Lenten Promises

Sigh.  A week without wine. I’m ready to throw in the towel.

I’ve been thinking about Lent a lot lately.  I’m not sure why, because I’m not particularly religious.  I think it’s the whole idea about willpower and of beating myself at something.  I’m nothing if I’m not competitive.  I assumed that the hardest thing for me would be to give up wine and that if I could do it for Lent, I could do anything.   And let’s all agree, this is not true.  Giving up wine is not going to give me some insane super power that is going to magically change my life.  It’s just not, and I feel foolish for even thinking it.

As I sit here in my dining room, the sun shining outside, and the wind blowing through the windows I opened, I’m pretty sure I’m doing this Lent “thing” wrong.  As a matter of fact, I’m positive that I am.  Joe and I each decided to give up something for lent that we felt we over-consumed.  For me, wine (though I gave up all alcohol) and for him soda.  And do you know what we did the minute we decided to give them up?  We began planning for Good Friday when we can have them again.  We know exactly where we are going to eat, and exactly what we were going to drink.

Each day we count how many more days we have until we can imbibe again.  Our conversations and communications with each other throughout the day have picked up, but it’s basically each of us telling the other that we want wine or soda and the other one agreeing wholeheartedly before ushering in the “we can do it”s and any other encouraging comments we can muster.

So in a nutshell…we’re talking more but simply about what can’t have and planning for the minute that we can have it again.

I’ll say it again…I think we’re going about this the wrong way. Or at least I am.  What is the point of giving up wine for lent if I’m going to go right back to it? What is the point of giving up wine for lent if it does not affect my life in any way (neither positively or negatively)?

No.  This is not an excuse to go out and buy myself a bottle of wine right now and call it a day.  It may seem like that, but it’s not.  While many people tend to focus on the “fasting” portion of Lent, giving up something we don’t need, depriving ourselves of the excesses and luxuries we may have in order to become more attuned spiritually, we forget that Lent is really a time of self-examination and reflection, a time in which we look inward to really determine ways we can be better: whether it is ways to better serve the Lord, ways to grow spiritually, or simply ways you can make a positive impact on the world, or others, or yourself.

Maybe instead of depriving ourselves of something it would be more admirable to find small ways to change our habits.  Maybe I should add in a reading time each day instead of TV watching.  Somehow I feel like I never have time to read for pleasure, but have no trouble finding time to binge watch 10 episodes of The Office.  Maybe I add a mandatory “no phone” time for myself (another black hole of time suckage along with the TV).  Maybe I make sure I complete a mile every day (whether it’s walking or running) just to get some time outside away from technology with my family and boyfriend.  Maybe I do all three.

To make a long story short (too late) I need to rethink this.  If I want to do this right…really do this right…I need to start thinking of ways I can better myself for more than just 40 days. I need to be in it for the long haul.


Small and Sound

Happiness is a tricky creature.  It’s something we’re taught since birth to want while we’re simultaneously taught that it’s unattainable.  We’re constantly being bombarded with messages stating that what we have is great buuuuuut…it could be so much better.  The whole idea of “the grass is always greener” has never been lost on me, making me constantly and haphazardly jump between “YOLO” and “be happy with what you have”.

Then there’s the fact that lately I feel like I have let my happiness be contingent on other people.  Words of affirmation and love, little moments of attention, things that made me feel like I was worthy of something; worthy of being, all simply because someone else is making he effort and believing that too.  But when those things fade, or don’t happen, or minds get changed, then what do you have?  I’m left feeling empty, bitter, alone, and blaming not myself, but that other person who let me down, when really it’s my fualt for putting so much power into their hands in the first place.

I love to make other people happy.  When I’m around happy people, I tend to be happier. Unfortunately, because I like to make people happy, I believe others are the same way. Sometimes they don’t. Sometimes they don’t care about your happiness at all.  Sometimes they tell you what you want to hear, because they do want to make you happy, even if they don’t mean everything you’re saying.

And there in lies the conundrum.  I put my happiness into the hands of others instead of simply doing what I can to make myself happy.  Playing with the kids, watching a movie within someone I love, reading a book, talking to a friend, going to the gym.  All little variations of my happiness.  And all things that I need to focus on instead of sitting around and waiting for someone to make me happy.  I have the ability to make myself happy.  But it’s hard and sometimes I just feel like I CAN’T.

But not today.  Today was different.

It’s days like today where I really feel like everything is going to be ok.  Me writing outside enjoying the beginnings of a sunset and the early evening breeze rustling through the gazebo. The house is quiet.  The wine has been poured.  I feel put together, whole, complete just being in this moment.  It’s almost as if over night my entire world has begun to make sense.  Recently, I’ve felt like my life was a puzzle and as I’m trying to put it together there are just too many pieces.  Figuring out the ones that fit together and deciding which ones need to be discarded to make the most complete picture has been difficult.  So many times in my life I feel so lost and pulled apart, that when I get moments like this, it feels like heaven.  No anxiety about the future, just clarity and peace. I’m praying it is simply not the calm before the storm as it has been so many times before.  Unlike those other times though, I’m choosing to believe that things are headed in the right direction.

Everything up until now has been leading me to this moment.  I feel like my life is on the cusp of something big.  I have no idea what it is, but the best part is that the possibilities are endless.



Complacency, Love, and the Weather

As is too often with these posts, I start by saying…it’s been too long since I have written anything new.  I could blame work, school, kids, life,  but really that would only be the icing on a cake too tall to tackle.  The real problem is myself and even that is not enough to explain what has happened to me over the past few months.  As is usually the case I am torn between being happy (complacent) with the life I have and wanting (needing) something more.

While I feel like I say it every year, this one, by far, has been the hardest one to navigate.  Between friendships found, and lost, and found, the bumpy and panic inducing ride that is 11 years of marriage, losing and finding myself over and over again, and simply finding time to breathe through it all, I feel like I’ve been broken and put back together so many times that I wonder if all my pieces have survived.


I wonder, sometimes, if my biggest problem is more simple than I realize.  That maybe my expectations for people and their behaviors are simply too high. Mostly, I feel that people will never meet mine and am forever doomed to sit and silence and ponder if it’s them or me.  And yet, why ponder?  I know it’s me. I simply assume everyone puts forth the same amount of everything I do: love, effort, understanding, movement, change.  And when they don’t I am undoubtably dissapointed.  “They” say expectation is the root of all heartache and this is something I wholeheartedly believe.  But do we give up, accept this, and work to assimilate to the “others”; the ones that we feel are disappointing us?  Decide to live in quiet complacency, knowing we could have it worse?  That maybe if we just let things go, decide to give up what we feel we need, that we could live an almost happy life?

Or do we simply wait?  Wait for the changes we are asking for.  Wait for love we know we need and deserve. Wait for a life we know we are not going to simply exist in…but actually live in.

The conundrum exists: do you hope for the hurricane or simply enjoy the calm and still air of almost?  Sometimes, the hurricane is worth it.  It’s beautiful and perfect in its power and destruction, changing the landscape of your life forever, tearing down the extraneous walls you’ve built up to keep things out (or in).  Other times it simply destroys everything, coming and going in meer moments, leaving an empty hole where something stable (maybe not profound or amazing), but stable used to be.

I’m watching people take these leaps and bounds in their lives and am becoming completely envious. Picking up and moving away.  Finding a new and meaningful job.  Leaving behind a mediocre life for a great one. For a while, it was hard to watch their journey because of the jealousy.  What luck to get exactly what you want; what you’ve been hoping for. They made it looked so easy.  But now, I know it is their bravery I covet.  The sheer courage to say “This is what I want and I’m going to go for it.”  They decided take some action instead of sitting around and talking, wondering, or even writing about it.  Taking the risk in the hurricane, even if it destroys everything.

No matter how much back and forth I do in these situations, deep down, I know what it is that I want.

And it’s time to go and buy an umbrella.


A Numbers Game

My life has revolved around numbers lately.  The littlest one moving on from eight months to nine months, the numbers in my back account slowly dwindling, the numbers on the scale slowly rising.  I’m trying my hardest to get control of them all but it seems that every time I make strides in one area I wind up taking two steps back in another.

I was thinking of all these things that I want to do: vacations I want to take, races I want to run, experiences I simply want to have and I never really feel like I have enough money to do any of them.  So I decided I would look over my back account and (multiple) credit card statements and add up all the extraneous money I spent for one month: liquor store, eating out, morning coffee purchases, late fees for certain things.  I didn’t think it would be that much, but when the number stared stared back at me on my calculator I almost died.


Yes, you read that right NINE HUNDRED DOLLARS.  Not nine, not ninety, but nine hundred freaking dollars.  No wonder I am not taking an vacations to Charleston or making a dent in my credit card payments.  It’s because I’m too busy buying Chinese food and wine.  Which would also explain why I’ve gained 20 pounds in the last 8 months.  Because apparently all I do is eat and drink calorie laden shit.

But I’ve noticed little things lately: the pants getting a little tighter, my energy waning, more guilt over food choices I am making.  And who has time for this.  I don’t.  Not at (almost) 35.  Not with three kids.  Not with the goals and hopes I have.

The scale has become my nemesis, staring at me with her skinny, glassy body every time I enter the bathroom.  I step on.  Close my eyes.  And pray.  I pray that I don’t see a certain number.  Or that it didn’t go up AGAIN.  But ever since I stopped really running in the fall and ever since stopped training for my marathon it has been creeping up ever so slowly.  I’m not going to list the number, but lets just say my middle number has changed twice and if I don’t get a handle on it soon, my first number will as well.  And I can’t have that.  I can’t go back to that first number.  I’ve worked too damn hard.

I’ve decided to use January as kind of a cleanse.  Shedding off the old mistakes that I made in December (and month’s prior) and trying to change my behavior into more positive choices.

  1. Make coffee at home.  Sure, it’s not my venti iced skinny vanilla latte, but it also costs way less than $6.00.
  2. No alcohol.  At least for January.  I want to see how I feel without it.  And my wallet needs to see how it feels without it as well.
  3. Healthy, non-processed food.  I want to train for the AirBnB Brooklyn Half Marathon (more on this later) and I need to do it right this time.  Healthy nutrition in…positive energy out.
  4. Stop eating out.  In December we were sick, I was stressed, we were tired.  And most nights I would come home and just not want to cook.  So I didn’t.  Of course, this affects everyone in the family, and I need to be setting a better example for the littles in my life.

Hopefully with these four changes I can begin to see a difference: more energy, better sleep, focused running and exercise, and more real life experiences.

I’m tired of simply wishing I could do and be more.

Let’s do this, January.




“The beauty is that through disappointment you can gain clarity, and with clarity comes conviction and true originality.” ~Conan O’Brien

Do you have have those moments of clarity, you know, the ones where you are pretty sure you understand everything within the universe in an uncomplicated way?

Very rarely do these creep up on me, but today one did.  And what my moment of clarity brought me is the realization that I pretty much suck in all aspects of my world these days.  I’m a horrible wife, an exasperated mother, a bored teacher, and an unmotivated runner.  All I seem to want to do these days is eat, read, watch TV, and sleep and I rarely get the time to do any of these things.

I realize I’m causing a great disservice to most of the people around me.  I know what I should be doing, how I should be reacting, the effort I should be making and yet, I don’t (or I can’t).

Every night I make these grandiose plans and promises to myself that I’m going to do better, be better.  I’m not going to reply to every word spoken to me with sarcasm and contempt.  I’m not going to yell.  I am going to try my hardest.  I am going to put forth at least a little effort.  I’m going to put down the <insert food here> and get up and MOVE.

And yet, no matter how many times I have made these promises to myself, I have yet to keep them.  I wake up in a mood because of sheer exhaustion or because I simply don’t want to go to work and I immediately take it out on those around me.  No one is safe.  I always want it to be different, but it never is.

But the miracle is that every night I get to make that promise to myself and every morning I get to try and keep it.

Here we go…