Checking-in

Checking in. Checking in can mean so much more than what the common usage implies. I’ve been what some may call checked out; checked out of life more or less for lack of a better way of putting it. Sure, I get up each morning and I eat breakfast, take care of my boys, the dogs, and work, but I am just going through the motions; step one, step two, step three and so on, putting one foot in front of the other so to speak. I have been finding it difficult to truly check in, to truly engage in what is happening around me. I’m here, but I’m not here, I’m participating but I am not a participant. I’m not sure the ruse is fooling anyone, but I keep thinking if I fake it long enough that maybe I will make it, back to being checked in that is.

I got sick in December, then again in January, and while I am not a fan of making excuses or blaming circumstances, I can’t seem to pinpoint what else has me in this slump. I’m not saying being sick did it, what I am saying is it is the only I can identify that might do this. I’m just not interested, in anything. When I try to figure out what the problem is I am lost, or if I consider what might motivate me to check back in I am also lost. So maybe the problem is feeling lost.

Whatever the reason, I must check back in. I don’t want to miss this life, or these moments just phoning it in. I want to wallow in and wiggle around in the moments that make life, good or bad. So that is the trick I guess, figuring out how to check back in when it feels so damn cozy and numb remaining checked out.

If I am to stay true to my manifesto of intentional living then I must intentionally sign back up and stop the negative self-talk that binds me. If I am to truly make the choices necessary to live happily, then I need to stop worrying about how I got this way, how I am going to reverse it, but instead focus on this moment, right now, just checking in for the moment.

This feels safe; I only have to do it for a moment. Just one moment, check-in check-out, or as my son would say easy peasy lemon squeezy. I don’t need to commit to tomorrow or next week, I don’t need to piece together the puzzle of yesterday, all I really have to do is one little moment. One step, two step, three step.

So this is my step for today, my checking in, if only for a moment. I committed to this blog in July, I committed to making this blog the place where I find the better way of living. The place where I share this journey with others so that maybe they can find their best life.  We all have set backs, moments where our best selves did not show up at the party. Maybe by writing this you will realize you are not alone, I am not alone. Checking out is possibly more common place than any one of us thought; especially, when we are checked out and isolated.

Special thanks to those that checked in on me, to those who gave up moments of their life to check on mine. I hope you know how wonderful you are and how much I appreciate your attention.

What I’m reading: Big Girl Panties by Stephanie Evanovich

What I’m watching: Girls, that Lena Dunham is truly inspiring.

What I’m listening to: Story of My Life, Embarrassed this is by One Direction, so good despite the boy band association.

Now moment: The two and four year old having an in depth conversation like adults about their grandma. It was almost enough to make me cry

365 grateful: I am way behind on my grateful days, simply behind. Ironically, had I been doing it like I planned maybe I wouldn’t have checked out for so long. So here is the breakdown as best I can remember.

Things I am grateful for:

My husband’s smile

IV Fluids

Breath right strips

My Veronica Mars co-pilot and all around show watching friend, yes, another shout out to you Kerri

Cadbury Egg season

Las Vegas

Daiquiris by the yard

A full night’s sleep

Remembering and honoring a special mentor and friend, Rob Grogan. I will miss you always, thank you for giving me the stones to write and supporting me in loss. You are truly irreplaceable. The world lost a valuable soul. Rest in Peace, and thank you for everything. Now you’ll get the best seats in the house for all those Yankee games.

Comfort food

My iPhone for allowing me continued access to an email account Microsoft foolishly locked for 30 days

Miss Cady at Gymboree for being my boy’s first real crush, if they continue with that caliber they will be alright

Fat snowflakes

A job offer, even if I did turn it down

Clean biopsy results

Baggy jeans that no longer fit

Monster Energy drinks

On demand TV

Little boy hugs

Getaways

Cozy pants

Emails that are better late than never when it comes to reconnecting

Crossroads and Time Machines

I say all the time that you can’t go back. There is no good living in the past and wondering what if or wishing things were still the same. Frankly, in my life, I am glad I do not live back there in those moments. Sure I had some great one, but overall I am glad to be in this moment, with this man and this family. So I don’t struggle much with looking back and wondering what if. This past week however I have been hit with strange emotion evoking things from my past, and what I learned was sometimes you need to get that “good old days feeling” when you are facing a crossroads in life.

Sometimes that feeling of invincibility or strength we all seem to have in our 20s might just be useful in our later years if we could only figure out how to harness its power. If I could go back in time, if I had a DeLorean and 1.21 gigawatts of power, I wouldn’t go  back to change anything, I would go back to harness and capture the energy and belief in everything being possible that only a 22  year old Wendy could feel. Okay, maybe 17-25 maybe those years held the strongest belief in myself and life. Those years I welcomed the crossroads, even created many, because I truly believed with enough motivation and strength I could do anything.

Of course I’ve learned that’s all a giant lie. No offense to you still living in wonderland thinking it can all come true (I hope it does for you), but not everything is possible. I made a lot come true in my life. I’ve had a lot of goals and I’ve made many of them happen. I’m not saying things aren’t possible, I’m just saying not all things are possible. In the end though, what I want to get from that me from yesterday is not her flawed but delightful thinking, it is her “can do” spirit and the ability for just the right movie to make me think, yep, I can do this, it is all going to be alright. The world is my oyster, so to speak.  That girl could get so charged up by a movie or a song that she really did do some amazing things with the inspiration.

I am now at a new crossroads. Not one I created, but one just happening to me. I find these to be the worst kind. It isn’t like I have a plan or even wanted to make a deal with a crossroads demon so to be standing at an unexpected crossroads is daunting and exhausting. In the beginning of this I thought “Crap, not one more thing”, then I caught a glimpse of While you were sleeping on TV and I was instantly transported back to my sophomore year in college to a dingy Durango theater all alone. It wasn’t the movie so much as just that moment in my life. I can remember my thoughts and feelings as I watched the movie. My life is just beginning, I can do anything. Maybe I felt this way because the lead character in the film did not, I’m not sure. So while my life is no longer just beginning I felt that same sense of inspiration when I saw the movie again. Like my brain knew I needed to draw upon the Wendy of yore and use her emotions as a catalyst to get past the crossroads and on my way in life. I am both grateful and envious of Wendy watching this movie for the first time, 20 years old, not knowing what lay ahead and not being afraid either. She was pretty cool.

So here I am at my crossroads. Now I am thinking, is this the opportunity to make more money, find a job a love, commit to old projects? Perhaps. I don’t know. I haven’t figured it out yet. But what I do know is drawing on the power of who I used to be and allowing myself an indulgent day of “reliving’ my past through movies and music, I might just find an answer, or at least be better prepared for the bumpy road ahead. I am excited and terrified. Intrigued and exhausted. It’s funny, I really do wish I had a time machine, not because I would change anything, but just so I could get that feeling of endless possibilities anytime I wanted. I guess moves, music and food will just have to suffice until I figure out that flux capacitor and butterfly effect.

This week I am trying something new. I recommend you all do the same. When my kids go to bed, instead of zoning out in front of the tv with my husband while we both obsessively check our smart phones. We are turning it all off for at least an hour and playing cards. We are sitting close, looking into each others eyes, playing cards, laughing, talking, thinking. We just started yesterday, and I won’t lie, so far it’s awesome. Before kids and smart phones we played games all the time. Now I remember why we loved that. My goal this week is to do this everyday. I miss him.

What I am reading: Six Years by Harlan Coben, it isn’t my usual fair, but it was on sale, so score!

What I am listening to: The A Team by Ed Sheeran

Inspirations from the ether: I’m super smitten with John Green right now and I can’t believe I never stumbled across his awesomeness before. Seriously, I can’t get enough of him. Lucky for me he has a blog, a tumblr (which I still don’t really understand what that is), a youtube channel where he and his brother Hank (Hank isn’t so bad either :))exchange interesting videos read to each other but are really for everyone, and several books. I figure it isn’t really stalking if you are happily married and too tired from raising toddlers that you can’t even figure out where he gets his coffee much less his real street address. If you haven’t heard of him, you should check him out. I am more in awe everyday. Genius, entertaining, funny, smart and witty. Besides anyone who makes up a word like “dooblydoo” (and it is very fitting)  is aces in my book.

Hank:I love a good rant.


Now moment of the week: Having my husband teach me how to play rummy, and more or less kicking his ass, but we weren’t keeping score because I was still learning. Poor Jay. :)

 

The Best of 2013

I’m not going to lie, 2013 kicked my proverbial ass in many ways. In other ways it was one of the most eye opening and life defining years of my life. Entering into motherhood three years prior had left me feeling like I’d lost myself. Losing my sister three years ago left me feeling broken.  I continued moving forward because that is what life is about, that is how you get unstuck from the muck and that is how you create the life you want, but in many ways it was just me going through the motions as opposed to me really living life. On the outside it looked like I was getting stuff done, sticking to a plan, on the inside it was like watching a movie and wishing it was over so I could sleep. Don’t get me wrong, I love my children, I love my husband, I love my life, but sometimes life knocks you down and makes other plans and you can stop and wallow in that shit or you can give it the middle finger and keep on moving even if you are injured (see that old intentional living I have been going on about for months).

2013 gave me a sick baby and doctors and hospitals and people I wish I had never had the need to meet, but am so grateful I did. It had my family discovering that Celiac Disease is actually a positive thing (when I consider the other potential options). It had me falling in love with my husband all over again by being lucky enough to watch him embrace his life as a responsible adult (something I think men struggle with). 2013 had me reach my pre baby weight but not my pre baby body (I still hope to shock and amaze you with before and after photos one day, maybe a 4 pack at 40 kind of thing by June??) but I learned my ability to be a dude is far more important than a flat stomach.  2013 saw my mother move to our property, my oldest learning how to be a good big brother, and my youngest potty training himself. 2013 let me reconnect with old friends, find my soul sister, and create laughter. But 2013 also brought me something else, this blog.

To some of you that may not even be note worthy. To me it has been a journey, and at times, an eye opening experience as I peruse all things in life looking for a better life, a happier life, a good way to live. By writing about my thoughts, by conveying what I have learned and all I have read I have not only learned much about me, I’ve learned so much about that better life. I am now able to turn off my mind when it tries to harm me with thoughts about my past or future, thoughts I cannot change and events I cannot alter. I have learned how to find happiness in this moment, how to let go of pain, how to manage my finances, how to talk to my husband, how to confront constructively, and how to love more completely. I have far more patience than I did when I started this journey and I can actually see the me I used to be before kids, before loss. There she is, looking at me in that mirror. There she is lounging surrounded by pups. There she is playing games with her kids. She didn’t disappear, she just got a little lost.

I spent a lot of time this year feeling defeated, scared, beaten down, broken, just utterly lost. I was frustrated that life wasn’t what I had been sold, that things could go horribly askew without my consent, and that so many people all over the place, every where I looked, were suffering. Then one day I sat down and I Googled happiness. I Googled, happy life. I Googled Zen. And it changed everything. Something so silly and ridiculous changed everything. So while we are better off financially than we were, our son thankfully does NOT have cancer, and our family life is full of laughter and peace, I know, I know in my heart and my head that I got to this place thru the journey of intentional decisions. Of choosing to shape my future so it would not be defined by my past. Of choosing the identity I wanted instead of the one I had fallen into.

While I think there is value in many of the posts from 2013 (I am bias after all), here are the most popular posts and those YOU found value in. May 2014 be a year where we all continue to make our own destinies and give the middle finger to anything that tries to stop us.

Things Dads Do- Apparently you all love videos, especially if it is a video of my husband doing questionable things with his children.

How to get laid more- Apparently you all love having sex too. I’m shocked by this one. :)

I help you all pick a deodorant- or at least I make you feel less alone picking a deodorant.

3 Songs- I got a lot of feedback on this one that it reminded people to remember what they love about their significant other. It went a way I didn’t expect when I wrote it, I’m glad you all took it another way. I was instantly more grateful.

You and Your Finances- This one made you all feel a little less alone. I know it made me feel less alone and it was the first step, a coming out if you will, that allowed us to get on the road to fixing our finances.

How to Kick Ass at the Gym- Speaks for itself.

and my favorite, not just because it is about me, but because writing it and really considering it,  opened my eyes and reminded me of who I am and why I like that person. About Wendy