Tis the season!

Wrapping up one year and looking forward to the next. What an interesting process. I remember many years where I couldn’t wait for the fresh start that a new year would bring. Funny how optimistic I always am at this time of year considering I live in Wisconsin and the new year just means 4 more months of cold weather. 

This year however I am just truly thankful and blessed to have experienced all the days in this year so far. I’ve experienced so much growth in so many areas. 

This year marked 5 years of togetherness with my husband and 2 years of marriage. It has seriously flown by.  I’m so thankful for us and hope we continue to share many more trips around the sun together. 

I attended a life and business coaching group for 9 months out of the year that totally changed my perspective on many areas of my life. It’s helped me declutter, repriorotize, rediscover and challenge my thoughts and beliefs. 

I enjoyed my 2nd full year of consulting on my own. It’s been such a rewarding experience and opportunity to work on different projects with different people. Definitely a different kind of education. I’ve really started to appreciate and acknowledge what I can add to a team and project. Being my own cheerleader has been such a blessing. 

My step-son turned 14 and watching him grow and discover himself is something I’m thankful to be a part of every day. He’s such a blessing and gives me perspective and many learning experiences. 

We spent the year focusing on our finances and now find ourselves debt free (except for our home). This is such a freeing accomplishment and it takes so much pressure of our career choices and really allows us to enjoy our 9-5’s more since we don’t feel trapped by them. 

I was diagnosed with Ménière’s disease in August. An inner ear disorder that causes ear ringing, vertigo and nausea. By cutting out caffeine and sodium I’ve managed to control the symptoms (and my anxiety around the sparadic nature of the episodes). So, yay. 

I traveled to Napa (CA), Orlando (FL), Mexico, Lake Placid (NY), Door County (WI), Rockville (MD) and of course Cleveland and Cincinnati for work. I enjoyed every trip and was lucky enough to spend time with great people and make wonderful memories at each location. Not to mention some good food too. 

We took down a wall (thanks HGTV for the words “open concept”, repainted most of the main level, filled a dumpster of crap to declutter the house, and put in new vinyl wood planks instead of the old carpet. 

I started and cancelled a wine club. I started and cancelled a fitness subscription. I gave up giving up Nutella. 

And so many other wonderful things… with wonderful people. 

With only two weeks left in this year, I have nothing but gratitude and love for 2016 and can only imagine what 2017 will bring… and I look forward to finding out. 

Positivity Takes Practice

I discovered years ago that your attitude and outlook on life greatly depends on what you spend your energy on.  This might seem like a totally obvious statement, and I would agree, but would argue that it is something that is so obvious… it’s easy to overlook.

I discovered that how I spent my spare time greatly influenced my mood.  I mean even the silly things like the conversations I chose to have, the images I chose to look at via Pinterest/Instagram/Google searches, the books I read, the movies I watched, and most importantly how I talked to myself as well.

If I spent my energy telling myself stories about how retched the world was, how evil my friends were, how the universe conspired against me… OF COURSE I then walked around with my tin foil hat and gun set to stun.  Any action that happened around me was seen through this Darth Vader type lens I was wearing.  You were either with me, or against me.  How DRAINING it was.  I spent more time conspiring than inspiring, which just equals a big fat waste of time.

So, I started spending my time with people who I aspired to be like, the kind of people that sent out that vibe of ease and acceptance of the world.  I started doing hobbies that tapped into my creativity and made me feel good about myself. I started assuming the best, and stopped the bullshit stories.  Okay, well… maybe I’m a good story teller, so I still circle a bit in fantastical fucked up stories… but in general catch myself and stop it before it can seriously alter my mood for the day.

This choice of how / who / when / what to spend my energy on… has been a game changer for me.  As I get older, I only find better ways to spend my energy.  It’s like, the more efficient I get at being positive, the more energy I have available to me to do cool shit!!  It’s a very rewarding system.  However, it is still a act that takes practice. Daily conscious practice to be positive.  CHOSE to spend my time in a way that best puts me in the path of my dreams and aspirations.  Because, I’m really hoping to continue to grow, change, and be more awesome every day/week/year of my life… and I can’t imagine doing that if I’m leaking negative energy all over the place.

So, cheers to positivity.  May it be a happy practice that everyone can incorporate into their daily lives.  I personally find that laughter, good souls, wine, cheese, and chocolate can be gateways into positivity… in case you are struggling to find it.

My Aunt, myself and my Grandmother.  A couple people who know how to radiate positivity and love.

My Aunt, myself and my Grandmother. A couple people who know how to radiate positivity and love.

Don’t worry, no one else knows what the f*ck they are doing either. 

One of the best tidbits of advice I got was given to me by my cousin Carmen 15 years ago while I was first navigating the corporate world and figuring out which jobs I was “qualified” for.

She told me that no one knows exactly how to do a job they are applying for. Also, how boring would that be. I promise that the other people in this world that are doing the thing you want to do, didn’t know how to do it when they started. 

The people who end up with their next ‘big gig’ have faith in themselves and their abilities that they will figure it out.

This little tidbit has gotten me through so many new adventures in my life that seemed scary at first. I just focus on what I want, the resources I have, and ALWAYS keep my communication skills and personal development as top priorities. The exact “how’s” just come with time. 

So – grasshopper – go for the promotion, better job, dream vacation, first date, sell the house, start the new hobby or whatever it is that you have been yearning to do… but have convinced yourself you can’t. 

Because… why not you? Why not now?

And just remember, no one else knows what the fuck they are doing either. 

What’s your dream…

Job/Location/Spice of Life?

A coworker asked a group of us recently what our dream job would be.  I found that since I spend so much time concentrating on how to get ahead at my current job and how to make money, etc… that I forget what it’s like to dream about a career.  I went from someone who had time to dream, to someone who dreamed about having time.  Without taking the time to dream, you can’t stretch your dreaming wings.  You forget what it’s like to think and think and think about something until you’ve lost time and space to an idea that will likely never come to fruition. Thinking about something so wonderful and close to your heart that the thought of it never coming true is actually more scary than the thought of never trying it at all.

Sure, sometimes I feel breathless from what I’m working on.  Sometimes I feel exhillerated.  Mostly I think it’s lack of oxygen from hyperventilating, overworking, underdreaming and mostly just because I am anxious.  I’d like to feel breathless because I didn’t know what was coming next, because my dreams were so big and so awesome and because small steps towards that dream were coming true. 

The crux of it all is that in order for any of those dreams or breathless things to happen, you need to start dreaming and plotting again.  So, I dream of living on a beach somewhere that classifies winter as soemthing slightly uncomfortable, not horrendously uncomfortable and below freezing.  I dream of crafting, writing, sea shell collecting, evenings with my (future) husband, fine cheeses, fine chocolates, sand blasted siding on a house, fireplaces, big (i mean huge) wall paintings, that big round thing in kitchens that you hang your pots and pans from int he kitchen, a old bath tub (you know with the claw feet), lots of white (walls, ceiling, natural light), giant bookshelves (GIANT), wood floors, puppies, and nieces, family, step family and other company galore!

So think about your dreams, in detail, write them out.  It’s very satisfying in a day-dreaming sort of way.

The art of “being”

In all my free time lately (haha) I try and make an effort to remember what’s important about life.  Not even necessarily my life, but life in the general sense of the word. Sometimes we get so wrapped up in the now, next week, next year, next… next… next… That we forget that there will come a moment that for this lifetime there will be no more “next’s”.  There will only be that very clear moment and then hopefully a new sort of birth somewhere that involves new adventures.  Now, however I’m in this lifetime and trying to be present in every way I know how.

Sometimes being present is very hard.  Being present can definitely mean living in some nasty emotions.  I was recently upset and thinking “will this matter in 5 years?” – an old trick I used to use in order to put things into perspective.  Then I realized that I really needed to be honest with myself and say “does this really matter right now?”.  That is a harder statement to roll around in my mind.  If it won’t matter in 5 years, should it really matter enough to alter my current mood now?  If not, then why am I focusing my hard earned extra time and energy on it?  Good question, grasshopper.

One of my favorite things about blogging is the time to think these things through from my mind to my fingers.  It gives me the opportunity to live in the moment of whatever I’m thinking.  If I take the time to blog about being grateful, I end up feeling grateful.  It’s all about what you give your energy and time to.  You do in fact make time for what is important in your life.  That, is another hard truth to swallow. 

If you spend all your time saying that you are just too busy to get together with {insert someone you aren’t making time for here} — then you are really just saying that everything else is more important than hanging out with them.  This isn’t a mean thing, it is truly life.  As friends have grown up, been blessed with family, careers, new geographic locations, time is truly something that just isn’t available anymore.  It makes neither you nor your friend a bad person, more just busy people whose priorities have shifted into other directions… good friends have the ability to wait out the time it takes for the priorities to point that direction again and they aren’t bitter or jaded, just so happy to have the ability to grasp at that rare opportunity.

I often think about how I should be focused on “being” more grateful, honest, hard working, healthier, etc.  I don’t know if it is necessarily about being those things, or more about taking the time to think about those things.  If I train my mind to be more grateful, honest and hardworking… the “being” just happens.

Chicken?  Egg? 

Feeling a little more grateful already :)