growing right outside of our back door. It feel like such a metaphor for my life- sometimes the weeds overtake the garden and it seems like nothing will bloom again, but if you look hard enough, you might find that a flower pokes through. That little tulip made my day, it was such a sign of hope.

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Catching Up

Hello World!

I feel like its been forever since I last wrote, but its been kind of a crazy week. Brendan was out of town Tuesday through Thursday, and every time I would sit down to write, Kona would start acting obnoxious and I’d get distracted. He gets neutered next week, so here’s hoping he calms down a bit. I’m trying to make a point of actually leaving the house to get work done, since working from home involves blatantly ignoring clutter and messiness and unfinished projects; this can be challenging at best,  if not downright impossible. I’ve always been the type of person who needs to have everything in order before I can concentrate, which would probably explain why I always preferred to study in the library back when I was in college.

I can honestly say that I am in a much better place than I was 2 weeks ago. I’ve been working twice a week a local boutique, which has been great so far. It’s a 5 minute walk from my house, I like that I work for a small local business, and I love that I don’t feel mentally exhausted at the end of the day. And if we’re being honest here, it’s also good that on 2 days a week I have to wear something other than yoga pants. I love me some yoga pants as much as the next gal, but when I wear them every single day, they become a gateway drug towards letting myself go.

We had a pretty big win with PepperMin this week; we submitted a proposal for a graphic design job which we ended up getting. Aside from some much needed cash flow, it was a HUGE morale booster as well. Up until this point, we’ve been taking mostly small jobs that don’t pay well just so that we have something to work on. There is a fine line between needing to get off the ground and underselling ourselves, and we’ve been toeing this line for a few months now. I think the lesson learned this week was that we need to value our time. If you don’t value yourself, no one else will.

I was talking to my boss at the boutique this week and I asked her how she got her interior design business up and running. She said that when she first left the corporate world people would constantly ask her what she was going to do, and her answer was always “I’m going to pray about it.” Inevitably, that would be met with the follow up question, “yes, I know you are going to pray, but what are you going to do?” and she would give the same response, “I’m going to pray about it”. Ironically, this is the same advice my mom has been giving me this month my whole life.

I realize that the “Let go and let God” approach works for a lot of people- but for me, it always felt like sort of a cop out. I’m a planner through and through, so I’ve always more closely aligned with the “God helps those who help themselves” approach. I’m realizing now that those two schools of belief are not mutually exclusive. We can take chances and try to better ourselves, and at the end of the day also realize that we have very little control over our own lives. Call it God, call it the universe (or if you are like me, the two are one and the same), call it whatever you like: there are forces bigger than us at play in this life. Faithfully surrender to the fact that you are not in control.

There is a bumper sticker that I’ve seen a few times, which always makes me giggle:

You are a ghost driving a meat covered skeleton made from stardust riding a rock floating through space. Fear nothing.

It is a blessing and a relief to know that in the grand scheme of things, our problems and fears and insecurities are just not that important.

 

 

Dear Me

Dear Me-

Today you are about to start 6th grade. You’ve gone to private school until this point, with the same 20 kids that you’ve known since kindergarten. Today you are making the switch into the big, scary world of public school. All summer long you’ve thought about what to wear on your first day- school uniforms are now a thing of the past. The anticipated day is finally here, and you proudly rock a checkered skort, red blouse, and jelly sandals. You got braces and contacts over the summer, and you feel confident and ready to take on a new school. You don’t know this now, but 6th grade is going to make you feel small and worthless. You will soon find out that middle school is a cruel purgatory between the innocence of being a child and the assuredness of being an adult. You are going to sit alone at lunch, and you will be the last one picked in gym class. You will find out that kids can ruthless, and you’ll be told that you are too skinny, too ugly, and too uncool. You will come home every day and cry and beg mom to not make you face one more day. You will think that this is the absolute worst time in your life, but you will get through this.


 

Dear Me-

Today is the last day of 9th grade. You are going to the doctor tomorrow morning to figure out why you’ve been so tired all the time. You don’t know this yet, but the doctor is going to find a lump on your thyroid. Over the next couple of months you are going to have 10,000 questions- the biggest of which is “why me?” You are going to have countless tests and appointments, and then you are going to need surgery. One day soon the phone will ring and mom is going to cry and hug you and tell you that it was cancerous. You will start 10th grade and have more surgery. Then 9/11 will happen, and the world will become a darker, scarier place. You are going to wake up every day convinced that you will die soon, and you’ll wonder, what’s the point of living? You will become a shell of yourself and you will think that you can’t go on for one more day, but you will get through this.


 

Dear Me-

Today you graduate from college. You’ve worked hard and managed to graduate with honors, and everyone will celebrate your accomplishments. You will have a hard time enjoying the day, because it seems like everyone else has employment and apartments lined up, and you are moving back into your childhood bedroom and facing a void of unknowns. You’ll go through a month of unrelenting anxiety about the future and nightmares about growing old in your parents’ basement. You will constantly compare yourself to all of your peers, and think that you don’t measure up. You will wonder why no recruiters have called you back, and long for the carefree days of being a college senior. You will be convinced that you are not ready to take on the real world, but you will get through this.


 

Dear Me-

Today you will decide once and for all that you absolutely must quit your job. You’ve thought about this for months, but after you type out your resignation email, your finger will hover over the send button for 20 minutes while you build up courage to actually click it. You will feel a wave of relief for having done something necessary, and yet so unlike you. Your relief will soon be replaced with crushing anxiety over the future. You will question your sanity, and your potential, and your self-worth. You will feel overwhelmed with the trials and tribulations of starting a business. You will do yoga daily, because sweating feels like releasing all of the toxins from your body. You will write daily, because writing feels like releasing all of the toxins from your mind. You will post some of these entries online because you want to create something tangible and shareable. You will feel like you have no idea what you are doing, but you will get through this.

New Identity

As of this today, I  have officially been away from the corporate world for a full week. I’ve had many people check in with me this past week to see how/what I am doing-so here is an update.

I would say that the hardest part of this transition so far has been a loss routine. For the past 8 years I’ve had the same routine: wake up, go to work, watch the clock for 8+ hours, come home. Lather, rinse, repeat. To be certain, this routine wasn’t enjoyable by any means, but it was habitual and habits are always hard to break. I’ve still been waking up early, but now I have the freedom to decide how to spend the day. I’ve still been busy, which is good- idleness makes me stir crazy. I’m the type of person who has a hard time taking a sick day- I can’t just lay around in bed all day, I have the constant feeling that I need to be doing something, anything. So while I get my bearings, I’ve been doing my best to stay busy. I’ve also made a point to not turn on the TV once over the past week; I love a Netflix bender as much as the next person, but it is too easy to get sucked down that rabbit hole and emerge bleary-eyed, 10 hours later.

In addition to the loss of my routine, I would say that I’ve been undergoing a bit of an identity crisis as well. For as long as Brendan and I have been together, I’ve always brought in at least 50% of the household income. In a way, I’ve always considered that to be my biggest contribution to our marriage, which I realize is crazy. I’ve never looked at him and thought that his only marital input was bringing in half of the bacon, so why on earth would I value myself that way? I guess it goes to show that we put far more pressure on ourselves than we do on others. He’s been my rock through this process, offering me reassurance that I made the right choice and that my worth as a wife and as an individual is not based on my income.

I think in this day and age, women especially feel a pressure to hold their own in the workplace and maintain their financial independence . Don’t misunderstand me, the feminist in me is proud of how far women have come professionally in the last few decades. However, with careerism comes a mindset that our value as a human being is directly tied to our paycheck; and believe me, this is a VERY hard mindset to get rid of. If you are on an upward trajectory of a career that you love, by all means, lean in! But if you are like me and you keep asking yourself, “why am I still doing this?” and the only answer you come up with is, “because it pays well”,  it might be time to shift your priorities.

Over the past 6 months when I was debating leaving the corporate world, I kept telling myself, “I don’t have a choice, I have to keep this job. We can’t afford for me to quit”. But you know what? When we took a hard look at our finances, we realized how much money we were wasting spending on needless items. How many times did we order pizza instead of taking the time to make dinner? How many times did I stop at TJ Maxx on the way home from work because I needed to buy something to in order to forget a crappy day? How many unworn shades of MAC lipstick have been rolling around in the bottom of my purse for the last decade? For me, the cost of those small $20 and $50 choices was the feeling that I had no choice in the bigger issue: leaving a job I didn’t love because I felt I needed the paycheck. I had been wanting us to cut back on spending, this opportunity has forced us into action.

It is so easy to get caught up in consumerism and feeling like we need to keep up with the Jones’. Looking back on my first job out of college, I was making roughly half of what I made when I left my job last month. During those first few years, I still managed to pay my bills even though I was making far less. The only difference between then and now is that I wasn’t spending as much on myself, and I actually had to think before making impulse purchases. We need far less to get by than we think we do.

I do want take the time to acknowledge that I am fortunate. Extraordinarily fortunate. My spouse has a stable job that he loves, which has allowed me to take this chance. I am in no way discounting that there are many, many people with more financial burdens than we have. I realize that there are single parents out there who need to do whatever it takes to make ends meet; to them, I tip my hat and say that you are some of the strongest people out there. The point of this post is not to tell everyone to follow my exact same path- in some cases, this is just not possible.

My long-winded conclusion here is that our value as human beings has nothing to do with how much we make, or how much we spend. This is something that I am struggling with currently, so I recognize that it is not easy to unwind from this mentality. We have so much more to offer in life than our income. Ask any teacher out there: when you do something that you are passionate about, the money is secondary. Slowly but surely, I am learning this.

 

Spring Cleaning


It’s Saturday night and I’m sitting here with a homemade tumeric face mask on (giving my skin tone the uncanny resemblance to a certain presidential nominee) and I’m a captive audience, so I figured now was as good a time as any to crank out a post.

I was certain that yesterday morning I would wake up thinking my first cubicle-free day would feel as if I had played a giant April Fool’s Day Joke on myself… but it didn’t. I slept in until the blissful hour of 7 AM, got some work for the business done, made breakfast, went to yoga, cleaned the bathroom, went for a walk around the neighborhood with Kona, and went on a job interview all before 3:00. It was such an ordinary day, and such a good day. It was the first day in a while where I actually believed that everything was going to be ok. I’ve kind of been in ‘fake it til you make it’ mode these past couple of weeks, always feeling like I still needed to convince myself that this was the right decision. My mom sent me a text that said “Welcome to the first day of the rest of your life!” and I smiled when I read it because it feels good to be at the beginning of something new instead of at the end of something old.

Since I was in Get-Sh*t-Done mode all day yesterday, last night I finally tackled the laundry/ unpacking/closet chaos that had taken over my bedroom floor. I love spring and the temperate weather, but this time of year always makes for wardrobe mayhem since it’s sundresses and flip flops on one day, jeans and a sweater the next.  This weekend was the perfect time for a closet purge, and purge I did. From lifeless sweaters to old swimsuits, no item was spared the wrath of my decluttering. So many business casual items that I’ve loathed for so long ended up in a bag destined for Goodwill.

Last fall when we were packing up the condo to move, I went on a major purging rampage and donated boxes upon boxes of stuff. It got to the point where Brendan finally said, “you realize we are moving to a bigger house, right? So, we actually need to have some stuff to put in it.” It definitely adds a interesting dynamic to our marriage, me constantly trying to get rid of things and him constantly reminding me that only one of us is an aspiring minimalist. But I think even he will admit that my incessant purging ultimately made for a much easier move. (I think our next move should be into a converted VW van, but something tells me I won’t win that debate.)

I’m probably in the margin by saying this, but I would much rather spend the day cleaning my closet than going shopping. I realize that probably sounds like blasphemy to most, but hear me out: There’s something so cathartic with getting rid of the junk, cleaning out the items that no longer serve us.  We spend so much time and energy acquiring things that we rarely ever take stock of what we can eliminate. Shedding layers of stuff inevitably leaves me feeling lighter when I’m done.

I vaguely recall reading a parable about a man walking around with a bag on his back, picking up pebbles. The weight of each pebble feels inconsequential, but after a while he is staggering under the weight of his bag. He stops and dumps out the contents, and realizes that he doesn’t need to put any of the pebbles back into the bag. While I’m not entirely sure that I retold the story correctly, the gist of it is this: almost everything we have, we can live without. It is so easy to get weighed down with a bunch junk that doesn’t actually contribute to our lives in any meaningful way.

I had a teacher yoga once who said that practicing mindfulness on the mat leads to practicing mindfulness off of the mat. When I first heard that, I chocked it up to a bunch of new-agey crap, but I realize now how much truth there is to it. In a world where we are constantly multitasking, it feels good to focus on just one thing. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve snacked mindlessly, only to realize that I wasn’t even hungry in the first place. Or how many times I’ve gone into Target for laundry detergent, only to emerge $200 later, sans the Tide. Or how many times I’ve picked up my phone to check the time, only to fall into the pit of Facebook and realize that I’ve seen 500 pictures of people’s kids, but I still don’t know what time it is.

This month, my challenge for myself (and all 6 of my readers) is to Spring Clean the clutter. Clean the physical clutter-  get rid of the stuff that is bulging out of our closets and taking up real estate in our cabinets. Donate it to someone who actually needs it. Clean the mental clutter- stop doing activities that waste time but aren’t actually productive. Hint: it probably involves spending less time on an iPhone. Clean the emotional clutter- stop carrying around negative emotions that drag us down. What fears, guilt, worries, and prejudices can we let go of?

Stop carrying around a bag of pebbles- let go of what no longer serves you.


 

 

You can go to http://pickupplease.org/  to schedule a pickup. They will come to your house and pick up whatever donations you have, and all of the proceeds benefit the Vietnam Vets of America. 

 

 

 

 

 

Hey, Hey, Hey- Goodbye

As of this afternoon, I’ve officially left the cubicle life behind in search of greener pastures. It was a surreal moment walking out of the office this afternoon, desk plant in one hand, car keys in the other, marching onward to  a future that is wide open. In the weeks leading up to that moment, I wasn’t sure how I would actually feel when I made that final walk; but the first thing I did when I walked out the door was breathe a (literal) sigh of relief. If my life were a movie, The Supremes would have been playing in the background as I made that final trek to my car.

I was thinking earlier this week about how I ended up at this particular juncture in my life. I’ve always been a play-it-safe kind of gal with a high aptitude for uncertainly avoidance. I realized that when we follow the path of least resistance, we always find ourselves exactly where we ‘should’ be, yet with no discernible idea of how we actually got there. Its sort of like taking a hike, and spending too much time reading the map instead of enjoying the view. When there are no roadblocks or detours that mark the way, we get to the summit and realize that the journey was wholly unremarkable. This is one of those big detours off of the beaten path with the hope of a spectacular view (or else I’ll get eaten by a bear instead. Kidding, sort of).

The past few months have been an absolute roller coaster up highs and lows, and I’m certain that the new few months will feel much the same. I have SO much to learn, and I know that many of these lessons will be hard. But as they say, it builds character. When I look back at my life, I know that moments that defined who I am today were the moments that were most difficult while I was going through them. Regardless of the outcome, this detour will define me.

Hope & Thankfulness

This post will be short and sweet- I am currently writing it at 7:30 PM from bed while I wait for a NyQuil coma to kick in. I had a mild cold all weekend, which over the course of Easter dinner,  turned into what feels like the black plague. So, forgive any typos or random steams of nonsense in this post.

I spent the weekend thinking about what Easter means; if it could be described in one word, it would be “hope”. Pure and simple, hope. When we are in the shadows of our darkest days, it can sometimes feel like the light will never break through the clouds. It is there that we must rely on hope: the faith that great things lie ahead of us, if we just keep pushing forward. The path might not always be illuminated, but it exists nonetheless.

When it feels like hope is lost, the best thing to do is focus on what you have to be grateful for. Sometimes it feels like there is really nothing to be thankful for, and during those times, you can always be thankful for the breath in your lungs. It might not be much, but it means that we are alive. I keep reminding myself that struggles are a blessing in disguise; I might not appreciate them now, but I will one day. In the mean time, I need to focus on appreciating what I can be grateful for right now.

I haven’t taken the time this week to fully appreciate all of the blessings that I have in my life because I’ve been too focused on my worries. This month I’ve gotten to go on two great trips, and spend time soaking up the sunshine. I’ve spent time with friends who are scattered across the country. I’ve had the time to read mindlessly and ponder consciously. I’ve gotten within spitting distance of humpbacked whales and eaten my body weight in guacamole. This weekend I’ve snuggled my dog, spent time outside, had great conversations with my husband, and eaten a wonderful meal with my family.

What I am most thankful for is the unwavering support I’ve had from friends and family through this transition in my life. Starting this blog was a bit nerve wracking, kind of like putting my diary on display for the world to judge. But at the same time, it has been cathartic. The support I’ve received so far has been nothing short of amazing. It can be so tiring to pretend like things are all good, all of the time. It is much easier to say, “This is me, unedited”.  Some days are good, and some days are not. This is life, and everyone goes through periods of darkness. What makes us human is realizing that we always have something to be hopeful for, and something to be thankful about.

So here is a HUGE thank you to everyone who has reached out and assured me that I’m not crazy. And equally important: to those of you who think that I am nuts, thank you for keeping that to yourselves!