40 Thoughts

As of yesterday, I have survived 40 years on the planet.

I am not blah because I’m depressed about getting older. I’m just blah for no reason. My love is deployed and it sucks. We are in the last few days of summer before school starts. The kids are blah. It’s hot as hades here (110-115 degrees with the heat index!) Other than swimming or spending a load of money, there’s just not much to do. We’ve been to the library. We’ve been swimming. We are all just blah.

Usually for my birthday I do burpees. Birthday burpees to celebrate physical fitness, and the fact that I CAN do burpees. I can do 40 of them and that’s awesome, but I wasn’t feeling it this year. What I am feeling is a bit introspective. So here are my introspective/sober/blah/40 thoughts on turning 40.

  1. I like getting older. And wiser. I wouldn’t go back to my 20s for anything. I want to be the woman who has long grey tresses and rocks them!
  2. Authenticity is paramount. I’m tired of all things artificial. Hair dye, fake nails, pretending, small talk, covering up, stuffing down, fake friends, and phony niceness. I’m done with anything that is not real. It physically exhausts me.
  3. I like the clarity of sobriety. I’m doing the work and it’s good. It’s hard. So damn hard to deal with myself. Liking clarity and enjoying the process are two very different things.
  4. I LOVE that there are so many books in the world. I want to read any and everything I can get my hands on. I love to read everything – trashy fiction, poetry, autobiographies, cookbooks, self-help books, parenting how-to’s, and anything else that strikes me. Blogs, articles and news, too! The thing that bums me out is there is not enough time to read all the things!
  5. Movies are a wonderful escape. I love movies and always have. Much like books, they provide a brief respite from the monotony of everyday life. I love the way I’m transported to faraway places and events through the medium of film. And I love watching my kids’ face light up while watching a movie or busting out in spontaneous laughter.
  6. Deployments suck. They just do.
  7. My dogs have my heart. We are so undeserving of their love, but I will continue to soak up all the grace they extend me daily.
  8. Coffee is necessary. Adulting is hard. Coffee helps.
  9. Will this matter 100 years from now? An old friend used to say this and it has stuck with me. “Will this (whatever the situation was/is) be important 100 years from now?” If not, perhaps it’s not as important as I’m making it out to be. In other words, don’t sweat the little stuff.
  10. Exercise is still a passion….but…. I think I will always love movement and working out. It’s one of my tools to maintain sanity, as well as physical health, but it doesn’t hold the same spot anymore. I’ve always gone in spurts and waves, loving it, being consistent, then taking a break, then getting back at it. Overall it all evens out. I will never be a couch potato like I was before 2011, but I’m currently riding a wave until I feel as passionate about it as I have in the past. Sometimes you just need a break, and that’s okay.
  11. Meatfree is for me! I have done the vegetarian thing off and on for years, but never gave up cheese and milk. I feel so much better without dairy and meat – I was shocked at just how much better I felt (less aches in the morning, fewer allergy symptoms, less sluggish, etc.) I will likely always loathe mock foods, but have no plans of going back to omnivore land.
  12. Going against the norm is hard, but sometimes it’s the only thing you can do. For sanity. Courage is required. Doubts and second guessing, yes, but ultimately you know when it’s time to disengage and self-preserve.
  13. Perfectionism can suck it. Some days good enough is sufficient.
  14. Therapy isn’t a dirty word. It’s not “airing dirty laundry in public”. It is a valuable tool to get out of one’s own head and see things from a different (outside) perspective. It provides not only a necessary and safe witness to unpacking baggage and pain, but the tools to move forward in a healthier way.
  15. This. images-1.jpeg
  16. There is something about water. I have some of the most profound thoughts in the shower. The minute the tap is turned off? Yep! All gone with the water down the drain! I need to get one of those waterproof notepads for the shower…
  17. Kindness counts. Just don’t be a jerk. Not that hard. Everyone has bad days, but don’t take it out on the other cars in traffic, on the barista, or anyone else.
  18. You gotta be some kind of stupid to drink then get behind the wheel. Just don’t.
  19. Be still. Sit in the uncomfortable. Feel the stuff. Breathe.
  20. Holding grudges holds you. Being angry and mad and hanging on, replaying scenarios (real or imagined) is exactly like taking poison and waiting for the other person to fall. It keeps you bound up in the past.
  21. Be creative. Do something, write, draw, make music – whatever – but express it. Even if no one ever sees it. There is value in creating.
  22. I don’t feel like an adult. When someone calls me “ma’am”, I’m still looking over my shoulder thinking they must not be addressing me. People keep getting younger, but some how I don’t age….Ha!
  23. Overwhelm and exhaustion are signs! Listen to them.
  24. Being alone and being lonely are different. Being alone is okay. Sometimes it’s necessary. 
  25. Self care is more than taking a damn bath. Self care is so much more than a stupid pedicure or some other temporary something to do. The phrase has become cliche. Self care in action is taking time, getting enough sleep, eating well, making yourself a priority on the to do list  and not a last resort. This doesn’t not make you selfish.
  26. All the Brene Brown things. Seriously. Read her books. Truth, truth, truth.
  27. Music is a must. All the music. The guilty pleasures, the tunes that make you think, the ones that make you cry….all of it.
  28. It’s only #28? Do I have 40 thoughts?
  29. Change is the only constant. Better to embrace it than to fight it. Change will always win.
  30. Self-improvement is a worthy endeavor. Even when it’s not successful. Even when it takes try after try after try.
  31. Sing. Even if you don’t sound good. Sing anyway.
  32. This too shall pass. Kind of tied to #9. Ride the wave. The intensity will likely fade over time.
  33. Few things feel as good as clean, crisp, sheets. Life is too short for pilly, cheap sheets to sleep on.
  34. Travel. It opens minds and hearts in ways you can’t imagine until you experience it.
  35. Home is where you make it. Home doesn’t necessarily mean where you grew up. Home is where you choose.
  36. Service. Serve others in some way. Both the giver and the receiver are blessed, but the giver is more than you might think.
  37. A good mug makes the contents taste better. I don’t know why, but a good, thick happy mug makes me smile from the inside.
  38. Little things matter. If something matters to you, it matters. It’s valid.
  39. The older I get, the less I know. There is so much I am unsure of, lots of grey area. I am wary of people who are certain they have it all nailed down.
  40. Grace, Hope, and Love. Without these, we have nothing.
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Gratitude

Ah, gratitude.

It’s hard at times to cultivate a posture of gratefulness. There are days when it’s just not easy.

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Today is not that day. It’s Thanksgiving. And instead of blowing up the Facebook newsfeed with daily gratitude thoughts (which are nice), I decided to post my gratitude days in one giant post. Here are 20 things (in no particular order) that I am grateful for right now:

1. My Family

I’m missing my sister and her family, who moved a state away at the end of summer. But I’m so happy for them being able to live where they want, how they want. I can’t wait to see their place when we come to visit. I look forward to Christmas when they will be back to celebrate with us. I love the family Eric and I have created. Despite the normal parenting beat-your-head-against-the-wall days, I am still so very grateful for the minions, and the lessons they are teaching me everyday. Today we will have a feast with my parents and get to watch my kids climb all over them! I am thankful for family.

2. Health

You don’t appreciate it until you don’t have it, or so the saying goes. I am thankful for my family’s health. I’m thankful for learning about healthy living and eating well to nourish our bodies, and putting physical fitness into action. I’m beyond grateful that I’ve had the opportunity, and the energy, to model this for my kids. I’m glad I’m active and healthy enough to keep up with them!

3. Laughter

I love to laugh. Growing up, making my parents belly laugh was immense fun. I would go to great lengths to make them laugh, even lying in wait behind a door to startle my dad, who would freak out, but then chuckle and call me names! Even today, I like the sound of a big guffaw from my dad, or the silent-can’t-breath-convulsion-near-hyperventilation laugh of my mom. My husband, by nature, is not a laugh-out-loud kind of person. It takes something VERY funny to bring that out. I love being the one who can. My kids’ laughter is like music in soul. I love the uncontrollable giggles at whatever randomness they find amusing – like when I tickle them, or threaten to pinch their cute little butts all the way up the stairs as they scramble up as fast as they can to avoid mom’s “crabby hands that go pinch, pinch, pinch!” Laughter is my favorite medicine.

4. The Sun

I’m thankful that even on cold days, the sun has been out. I love the sun. The more places we live, the more I realize that I am a fair-weather girl. I need sunlight on my skin, the warmth reaching through to chase out the cold-to-the-bone raw iciness of winter. I need the vitamin D that chases away the winter grays and blues. The bonus is that these sunny days have provided cold-but-doable days at the play park to get the kids out of the house.

5. Friends

Old and new, near and far – I’m so very thankful for great friends. Real, authentic, see-me-in-my-p.j.s-and-morning-hair-and-still-wanna-hang-out friends. Friends who call from around the world for the 7 minutes we have to spare before going to bed/starting our day. Friends who while we may not talk daily, can pick up a conversation as if we do. Friends who are never far from our thoughts, those we bounce ideas off of, vent to, cry with, and smile for. Real friends are treasures for which I am extremely thankful.

6. Spin

I love spin. I don’t know if I love it more than running, but it may be a tie. Spin, especially in the winter here, is my current favorite way to get my much-needed endorphins, sweat out life’s frustrations and listen to some great music. It’ll cure what ails you.

7. Writing

Doing it for me, doing it for others – either way, I get to be creative, research, and learn. I love it and I’m thankful for the opportunity!

8. Vacation

The hubs has been on leave from work for almost 2 weeks. He’s taken over dish duty, early morning minion patrol, as well as preschool taxi service so I could get some vacation from the norm, too! I even got a few days to sleep in past 5am. There is no doubt I am thankful for the gift of sleep!

9. Grown-up playdates

Coffee and dinner dates with friends are one of my favorites. Over the past couple of months, I’ve been excited to have multiple dates over great food, coffee, and manicures – which result in wonderful conversation. Adult conversation is a gift beyond measure for someone who primarily converses with 3 and 5 year olds.

10.  Coffee.

If I have to explain this, you are not a coffee drinker and will probably not get it.

11. Anticipation

The holiday season is here and with it comes all the palpable energy of anticipation. I love watching the kids getting excited for the festivities to come. Often the anticipation and excitement are better than the actual events. Viewing holiday traditions and get togethers through the lens of my kids’ eyes is magic.

12. Food

Yum. I love Thanksgiving and all the trimmings. I also love starting new traditions and rethinking old favorites into healthier versions. I’m making scratch stuffing for the first time today. I can’t wait!

13. Funny inside jokes

I love those moments between Eric and I when we are sharing an inside joke, or spelling out things in front of the kids that we don’t want them to hear. It’s just fun.

14. Books, blogs, and magazines

Having a voracious appetite for reading, I love all kinds of books. I’m thankful for the many mediums to learn and read. Blogs, magazines, websites, and books to dig into, ask questions, get curious, escape into adventure and grow from are limitless.

15. Time

Grateful for time spent with my family, our kids, just the two of us, friends, or even just time to be alone. Deployments put time into steep perspective. “You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.” -Mae West.

16. The Ocean

Simple words from my keyboard will never do it justice, but there is something about the ocean that I love and am grateful for. When I stand at the edge of the sea, I am reminded of the vastness of God, the universe and our planet. I am once again reminded that I am so very small. But, like the tiny peoples and grains of sands under my feet, I’m also reminded that small things, when grouped together, can do great things. I am grateful for the metaphors of nature.

17. Lessons Learned by Being a Military Spouse

The list is too long to count here, but there are some valuable lessons I’ve learned by being a military spouse. The community of spouses from all walks of life that come together over the thread of common experience is astounding to me. It proves in a small way that all kinds of people with differing viewpoints and backgrounds can get along – and thrive – despite hardships, heartbreaks, and distance. I am proud and thankful to be among the ranks of some of the strongest people I know.

18. Preschool

Yes, I am thankful for preschool. Not only for the mommy breaks it provides for 2 and half hours three days a week, but for the chance for the minions to play with other kids, to learn, and gain the foundation they will use for the rest of their lives:

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19. The Basics.

Food, shelter, clothing, transportation, running water, etc. We live a very comfortable life. I am grateful for it and hope to never take it for granted. Life is so good.

20. Gratitude

Yes, it’s kind of circular, but I’m thankful for the opportunity to be thankful. I hope to cultivate a spirit of gratitude in my kids, that they always look for things for which to be grateful. Hard times are made that much easier by taking the time to look to the positive, and to have a posture of gratitude.

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What are you thankful for today?

New PR!

As always, I do my best thinking while running and had a million thoughts and ideas for this post and now I’m ready to jot it all out and can’t remember half of them!!

Here is what I DO remember:

1. I ran my 3rd half marathon today. While I still struggle to get (and stay in) single digit paces (that elusive land where REAL runners hang!) I will now call myself a REAL runner. I just ran my THIRD half marathon. I have two legs. I run. I am a runner. Regardless of what the clock says. (I may have to repeat that to myself a few times!)

2. My race number today was 2011. The significance of this number was not lost on me. There is no doubt that the year 2011 was the year that my life changed. Other than marriage and birth – in 2011 I changed my life, for the rest of my life. I lost the excess weight and gained so much more. I gained treasured friendships, gained more strength than I knew I had, and gained a clearer picture of who I am, what I want, and who I want to become. 2011 is one of my favorites. (My race number for the xterra half was 666. :/ Ha! I wonder what that says!? 😉

3. I improved. I like to set aggressive goals. I really want to be able to run a half in 2 hours. I will get there. Even though I told myself (and Facebook!) that I was aiming for 2:00-2:15, I STILL shaved time! My first was at 2:40. I ran today’s race at 2:21!!! That’s 21 minutes. Yeah – I’ll take that!

4. With roughly 25 lbs gone since the last half – my form has also improved. This makes running easier, less injuries, and quicker recoveries!

5. I love the running community!! There just isn’t anything like it! There is competition, sure, but mostly it’s with ourselves. We are all trying to improve. And when you surround yourself with these kinds of people, it’s easier to succeed.

6. Music is key for me. I put it on shuffle and somehow just the right song comes up just when I need it! Katy – I felt you with me as Mumford played, as always!! 😉 Jaye – totally thought of you as “Moves Like Jagger” came on! Jayde: you were right there for “Ali in the Jungle”! “Everybody gets knocked down… But how quick are you gonna get up?!!” I love that!! Nina – I now think of you whenever “The River” plays! You taught me to take in the scenery and enjoy the run!! And of course Christina was there yelling at me (nicely, of course!) “Don’t quit at the end!! Why would you quit when there is only 4 miles left! It’s ONLY 13 miles. It’s only HALF crazy!”

7. It’s ONLY a half. Screw that! It’s a half MARATHON! It’s not an easy thing. Only and marathon do not belong in the same sentence!!

The Whidbey Island half marathon was spectacular!! There really isn’t anything better than getting to know a place with a pair of running shoes! As a post on Pinterest says, “There may come a day when I can no longer do this. Today is NOT that day.”