My 39th year

Hello hello! We are at the END of September. Can you believe that?! I certainly can’t. I keep saying it over and over, but I can’t really believe how fast it feels this year is flying by. Before I know it we will be celebrating Christmas and then the arrival of 2020. C-R-A-Z-Y.

I’m sitting here doing a little bit of prep work for the coming week; it’s going to be pretty busy one for me. On top of the normal month end / quarter end / reporting that comes with an old month and a new month, I’ll be busy prepping for an even busier week following this one. So as I’m sitting here sketching out some plans to make it all happen, I’ve somewhat drifted to the personal side of things. This week I will celebrate my 39th trip around the sun. C-R-A-Z-Y.

Birthdays aren’t really a big thing to me anymore. It’s really just another day. (It’s a day I can have a cupcake with literally no shame.). They do, however, make you take stock of where you’ve been and where you’re headed. For the first time in many years and months, I really like the direction I’m going. Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t remotely how I thought my life was going to be. It isn’t what you plan when you’re fresh out of high school or college. But I believe there is a purpose for all of it. The best is definitely yet to come.

So I’m making some goals for the month of October, month #1 of year 39. Some of them are ambitious and will challenge me. Some of them are “minimums” just to get me in the habit of doing some new things. All of them will make me a better Sarah for whatever my future holds.

I challenge you to set a few goals for this coming month. Strive and stretch and grow and reach. What else can we accomplish by the end of this year?

TODAY I LOVE: kettle corn from the fall festival
SONG OF THE DAY: “A Safe Place to Land” by Sara Bareilles

goals, direction, and starting to see light.

Seeing the light arriving

Greetings, my friends! And Happy Sunday!

I hope everyone is having a great and relaxing weekend. It has been raining off and on yesterday and today and honestly it’s been nice to chill for a hot minute. I did quite a bit of socializing this week and was oh-so-ready for a day to be a hermit and recharge.

I do apologize that my writing has been so sporadic lately. I certainly didn’t intend for this to blog to only be used when I’m feeling down in the dumps. Now that I’ve made great strides crawling out of the dark place, I guess I’m trying to decide which direction to take this thing now.

First things first, some updates. This week will be Week 6 of my elimination diet. As I said in my last post, I’ve been adding things in and taking them out for a few weeks now. Even though I do believe now that most of my health issues are being caused by something other than food, it has been very enlightening to find out what foods do cause a reaction of any kind in my body. I *think* I’ve found out this week that dairy actually increases my heartburn. This makes me very sad, as cheese is practically one of my love languages. Anyway, the experiment continues. After that first week I’ve managed to maintain my calories at my normal level. Cravings are gone. I sleep well (for the most part). I don’t have a headache everyday. All that to say, I’m going to keep this experiment going for a while.

Beginning September I started running again. I’ve also added in yoga (in addition to strength training.) I’m really, really enjoying it. I’m not sure what finally made the switch flip in my brain, but I’m looking forward to workouts again rather than seeing them as a chore. I’m also looking forward to setting some goals for each of those areas for October. I haven’t set any kind of athletic goal in AGES! This is great mental progress for me.

So, where do I go from here? Someone told me this morning, “Every time I see you you’re always smiling! It makes me smile.” I guarantee the gal who said it had no idea how much it effected me, and probably not even for the reason that you’d imagine. I think maybe after all these months I’m finally figuring out that it really is all up to me on my perspective of things. I’m not in control of anything and I need to stop trying to grapple for it like a lifeline. I can’t control what people think of me, I can rarely control what happens to me. The one thing I can control? My perspective. If I can do that then the lows won’t be so low. The highs are even higher. And every thing isn’t nearly so dark. Life is quite a lot sweeter when you let it happen.

I’m looking forward to this week. I’m going home this weekend for our fall festival. I haven’t been back to it in probably 15+ years. This would normally probably cause me anxiety…but it’s going to be ok. I’m going to choose to look at is as an opportunity to enjoy some folks I haven’t seen in quite some time. Plus the parade! Band nerds unite! What are you looking forward to this week?

TODAY I LOVE: dry shampoo (seriously gals, am I right?!)
SONG OF THE DAY: “Alice from Dallas” by Foy Vance

church, chores, cheering up

Happy Sunday, fam! We did it. We’ve made it to what I’m beginning to think is the most pivotal day of the week.

To be totally honest, I don’t really like Sundays. The weekend is over and I start stressing over the week to come. For the longest time I used to (and sometimes still do) tell people to not even bother asking me if I wanted to do anything on a Sunday. Because I won’t. Sundays have taken on a pattern.

I get up and go to church. And I love my church. That’s all fine and good. After church I come home and do all my chores (housework, laundry, food prep, etc.). Sometimes I’ll do some work work, just to get ahead for Monday. And then I’ll spend the rest of what is left of the day trying to do things that don’t make me sad or stress me out.

That is Sunday for me.

This morning as I was laying in bed, contemplating the day, and already letting the woes of the week hang heavy, I tried to reframe the week ahead. And honestly, doing a “review” of the week behind me. I put positives with the negatives. Here’s a few of mine today:

  • My average weight is up a pound, even though I did very good with diet and bonus cardio. My weight is up, BUT I lifted heavier on squats this week that I have in a long time. I did 215lbs for 4 reps! On my 6th set! I’m hella strong!
  • Work last week was not good. AT ALL. Everything I touched turned to flames and I didn’t get near as much accomplished as I needed to. BUT tomorrow is a new day, and I have a plan to attack the problems. Planners rule.
  • My budget is super duper tight right now. It squeaks every time I have to spend a penny. BUT I am bound and determined that all my financial woes are not going to be the death of me. Failure happens, and I’ve failed a LOT, but it’s not the end. So instead of thinking about how hard things are, I’m going to be glad I think I finally have a plan to give me light at the end of the tunnel.
  • I have two zits on my face. But I have no positives for them. They suck.

So maybe Sunday, instead of being the dreary ugh day of the week, maybe it needs to be kinda like the pep rally for the week head. I still have to do my chores and such, but I think if I switched up my thinking to start believing Sunday is the day before something big…I’ll handle it better.

Sunday is ——- the excitement the day before vacation
Sunday is ——- the night before a marathon
Sunday is ——- the 30 minutes before your favorite band takes the stage

What is Sunday for you?

TODAY I LOVE: air conditioning (hallelujah!)
SONG OF THE DAY: “Redesigning Women” by The Highwomen

you enjoy YOU.

by Craig Groeschel

Hello everyone! Happy Sunday! I thought I’d check in and say “yo!” First off, thanks to all of you lovelies for being so real with me after my post last week. Because of your words I decided not to delete it.

I saw this quote the other day and decided to share it because it really stuck with me. (See above.) Isn’t it the truth?! And it applies to a whole lot of things…we can be perfectly content and happy with our lot…until we see our neighbor next door. BAM! What we have, or what we were overjoyed to be having, suddenly isn’t good enough.

This week I had some happies and I had some sads. And both are perfectly ok. I had some victories at work and I spent some quality time with my family yesterday celebrating Father’s Day. I’m also battling allergies that are going to be the death of me and my former wedding anniversary snuck up and bit me in the butt. Week #3 of counting my macros and I haven’t lost any weight, but I haven’t gained.

Up and down. High and low. Win and loss. It’s life, folks. I’m happy to report that this week I (for the most part) kept my emotions riding right down the middle between the two extremes.

If I can offer any kind of word for this week, it’s remember the quote above. You enjoy your YOU. YOUR LIFE. Everyone else is doing their own thing and probably comparing themselves to someone else too. Maybe even you. Skip all that and just take the joy. (I’m taping this up in my office this week, as a reminder for me too.)

TODAY I LOVE: my polaroid camera…I got a few photos of me and my brother yesterday that make me laugh SO HARD.
SONG OF THE DAY: “Sound and Color” by Alabama Shakes

identity crisis

For some reason lately I’ve started every conversation with the greeting “Yo.” Or “Heyo.” I have no idea where it has come from, but when you get a “yo” from me instead of a “hello”, welcome to being my friend. You want to know something funny? Every time I say it, and I mean EVERY TIME, this goes through my mind:

Song: Aaron Burr, Sir Musical: Hamilton

And I even sing it. It’s crazy and I kind of love it. I bet you have it in your head now too, right?

So anyway….Yo!

What’s been happening with me? Well, work has been nutso, but I work for a humanitarian aide organization so nutso means helping people in their time of need. You pull yourself up from your boots and get it done. At one point last weekend I thought I had broken something in my foot. I’ve WAY overspent my personal budget and need to get my butt in gear. But in that overspend I FINALLY replaced the record player I lost in my divorce and itmakesmesohappyIcouldscream.

At any rate, this weekend was a good one for me. It did have some strange thoughts that I’m puzzling out this evening. It’s really made me realize I have GOT to figure things out about me. Let me explain.

Last night I spent the evening with my best friend and her family. Her place is so pretty. They’ve worked very hard to make it a gorgeous and serene place. And they have a pool! Anyway, summer is not my favorite because I hate shorts because I hate my legs and I just feel uncomfortable. So for like an hour before I went to her place I just stared into my closet. “What is going to make me look the least fat?” I said it over and over and over. In the end I chose a t-shirt dress that wasn’t the most flattering but it was comfortable. And I had to do self-talk to myself all the way there, telling myself that they like me for me. It is hard work and exhausting fighting your own mind all the time. But I’m willing to do it in order to win in the long run. So, I’m batting that, and how I see myself…

This was my sixth week attending a church in town. I really, really like it. I’ve already met some great people and I think it’s a place that I can find community. I look forward to getting more involved. Anyway, today I met the campus pastor, officially, for kind of the first time. No joke, within probably 3 minutes I’d already blurted out in the most sloppy way that I’m divorced and blah blah blah. I was mortified.

I’m sitting here reflecting on all these things and the only thing I can ask myself is “who the crap am I????” Why am I letting myself have an identity of the fat, shy, embarrassed, divorced, unworthy girl? Why am I wearing the Scarlet Letter of all the things that have happened (or I’ve let happen) in my life? And I’m just playing into it. It’s almost like I’ve accepted this is my role and I should just go with it. (I’ve watched way too much Westworld lately. Just call me Dolores.)

I HAVE to change the script. I have to. Unless I break this wheel I’m never going to see true progress. I’m going to try some new things beginning this week and see if they can help change my behaviors. I’ll report back if they work. Or even if they don’t. This whole blog is about honesty, right?

TODAY I LOVE: my new record player
SONG OF THE DAY: “People Need a Melody” by The Head and the Heart

but then I stopped.

OLIVIA NEWTON-JOHN, Physical video, circa 1981-82

I’m writing this during the day. ON MY LUNCH BREAK. Yeah, I still can’t get over that. 🙂

So this morning I did something that I wanted to write about. You want to know what it was? I didn’t go to the gym and I didn’t feel guilty about it.

At first glance that sentence probably doesn’t mean very much to you. So what? I didn’t go to the gym. I don’t go to the gym several days a week (rest days.) It is the second part of that sentence that makes me smile. I have all the excuses for wanting to sleep: it took me a little while to fall asleep last night, the cat woke me up sometime in the middle of the night yowling as he was chasing a bug (I had to get up and make sure George wasn’t dying or anything), there was a thunderstorm early this morning and it was lovely to sleep to…and when my weekly alarm went off at 4:30am I was sleeping so good that I just turned it right off and went back to sleep. Again, it’s the part AFTER I’m most proud of.

Usually when I make the decision to sleep in and miss a workout, it’s almost a moot point. I will lay there and beat myself up for giving in, for being weak, telling myself that this is why I’m fat, etc. I have very, very ugly self-talk early in the morning. And then I don’t end up benefiting from the extra sleep because I’m so mad at myself! And I didn’t do that today.

Don’t get me wrong, old habits are very hard to break. I started to let it all wash over me. I started thinking about my friends seeing my LACK of Apple Watch activity and thinking me lazy and fat, I thought “Sarah, this is only slowing your goals,” I thought the gym regulars and my workout partner would think me wishy-washy and uncommitted, I thought myself ugly. BUT THEN I STOPPED. I really can’t tell you how hard this was to do, but I did it. I stopped all the thoughts and I redirected them. And I went back to sleep.

Maybe I’m finally putting some parts and pieces of my old Psychology degree in place, and maybe I’m recalling some old tools from counseling I’ve had, but it is slowly working.

Do I still have those ugly thoughts? Yep. They’ve tried to creep up on my several times this morning. And I have to actively and forcibly stop them. After sitting here and unpacking it all (after I journaled it), I’m realizing that I have a lot of internal things to work out, but I also seem to have a big hangup of others judgement of me. And it’s not by their doing – it’s my own mind. I need to think some more on how to help me change that setting within myself. I shouldn’t be having these thoughts to begin with, much less fighting them 24/7. Baby steps.

In the end, that extra sleep was ah-mazing. It was well worth it. It makes me no less of a person because I didn’t get up and go to the gym this morning.

TODAY I LOVE: sleeping during a thunderstorm
SONG OF THE DAY: “The Place Where Lost Things Go” by Emily Blunt (from Mary Poppins Returns)

not today

Did everyone watch Game of Thrones on Sunday? One thing I love/hate about social media is that you either love something so much you talk incessantly about it (like me and GoT) or you hate it and you rail on everyone who DOES like it (and you tell everyone about it.) Anyway, I digress, GAME OF THRONES! Man, what an episode. I’m not going to give anything away or really even talk about it. There is one quote/saying that has been around since season 1, and it plays a heavy part in this most recent episode. The quote is this:

“There is only one god, and his name is Death, and there is only one thing we say to Death. Not today.”

Syrio Forel, Game of Thrones

There are about 8 million memes going around with some version of “Not today.” I stole the idea of taping the message to my computer from my twitter friend Amanda (@adocmartin). I’m putting this in front of my face everyday to say “not today” to extra anxiety and stress. It’s my reminder of change and what HAS to change.

I’m trying hard to focus this week on changing my work habits to get a better work/life balance and leave as much of my stress/anxiety in the office as I can. Here are some ideas I’m trying this week:

  • Leaving my desk for lunch. I can’t honestly remember the last time I actually took a lunch. I usually just work right through it. I’m going to attempt to force that break in my day.
  • Ignoring non-important email after I leave and on the weekends. Despite how I’ve trained myself, some things are not essential and can wait. I don’t need to be tied 100% of the time to my email.
  • Planning my agenda for the day first thing when I arrive; the tasks that I desire to accomplish. Even though things change and events happen, I’ll still get things done. This is a change in thinking of just one day chunks of time rather than weeks.

What things do you do to alleviate stress at work?

What do we say to the fire-breathing dragon of stress and anxiety? Not today.

TODAY I LOVE: palomino blackwing pencils
SONG OF THE DAY: “Slow Burn” by Kacey Musgraves