January 27, 2015

My husband spent part of the weekend in Temecula with some of his coworkers to compete in one of those Spartan Races. You know, those obstacle, mud runs where you have to pass through freezing cold water, commando crawl under barbed wire, swing over mud pits and fling yourself up and over climbing walls all in the name of fun. It was his first time doing something like this and it was fun indeed. Challenging, grueling and fun. The whole group successfully completed the race, all without injury, and all leaving with a desire to do it again. But better.

I feel proud of him for finding a fun challenge that excited him and going after it. I also felt a little envious because I don’t often pursue the little things I might like to do for myself, or with friends. The Spartan Race is not my cup of tea, but there are lots of things that I’m keen to try or feel would be a fun activity. Childless activities. Yet, I don’t often allow myself the freedom to do so. My husband supports the idea of me taking a little “me” time, just as I encourage him to do the same. He’s just better at it than I am. I’m not sure why.

I had a brief conversation with a friend about this. She’s in a similar mindset. She’s happy to encourage her husband to enjoy a day of golf or whatever the pursuit may be, but is less apt to do the same. Both of our husbands travel so we each end up managing the family on our own at times. It would make sense to take a little time to ourselves to take in a movie, go for a hike, get a massage, or something random like a detox sweat (something I’m curious about) or shooting baskets at the park. Yet we rarely do.

For me, I feel a bit guilty about taking time away from Cole, even though he’s now at an age where he’s needing to take a bit of time away from me (from us) and is enjoying his own version of “me” time. He has so little time with me during the week due to my work schedule, so I feel like weekends are for him. The mom guilt tugs and pulls at me, and sometimes, he does too. I do know that he’s fine without me for a few hours, and that in the scope of a week, a month, a year, a life, a few hours to myself here and there are not going to have any kind of negative effect. More likely, those hours could have a positive impact.

This is something I need to improve upon. I am fine to make weeknight evening plans, like regular Mom’s Night Out dinners with my tribe, and board meetings for a non-profit I serve. Weeknight evenings are easier because if I go somewhere from work, I don’t have the influence of my son imploring me to stay home with him, and he doesn’t miss me much since he has his dad and weeknight routine. It’s the weekends, when a few lost hours would be most rejuvenating that I can’t seem to allow myself to stray.

I recognize the value of taking time to myself, both in terms of my sanity and my stress relief. I know it’s important to value yourself and to “put yourself on the list” as I often read. I know when I do make time for myself or follow through with things like taking better care of myself, I am happier, healthier and in many ways better equipped to share myself, my time, and my care with my son and my husband. I know all of this to be true, yet…

January 14, 2015

This year I’m determined to learn how to better promote my blog. I’d at least like to figure out how to link it to a Facebook page I created for it. I’ve come to realize that I enjoy sharing my writing more than I previously thought I did. I don’t necessarily feel like I’m full of great wisdom or extraordinary insights or humor but I love the outlet writing gives me and I’ve come to understand that writers write to be read. While I may not be a writer per se, not yet anyway, I will admit that sharing my words is satisfying.

Writing is simply a medium of expression. Like an art, it’s best when shared. I harbor a dream of completing a novel that I’m writing. Well, of completing one of the projects I’ve started over the years. I kept journals for many years and thoroughly enjoy the art of letter writing. I save them and I send them. An actual letter through the post is a treasure. I have letters from my dad, my grandmas, old boyfriends and friends. I save the beautiful cards my husband gives me, and a small scrap of paper where he wrote a sweet nothing to me before I traveled when we were dating. I have a box somewhere with notes passed between girlfriends and I during class in middle and high schools. Words to paper make me swell with joy.

Since my early twenties, I’ve had countless false starts at writing my debut novel. For a short time I toyed with the idea of a collection of short stories. They’re a medium that I greatly admire. The art of the short story is far more of a challenge than a full blown novel because to create a magical short story, it has to unfold so much more quickly but still have the impact of completion. I’ve started all sorts of different chapters of different stories, never to finish any of them. It’s only recently that the idea struck for a book idea that I might actually finish. That accomplishment would feel amazing, even if nothing were to come of it. Just the idea of completing a book…it’s enough.

January 1, 2015

I welcome the new year whole heartedly. I often feel ambivalent about new years and the concentration of attention on resolutions and change. However, this year, I find myself embracing the opportunity to implement some changes, updates, and upgrades into my life.

2014 was a fairly good year. We did a little traveling – I finally saw the spectacular beauty of the Grand Canyon, spent a lot of quality time with friends and family, did a few impactful updates to the house that have made it a space where we enjoy our downtime, as well as entertaining friends and family, overall the work year was solid, and Cole has grown in ways that still surprise us – his new found desire to spend time alone in his room in typical teen fashion…wow!

With the advent of the new year, I have the urge to continue to become healthier. Thus far, that includes the purchase of an under the desk elliptical machine, as well as a standing desk so that my normally sedentary work day can become a more challenging to me physically.

I’m also keen to explore some new recipes to add grains and more fruits and veggies to my diet, and eliminate some of the processed products as well as sugar. Sugar seems to be the evil element as we age, not only internally, but it also ages our skin more rapidly. I still have weight to lose (managed to lose and keep off 23 pounds in 2014…hoping for more of the same in 2015), but overall wellness is my main reason for updating the meal plans. I can feel the difference in my body, well being and energy when I’m eating cleaner, and leaner. My immune system is stronger and my moods more stable.

Having a living, breathing backyard garden is something that will help with that. We built some raised beds last year but have yet to fill them with soil so we can start planting. 2015 promises to be the year of getting our gardening on. We’ve grown veggies in pots and various spaces in our yard over the years and have been inspired by our homegrown crops to create wonderful meals from our produce. To be able to have a seasonal selection of crops to be inspired by is a dream. And the idea of tending to and nurturing them strikes me as a wonderful way to relax and spend a little time outside (I’m in an office all days with minimal outside exposure during the week).

I’m also looking forward to experiencing Cole growing. He seems to be in a physical period of growth at the moment. The last couple of weeks of 2014 have had him sleeping a lot more than usual and also a bit grouchier. Both signs of physical growth. I’m interested to see how he expands on his independence and to see how his interests grow this year.

Of course there are countless other upgrades that I hope to make practice of – being better organized, being more thoughtful and kinder (especially to my husband who has the unfortunate brunt of my moods whether he deserves it or not – most often not), reading more, revitalizing my French (we intend to take Cole to Paris for his 8th grade graduation), writing more, being braver about putting myself out there (where exactly there is, I’m not sure, but I know I’m not there, yet)…

I am entering 2015 with optimism, hope and an overall sense that the year will be meaningful. To me, that includes some real change and overhaul.

I wish health, happiness, and hope to everyone in 2015. And a good dose of love. It makes everything feel that much more attainable. Happy New Year’s!