Are We There Yet?


On Sunday, Kyle will pick me up and we will head out on a 3 hour road trip to San Luis Obispo to visit some friends. This will be the first time we will see each other since we started talking back in April and we will be stuck in a car together, possibly fighting over the road trip music (I will want to listen to Jay-Z, John Mayer or *NSYNC, he will want to listen to Limp Bizket or Linkin Park). I will lose this fight because if there’s one thing I’ve learned about Kyle it’s that he is the DJ and the master playlist maker and I’m the pretty little one who tells the stories and does the embarrassing car dances.

The idea came up one night via text message. “Would you want to take a road trip with me?” he asked. And I was taken aback because no one has ever asked to voluntarily be trapped in a car with me for hours on end (except my ex boyfriend who took me to a Tennessee football game and broke up with me the following weekend). I agreed and we decided (together) the best time to take the trip would be while I’m home, during the two days we set aside as “our days” (weird) and the planning began. And now, I’m packing a bag for two whole days away with a guy who I’ve only seen via Facetime. This all feels very “relationshippy” and very drastic, and there are a lot of mixed emotions that come with this little road trip: “will he like me when he sees me in person?”, “will I really be able to be myself around him?”, “will I let him hold my hand even though I hate being touched?”, “does he even want to hold my hand?!”

He better, just so I have the option of turning him down.

I won’t turn him down.

Most importantly:  “WILL HE JUDGE MY ROAD TRIP SNACKS?!”

All these little things nagging at my brain as I toss pajamas (UMM WHAT THE EFF WILL THE SLEEPING ARRANGEMENTS BE?!), a toothbrush (DEAR GOD HE HAS TO SEE ME IN THE MORNING) and my curling iron for mermaid curls (WHAT IF HE THINKS I’M HIGH MAINTENANCE?!) into my bag. All these little things, making me a nervous wreck. Everyone tells me this is normal. And I’m like “THIS DOES NOT FEEL NORMAL. THIS FEELS LIKE SO MUCH GRAVEL IS SITTING IN MY STOMACH!”

But you know what? Everyone is right. There’s a bit of mystery around this trip of ours. The kind of mystery that makes me feel giddy; like I used to feel on Christmas Eve as a little girl. And he’s giddy, too. There’s a bit of nervousness around this little trip of ours, like the way I felt the night before I went to Prom as a senior with a guy I really liked. And he’s nervous, too. Actually, this whole thing is very non-traditional in a traditional kind of way.

Just when you thought I was going to start making sense, I went rogue.

We met through friends, but have only had communication through technology. We have mutual friends, but have never met face to face. We talk all the time, but have never been in the same timezone. We know each other but we don’t “know” each other in person.

And all that is going to change on Sunday, when we’re stuck in a car together for 3 hours.

It’s so strange but at the same time he feels so familiar. And in a weird way, that comforts me. It means while I will fidget and talk too much and probably do everything I can do make him try and hate me (easier to make a clean break that way), I won’t be alone because he will be doing the same, in his own “guy” way. And as we hit the road (WITH SNACKS) things will get more comfortable with every mile.

So I guess what I’m saying is that I’m excited. And we’re going to eat a lot and drink a lot of wine and just be normal for a few days. I can’t wait for normal.

I wonder if I can get him to play this little jam I’m obsessed with right now in the car….if not, you’ll see me hitch hiking on the side of the road.

Uncertainty

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There are a lot of uncertainties around today. A cloud hangs over my head on what should be a day that brings a little relief and one day closer to my vacation. My heart is heavy: like it has a bucket of rocks attached to it that I’m trying to lift with sewing thread. And focus? What focus? My brain is clogged with to do lists and “what ifs?” The joy that comes with those last few days before a well-deserved vacation are gone: I am dreading my flight to California on Thursday.

Our news from the vet on Thursday was anything but good. Warner’s protein loss is at an all-time high and the vet is now worried about his short term life expectancy. Her news, her voice, her words crushed me in a way I didn’t know I could be crushed. Head in hand, I sobbed for all the things I can’t control and all the guilt I felt for planning a vacation, even though I could never have seen this coming. I haven’t cried that hard since my Grandma passed away.

I rushed home to my boy; the boy who finds comfort in my lap and never asked for this to happen to him. He greeted me with a big smile and as he licked the salty tears off my cheeks I reached for my phone and whispered:

“Don’t leave me.”

Warner’s behavior does not match the impending doom I heard in my vet’s voice. There’s a smile on his face and a pep in his step. He is not suffering. I had to call our vet. I can’t make a decision about his life while he’s smiling. Our vet and I agreed that we would make one final effort to give us more time: a pill I’ve been dreading but that has a chance to help my boy.

Our vet and I talked for 45 minutes. She gave me a few reality checks and cautious words of encouragement. The pill Warner is on has gnarly side effects and she encouraged me to lay low with him over the weekend and monitor him closely. She called the vet where Warner will stay while I’m gone (her office doesn’t offer boarding) and brought them up to speed on his condition and his needs. She told me I was one of the best mamas she had ever met; that my courage, bravery and (often forced) optimism has made all the difference thus far. She said Warner’s smile and energy are cause for cautious optimism but we should be prepared for the reality that this new medication is merely buying me more time. She encouraged me to move forward with my vacation as planned.

And this is how I spent my 4th of July.

We are on day 4 of the medication and so far Warner is handling it like a champ. He’s sleepy, but he’s smiling. He’s still maintaining a good quality of life and if you looked at him, you would have no idea he’s sick.

PLEASE NOTE:

Sharing Warner’s “tail” has not been easy. I have endured some criticism from people who want to tell me how to handle his illness, even though they aren’t in my position. As Warner’s future remains uncertain, I ask for your support, not your judgement. I choose to share his story because he’s a big part of my life: I don’t share it to welcome your negativity.

Please be respectful to Warner and I as we try to navigate his uncertain future and know that my #1 priority is his quality of life. He’s the big love of my life and when it’s time for him to go, I will say goodbye with a heart that’s heavy, but grateful for the love he gave me.

I’m not sure there will be a lot going on here in the next few days. Many preparations need to be made to give me peace of mind while I’m gone and I need to keep Warner and his health my #1 focus. I hope you understand.

WARNER IS NOT SUFFERING. HE IS MAINTAINING A GOOD QUALITY OF LIFE. WE ARE MONITORING HIM CLOSELY AND AS SOON AS HE SHOWS SIGNS OF SUFFERING, DIFFICULT DECISIONS WILL BE MADE.

Mistakes Bloggers Make

Every played beer pong on a week night and had to crawl to class the next day? I have. I think I got 3 hours of sleep, yet still made it through a whole day of classes and an evening of work.

I don’t know how I did it, either.

Of course, this was back in my younger years: years when I could get away with such shenanigans and still manage to function the next day. I felt invincible during these days and made a lot of mistakes because of it. Most of them are embarrassing, but a few of them are downright comical.

Today, I’m talking about mistakes bloggers (read: this blogger) make over on A Beautiful Exchange with Hayley. Get your cute little buns over there and read about what a dumbass I am.

Happy Wednesday!

And Here We Go Again

sunshine warnerOver the weekend, Tessa and I met a new neighbor and his boxer puppy, Eve. I fell in love with her in .2 seconds, and when she crawled into my lap and gave me big puppy kisses, I couldn’t help but be reminded of Warner when he was a puppy: such a tiny little body, holding so much personality. I struck up a conversation with Eve’s owner, who shared that Eve wasn’t the healthiest pup. He went on to say that she had been battling some liver/kidney issues and my heart sank. Oh, yes that old chestnut. We know that problem well in our house. As Eve made herself comfortable in my lap, her owner and I traded horror stories. He spoke about that feeling of helplessness I know all too well. He told us he was completely tapped financially (clearly I know how that feels) and he told us how worried he was about her, and what a special puppy she was.

At this point, Eve had decided to gnaw on my hair, and yet she was still adorable.

I pointed to our house: “I live just there,” I told him. “We always have a can or two of extra food if you run out, and I have a great specialist. Feel free to stop by any time!” (Eve and Warner are on the same special diet, which helps them keep weight on and attempts to balance their gastrointestinal levels.) For a moment, I was happy to know I wasn’t entirely alone. For a moment, we were normal.

As he walked away, I recognized the slump in his shoulders: the slump of someone who was tired. Eve innocently trotted along beside him and I said a prayer for them. Eve and Warner seem to be cut from the same cloth and I realized that slump was one I’ve carried on my shoulders lately, too.

When Warner isn’t feeling well, something shifts inside me. I go from relaxed and happy to pure survival mode. My days revolve around his food intake, my thoughts revolve around his weight, my prayers are for his recovery. My mood can only be explained as “tense” and my house is thick with a fog of frustration. Everything seems heavy.

I suppose you’ve figured out by now that Warner isn’t doing well. Again.  His food intake is way down, his weight has slightly decreased and he is drinking an insane amount of water. Sunday night I didn’t sleep because I was watching Warner breathe: worried another emergency room trip was in my future. He remains in good spirits, as usual, but it  just feels like something isn’t right. Perhaps I’m overreacting (as I often do) but when it comes to Warner and treating this disease, my hyper sensitivity is usually for good reason. I feel, suddenly, like we are back to square one after 8 weeks of “normal”.

Here I am, one week away from a glorious 12 day vacation and Warner has decided food is the enemy. Selfishly I wonder: can I not just have a little bit of joy in my life after suffering through 5 1/2 months of absolute hell?

I know Warner’s disease is something we will live with for the rest of his days. I’ve accepted that there’s no cure, that we have no “sure thing” that will make this go away. But dang it our latest run was just so good. I was confident we would be ok, at least for a few more weeks. It feels like running a race, leading the whole time, but then coming in second place. It just sucks.

On top of all this, I was trying to find someone to watch Warner when I go out of town. Want to feel awful in just 5 minutes? Look through your phone and try to find a friend, any friend, who can help you out while you’re out of town and realize YOU DON’T HAVE MORE THAN 2 REAL FRIENDS IN THE CITY YOU LIVE IN WHO CAN HELP YOU AND THEY’RE BOTH GOING ON THE TRIP WITH YOU. Or, check the dog travel policy on your favorite airline’s website. Boxers are on a no-fly list. Superb. The fogs of frustration are thick and murky: lately I wonder when/if everything will be consistent, manageable, not mind-numbing and worrisome.

We’ve decided to board them, because given Warner’s recent health concerns, I want him to be around a vet 24/7 who can be there instantly if things that a turn for the worse. (god-forbid)

Tomorrow, Warner goes to the vet for a recheck and more tests. We will get those results back on Thursday. Last night I spoon fed him his dinner and he would only eat 1/2 a can. Please keep us in your thoughts. We’re back on this scary train again.

For more of Warner’s “tails” click here.

Thoughts on Maturity

Life certainly isn’t fair, and as we get older that becomes more and more apparent. We all have shit we carry around with us, which probably plays into that whole concept that life simply isn’t fair. And doesn’t that suck? That idea that we take partial blame in the notion that life isn’t fair or that the things that happen to us, and the way we react to them, make life unfair? I came to that conclusion this weekend, when a friend came to me with a problem that rocked me to my core and I had to standby and support them, even when I didn’t want to.

I don’t know that much about maturity. I’m 30 years old, and I think tater tots are a food group, I listen to boy bands on a regular basis, I am not entirely sure I can really take care of a baby right now. I also think if I had to live on spaghetti o’s I could make it work. I used to think maturity was for parents and teachers, but suddenly I realized my friends are those parents, my friends are those teachers and we are the grown ups we used to be lectured by not so long ago.

I love my friend very much. They’ve had a bumpy road these last few years, and it’s taken a toll on them. They haven’t dealt with their issues in a way I would deem the most mature, and I have disagreed with it outright. First, I tried lectures. That didn’t work. Then I tried logic. That didn’t work. And so, I sat by and tried to be as supportive as possible but in that quiet way everyone likes, but really doesn’t need. Then, they came to me this weekend and admitted things hit rock bottom, which broke my heart and made me angry all at the same time.

Anger made me want to say “I told you so!” because really, I did tell them so. I was right, and their recent actions validated how right I was. I was angry that all my words had been wasted, and now I was sitting here listening to them tell me their problems, when I had already found solutions months ago. I wanted to yell, curse, or even guilt them for being careless and stupid. Anger made me want to be immature.

You see, for all the acceptance I’ve learned over the years, I am still a judgmental person. Everyone knows that if you want an honest opinion, you ask Ashten. I’m not shy about telling you what I think, and I lost the ability to “sugar coat” years ago. Sometimes people can’t handle this characteristic and I’ve been told it makes me hard to talk to sometimes. But, I value it because when my opinion is asked, I know I’m speaking from my heart with people’s best interest in mind.

I really wanted to give my friend a piece of my mind: tell them my opinion, give them the “why don’t you listen to me” speech. Basically, I wanted them to feel miserable.

Something stopped me.

Rather than go off on my friend, I stopped and made myself think about what they must be going through; how hard it must be to admit such a difficult thing to me (someone who knows them way too well.) I thought about what I would need in their situation, even though I would have handled it much differently. I kindly, but firmly, told them I loved them and begged them to get their shit together and then I told them I would support them no matter what.

I don’t know a lot about maturity, but maybe that’s what it is. Maybe maturity isn’t beating your chest in front of everyone because you have your shit together, or spouting off advice like you’re Oprah. Maybe maturity is not always understanding why people do what they do, but showing empathy for their struggle and trying to support them as best you can. I will never be in my friend’s shoes, but maybe I’m mature enough to realize that, and try to step outside myself enough to try and understand where they’re coming from. Maybe maturity isn’t being the best at adulthood, but being the best at understanding that with age comes wisdom and that wisdom doesn’t look the same for everyone. And maybe sometimes it takes a little longer for some people to gain that wisdom.

Maybe maturity really is stepping outside your normal behavior to put yourself on someone else’s level. Maybe by doing that, you gain more maturity and wisdom. I don’t know a lot about maturity, but I know I love my friend and they’re so important to me that I’ll find a way to support them, even when it’s hard to.

Even when I’m right.

The Importance of Being There

ashten and ashley speech 1Photo taken by HumanArtwork. They are AMAZING.

The day my best friend’s father passed away, I was 2,279 miles away from her. I was also 2,279 miles away when my other best friend’s son was born, when a good friend from college got married, when an old friend’s daughter turned 2, when a friend was sick and needed a break but had her 2 kids to care for. I’m always away and sometimes that sucks.

Away. I’m always away. It’s permanent FOMO (fear of missing out)

I’ve been thinking a lot about distance lately. Maybe it’s because distance now defines a majority of my relationships or maybe it’s because I’m getting ready to go home in 2 weeks and I’m going to have to catch up while being jet lagged. Distance, I’ve come to realize, only exists in my mind. I created a space between me and the people I love that became a gaping hole for my unhappiness and discontent. I filled that hole with sadness and spent lots of my time missing my people. In fact, I’ve actually thought they should all sit on their couches, watching their DVRs and waiting for me to come home before their lives begin again.

I realize that’s selfish, judge me.

By creating this distance between me and my loved ones, a huge part of me was defined. “I miss home.” I would say, “I wish I was there!” I would write on my friend’s photos and status updates ALL. THE. TIME. (Ok I still do this.) But really, I AM there…because I want to be, all the time.

When my best friend’s dad died, I answered her phone call on the first ring. I didn’t have the right words, so I sat there with her while she cried, just like I would have done if I was sitting on the couch next to her.

When my other best friend’s son was born I was one of the first people he called with the news. I was basically in the delivery room.

When my good friend from college got married, he called me on the morning of his wedding to wish me a happy birthday (they got married on my birthday, which I allowed….but only because he’s awesome). I was one of the last people he talked to before walking down the aisle.

When my dear old friend’s daughter turned 2 I sent her a gift, and I received a video of her opening it.

And when my friend was sick and had 2 little ones to care for, I bought her a Groupon so someone would come clean her house for her.

Physical distance is not ideal but now I look at it as a challenge to get creative. I’m more careful with my money so I can plan a vacation or two back home every year, I am FaceTime’s number one fan, I’m notorious for emailing BuzzFeed articles at 5am California time.

I effing love frequent flyer miles!

Distance has made me more accountable to the people I care about. I miss them, so I do what I need to do to feel connected to them.

Distance has allowed some of my closest friendships to become deeper, and more mature. It’s helped me improve my communication skills.

I’ve learned it’s not important HOW you’re there for someone; it’s the importance of BEING THERE that matters. It’s important to answer the phone when my best friend is calling and I haven’t talked to her in a few days, even if I’m tired. It’s important to participate in the birthdays, the weddings, the engagements, no matter how many miles separate me from the ones I love. It’s not important where you are: it’s important that you show up.

It takes work. It takes openness. Sometimes it means sitting on the couch with a tub of potato salad when your friends call you from a BBQ, wishing you were there.

This weekend, I challenge you to be there for your people, no matter where you/they are. Make a phone call, have a FaceTime date, get up early for some coffee together. It doesn’t matter HOW you’re there. Just be there.

Have a great weekend!

Lifestyle vs Fitness: What They Mean to Me

transformationI KNOW RIGHT?!? THAT’S ME……AND I CAN’T EVEN BELIEVE IT.

The photo on the left was taken in April, shortly after I returned home from Dallas. The photo on the right was taken yesterday. The two month difference shocks me to the point where I actually did a double take like “who is that girl?!?”

I see more of a waist, I see muscles in my arms, I see legs that are smaller yet stronger, I see a face that has slimmed down dramatically. If I were to turn around, you would see a booty….AND IT’S NOT A BAD BOOTY EITHER. Last weekend I wore a bikini for the first time in 4 years and I didn’t look horrible in it. Talk about a proud moment!

I mean, it’s obvious the physical transformation is there but let’s talk about the emotional/mental transformation that’s taken place since I started working out regularly because while I may LOOK good, the way I FEEL is the real story behind the photo above.

I am NOT and expert when it comes to this shit. Sometimes I don’t want to go to the gym and sometimes it’s hard for me to make time for my morning workouts when I’m on the road but that doesn’t mean I can’t share what works for me BECAUSE ITS MY BLOG AND I’M 30 NOW, THEREFORE I’M WISE LIKE A MOTHER EFFING OWL.

I think fitness and lifestyle are linked but I think there’s a difference between the two and the role they’ve played in my life recently. (Some of you might not agree with me, and that’s ok.) When I first started going to the gym, it was about fitness: losing weight, gaining muscle, “looking hot” and fitting into a smaller dress size. When I first started, I weighed myself weekly and if I didn’t see immediate results I was upset. If I saw results I threw confetti and demanded everyone look at me because “I’M SKINNY BITCHES!”

You can imagine how fun I was to live with during this time and how simply lovely I was when the scale didn’t say what I wanted it to.

Fitness meant changing my routine and adding a wake up call of 5am (even while traveling for work occasionally) to work out, and let me tell you: that is the hardest thing I’ve ever done. Fitness has been a roller coaster for me: ups and downs; dramatic climbs and dramatic drops that have shown me what works and what doesn’t. But fitness was always something I was always trying to schedule into my already busy schedule and that mindset wasn’t working for me.

Back in April (shortly before that “before” photo was taken) I stopped thinking about fitness and started thinking about lifestyle. I took the pressure off myself to lose weight. I started focusing on what going to the gym FELT like rather than what it looked like. Rather than telling myself I NEED to go to the gym every morning, I told myself I WANT to go to the gym and the “pressure of the pounds” stared to disappear. (Not overnight but slowly and with lots of patience.) I stopped weighing myself and started focusing on how I feel in my clothes. I stopped looking at Pinterest for workouts and started doing what I liked, and if I only did 20 minutes of cardio I stopped beating myself up about it afterwards. I’ve accepted that there will be days my body might need some rest and on those days I give it what it needs. I stopped putting an insane amount of pressure on myself to eat healthy all the time and I’ve accepted there are times that I’m traveling and it’s not always possible to have a salad. I’ve accepted that I will always want dessert and I will never be able to turn down an In N Out burger or animal style fries but that those aren’t staples in my diet and it’s ok to have them occasionally.

I’ve learned that nothing gets me more jacked for the gym than the Jay Z Pandora station. HOVA FOREVER.

Going to the gym before the sun comes up is part of my lifestyle now. I suffer from anxiety and depression, and going to the gym helps keep me on an even keel, not to mention it puts me in a better mood. (And it’s way cheaper than meds and therapy.) I’ve noticed that when I go for a prolonged amount of time without a little bit of physical activity I’m on edge and I feel slightly “off”. It’s amazing what this mental/emotional shift has also done for me physically.

I cannot emphasize enough that I’m not perfect. I don’t always know the right weights to lift, I can’t run for miles without stopping. I’m the first to admit the most physical activity I do on the weekends is lift the remote to change the channel. I just do the best I can during the week, and then I hit the showers. But, I don’t go to the gym for my fitness anymore. I go for my lifestyle. It’s given me more confidence than it has muscle or a waistline.

I’ve learned the gym is like facing a mountain: you can either try to push it out of your way or you can climb it. Fighting the gym makes it your enemy: accepting it as part of your life makes it just another thing you do; like brushing your teeth or doing your hair.

Because of FITNESS I’ve started living a healthier LIFESTYLE. I’ve never felt better.

RESOURCES:

How Working out in the Morning Works for Me

Health Coaching (Paige from Healthy Hits the Spot)

Green Smoothie Recipe

Pressing “Delete” on Negative Self Talk

My Love Language is Selfishness (and Coffee)

Here is a list of things I am not good at:

1. Math
2. Science
3. Cooking
4. Talking about my feelings

Number 4 has been the source of a few fights in some of the relationships I’ve been in. Apparently, guys love it when you want to watch sports and make inappropriate jokes, but not when they’re trying to tell you how they feel. Or, guys can’t understand why I never want to be all emotional and tell them how I’m feeling constantly. Saying “I have my friends for that” doesn’t go over too well. Trust me, I tried.

I’ve really been trying to get better about opening up but that shit is hard, especially when the person I’m trying to open up to has never been in the same room as me. But damn it all to hell if this kid doesn’t push me to feel…..DOES HE NOT KNOW WHO I AM?!?

(Apologies in advance for letting my “crazy girl” come out in this post. Obviously I blame feelings. Feelings are the worst.)

In the very early stages of talking to Kyle, we got on the topic of the 5 Love Languages. Kyle took the test, and urged me to do the same: he said it would teach me a lot about myself and it would teach him about me, as well. And this made every commitment phobia I possess rear it’s ugly head and made me break out in metaphorical hives.

Umm, so you want to learn about me? You apparently haven’t heard of the Great Wall of China that is my entire being.

Turns out, this quiz was not a joke, and Kyle wanted me to answer each question seriously. And I’m like “ughhh can’t we just talk about our favorite colors and make fun of all the dumbass people on Cops? I really don’t want to talk about feelings. FEELINGS ARE SO LAME!”

Thirty honest questions and a lot of stupid feelings later, I learned that my love languages are “words of affirmation” and “quality time”.  It was scary how accurate the description of my “love languages” were. Basically, I need you to hang out with me and tell me I’m pretty….preferably while bringing me coffee. Surprisingly? Kyle’s love languages are the exact same as mine, which keeps things pretty even keeled around here: it’s pretty easy to give someone what they need when it’s exactly what you need.

Side note: let’s talk about the irony here: my love language is “words of affirmation” but I won’t talk about my feelings. I AM SO COMPLEX.

Clearly the distance between us makes quality time pretty tough, yet we’ve managed to stay creative with FaceTime “dates” and nightly phone conversations. I usually wake up to a text message and an email with a video for me to watch at the gym: and no I’m not making this up. This is the standard of living to which I have become accustomed.

Now that I’ve become acutely aware of what I NEED from this thing I have going on with Kyle, I know how to communicate it to him, logically and without getting emotional. I was doing really well….until this weekend.

Last week I was in Omaha for 3 days. While I was there, our conversations were 5 minutes long at best and revolved around me being tired, which he couldn’t fix. When I got home from Omaha I was really excited to sit down and have the quality time I guess I really needed, but he was prepping for a wedding in San Luis Obispo and couldn’t give me his full attention. Over the weekend I called him a few times to say hi (aka I feel like I’m missing out on all the fun so tell me I’m pretty) and I was told “hey you, can’t talk right now. Call you later.”

And I’m like “YOU MADE ME TAKE THIS DAMN TEST AND NOW I KNOW I NEED QUALITY TIME SO GIVE ME WHAT I NEED DAMN IT.”

And then I realized those were feelings and I locked that shit up real quick.

I tried to be patient. He’s at a wedding, I reminded myself. You’ve been on a trip all week, I said over and over. He sent me text messages and photos and even a video but the mother effing feelings weren’t satisfied. Then Sunday rolled around and I eagerly awaited the phone call I would clearly get; the call that filled me in on a the festivities and gave me my damn quality time.

What I got was “hey you! I wanted to call and say hi but I’m exhausted and I’m going to bed. I’ll call you tomorrow.”

WHAT THE WHAT?!? I need quality time! I need it! I’ve been patient all weekend! I didn’t even act crazy even though I was allegedly feeling feelings I KEPT THEM IN CHECK.

I stormed downstairs and vented to Tessa, who laughed like “I’m so glad this is his problem now!” And when I finished my rant I looked at her and said “I’m selfish aren’t I?” And she said “yup. Now move, True Blood is on.”

That’s when I realized: this isn’t going to be easy and this isn’t all about me. I’m going to have to work, I’m going to have to be patient and GASP! I’m going to have to feel. Most importantly: I’m going to have to get used to the idea that I’m not the only independent person in this thing and there will be a push and pull over that dynamic. I’m not just going to be GETTING time, I’m going to have to GIVE time. I’m not only going to need my own time, but he will too. I’m going to have to listen, not just be heard. And all this is new territory. All of this challenges me.

And last night when we finally got to FaceTime for 3 hours I appreciated my quality time even more, because we both made time to sit down and talk to each other.

I think that’s called “maturity” but let me finish my fruit snacks and Capri Sun before I give you my final answer.

 

Settling in

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Twenty nine came in with a panic attack. Before my birthday dinner I stood in my bathroom, doused my hair in a shit ton of hairspray and that sinking feeling of dread took over my body. I hated the idea of being out at the bar, hated the idea of people looking at me, hated the idea that I was a mere 365 days away from turning 30. I was prone to panic and anxiety attacks at this time and everything scared me. Literally everything; I was even scared to go grocery shopping because the crowds overwhelmed me.

365 days later, thirty entered. It came in calmly, with ease. It didn’t come in with fear, but excitement, hope and faith. What a difference a year makes. I took the week to really celebrate my age and all the new beginnings that come with it: new lessons to learn, new dreams to pursue and a new relationship to teach me what I truly deserve.

Thirty has already taught me a lot about patience and grace: it’s taught me a lot about calm and the importance of communication. In just a week, I’ve felt more settled, more relaxed and more prepared to take on the challenges of a new decade. I spent the last year getting to know myself through writing this blog, meeting new people and traveling.

Over the weekend, I stood in my bathroom before my birthday dinner and I realized: I’m not scared anymore. I realized that there will be times when I have an anxiety or panic attack but I have the maturity to find ways to calm myself down. I’ve realized that there will be times when life will overwhelm or scare me but there’s someone in my life who wants to take on those things with me, and make sure I’m ok. I’ve realized there will be times I don’t have the answers but I’ve come a long way and I know I have the resources to figure things out.

I’m ready for whatever comes next and I’m excited to be here.

Thank you all for your birthday tweets, comments and messages. I’ve truly felt like the queen of social media over the last week and I’m so grateful to you all.

The Start of Something Good

birthdayToday I’m 30 years old.

A mile stone if you ask anyone my age or older. Old, if you ask a high school student.

I’ve thought a lot about this post: what I would say, how I would feel. What kind of metaphor I would use to write about this new decade of my life. I’ve tossed around the ideas of being inspirational, funny or even melancholy but none of them felt right.

This morning I woke up early, like I normally do, only this time to board a plane to Omaha, Nebraska for a business trip.

Working on my 30th in Omaha, Nebraska….this would only happen to me.

This morning I made my coffee, fed Warner and gave him his pills, grabbed my suitcase and out the door I went. Everything looked the same: there was no fanfare, no glitter, no sparkles: just me, in a rush to catch a flight to Omaha.

But today, I’m 30 years old and everything is different. Today is the start of something good.

I think back to the day I turned 20 (yes I can remember that far back, thank you). I was so excited to say goodbye to my teen years and be just that much closer to turning 21. I had no idea what the next decade had in store, and now I sit here (on a plane to Omaha) in a completely different mindset, with a whole new decade in front of me.

If you would have told me back in the day that by the time I turned 30 I would be living in Atlanta, working for a Fortune 500 company and with a rambunctious boxer by my side, I would have looked at you like you were nuts, and then made you buy my next drink. If you told me I would turn 30 a single woman with no boyfriend, no husband, no kids, no family, I would have made that drink a shot of tequila.

Sometimes I wonder when I will actually grow up, because inside I still feel like a girl of 16. Sometimes I wonder if I will ever feel young again, because every time I get a credit card statement in the mail I age about 2 years. Sometimes I wonder if I will ever get everything I want because I just want so much. Sometimes I think I have too much because I’ve almost unpacked every box from this move and I have no where to put all my shit. I guess no matter how old I am, or how old I get, I will never stop growing and I will never stop being young. I will never stop wanting, I will always feel satisfied somehow.

Today, I am hopeful. I believe this is the start of something good. Today, I get to start writing a new chapter in my life. I’m excited and I’m hopeful. Today I feel more like a woman than a kid. Today I get to celebrate how far I’ve come, and today I get to celebrate where I’m going.

Today, I’m headed to Omaha. Guess it can’t always be perfect.