January 11, 2015

life: phase two

Eleven days into the brand new year. 2015. Although I'm not a big resolution maker, mostly because I don't like feeling the disappointment when I fail, but I am a big believer in grabbing the fresh start and relishing in starting anew. However, it's taken me these eleven days to really think on and decide what I wanted to pour my energy into this year. How I want to reorganize my brain space. I didn't want to willy-nilly jump into flippant goal setting. I want to make it meaningful.

Here's the kicker though....not only is this a brand new year....having recently turned forty years old, this is also the start of phase two of my life! Let's face it, the first forty years of life is spent in basic survival mode. You survive your childhood, your teenage angst, your college experience, your job searches, and the early days of raising a young family. At least for me, this is the case. Not that there weren't happy moments aplenty, but phase one is surviving the things mostly out of our control and learning how to handle situations. But, the great thing about phase one is it teaches us how strong we really are and the values we deem most important.

There is, this little awkward, dicey bit in between phases when you are growing out of phase one but before you enter the full fledge phase two. You are taking control and make adjustments to how you live, what you love, and where you spend your choices. But you're not quite at the phase two part of life just yet. You might still be trying to decide if you are going to hang on to your youth by your fingernails or if you're going to accept and rejoice in the newness of phase two as a strong, confident 40 year old. I'm hoping for the latter myself. Here I am, forty, staring down phase two and on the cusp of a new year.

So, 2015 is kinda a big deal. I am grabbing this untrained phase (the next forty years) of life, coupled with the excitement of a brand new year. Both are providing me with an invigorating feeling. I decided the theme of this great adventure would be JOY. (Last year, my word was YES as in I would say yes and open myself up to as many new experiences and people as I could). This year, my word is JOY as in I would only do the things and spend my energy on the things and people that bring me joy.

The other night, I was watching an interview with Ricky Gervais (whom I find to be pretty hilarious) and his anecdote about life hit me at the perfect moment. I love a good anecdote people!! Basically the question was: Why does the show (Derek) mingle comedy with tragedy? His answer: Because that is what life is like. You have a laugh and then someone finds a lump and you deal with that. People ask me, "Is Derek a comedy or drama?" I reply, "What’s your life?" It is always a bit of both. The world is not entirely comic and it's not entirely dramatic.

That's so true, don't ya think?! Life is a laugh and then a lump....and, being able to find laughs, helps us overcome the lumps. The trick, methinks, is finding joy in the little achievements and spontaneous moments of fun. Being able to do that, helps us laugh through the lumps.

A friend recently sent me a funny article outlining the subtle art of not caring (although the author used a choice word that rhymes with luck - ha!) and the inverse relationship of joy experienced. In order to make 2015 the most joyful for myself, I've decided to: laugh as much as possible and not spend any energy on the people who dish out lumps. I've also decided to spend as much time on the things that fill me with joy for example, hangin' with my family, taking pictures, visiting with friends often, traveling, going to yoga class, decluttering my abode, and working more. These are the things that make me most happy.

Found inspiration:

Thirty Things I've Learned
7 Tremendous Effects of Having a Positive Attitude
why being a mom is enough.
New Year’s Resolution Remix: 15 Things To Stop Doing In 2015
Mark Manson

January 6, 2015

seven year itch

Holy Hootenanny!!

It's come to my realization, this here blog has been up and running since 2007!! That's seven years! Can you believe I was contemplating deleting the whole kit 'n kaboodle just a few days ago? You know what they say: Be careful what you post on social mediums; ya never know what can come back and bite you; people have lost jobs and teens aren't getting scholarships to colleges because of their online status. Since it's been a few months since I've come back to this spot, and since I've started dipping my toes back into the working (for pay) world, I thought maybe it was time to clean up my own virtual life so it's not floating out there in cyberspace. Out of my control.

But then last night, I started scrolling through some of very beginning posts and videos. Oh my!! How little the kids were. How cute their voices were. How much I've changed. How adorable the dogs were. How much we've done. How funny we were. How far we've come.

I realize I run the risk of not getting a job someday because of some wee antidote I've posted. Or that there is a possibility someone will form an unfavorable opinion of me in the long run. But, it's very clear to me now, I can not delete seven years of juicy, adorable little irish goodness. Even if I'm the only one who believes that.

I can say this. I really do enjoy this stage in life and where my family is at right now. I love the kids' ages and new found personalities. I don't miss the diapers and spit-up and car seats. But, oh what fun it is to look back at those early days and see my family grow and change and blossom.

In a very real way, I have given myself a gift I didn't even realize I was giving myself. Until now. A seven year, amazingly gooey, funny, raw, tender, messy, silly, joyful gift. What is more awesome than that?!




January 4, 2015

twenty fourteen favorites

























January 3, 2015

2014 outlined

Here I am, amidst a lingering holiday hangover. Christmas a distant memory and the New Year awaits. I have been thinking about my hopes, my dreams, and my goals for the new year. 2015! A fresh start. New beginnings. Contemplating how I'm going to do this next year different....better?

So....2014 outlined?

I decided my word for the year would be YES. I would say 'yes' to as much as I possibly could. Try new things, meet new people, see new places. And, for most part, saying 'yes' provided me with some wonderful experiences and some new friendships. For that I'm grateful.

I quietly made my yoga classes a priority. In other words, I made myself a priority. Might sound selfish to some but I took care of myself two days a week and I refused to allow silly things deter me from doing that. Even if that meant not volunteering in my child's classroom or lunching with the ladies. It was a small act of taking control of a piece of my life when most of my life was/is spent taking care of others. Upon doing that, I met a small group of "regulars" and two teachers. I would like to say, I joined their ranks but I have a lot of work to do. Which, by the way, is the beauty of practicing yoga. The classes, the group, the teachers combined have provided me with more enrichment than they'll even know. For that I'm grateful.

I spent a good portion of the year on a ball field rooting my children on. Some would say baseball and softball was all I could think about, talk about. And, sure the game of bats and balls took up a lot of my waking hours, but I'm glad my kids have this outlet and I'm happy to support it. And them. Even if it means washing grass stains out of white baseball pants becomes the bane of my existence come Spring time, for that I'm grateful.

I joined a book club. Not a huge life event, but slightly significant in my world. Mostly because I admire this small, eclectic group of women that come together roughly once a month without biases. We laugh with and listen to each other. Books are discussed but more importantly, so is life. I often feel enlightened and smart and lighter after I've spent an evening with this crew. For that I'm grateful.

I turned 40, which, in a lot of ways, has been a big relief. Almost like the destination has finally been reached. No more waiting and worrying about it. I made it. Phew! I decided to throw myself a party!! Party theme was vintage country. (You know how much I love a theme) Think gingham, cowboy boots, picnic tables, and mason jars. Hosting a shin-dig and being the honoree at the same time was an out of character experience for moi. I've never thrown my own self a party before. Felt sort of awkward at first but it proved to be great fun. We spent an evening in my backyard with laughs, lipsyncing and dancing. For that I'm grateful.

I traveled solo to see my best friend in Michigan per a birthday gift from my hubby. It was much needed and greatly appreciated. All we do, my friend and I, is laugh and act silly and purge our guts out when we are together. We traveled to Mackinac Island, took funny pictures, drank Tim Horton's coffee, sat on her deck, paddled-boated around her lake (got stuck and rescued), got identical tattoos (gasp), talked with southern accents (don't ask), watched movies, cried some, got massages (not couples massage, we aren't that funny), shopped, and basically just breathed the same air for a week. Michigan in the Fall is pretty darn awesome. Spending some time with my bestie was even more awesome! For that I'm grateful.

I started working again!! (the big one) I mustered up some courage and procured a substitute certificate. Stepping back into a classroom has revived my subconscious. I dusted off that dormant part of my brain and put it back into use. When I stepped out of the classroom to raise my family, I never thought I would go back. At first, deciding to be a substitute was a Band-Aid. I wanted to earn some extra income but be able to keep a flexible schedule as well. Subbing was an easy fix since I already had teaching credentials. But, what I've rediscovered is hanging out with these young people fills a void in my life I had sort of forgotten about. For that I'm grateful.

So there you have it, my year in a nutshell. I won some, I lost some, I loved some, and I laughed some. Evolution of life is a balancing act of tightrope walking. You fall down some. I fall down often. But, the trick is deciding how you are going to approach that tightrope on your next try. This new year is a fresh start to learn from mistakes, as well as keeping the things around that worked before getting back up on that wobbly rope.  Deciding how to balance it all differently is the challenge. At least for me that's the case. Another year to try it all again. For that I am grateful.

Here's to a happy new year!