40 Has Arrived

Dear Sarah,

I have wanted to start writing you again because I miss you terribly.

I miss the morning drive conversations about the good things. Gardening, crafty goodness, new recipes, and most of all the daily conversation with one of my very dearest and loved friends.

I love my birthday scarf and get compliments on it daily. I wear it all the time and think of you.

Selfishly, I also wanted to start the blog again because I have so many thoughts about this new life and decade that I am embarking on. The changes in my life have been so life altering and rollercoaster-esque in the very best of ways. And I have learned a few things about the changes that I have made, and feared for so many years.

When I quit my job in May, I did so with the intention of “finding my happy”. I remember saying it over and over when I reached to explain  my very sudden, and seemingly rash, decision to leave a “secure” position and jump off the cliff into the unknown to all of my friends and family. (I did get the “what the hell is she doing?” look from the vast majority of my village)

The only thing that I knew, in that moment, was that I was feeling so numb and drone-like in that place in my life. And, I had finally come to the realization that I had been that way for YEARS. My internal spark, that thing that makes me who I am, was in real jeopardy of being extinguished. And that, quite honestly, fucking scared me to my core.

But, as I came to understand over the next few months, was that my career and title was not the real issue. It was a symptom of a much larger problem. And, as terrifying as it was, I allowed myself to delve into the feelings that I had been suppressing for way too long. And that, my friend, scared me even more.

I had this benchmark of turning 40. And what my life would be like if I started listening to that nagging voice in my head ( quite honestly, I think it may be more accurate to say it was my heart speaking to me). You know the one that says “You can have a better life than the one you have locked yourself into.” ? That one. The one that is so very easy to dismiss and suppress. The crazy notions that I could reshape my life into happiness. I leaped, with absolutely no safety net ( and a very resilient 9 year-old) , into the abyss.

And that abyss turned into joy. Pure, simplified joy.

I found a job that I absolutely love. I have created a home that is simple and filled with love. I have made new friends and am establishing roots in a community that I adore.

Not withstanding, it’s not all unicorns and rainbows over here. Nothing is perfect and I , as a recovering perfectionist, am learning to roll with the daily minutia that still triggers my “pissed off” button. But, in knowing that, I wake up every day in a state of contentment that had eluded me for so long.

All of this is to say, pretty simply, that my 40th year on this earth was not about getting “healthy” in the sense of weight loss or quitting smoking, or running more, or having good hair and great teeth.

It was about realigning my soul to embrace, and feel my way through,  this fleeting thing that is life.

And, sister, if this is what 40 is….. I have arrived.

~ E

This is my 40th Birthday photo.

After the Sick

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Dear Sarah,
Happy Birthday weekend!
I hope you had a weekend full of family, friends, and celebration.
I found out a nifty thing about the iPhone. I can dictate my post to WordPress and not even need to type!
I guess the lazy blogger am I, but it might make things easier for me as I’m still technology free.
After my bout with a nasty virus, I’ve come out on the other end. Work a whole bunch this weekend. And now I have had a full day of rest and relaxation at the pool.
I have decided to embrace summer as a time of change, but a time for fun. I’m looking forward to spending as much time as I can be active and awake and alert this year.
Love you lots and here’s a picture from the pool today. Went with a friend and Joshua. We had a blast and it was the best Memorial day ever.
~ E

Food Fight!

Dear Erin,

I have another food movie for you to add to your netflix queue: “Food Fight”. Thanks for recommending so many inspiring movies to me in the past year or two. I think you will really like this one. Its about the local food movement. It was really fun to realize I have been a small part of that local food movement, shopping at the many local farmers markets we have in RI, and frequenting a restaurant we have in North Providence called the Locals. They opened up just a year or two ago, and serve foods that are locally sourced and also delicious. As a bonus, when I went on Friday night, I was able to get a local meal that was also vegan and quite tasty.

Its been two weeks since I started my vegan whole foods only eating. I had two meals now when I chose to incorporate some non-vegan or fried items into my diet. Overall, they convinced me (especially the fried foods) that my body really likes eating whole foods. I feel healthier. I plan to continue to definitely cook whole foods at home, perhaps incorporating a small amount of lean protein back into my diet. And maybe eggs. I didn’t realize how much I like eggs til they went away these past couple of weeks. This next weekend, I will be attending several birthday celebrations for me and two of my friends, and I plan to consume some alcohols and refined sugars. Cross your fingers for me to make other healthy choices to go along with those indulgences.

In the meantime, I continue to visit the gym 3 days per week for cardio and strength training, training with Kenya once a week, and to bust my butt with yard work and gardening for additional exercise. (I moved over 900 pounds of crushed stone around my gardens this weekend.) With family coming in from out of town on Wednesday, I am still planning to make all my gym appointments, but won’t be back to the blog til next week.

Have a fabulous holiday weekend (yes, I know I’m early). I hope you are having an easy time getting back on track.

Next week – revisiting those goals after posting them 2 months ago!

~S

Slow and Steady!

Dear Erin,

This little guy was making his way across the path this morning on our walk. Since I weighed myself before our walk, I couldn’t help but make a comparison. My weight-loss on my new vegan for now (but just mostly vegan for later) clean foods eating has kept me right on track of loosing about a half a pound a week. I’m totally fine with that. As my weight slowly creeps down, and my body gets stronger from the Strength Training I’ve been doing 3 days a week at the gym, I also feel MUCH better.  Much.  I won’t attribute my well being completely to clean eating, since I have also been getting to spend a lot of time outside in the warm weather, doing landscaping and gardening, and generally upping my overall activity level.

The past few weeks, I have been spending my Friday night at the gym. Sometimes with a friend, sometimes by myself. I go in and do a strength training circuit, about 40 minutes of cardio, and then soak in the whirlpool or sit in the sauna or steamroom for a little bit before I shower and put on my pj’s to wear home. Its completely wonderful. And, because of the application of some sort of heat at the end of my workout, I don’t have any problems going to sleep when I get home like I do if I just go and work out.  Since I have plans for tonight, I had my Friday night on Thursday.  As an added bonus, I timed it so I could watch the Big Bang Theory while I was doing my cardio. It was great.

So that’s my report pre-weekend. Slowly loosing, good. Gym with whirlpool, good.
Have a great weekend. I know I plan to.

~S

Mobile Blogging 101

Dear Sarah,
So awesome to read all of your posts. I am so proud of you and can totally see your work is paying off.

You know this, but in an effort of full disclosure to all who read this, I have been off the blog for a bit and immersing myself in my new life.

I separated from my place of employment for the past 8 years on May 1 st. Can’t say it was a pretty separation or that I would have ever made that decision if not for some catalyst type events that really made me reconsider the direction my life was headed.

I also have been, on the whole, happier for the last few weeks than I have been in years. ( the saddest part about leaving was having to hand in the Mac … Which has left me to find alternate sources of technology)

I have kinda been acting like a kid in a candy store. Overindulgence and not enough attention to my weightless journey. ( feels weird calling it a journey. Very dramatic)

But alas, as honeymoons come to an end so must my reverie in my new found freedom.

I am going to map out a plan on Monday about my fitness routine and need some help to stick to it. Yoga and cardio are on the horizon for me. The break has to end… But I still feel the fun is beginning.

I kept the man cub home from his half- day of school yesterday and really had so much fun with him. I can’t wait for more summer days to spend with him to do whatever we wish and find adventure together. I missed that so much with all the crazy times I have spent working the past few years.

I am trying out some mobile blogging from the iPhone. Here’s to new technology!
~ E

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Welcome back sunshine!

Dear Erin,

After I ran to Lowes and did some planting in the garden (hot peppers and rhubarb today) this morning, Murph and I celebrated the return of the sunshine with a quick walk to the beach.

Last night’s training session was brutal. My trainer decided since I’m getting stronger on all the exercises, she would increase the intensity of ALL the exercises at once.  It was fun, and difficult, and at the end, I debated whether or not I would really be able to walk back downstairs to the locker room without falling down them. Perfect.

Afterwards I went to the dinner. The food was terrible (seriously restaurant, get some BETTER salad mix), but the company was fun. And I definitely didn’t go for the food. I had a great time visiting with friends, and even won a couple of books as door prizes.

This weekend, more gardening, and hopefully we fit in a hike!

~S

 

Dear Erin,

I really like the link you put on facebook yesterday. Fifteen Powerful Things Happy People Do. Thanks for pointing me to some more good inspiration.

I would like to report that I skipped one of my gym workouts this week in favor of doing 1-3 hours of heavy duty yard work every day. I think my body has gotten the better end of the deal, as has my yard.  Tonight I return to the personal trainer for a good workout, and then out to a vegan dinner out with friends at a very non-vegan friendly restaurant for dinner. I’m bringing my own condiments (salsa and homemade salad dressing) for a plain garden salad and plain baked potato.

On the vegan eating…I would like to report that my body is really happy with my whole foods regimen. I cheated a little bit on Sunday night and has some cheese. I didn’t get sick or anything, but I just didn’t feel good, and it reaffirmed for me that I am feeling a lot healthier eating dairy free – with whole foods. This does not, of course, mean I won’t sneak a little bit of meat and dairy back into my diet on a limited basis later, or that I have stopped craving cheeseburgers. Just that I affirm that my body really appreciates the healthier fuel I have been filling it up with for the last week or so.

Also, I lost some weight – a whole shirt size now. Which is really nice.

Pictured above, me, playing at the playground on Monday (sporting that smaller sized shirt). I was there for an excellent mothers day celebration on Monday with my mom, sister, and nephew, pictured below. What fun!

~S

Bonus Workout

Dear Erin,

Here is a picture of those veggie burgers from yesterday.
Mine didn’t stick together very well, and I am eating the leftovers as a bowl of rice and lentils, with the toppings chopped up on top. Since I really like homemade veggie burgers, I am thinking I need to get a patty mold to squish everything together more. (I guess that will be a weekend mission.)

I would also like to report that I did a bonus workout at the gym last night, just because.
I usually go Monday, Wednesday, Friday.  This week I added in an extra 40 minute workout on Thursday night! And I’m still going to go tonight too.

~S

A Recipe for You…

Dear Erin,

Since you asked me to pass along recipes, here is a really good one:
Lentil and Brown Rice Veggie Burgers

You use 3 pans to cook up all the ingredients before forming the burger patties, but they are so good, its worth it.

In other news, yesterday’s workout went really well.
I was thinking of what you said earlier in the blog, about small goals seen to fruition over long periods of time = progress.
I definitely feel this way about the gym, and especially about working out with a Trainer. Each week, the exercises are a little more difficult than the last, and yet I feel a little bit BETTER after we do them, not worse (like I did the first week). YAY! PROGRESS!

Also, it looks like it may stop raining here, so Murph and I can get back out into the garden.
I hope there is a lot of garden time in your future as well!

~S

I ate out!

Dear Erin,

Playing outside here has ceased and a long hard rain has settled in instead. I am trying to be happy because the garden loves rain, but I am honestly feeling a little bummed out. I was on a real roll out there.  Can’t wait to get back to it.

Here is my eating update – Went out to dinner last night at a Mediterranean place. Ordered a baba ganoush sandwich on a pita with no cheese. There was no option for whole wheat pita, and there was some oil on the sandwich, so it wasn’t completely “clean,” but it was vegetarian, low fat, and delish. I am calling it a success.  I also had a fun time with my friends at the event we went to – listening (and knitting along) to my favorite pod-caster and knitting celeb Brenda Dayne of Cast-On talk about knitting and memory at the famous Webs. It was really cool.

Also, today’s lunch was indeed homemade brown rice (with a splash of rice vinegar) veggie sushi rolls. They included, cucumber, avocado, carrot and spinach inside the nori with the rice. I accidentally made the rice not-very-sticky, and the rolls were a little messy as a result, but it still tasted very good. They were supposed to be my picture for the day, but they looked really disastrous, so I skipped it and am re-using this picture of the Murph being sad about the last rain we had (previously posted on facebook). Because that’s how I feel about the rain today, too.

Tonight…third personal training session. Wish me luck!

~S

 

**For those of you missing Erin, she is without a computer for a little bit, but I expect you will find her back posting with us soon.
She HAS been posting some pictures over at our flickr account, so you can visit her there if you are missing her too much to wait.