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.

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First Personal Training Session

Dear Erin,

Actually, it WASN’T my first personal training session. We will start next week. It was a session to set up my “settings” on the fancy Milon Training Circuit that my gym has in addition to their free weights and nautilus machines. It’s 17.5 minutes, and there are several weight training machines, plus four minutes on a stationary bike, and 4 minutes on an elliptical machine.  All of the machines are set up with back support in just the right spot, so its a perfect way for me to get in a little weight training along with my cardio, safely.  The cost of the circuit is included in my gym membership, although I did have to pay a one time fee for the “smartcard” that records how the machines should set your height and weight levels for each item. It also records your workouts so you can track your progress over time (or your trainer can stalk you and see if you’ve been doing it). Overall, I really like the trainer, and we set up a regular appointment for Wednesday evenings, so now I will have to work out before I can go have my regular wednesday night playdate with my friends.  A perfect reward.

Lets take a minute away from the gym and talk about before pictures.  Someone told me that if I am going to start going to the gym all the time, I should really take a couple of before pictures. Sister, I am here to tell you, every picture of me taken in the last 6-8 years is a BEFORE picture. Even the really flattering ones. Even the ones I really like.  Here’s one of me spinning (A good friend took it, and I really do like it):

No, not THAT spinning. If I had done a lot of THAT spinning, I wouldn’t be needing a personal trainer at the gym. I look perfectly presentable, I am out in public, interacting with strangers, demonstrating how to do something I actually really enjoy, and I’m fine with public speaking. But lets get a closeup on that face:

Girl, seriously, I love me, but its a BEFORE picture.

Speaking of spinning, the kind that DOESN’T result in making yarn, riding the stationary bike at the gym today made me resolve to get my actual bicycle out of the garage this week and fill up the tires and ride it around the neighborhood like I did when I was a kid. Because that was FUN!

Wanna know what else I did tonight? After the trainer was done with me, since I was at the gym anyway, I walked another 40 minutes on the treadmill. Pretty fast.

And Murph and I went for a walk before work this morning, so I am pretty exercised out.

I leave you with this – Sarah’s Gym Tip of the Day: Right Said Fred and Aqua should probably NOT be right next to each other on your workout playlist.

~S

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.

Perseverance

Dear Erin,

Thanks for reminding me to persevere. Ever time I read a post, and every time I talk to you, I remember how much stuff you have going on, and how relatively little crap i HAVE to do, and it reminds me how lucky I am to have time to devote to me, and how I damn well better do it.

I haven’t been mentioning it too much on this blog, but I have a little now and again recurring back problem.  Right now it is ON. In a big way. Not to be a whiner, but it hurts, and I have to take some sort of medicine stronger than ibuprofen to be able to fall asleep (every night).  LUCKILY for me, the most amazing thing is that WALKING makes the ouchies hurt a little bit less.  It stretches out the sore muscles, and helps make them a little bit stronger, and a little bit less sore. Especially when I remember to do them in combination with the correct stretches.  So I haven’t been talking about my power workouts, and I haven’t been talking about my amazing personal trainer, because I just can’t. Not right now.

What I CAN do is persevere. I CAN go to the gym, or go outside, and take a nice long walk and stretch out those muscles. Then I CAN follow it up with the appropriate stretches.  And I assure you I have been doing both.  Pain is an amazing motivator.  As my pain slowly recedes (thank you magical chiropractor), I look forward to talking to you about my amazing new personal trainer (her name is Kenya).

I CAN also still count my calories. I can record it all, along with notes about how I’m feeling and how much water I drank in my myfitnesspal.com program. (Its awesome, I highly recommend it.) And again, I am.  The results speak for themselves. I am down 8 lbs. I have no claims of greater energy, or better sleep, or increased happiness at this point. I can claim looser pants. And that I’m healing. Slowly.

Right now, I wish I was out digging in my garden, preparing it for spring. Putting all my veggie/herb plans into action, planting some yellow daffodil bulbs my mom just dropped off to me, and the thornless blackberry bush canes I bought.  But today, I can’t. My back hurts. Maybe tomorrow though. I persevere.

PS Edited to add a picture to make my post less boring…My parents brought me this lovely plant for Easter.

Slow and Steady Wins the …. Game?

Dear Sarah,

I woke up this morning (on the couch… where I flopped over from utter exhaustion) this morning in a haze of “what happened?”

Not having had any adult libations, or having my mind wiped by Hermione Granger’s “obliviate” charm, I wiped my sleepy eyes and remembered. This happened. 

Yes, the O’s are back in town. And yes, I completed the commitment I made to work the last opening day (hopefully) that I will ever work.

Let me start off by saying it was WAY better and easier than Opening Days in the past. We were more prepared, organized, and ready than ever before. Even still, it is a 12 hour day of hurry up and stay behind. That is the true nature of the hospitality industry when it comes to sports and entertainment.

And my decision, to move on to greener (or red hard-shelled pastures), has never been so solidified as it was yesterday. 12 hours of running around, and not finding anything healthy to eat but a single orange (that was originally destined to be cut into slices and garnish a Blue Moon beer) has left me feeling that I have made the right choice.

The pure and simple fact is that any major stadium is not a house of healthy. And, when I spend my time there, I am not a house of healthy either.

I committed to transition the new season and help where I can. And, I am a girl who takes my commitments seriously.

But, what I figured out yesterday, or more likely today as I sip my glorious cup of coffee, is I am finally more committed to myself than to others. I am committed to my health, my fitness, and to my family.

I came home to an amazing plate of salmon that the hubnut made. It was plated beautifully and waiting for me as I walked in the door. It was the first real nourishment that I consumed all day and it was freaking fantastic! So good, in fact, that I took a picture of it. 

And in that moment, I realized, there’s no place like home. No better people to spend my time with. To change my life with and to share this journey with.

The allure of the crowds and the excitement of baseball has worn off. The quiet charm of a more stable and “on my own terms” life is like a huge hug from your kid.

I’m going with it. I’m remembering that slow and steady = lasting progress.

~ E

P.S. Happy Easter, Passover, Spring and Health!

The Good, the Bad, and the Garden

Dear Sarah,

Today, like most other days, has had its good and bad things. I guess that is life.

The Good:

I was so proud to hear that when I tried calling this morning you were at the gym. Kudos friend! That is awesome.

The man-cub had a “laser tag” birthday party at 9 am this morning. Both of us were forced to be up and raring to go to make a fullest of the time we have together before I head to work tonight.

The new 2nd job is going really well. I like the folks who make up the server crew there and the management is great. I am glad that I landed in a place with less bureaucracy and more humor than I have worked in the past. If I am to be working a lot more, it is nice to be in a place that can be enjoyable.

The Bad:

I ate fast food for breakfast AND lunch. Not even smart fast food. The fast food that is highlighted in “FOOD, INC.”

Yuckity, yuck, yuck, yuck. I didn’t have a plan and now remember what happens when you do not. It is called “getting fat”. I know one day does not blow all my efforts… but am not planning on a repeat performance any time soon.

The Garden:

It was clean-up day at the garden!

It was great to show up and see my gardening friends! The man-cub came with and actually pulled weeds. (This is huge. He doth protest a lot most days!)

I got 4 of my 5 raised beds cleared up. I have strawberries flowering and herbs on the mend. I arranged for my buddy to till the plot on Monday and straw is being delivered tomorrow. Man-cub has BIG plans for his 4×4 bed and I am on the fence about building another bed and doing all raised bed gardening for evermore.

It is so very exciting to start planning my garden. I feel a little late to the party compared to other years, but I still feel like the party isn’t over in that department. I will come home from work tonight and dream of what plants are going where.

I leave you with the image of my man-cub in his post-weeding state:

~ E

P.S. My asparagus are up too!!!

 

Confession!

Dear Erin,

GOOD JOB on both doing your “homework”, and loosing more weight this week!!!

And now, I have a confession to make. I’ve been taking my multivitamins EVERY SINGLE DAY for at least a month. Seriously, I never forget. But (and here comes the confession), its because I bought the “adult” gummy vitamins, and it is like getting to have two little gummy candies every morning.  Oh well, at least my confession isn’t that I ate the whole jar at once. Honest, I just eat the two every day.

~S