I haven’t started reading any of the books I purchased for my Happiness Project. I haven’t started keeping a personal journal about it either.
But I have been doing a lot of thinking. And that’s a good thing. I tend to have a bit of a OCD issue at times (I know, shocker right?). As I have been getting older I find that it’s getting worse. I don’t think it’s linked to my age as much as it’s linked to chaos that is present in my life. What I’m trying to say is that the more things appear to be chaotic the more I want to control everything that is going on. Aside from the control issue this also really impacts my ability to actually move in the direction I want to go because I want everything to be in its exact spot before I take a step. It’s hard to explain so I’ll try to give an example.
Let’s say I decide that I want to start a new business. I will literally spend all of my time making lists and researching what I need to do. I’ll find the articles I want to read and the associations I should join and then I will spend all my time researching those things and I’ll never actually start the business.
Dealing with this issue has been, hands down, my biggest struggle. However I have improved. For example, I’ve invited some family for dinner next week. My house isn’t entirely unpacked. Currently my living room has three different colors of paint because it needs to be completely repainted. My couch looks horrible in the living room and is on its last legs. I’ve chosen my new couch but it won’t be available for three weeks. In the past there is no way I would have any guests in my home until everything was perfect.
But you know what I’ve realized? I’ve realized that if I were to die tomorrow nobody is going to walk around and talk about how unfinished my home looks. I don’t want to leave this earth feeling as if I didn’t spend enough time with the people I care about and love. I’ve spent too much time trying to make sure everything is perfect and in place and not enough time enjoying what’s really important.
I don’t want to sound as if preparation isn’t important, because it is. However, it has a time and place. And this is another area that I’m improving in. For example, I want to go back to school. Right now it’s just not a good idea. I still do have a lot of unpacking to do. I have two jobs and I’m about to be an empty nester. It seems more important that I settle into my life before I add on more responsibilities. In the past I would have put a lot of pressure on myself to go back to school irregardless of the additional stress it would put on me because I’m this person…
The reality is I can’t do it all.
And accepting that is helping to lead to me to a happy place.
However, I’m not going to lie. There are days when this is seriously driving me nuts.
We’ve all heard it – “Life is a journey, not a destination” (Ralph Waldo Emerson)
It’s something I tell myself all the time. Otherwise I forget to breathe. But lately I’ve been really thinking about this. I’ve been thinking about a lot of things. I’m not afraid to admit that I am going through a bit of a mid-life crisis. I’ve blogged about it before and yet here I am still trying to figure things out.
And that’s when I realized. If you don’t know what your destination is then what on earth is your journey for? What’s the point? And I’m not speaking about life after death, heaven, hell, etc, etc. I’m speaking in terms of your life here on earth. No matter what your beliefs are about the afterlife…what is your life about? Okay, not YOUR life, but my life. What is my life about? Why am I here? What am I doing?
WHY AM I NOT HAPPY?
I talked to K about this in great length this morning. I explained how I feel about being at a crossroads. I don’t know what I want to do with the rest of my life. I have some ideas of what I don’t want to do. I have some vague ideas about what I want to do or accomplish. But they’re vague. They’re like those thin and wispy clouds in the sky that you can almost see through. I know that I’m not enjoying my journey. I’m enjoying bits and pieces but I don’t wake up looking forward to what the day brings. And that’s a problem.
The biggest obstacle is not knowing how to get from HERE
to THERE. It’s impossible to know because I don’t know what THERE is.
I know that I need to really do some soul-searching. I need to spend some time getting to know myself better. I need to find out what makes me tick. I need to figure out what my goals are. What do I want to achieve – emotionally, spiritually, physically, financially, …….. you get the idea.
I went to the bookstore to look for books that might help me in organizing my thoughts and goals. There are a LOT of books on how to be happy. I really don’t think that the recipe for being happy is in a book. Being happy comes from inside us as individuals and it looks differently for everyone. But I do believe that there are books that can help you reflect and identify what we want out of life. I picked up a couple that I thought looked interesting.
‘The Happiness Project’ is not a book telling you how to be happy. It is a book to help others develop their own happiness project. It’s been on my to read list for a long time. ‘Fire Starter Sessions’ has also been a book I’ve been wanting to read. I don’t necessarily appreciate everything that Danielle LaPorte has to say, but some of her ideas and concepts have a lot of merit.
I’m also reading this book.
Remember I did say that my spiritual goals were important too.
Since journaling will be a big part of this I’ve decided to create an area on my blog site dedicated to this project. A lot of times journaling really helps me figure things out. It’s a way of talking through all the crap in my head. And there is a LOT of crap up there.
So here I go. I need to figure out my destination so that I can start enjoying the journey. No more holding my breath or treading water. The only rule is there are no rules. Anything goes. No area of my life is off-limits.
Ready, set, CHANGE
If we’re going to be specific this letter would read -
It’s time to break up. It’s not me, it’s you. Your empty calories. Your high amount of sugar. It’s just not good for me. I’ve loved you for so long. There was a time in my life when I started every day with 32 ounces of you. When I reached 200 lbs I realized that had to stop. And I did stop. And to this day I never start my day that way. I can go days without enjoying your company but I still buy you and keep you around. You sit in my fridge often neglected and then I can’t resist any longer and give in.
I just can’t live like that anymore. I can’t justify our relationship. Yes you make me feel good for a little while but then later I’m filled with regret and shame. It’s just not worth it. And drinking you in a diet form, it’s just not the same.
I just need to walk away. I hope you understand. This is something that I not only need to do for myself, but for my family. Today is the last time I will taste you on my lips. I will enjoy these last few bittersweet moments that we have together.
P.S. I will occasionally need to be with ginger ale, 7up, and Rootbeer. I hope you understand.
In an attempt to begin blogging more regularly again I’m going back to doing Thursday Ten posts. Something I did before that I shamelessly stole from Sarah.
1. After feeling like crap since Sunday night I finally went to the doctor. Both my ears show signs of an ear infection. Good times.
2. Our move date to Orange County is one week from Sunday. I have packed two rooms so far. ONLY TWO. I have no idea how I’m going to be ready in time but somehow I’m going to do it.
3. Dealing with this crud means I haven’t worked out in a week. I’m suppose to run a 5k a week from tomorrow. I’m fairly sure there will be no running involved.
4. I am enjoying working from home. So much less stress in my life. The downside is I don’t get sick leave so no matter how badly I’ve felt this week I’ve had to work through it. That really sucks. But still less stress.
5. Working from home also means less money. This fact does bring me moments of stress, but overall, I think it will be okay. I have moments when I feel as if I’ve done something completely foolish and irresponsible. Who in the heck decides to start from scratch at the age of 45? What if I fail?
6. Just in case you’re wondering I am not having a mid life crisis.
7. Mid life crisis or not for the first time in a long time I feel as if I can breathe. And you can’t put a price on that.
8. On Sunday I’m having a yard sale. I hate moving but I love purging and this move is giving me a good opportunity to do that. One person’s trash is another person’s treasure…right?
9. It got up to 80 degrees today. I know it seems wrong to complain when so many people are dealing with horrible winter weather but I hate it. I want four seasons. The same weather every day just gets boring. I don’t want blizzards but I’d like some variety.
10. Which is why I’m moving to Oregon!!!! Woohoo, looking forward to moving in October. And yes that means two moves in a year. And yes, I’m nuts.
When I started thinking about the changes and choices I wanted to make in 2014 there was a lot of reflection involved. In the past several months I’ve felt the need to shift my priorities. I’ve felt an overwhelming urge to make life less about things and more about living in the moment. I’ve been wondering what it would be like if life were more simple.
In the midst of this I had an unrelated conversation with my employer and he asked me where I wanted to be in five years. And I had no answer. I could easily list all the things I didn’t want to be but I had no idea where or what I wanted to be.
Is this what a mid-life crisis feels like?
In five months I’ll be officially an empty nester. I’m still relatively “young” and I have the second half of my life in front of me. I have the opportunity to be anything I want. And I can go anywhere. Part of me is frightened but there’s a bigger part of me that’s excited. Excited at the possibility of change. Excited at the unknown.
So I started taking some steps. I’m moving to Orange County. Moving out of my house is a big deal. It was a home for my family and I love it. But there’s a lot of ghosts here. This house is where my marriage ended. And it’s more space than I need and more money than I need to spend.
The move makes my commute go from bad to impossible. Consequently I decided to give my two weeks notice. Today was my last day. This was a hard decision. I’m still a little freaked out. Okay, I’m a lot freaked out. This position could have meant a big future. But it wasn’t a future I wanted.
I’ll be devoting more time to my business. One job is enough for now. I’ll also be devoting more time to ME. More time to get back in shape. More time to spend with family. More time to spend with friends. Maybe I’ll go completely nuts and actually sleep more than six hours a night.
I’m crazy like that.
I’ve been wanting to spend more time with my friends and more time doing things I enjoy and today completely met that bill. I hung out with my friends Oakmonster and Christine. We started out at SOCO’s Farmer’s Market. It’s small but so very awesome. Our first stop was meat shopping at Da-Le Ranch.
One of the things that we’ve been talking about at home is going back to eating clean whenever possible. Over the summer we did two months of Paleo and loved it. I noticed a huge difference in how I digest food. I often have stomach issues and found that eliminating a lot of processed foods and gluten really helped me feel so much better.
Anyway back to the farmer’s market. Da-Le Ranch sells meat that is grass fed and hormone free. And they lost me at Oxtail. I love Oxtail. I can’t wait to enjoy that, the tri tip, and the pork chops I bought. For pictures please check out Oakmonster’s Instagram feed.
Some of the other goodies I enjoyed include the following -
These amazing cakes from Orange Clementine.
This jelly/spread is spicy AND delicious. Buy yourself some right now from Sola Foods.
And then we entered this store called Surfas and that’s when I discovered what heaven looks like. However, I stuck to my choice of being more financially responsible and kept the purchases down to less than $100.00 and that showed CONSIDERABLE restraint. I only picked up a few items – burrata, charcoal butter crackers, a sheet cake pan with lid, gluten free flour, and even searing flour. I can’t wait to go back.
For lunch we ate at Taco Maria. BEST. TACOS. EVER. And the Sangria wasn’t bad either.
We ended our day out at OC Wine Mart. If you’ve never been wine tasting at a place with a self service wine system I highly recommend you try it. It’s a great way to taste all different kinds of wines, but especially high end ones that normally aren’t available to taste.
It was overall a very awesome day. I’m thankful that I have friends I can enjoy these kinds of activities with.
I didn’t mean to take this much time to finish this post. But you know life happens.
6. To figure out how the second part of my life is going to go. June isn’t too far away. Beav will graduate from high school and is planning to go to college near his dad’s house. That means for the first time in almost twenty-three years I will really be free to do what I want wherever I want. It’s almost overwhelming. But I’m excited. Excited and thrilled. Those are two words I haven’t used in a long time to describe anything about my life. I’ve put some serious thought into this and I’ve made some tentative plans. As of right now those plans aren’t ready for a mass pronouncement but I’ve got plans. Big plans. Exciting and thrilling plans.
7. To figure out what I want to be when I grow up. Yeah, you read that right. The second half of my life is going to bring a lot of changes and this is one of them. I’m still figuring this out but here’s what I have so far. I don’t want to be what I am now.
8. To be kinder. To make a difference. To spend more time paying it forward. I no longer want to just exist. I want to make a difference in this world. It doesn’t have to be huge. It doesn’t need to be newsworthy. I’ve spent a lot of time in the past two years being unhappy. I truly believe that a large part of the happiness I crave will come from how I interact with others. Happiness out – happiness in.
9. To be a better friend - I’ve got awesome friends. Seriously awesome friends. I don’t feel as if I deserve them half the time. I want to change that.
10. To improve my health. You know that this one had to be here. Over the past few years I’ve lost my exercise mojo. I’ve made some half assed attempts to get it back but have had no success. Healthy living for me = exercise, making wise nutrition choices (most of the time), living a happy life, smiling more, letting the little things go, and being true to myself – those are things that make me healthy on the outside AND ON the inside.
That’s it folks. My 10 for 2014.
Let’s talk about Choices for 2014.
A friend of mine posted an interesting article on Facebook regarding New Year’s Resolutions. This article talked about focusing on systems rather than goals. I find this concept interesting and I believe it has a lot of merit. When you think about it - in order to reach our goals we need to put systems in place. It’s easy enough to say “This year I want to lose 50 pounds” but how you do that is really what’s important. In order to achieve that goal you would need to focus on systems that relate to losing weight. In today’s world everything happens so fast and I think that we fall into a trap in which we expect immediate results when we make changes in our lives that are meant to help us reach our goals. If I watch what I eat and exercise for one week, I’m not going to see a huge result. But if I work on the different processes involved in losing weight then I will eventually see results and at the same time I can achieve a feeling of satisfaction in knowing that I’m successfully making long term changes that will help me not only reach my goal but will help me continue to lead a healthy lifestyle.
By the way, I don’t want to lose 50 pounds. I’d be skin and bones. I’m just using this as an example.
Another reason why this article spoke to me is because a lot of the Choices I want to make aren’t specific. Instead they focus more on areas of my life that need improvement. I will use the weight loss as another example. Instead of wanting to lose x number of pounds, I want to live a healthier life. I would like exercise to be a daily habit in my life. It would be foolish for me to decide that starting today I am going to work out every day. I haven’t made exercise a daily habit in a year and a half. I would just be setting myself up for disappointment. Instead I can start by making small changes and focusing on those processes, one step at a time.
This list won’t be an “end all” list. I believe that it will be constantly evolving just like I hope to be.
For 2014 I am Choosing: (in no particular order)
1. To spend my time and energy on things that bring me positive energy. - I can deal with 300 patients a day and 299 of them are great, but one will be rude or sometimes just plain mean and I’ll let that ruin my day. When I let that happen I’ve allowed this person control over how I feel and that should never happen. I can’t control how others behave. I can control how I’ll react to it.
As part of this choice I’ve decided to no longer watch any reality television shows that don’t encourage positive thinking. I came to this realization last night as I was watching Real Housewives. I just grew tired of the name calling and watching how horrible these women treat each other. Obviously if there was no drama these shows wouldn’t enjoy any success, but I just don’t need to be exposed to it. My life is not going to end if I’m unable to find out if Kyle and Lisa work out their friendship issues.
2. To be more financially responsible – It’s an excuse but I’ve been so busy that I just haven’t been paying attention to what goes out every month. It’s easy to waste a lot of money that way and there’s no doubt that’s been happening a lot. I reworked a monthly budget that allows me to take care of my responsibilities, takes care of some non-essential needs (although I don’t consider my hairdresser non-essential), and allows me to still save money every month. I highlighted all those little things that were being paid every month that just aren’t necessary. Those little things never seemed significant before, but when you add them up, they make a difference. I am examining and getting rid of automatic renewals and monthly subscriptions to things I don’t use. And I’m resolving to find other areas of my life where there might be financial waste.
3. To spend more time on things I enjoy – OR to say it more efficiently – QUIT WORKING 14+ HOUR DAYS.
This one is huge. I’m going to have really focus on processes to make this change. So for now I’m going to start small.
a. Give up my business. This is tough. And I have no idea why. I suspect it’s a pride thing. I’m not getting rich off my business. In fact if I made up positive and negative columns there isn’t anything I could put in the positive column. I’m not sure why I have such a hard time giving it up except I just don’t want to admit defeat. I put in an average of 10 hours a day at my regular job and every night I come home and work another two to three hours on my business. If I had a nickel for every time I said I was tired…
b. Bring back Sunday Funday. In the past I had a good habit of spending Sundays with family and/or friends. However lately with my intense work schedule I seem to be spending Sunday catching up on everything else that didn’t get done during the week. And that’s not fair to myself or my family. I’ve worked hard over the past two holidays weeks to really catch up on things that needed to be done (business and home) so that I could start the year off fresh and organized. I’m continuing at this pace through this weekend and come Monday I should have reached a point where I have my Sundays back.
I’ll be revisiting this choice during the year – but for now these are the changes I want to see happen the most
4. Invest more time in my relationship. For Christmas I bought K a Disneyland pass (I already have one). Disneyland dates will now become a monthly activity for us (at a minimum). We’ve also put some plans in place that will allow us to spend more quality time together. We will be taking turns planning weekend trips (about one every eight weeks or so). We’re both working on more healthy lifestyles so I’m looking forward to having quality time together this way too. More hikes and walks will definitely be on the agenda.
5. To spend more time here. I miss blogging. It’s something I do really just for me. It’s a way I often will work out those things that have been floating around in my head. I do share my blog but I don’t write for the benefit of other people. What I say is just really my own brain splatter. It’s not censored or made pretty for the enjoyment of others. I also miss reading blogs. My feedly is full of blogs that I’ve been neglecting. Over the past few years I’ve made friends through social media because of their blogs. I miss that kind of interaction. I’m going to work on having more downtime that allows me to enjoy this activity.
For now, I’m going to end on that note. Stay tuned for Part 2.
And Happy New Year!
Wow. Wordpress looks a lot different. I guess that happens when you don’t touch your blog for FIVE MONTHS.
I’ve been busy. Don’t judge.
For the past few weeks I’ve been thinking of an end of the year post. I was leaning heavily towards talking about what a crappy year it’s been. But then I really started thinking about it. There was a lot of negative things that happened last year. But if I concentrated on those things then I wasn’t giving any credit to the good things that happened.
My kids are doing well. I’m in a great relationship. My friends have been my rock this year and there are days that I’m not sure I would have made it through without them. I made a bunch of new friends that have turned out to be awesome.
I’ve spent too much time during the past twelve months sad, hurt, angry, and depressed. And those are things that I don’t want to bring into 2014. I haven’t cried so much in one year since the year my mom died. I lost a lot of different pieces of myself and then only found frustration when I tried to find them again. I spent a lot of time trying to change my life so that I would feel the same happiness that I had before 2013.
It’s only been in the past couple of weeks that I realized I was wasting my time and trying to go backwards. There is no going backwards. And those things that I found happiness in before…those things that helped define me….those things are in my past. I’m not that person anymore. And I’m done mourning that loss.
I wish I could have come to this realization earlier. It would have saved me a lot of time and heartache. But I suppose it had to wait until I was able to really reflect on how and what I was feeling. Ever since my marriage ended I feel as if I’ve been holding my breath and treading water. Not really going anywhere and just staying afloat. It’s time I forge ahead. It’s time I redefine myself. It’s time to examine all the areas of my life and whatever isn’t working needs to go.
I only want to keep the pieces of me that bring clarity and joy to my life. I want to be a better person, not just for me, but for my friends and my family.
I know that so many people hate the word “resolutions.” In the past I’ve done my best to avoid using it and instead have always started out the year with “goals.” Today a friend of mine referred to them as “choices.” When you look at the definition of resolution it’s easy to see why so many would avoid using it – “The act of resolving the act or process of resolving: as a : the act of analyzing a complex notion into simpler ones; b : the act of answering : solving; c : the act of determining”
Ironically “choice” is listed as a related word (obviously my girlfriend is smarter than the rest of us). So, I think that’s the word I’m going to go with. Choices.
I think that 2014 will be full of them and let’s hope I make the right ones.
“Live your life with arms wide open
Today is where your book begins
The rest is still unwritten” (Unwritten – Natasha Bedingfield)
I have always loved going to the fair. Two reasons why-
Okay, three reasons. I also love people watching.
Okay, four reasons. Parade of Products.
This past weekend K and I went to the OC County Fair. As far as county fairs go, the Orange County one is always enjoyable. In the past I’ve attended more than once, normally because I’m seeing different concerts or shows. This year we opted for just one visit.
We were definitely not trying to stick to the Paleo plan. It was all about pacing ourselves.
Our first stop was in the wine garden. This was a pretty decent cheese and fruit plate by county fair standards.
Of course we had to have a corn dog. I opted for the hot dog on a stick (4.50) as opposed to the giant corn dog (11.50). Who pays $11.50 for a corndog???
It’s not a county fair without funnel cake. And look, it’s heart shaped.
I also love checking out the garden and crops. I’m pretty sure my pumpkins will be bigger than these.
I wanted to take all of these home with me. Not to eat.
Ankole-Watsui Cattle are BEAUTIFUL. This is Ysabel. she was gorgeous.
Before we left, we had one more stop to make.
Because we had to get this to go