Another Year Older?

It was 33 years ago today that I was born.  And 32 birthdays have come and gone and I’ve realized that while maybe I didn’t appreciate them all, I certainly do now.  Maybe I was a skeptic from the very beginning…

Is it really necessary to celebrate every birthday with cake and presents and lots of people?  Or is it better just to enjoy the day like it is any other and not think about being a year older?  If you have kids of your own, it might be easier to see why celebrating a birthday is special.  If you don’t, I think I can give you a few reasons.  I look at my kids and think how grateful I am to have them.  Their birthdays mean the world to me because it’s another year gone by that I have gotten to spend watching them learn more, do more, live more.

For me, it’s also a reason for our family to get together and see each other.  Our large family means we see each other at least once a month to celebrate a birthday.  If it wasn’t for birthdays, I don’t know that we would get together more often than just holidays.  I credit a large part of my happiness to the fact that I have a close family and I try to keep it that way.

Most importantly, it’s another year gone by that you’ve gained a little wisdom (hopefully), a little experience, and maybe something great has happened.  Maybe looking back on the past times in your life will inspire you to do something new in the next year.  Your birthday doesn’t have to be just another number.  It should be about you, your life from birth…

through childhood…

through adulthood.  We all experience good and bad things, but if we can take the lessons we learn and move on, we can consider ourselves successful in life.  You shouldn’t try to measure your happiness on a number or what job you hold.  We can’t turn back the clock to relive the ease of being ten years old, or the fun of being 21 again.  Finding the joy in your birthday is looking back fondly on what you did, but being able to look forward to what is to come. 


If Only He Knew

As school approaches and I ready my son for fifth grade, I think back to what life was like when I was in fifth grade.  The social realm really started to open up that year.  Liking boys and walking to the local Burger King with friends were top priority.  Cliques started to develop.  What you wore and how you looked started to be much more important than it ever had before.

I look my son and think, if only I could tell him.  His sweet, kind demeanor may be in for a shock this year.  I have already noticed the difference in the friends he hangs out with in the neighborhood.  We recently moved to a new home in January and he still feels a bit conflicted about which kids he wants to call friends.  It seems to me that he expects his “friends” to never say a bad word and be constantly knocking on the door for him to come out and play.  But, it doesn’t work that way, I tell him.

Sometimes they will say things to be hurtful.  Other days, you’ll be picked first to be on their football team.  I try to explain that so many friends will come and go over the years.  The best you can do is enjoy the fun and try not to take too much to heart.  Having a conversation with a 10 year old requires a short delivery if you want their full attention.  If only I could tell him all the great things I look back on now, and that I’ve forgotten the bad things. 

If only he knew all the things that I know now.  But then how would he ever learn it for himself?

Just Breathe…

Today is one of those days where my mind is all over the place.  I took my son to get new glasses at the eye doctor this morning.  Dropped a wad of cash there because eyeglasses are not cheap.  Then came home thinking I need to check my bank account, write in my blog, clean up the dishes, decide what to make for dinner and oh, I want to start a new book.  And I can’t forget that tonight is the night my son has his weekly guitar lesson and while he’s there I will dash over to Target to pick up anything I need in a half hour or less.  So, while thinking of all these things, I’m letting the dog out and the neighbor’s german shepherd jumps the fence…again…and proceeds to chase my dog around while she’s trying to pee.  Really?  Again?  I get annoyed when the kids knock on the door when I’m in the bathroom, but this is crossing some sort of private time rule here.  Besides the fact that she has to go outside to begin with.  Then my dog is inside barking like a maniac while I’m trying to shoo the other one back to her yard, but instead she’s trying to mark her territory in every corner of my yard.  Did I mention my 3 year old is trying to take a nap?

Anyway, I digress, of course, because my mind is being pulled in a million different directions and I can’t stay focused on one little thing long enough to complete a thought and what I really need to do is…just breathe.  I just need to be still for a minute and take a few deep breaths.  Aaah.  It’s amazing what the simple act of concentrated breathing can do for you.  The minute stress is starting to weigh heavy, my muscles tighten, my breath becomes short and shallow and I can actually feel my blood pressure rising.  But, when I just take a minute to breathe a few lasting, deep breaths, I can feel it start to melt away.  My focus comes back and I can tackle one issue at a time.  The worry that is building a wall, brick by brick, is slowly being taken down.  The world is not ending.  I close my eyes and picture a comforting place to be.  The beach always works.  The ebb and flow of the waves soothes my mind.  I picture a cool breeze brushing across my cheek as I dig my toes into the sand.


Taking just a few moments to stop and breathe deeply can reset how your brain is reacting to stress.  Stressful situations are everywhere.  When the kids are running around the house, work is piling up on your desk, or you are stuck in traffic, you feel like it’s going to ruin your whole day.  Take a few deep breathes.  Rationalize the situation.  It’s not the end of the world.  The kids are having fun, the work will eventually get done and you will ultimately get to where you are going.  There are things in life you can’t control, but you can control yourself.  If you do not enjoy feeling like tearing your hair out, then maybe you should try this. 

Just don’t go to your happy place when you are in traffic.  Eyes on the road, please!  

Fish…It should be “What’s for dinner”

So far, my posts have been written on days when I’m feeling philosophical and reflective on the lessons of my life.  Never do I feel motivated to start typing when I’m annoyed, frustrated or in any sort of sour mood.  Let’s turn the tables today, shall we?  It might be interesting.

I will be the first to admit that I can be selfish.  I don’t like to share food that I love.  I have the general say on how the house is decorated and I decorate it the way I want it.  I make probably 99% of the rules of the house.  However, I buy my kids things they want, even when I’m broke.  I clean the house, do the dishes, take care of the laundry, all without a complaint.  When the cat or dog makes a mess on a rug, who cleans it up?  Me.  Diapers need to be changed?  Me.  You need to take in food for a party at work?  I’ll make it.  Fine.  Great.  No problem. 

However, today, something as simple as my husband buying fish made me completely irritated.  Let’s start by saying, I only like fish on a plate.  To me, a fish cannot be played with.  It does not greet you at the door showing you how much it missed you.  It does not curl up next to you knowing that you’ve had a bad day.  Sure, they are lovely in the doctor’s office waiting room.  Beautiful at the pet shop.  I just don’t want a tank of them living in my house.  I made my case clear to my husband.  I do not want fish.  I won’t touch them and I won’t take care of them.  They are completely your responsibility.  After setting up the tank and putting the fish in, he proceeded to explain how I should help my daughter feed them.  No, no…I’m pretty sure you heard me the first five times.  Those are YOUR fish. 

Do you know what fish mean to me?  Another fire hazard full of wires plugged into a power strip.  Another energy sucking increase on the electric bill.  Another wallet draining resource.  And most importantly, surely a quick way to teach my children about the death of pets.  All in all, a waste of the few pennies I have.  Let’s remember, folks, I’m unemployed. 

Here’s my dilemma…is it really as bad as I think?  Will the kids still care about them next month?  Next week even?  Am I overreacting and this is a wonderful pet to have in the house?  Please, someone convince me.  All I see is another way to spend money that I don’t have.

All’s Fair in Love and Exes

It may be that my iPod hit too many Alanis Morrisette songs the other day, or maybe it was one of those mushy quotes that I read on Twitter.  Either way, I thought it would be theraputic to let go of some old ex-boyfriend baggage and look for the lessons I’ve learned from them.  In my journey of making my life right, I’ve continually reaffirmed my happiness by counting my blessings.  So, I decided the ill wills that may have laid dormant in the back of my mind needed to be cleaned out.  The more I pondered it, the more I realized each one held some valuable lessons whether it was a good or bad relationship.  In order to protect the innocent, and guilty, I’ll simply number them in chronological order with just a first initial.  No names will be shared…lucky for them.

#1-J:  Dating should be fun

Being friends after a break up is possible

Never “re-date” after a break up

#2-S:  Don’t stay in a relationship just to have a relationship

Know when you are done and end it

Being respectful of someone’s family counts

#3-J:  Listen to your instincts

Consider your friends’ advice

Friends who care will show it when it counts

#4-J:  Communication is key

Anger is not worth holding on to

Two wrongs don’t make a right

Be yourself

#5-M:  Know who you are

Stand up for yourself

An argument is okay, a fight is not

Music can be a therapist

Spirituality can be healing

You deserve better than you think

#6-R:  Some people deserve better than you

Don’t be suspicious of being treated well

Learn to recognize when someone genuinely cares

Trust is precious

Never say never (see boyfriend #1)

#7-M:  Soulmates exist

Timing is everything

Fight for what you want

Broken hearts will eventually mend (even if it takes years)

#8-T:  Fun doesn’t equal serious relationship

Figure out what you want from the other person and TELL THEM

Never return to bad habits

#9-M:  Trust is necessary

Even though you might grow up, it doesn’t mean they will

Have faith in yourself and your strength

Children change everything

No one ever said dating was easy.  I never assumed it.  I just never thought that the day I got married would be the day I could shake off all those old feelings and pack them away.  We are approaching our fifth anniversary in October and I’m glad that I have finally realized that the lessons I have learned from the past have guided me into a truly happy marriage.  I wouldn’t trade any of the heartache I experienced because it made me who I am today.


I Hate Exercise

It’s true.  I totally hate exercising.  It’s exhausting.  It makes my body hurt.  After I’m done, I have to sit down for 20 minutes to let the endorphins settle.  I can’t even eat afterwards or else I’ll feel sick.  Yet, I just keep doing it…

In one of my earlier posts, I mentioned how I had some health issues in the beginning of the year.  Well, as part of making “my life right”, this is something I needed to work on.  Sometime around March, I decided to take back my health and start exercising and being more careful of how I eat.  Ever since, I have been working out at least 5 times a week.  I started with a nice easy yoga workout that I found on my cable on demand menu.  When I started to feel like my muscles were holding up, I added a Jillian Michaels workout once or twice a week.  I try to fit in a bike ride or a walk whenever I can.  Additionally, I make more trips up and down the stairs on purpose for an extra benefit. 

With no particular weight goal in mind, I started losing the pounds that have still lingered three years after having my daughter.  Twenty pounds later, I’m feeling healthier and stronger.  Most days I have more energy, but on the days that I don’t, I don’t feel so bad about being lazy because I work so hard the rest of the week. 

So, what’s the point, you ask.  If I can do it, anyone can do it.  I despise turning on the TV and working out.  I dread having the sore muscles and losing a half hour of my day so that I can collapse in a heap of sweat.  I finally found workouts that I can tolerate.  My body is under my control again.  The pounds have started disappearing and I feel better about my health and about the way I look.  More confidence = feeling even better.  And because of the daily endorphin rush, I’m happier.  Happier even though I’m doing something that I don’t want to do.  Weird, right?

This month, I’m adding Tae Bo workouts….look out!