This is 40 – Part 2

This is the moment of truth. Well, it’s part 2 in what will probably be 4 moments of truth, but it’s time to take a look at this 40 week project. If you haven’t read part 1, you can find it here. It’s time for me to go back over my list and share what I actually accomplished, what I didn’t and why it even matters. I’ve copied my original list below. You’ll see a check mark next to the items that I completed. You’ll see some items crossed out and replaced by other items that I deemed more interesting or important. You’ll also find items that I just didn’t get to with either a justification for not doing it, an explanation that I actually didn’t and couldn’t be bothered to write about it or a plan for doing it in the near future. Find out how I fared below.

To Do BEFORE July 18, 2017

  1. Start a blog. Because writing gives me perspective. √
  2. Run a 10K √
  3. Learn to cook treasured family recipes. And share them with my family. √
  4. Put down my phone. I’m way too attached. It’s a problem.√ Note: I definitely spent some time on this one and I’ll be honest, I still need to work on this. Which is why it’s highlighted in red. 
  5. Put down the remote and read a book already! √ If I could give this half a check mark I would. I started and did not finish a few really great books. And I still watch too much TV. But I did listen to several great books on Audible. So I consider that a win.
  6. Camp in the winter. √
  7. Stop saying I’m sorry for no reason. I never actually wrote about this one but once it was on my list it became something I thought about a lot more. I was aware every time I apologized for something that needed no apology. This was also the case with #9 below. I consider this a half-win. I haven’t conquered my misplaced apologies or my propensity for interrupting, but I’m far more aware of it now.
  8. Stop interrupting. Sometimes I can’t stop myself.
  9. Share our Christmas stocking tradition with everyone. √
  10. Try yoga. I’ve been told I have the flexibility of an 80 year old woman. √ No thank you yoga. NO THANK YOU.
  11. Create Christmas memories with my family. √
  12. Don’t complain about anything for an entire week. Ha! I tried to do this twice and failed. And I don’t really care. It’s not like I’m a massive a-hole that complains constantly. Moving on!
  13. Start the 52 Hike Challenge. √ Well, I certainly did start this challenge, but I will most certainly not finish it. I was diagnosed with tendinitis in my foot and my doctor advised a break from running and hiking, my two favorite forms of exercise. It’s forced me to try new things in fitness and while I still work in a hike or run with some frequency, I try to do workouts that don’t cause burning pain in my foot because burning pain.
  14. Lose another 20 pounds. Stop driving myself crazy and change my focus to being healthy and strong over being skinny. √ You know this has been a huge focus of my personal goals probably because it’s such an ongoing battle for most women. I am happy to report that I am slowly working my way to total body acceptance and love. I’m not there yet but I’m owning it. I workout a lot and I workout hard. I’ve lost some more LB’s but I will probably never have that magazine image body. I mean, I know I won’t. It’s literally physically impossible for me to look like that. I have a massive abdominal scar, cellulite on my thighs and I’m like 6 inches taller than most women. But I’ve worked hard to look the way I do and I feel really good about that. And I will wear whatever the hell I want. 
  15. Do something I’ve been dreading. √ 
  16. Try Zumba. I’m not coordinated. This should be interesting. Try Orangetheory Fitness. √ See # 13 and #14. Orangetheory is MY JAM. I am stronger than I’ve ever been and every workout is a challenge. It feels like an accomplishment to leave that place drenched in sweat and panting. 
  17. Do something that makes my eyes roll. Sometimes being judge-y keeps me from doing awesome things. √
  18. Get a good night’s sleep. √ Still needs work, but what mom isn’t perpetually exhausted?
  19. Date my husband. √ I’m doing way better at this one! In large part due to our move to a new neighborhood. See #32.
  20. Be present and engaged with Little C. I’m going to need some rules for this one. √ You win some, you lose some. This is much like # 7 and # 8 where just having it on my list helps me be more aware because I have an intention. Some days I feel like super mom. Some days I feel like getting in my car and driving far away to a hotel and sleeping for 3 days because I can’t take another meltdown. I’m going to go ahead and assume that’s normal.
  21. Take Little C to the snow. √
  22. Cook more from my vast collection of cookbooks. Try a meal kit delivery service because ain’t nobody got time for that. √
  23. Make plans more often with my girlfriends. Find a mentor. I haven’t really found a mentor yet, but I have found an accountability buddy/bully. More on that in part 4 of this series!
  24. Go TV & non-essential phone use free for 1 week. FAIL! FAIL! FAIL! Needs to be revisited.
  25. Try meditation. At least once a day for a week. See what happens. √ Meh. 
  26. Take a leap of faith. √ Quit my job! (And then be forced out my house and assume fetal position).
  27. Visit a national park I haven’t been to before. √
  28. Update my wardrobe with a few quality pieces instead of throwing clearance items in my cart while on a Target run. Try Stitch Fix. √
  29. Go for a walk on the beach by myself. I have no idea why this one was so hard for me to make time for. It’s not like I don’t make time for myself, but I don’t make a lot of intentional, reflective time for myself. Must revisit.
  30. Don’t spend any money on non-essentials for an entire month. Stick to my budget. √ Getting booted out of your house is enough to make anyone dial it back on the Target runs.
  31. Start a babysitting swap. Because babysitters cost a lot of dollars. √ This might be the crowning achievement of my 40 Reasons list. And it wouldn’t have happened had we not been forced to move. We have some good friends who live just a few blocks from our new place. They also have boys and kids get along like GANGBUSTERS! Or LEGOBUSTERS! We have worked out a regular kid swapping situation that has changed our life. We can now go on dates and not feel like it has to be the BEST DATE EVER because who the hell knows when we will do this again. It’s pretty amazing. I hope we don’t find a way to ruin it.
  32. Learn Snapchat. I don’t even know why this was on my list. I don’t need to waste more time on social media. I already figured out how to do that with Insta Stories. Moving on.
  33. Join a book club. I was close on this one. My cousin invited me to hers. I bought the book. I read two chapters. Then I slapped myself because I was moving in a few days and really did not have the time. I’d like to revisit at some point, but I’m realizing I can’t do everything. At this point, I naturally choose family, fitness, friends, food, fun, fodka, ya know things that start with an f for my free time and reading does not start with an f.
  34. Do a mud run. I have not done this yet, but I’m planning on doing the Spartan Race in January. I’m terrified.
  35. Try stand-up paddle boarding. √ I’m going to check this off because my dear husband reserved spots for us at an REI paddleboarding class in a few weeks! Woohoo!
  36. Run a 5K at a 9 minute mile pace. This one I threw in the towel on. See #13. I’m good with it though. My priorities have shifted.
  37. Start the Six Pack of Peaks ChallengeThis one is on pause also because of #13. Although I really, really still want to do it. My goal is to summit Mount Whitney some day and these peaks would be a great training run. 
  38. Teach Little C to swim. √ Our little munchkin is slowly learning to swim on his own in our community pool. And now he refuses to wear a floatie because they are for babies. Sigh. He starts lessons soon, right after he turns 4 because anyone under 4 has to wear not 1, but 2 swim diapers. And since he won’t even wear a floatie because HE IS A BIG KID, you can imagine how jamming him into 2 swim diapers would go. I don’t need a round house kick to the face, thank you very much.
  39. Take a kickass trip for my 40th birthday. √ I’ll be blogging about my birthday trip down to the karaoke, hot chicken and whiskey in an upcoming post. 
  40. Create a community. √ This is the one I’m most proud of. I have definitely found a community who wants to get after their goals, support each other and cheer each other on, and for that, I thank you all so much. 

Since that was a monster list, I’m going to share how I feel about my list and what’s on my next list in part 3 of this series. And yes, there is a next list. Stay tuned!

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This is 40 – Part 1

It’s been more than a month since I turned 40 and I have been almost totally radio silent. The last 4 months or so have been a bit of a whirlwind (i.e. shit show) that completely threw me for a loop and totally threw me off my game. Because it’s been so long, I want to bring you up to speed in digestible pieces. I’ll rewind a bit to the point where things started to go a little off the rails for me.

At the end of March, I quit my job. It was a move a long time in the making and I was thrilled to finally step out on my own and be my own boss. I wrapped up my last day at the job I’d been at for more than 6 years and packed up for a long anticipated camping trip with family and friends. It was going to be the perfect break from reality. I knew the place we were going had no cell service and I was relishing the thought of being totally disconnected for 5 days.

We packed up early the next morning and hit the road. The drive north would take us about 6 hours, not including the minor incident we had with our camping gear flying off the back of our car on the Grapevine. About an hour out from our destination and only 3 hours behind schedule, I got a text from my next door neighbor.

“You’re moving?! I just saw the FOR SALE sign and I’m so bummed!”

My stomach dropped. We rent our house. We had plans to buy a home of our own before our little guy started school in a couple years but we weren’t ready now. My landlord had the house appraised recently but she assured us she had no intention of selling and was happy with our timeline of a couple more years. I was stunned. I frantically texted my neighbor back to ask her to take a picture of the sign. My text wouldn’t go through. We had no service for the next 5 days. 5 days of wondering what the hell was happening and what we would do. I had just quit my job. I had clients and money coming in but not a steady, direct deposit, every-two-weeks paycheck. My mind was racing.

I was, of course, narrating the text and every single thought that raced through my head to my husband, who was driving. He took a deep breath and said, in classic dude fashion, “Nothing we can do about it right now. Let’s just enjoy the trip and worry about it when we return.”

It was a logical, solid piece of advice. It’s also the exact opposite of my natural state of being. I think the fact that I knew deep down that whatever was going to happen, I had zero control over it somehow allowed me to push the thought away. We had a great trip and I only thought about it once or twice. I felt very zen about it. Very not me. Very roll with punches. And then we got home.

There were the guilty emails and texts from my landlord. The flurry of calls from the realtor wanting to set up showings. The panic about where we would go and how we would pay for it all. The anxiety over choosing the right neighborhood and school. The regret over quitting my stable job and planning a couple of big trips in a year when we had an expensive move happening.

My focus shifted from 40 Reasons and my list of personal goals to packing up an entire house and finding a new place to live. I pored over our finances to find ways to cut spending and bulk up our bank account. We kicked ourselves for not being more prepared for this and not ready to buy a house. We never EVER wanted to be in this situation again.

Building my new business took a back burner. My personal goals fell by the wayside. I spent the entirety of April and May packing and trying to find a place to live while juggling work, family and a bunch of other trips and social engagements that we’d planned.

But as things tend to do, everything fell into place. Not without a massive amount of anxiety and sleepless nights, but things worked themselves out. I shouldn’t say they worked themselves out entirely on their own. I did play a role in them working themselves out. I finally got a hold of myself and smacked the freak out away. Actual footage of me getting a grip below.

 

 

The thing that really stopped me from spinning my wheels and put me back in forward motion was not, in fact, being slapped repeatedly by strangers. It was some really great advice from a friend. I was bemoaning our lack of options in affordable housing to her. The rental market in San Diego is crazy right now. It looked like we would have to spend more AND downsize if we wanted to be in a decent school district. I kept thinking about what I would have to give up and what I was willing to live without. Yes, I know that these are first world problems, but they are things that have a very real impact on me and my family. The places we were looking at all felt like a step backwards for more money than we were currently spending. And that is a hard pill to swallow.

My friend told me to stop thinking about what I could do without. She told me to get really clear on what I wanted in a home and in a neighborhood, down to how I wanted to feel in my home. She advised me to take the limiting factors like money out of it. I would, of course, have to determine the amount we were willing to spend each month, but I shouldn’t omit anything I really wanted even if I believed we couldn’t find it in our price range.

As soon as she told me that, I slapped myself one more time for good measure. It’s what I’d been practicing all along to work toward my goals. Getting clear on what I want is the first step to getting it. You have to know exactly what you want if you want to have a chance at actually having it. DUH!!! I made the list that same day. Within 2 days, I found 3 listings that matched the description. I’d spent the past month searching listings daily to no avail. Within a week we had signed a lease and paid the deposit on our new house. And yes, it has every single thing that was on my list including the price.

We packed up and moved out of the house that my baby took his first steps in. That we had huge family gatherings and parties in. It was the first place we’d live that I’d really loved and I wasn’t ready to leave it behind. I cried as I drove away for the last time. I had expected to leave that house to move into a home of our own. It felt like a failure. It wasn’t what I wanted to be doing but I had no choice.

I somehow managed to do the #31days31workouts challenge in June, which was the month that we moved. After that, it was a whirlwind of holidays, trips and celebrating my 40th birthday. Before I tell you about that, I should tell you that our new home has been an unexpected gift. It turns out that people live in the burbs for a reason. The closets are massive. The cul-de-sac is teeming with little kids on bikes. We have neighbors that are good friends, which means playmates AND date nights. There is a pool in our community, which means free entertainment. I wish I could’ve done a better job of sharing while it was happening, but I needed time to get some perspective on the situation. And I don’t like to barf a bunch of negativity all over everyone.

The longer I went between posting, the harder it was to sit down at my computer and continue to share my story. I turned 40 exactly 40 days ago today and it’s time to get back on the horse. The first step was explaining where I’ve been and why I’ve been radio silent. The next steps will be to let you know how I fared in my project overall, where I’m at now and what I have planned next. Because this thing ain’t over. It’s actually just getting started. Thanks for taking the time to read my update and for hanging with me. Stay tuned for parts 2, 3 and 4.

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The 3rd Trimester List

 

It’s the Fiiiinaaaaallll Countdown! I’m already into the final trimester of this 40-week project to gestate an adult woman. As a reminder, I am not pregnant, I just like really confusing analogies.

Confession time. I’ve fallen a scooch behind on my to do list and now I have to cram. Classic Emily. I’m going to be doubling up some weeks in order to get through my list on time and I’m okay with that because as far as I’m concerned, this project has been a raging success.

If you look at my original to do list here, you will see all of the items I still need to complete in bold.

The list below is my plan for the duration of the project and you’ll see makeup assignments listed in italics. Things I could use outside help with are highlighted in an irritating shade of lime green so you know just how much I need your help.

Stick with me guys, I got this!

Week 27 – April 11 – 17 – Stop interrupting. Sometimes I can’t stop myself.

Week 28 – April 18 – 24 – Stop saying I’m sorry for no reason.

Makeup work: 

Week 20 – Cook more from my vast collection of cookbooks.  Try a meal kit delivery service because ain’t nobody got time for that.

Week 27 – Stop interrupting. Sometimes I can’t stop myself.

Week 29 – April 25 – May 1 – Go for a walk on the beach by myself.

Week 30 – May 2 – 8 – Don’t spend any money on non-essentials for an entire month. Stick to my budget.

Makeup Work: Week 22 – Go TV & non-essential phone use free for 1 week.

Week 31 – May 9 – 15 – FREEBIE

Makeup Work: Week 23 – Try meditation. At least once a day for a week. See what happens.

Week 32 – May 16 – 22 – Start a babysitting swap. Because babysitters cost a lot of dollars. Anyone? Anyone want to do this?

Week 33 – May 23 – 29 – Learn Snapchat.

Makeup Work: Week 11 – Don’t complain about anything for an entire week.

Week 34 – May 30 – June 5 – Join a book club. Who wants me? Any takers in San Diego County?

Week 35 – June 6 – 12 – Do a mud run. Planning to do the Marine Corps Mud Run at Camp Pendleton. WHO IS COMING WITH ME?!

Makeup Work: Week 21 – Make plans more often with my girlfriends. Find a mentor. Anyone know any female bloggers, writers, or entrepreneurs that they want to connect 

Week 36 – June 13 – 19 – Try stand-up paddle boarding.

Makeup Work: Week 5 – Put down the remote and read a book already!

Week 37 – June 20 – 26 – Run a 5K at a 9 minute mile pace.

Week 38 – June 27 – July 3 – Start the Six Pack of Peaks Challenge.

Week 39 – July 4 – 10 – Teach Little C to swim.

Week 40 – July 11 – 17 – Create a community.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Week 24 – Take a Leap of Faith and Celebrate!

This week was a FREEBIE on my to do list, meaning I could pick anything I wanted to do this week. But it really never was a freebie. It was always a placeholder for something I’ve been intending to do for quite some time now. Something I have found excuse after excuse not to do.

It’s not the right time.

I have it pretty good.

It’s not going to be better anywhere else.

What if I don’t have the drive or the discipline for it?

Can we really afford to do this?

Back around the time I launched this blog, I made a decision that my excuses were just excuses and that I had to find reasons to go after what I wanted. 40 Reasons was born as a way to push me to be accountable to my goals and start doing instead of just thinking about doing.

A few weeks ago, I did one of those big things.

I quit my job.

My safe, secure, snuggly job. I said thank you, it’s been great, but I would like to be uncomfortable and afraid for a bit. No, I didn’t really say that, but that’s how it felt. I have a good gig. I work from home. I like what I do. It’s pretty flexible. But I knew there was something missing. And I knew I wanted more. And it took me a while but I realized I wasn’t going to find it working for someone else.

So, here I am. Standing on the edge of a cliff. Today was my last day at my comfy, cozy job and I’m stepping off the edge into the unknown world of full-time freelance. And it is THRILLING!

My entire day consisted of trying to check the last few items off my to do list while realizing every 5 minutes that this was really it. That I’m really going to be my own boss. That I really did it. I considered taping plastic all over my home office and having a one-woman champagne-spraying locker room style celebration, but that seemed excessive.

Then I considered taking the champagne bottle into the shower because less cleanup, but that seemed like a waste of champagne.

So now I’m just drinking the champagne and taking a moment to high-five myself. We’re heading out tomorrow for a camping trip and some time to disconnect and just enjoy time with family and friends. After that, I’ll be back in my home office hustling for myself. In case you’re interested in what I’ll be doing, aside from way too many Orangetheory Fitness workouts, you can check out my work here.

Now excuse me while I polish off this bubbly.

Makeup Work Update

If you’re a real stickler for details, you may have noticed that my last to do list item that I posted about was Week 19 and yet here we are at Week 24. In my push to get my new business off the ground, I may have fallen behind in my assignments. Here’s a status check.

Week 20 – February 21 – 27 – Cook more from my vast collection of cookbooks.  Try a meal kit delivery service because ain’t nobody got time for that.

Update: So far, I’ve tested Hello Fresh and Blue Apron, and Marley Spoon is on its way next week. Stay tuned for my not-so-scientific report.

Week 21 – February 28 – March 6 – Make plans more often with my girlfriends. Find a mentor.

Update: This is at the top of my list. As a newly minted #bossbabe, I could use all the help I can get.

Week 22 – March 7 – 13 – Go TV & non-essential phone use free for 1 week.

Update: Oof. This one is the bane of my existence and a thorn in my side. I am going to do it. I just don’t know when.

Week 23 – March 14 – 20 – Try meditation. At least once a day for a week. See what happens.

Update: I’ve been practicing visualization in lieu of meditation. Post coming soon.

Week 25 – March 28 – April 3 – Visit a national park I haven’t been to before.

Update: We leave for Pinnacles National Park tomorrow! I’ll be off the grid and rebooting in the nick of time.

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Week 19 – Be more present and engaged with my kiddo

We all beat ourselves up from time to time. Whether it’s about how much we ate or what we didn’t get done or how much money we spent, there are a million little ways to make yourself feel like a pile of steaming garbage. But I think most of us can move on from those little hiccups and realize that they aren’t failures, but just a normal part of being human.

All that goes out the window when it comes to being a mom.

The inadequacy we feel, the guilt, the shame, the what-in-the-actual-f@#k-am-I-doing, literally knows no bounds. Being a mom sometimes feels like swimming in an ocean with no bottom and trying not to get sucked into the current. And there’s not just one current, there are a million currents pulling you in different directions. And sometimes it’s hard to know which one will suck you under and which one will carry you back to a place where your feet touch the ground. And sometimes you do know and you choose the one that sucks you under because you are just so damn tired.  Fine! Just have 4 bananas for dinner. I GIVE UP!

I’ve been thinking a lot about the kind of mom I want to be and how I want to parent lately…now that I’m three and a half years in and clearly should have thought about this sooner. But really I’ve been thinking about it because my little person requires very, very different things of me than he did a year ago or even six months ago. And I’m beginning to understand that just when I have it figured out, he has moved on to the next mystery phase. It’s like solving a freaking puzzle that rearranges itself entirely 5 minutes after you solve it. And throws the pieces at you. And then eats one just to spite you.

The ocean of mom guilt that I’ve been swimming in for some time now is the feeling that I need to be more present and engaged with my kid. I feel like I spend so much time trying to distract him so I can get work done and chores checked off my list and do something for my damn self and I can’t do any of it without getting smacked in the face with a big salty wave that says “YOU SHOULD BE MORE PRESENT!”

Every time I sit down to play with my kid, within a few minutes, my eyes are darting around the house noticing all the messes and my brain starts running through the list of all the things I should be doing. And I’ll be honest, sometimes I just don’t want to play Legos. No that’s a lie, almost all the time I don’t want to play Legos. I would rather do any other kind of play with my kid than Legos. It was fun at first but GO AWAY LEGOS!

It’s a horrible cycle of feeling inadequate then trying to be a better mom, whatever the hell that means, and then trying to juggle it all and feeling inadequate again. It’s like I take out a measuring stick and use it to compare myself to other moms and then beat myself with it. I only have 1 child! I should be able to manage this better. I work from home. I should be able to get more done around the house! I should be this, I should be that, I should, I should, I should!!! I’m at that place where I feel like I’m doing 300 things at once and I’m doing all of them poorly. That is an incredibly defeating feeling. It’s like I need to step off the hamster wheel I’m on and break the entire wheel to unburden myself of all these things I feel like I have to do.

And there ARE things I can unburden myself from doing. Recently, I asked my dear husband to take over laundry. I just needed to get rid of some of the household chores from my list. And he was willing to do it and didn’t complain. I asked him over the phone on his way home from work. I probably hadn’t showered and it was 5:00 and dinner wasn’t going to be ready and I was still working. I cried uncontrollably after I hung up because I felt so guilty. And I was totally shocked by my own reaction. Why did I feel so guilty that I couldn’t do everything? Why do I think it’s my job to do EVERYTHING? I’ll spare you the long-winded sidebar about the messages women receive and the expectations that society puts on us. The short answer is that it’s because I’m a woman and a mom. I must do everything and be everything to everyone and if not then I’m a failure. Phew. Saying it out loud is the first step because that’s when you realize that you are letting something define you that is completely and utterly ridiculous and impossible. And it’s a big fat lie.

So this exercise of trying to be more engaged with my kiddo unearthed some really complicated feelings and opened my eyes to a few hard truths. It’s time to let go of unrealistic expectations of myself and ask for help more. It’s time to decide what’s really important to me and do those things first. There are a lot of things that just don’t matter that take up my time. It’s time to stop multi-tasking and just focus on one FREAKING thing at a time. It’s time to find ways to play with my kid that doesn’t involve Legos and there is nothing wrong with that! It’s time for my son to see a mom and dad that have an equitable share in the family responsibilities.* He needs to see what real life looks like and that there is time for play and there is time for work. It’s time to do what works for me instead of what I think I should be doing.

It’s time to lower my expectations of myself to something a little more realistic. Trying to do all of the things does not make me a super mom. Trying to do the important things just might. But I’m not trying to be super mom anymore. I’m just trying to be a good human.

To all the moms out there, trying to do it all, some days doing it with grace and others doing it with the composure of a junkyard dog that hasn’t been fed in a week, give yourself a break and a hug. There’s only one of you. You’re awesome. Call me. Let’s go get wine. Or ice cream. Or coffee. Or take naps somewhere.

Notes:

*For the record, my husband is not allergic to having an equitable share of responsibilities, I just have a hard time delegating and letting go.

I’m so so so far behind on posting because see above. I’ve got a little catch up to do on the following list, which you can see has been edited ever so slightly.

Week 20 – February 21 – 27 – Cook more from my vast collection of cookbooks.  Try a meal kit delivery service because ain’t nobody got time for that.

Week 21 – February 28 – March 6 – Make plans more often with my girlfriends. Find a mentor. (Working on it! If you are a boss babe and you want a mentee, you know where to find me.)

Week 22 – March 7 – 13 – Go TV & non-essential phone use free for 1 week. (Yikes. I might have to overlap this with week 25)

Week 23 – March 14 – 20 – Try meditation. At least once a day for a week. See what happens. (I’m a day late but I’m starting it ASAP!)

Week 24 – March 21 – 27 – FREEBIE (TBD)

Week 25 – March 28 – April 3 – Visit a national park I haven’t been to before. (We’re off to Pinnacles National Park this week!)

Week 26 – April 4 – 10 – Update my wardrobe with a few quality pieces instead of throwing clearance items in my cart while on a Target run. (I’ve been trying out Stitch Fix – report coming soon!)

 

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Week 17 – Get a good night’s sleep

So my original task for this week was to stick to my budget, which I’m conveniently ignoring. I’ve been sick and I’m struggling to shake a hacking cough that is keeping me up at night and quite frankly, I’m exhausted. The thing is, I’m exhausted at least 3 or 4 days each week, sick or healthy. I don’t often get really restful sleep. I wake up in the middle of the night for various reasons (I’m looking at you 3 year old) and then I can’t fall back asleep. I lay awake recalling every item on my to do list and fretting over a perceived problem that feels like the weight of the world. This goes on for at least a half hour and sometimes much longer. Eventually, I pull out my phone and start browsing Facebook to distract myself from my own head. I usually fall back asleep with an hour or so left before my alarm is set to go off and then I wake up with a pounding headache wondering how I am going to get through the day without a nap.

Some weeks are better than others. Some times of year are more stressful than others. But right now it seems like I’m on an endless stretch of shitty sleep. If you’re perpetually tired, you know how much it impacts everything, especially your mood and productivity. I’ve gotten pretty good at pushing through and using things like exercise and caffeine to get me going, but enough is enough.

I’m going to get a good night’s sleep, DAMN IT! I’ve been reading up on good sleep habits and “sleep hygiene” and thinking about what causes my disrupted sleep. From what I’ve read, there are some things I should be doing to attain truly restful sleep. I’ve learned about setting a sleep schedule and sticking to it, light and noise interference, how temperature, pillow position, alcohol, exercise, caffeine, and medication impact sleep, and sleep journaling. There’s a lot of information out there and I need to distill it down to what is going to work for me. Here’s what I’ll be doing in the next week to ensure I get a good night’s sleep.

  1. Sleep schedule – I am generally in bed by 10 and up between 5 and 6, depending on the day. I don’t think my schedule is the problem, but I’m going to give myself at least a 7.5 hour window to get the rest I need.
  2. Phone use – I bought an alarm clock and a nightlight for my bathroom a few months back when I was really working on breaking my phone addiction. My phone still lives by my bed. I’m going to leave it in the kitchen to charge and use my alarm clock and nightlight. I think this will help limit my brain activating browsing time before bed and IF I wake up and can’t fall back asleep.
  3. Take care of my body – this sounds pretty broad but it’s actually a few rules that I’ll be abiding by to help my sleep habits. No caffeine after my morning coffee or tea. I do this mostly anyway but I occasionally have caffeine later in the day. I’m going to continue with regular exercise. I’m swearing off any medication that keeps me awake or makes me groggy the next day. Luckily, I can do this because I don’t have any medication that I rely on. The one I think might really help me is minding my alcohol intake before bed. Did you know that when your body metabolizes alcohol, it actually wakes you up? The rule is that you can metabolize about 1 drink per hour, so if you’ve had 3 drinks, you need to stop drinking 3 hours before bedtime so you won’t be awakened by your body. This shouldn’t be difficult, I just think I’ll be more aware when considering topping off my glass of wine…again.
  4. Tracking my sleep – I’ll be wearing my FitBit Charge 2 to track how much sleep I’m actually getting. I’ve been wearing it the past few nights and it seems pretty spot on. I’ve been between 6 and 7.5 hours. I’d looooove to get to a full 8. It also has this awesome function for relaxation breathing. It guides you through 2 – 5 minutes of breathing exercises and it is great right before bedtime.
  5. Dealing with my anxiety – I don’t have full blown crippling anxiety like some, but I do struggle with anxiousness in the middle of the night and an inability to relax easily. I’m working with JoyWell Counseling on tackling these issues because, to be honest, I think it’s probably the root of my sleep problems and ALL OF MY PROBLEMS in general.

I’ll be doing this for the next week or so to see if I can get consistently good sleep. I’ll report back on my findings. In the meantime, let’s all just drink in this adorable snoozing koala and let me know if you have any tricks for getting good rest!

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Week 16 – Do something that makes my eyes roll.

Do something that makes my eyes roll. I added that to my 40 Reasons list as I neared the end of the list and my ideas were beginning to dry up. In recent years, I’d learned that, sometimes, doing the thing I thought to be silly or stupid or ridiculous still had something lovely to give me. So I added the idea to my list thinking it would be a good growth experience. As I’ve been piecing together a schedule for checking off each item on my list, I am always quick to skip past it. I see it and I try to look away quickly and hope we didn’t make eye contact and that it didn’t see me. I don’t really want to do that. Why did I put it on there? I could remove it entirely like I did with Zumba, but it feels like cheating. And I’ve been really trying to get out of my comfort zone so this feels like something I should do.

Alright, here goes. In the not-so-distant past, I’ve mocked people for doing or saying things that I deemed to be cheesey motivational speak or new-agey and crunchy or exercises in self-absorption. I’m learning that I may have been just keeping my guard up and that I’m quite possibly a raging a-hole. It’s easier to be skeptical and cynical and assume that things won’t work or have no value than it is to be open to the possibility of something bigger, better, and greater than what you currently have. Because doing something bigger, being something more, and going after something better than what you currently have doesn’t come with guarantees and it’s scary as hell. And in order to go after that bigger, better, greater thing, you have to put it out there. Like actually tell people you want it and you are doing it.

It really can’t be a huge secret. We don’t hide things that we are proud of and excited about. We hide things that we are ashamed of or think that people may judge us for. And I know personally that people can be reeeeeaaaal judge-y.

So if you’ve been reading this blog from the beginning, you probably know that I’ve made some changes to my life in the past couple of years. I’ve cultivated some good habits and I’ve adopted a new way of looking at things that has made my life better. And now I want more. The little changes have made me want big changes and they make me feel like more is totally possible. They make me feel like if I didn’t try for more, I’d be selling my self short. And life is to short for that business. So, I decided it was time to put it out there. The first thing I needed to do was decide exactly what the more was that I wanted. I needed to create a clear vision of how I wanted my life to look. And that’s when I realized I would do one of the things that I always made fun of. I was going to make a vision board. (Cringe)

In the past, I’d rolled my eyes and think things like “Oh good, I’m glad that making a collage on poster board is going to help you achieve your goal of a kitchen remodel.” Or “That’s great that playing with scissors and glue sticks is your ticket to your dream job.” Man, I really am a raging a-hole.

The truth of the matter is that if you don’t identify what it is you are working toward then what the hell are you working toward? And if you don’t know what it is you want, how do you set goals to get it? Like the wall at my gym reads, “Dreams are goals with deadlines.”

I subscribe to that now. Maybe I’m a crunchy, new-agey, motivational-speak loving, raging a-hole, but I subscribe to that. I’ll share my big dreams with you soon, when the time is right. For now you can peep my vision board and get a sense of where I’m headed.

What are your big dreams? Share them with me in the comments, either here or on social media. I’d also love to know if you are willing to share something that makes your eyes roll and take a personal challenge.

 

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I’m getting political. Take it or leave it.

I’ve always been political. I’ve always had a set of core beliefs that guide my opinions and actions. My friends and family know where I stand, but we’ve never talked about it with any regularity. I never saw the point of trying to change people’s minds, both in real life or on Facebook, the ground zero of political bickering, rants, and rage. There never seemed like much point to discussing it. I knew who agreed with me and who didn’t and to each his own, right?

I also embraced a mentality of respectful disagreement. There are people I love that have very different views than me and I can separate their differing and often opposing beliefs from their hearts and souls. Even after the election, when things went so much differently that I had hoped for, I wrote this post about trying to understand one another and finding ways to bridge the divide with compassion and respect.

I still believe in compassion and respect, but less than a week into the presidency of Voldemort Donald Trump, I am done keeping my opinions to myself. I know, some of you that know me probably look like this right now…

And you’re probably thinking, excuse me? Have you been keeping your opinions to yourself? Is this what keeping your opinions to yourself looks like? And to you I say yes, actually, for as much as I have to say on the subject, I’ve been pretty damn quiet about it. And I’ll tell you why I haven’t said 80% of what I want to say. Because people get mad. And they get offended. And they don’t like you anymore when you’re political. And they wish you would go back to posting pictures of your kid or your dinner. But you know what? That ship has sailed. That ship sailed away so fast in the night that I woke up looking exactly like Kevin Hart. Well, not exactly. Well, not at all really because he is a short black man and I am a tall white woman but my face was definitely doing that.

I’m about to get real political because I’m alarmed by what is happening in the White House right now. This isn’t about who voted for Trump and this isn’t a debate about the people who chose him and why. This is about the fact that there is something very wrong with Donald Trump. I think most of us have known this for quite some time, including some of the people who voted for him and made excuses for or totally ignored his childish, arrogant, and downright disgusting behavior.

Again, this isn’t about how or why he is in the Oval Office, it’s about the fact that he is there, something is very wrong with him, and that he’s systematically dismantling democracy as we know it.

IT’S BEEN 6 DAYS!

It’s taken him 6 days to get the ball rolling on his campaign promises of dismantling Obamacare, building a border wall, limiting Muslim entry into the US, limiting reproductive rights for women, defunding vital and valuable social, arts & humanities, and environmental programs, and the list goes on and on. This may be great news to some of you. It’s not to me. And while all of those things are very troubling and threatening to the fundamental principles of a free and enlightened society, it’s not even what concerns me the most.

What sets the alarm bells off for me is that our president is issuing orders to silence government agencies from tweeting because it makes him look bad, that his press secretary is straight up lying to the press about trivial things like inauguration attendance, that he routinely depicts the media as dishonest while routinely rearranging actual facts to his liking, and that he doesn’t have the self control to stay above the fray and even pretend to be presidential. This prioritizing of his own image over actual issues is troubling and displays a fundamental disregard for democracy and free speech. It is unpatriotic. It is un-American. It is unconstitutional. And I haven’t even touched the ethics issues and lack of transparency when it comes to his business dealings and tax returns. We’ve elected a cartoon villain for president.

What is equally troubling is that, despite clear evidence that our president likely has a personality disorder and does not have the temperament or discipline to lead our country, the people surrounding him, who helped get him there, are willing to gamble on a loose cannon in the White House and sell out the American people because it’s their chance to grab a piece of the power.

Our country, our democracy, and our rights are not in good hands, PEOPLE!

If you’re not alarmed by what is happening right now and you don’t think that the principles that our founding fathers built this nation on are being chipped away by a narcissist and his team of flying monkeys, then you need to check your alarm bells.

I’m not writing this post because I think I am going to change anyone’s mind. I am writing this post because I am not going to sit idly and quietly by while our democracy falls apart because I don’t want to offend anyone. I am writing this post so that other people who are troubled feel motivated to act, to speak out, and to crush this bullshit presidency before we are no longer a democracy.

I am going to shout it from the rooftops every chance I get and then annoy you even more by continuing to post pictures of my kid and my dinner. I just wanted to give you fair warning. If you leave and never read another word I write, that’s okay. I don’t want you to go because, ultimately, this is not a blog about politics. This is a blog about me living my life without apology and without regret. This is a blog intended to create a community of people who share the same struggles and triumphs. This is a blog about living intentionally and purposefully and embracing the journey with pride. In this moment, right now, this matters a whole hell of a lot to me, so it has earned a place on this blog. I will be sharing some of the steps I’m taking to fight for what I believe in. If it’s not your cup of tea, I understand, because I once hated tea. It just turns out that once I actually gave it a shot, I loved it.

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The Second Trimester List Shakeup

I’ve officially entered the second trimester of this project to birth an adult woman. In 26 weeks, I will turn 40 and I intend to do it feeling absolutely fantastic about where I’ve come from, where I’m at at, and where I’m going. If you have a “normal” pregnancy, the second trimester is supposed to be the best. You’re not nauseous anymore, you have more energy, and you have that pregnancy glow. Whatever the hell that means. I don’t know what a normal pregnancy feels like because mine sucked big time, but I think I’m having better luck with my fake pregnancy.

I feel really good about this project. I can see where some of the small changes I’ve made have translated into better habits and more intentional behavior. I’ve found myself putting into practice some of the items on my list without even having to devote an entire week to them. I think the simple act of writing them down has made them stick in the front of my mind. I’ve also learned A LOT about goal setting and how much these little, tiny changes impact the big picture goal. When I first made this list, I considered what made sense for my life as it existed in that moment. I thought about what was realistic to accomplish with my schedule and my obligations, which is, I think, a very practical approach to fulfilling a goal. In the last 13 weeks though, I’m seeing things that I didn’t see before. What once looked like limitations or obstacles now look like a minor problem to be solved, a challenge to be completed.

My list is evolving and my dreams are getting bigger. I’ve had some things tucked away in my heart that I wanted so much, but they seemed too big and too scary to go after. But this is the second trimester and I’m not nauseous anymore and I have way more energy to do this thing. I’ve outlined my list below for the next 13 weeks. Don’t be fooled by some of the ordinary titles, there are some sleepers and some plot-twists lurking within. I can’t wait to share them with you over the coming months. I’ve also edited some of my existing items to fit better with current goals. And what I’d really, really like to know, is what goals you guys have that you’re going to knock out this year. Share them with me!

The Second Trimester List

Week 14 – January 10 – 16 – Do something I’ve been dreading.

Week 15 – January 17 – 23 – Try Zumba. I’m not coordinated. This should be interesting. Try Orangetheory Fitness.

Week 16 – January 24 – 30 – Do something that makes my eyes roll. Sometimes being judge-y keeps me from doing awesome things.

Week 17 – January 31 – February 6 – Don’t spend any money on non-essentials for an entire month. Stick to my budget.

Week 18 – February 7 – 13 – Date my husband.

Week 19 – February 14 – 20 – Be present and engaged with Little C. I’m going to need some rules for this one. Plus take Little C to the snow.

Week 20 – February 21 – 27 – Cook more from my vast collection of cookbooks.

Week 21 – February 28 – March 6 – Make plans more often with my girlfriends. Find a mentor.

Week 22 – March 7 – 13 – Go TV & non-essential phone use free for 1 week.

Week 23 – March 14 – 20 – Try meditation. At least once a day for a week. See what happens.

Week 24 – March 21 – 27 – FREEBIE

Week 25 – March 28 – April 3 – Visit a national park I haven’t been to before.

Week 26 – April 4 – 10 – Update my wardrobe with a few quality pieces instead of throwing clearance items in my cart while on a Target run.

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Week 14 – That thing you’ve been dreading

I just did something that I’ve been dreading. Well, two things actually. It’s going to sound silly but it’s been weighing on my mind for almost a year. So much so that when I think about it, I’m like this really anxious hamster. I have a dental issue that needs addressing but I keep ignoring it because I’m worried it’s going to be worse than I think and it’s going to cost a fortune. So I just keep putting it off. Aaaand I hurt my ankle almost a year ago and I’ve known for about 6 months that there is definitely something wrong with it and it’s not going to heal on its own but I just. keep. putting. it. off. Because what if I can’t workout?!

As I do things like #31days31workouts and completely overhaul my eating habits, it seems insane to completely ignore some major stuff going on with my body. I finally ripped the imaginary bandaid off and made appointments for both today. It’s like a huge weight has lifted just because now I don’t have to carry that crap around worrying about it. WHY DID I WAIT SO LONG? I know these things may seem minor, but I would be willing to bet that each and every one of you is carrying around something that seems small and that you’re putting off and the longer you carry it around, the heavier it gets and the more time you have to spend pushing it out of your mind. You don’t have to push it out of your mind if you just face it head on. It just wants you to look at it and deal with it and then it will leave. Do it! Do it! And then tell me about it please.

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