Welcome!Hey there! I'm Holly. A 40+ year old insurance-nerd wife, mom, beauty lover, and about a million other things in between. This is the place where I share about our lives, what I'm currently loving, books I'm reading, plus-size style, beauty recommendations, health + fitness endeavors and anything else I'm finding interesting at the moment. Thanks for stopping by!
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Category Archives: Everyday Life
Happy February! And for us, Happy Whole 30!
We did watch the Super Bowl on Sunday but I’ll get to that in a minute. Let’s rewind back to Friday, shall we? I don’t know about you but when I was young Friday night was my favorite night of the week. I was always excited because it was a fun night to go out and it was the start of the weekend.
These days on Friday nights I usually work out, head home, cook dinner and then all I can think about is how comfy my couch is! Garrett sent my mom this photo on Friday night around 9pm and just captioned it #MyFridayNight — Clearly Buster and I are PARTY ANIMALS!
Saturday I was up bright and early to hit up a 7 am spin class and to get all my errands done. I’ve had “Wash Car” on my To Do List for weeks but I just hadn’t gotten it done so on Saturday I was determined. I ran around most of the afternoon grocery shopping and doing other random things so when I got home I decided I would take advantage of a decadent Saturday afternoon and get in bed and read. Buster and I accidentally ended up taking naps though. NO REGRETS!
Buster and I love sleep like Buddy the Elf loves smiling
Saturday night we had an official date night. My friend Sarah was performing at her graduation from an improv class she’s been taking. How bad ass is that? She is quick witted and completely hysterical, so improv totally suits her.
Sarah explaining how she’d been thrown into Mall Jail for being 31 but shopping at Forever 21. Funny friends are the best friends, I tell ya!
Afterward we headed down the street to a very hipester-y joint called LowBrau for dinner where I had to order one of the things they are famous for — the Dirty Duck Fries. They are epic. And why not wash them down with some mini-corn dogs?
#EatDirty #DirtyEats #WaitWhenIsMyWhole30
Sunday was another early morning Spin class. Garrett + I have been enjoying weekend spin classes at a studio that is literally 5 minutes from our house. It’s just kind of a fun way to wake up on the weekends and sneak in a quick calorie burner. Which, ya know, comes in handy on Super Bowl Sunday. 🙂 Did you guys watch?
We were rooting for the Patriots mostly because we are 49ers fans which means we absolutely COULD NOT root for the Seahawks – sorry Seattle friends! The other thing tipping the scales in the Patriots’ favor is Gronk.
But aside from the game I was also interested in the halftime show and the commercials (duh!) Watching Katy Perry made me realize how limited your performance options are if you are a pop star who can’t dance. That must be kind of hard. But bringing Missy Elliot back was the highlight of the show I thought. She’s my fave! (This BuzzFeed post about her made me laugh.)
As for the commercials, I thought they were mostly fun. I was really excited to see the Nationwide commercials (since that’s my company) but haaaaaaaaaaaaaaa! I guess they are really testing out the theory that there is no bad press. I’m interested to see what work is like today. 🙂
How were your weekends? Do anything fun? How did you feel about the Super Bowl/Halftime show/Commercials? Do tell….
*We’re doing a February Whole 30. I know I told you that in the title, but you know — I thought I’d just reiterate for clarity. 🙂
*Well, a Whole 30+. We are going to start in February and go until March 9. What is March 9, you ask? Our engagement photos. And the second we set the date Garrett was like “Hey, let’s Whole 30!” ha! He says he feels chubby. He is NOT chubby.
*Upside though, is I like the idea of feeling bright eyed and being clear skinned in those photos and all, so I agreed. Knowing my luck I’ll still wake up the day of with a giant, visible blemish.
*Sidebar: Do you think there is a wedding planning gene? If so, mine clearly has a mutation. My mom said to me the other day that this wedding I am planning almost seemed like a second job. And YES, MOTHER YOU ARE CORRECT! It totally is! Except instead of getting paid I get to PAY OTHER PEOPLE. #grumble
*So, I know there are people out there who use Whole 30 as a diet (ahem, Garrett – YOU’RE BUSTED!) which is all controversial and stuff, but I promise you I am not doing that. What I am making no secret of doing though, is using the Whole 30 as a budgeting tool. We always spend SO MUCH LESS on groceries when we do a Whole 30 and since groceries are one of our biggest expenses it’s always something that shows a noticeable return. After making deposits on all sorts of wedding related crap and a MUCHO EXPENSIVO trip to the vet with Buster, February seemed like a GREAT time to just Whole 30 that shit up! YAY. More money to spend on a wedding! #grumblegrumble
*Tangentially related: I’m thinking about jumping on the What I Ate Wednesday bandwagon. I actually don’t think it is a bandwagon at all, but you know what I mean — sharing some everyday photos of what I’ve been eating. I like the idea for accountability (this is where people who don’t blog are like — YOU TAKE PICTURES OF YOUR FOOD? whut? WHY?) But also to inspire a little creativity in the kitchen.
*Oh! Oh! And this is my other reason for doing a Whole 30 — I find when I have parameters to work within, I am SO MUCH MORE creative. This makes me sound RULL SQUARE. But alas, it is true! Right now I’m in a bit of a cooking rut. We’re having good meals, but I’m not like, excited or jazzed about too many of them. It’s just kind of the Greatest Hits on repeat. I am someone who likes cooking to be a creative outlet and usually when I do a Whole 30 I get jazz-hands-obnoxious about recipes and trying new things. Also there’s the added bonus that about 15 days in even super boring/plain food tastes AMAZEBALLS (yeah, I just used that word) because my taste buds are back to normal.
*But let’s be honest, some weeks it is hard enough for me to even just get here and post bullet pointed lists of my thoughts. So to remember to be creative in the kitchen, take pictures and post them once a week may be a tad ambitious. We shall see.
Anyone else doing a February Whole 30?
*Well I have joined the rest of popular culture and begun playing Trivia Crack. And just like that — there goes many potentially productive hours of my life because holy hell, that is F-U-N! (P.S. Come find me – Let’s Play!)
*What are we all watching on Netflix lately? I have an entire Sunday ahead of me with not a thing to do. I think I may stay in my PJs all day and watch movies (not sure if I can commit to starting a new TV show.) Any suggestions?
*We hired a wedding photographer! I’m so excited. We’re totally going to be those obnoxious people who take engagement photos with their dog. The more vendors we nail down the more I feel like this party is actually going to happen. Now, onto a caterer.
*We have also purchased ALL THE BOOZE from Costco in the recent past, so we are on point for having a good wedding bar, ha! They have had some amazing post-holiday markdowns lately and we’ve just kept pouncing.
*Buster’s cuddle quotient is so high in the winter. It’s like all he wants to do is lay all over Garrett and I and I’ll tell you what I am not complaining.
*If you’ve been reading for any length of time you know that I always cut my hair (because I like the way it looks short) and then complain incessantly because I can’t put it up into a ponytail when I work out. Short hair for me is awesome, yet un-functional. So I’m in a non-snipping phase lately and the other day I pulled my hair up into a ponytail and the ponytail itself measured 6.5 inches. (Yes I did make Garrett pull out a tape measure. It was a totally useful way to spend time. ha) This blows my mind for some reason.
*We’re going to a “Roaring 20s” Crab Feed this weekend so I think I may have to resurrect my 50 Cent Flapper costume. Man that turned out to be useful Amazon purchase. Who knew?
Any fun plans for YOU this weekend?
Happy “Baby Friday” Y’all!
Tamara tagged me in a meme (how awesomely retro….YES!!!!!) so I’m going to answer some questions and then tag all of you who want to do this. See? It’ll be like 1997 up in here.
1. What is my current health related goal?
Managing my stress levels. Last night Garrett and I made a wedding related decision right as we were getting into bed and then I lied awake for two hours listening the the hamster wheel in my brain. That was dumb and today I am tired. I need to be proactive about how I manage some of the stressors in my life right now and in doing that I will positively impact my health.
2. What is my biggest irrational fear?
Dropping my keys into a drainage grate. If I have to walk in even a three foot radius of any kind of parking lot drainage grate and I have keys in my hands I always have THE DEATH GRIP on them. I’m so afraid that it will magnetically suck them out of my hand into some evil Pennywise vortex and I will be stranded at Target or something.
The fear is REAL, yo.
3. Do I enjoy wrapping presents?
No. And it’s not because I don’t enjoy wrapping paper, or bows, or fancy looking gifts or anything. It’s more that once I decide on a gift for someone and then actually have it in my possession, I just want to give it to them RIGHT THIS INSTANT. I cannot keep a secret and my impulse control is low, so if you get a present from me and it is wrapped, know that it took all the fight I could muster to not just throw it in your lap the second I bought it.
4. What is my favorite cross-training activity?
I like all training, whether it is grumpy, happy, sleepy OR cross.
5. If you came to visit me, what would we do?
Well I live in Sacramento where our city motto is “An hour from the ocean, and hour from the mountains” so I guess it would depend on what you like to do. If I had my way we’d indulge in the motto that *I’ve* given Sacramento which is “An hour from Napa, so let’s go have some wine and then come home and watch Netflix on the couch.”
I think we’d have fun though. 🙂
6. I have two weeks off work and two round trip tickets to anywhere. Where would I go and who would I take with me?
On someone else’s dime? Hmmm…I think Garrett and I would hop on a plane to New Zealand. Or else maybe go to Monaco during the Formula One race. But then I would have to figure out a way to hook up with someone who has yacht. Or a hotel room with a good view. So maybe New Zealand then, just because the only thing that keeps us from doing that is because plane tickets are so freaking expensive. Ok, I am analyzing this question too much.
7. What’s the most embarrassing thing to happen to me during a run or a race?
I mean, have you seen me “run?” It’s all sort of embarrassing.
8. Three best days of my life. Or at least the top three that come to mind.
Yesterday, because it taught me something. Today, because I woke up and got to try again. And tomorrow because it’s full of opportunity. Awwwwwww yeah, I just got super philosophy-douche on that one, didn’t I? I don’t know, I’m not really a “THIS WAS THE GREATEST DAY OF MY LIFE” kind of person.
9. Okay, so I HAVE to eat a fast food meal. Which restaurant do I choose and what do I order?
Taco Bell. No question. And it doesn’t matter what I order because it will surely be full of fake meat and be totally disgusting-licious. No shame.
10. Have I ever met a celebrity?
Many. I lived in LA for 5 years. They’re on every street corner just like Starbucks. Hey, most of them I met in Starbucks. Well, “met” is sort of a weird word to use here. If we’re really talking about meeting celebrities this is the best story I’ve got. (That’s an old blog post, PS, and I drop a lot of F-Bombs in it. Apologies in advance for the fact that I don’t feel like editing it.)
11. Share a picture of myself in non-workout clothes.
I post Outfit of the Day pictures on Instagram sometimes. You can follow me there if you are into that business.
12. If I could choose to have a “do over” and switch careers, what would I choose and why?
Are you saying insurance isn’t a sexy “first choice” type of career. WELL THAT’S WEIRD. I don’t know, my secret fantasy has always been to work in the fitness industry because who wouldn’t want to get paid to stay in shape and inspire others to do the same? But alas, I am still working on my fitness (Fergie Style, of course) so people aren’t really throwing money at me to do that. Really anything entrepreneurial appeals to me. But not in that creepy Jim Bellino kind of way.
13. If I won and Olympic gold medal how would I react?
By making out with Ryan Lochte in Olympic Village, obviously.
Juuuuuust kidding. By ugly crying, obviously. I am a reasonable person with reasonable emotions.
14. What do I want for Christmas?
A post-wedding vacation on a beach somewhere. I think I can make that happen.
15. What skill do I lack?
The ability to put up with bullshit without showing my disdain for it all over my face. My poker face is terrible, basically.
Ok, so who else wants to do this? Leave me a link if you do!
While it is very easy to come to the end of the year and think about all those resolutions that you many not have stuck to, I think it’s more fun to look back and reflect on all of the awesomeness the year brought.
2014 was a tough year for me, but there were moments that were completely fist-bump-worthy. So let’s talk about those…mmmkay?
January started off with the Nom Nom Paleo book release party down in San Francisco. Michelle and Henry sure do know how to throw a great party. The details and the extra touches were so on point! Not to mention that the cookbook itself was GORGEOUS!
We had such a fun time with everyone we hung out with, but man does time fly! I can’t believe it’s already been a year. YEESH!
I also talked in detail about my updated skincare routine (a lot of which I still use) and we started watching Veronica Mars in hopes that it would replace the gaping hole that Dawson’s Creek had left after watching the final episode. (Spoiler Alert: it did not. Garrett LOVED VMars, I thought it was good, but not addicting.)
Then it was on to February, and the most notable thing here was that I became the kind of person who writes Valentine’s cards to their spouse FROM THE DOG. (WHUT?)
But let’s be real…Garrett didn’t mind. That dog has his heart like nothing else! <3
In March I discovered what would become my most favorite breakfast this year:
The lazy woman’s version of Fed and Fit’s Breakfast Salad. YUM! I must have had this a million times this year and it’s still THE BOMB! Sadly, I would give up the coffee part a few months later, but the salad is for sure here to stay.
The weather in April was unseasonably warm and dry and while the State of California would be reasonably worried about a drought, I couldn’t help but enjoy the blue skies all spring long.
In May we took a huge step in pet ownership (helicopter dog parent alert!) and took Buster to be professionally groomed. We had been sort of nervous previously to just drop him off with a stranger and a pair of clippers, but after he came home looking so ding-dang cute, we kept it up all year long.
Speaking of grooming, I may have also outed my lip product addiction in May.
It’s the first step, y’all. It’s the first step. 🙂
All those things were great, but let’s be honest. The thing that will forever be etched in my mind about May of 2014:
I’m forever in debt to my cousin Gina for capturing this whole thing going down. Man, it almost brings tears to my eyes seeing this. I’m so happy to have these shots forever.
I must say “Oh, Tuna!” out loud at least once a week. Don’t judge.
July meant it was time for my mom and I to take our first road trip together!
I can not underscore enough how special that was. Just two crazy ladies and the open road. Man we had a killer weekend.
In August we spent a ton of time with friends, which was so great! We hit up a Roaring 20s themed party which required a costume and both Garrett and I ordered super cheapy things off Amazon two days before the event. Saved by Amazon Prime, once again! 🙂
The feeling of smugness that comes with drinking a giant glass of vegetables came free with purchase. 🙂
Thank god we are all but REQUIRED to hire a professional for the wedding.
Speaking of weddings, we went to 3 weddings in October. WHAT??? I know. At one of the weddings the Best Man busted out this amazing prom photo from 15 years ago because all of the boys in this photo were in attendance. All us ladies had a SERIOUS laugh!
Such a gem.
November was full of lots of lovely family moments, but it was also filled with potty humor after I bought this for our bathroom:
And I guess that’s probably as good of a place as any to end this year in review. 🙂
I don’t want to sugar coat it — I will be happy to see this year go. In between all of this good stuff there were so many crazy uphill battles. But the important part, at the end of the year, is to look back and see all of those battles fading off into the distance while these joyous moments are staring right at me in full color.
See ya around, 2014.
On to whatever is next.
I sent out Christmas cards a few weeks ago from Garrett and I (SCORE! FINALLY!) and at the last minute I decided to include a link to this website because I thought for friends and family far away it might be fun to be check in once in a while to see how our little family is doing outside of a once a year greeting card.
It seemed like a good idea at the time but then I was making my list of people to give them to I kept coming across a weird subsection of people that I just didn’t feel like advertising this space too: “My boss? Yeaaaaah, hmmm…probably not.” Not that I say anything crazy offensive here, but you know what I mean, right? RIGHT. Anyway, eventually they all got out the door and I didn’t really think another thing of it.
But then I realized that for a few days the leading story on this site was about my ER trip and I wanted to send out a mass email that said: FAMILY AND FRIENDS I DON’T NORMALLY TALK ABOUT MY OVARIES HERE! SWEARSIES! But instead I mostly just patted myself on the back again for having the forethought not to send that particular card to my boss. 🙂
I can’t believe tomorrow is Christmas!As such, I’m going to utter the most repeated phrase of the last few weeks: Where the heck has this year gone? 2014 and I had a complicated relationship. There were so, so many highs! But sometimes when the highs get higher, the lows feel lower, you know? Complex seems like the best word to use as I look back in reflection.
The next couple of days are going to fly by in a whirlwind of friends and family and I plan to take time to just savor those interactions and marinate a little bit about what I want 2015 to look like. The last two years have been a real challenge for me, and I feel confident and excited about what’s to come.
I’ve spent the last 6 months of this year a little bit quieter than usual here because I have allowed the noise in my head and in my life to dominate. I have had some wonderfully enlightening experiences this year. I have had some great success. I have failed spectacularly — epically, even. Overall, I have learned some good lessons.
There is so much good stuff on the horizon I can’t help but feel energized and excited to see it unfold. For those of you who have stuck around here during this tough couple of years: Thank you. You have given me perspective, support, advice, and most importantly your comments and encouragement have made me laugh hysterically and feel like the world is just the tiniest bit smaller and less overwhelming.
Happiest of holidays to you and your families. I hope I can return the favor in 2015!
Holly, Garrett + Buster
PS – Before the end of the year I’m going to try and do some annual recapping and then I will DEFINITELY be posting some goals for 2015. I’ve been a little lax about them the last couple of years and I miss it – so if you are into that sort of thing: it’s coming!
So that last post was kind of a downer — week from hell, YUCK! But November didn’t end with all doom and gloom I promise, it was just that one week. Once I got to my mom’s, was on vacation from work, and spent some time with family things started looking right up!
Hanging with my mom for a few days while Garrett was out of town meant a lot of relaxing, a lot of giggling, A LOT of online shopping (Black Friday — OOF! But as you might know, my mom is a professional shopping enabler) and a lot of terrible tv watching.
We both really love indulging in bad reality tv and doing it together? EVEN BETTER! 🙂 The time I spent out at her house made me officially addicted to Kim of Queens. OMG, do you watch this? It’s so bad it’s good and it may be my new obsession!
We didn’t spend ALL our time inside watching terrible reality tv though, I promise. We took Buster on lots of walks and really enjoyed all of the fall foliage. I know it’s cliche, but honestly this totally *is* the most wonderful time of year – especially here in California.
It’s brisk outside, you definitely want to have on a jacket or perhaps a scarf, but it is still really pleasant to be outside. My mom lives around a golf course and lots of people were outside and there was relaxing energy out there. I really really enjoyed myself, and of course so did Buster.
(He gets to sleep in a King Sized bed at Grandma’s and boy does he take up every possible inch!)
We spent Thanksgiving with my aunt and uncle and although it was small (and I definitely missed my grandma) we had a really delicious meal: Turkey, my uncle’s famous stuffing (OMG, I dream about it all year long), sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, brussels sprouts with bacon, and this year we made this heavily pinned autumn chopped salad.
Seriously: GO MAKE THAT SALAD.
For Thanksgiving we skipped the bacon (WHAT?) since we were having bacon in our brussels sprouts and it was amazing! Last night I made it for Garrett because it was so dang good and he had missed it at Thanksgiving. I skipped the bacon again because this time I served with sliced pork belly on top. It was like a 20 minute meal and so incredibly BOMB! I really enjoy the pork belly from Trader Joe’s. It’s affordable, convenient (and most importantly) HELLA DELISH. 🙂
Anyway, good stuff happened and I felt like it was worth sharing. What did your Thanksgiving menu look like?
Well I did mostly ok on my Nablopomo-esque blogging until about mid month. I hit our anniversary on November 17th and then that was about it.
Our anniversary fell on the Monday of what I would basically call Hell Week. (How celebratory! HA) It happened the week before Thanksgiving, and boy am I grateful for that anniversary and the tasty shrimp dinner we had (recipe coming soon!) because it was nice to have that mellow night together because come Tuesday the week went downhill real quick.
Tuesday of Hell Week: Both Garrett and I had Big! Important! Work! Things! that were going to be happening on Wednesday morning so Tuesday was sort of a wash of preparation, and nervously encouraging each other from opposite ends of the couch. Garrett had an interview the following day for a big promotion and I had a 10 minute presentation that was a culminating project for a year long Leadership Development program that I was selected to participate in at work.
Both important things.
Both happening on the same day.
AT THE EXACT SAME TIME.
Oh man, it was so poorly timed it was almost kind of funny. ALMOST.
Also: that Tuesday we had a little snafu finalizing our contract for our wedding venue. We had expected to have a full bar and the contract read beer and wine only and for a second it was almost a deal breaker. NOT STRESSFUL AT ALL. YEESH!
In the end we ended up pleading our case (I think the fact that we are old people who work in insurance and finance helped. Yes, we’d like to throw a party with scotch, but NO, we don’t plan to be serving shots at the bar) so it all worked out.
It was an inopportune night for all of that to go down, let me tell ya! But in the end, we have a wedding venue! (I’ve been hunting online for photographers who have shot at this location and this was a fun one if you want to get an idea of where we’re getting hitched.)
Wednesday of Hell Week: I was up at 3:30am because: HEY-O ANXIETY. I’m not a good sleeper when I’m nervous, so I thought hey, why not design a Christmas Card and check something off that has been on your list of annual goals FOR-LIKE-EVER, and actually send some them out this year. (CHECK!)
It seemed like a reasonable thing to do at the time. 🙂
Garrett slept in a little longer (he is actually a hibernating bear when he is anxious which makes me so, so jealous!) and as we got ready in the morning it was like you could cut the anxiety tension with a knife. Both of us just kept looking at each other like “Hey” :::shallow breathing::: “You’re going to do great” :::weak, half smile::: It was so sad and funny. I think we really realized how much we count on each other for moral support during tough times because we were both nervous nellies and could hardly muster the energy to support each other when usually one of us is doing cheerleader style pep talks. It was a weird morning.
But in the end, my speech? Went off without a hitch. And Garrett’s interview? Well HE GOT THE JOB. Woooo Hooo (But we didn’t know that until 10 days later.) Wednesday night neither of us wanted to cook so we grabbed some takeout and came home to spend some quality time with the pooch since you can imagine we weren’t as cuddly as usual with all that stuff going on. Oh, and also — Garrett had to pack.
Yep, the following day Garrett was hopping on a plane to go see his parents in New Mexico for TEN DAYS. After such a crazy week it felt like craptacular timing! We were just about to have time to exhale and pay attention to each other, but instead…
Thursday of Hell Week: We woke up at 3:45am because Garrett’s flight out left at an ungodly hour. It worked out just fine though because I had to be at work early that day because among other things I had meetings every hour on the hour and needed to play catch up before being completely occupied and “on” all day. When I got home Thursday night I was so exhausted and all I wanted to do was curl up on the couch with Garrett and catch a movie but our house was super quiet and empty which felt weird and un-relaxing.
What’s That Noise? Is it my dad?
And Buster was a raging lunatic dog (missing Garrett, of course, which always makes him a little on edge.) Also, on Thursday night I was sitting on the couch when I heard a random popping noise coming from my abdominal area. It was out of nowhere and sort of painful and I MEAN REALLY? I was too tired to deal with it so I went to bed.
Friday of Hell Week: My plan was to work a half day because I was going to get some errands done Friday afternoon. As you can imagine I was not at all productive during the week with so much work and life shiz going on, so I was planning to annihilate my ever growing To Do List after a few Friday meetings. Of course when I woke up Friday morning that mystery abdominal pain had gotten worse. It wasn’t excruciating or anything so I figured I’d just make myself a little coffee and deal with it in the afternoon.
Ah yes, coffee. Did I mention I started full on drinking glorious, glorious caffeinated coffee Wednesday morning. All I can say is that I wouldn’t have gotten through Friday without it. It was like superhero juice. I went back to caffeine free living by Saturday, but holy hell I miss it. It’s like Day and Night. 🙁
Anyway, so Friday — I hit up my meetings and the pain was getting worse so I called the Advice Nurse and talked through my problems and she was like “Oh hey, Mystery Abdominal Pain, yeah you need to head over to the Emergency Room like ASAP” and by late afternoon when Garrett texted me “TGIF are you totally ready to enjoy your Friday night of the craziest week ever?” I just texted back this picture with the caption “Change of Plans.”
Cliffs Notes on the ER: Ruptured Ovarian Cyst.
WONDERFUL. (I’m still questioning that diagnoses, but that’s a whole other story.) So instead of spending my Friday night having a glass of wine with my honey, I was sock-less in a cold ER asking questions like “You’re going to put that Ultra Sound wand WHERE?”
Yeaaaaaaaaah, not ideal.
So, all of that to say: That was the week I didn’t “make time” to blog, and while I wish I would have popped in to say hello I’m pretty sure anything I wrote from that week would have been 1000+ words that equated to WTF? On Saturday, still feeling super craptastic, I packed up my comfy clothes and my pup and headed out to my mom’s house to pretty much pull a Back Home Baller type situation until Thanksgiving.
I was bummed because I missed out on some plans that I had made, but honestly, after that crazy week – a little parental TLC was just what the doctor ordered.
Today is our 9 year anniversary! NINE YEARS.
If we were a child, we’d be in 4th grade! (I think?)
If we were a wedding anniversary, we’d be wicker! (WUT?)
In dog years, we’d be geriatric.
DID SOMEONE SAY DOG?
We are a small family, us three, but we sure do love each other. Ten years ago I didn’t have any of that in my life and now here we are today. What a difference a decade can make. (A DECADE? YEESH! Time flies when you’re having fun.)
Tonight we’re definitely celebrating with some shrimp fajitas, most likely cracking open a bottle of champs, and probably gearing up for some dog snuggling and Netflix watching.
Monday, you will not hold us back! 🙂
I started this blog a month after our first anniversary, and have pretty regularly checked in about our relationship on this day each year since. If you want to see it in chronological order you can start here:
No Eight, but remember that is sort of my Lost Year (I even wrote those exact words 4 days before our anniversary!)
It was fun for me to go on that trip down memory lane.
Some of those blog posts are awful (Oh, archives!) some are sappy and some are just downright REAL TALK. It’s not a stylized version of romance, it is my own in the moment reflections of what this relationship has meant to me. Reading them all reminded me of a quote I heard at a wedding we were at recently:
“Romance is nice, but true love is something else altogether.”
Yes, some of those posts are romantic. But more importantly every single one of them captures a portrait of true love during that exact moment in time. It is definitely something else, I’ll tell ya. And I couldn’t be more grateful for that.
A month ago today I turned 36. I thought about making a list of things to do before I turn 37, but instead I celebrated it by acknowledging two startling (to me) realizations about myself:
1. I am an undercover people pleaser.
2. I have allowed my self worth to become directly tied to the things I accomplish.
Ok, so who wants me to plan their next “celebration?” — Let’s start by having everyone line up single file. 🙂
(I this demonstrates pretty clearly why I have panicked feelings about wedding planning, yes?)
All kidding aside though, I did spend some time around my birthday (as I usually do) navel gazing about who I am, where I am going, what the hell I am doing with my life and those were two of the biggest (and most shocking, frankly) things that shook out.
On the people pleasing front, I mention undercover because I think if you know me in real life you know that (in the wise words of Eric Cartman) I do what I want. I am fairly stubborn in my pursuits, and I don’t have a problem with other people thinking I’m absolutely crazy – I will gladly carry on. In fact, I mentioned this people pleasing theory to Garrett over my birthday dinner and he actually choked on his food a bit laughing out loud.
But here is where I’m going with this: Yes, I do what I want. But that is only one element of the equation.
I have realized that in the past few years that I have defined “what I want” largely by a need for outside approval. If someone is dangling a carrot, I feel very compelled to demonstrate how good I can be at chasing it. It’s almost an animal instinct. And when you fold in a carrot dangler telling me I *shouldn’t* chase it, or that I likely won’t have success chasing it — watch my motivation is almost super human.
I am incredibly stubborn, focused and persistent. But where do those things actually get me? I am steadfast at proving people wrong? I am good at ignoring everything and being laser focused? I love to give the finger to people who doubt me? All of those things, while useful in moderation, added up day to day they are not the most loving and joyful way to life.
This smacked me in the face this year because I have spent so much time feeling so lost, while simultaneously getting more accolades than ever for my successes and accomplishments. But that also leads right into realization number two.
It has become an easy habit to define myself (and ultimately how I am feeling about myself) by the things that I accomplish. I’m sure this isn’t hard to believe about me if you have been reading this blog for any length of time. My whole life for so long has been structured around goals and the future and what’s next and what’s the plan. I have found that a very comfortable way to live, aside from the fact that I am always anxiously waiting for the future to get here so I can decide how to feel. This lifestyle is taxing, both emotionally and physically, because it feels like nothing is ever done. Nothing is ever complete unless someone says “Yes! Good job! You’re done!” and then I panic because what is next?
On a number of occasions I have found myself — mid successful efforts — wondering why the hell I am even doing something. But deciding to change course, or put a particular goal on hold would cause me fear and anxiety. And don’t even get me started on how incredibly hard on myself for the things that I perceive as actual “failures.” If something works out different than I have planned, my knee jerk assumption has been than I wasn’t enough. I could have planned better. I could have done better. I could have been better.
I know rationally that life is fluid and that things change and goals evolve. My brain understands that nothing is actually ever a failure, it’s all just an opportunity to learn something new, try a new route, give up something that isn’t serving us any longer. But man is that a practice. And at some point in the past year this idea of reconciling efforts with accomplishments became an exhausting full time endeavor and I just wanted to find another way to live. How do I get to a place where I can just be, and be okay with that?
I’ve struggled to find a way to share this here because obviously it feels incredibly vulnerable. I know the a portion of the audience of this website is filled with people I know in real life who I probably wouldn’t run up to and strike up this conversation. Also, there is a tiny voice in my head that is saying this sounds whiny and self involved and there is nothing I’m more scared of being than weak an un-self-aware. But I think it’s relevant because I have talked a lot about goals in the past and there is part of me that wants to keep doing that because I know it resonates with a lot of people. But there is also a part of me that needs to let that go and learn to appreciate who I am when I am not living my life on an accomplishment bender.
Trying to prove that I am worthy over and over has only served to insidiously reinforce this insecurity that I think we all have that we need to be fixed. If we could only lose a few pounds, make a bit more money, get married, have a baby, insert random goal here, then… Then, what? Then I’d be okay? Then I’d be acceptable? Then I’d be worth acknowledging? I don’t know, and therein lies the challenge.
I want to work on feeling great in the moment and not thinking about what I can accomplish in the future that will make me great. And for me, I think that means I need to stop trying to exercise control on every area of my life. If I’m being honest, it panics me to think about life without structure – to live without mapping out my end destination as well as all the stops in between. But I have also come to realize that some of the greatest moments in my life have happened when I have veered off course and allowed myself to be lean into uncertainty rather than control. I have absolutely no idea how to navigate all of that, but I have a feeling as with most things in life, the lesson will be revealed once I start on the journey. So I see you out there 37, but I think I’m just going to stay right here and focus on enjoying 36.