Over the past year I’ve made a conscious effort to refocus life on the good, the things I’m passionate about, special moments with my family and friends and, always, the bigger picture.
One of the best things I ever did was make that same conscious effort–back in 2012 specifically–to fill my world with happy, positive people that helped me grow, instead of the stifling negative relationships of my past. How simple does this seem? Yet, so many people get stuck in toxic situations that seem impossible to get out of.
Out of this new mindset came a group of friends I truly connected with, on a social, fitness and lifestyle level. (And no, not always a political level, some of my favorite people are so far away from me politically, that, according to Facebook, we now have no business existing in the same country). That same year, I met my husband, who, if he leaves a kitchen full of dirty dishes one more time I might just walk out on (ok, ok, bigger picture, I’m kidding, he’s pretty great) and, together, we’ve created a very full life of kids, travel, little traditions, delicious food and things we’re both, individually, passionate about.
In 2012, I had to refocus to get rid of the toxicity–rebuild a base, redefine my own interests and rebuild relationships that I knew were important. Now I do it to enjoy the chaos of our life, from the uncertainty of having a husband in the Navy, raising kids, John’s last minute travel plans, moving, commuting and being totally exhausted, like most of us are, from the expectations on everyday life.
Sometimes that means, if we’ve had a rough morning of tantrums and traffic, no matter how late I am to work, I stop and get my favorite almond latte from Collective Coffee. Or, if I’m so tired at night and John is on night shift, I turn on a yoga video to relax once I get the baby to bed. It means letting things like a bad run, a stressful project, a friend that’s bringing you down, just go. It means having a little faith that things will work out, like finding a house in one day in a new city that you’re expected to move into in a month, or tackling a big work project that you don’t even understand the directions for, or having a second baby when your first is still in diapers.
One thing I appreciate about my husband is that, while we can be pretty different, we’re impulsive in the same way. And we’re not afraid to go big. Why run 5 miles when you can run 50? Or watch the Super bowl at home when you can BE there? Free weekend? Let’s fly to Nebraska for the opening game! It’s totally not a big deal to fly to London with a four month old for a wedding, right?
We’re not some picture perfect Instagram family. Our life is filled with screaming tantrums, dirty kitchens, sleep deprivation, sometimes even ‘what the heck are we doing, why did we think this was a good idea, let’s just go home, I quit’ moments. On our last big flight from Seattle to Charleston, John had food poisoning from hotel clams. And I had to hold a toddler on a third trimester belly for five hours. But, back to the big picture, the trips, adventures, great dinners, growing family, it’s all worth it. That’s where the memories are.
There are a lot of things to be thankful for, but, as we close out our time in Charleston (!!!!) and add another baby, it’s these things that really resonate with me in this moment, this Thanksgiving. I hope you take the time to find the things in your own life that you appreciate, and, if you’re living in my 2012, decide where you can find your own happiness. And know that things can change when you’re ready.
My dad’s side of the family has really come together in the past couple years–we went from seeing each other on occasion to planning yearly, bi-coastal family reunions. With no family within 2,000 miles of Charleston, it’s important to me that my daughter gets to create relationships with her grandparents, great grandma and aunts. And when my mom visits, we’ve taken to exploring the south, and experiencing places she’s never seen before, like Asheville, which I personally think would be her perfect city (I heard it’s the future home of the Obama’s, mom). Bonus, I get a lot of horror stories from my friends about their in-laws, and the only negative thing I can say about mine is they don’t live close enough.
I really don’t have a social life in Charleston. At all. Honestly, I don’t run into a lot of people in situations like mine–working mom, runner, Navy wife, and it’s hard to maintain friendships with people that you don’t get to see and connect with people whose world is so different. The few hours that I do get not working or commuting–or on the opposite schedule as John–I would rather just relax, or sleep. Or run. This has made the few friends I do have here all the more special, and made the long distance friendships–even if the texts happen at 3am their time–more meaningful. I’m so appreciative of every girls night, Bunco invitation, after work dinner date and visit from friends back home. Even if I don’t get to see them often, good friendships are always there for a laugh (usually at the most innapropriate time during work), advice as we go through marriage and raising kids, an ear (or a text) when you just need someone to vent to and, most important, links to the best dresses and cutest shoes.
I’ve been a runner since I was 14, but have been through many periods where I hated the sport, it hurt, I was injured or found something else, anything else, I would rather be doing. Not anymore. The bug is back. It’s not always easy to find the time to run, but it’s my mental escape, my personal time, my thinking time, my choice of fitness and has helped me immensely this pregnancy. And I have some big goals next year.
This is where I’m also thankful for my husband. He spends nearly all his free time working a second job (from home, on his computer, with a beer) to find us deals and collect points so we can comfortably travel way outside of our two salaries. He won us Super Bowl tickets at face value, where we got to see Peyton Manning’s last game, then planned an incredible trip to San Francisco, Napa and Bend, Oregon for a week on the west coast this year. We picked up one weekend when I wanted to run a trail half marathon in Charlotte and he ran around the course with the baby trying to cheer me on. We got into one of the opening nights of Charleston’s most exclusive restaurant for a much needed date night. We had a successful trip to Port Angeles, Washington (although I still haven’t successfully written a blog post about it) with my family over a gorgeous fall weekend in a beautiful rented home. We travel a lot, from small road trips to transatlantic flights, and I’m so grateful for not just the opportunity to be ABLE to travel, but for the enthusiasm behind it. And for a daughter who has spent more miles in an airplane than most people do in a lifetime.
And…All the Small Things
The trail by my work that I can run during lunch. The organic cafe at my gym where I’ve become friends with the owner (and he always gives me a large smoothie when I order a small). Designated Survivor: come on, that show is so good. Bloggers who make my running obsession feel normal. And encourage it. A race to train for and a friend who has decided to coach me to a BQ!! Running strollers. Mormon clothing companies. Seriously, though. FaceTime so the baby can build relationships with her grandparents. My cookbook Run Fast. Eat Slow. Parks with baby swings. Whipped cream–pregnancy craving. Every Saturday when John watches the baby so I can run (that’s still going to happen with two, right John?). A job so we can afford good food and a comfortable home. The US Navy for employing my husband. All of the military and anyone in a service job, thank you. Yogatoes for helping my feet. Sleep, when it happens. And a space to write my random thoughts.