21
Oct

Right there

The coffee in my hand is still warm, the light is shining through a window and I sit.
In silence, remembering a different time.
Trying to figure out what happened, what is still happening, and when I took a turn.

" "Finding yourself' is not really how it works.
You aren't a ten-dollar bill in last winter's coat pocket.
You are also not lost.
Your true self is right there, buried under cultural conditioning, other people's opinions, and inaccurate conclusions you drew as a kid that became your beliefs about who you are.
'Finding yourself' is actually returning to yourself.
An unlearning, an excavation, a remembering who you were before the world got its hands on you."

I have lost my way, but not myself.
I am here, right here, still standing, still me.
Some pretty exceptional people have stood up to tell me so.
To remind me of the real me, not the opinions floating around, not the rumors I am spreading about myself in my mind, I am right there, right here, the whole time.

I know why other's opinions matter.
I know why I take it so seriously.
I know why I take it all so personally,
because to me, it's always been personal.
It's always been serious, and to me, it's important.
All of it is.

I can't explain it well, I don't have the right words to tell you why I view life this way, I can't not take it seriously, I can't just pretend about anything, and I'm really bad at letting go.

So instead, there is some undoing I have to get to.
I have to undo some irrational thinking and I have a lot to figure out right now.
Big things, important decisions about the direction I need to take, the U-turn that I have no choice but to take.
I don't have to find me, I am right there, right here.
I am here, standing, breathing, me.
I am real, I am just as important, I am just as significant and I matter.

I am worth it, I am good at things too, I am capable.

It's darker now, I wasn't able to do this all in one sitting.
The light is fading and candles fill my space.
I have had some real conversations and some significant realizations.
I understand a little more about my direction and I started to turn the car around just a bit.

Not to find me but to go back and return to who I know I am.
I am right there, right here, still standing.

19
Oct

Five Minute Friday - who

Every Friday we unite for five minutes. Only five minutes, that's all we get, that's all we have. And then, right where we are, no edits or second-thoughts, we publish those words. This week, we write on who.

Go.

It's already cold in NY.
Bundle up in coats and gloves and hats cold.
Fall is shorter and shorter in this area and although beautiful, the cold leaves you feeling a bit out of sorts.
Not ready for the drastic change and needing a little more of a runway to winter.
It's like fall is losing its way a little more every year, just like I am.
I am losing my way and I am sitting here thinking who?
Who am I connected to, can I turn to, is in my circle, has my back, is a part of me, understands this?
Who can lend an ear, a hug, a heart.
Who has heart left to give?

Last night, I cried.
Not because of but for those I love, I cried for loss, I cried for me.
I cried out of fear and pain and release.
I searched inside for my who and what if I come up empty?
What if the who is lost?
What if I lost it all?

Once upon a time, fall was full of color and cool nights and fires and warm clothing and all things cozy.
Just like me, which is why it was my favorite.
Because I too saw colors and beauty and built a life around cozy.
But somewhere along the way, fall and I got lost and we have turned too cold too fast.
The who is who I lean on to build me up, to listen, to stand together.
I am losing my way, my path, and my clear mind.
I am losing myself in layers and loads of bad and I am worried.
What if I am also losing my who?

To the who I turn to, I now need a new map and some new directions.

Stop.

14
Oct

When the struggle is real

I have been in a season of sacrifice for a very long time.
I started referring to times like these in my life as seasons of sacrifice because someone I follow mentioned how it helps to reframe the hard.
Focus that it is a season, not your life.
Focus that it is a sacrifice, not the new normal.
Focus on the systems you can put into play to make it manageable and realize you will get back to your ways in time.
It's a season, and seasons change.
But I remember the end of last year.
I remember how that season of sacrifice made me so sick.
Brought me to the doctor kind of sick.
Made me think something horrible was happening to me kind of sick.
And in my year of different, I knew the season was approaching and I have been trying.
I planned, I put my systems in place, I prepared, I put myself in the "right" state of mind, I kept eating and drinking water and doing the things that I was told I needed to not get sick and avoid another health scare.
And instead, I have been struggling, really struggling.
I think part of my issue is that it started so much sooner and summer never let up and I just never felt an exhaling.
Halfway through my year, there is always this little window of reprieve.
One in which I get to calm down a bit, regroup, recenter, refocus, and remember to breathe in and especially out.
That life isn't that serious.
That all is going to be okay.
That I know where my real priorities stand.
And as I enter my last quarter of the year, I am never ready, but my mind at least got a little break.
My summer normally is a time of rest and calm and instead it brought with it turmoil and haste.
And I struggled.
My fall is crazy, always crazy, and for the last several years, just keeps adding on to itself.
And I am still struggling more and more.

It could be because my summer was too much.
It could be because there is now too much on my plate and I can't breathe.
It could be because my calendar and schedule and to-dos and family and kids and business and life and all of it is piling up and I am the one that keeps us organized and I can't so we're not.
And I'm the one that keeps the house running and I can't so it's not.
And I'm the one that keeps everything moving but I can't so there's a lot of running to stand still.
So, I'm struggling.
To smile, to stay awake, to keep it all going, to be close, to talk, to want to partner, to take anything else on, to laugh.

And I say all of this for anyone that is reading and feels that they are alone.
I know I'm not, we're not
I know we are all out there.
Doing our very best every single day.
Because we are.
And our tempers might be short.
And our patience might be worn.
And our minds and bodies might be tired.
And our nerves are actually sizzling.
But we show up.
We show up for them and for us.
We show up for jobs and homes and loves and life.
We know the end will come and we tell ourselves every day that we, of course, have a little more to give.
We wake up a little earlier, we stay up a little later, we make time, we find a way.
We show up even though the struggle is very real, and there will come a day when we look back and think, how did we do that all?
How did we manage that?
How did we make it?

Today, for my birthday present, I went ziplining.
We were about to walk across a really scary bridge after three exceptionally scary "falls" and the tour guide said the best thing I have heard in a very long time.
Compared to the shit you have just done, this bridge isn't' even a skid mark.
And that's how we make it.
That's how even though the struggle is very real, we always find a way.
We show up, keep going, and realize we can handle a load of crap coming our way.
We let things go that we can, we prioritize it all, we continue to do and try our very best, and we show up again and again.

It's hard to stay strong and remember all of this when we are smack in the middle of it.
It's hard to keep remembering how capable we are.
It's hard to remember that sometimes you will lose at things.
It's hard to remember when you feel so unappreciated and so very alone.
It's hard to remember that it's not all on you.
Because the struggle is very real, and the time seems unmanageable, and you don't see a way out.
But hold on and remember it is a season, not your new normal.
The last leaf will fall
the season is changing again and the sacrifice is always worth it because we make it work.

12
Oct

Five Minute Friday - praise

Every Friday we unite for five minutes. Only five minutes, that's all we get, that's all we have. And then, right where we are, no edits or second-thoughts, we publish those words. This week, we write on praise.

Go.

Words.
Words of affirmation.
Words of gratitude.
Words of praise.
I love and live for words.
I am calling myself a writer because I have this teeny tiny little blog that only my children will read and follow.
But maybe because of my writing and my love of it always is why I love and live for words.
Maybe because it is my love language.
Maybe because I also chased their approval and never got it.
Maybe because I quietly worked so hard all of my life and not a single person noticed.
Maybe because now, as a mom and CEO and wife and business owner, I never ever hear them.
Unless I tell them to.
Unless I ask to be acknowledged and I cannot even begin to tell you how shitty that feels.
I made you dinner, what do you say?
I landed a donor, what do you think?
I found us the right fit, how is it going?
It all goes unseen, not recognized.

So, I spent a month acknowledging myself.
One solid month of each and every single day writing about something that I am proud of me for.
It was sad at first and a few times it made me cry but in the end, to look up from my desk and see 30 reminders and thank yous to me, well, that made me believe in myself again.

I gifted the words, all the praise, to me.
And one day my daughter wrote something.
A handful of days my husband wrote to me and both were lovely.
They instantly made me feel warm but this was a gift I gave myself and I followed through.
I was so proud of myself for fighting through the feelings of sadness
the feelings of "this is icky"
the feelings of "does it even count if it's coming from me?"
because it does count.
We are our loudest voices and we are around us all of the time and we are the worst at building ourselves up so yes, it mattered.
Yes, it counted.
Yes, I found my praise.

I praised myself for being a good mom
I praised myself for my strength
I praised myself for running a company
I praised myself for always being scared but always doing it anyway
I praised myself for training and running a half marathon
I praised myself for being 40 and handling my birthday like a grownup
I praised myself for the work I do for my agency
I praised myself for my work, my determination, my grit
I praised myself for my health and my priorities
I praised myself for my traditions and how special I make time, critics be damned
I praised myself for my nurturing nature
I praised myself for my love.

Words are important to me.
I stopped being shy about
I stopped asking for it from others, I can't even pretend that forcing it is okay.
And I just started with me.
I allowed myself the gift I always want, one that can't be wrapped, one that can't be put in a box.
One that takes time and consideration.
One that takes thought and notice.
I got me.

7
Oct

I've lived a life

I have spent 39 years waiting to blow out my 40 candles.
Most of the 39 have been spent not okay with me and who I am.
This last year, my year of different, was all about learning what I do well.
Celebrating what I accomplish and just plain old celebrating me.
At times, quietly, at times shouting it.
I have realized how strong we all are, in our very different ways.
And I stopped comparing myself and what I deemed as crazy me with those I saw as calmer, more balanced.
I stopped wishing I was different.
I accepted that I personally kick ass.
I respect those that are slow, take life bite by bite and I honor those that go and do.
I realize that at times I make things harder than they need to and I continue to find my own definition of balance.
And reflecting, really reflecting, I have lived a life.

I have lived a very long life in a very short amount of time.
I was born forty.
Too old for my age always.
Too responsible.
Too much.
I was born old.
But that doesn't mean that I was or am mature or wise nor does it mean I didn't have a lot of growing up to do and a lot to learn.
Being born 40 means you revert to a child throwing an actual tantrum, because you never figured out how to self-sooth.
Being born 40 means you live in a world or resentment, because you know you shouldn't be this old at this time.
You look around a lot at those just living their life at their actual age and you resent them too, without even realizing it.
Being born 40 means you spend a lot of time blaming others because you think they got you there, but the truth is, I was born just like this.
My past may have magnified it, but I was born just like this.
Being born 40 also means you know what you want and you go after it.
It means you know what you are supposed to be doing and you know what you're ready for.
It means you make really smart decisions for you.
It means you know how to protect yourself.
It means you know how important your circle is, really early on, you realize that your circle is your strength.
It means that by the time the calendar actual says 40, you know how to do this decade, you've been waiting your whole life for the number to just catch up to who you always were.

Because by the time one is 40, they feel ready to own their life, really own it.
They are comfortable in their skin.
They are ready to take chances on themselves and have the space to do so because so much more is grounded and protected.
I have established a really strong foundation.
I have built and built and built and built and built.
I am fully ready to own who I am, what I want, what I have learned.

Like the fact that I love being a mom.
Honestly and with all of my heart.
I love love love being your mom.
And you know what, I am so good at it.
Not in the way that others are good moms but only in the way I am a good mom to you.
I listen to you
I carry you
I empower you
I raise independence
I lead by example
I am strong for you and I am brave for myself and for you.

Like the fact that I married my husband because he was full of joy and I needed so much more joy in my life.
I met him at a time when I was ready to be joyful, ready to let go of the anger and hatred I carried.
I was ready to laugh and feel light and be simple and content and easy.
He was my balance, my counter in all ways.
He was my easy Sunday morning and I fell madly in love with every inch of him.

I have also learned and accepted the fact that in a marriage, sometimes people need to switch personalities and you carry each other.
I have learned it is my turn to bring joy and when I can't I need to stay silent.
It is my turn to be easy and when I can't I need to stay silent.
It is my turn to be his balance and his light and simple.
and when I can't I need to stay silent.

Like the fact that I have always been good at picking a circle and the lowest saddest loneliest points in my life were when I had no one around me and I couldn't seem to find who and what I needed.
Until I did again and I was reminded that most in their 40s have their amazing circles but those born 40 always will.

Like the fact that a little puppy was my reason for 17 years and now I am the reason for a new little life.
I learned that she too was old and understood how important it was to be there, to guide me.
To him, to them, to this life.
Yes, it sounds so so crazy but a puppy brought me along for a ride and I let her.

I learned that I can trust and let go.
I learned that I do not have to lead, that I can take a back seat.
I learned that I cannot lead and am rarely in control when it comes to parenting and I have learned it's their greatest gift to me.
I learned that yoga is my church and running is my way of cleaning out all the junk.
I learned that I can cry so hard for so long that I fold into myself.
I learned that I am still scared, all of the time scared and I learned that I keep going.
I learned that I will never be not scared.
I learned to listen more, talk less.
I learned that I love the home we built.
I learned that I make things cozy and that I am a homebody.
I learned that I never need an abundance of people, just my tight glorious circle of love.
I have learned that I still hate change, but you make it so I have to change almost daily.

And I am ready.
To take a chance on me.
To continue to work hard for what I want.
To learn to work smarter.
To trust my instincts and remember that solving problems is what I do.
Solutions are what I am known for.
I am ready to keep mothering you, keep loving you.
I am ready to start my 40 things to do in my 40s because of course, I have a list.
I am ready to say that 40 is a really big deal because I was born 40.
It was never just a number for me.
I am ready to do this decade, I know how to be 40.
I know how to experience this decade and live through it.

In my 40s my daughter will leave for college.
My son will start to drive.
Both will stop believing in Santa.
All of their baby teeth will be gone.
Their rooms will be redecorated so teenagers feel more in control.
Proms will be danced.
Significant others will be a thing.
Childhood will be a thing of the past and memories we always talk about.
Traditions will become even more important.
Our family will be tested.
Everything will be more serious, more heavy.
My husband and I will travel more, our whole family will.
We will start to sleep later but somehow be more tired.
We will go through the heavy and thick of after-school activities and being in two places at once.
He will love it, I will worry it's too much on all of us.
No matter what, we will come out the other side.
We will remember married life, not just parenting.
I will continue to experiment with whiskey drinks I like, finally.
He will happily take me to more and more happy hours and date nights.
Our puppy will become an old dog.
Our major home projects will be done but our house will always be a work in progress.
Our bodies will get ready for 50.
We will get ready even more ready to retire.
He will continue to prove to himself that he is stronger, smarter and more capable than anyone I have ever met and he too will start to believe in his power, not his potential, but his actual power.
Our careers will become more and more defined.
We will be able to check more and more off of our bucket lists, I will continue to make all of the lists.
Health will always be important to me.
Love will always be a priority for all of us.

I have spent 39 years waiting to blow out my 40 candles.
It's not just a number and I am so damn ready.

5
Oct

Five Minute Friday - share

Every Friday we unite for five minutes. Only five minutes, that's all we get, that's all we have. And then, right where we are, no edits or second-thoughts, we publish those words. This week, we write on share.

Go.

I want to share something,
this blog is for me.
It is healing for me.
It is a journal of my parenting.
And despite the criticism I receive regarding how pollyanna I make parenting seem, not only do I disagree,
I just don't care.
I know that I share and am honest about my struggles, regrets, worries, concerns.
And I just don't care if you think it's too positive, I will always protect and defend their childhood.
I do not do this because anyone follows me, because they don't.
I do not do this for others to offer advice, because I have none to give, I am winging it.
I do this for me and for them.
I do this so you have a way of knowing how this all went down.
I do this so I have a way of looking back and remembering how this all felt.
I share to heal.
I share to let go, acknowledge and define the feelings I have, and then tell them to piss off.

I share because there are times when I am lost and distracted and empty and it's all too much.
I share because I know so many go through this and we are not alone.
I share because I have to call it out in order to move past.

I share about our amazing.
I share about our awful.
I share about my past.
I share my concerns for our future.
I share what we do well.
I share where I failed.
I share my solutions for us, the positive ones I found, the ones that no longer work, and the regrouping we always have to do.
I share where we stumble.
I share where we lost our way.
I share our book, chapter by chapter.
I share for me and for them, to heal and to know we always find our way back to us.
Because we actually do, we always find our way back to us.
And it ends positively because that's our family rule, we always end the day on our good.
We always end touching toes and talking about the parts we loved and apologize for the mistakes we made.
And as I climb back down the stairs, after yet another long day, I am thrilled to have the quiet and the time without being a mom because I am me too.
The book we started over 18 years ago is torn and faded and beat up and the pages are weathered and the cover is old and a bit ratty.
The story is changing year by year and some chapters are really scary and tearful.
Some chapters are amazing
all the chapters matter.

I share because I will always believe in our happy ending and because I know I have to share to heal me.

Stop.

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