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.

Running

Dear Sarah,

I am hoping that Kendra kicked your ass in the gentlest, kindest way possible… well… for a personal trainer.

I ran today. And, man, it felt great.

I am finding that running is like a new friend that feels like you have known them forever. Whenever I run after a long time off, I feel like my heart and head hit a stride that finally connect. (Remind me of that in the future when I get all whiny and talk about how hard it is, ok?)

I’m in a place of shaking up my life at the moment. Shifting from a job of 8 years into the unknown, transforming how I think about my happiness, health and intention. I swear, the feeling of being locked into an unhappy existence for the past few years has allowed me to pack on weight and limit myself so far as to always be feeling like the world rested on my shoulders alone. I can’t count how many times that I have told everyone that I’m doing “ok” or “fine” and washed my emotions down with whatever  could put into my mouth.  The truth is, I haven’t been happy for a long time.

Now, this feeling of general unhappiness has nothing to do with my husband or my man-cub. They are my touchstone and truly the reason I could keep chugging away at the things I locked myself into. And, my family and friends are amazing. I count myself truly blessed to have all of these wonderful people in my life that love me unconditionally.

The fact of the matter is, I couldn’t love me unconditionally. My internal barometer of happiness was so far south that I forgot it even existed.  I felt so disconnected from being able to be creative, to dream big dreams, and to make changes in myself that could result in a different path.

The simple act of throwing in the towel in one area of my life has led to this opening up of so many others. I feel like I want to take photos again. I want to get my ass up and run. I want to eat well, rest well, and take time for me. Why?

Simply because I can.

This is all not to say that I am not scared of what lies ahead. But the fear is tempered by pure, unabashed excitement.

And, I like it.

~ E

 

 

Get Moving

Dear Sarah,

Your diligence to yourself and our project is inspiring.

I am so excited about your meal plans. I think recipes are in order (seeing as your chili recipe is now my standard).

Headed for a run today at ass-o-clock. I’m thinking that a little weights and sweat will help me get through the day. Ending it off with yoga at 5:30pm.

I wanted to get deeply philosophical about the transition away from my career into uncharted waters.

I think this says it all.

~ e

Resignation

Dear Sarah,

Miss me? I know… I bet writing letters to yourself is not a ton of fun. 

I am sorry. I miss you!

I have been inundated with work and life and resignation.

I saw that my event counter has turned the page to the 5 month mark.

Time waits for no one, and I am no exception.

I have started to think about my former resignation to live a life that was unhealthy, and not fulfilling. I never made a conscious choice for that life. I allowed it to happen to me. The unwanted pounds, the bad habits, the food medicating. All of it.  The not making a choice was a HUGE choice. It was a glaring, screaming, unhealthy choice.

I have recently started to think about how powerful my choices are. How they line up like little soldiers to defend me. They fuel me with confidence, allow me to run faster, train harder, and take leaps of faith when I normally would hide under my choices and eat.

I am ready to jump again, and I feel great. I am for sure scared. And I am for sure super excited.

I’m thinking of taking the sage advice in the picture.

Here’s to new beginnings and great choices.

Legilimency, or Something Like That.

Dear Sarah,

You know that moment? The one where you pick up the phone to call someone and they are already on the line?

I don’t know if it has anything to do with the full moon, or spring, or whatever it is…but we are thinking similar thoughts.

I am so, SO PROUD of you. I know that your back has done anything within its power to derail your efforts. Good for you for persevering. And  8 lbs to show for that focus is amazing.

I stole away for a few hours this morning to the garden. As I was weeding, I starting thinking about the ability of a weed to grow no matter what you do to it. You can pull it by its roots, you can till them under the soil,  you can poison them, and you can put weed barrier fabric down. Inevitably, the weeds grow back.

And often times, they grow back stronger.

I also thought that I have this tendency to aspire to be the best at everything that I do. Perfectionism is my downfall and can be quite paralyzing.  I want to be the biggest heirloom tomato, if you will. My incessant need to be amazing at everything I do is downright exhausting.

But, as the sun hit my back and the weeds were being plucked from my garden beds, I had a new thought. A thought about how I should think about who I want to be.

I think, and I know this sounds really funny, I think I want to be more like a weed.

Weeds really don’t care where or how they grow. They just do it. They dig their roots down and spread. They form a foundation and run with it. And sometimes, they even bloom.

I’m thinking it may be the way to go for me.

Keep on keepin’ on sister. I am inspired by you!

~ E

 

 

Recommitting

Dear Sarah,

Thanks for talking me through that moment today. You know… the doughnut moment.

I am trying to figure out why I wanted that thing so badly. Usually, I refer to them as “sugary rings of death” and can stay away. Today, it was harder.

I was a little stressed out about some work deadlines. I had a jumble of a start and stop kind of day. 

I think that may have been it. I was stressed. 

Saying it, or in this case, writing it is providing me with a reference point for my “doughnut moment”. I have to fess up that my exercise level has dropped considerably since my “Biggest Loser” contest has ended at the gym.  I sometimes can’t understand why I am more committed to other people first, then myself?

I LOVED being part of a team. I loved pulling my weight (no pun…ok. A little pun intended) and helping us win the competition. I was so psyched to be on a team that I forgot to also be an individual. I lost focus on my initial intention of working on myself and making strides towards a more sustainable and healthy lifestyle.

I think, as I write this I am figuring out that I need to recommit to myself first. And in almost all aspects of my life.

I am really glad that I passed up that doughnut. And not only because I got the new gym bag.

~ E