So I stated this effort about 4 months ago where my only objective was to just be cool as hell to myself.
That's me <-- when this effort kicked off. That was after my first self-administered quarantine haircut and I'd like to point out I kicked ass.
My plan really was just focused on silencing a sometimes not so nice inner voice that tends to be critical towards myself and I was going to give myself permission to just be.
Be what you ask? I had no idea really - just exist without restrictions I suppose.
And THAT was the question I asked myself.
What would happen if I were to loosen the restrictions on myself and allowed myself to be just happy?
Forget the calorie counting, forget getting up at 5 am every day, forget weighing myself every morning, forget dissecting everything I say or presentation I give, forget being overly critical - just a concentrated effort to chill to F out ...
and I did ...
4 months in - I have lost nearly 15 lbs by not counting calories, I have been indulging when I feel like it, going to bed "past my bed time", sleeping in on the weekends, not working 15 hour days every single day of the week, sitting in my garden, taking calls from my hanging chair, FaceTime'ing friends and spending the evenings working on my pilates practice, learning origami (which straight up sucks) and watching mindless tv or leafing through baking cookbooks.
Additionally I have limited my exposure to social media and news sites ... I'm informed but not overly informed and refuse to be bombarded with all the political discord.
On top of all this, I feel genuinely happy. It's not like I wasn't happy before but I certainly was preoccupied with all sorts of rules and constraints.
I turned 47 in early July ... FORTY SEVEN ... The photo above is my super professional head shot for LinkedIn and such - but the photo is completely untouched and unfiltered (although we did change the background from gray to black). It helps I have make up on and was having a good hair day but the two photos are remarkably different for other reasons:
In the second photo, my skin is brighter, my eyes a bit shinier, my face certainly thinner but I think the biggest difference is that the second photo I seem more at ease. That's the photo of someone happy. I also spent the day before this photo swinging in my hanging chair drinking champagne which certainly helps with my overall satisfaction score.
All this aside, there is so much going on - I think I will soon be faced with some big decisions that won't be entirely easy but I'm going to keep focusing on my family, friends, health and happiness and trust I will make the best decisions and end up where I'm supposed to be. As long as I stay chill I can effectively manage the change. I'm a change management powerhouse, of note.
I can't wait to check in, in another 4 months ... I honestly might just be a little ball of light by then.
Because the world is on FIRE ...
We have protests, shuttered buildings, unemployment, fear of unemployment, illness, closed offices, remote work environments, remote learning - our kids are out of school, sports canceled, crunched up necks, terrible hair, muffin tops, feelings of isolation, and anxiety levels at an all time high for many many people.
For me, I see such hope and am in awe of all the great things going on as well ... so much to be thankful for and so many things to focus on that are incredibly positive and inspiring. I just think we have to acknowledge the difficulties while seeking out the good and the positive surrounding us.
I see each and every day so many truly amazing acts of kindness towards one another, people are reaching out in ways that seemed to have fallen by the wayside, people are spending time (re)connecting in meaningful ways, people are truly evaluating what is important; friends, families, quality time spent with one another uninterrupted by daily demands, etc.
There has been a sort of forced movement towards a living a simpler life, a life closer to home and really for us Americans we literally can't go anywhere as countries won't even let us near their borders at this point.
I was sitting her thinking about how this year, I can't spend the summer in Switzerland thanks to COVID. Every single year before this I just couldn't spend the summer in Switzerland because I couldn't afford it - it's actually a nice change for me. I'M not the reason - YOU'RE the reason.
Honestly, spending time at home these last several months has been a truly positive experience. I may be in the minority but in my "normal" day to day life I feel like I'm always "on" there's no pause, there's no reprieve from it. It's exhausting on a profound level.
I have absolutely loved being at home. I love my home, I love my porch, my garden, my dogs, my ability to be insanely productive and focused, maintain the cleanest and most organized house on the planet (even with a teen), all my house projects completed, and I have a new renewed focus on myself. Wait? Who has time to focus on themselves? ME!
These many months have given me a much needed break from the world beyond my doorstep. Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love the world beyond my doorstep, but as someone with a demanding job, long commute, being a provider, maintaining a home, getting my son to sports 6 days a week, running errands, dealing with issues and normal day to day stressors, it's a lot.
It sort of builds up in your system. The demands on my time are great. I know that's our new normal and most people are in the exact same situation but I don't think I realized how overextended I was until I wasn't.
I just think when all you have is deafening static around you, you just don't realize how loud it is until it's silent.
Years ago, Psychology Today published an article called "The Psychology of Silence" - I remember reading it and it changed my behavior to a certain extent. I pulled into practice some of the concepts relating to the power of silence.
And then I few months later, I completely ignored everything about it and became completely overloaded as usual.
This step-back has really reintroduced the power associated with Silence.
I have been able to focus on the things I love, I have been loving my job, I have been able to step back and control my environment in such a way where I feel rebaselined, whole, happy, and healthy.
It has also provided a space for me to really step back, step back in that silence and sort out what it is that I want.
So often we do what is expected and at some point in our evolution we have to determine if we we wanted 15, 10, 5, even 1 year ago is what we want NOW.
I think for many of us, it's not or it's not in its current form.
As we change, our interests change, our current skill sets are well honed and refined. Things should become a bit easier leaving room for the new.
I have been spending time thinking about what would I would like to learn, how would I like to grow as the next phase of my life presents itself.
I have realized that while in a very left-brain career, I also need to spend more time feeding my wildly creative side.
This is what brings contentment in its purest form to my life. Movement - Dancing, Yoga & Pilates, art projects, writing (especially writing) and to be in a place where I can do it in a very freeing way, unapologetically.
Today, despite being a Monday, was my Sunday. Sunday is my meal prep day!
It's one of my favorite days of the week. I think my Sundays would be a hell on Earth for those that don't enjoy cooking, cleaning and organizing but I happen to LOVE being in the kitchen.
This week is especially busy between social activities, board meetings, Lacrosse Booster Club meetings, fundraising events, working out, and the time I usually spend staring off into space.
These are the weeks where planning and organizing my meals is especially important as I won't be home enough to plan out and execute healthy meals. I need things that are easy and I can grab and go.
This will give me breakfast, lunch, and healthy snacks until Friday.
With everything being Vegan, there really isn't anything that will go bad so the longevity of the meals is fairly extensive in comparison.
When I cooked with meat - I had a 1-2 day window (at most) where I'd be willing to eat leftovers or transform left overs into a new meal. It was a 1 day window if I had made something with seafood so me not eating meat / seafood / dairy is an amazing thing from a cost savings perspective.
Breakfast Congee: For those of you that aren't familiar with the greatest most versatile meal on Earth - let me introduce you to congee.
Congee is essentially a rice porridge made by boiling rice in a shit ton of water. Like more water than you'd think appropriate. Get to that point and then add more.
It beaks down the rice into a pudding-like consistency.
Serve it sweet or savory. It's a blank canvas for really anything. This is a breakfast congee so I added sweeter elements to mine.
Congee is often used to promote good health and strong digestion. According to TCM, because congee is so easily digested and assimilated, it harmonizes digestion, and also supplements blood & qi (life energy). Congee can relieve inflammation and nourish the immune system. I actually didn't think of stringing those words together - Scott told me all this like a year ago and it has been widely published in many journals of Cancer & Nutrition, etc.
For me, It's just really yummy ... all the other stuff is added benefit.
For meal prep- I portion out 4oz which comes to about 270 calories - you'd think with everything I put into it it would be massively high in calories but it's not - I throw in enough to give it great taste and texture but I'm not eating a bucket full of this. Very careful with the portion size.
LUNCHES & DINNER
Quinoa & White Bean Burgers
This is another recipe that really encourages you to do whatever you want. Look in your pantry - don't have cannellini beans - so what, use black beans and make it a Mexican spiced burger.
I had a jar of pesto on hand so that was the primary flavor profile in this week's burger.
Note: If I hadn't used pesto which has a high oil concentration I would have added a few tablespoons of Olive Oil to help bind the mixture together.
Hot pan and a bit of oil - Sear them on both sides which will actually crisp up the Quinoa - they have the most amazing texture.
I do a few things with the cooked patties:
1. Burger obviously - I may use a bun or most likely a lettuce cup
2. I add them to salads like a deconstructed burger (sans Bun)
The salad is my lunch tomorrow (estimated calories = 260 calories)
The burger was my dinner tonight ... when I thew everything into MyFitnessPal - dinner came in around 434 Calories because I added avocado, the greens were dressed in olive oil and lemon, and I used a potato bun (130 calories), etc.
The actual burger is 130 calories.
This week I'm having tomato salad and roasted delicata squash as my between meal snacks ... Both insanely simple and fairly calorie net neutral.
Roasted Delicata Squash
Greatest thing ever: One evening, I went next door to my amazing neighbor's house and saw that she doesn't remove the seeds when she cooks her squash.
I would have never thought to do this which is so strange as I love eating roasted pumpkin seeds so why not leave them?
It really makes these so much better and texturally interesting as the roasted seeds compliment the buttery softness of the squash. I love squash and somehow this little trick makes me love them even more, which I never knew was possible.
Sliced relatively thin, seeds and all - I tossed these in olive oil and sprinkled them with:
Roast in 370 degree oven for 35 mins - flipping at half way point.
I'm almost certain that you can't easily find delicata squash this time of year - buy Acorn - it's the exact same process just a slightly different shape.
How do I have so many you ask? Because my neighbor bought several cases of them when they were in season. They will last months and months.
I actually bought a case but had eaten all mine. I feel that I should ration them out so I can make them last a bit longer but it's one of my favorite things to eat.
I don't have a great deal of self control in general so we'll see how long they last.
As a final step after cooking is to portion everything out into individual serving sizes. I weigh everything. I tend to stick to 4oz portion sizes unless it's raw vegetables, then I will eat usually as much as I want.
I'm not stressing over the difference between 2 cups lettuce versus 3 cups but I do watch what I put onto my raw vegetables. I don't avoid fat as it's an essential part of maintaining a healthy body & brain.
In my current approach to eating, I'm entirely plant based, eat no sugar and try to limit my refined carbs. I am comfortable with small portions of whole grains such as quinoa, millet, etc. But I'm not going to freak out over eating a potato bun with my veggie burger.
Combined with what I eat is WHEN I eat - I eat between 10 am and 6 pm. That also explains why I need to be in bed by 9:00 pm and watch television in my bedroom. Otherwise I get very snacky and make my way into the pantry.
I'm up late tonight and am starving. Will have a cup of warm water with lemon and call it a day.
Enjoy your week!!
This is my amazingly fit neighbor and I heading to Hot Yoga ... at 6:00 am on a Saturday.
Let that sink in ... it's the weekend and we are willingly up at 6:00 am to roast our asses off in the most inhospitable environment imaginable. For someone who hates hot & humid - it's a hellscape.
As much as I hate hot & humid, I have realized I LOVE it and I can't wait to get to class. I have started to plan my day around my favorite classes.
Not many things get me out of bed that early on the weekends. I may want to stay in bed but my brain and body are cheering wildly!
So this is my new thing! I feel like an incredibly well adjusted adult with a reasonable bedtime and places to be at 6:00 am.
I'll soon be the type that grows wheatgrass in a window sill and irons my cloth napkins. I'm that much of an adult now.
Beyond our Saturday morning Yoga Sculpt class, I added several classes during the week to my schedule.
If I get there early enough, I can usually grab the same spot every time which I really like because I can sort of make this little space mine for the next 60-75 minutes.
I have been working from home this week which has been amazing.
Instead of spending the first hour of my day sitting in gridlock, I have been spending that that time in Yoga class.
Such a better use of time! The thought of spending 2 hours a day in traffic is really hard to handle some days.
Actually, thanks to Audible I'm (re)learning German. I took 4 years of German in school, it's one of my favorite languages which makes for a fun way to pass the time. Now I can complain about my commute in both English & German. As exciting as that is, I'd much rather be in yoga.
That said, it has been a humbling return.
I have always been strong with great balance but I'm really struggling with my balance of all things. Every single movement that places me on one leg, save for 3-legged dog, I find myself unable to hold the posture.
I notice when I fall out, it doesn't take long for the people next to me to fall out. It's like a shared consciousness of sorts. If you hold it, people hold it and then we're all holding it like little posture holding badasses.
When I'm swaying around and dropping the posture and mumbling "please God - let this end" - the people around me tend to pop out of the posture too.
Because I'm already in the back row in the far right corner when someone looks at me I can't even look behind me like "what is going on around here? who IS doing that?"
Which is exactly what I would do. People like me need to be in a middle row so when expert level know-it-alls turn around then I can give them that "yeah I know" look as I slowly turn my head to look behind me.
I can't do that - it's me ... It's literally just me. Me in my little corner goofing off while slipping on my own sweat.
Speaking of - in yesterday's class I tore ligaments in my Toe / Foot and can barely walk so I won't even be able to fully participate until I'm healed. I have it taped up and stabilized - looking at 3-4 weeks of recovery. So incredibly frustrating to me.
I'm still planning on going to class but will have to modify most of the postures. I just don't want to run the risk of getting out of the habit of going.
It's hard for me to circle back when I have moved away from something, regardless of reason.
This is really important to me - I'm sticking with it!
So, I'm going to rest and recover, working around my injured foot.
I'll wear my favorite beanie after class to hide my sweaty hair and continue to show up and be wobbly and tucked away into the far back corner of the room.
Maybe I'll find a job closer to home at some point or make working from home a regular thing so I can have a bit more balance in the day.
Ich wohne zu weit von meinem Büro entfernt
Day 1 ... Me (as of 2:47 pm)
30 lbs heavier than I'd like to be ... have been eating garbage since July after being so good for so so long.
4 gallons of water = 30 lbs. Having to carry an extra 4 gallons of water around with me at all times is absolutely bonkers.
I also can't fit into my favorite clothes. I'm currently wearing a size 12 ... Most of my clothes are 6-8.
You certainly don't have to be a rocket doctor to know that you can't squeeze a size 12 booty into a size 6 skirt without causing damage to your internal organs.
I was on such a great run with working out - then I stopped as I got incredibly sick. Never got back to it.
I was on such a great run with my eating and portion control - then I stopped as I felt like it, apparently. Never got back to it.
I have a Renewed Focus to hit 47 (this July) looking and feeling great again. I actually feel pretty good but I know I could feel even better if I'd just get my shit together.
90 days of eating well, maintaining proper portion control and by adopting a plant based diet.
I have always gone back and forth between eating meat and being plant based so this is a welcome transition back to something familiar to me.
I came across the Thug Kitchen cookbook series after deciding to go plant based again and immediately felt inspired. I think I found my people.
I also watched "The Game Changers" on Netflix which was amazing. Highly recommended.
Just a few days in, I feel less bloated which is great as nothing makes you feel sexier than being insanely bloated. I'm also sleeping like a little baby which I love as getting into bed at the end of the day is one of my favorite things. It's like rebooting a computer - a fresh start is on the horizon.
This challenge goes beyond just my eating habits - I need to really get back to my daily pilates routine & long walks.
When I don't do pilates my body becomes incredibly stiff and sore. Just 45-60 minutes of barre or pilates 4-5 time a week my body remains completely pain free.
Not to mention Pilates & Barre keeps me be long and lean versus my current state of short and sphere-like.
I also happened to buy the cutest walking shoes on the face of planet.
More importantly, getting back to being Pain Free - if there's something you can do that allows you to move and be pain free or at the very least experience a significant decrease in pain & discomfort you'd have to be out of your mind not to do it.
I have a pilates studio in my basement. As in one floor below where I am now - there is a pilates studio - top of the line Cadillac, Pilates chair / ballet barre / mats for floor work, etc.
Every single thing I need is one flight of stairs away from me.
To not move ... To not take 45 minutes to completely change my body and level of (dis)comfort is incredibly batshit bonkers.
I feel like this 90- day challenge is really an opportunity for me to make myself a priority.
I plan on taking daily photos - I have taken my "Before" photos and let me just say, "yikes". After my 90 days - I'll assess my progress and see how on track I am to hit my goal.
Most importantly - I'm excited to introduce meaningful change into my day to day.
There's a reward (outside of looking & feeling better)
IF I meet my goal by May / June - I am going to treat myself to a week in Costa Rica for my 47th BIRTHDAY!
I have always wanted to go to Costa Rica. It's surprisingly affordable and something that has been on my bucket list for years and years.
I'm obsessed with a little treehouse 100 yards from the beach that looks to be the most perfect spot to spend the week.
I can't even imagine how amazing it would be to just swing in a hammock, lay on the beach, swim in the ocean, get a bit of sun on God's palest skin (otherwise known as my legs), and just completely bliss out in a tropical paradise.
89.5 days to go!
I'm starving ... already.
The Tough Get Going.
I know the intended meaning of this was a rallying cry for the strong. Your life may have just full blown crapped the bed BUT that won't stop us - GET UP and GET TO WORK. BE AMAZING!!!
Really at this point in my life I just want to know where they are going. Is there a rendezvous point? Do you need to know a secret word? Can I come?
The last many (many ... many) months have been a bit topsy turvy for me - just a lot of weirdness at work which then seeps into weirdness in my day to day life which then impacts most everything.
I have a pretty healthy weird baseline so I would consider this weirdness to be especially weird and not in a wonderfully weird way.
Sometimes weird is just weird.
Work has been really stressful as of late and not even because my job is hard or I work impossible hours because it's not and I don't ... I have a great job.
Not only is my job great, my current manager is easily my favorite to date, for the first time ever I report into someone who mentors me which is the most amazing thing ever. I have done what I do for 25 years and I'm really really good at it but he's teaching me so much that I have become (am becoming) an AMAZING resource under his guidance.
What's the problem right? The problem is, my gut is telling me I need to go / something is wrong. My gut is NEVER wrong about these things ... not ever.
I'm like the kid from the 6th sense but instead of dead people I see sinking ships.
There's a maxim amongst sailors regarding rats and sinking ships "...before the vessel is to be lost the rats will desert her. ... This the rats are abandoning the sinking ship in all quarters."
Some how those little guys just know. Sitting around eating their cheese, doing whatever it is that rat friends do and at some point, something will happen and one of them will peek over their little snack and say "do you feel that ...". That’s Me!!
The captain is cheering everyone on talking about how strong the ship is and how true it sails and I'm in the corner with my bags packed & my little sniffer in the air trying to determine how close the shore is.
But in this case, I want so so badly for our ship to sail true that I refuse to listen to my gut. I want so badly to do something amazing for a company I believe in while working for someone I really respect that I'm locking all doubt and concern away ...
I'd like to reiterate that my gut is never ... ever ... not ever ... wrong. I'm just not sure what to do quite honestly.
-----2 Months Later-----
This is the point where I stood up and just sort of wandered away from my computer.
I found myself pulled into so so many directions that I feel like I live in a black hole - I have prime real estate on the event horizon and I have no concept of time. Life goes by at the at the speed of light, it seems.
Let me just tell you - my gut was not wrong. I have taken a good bit of time off for the holidays and am surveying the landscape of possibility at the moment.
New Year / New Options!!
So I'm weighing my options ... fantasizing about buying a farm and knitting jumpers for baby goats while drinking wine and spending my mornings at yoga.
Until that happens - I'm going to continue to kick ass in my current role, bringing positivity and my "can do" attitude into 2020. This is the year of great things and many healthy and much needed changes.
The good news is that all the work related weirdness isn't seeping into my personal life any longer - I think I have existed in this heightened start of weird that I have settled into it and am now flowing like water adapting and remaining open to whatever the day brings.
... of a creative drought ...
Actually that's not entirely true - it was more along the lines of being creatively silent. I have continued to post oodles of photos on my Instagram account and have had more ideas and topics to share but I became overly self-conscious about presenting my most authentic self.
At some point in our highly filtered and edited lives we have become convinced that the stripped down versions of ourselves aren't good enough.
That was the entire point of starting a blog - my life is wonderfully out of control. I mess up on a regular basis, I embarrass myself nearly every single day of my life, I don't like the way my clothes fit, I say stupid things, I self-sabotage, I psych myself out and let other people define my limits, I look to others to validate my worth, I don't always do the right thing ... etc.
I'm a complete shit show on a certain level.
And that's entirely OKAY because that's entirely who I am. I also happen to really like who I am.
I created the blog as a creative outlet but I also wanted to share aspects of my life that aren't always package nicely and wrapped up with a giant perfect bow. I then became worried about how it would be perceived.
Over the last several months I have come to realize that's neither my concern nor something I can control. I write for myself and at the end of the day, I have no interest in writing fiction.
I know this makes it seem like I'm about to share an incredibly salacious story outlining the last few months of my life, I'm not. I have been trying to perfect my macaron recipe which is no less awesome, I might add.
Outside of making more macarons than any one household should ever have on hand, I have really been working on myself on several levels and even though there are moments where my progress gets lost amongst work and other people and their lives and issues, I am really proud of how I have been able to refocus myself on the things that matter the most to me.
I gave a presentation at work this past week on a project that has been faced with more issues and challenges than any other project I have ever worked on and I framed my presentation by saying that we didn't come this far just to come this far. Yeah a shit ton of work has been done but really that was laying the foundation for what has yet to come.
I sort of feel that way about my life and focusing on my personal progress. Projects are easy right? You have requirements / scope / a roadmap - stay on that road. Deliver what you say you will. Don't let anyone change that scope - protect it.
We should certainly do more for ourselves than we would for a work deliverable. Just like a work deliverable - there will always be critics and people who want more - that's okay. Be proud of your efforts in whatever form they take! Celebrate milestones and take your wins where you can as it's important to stop and appreciate progress not just fixate on what you think the end product will be. Restated: don't fixate on what others think the end product will be.
I have anxiety, usually social but performance based anxiety sneaks in from time to time as well.
That said, I will go through extended periods where nothing really hits my radar.
I'm typically able to blissfully navigate my days worry free by focusing on the things within my control and letting the things outside of my control run their course.
When I do experience anxiety, it feels almost like a current in the air around me. My body reacts to it - I feel staticky
I became, over time, really good at mitigating the risk of becoming anxious. As a result, I could easily avoid the situations that had the potential to trigger my anxiety.
I feel like my anxiety, much like the first fish with feet, has evolved. It's no longer an ocean dweller - it's on land now and it has fast little legs.
Think of my anxiety as Usain Bolt and my brain as a chubby 2nd grader and we're competing against one another in a 50 yard dash. Even if you're not sure who that is - all you need to know is he never loses a race, not ever. My brain however is in the corner eating a croissant with its shoes untied.
For me, the onset of my anxiety is a very visceral sensation, like that moment where you think something is wrong right before the hairs on the back of you neck stand up. Some sort of evolutionary "oh shit - you need to go" feeling.
What is so ridiculous is it usually seeps into areas of my life that I'm most proficient in - so clearly it never strikes me when I'm at the gym or in my personal life - it's always work related ... or related to things I'm doing on a BoD or on certain committees, etc.
I do certain things incredibly well - I am a phenomenal speaker and I lead meetings, regardless of content, better than most anyone I know. I'm good at it and I love it.
Lately, however, I have been feeling tremendous anxiety before meetings. I have no idea why my anxiety is popping up in this space as even with me dreading walking into the meetings, the second they start I'm back at 100%. I don't stumble, I don't bumble around trying to sort out my messaging or delivery - the meetings go incredibly well, they flow & they end well.
But every day, when I open my calendar that static / that electrical charge begins to swirl around me and I become very aware of this heightened sense of dread ... I become anxious and want an out ... I want someone to tell me to move it or cancel it.
The good news is I know what's going to trigger my anxiety the bad news is all I do is sit in meetings which apparently is the trigger for my anxiety.. As of late, I feel like someone who is absolutely terrified of fire yet gets a job as a fire eater in a carnival.
Every single second of every single day, I'm planning a meeting, leading a meeting, prepping for a meeting, prepping for a meeting to talk about an upcoming meeting, being pulled into meetings unexpectedly, when I'm not in a meeting I am thinking of my next meeting ... it's never ending. It's literally never ending.
I shared with my manager, whom I'm crazy about, that I feel a bit stranded - like no one is helping or stepping up on some very large and critically important initiatives. So I go through the motions, I'm plugging the holes, and spinning the plates but I honestly feel as though someone dropped kicked me out of a helicopter into the middle of a shark infested ocean and I know no help is coming and I have no life preserver, and for some reason I'm dressed as a seal-pup. There's no doubt, I'm about to get ripped apart by sharks.
Above: Me at work.
I'd like to think that seal went on to live a very charmed life after receiving a much deserved promotion.
Anyways, I know how I'm feeling is causing my anxiety to grow legs and it's really starting to creep into other areas of my life.
A few things happened today that was really rather remarkable though. I kicked off my day with an email war so out of the gate my anxiety was growing and then someone I can't stand, like I literally HATE this person, called and left me a 3 minute voicemail.
Just think, for a moment, how long a 3-minute voicemail is ... I saw him call, while I was in a meeting obviously, I sent him to my VM and 3 minutes later the notification came through.
By this time my meeting had ended so I sat there and stared at the VM screen for a few minutes. My logical brain assumed it was nothing but my anxious brain had a "hold my beer" moment and flooded my mind with: Why did he call me ... What does he want ... What could possibly take 3 minutes ... What horrible things will this person say to me ... Is he suing me ... Is he threatening me ... why after all this time would he reach out ... did he reach out to anyone else or just me, etc.
I happened to talk to a friend a few hours after the VM came through who also knows this person and I told him that he reached out and how I can't bring myself to check the voicemail. I shared that it was really stressing me out and I couldn't listen to it. Immediately, he told me to just send him the VM, that he would listen to it and let me know if there was anything I needed to know.
First of all - I had no idea you could forward a voicemail ... Secondly - I have never had someone just so effortlessly take over a situation that was creating anxiety for me. It was such a small gesture on his part but in an instant, my anxiety went from an 8 to a 2. Someone casually stepped in and removed the stressor. I didn't even care what was in the VM at this point.
After being incredibly stressed out, enough to mention it to someone else, enough for someone else to jump in - it turns out, there was no VM. When I sent him to VM I think he thought he disconnected so it was literally 3 minutes of listening to nothing. Just background ambient noises. It could have been an unintentional phone call - who knows really.
What I'm finding is that my anxiety is really rather rooted in feeling like I'm solely responsible for something (a project, the success of something, my home, etc) and anything that threatens my stability or how I define myself or something as successful, it sends me reeling.
I don't mean to imply that I'm alone or actually solely responsible for absolutely everything (it's a lot though) - I have amazing friends, amazing family, amazing people who support me, amazing relationships, a great job for the most part, etc.
Today I realized 1. it really easy for someone to step in and disrupt an anxious cycle I just need to ask for help and 2. anxiety (for me) has no basis in reality - it's just my mind running wild identifying countless worse case scenarios when the reality is, it's probably just 3 minutes of static.
I feel that perhaps I have a lot of static that maybe I just need to acknowledge and confront head on so i can get back to enjoying each and every day! Life is too short to give anxiety a lot of care and feeding - it's exhausting and it has worn me down over the last 4-6 weeks but today something shifted a bit ...
The next few weeks will be stressful with meetings and large projects but my hope is that I can be a bit more like water than rock and let some of it roll over me versus trying to force something or trying to stop the unstoppable.
For Christmas someone gave Scott a Zen Calendar and I found it on a counter and took it. This thing turned out to be an absolute goldmine. So thanks to whomever didn't give me a present, I LOVE it so very much.
Oh man - I just found out that was not a present for Scott - it was a gift for Finn. I stole a Christmas present from my child. I'm sure Finn would have loved it, if he had known about it.
((best present ever))
I feel like I would have written these after many glasses of wine and an extraordinary amount of sleep depravation. Today: "I like a view but I like to sit with my back to it" - why would you do that? That was written by Gertrude Stein by the way ... and it makes no sense to me.
While many seem like they were written by someone who moonlights as the content editor over at "Demotivational Posters" every so often I come across one that resonates with me on such a profound level.
This happened to be the first of many. Until I hit my 40's I was absolute consumed with the approval of others. It was something that I chased after on a nonstop basis. The thought of disappointing someone gnawed at me and would linger in my thoughts for all eternity - just reliving over and over again the moment I embarrassed myself or let someone down.
Ridiculous moments just stuck on a never ending loop playing over and over again in my mind. It was a fairly terrible way to live as other people's opinions became more important than my own. Other people's voice became louder and more influential than my own.
It wasn't until I had enough distance and enough time alone with my thoughts to really begin to shift which narrative I listened to. Which me was my most authentic? I had no idea really because historically speaking I based my decisions on what I thought other people wanted me to do.
I think, somewhere along the way, I realized that if I'm living my life based on what someone else wants, then I'm really not living MY life at all.
If you're like me - stop apologizing for who you are and certainly stop seeking approval that who you are is acceptable. It is ...
I'm not sure how I have changed so much over these last few years but I have. I feel different, I look different, I feel at ease, my stress is at an all time low and I'm finding joy in just being exactly who I am at this point in time.
It also made me realize how fun it is to just be ... to just exist. The people who are drawn to that - to me as my most authentic self are the people who should be in my life and they are. It's effortless.
So if you find yourself scrambling for one person's approval in particular, maybe it's time to ask why that is. What makes how they see you more important than how you see yourself?
Nothing. Nothing does.
Get that tattoo, find a new job, cut your hair, become an artist, do something new or unexpected, find a path you love, start a blog that no one reads (there is so much freedom in that),surround yourself with those that bring you happiness ... do whatever it is you want to do for no other reason than you want to.
Tip: if anyone gives your child a Zen Calendar - just take it ... 1. they won't notice and 2. you may find someone put pen to paper and expressed exactly how you're feeling and that's a pretty amazing thing.
This past January, during a 2-week business trip, I decided to become a bread baking powerhouse.
I have found, if a work trip spans more than a week, I mentally teleport back to a time when moms stayed home and baked amazing things with one hand while making a perfect gin martini in the other (in heels / while vacuuming). I'm then consumed with guilt and come up with a MP (Mom Project).
Here we are - I'm a baker now, since that was a 2-week trip.
Even though, I knew nothing about baking bread and had no idea how to feed a starter - I bought a tiny bit of an old sourdough starter.
A few days after I returned, the smallest little jar with the smallest little bit of starter showed up on my doorstep. That little bit eventually grew into something amazing that has made countless boules and loaves of bread now!
It was just a little blob with amazing aspirations.
I took my itty bitty bit of starter and added luke warm water & AP Flour. By the next day, it had grown substantially, was bubbly & airy and had the most amazing smell.
I kept 4 oz and the rest became my discard. I fed the held back 4 oz, with 4 oz AP Flour and 4 oz Luke Warm Water. Once mixed it will look like the photo on the left.
The next day, I had a fairly ripe starter but instead of using it, I repeated the process above by holding back & feeding. I did this because you need to have a good bit of starter to be able to bake something and have enough left to feed.
This past Saturday, I made bread so Finn would have it, even with me out of town. I'm only gone for a week this time so I won't come back with a new MP which is great as I am really enjoying becoming a good baker!
I absolutely LOVE making homemade bread. I just wish I knew people that actually ate carbs as my bread making is limited to just a few small loaves a week otherwise they'd go to waste!
I only eat a single slice, each Sunday, due to maintaining a Keto Lifestyle. The way I eat and what I like to bake are slightly at odds but I'm working on a bunch of Keto Friendly recipes as well. Stay Tuned For Those!
Until this past weekend, I never really stopped to think how amazing it is to make bread.
I just felt so completely in awe that with next to no ingredients I can make something to feed my family.
This starter has contributed to the baking of countless - literally countless loaves of bread.
Its origins are from the late 1800's.
When people discard - they often give portions of it away to other homes where it is fed and discarded to another home and then that gets discarded and goes to another home. It's endless, the cycle continues literally forever.
Since having mine, I have given portions to a handful of friends and several of them have given portions to their friends which is just is the coolest thing ever to me.
While I really have a long (LONG) way to go in terms of perfecting my bread making - I am so very taken by the process and found a shit ton of ZEN in my kitchen!
You can bring simplicity to your life while making something timeless, wholesome, preservative free and shockingly delicious. The first bakeries popped up in Greece 2nd century A.D. and honestly - we're still using the same 3 ingredients (yeast, water, flour). Not much has changed.
Something so simple has created a new tradition our home. Every Sunday, our home fills up with the smell of baking bread, it brings us together around the kitchen island where we laugh and talk about our upcoming week - it's just the coolest thing of all.
I love that my son's memories will include such moments.
Oh! Discard - that doesn't mean toss it out. You can make waffles, biscuits, pancakes, etc. That's also what you can give to friends so they can make their own!
I'm a little waffle factory and I make a massive batch for my son as part of my meal prep on Sunday mornings. Just let them cool and store them in the fridge (or freezer).
On school days I warm them up in a buttered cast iron pan. They become buttery & crispy within just a few minutes. To have something easy that a teen will sit down long enough to eat is a massive win.