I respect your presence

Dear grief, you filled the place of love, and I respect your presence.
You filled in where there was once limitless love, and I respect your presence.
You filled in where there was once love with limits and boundaries, and tempers, and pain, and I respect your presence.

Our whole relationship was complicated.
Packed with fighting and times of so much rage and craze that we just walked away.
Most of my life was filled with so much anger because I could not understand you.
The time you wasted being angry, the reasons you were angry, the people you chose to be angry with, I could not understand any part of it.
And the thing that made me the most angry is you wasted time being angry and you wasted time wasting time.
You never understood that time was a gift and that all of our time is borrowed.
And yet, there were parts of you that I really understood, and I got your why.
Not always, but every once in a while, I got your why.

And the end with you was also complicated.
Filled with moments of laughter and lightness.
Filled with moments of heaviness and vulnerability.
Filled with a scared little boy and a grown man in denial.
Filled with anger and resentment.
Filled with more wasted time, and time worried about the wrong things.
Until finally, it was time to say goodbye.

Once you were gone, I had no idea where my mind, thoughts, and memories would go.
I am honored to say that I felt pure grief.
Loving, missing you, missing your big personality, pure, beautiful grief.
Dear grief, you filled the place of love, and I respect your presence.
I respected you from the moment you arrived, and I have not stopped.
I respect you for making me feel small and sad.
You reminded me that love once existed where you now stand so stand proud.
I respect your presence.

It felt like nothing could tear us apart. We were one family, united. We were everything and always. We were endless and always a breath away. We were each other's safety net and you were my laugh, my balance, my friends. Until we were no longer. Somewhere, somehow, we hit our limit in our limitless friendship - and it did not explode, it just vanished.
We were done, and you were all gone.
I spent months upon months upon months unable to catch my breath. I felt like I was being crushed with sadness. And then I lost my dad and I realized what I was feeling for us was grief.
Even though you still existed and walked around in the world, I was grieving you/us/ideas/love. I was grieving our love lost.
I replayed our times together and conversations. I picked up the phone countless times. I doubled over in pain. I held my son's hand as he grieved too. I curled up into a ball most nights. I yelled, I screamed, I did nothing at all but get small and quiet.
Dear grief, you filled the place of love, and not only did I not respect your presence, I tried to deny you existed. Until I had no other choice. I had to accept the fact that we were done and grief now stood proud.
Dear grief, you filled the place of love, and I respect your presence. The love you now replace was limitless, endless, truthful, and pure. You should stand proud because real love existed and I respect your presence.

I have had to let go of expectations of people, relationships, and what I had hoped we would be, or what I had thought we were. I have grieved safe spaces and love. Maybe something more beautiful will be born. Maybe we will be exactly what you have always told me we are. Maybe grief will help me to move on, or maybe it will keep me lingering. Maybe the love I still have will melt away the protection I am now seeking.
Dear grief, you filled the place of love, and I respect your presence.
I honor you for finding me because it means that I allowed my heart to feel this way. I allowed this amount of love in and outward. I poured as much of myself as I could and I am so lucky to have had this in my life. I respect your presence because it reminds me that I felt love.

As a 45-year-old woman who left her family with no reassurances, who created two amazing kids, who found the love of her life at 21, who left a career that raised her, who buried a puppy that was her reason, who is now raising those two incredible kids to be people in this world, who started a company that she adores, who has another puppy that fixed the broken, who has gone through stage after stage after stage with her husband, who walked her father to his death, who loved and lost, and lost a lot, who was born 40, who is living her best decade, who stopped proving she can do hard things, who continues to look at herself to find how to can be better, stronger, more myself. I am lost. I am living my best years and am still lost.
I have broken up with myself over and over again and I still am. I am still trying to make sense of who I am, how I fit in, where I fit in, who I need, what I need, and when.
Although I spent an entire year trying to live in a place of self-respect with boundaries on being a doormat, I still find myself, searching. I do not know what I am seeking or searching for, but I know that I am looking for something. And I know that I am grieving past lives.

Dear grief, you filled the place of love, and I respect your presence.
Where you now stand proud, stood a woman who was so fulfilled with her choices in love.
Where you now hold value was once a foundation that was so strong, and now is a little wobbly.
So I respect your presence. I respect your heartbeat and I respect the waves you bring.

Dear grief, you filled the place of love, and I respect your presence.



Those who are not grateful soon begin to complain of everything. – THOMAS MERTON 

Like the weather.
Or how fast time is moving.
Or about the kids. Or about our family. Or about our work.
Or how early it gets dark.
How hard it is to get up in the morning.

So instead, let me break the habit.

Like how much I enjoy each and every single season in NY, so, I may as well lean into the things I love about them.
Like how much earlier I want to sleep and hibernate because it is darker earlier.
Like how much I love to snuggle into a warm bed and that's why it's so hard to leave in the morning.
Like how time is moving way too fast, but I have a front-row seat to our kids getting older.
I get to see my daughter laugh like I do at TV shows.
I get to see my son scream with excitement with his dad at any game.
Like how much family I have surrounding me all of the time.
Like how much joy my career brings me.
Like how hard we work on us and how important that is to me.
And how much you realize how important it is to me so you try too.
Like how I get to work out every single day. My body has not failed me yet and I still get to move and get stronger and better.
Like how calm the water is when Pearl and I go for a walk.
Like how much our puppy loves to go for a walk and how happy she is.
Like having Pearl in our lives at all and realizing there is a true lover of love out there that puts all others to shame.
Like how she gives hugs.
Like how Cole still gives me little guy smooches.
Like how Anna still wraps her arms around me and gives me soft kisses on my nose.
Like our traditions and how important they still are to the kids.
Like my business that keeps me on my toes but doesn't make me feel stepped on.
Like how amazing rain sounds falling on our home.
Like how beautiful the world is covered in white snow.
Like how wonderful it is when the weather turns and we start to feel free outside.
Like how much I adore our Friday nights.
Like how much I look forward to our Sunday dinners
Like how we figured out how to heal before it was too late.
Like how we have each other.



It may well be that those whose work is their pleasure are those who most need the means of banishing it at intervals from their minds. – WINSTON CHURCHILL 

Mr. Churchill, hell to the yes!

It is no secret that I love to work.
I love love love it.
I love to feel the hum of my work.
I love the way I feel when I'm working.
I love that I am good at it.
I love how I can problem-solve.
I love my team.
I love how well they know me, I love how well we balance each other.
I love love love my work and I love love love to work.

It may well be that those whose work is their pleasure are those who most need the means of banishing it at intervals from their minds.

I love my new business.
I love the work I'm doing.
I love how well it's going.
I love the ups and the downs.
I love how I can do it anywhere, anytime.
If I have extra time, I will find work to do, there is always work to do.
I love love love my work and I love love love to work.

It may well be that those whose work is their pleasure are those who most need the means of banishing it at intervals from their minds.

But I am someone who, once upon a time, loved her work to actual death.
I am someone who, once upon a time, became only her work.
I am someone who, once upon a time, only had her work and became so unbalanced, overworked, and exhausted that I loved my work to death.
Actual death.
I killed my love, my joy, my hum. I killed the love love love that I have for my work and my love love love to work.

It may well be that those whose work is their pleasure are those who most need the means of banishing it at intervals from their minds.

So, it's different now.
It HAS to be.
Now, do I actually banish it from my mind? No.
Do I take long breaks meaning days/weeks away? No.
Do I take actual breaks in my day-to-day? Yes.
Do I find other things that bring me joy/make me feel whole? Yes.
Have I found my balance? Hell yes.

I once again found my hum.
My steps.
My joy. My love love love of work and my love love love to work.
I found out what it looks like to finally figure it out.


Relentless Humans.

"Surround yourself with relentless humans.
People who plan in decades, but live in moments.
Train like savages, but create like artists.
Obsess in work, relax in life.
People who know this is finite, and choose to play infinite games.
Find people scaling mountains. Climb together."

When I tuck you in at night, or when we are having a quiet moment, I whisper..."remember to always be you, because you're the best you I know."

And I forgot this message, or maybe I never learned it, for myself.

I have spent the last 18 months making myself smaller.
I have been made to feel as though I am too much.
I have been told I am too much.
I have definitely felt like I am too much.
Too open, too all in, too emotional, too sensitive.
I am too much to take.
I take too much on.
I have too many requirements.
I have too many moments to celebrate, no one can keep up.
I have too many routines.
I am crazy, no, too crazy.
I am too much to take.

And, it's all true.

So I retreated to become less.
And where I landed was being less me.
Less vibrant, less passionate, less loving, less interested.

"Your light may irritate a lot of unhealed people.
Shine anyway."

I have tried to fit into a more stable box.
One that has a nice tight lid.
One that is smaller in size.
One that does not take up space.

I wanted to be unseen, unheard, uninvolved.

And, it still wasn't enough.

I was still sought out.
I was still called names.
I still felt hurt, and very seen.
I was left feeling inside out and outside in.

I got even smaller.
I was more quiet. I was more withdrawn.
I hid. All the while, smiling through it.

It is my year of self respect.
It was time for me to look at myself to see what I was doing to attract pain...I am the common denominator.

All while I was telling you two to be who you are. At your core. Don't let this world change you. Try and allow your light to change the world...even when it gets hard.

"remember to always be you, because you're the best you I know."

So then I started calling myself names.
Hypocrite. Unauthentic. Maybe there is something wrong with my heart. Maybe my issues are that I am searching for something that can't be filled externally. I am just too damn much.

Or. Maybe it's not about me at all.
Or. Maybe it is.

Maybe it says something about me that I am searching.
Maybe it says something about me that I am in pain.
Maybe it says something about me that I do love hard.
Maybe it says something about me that I feel energy and emotions and can pick up on the room's energy.
Maybe it says something about me that people can feel my energy.

Maybe it is way too much.
Maybe I exhaust myself and others.
Maybe there is a lighter, smaller, easier way.
Maybe I can live a smaller life.

"remember to always be you, because you're the best you I know."

I do not have nor do I want a smaller life.
I do not live nor do I want to live in a glimmer-less world.
I do not want to pretend that the little things are special.
I do not want to smile through it.
I do not want to be closed off.
I do not want to not love with all I have.
I do not want to be less obsessed with what I love.

I want to plan in decades, because I see you in my future.
I want to be the one that shows up, because I love you.
I want to be the one you can count on, because I am here.
I want to be the one that understands you can't talk right now, because sometimes time is the best medicine.
I want to be the lover of life.
I want to be as passionate as I am.
I want to cry when things move me.
I want to laugh when things are funny.
I want to remember that there are dark corners everywhere so I'm okay celebrating light.
I want to tell you how beautiful you are because I believe it.
I want to listen to you, because life can be a lot and we all need good listeners.
I want to love what I love because it moves me.
I want to love a book so much I don't want it to end. And I want to be okay with the fact that I'm actually sad that it did end.
I want to be obsessed with our lives - because sometimes, it is so beautiful it could be a dream.
I want to be all in, because I'm an all in girl.
I want to be a light, because I know how dark it can get.
I want to be and am madly in love with a puppy we adopted. Because it is crazy how much I love her.
I want to find peace, love, relaxation in long rainy days. I want to linger in the sound.
I want to find comfort and warmth in snow days. I want to linger in the cozy.
I want to be obsessed with my work because I love love love to work. Because I am a relentless human.
I want to love how much I train like a savage. I put effort into me, my body, my health, my mind, my care. Because I am a relentless human.
I want to be the one you find to scale that mountain with. Because I am a relentless human.
I want to okay with being me. Because I am a relentless human.

"remember to always be you, because you're the best you I know."

To my littles and to myself...
"Keep good company, read good books, love good things and cultivate soul and body as faithfully as you can" - Louisa May Alcott


To find yourself

One does not ‘find oneself’ by pursuing one’s self, but on the contrary by pursuing something else and learning through some discipline or routine … who one is and wants to be. - May Sarton

Oh, but say it again!
Whisper sweet nothings in my ear about routine and discipline and finding yourself in the pursuit of something else, something outside of you.
Oh May Sarton, it's as if you climbed into my mind and took a look around and came up with poetry that you wrote just for me.

Yes, say it again.

It was in the pursuit of my need to leave that I found myself.
It was in the pursuit of my work that I found myself.
It was in the pursuit of finding more than my work, that I found myself.

Yes, say it again.

It was in the pursuit of finding a family that I found myself.
It was in the pursuit of finding joyful, comfortable, real love, that I found myself.
It was in the pursuit of seeing if and how hard I can do hard things, that I found myself.
It was in the pursuit of proving myself, first to them, then to me, that I found myself.
It was in the pursuit of no longer proving anything to anyone, including me, that I found myself.

Yes, say it again.

It was in the pursuit of balance, that I really found myself.

Yes, say it again.

It was and is through discipline.
It was and is through the routine.
It was and is through the freedom that comes with knowing what I am doing and how and when.
It was and is through love...my love.
Through others, my community, my people, my heart, my love of others, and my need to fill up a loss, I find myself...again and again and again.

Yes, say it again.



We all spend so much time talking/thinking/worrying about happiness.
Being happy all of the time.
Being happy with our marriages, our careers, our choices, our parenting, our kids, our homes, our lives.
Being so out of control in love with happiness that we actually worry about it.
I am no exception to this.
I too always thought that finding your joy is the reason for life.

Finding your joy.
Getting through the hard because at the other side is what you've worked for and that will bring you joy.

But, as I have entered into the most embraced and loved decade of my life, I have found out that of course, life isn't always happy all of the time.
Your career will fulfill you until it does not.
Your marriage will spark joy in your toes until you hit a fog so thick and heavy you can't see each other anymore.
Your children will make your insides hurt with such love, joy, and appreciation of life - until you look at them with such rage and craze that you're not sure who you are anymore.
Your home needs constant upkeep and draws out wants.
Your friends change, your life changes, your kids get older, things get easier, then harder again.

So, there is no such thing as happy all of the time.
And what I have found, even when things got heavy and hurtful and sad - are glimmers.

There are also glimmers - and they are all around us.

Glimmers of joy, hope, love.
Glimmers of memories that keep you warm.
Glimmers of smiles that make you fall in love.
Glimmers of puppy kisses, snuggles, and deep periods of sleep that make you feel relaxed just by watching her.
Glimmers of great shows, great music, great stories.
Glimmers of friends, the new, the old, the ones that know you.

There are glimmers of the old you and the new person you are.
There are glimmers of who you no longer are.
There are glimmers of deep joy, the kind that takes over again.

There are glimmers when you have to walk a stubborn parent to his death, and help a mother cope with life after.
Glimmers like the humor you find as a family.
Glimmers like your unit pulling for you in every way.
Glimmers like your person going through it with you, and feeling a closeness like you couldn't have imagined.

There are glimmers when you and your spouse can't navigate parenting.
Glimmers like tucking them in at night together and talking about the good sweet parts of the day.
Glimmers like picking each other, each and every day.
Glimmers like watching a show or movie that you know will make you connect.

There are glimmers when the career that defines you

There are glimmers when I get into my car and listen to music that makes me feel things.
There are glimmers when I slip into bed, grab a good book, and touch toes with you.
There are glimmers when I snuggle in on the couch with Pearl.
There are glimmers when we go out to dinner and I look across the table at you, the one I get to spend this life with.
There are glimmers when I watch them sleep.
There are glimmers when I see him with friends.
There are glimmers when I work out with her.
There are glimmers when she talks about her squad.
There are glimmers when we laugh together.
There are glimmers when we travel and everyone reconnects.
There are glimmers when I am in a good routine and I feel like me.
There are glimmers when I am done folding laundry.
There are glimmers when I'm done with my run.
There are glimmers when I'm done with a shower.
There are glimmers when I listen to Pearl snore.
There are glimmers when I see they inherited how your tongue sticks out of your mouth when you are all thinking and concentrating.
There are glimmers when our son hugs me.
There are glimmers when our daughter and I walk together.
There are glimmers when I hear rain, see our world turn gray.
And there are glimmers when it snows, and everything is covered in white.

So, when things feel unbearable, when life is a slog, find glimmers lovies.
Glimmers of hope, love, joy, peace.
Trust me, they are right in front of you.



Sometimes, to keep going, we have to allow ourselves to stop. - Gretchen Rubin
For most of my life, I wore busy like a badge of honor.
It's not that I loved busy, I just had no idea how to stop.
And my life got more and more complicated as things got harder and harder.
The whole time I knew I was the one to blame, but I did not know how to stop.
Actually, I did not know that stopping was even an option.

Go go go was my jam.
Work hard, be hard, be hard on yourself, push yourself hard, be tougher than that.
Go faster, work even harder, get that goal, push push push.

By the time I reached my breaking point I also reached a place of no return because not only did I not stop, I doubled-down on too much.
And for three years, I was unwell.
And although I see that as the toughest I have ever had to be, I to this day, do not see a different way to have done what I felt needed to get done.
I needed to leave a career that defined me and build a company from scratch.
I needed to leave all that I knew about myself and create something I didn't think I deserved.
But I also knew that I could not continue and keep on the same course.
I was finally ready to learn how to stop.

Just as the world stopped spinning so did I.

Sometimes, to keep going, we have to allow ourselves to stop.
I knew I wanted to build a business that allowed me to be more than my career.
And who would have thought building a business would be less than what I was putting myself through, but it was.
I still cannot believe and will never understand that it took a pandemic for me to learn how to live differently.
I honestly have no idea what I would have done if it did not exist...would I have found my same groove?
Would I have realized how much I need rest and peace and stillness?
Or would I have turned this new start into the same old?

Regardless, I stopped and what I found out is how important that is to keep going.
I stopped begging for work.
I stopped begging for it to work.
I stopped waking before 4 to get to work.
I stopped working until my body fell apart.
I stopped hurting my brain and my body.
I stopped putting so much pressure on me that pressure was the only feeling left.
I stopped feeling like I could feel all the nerves in my body.
I stopped sleeping in fists, I stopped dreaming in nightmares.
I stopped crying all of the time.
I stopped worrying most of the time.

And I started something very new.
I started breathing normally again.
I started having thoughts that included joy and excitement again.
I started sleeping through the night and dreaming.
I started seeing my children and hearing their stories.
I started to smile again.
I started to recognize joy.

I found myself.
A little of the old me, a lot of new.
A little bit more calm, a lot more aware.
A little more intentional, a lot more loving.
I found myself when I just stopped.


One job.

All one could do was to get on with the one job that nobody else could do, the job of being oneself. - Monica Dickens

So tell me what that looks like for you because here is what I see...

I see a 14-year-old Queen ready to take this world on.
I see her hell-bent on living her very best life with her very best girls by her side.
I see a young woman about to explode into who she is...and become.
I see you sweet girl, now go be the very best version of you.
You have one job, to be you.

I see an almost 11-year-old boy that is so confident in his heart and incredible personality that he attracts good.
He is the definition of good and his whole being is about caring.
I see moments of him being out of sorts and in those moments stuck in time, I see all of our hearts break.
I see a boy that is trying to figure out how to still be squishy and lovable but also set up some boundaries.
I see a boy that is exploring and always moving and always bobbing and always being him.
I see him becoming.
I see you sweet boy, now go be the very best version of you.
You have one job, to be you.

I see a man, the man I fell in love with.
I see him laughing more.
I see him finding his strength in parenting.
I see him finding his strength.
I see him still in a cloud of rainbows, unwilling to face most pain.
I see him loving his life and always finding the best in everyone.
I see you sweet love, I see your heart.
You have one job, to continue to be the unicorn you are.

I see a couple that started their love affair with simple, easy love.
I see a couple that started with smiles and bursting with affection.
I see a couple that added to that love and faced some stuff.
I see a couple that walked through fog and mud for years and years and years.
I see a couple that continues to hold hands, touch toes, laugh, snuggle, smooch.
I see us sweet love, we need to be the best version of ourselves.
We have one job, to be us.

I see a mom, an introverted mom, in her mid-40s.
I see her having lost so much in her heart these past years.
I see her having to find her way, once again.
I see her starting over, starting new.
I see her starting something just for her and loving it.
I see her letting go of pain and loving that too.
But I see her still trying to find a really big piece of her heart.
I see her becoming the next version of her.
She has one job, to be herself.


Dear stranger

There is an interior designer that I follow, I have for years and years.
Lately, I don't even follow her for her home interior design (which I also love) but I am drawn to her.
Like all women who carry themselves with grace, confidence, and drip with an urgent fire, I am drawn to her.

Because I am drawn, not to my opposite, but to my balance.
And she brings out my own internal fire.
I am learning from her, a complete stranger, a woman that has no idea what she has brought into my world, no idea who or what or why I am...I am learning from her.

Dear stranger, It started with the way you talk about yourself.
You have a sense of self that I respect, but deeply respect.
And each time I see a story of you, each time I watch you pose and showcase your work, your outfit, your home, your art, yourself, I am reminded of two things:
1. I don't think I can ever grow up and be you.
2. I don't have to, but I can learn from you.

Dear stranger, let's start at the beginning.
I first realized my pull to you when you spoke about money, so openly, so candidly.
I then felt drawn to how you talked about leaving your 9-5 and starting on your business and believing in yourself...sound familiar?
I then saw how success didn't just follow you, you worked for it, but you made your own path, built your own table, made your own seat, created a new game with your own rules and then wrote your own damn book.

Dear stranger, you showed up for you.
You didn't take no for an answer and the whole time, you built something with the people in your life.
You didn't step over anyone, you elevated others as you kept going.
Yes, it did sound familiar.

Dear stranger, and then there is the self-love you have for your body.
I heard you casually talk about your body.
I heard you say things I have heard many women say along the way...
I'm proud of what this body can do...and then you called yourself an athletic build and it all clicked with me.
Athletic and proud of it.
Curves and flipping loves herself.
I don't know why you saying it hit me differently but it did. Something clicked inside of me.
Maybe it was how casual you were about it, almost like a throw away of...I have nothing to say about my body other than I love it and I'm proud of it...but something connected.

Dear stranger, I went to work.
Even though I am not someone who will ever be confident, even though I will never own a room or a camera. Even though I may never fully love the body I'm in and walk with a sense of respect that I deserve...it's okay. I can learn from you.
I went to work and I got this.

Dear stranger, I can separate the two.
I can remember that self-confidence can be separate from self-love and respect.
Even though I might not fully believe in myself and my expertise and my being, I can love who I am.

Dear stranger, not that you or anyone asked, but here's a little something about me.
I am someone that is always interested in knowing better and doing better.
I am someone that works on herself - but a lot and in all areas.
I am someone that pushes her body physically, mentally.
I am someone that has proved time and time and time again, I can do hard things.
I am someone that pushes through fear and allows it to fuel, not stop her.
I am someone that left her forever career that was ruining her and started something from nothing.
I am someone that believes in love, in its strength and I value that love and honor it.
I am someone that believes in connection and how much humans need each other.

Dear stranger, I too built something.
I too want my company to be my last chapter.
I too now have an athletic build.
I too now have curves and muscle and muscle mass.
I too work to elevate others.
I too want to go farther with those I know I can count on.
I too desire connection and bring in those I feel close to and love on them hard.
I too no longer wanted to play the game, or sit where I was being asked to sit. So I too built a different table, started my own game and made my own rules.

Dear stranger that I am learning from...
I am learning to put myself in my top five.
I am learning to love on me.
I am learning to lean into my body.
I am learning to love what it has done for me, how much it fights for me, and how much I fight for it.
I am learning to take many more pictures of myself and share them and tell myself that I matter.
I am learning to matter and to take up space and be a little louder by being more quiet.
I am learning to spend more time on rest and quieting my brain.
I am learning about self-love and self-respect and learning more and more about myself.

Dear stranger, thank you for sharing yourself.
Thank you for existing and thank you for meaning something to someone you never even met.
One day, I hope to bloom like you have.
I hope my soul grows up to be like yours.
I hope I attract the love and light that you do.

Dear stranger, I have and am continuing to learn from you.


Here and now

Do not look back. And do not dream about the future, either...Your duty, your reward—your destiny—are here and now. –DAG HAMMARSKJOLD

I spend a lot of time deep in my past.
I also spend quite a bit of time wondering about my future.
That leaves very little time for the here and now.

Several years ago, I made a shift.
It wasn't overnight, and it wasn't a huge change, but it was significant for me.
I was never 100 percent where I was supposed to be, I was never 100 percent "present" but I leaned a little harder into the here and now.

It started with my runs.
I stopped racing and I started just running.
I no longer had to hit miles, I no longer racked them up, and I no longer had to prove I could do hard things.
Instead, I ran. I just ran to go for runs.
I stopped sometimes.
I watched the seasons change.
I watched my puppy.
I looked at the trees around me, I paid attention to the sky.
I looked at my surroundings, a lot.
I noticed things...like my breath and the sound of my feet.
I listened to her tag rattle against her collar and I heard the pitter-patter of her little feet too.

I then moved on to baths.
I took them much more often.
I sank into them, I really really sank into the warmth.
It felt like a hug and I just sat.
I lit candles, sometimes.
I made it a bubble bath, sometimes.
I brought wine with me, sometimes.
Sometimes I read or listened to music.
Other times I just sat there, alone, in the quiet.

Then, I started reading more, or again, or more again.
Either way, I started to end my night with a book instead of a screen.
I started to get lost in other stories instead of everyday reality, we all get enough of that.
I read slowly but that's okay, it's amazing how once you start reading more, you want to read more and more.
And I forgot how much I get lost in books and stories and how attached I get to characters.
How much I learn about myself or find myself attracted to a personality.
So, I started to read a lot more.

I started walking as a hobby.
My puppy and I walk and walk and walk.
I can feel my body open up.
I can feel myself calm the hell down.
How can you not with that little face so excited to take in the smells and sights?
She is so so happy on her walks and her joy is kind of everything.

Then, I took a look at my work.
How crazed I get about the mistakes of my past and worried about the future.
The traps I fall into like all of the "what ifs". I play the "what if" game a hell of a lot!
But, I didn't want to wake up again and have killed my joy of this path too so I got a handle on it.
I didn't want to realize that I was living a life of constant nightmares and crying so I needed to fix it.
So, I went to work on fixing my work and what it means to me.
I tried to remember that I am not my mistakes.
That I need thicker skin, most times.
I then realized that I can take some breaks.
I can clear my head.
I have the right people around me that have my back.
People smarter than me that work hard and keep me informed.
I found a way to start problem-solving again and being much more solution focused - I had forgotten I can do that.
I deal with things one at a time.
I try to not get too wrapped up in my self-made traps and I am learning a different style and approach.

I am not always and forever in the "here and now".
It's not who I am or how I tick, but I am trying and I am getting a little bit better.
And the most incredible thing I have noticed is, I do like noticing things.
I love watching the lake I run by change with the seasons.
I love taking in the colors of summer and the bitter gray of the winters in NY.
I love how many trips we now get to fit in and I love that the kids realize I am around and I love love love that I no longer feel like someone is standing on my chest.

Your duty, your reward—your destiny—are here and now.

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