In no particular order:
1. Smiling is more fun than frowning.
2. Having a good loud laugh usually makes other people smile too.
3. Only say about others that which you would say to their face.
4. Own your mistakes.
5. Don’t try to hide your mistakes; they will ALWAYS be found and you will look 100% worse for not taking responsibility.
6. Life is too short to read bad books.
7. Treat yourself to some good wine (if you partake). It will make things so much more lovely.
8. Use your good china/cutlery/glasses, etc. What are you waiting for?
9. If you don’t LOVE it, get it out of your house.
10. If you haven’t used/worn/looked at it in 6 months, get rid of it. (12 if you live in seasonal climates and swap things out).
11. Wear your good jewelry.
12. Who cares about the number on the size tag. Wear what is comfortable.
13. Dress for your age.
14. Cats are fantastic companions.
15. Don’t dwell on *how* you ended up where you are. Focus on the you, you want to become.*
16. Don’t berate yourself for not being great at something. You are great at something else.
17. Dogs? Also fantastic companions.
18. Friends *can* be made through social media.
20. Popcorn for supper is acceptable.
21. Eat more green things.
22. Brussels Sprouts are not green balls of hell. They are quite delicious.
23. Chia seeds *can* be eaten.
24. Ask for help.
25. Approach stressful situations from a position of love. It will change your outlook completely.
26. Approach ALL situations from a position of love. See above.
27. Sports are better when seen live.
28. 9 pounds of cat can feel like 90, when you have to pee.
29. Candles make things lovely.
30. Foreign films tend to have better plots.
31. A movie made from a book will more than likely disappoint.
32. Some things should just not get remade.
33. It seems that there are few truly NEW ideas.
34. Celebrities are really not that interesting.
35. Taking the time to learn about a foreign co-worker’s country of origin benefits the relationship immensely.
36. There IS life after cable TV.
37. Kindness really *does* go a long way.
38. So does patience.
39. You are so much more than the work you do.
40. Wait at least an hour before responding to an infuriating email/phone call, etc. Longer than that, if you can.
41. Taking care of YOU is a gift, not a sin.
42. Fewer people than you imagine are paying attention to you right now.
43. A song – a single song – can change your mood completely.
44. One really can have too many wallets.
45. I’m pretty great.
*Someone recently said this to me. The more time I spend thinking about it, the more sense it makes.
“It’s the friends you can call up at 4am that matter.”
– Marlene Dietrick
So, this morning, I pulled up my chair and my coffee and opened my reader to peruse the blogs that have been updated. I do this most mornings. Why would today be any different?
I met Debra via Twitter. I don’t even remember who followed whom first. But I found her to be engaging and honest and lovely. We hit it off and we became part of each other’s lives, as much as is possible when we live more than 1,200 miles apart.
For a long time, Debra and I spoke via Twitter, or on the phone, daily. We heard about each other’s successes and hardships. There were well-wishes and hugs being sent through the ether, back and forth as needed. We both knew that if a 4am call was needed, that would be okay too.
At the end of 2010, Debra made a trip out to meet me. I met her in person. And she was just as lovely as I had imagined. She did spend a good amount of time stalking a giant lobster while she was here, but even that was endearing.
At the start of 2011, we had both been through a fabulous class together. (I was only able to attend due to Debra’s generosity.) We both started 2011 full of the desire to make significant changes in how we approach life. Sadly, my desire waned and, while I did make some changes, I ended 2011 not too differently than how I ended 2010.
Debra, however, made lasting and wonderful changes. It was exciting to watch the change which was visible in the tone and content of her Tweets and blog posts. It is my opinion that in 2011, she became fully Debra last year. The changes she displays are profound and noticeable and inspirational.
So, what is my problem today?
This. This is my problem.
And before you say it, I *know* this post isn’t about me. The decisions she’s made aren’t about me in any way shape or form. They are decisions she’s made to continue her own growth and happiness and (jeepers, I hate this word) journey.
And all of that? I am applauding and cheering and I honestly cannot wait to see how it all turns out.
I couldn’t even leave an appropriate comment to that post. (Sorry, Debra.) And for a while, I couldn’t even figure out why.
And then I did.
Friendships are fragile things and require as much care
in handling as any other fragile and precious thing.
– Randolph S. Bourne
1,200+ miles is a long distance. For anyone.
Now that Debra is not on Twitter, I won’t see her smiling face in my timeline. I won’t see her smiling face on Facebook. I don’t really see the point of G+, so that’s not a big thing.
But the reason Debra’s post affected me this morning is that I am afraid. And a little envious. And afraid.
I am afraid that this friendship is going to end? I don’t know that that is the correct word. I think on some level we will always be friends. I think my fear is that we will become polite acquaintances. And that will make me sad. What makes me sadder is that if that *does* happen, it will be my fault.
Because I am a terrible friend. I am working on making that an invalid statement, but for now? It’s true. It stems from my own insecurities. It manifests in that I am rarely the one to reach out because, in my mind, the other person always has something better to do. The other person gets tired of always being the initiator. And understandably so. I would get sick of that too.
I have lost a lot of friends this way. Looking back, I know now that some of those people were not “friends” in the true sense of the word. But others were.
Reading Debra’s post affected me the way it did because I immediately went to that place of “I’m losing yet another friend! What is wrong with me??” In my self-centered mind, I immediately made it about me – how it would affect me, what that would mean to me. Rather than celebrating that Debra is now fully Debra, and that she is out there, actually LIVING life, I internalized it just like I always do.
This is where the envy comes in to play too. I see how far she has progressed since we first met, how happy she is, how many positive changes she has made, and I think: Why not me? When will it happen for me? Why can’t I have epiphanies like that?
I know the answers to those questions, by the way. Debra has put in the time, and the work, and the effort. I haven’t.
“Some friends come and go like a season. Others are arranged in our lives for good reason.”
Debra – this is to you.
I have watched you grow and change and become happy, over the past few years. I think you are amazing and an inspiration. Thank you for letting me be a part of your life. I don’t think this will be the end of our friendship, but too often, we never say thank you to our friends. Or even indicate the role they have played in our lives.
Thank you for your post. It shook me. It showed me how wonderful life can be when fully embraced. It showed me to not rely on cyber-friends exclusively.
Thank you. You have set such an exciting path for yourself. I cannot wait to see where you go, where you end up.
These are the feelings I am having.
For as long as I can remember, I have always felt like an outsider. One of those sad little wall-flower people, looking in through the window at the cool kids, hanging out, laughing and sharing inside jokes. It’s a cold and lonely place to be.
I remember being on the outside during high school. I was friends with some of the “in-crowd” but never fully accepted. Same thing happened in college. Again, at my jobs.
And OMG, don’t even get me started on the book clubs I have tried!
The common denominator in all of these situations? Me.
Maybe my insecurities have stopped me. Maybe my shyness. Maybe my self-esteem (or lack thereof).
But I know I have something to contribute. I *know* I do. I’m smart. I’m funny. I’m creative. And yet, I still hover around the edges, hoping someone will smile or say hi or take me under their wing, and help me be more comfortable. Am I just having flashbacks to the mean girls in high school?
I recently joined a group, ever the optimist. They have been together for a good amount of time and are well established with each other. I joined because I support what they do for the community and people in need. But at times, I feel like I’m stepping into a rushing crowd with no idea what’s going on. So I either get out-of-the-way or I get trampled. And, there I am, on the sidelines again.
How do I get over this? Give me some tips, please! I have been thinking about leaving the group already (it’s been a few months now). They will go on and continue to do good things. And I will feel like I have failed. Again.
So I ask you: Does it ever get easier to fit in with an established group?
So, I had mentioned that I would keep you updated with my training for the Tri. Yeah, I suck. I’ll do it now.
So much has been going on.
First up, I am down to 138 days before the event. OhEmGee!
My plan for training was that I would start with running training, since that is my weakest “event”. Then when the weather gets warmer, I will add in biking to work. And then around June or so, I would start with swimming. In a previous life, I was a competitive swimmer, so I’m not too worried about the swimming portion.
Right after I signed up, I started on a Couch-to-5k program. There’s an app for that. I thought that would be a good way to ease in. Week 1, you run 1 minute, walk 90 seconds, 8 times, with a 5 minute warm-up and cool-down. And each week you add in a little more running and a little less walking. Granted, my running speed, according to charts I’ve seen, qualifies as a “brisk walk”, but so what. I’m doing it. So far so good.
I am prone to plantar fasciitis, so in order to prevent injuries, a friend took me to a running store where I got myself professionally fitted running shoes. They make my feet look big and clunky, but they have good stability in the heels. While I was there, I also signed up for their running club because they offer coaching on tri-training. Cool. I’m in.
I made it through 2 1/2 weeks of the C25K training.
And then, my knee started getting wonky.
I think I have water on the knee. It’s all swollen in places that aren’t normal. So I bought a knee brace. It helped, but wasn’t great.
My sister found out from my mother that I had signed up for the Tri. She offered me her membership to the Y so that I could swim. I know, right? How cool was that?? The caveat was that I had to take my niece with me sometimes. It will help her with her swimming.
So, in order to give my knee a break, I went swimming. Remember how I said I used to swim competitively? Yeah. Clearly, that was a LONG time ago. Swimming is hard! *heheh* It will still be the easiest portion of the race for me, but it won’t be easy. And considering, I will have to wait until July to do any actual ocean swimming – due to the fact that even then, the ocean temperature will be around 60 degrees – it will be a challenge.
Also, I started on the stationary bike. Clearly easier than riding on the actual street, but again, I felt I needed to give the knee a rest.
I gave my knee about 2 weeks to not take the pounding and tried the running again. I did okay with it. Still not 100%, but I’ll take what I can get.
And while all this was going on, I had a little break down. My happy pills were not working. I cried all the time. I knew that I was a failure because I couldn’t run as well as everyone else. Just add this to the list of everything I have failed at. And on and on. It was really pathetic. My mother finally called me on it and told me to call the doctor to get them adjusted. I called, and I cried while making the appointment. The doctor came into the exam room and I burst into tears. Nice.
We adjusted things and I seem to be getting back on track. Even someone at work told me that my Chi was low the other day. So clearly others have noticed. I’d like to think it’s a function of my jarring something loose with the exercise but I know it’s a sign that I’m a little bit crazy.
Anyhoo. When I signed up for the running club, evidently my name was entered into a lottery to get a registration for a 10k in August. The race is a pretty big deal around here – we get runners from all over the world participating and the 6,000 registration slots usually fill up in about 30 minutes. Personally, I have absolutely NO desire to run a 10k. So I’m going to find out if I can give my slot to someone at work.
I start running training with the running club tonight. I’m hoping that some seasoned runners will give me some help with my form to help with my knee issues.
Last night, I did my first-ever spin class. Holy goat, that was hard!! I haven’t sweat that much in a long long time. There were some hate-vibes aimed at the leader during the class. But by the end, I was thinking, yeah. I’ll do this again. My lady-bits are a little sore today, though. And the standing hills we did on the bike wonked my knee. So, back to the ice and ibuprofen. It gets easier, right?
So that’s the long long (very long) version of what I’ve been up to. I am doing things that I’ve never done before. I’m more willing to try things. I’ve been swimming a bunch of times and biking. And running. Who knew a card-carrying couch potato could do this?
I’m pretty proud of myself. And I’m looking forward to seeing what else I can do. And I’ll do better with updating this. A few people at work have been inspired by my story, and have started some form of exercise as a result. That gives me a warm, yummy feeling.
Okay. Enough now. I have to go ice my knee.
UPDATED: I forgot to mention that I really was fated to participate in this event. There are 1,100 registrations available for it, and those filled up in 4 1/2 minutes. Four. And. A. Half. Minutes. I registered on my phone, while at a swim meet. What are the chances that I got in?? I’m still astounded.
That’s how long I have until my life is formally changed forever.
But if you know me at all, you know that I tend to freak at new things.
Last year, in the midst of posting all the drivel just to say I posted something, I alluded to the idea that I wanted to sign up for a mini-triathlon in this area. I said that, but in the back of my mind I was thinking, “Pfft. AS IF that will happen.”
The mini-triathlon is called Tri-For-A-Cure and it’s an all women’s triathlon with all the money going to help breast cancer research. The events themselves are a 1/3 mile ocean swim, 12 mile bike, and 5k run.
Back at the time I said it, research told me that the event is REALLY popular and registration fills up almost immediately. YES! I had an out, if I needed it. “Gee, I *tried* to register, but it was full. I couldn’t.” Followed by much relief and batting of eyelashes.
The Universe called my bluff. Registration opened last night at 6:30. I was at my niece’s swim meet, sweating my butt off in a humid pool area, and thought, “Okay. You have to at LEAST make the attempt in order to say you couldn’t register. You don’t have a computer, but you have your phone.”
So there I am, trying to watch my niece, watching the clock, trying to register on my phone.
I hit send, thinking, “Be full. Be full. Be full.”
“You have new email.”
“Congratulations! You have successfully regis….”
I swear I heard the Universe chuckling. It is getting the last laugh. I have the confirmation and I am officially committed to doing this thing. I have spent the last 12 hours alternately excited, freaked, scared, hyperventilating, and a whole bunch of other stuff.
One of my favorite things is the Notes from the Universe that I get sent to me via email every morning. The motto is “thoughts become things”. Well, I just received confirmation that THAT is true!
NEVER EVER challenge the Universe. It will push you into new and exciting things.
So, now, I need to ask for your support and encouragement. If you would like to contribute financially to breast cancer research, you can pledge at: http://tfac2011.kintera.org/mhemphill
This pledge *might* be able to be applied as a charitable contribution on this years taxes. I’m not an accountant though, so don’t hold me to that.
If you can’t contribute financially, just your love and encouragement will be more than enough. Truly.
I’ll be posting updates here on how my training is going. I have 177 days until the event. (Yes, I counted.)
So, I guess the only thing left to say is…. where do I get a wetsuit?
I’m sure it’s become obvious that my posting here has become more sporadic of late. Unfortunately, or fortunately I think, life and other changes have gotten in the way of me coming here.
I think I knew this was coming though. Mostly because I have been struggling with what to post about. I have felt scattered and like my posts were just random rants with no meaning. And for those few of you who stop by to say hello, I want you to have better. If I’m going to do this, I want to do it well and give you something worthy of your time.
So. I will be spending (more) time trying to think of what I really want to put out to the world. And if there is something you would like to see from me, please let me know. I *will* be back. In some form. I hope you will come back too.
Me again. (Well, really, who else would it be? hee)
In case you are curious about how I’m doing in Reform School, I LOVE IT. I think I’m excelling.
I have 3 Inner Mean Girls: Mean Marcy, Scaredy Kat, and Perfect Shawn. They have all been put on notice that while I value their opinions, I know what’s best for me. I need to look at the situations where they appear and figure out why. The more I do that, the stronger my resolve becomes.
I made a list of 10 things to accomplish by my 45th birthday. I don’t know that I’m ready to go public with all of them, yet, but one of them is….
(please wait while this poster hyperventilates)
(your patience is appreciated; please stand by)
Okay. I am going to train for the Tri-for-a-Cure next August. It is a mini-triathlon for breast cancer. 1/3 mi swim, 15 mi bike, 3 mi run. The run will be my biggest challenge. I have bad knees. But, I have 10 months. And there’s an app for that. the Couch to 5K app that helps you train. Before Reform School, this would have been something I would have said, Yeah, I could train for that. While sitting on the sofa. Eating Munchos. Listening to Mean Marcy and Scaredy Kat tell me that I couldn’t do it and that I would fail.
And now that I’ve gone public, I *have* to do it.
Oh, and I’ll be hitting you up for donations when the time comes. And if you follow me on Twitter, I’ll be hitting you up there, too. Maybe even Facebook.
Training starts today. I’ll keep you posted.
I’ve been listening to a book by Jill Smolinski called “Next Thing on My List”. Have you read it? I wasn’t sure how it would be – I was a little afraid of it being uber-chick lit in the worst possible sense.
But really? It’s pretty good. It’s the story of a woman finishing a “Wish List”. But it’s not hers. June was driving the car that was in an accident which killed her passenger. The passenger had a list of goals that she wanted to accomplish before she was 25. June decided to complete the list for her – at first out of guilt, but then as a way of changing her life. It’s somewhat predictable, but there are some twists that make it worth continuing.
Anyhoo. It got me thinking. I kind of want a list. Sure, I have a “bucket list” but that’s more of a “someday-I-wanna” list, as opposed to having an actual target date. Granted, I kissed 25 goodbye a long time ago, but what if I did a list of goals by 45? That gives me a year and a half, +/-. I think I could set myself some pretty aggressive goals if I had 20 months in which to complete them.
Could I do it? What if I don’t finish? Would I feel like a failure or would I still be celebrating the attempt? Am I just considering the list in light of my recent spate of life changing adventures? Am I trying to take on too much? Or is this just Scaredy Kat getting her way again?
In the book, the list contained 20 things – some are easy, some are profound. What would I put on my list? Would it be 20 things?
Would you do a list? Do you already have a list? What should I put on my list?
Oh hello! Come in and have some soup.
Today: Something I hope I never have to do in my life
I don’t ever want to have to….
– dig worms for bait
– be a food taster at a hot dog plant
– be a maid at a frat house
– be responsible for keeping movie stars off drugs
– be the cause of someone else’s emotional or physical pain.
Tomorrow: someone who has made your life living for
Oh, hello! Come in. Have a piece of cinnamon swirl cake. And tea.
Day 3: Something I have to forgive myself for.
Back in the day, I gave up my power to men. I let them use me. I changed myself to fit what it was I thought they wanted. I put my life on hold to wait for them – to call, to come over, to pay me the least little bit of attention. Even then, I didn’t think it was necessarily right but I thought that it was all I deserved.
The last man I was involved with was quite a while ago. It was more of the same. I gave him all of the power. The last time we spoke was the last time we spoke. It didn’t start out as a fight. But it ended with me saying “I love you” and him telling me to “F*ck off”.
I’ll wait while you digest that.
As a result of my experiences, I have been alone a long time. I have also not taken care of myself physically because what’s the point? I say I love you and get told to f*ck off? It’s pretty devastating, mentally.
I forgive myself for allowing that to happen. I didn’t think I deserved more. I liked having a man around. It was better to have “him” around than not. I forgive myself for letting him devastate me like that. I want my power back. I want to feel like myself again.
Tomorrow: Something to forgive someone for.