A Good Dose of Reality….and sarcasm….lots of sarcasm

reality

Every year a friend of mine and a team of other women put together an online store to raise funds for a needy family.  They ask for and receive donations of crafts, baking, gifts, candles, gift certificates and jewelry and then sell them through a private on-line “store”.  It is a great way to get into the spirit of the season and give back to some people who really need it.  People who are struggling financially and perhaps emotionally.

This year we are the needy family.  I would like to take a few minutes to tell you why we are struggling.  Here goes.

In August my husband and I made the decision to cancel our planned two-week Christmas vacation in Hawaii.  His work contract would be ending in December and while we had no reason to think he wouldn’t get another contract, we both felt it was the financially responsible thing to do.  Still, it was a dark day when I emailed the agent and told her to cancel our condo reservations and the flights we had booked on points.  I was the one who had to tell the kids that despite just spending three weeks in Southern California we would not be flying to Maui in December.  They were real troopers.

It’s been almost eighteen months since I quit my job.  It did take me a few months to get used to being at home during the day while our daughter was at school, but I think I adjusted well.  Yoga had never really been my thing but I learnt to embrace it as it helped stretch out the muscles I was now stressing on longer daily runs in the woods with my friends.  Now that my husband isn’t traveling as much there really isn’t any reason for me not to return to work.  I’m going to have to adjust my running schedule and won’t be able to help out at school hot lunch days but I know it needs to be done.  My yoga instructor will miss me, but I’m sure with some serious meditation she will be okay.

Public transit may well become a part of our future.  One of our SUVs has decided that it is tired and after fifteen years it has become…..temperamental.  So that leaves us with just the one truck.  My husband has been great about walking the half mile up to Starbucks in the mornings to get his morning mocha and we have been able to coordinate our schedules so that when he needs to get to the gym I can go with him and get the shopping done.  Fortunately Whole Food is only a few block away.  We have been researching bus route on our iPads and we think we can make it work.  Have you ever looked at a bus schedule though?  Super confusing.

Earlier this summer we had the kids bathroom renovated.  It had been stuck in the eighties and was looking a little um…..yellow.  A friend of ours helped out with the design and after a month or so my vision became reality.  But now the other two bathrooms in our house look a little shabby.  I’ve been forced to take my bath in their bathroom as the tub is deeper and well, the floor is heated.  Our bathroom does not have radiant heating.  Or a toilet seat that closes itself.  Or drawers that hold plush towels.  It’s sad really.  Doesn’t everyone deserve a nice bathroom?

So there you have it.  It’s been a rough couple of months but we are staying strong and hoping that with a little help we will see a light at the end of the tunnel.  Or maybe a Hawaiian sunset.

The Best Thing in Life is a good dose of reality.

Giving New Years a Pass

I’m not particularly looking forward to 2015. Not because of anything in particular, but because 2014 was such a great year. How can I improve on it? Can’t I just opt out of a New Year? Continue on with the one that is working so well for me? I don’t want to make any resolutions because life is good and it would appear that what I am doing already, is working. I am happier now than I have been in a long time. I am relaxed and feel good with who I am, where I’ve been and were I am going. I don’t know if I want a New Year?

The year started in Hawaii. All four of us spent two weeks enjoying all that Maui has to offer. Beautiful quiet days at the beach, snorkeling with serene sea turtles, fish tacos and cold beer for lunch and relaxed dinners on the patio. Really, it was an amazing vacation.  I had a chance to paddle board with my 18 year old son for two hours one day. Two hours of uninterrupted time to talk about life, work and the future. No cell phones allowed. For all of you with teenagers. you know that this doesn’t happen very often and is precious time.  The fact that we still had enough in common to talk about made me realize that I have raised a thoughtful, mature man.  (Holy crap, my son is a man)

Two weeks away was also a good chance for me to think through my options when it came to work. Life was getting crazy with my husband away so much and me not enjoying my job. On a warm sunny beach the decision seemed quite clear. Work? Whatever. But when we got home and life got back to normal, the decision wasn’t quite so obvious. I spent an entire weekend in early January changing my mind every half an hour. Work. Quit. Work. Quit. Thank god my husband is as patient as he is. So many reasons to continue and so many reasons to pack it in. Ultimately I decide to stop working at the end of February.

I thought that once I had decided to quit work I would immediately feel a sense of relief. Nope. Panick, guilt, stress. It took a good six months before it would really sink in that I had made the right decision and that everyone in my family was in a better place because of it. I do still feel some guilt. Usually it’s when I’m on the phone with my husband and he is telling me about how he has a meeting in one city, then is flying to another city for a site tour and then back the same day for more meetings and then working late to keep up with the work he didn’t do because he was in meetings all day. “Okay then, bye I’ve got to get to yoga” I say. Guilt. At least yoga is teaching me to be grateful for everything in my life.

So March 1st rolled around and eventually so did this blog. In hind site I went out of the gate a bit fast. I wrote A LOT in those first two or three months. Loved it, but perhaps could have saved some pieces for a later date. The world of online blogging is quite fascinating and I have learnt a lot from other bloggers and writers. When I tell people that I have a blog I get lots of different reactions. Some are interested and some sort of dismiss it as if to say “ya, you and every other person with nothing better to do”. There is some truth to that I suppose. For me it has been an outlet for the small speck of creativity in my brain that has been waiting years to come out. I’m not a “writer”, I’m not trying to change the world and I’m not trying to sell people on anything. I’m just enjoying my life and my friends and passing on the experience.

I think in my head I was hoping that not working would change how I felt, not only emotionally, but physically. I was dead wrong. In May I found myself feeling worse physically than I had in years. Tired, achy, fuzzy, bad skin. I could name a couple of others but, well, I’m not going to as nobody needs that much information. A complete overhaul of how I ate was, as far as I could see, my only option. Hardest thing I have ever done. Almost six weeks of no sugar. With a road race smack dab in the middle I needed to get off track a bit and then back on track half way through my detox, but I did it and am so glad I did. It’s not for everybody and anybody who does it should approach it in their own unique way. By the time I turned fifty in October I could finally say “I feel good inside” and truly mean it.

So here I am on January 3rd filling in the 2015 calendar and reminiscing about last year. It was a year of change and realization for me. I am comfortable in my slightly older skin, although I could do without a few of the new grey hairs. I feel a sense of contentment in my life that is new for me. I started Tweeting every day in November to recognize some small thing each day that I feel is one of The Best Things in Life. Give or take a few days, I have kept up with it. Totally not something I would have seen myself doing a few years ago, but isn’t that what life is about? At any age? Being able to make changes and start new things that bring happiness into your life? Maybe I won’t pass on New Years after all