Embrace the beauty in living life unfiltered.

Thank you for reading my stories, laughing along, and being brave enough to share yours! 

i'm like, hey, what's up? hello

Way back in 2016, hours after I published my last blog, I passed a friend in the hallway at work.

"Hey, I just read your latest blog!"

"It was ok." I responded.

Abolish self-scrutiny she said in 2016. If at first you don't succeed, try, try, try again.

My 2017 list is rolling out late but I'd rather my intentions be thoughtful versus generic and cheap. Plus I procrastinate very well. Working on it. “O, maybe I should reorganize the kitchen cabinets…”

The truth is I didn’t love my 2016 wrap up. There were moments still being processed and others that will simply remain private. The final piece resulting in exactly what I set out to avoid. It felt generic.

I share stories much like how I bowl. My friends would always howl laughing when I would walk forward on the lane, release the bowling ball, and turn around as quickly as could be, too nervous to watch how it plays out. Spoiler alert; nine times out of ten it didn’t end with a strike. Similarly, I hit “publish” on a story, and I can’t look back, too nervous to reread all that I’ve shared.

Eventually, I read what I’ve written. Something stood out to me this time, revealing a pattern that needs adjusting. I do believe our growth points are in moments of friction. I do value the reflection that spurs positive change. I also spend way too much time focusing on what needs work and too little time honoring any good I have helped create.

At the end of my life, I want to see a person who gave their best and lived a full life. Reflection is good. Perseverating is wasting time that should be spent living. In the spirit of improving I decided to take another stab at my 2016 review.

2016 review part deux

I started a blog! Yep, you’re reading it. Right now. I know! It’s been an exciting road bringing new feelings and challenges to writing I’m learning to embrace. Connecting sincerely with others through my writing has been the most unexpected and special gift.

I poured love out and received it back tenfold. Old relationships continued to grow and new ones were formed. There’s a softening that comes with age (if you let it) and my circle that grew in 2016 was formed of even more genuine, kind, and compassionate human beings.

I wrote a reading for my oldest friend’s wedding that I was proud to deliver. It was my voice but it was the couple’s story. My other very close friend took my words and turned them into art, creating a gift that the couple loved so much that they forgave the gifter for using almost the entire first year of marriage to gift.

I vacationed with newer friends and was lucky to have soaked up more time than normal with my oldest, best, and too far-away living friends.

I stood by another best friend on her wedding day. We met in “adult life” after college. She married a friend I’ve known since freshman year algebra class. I love when worlds connect like that. I’ve spent many a favorite nights at their home, laughing and reminiscing, while my friend shares her love by cooking us a delicious meal, insisting/demanding I touch nothing in the kitchen. (We get each other). There’s always a candy basket full of my favorites. Before, sometimes during, and after dinner I nibble on treats. I pout when the stock is low, but regardless always leave it empty as we say goodnight. Preparing them for parenthood one mini peanut butter cup at a time.

I took on a new role becoming a fitness instructor teaching my favorite workout in town. I’d always aspired to do this and finally just said, “Screw it”, asked if I could teach, and now I’m a real live instructor. I even have regulars who come to my classes. It feels so energizing to say that.

I decided to commit to letting go of mistakes and to stop berating myself for how I could have shown up better. The Catholic guilt shtick is getting old.

In January of 2016 I shared my intentions for the year ahead. I look back at that list and I feel nothing but satisfied. I’ll remember 2016 as a pivotal year and with great appreciation. Celebrations and accomplishments made the highlight reel but there were countless other smaller, more private, and at the time, seemingly insignificant moments that made last year one for the books. I’ll cheers it again and again with love and gratitude.

2017 shall we? We shall because well, it’s almost February.

2017* Intentions

Say No –when I want, when I need, without guilt

More QT with my most important life love bugs

Adventure planning

More humbly humorous**

Make amends for mistakes, learn, and let go

JOMO – Joy of missing out***. I bombed detaching myself from my phone/social media last year so the resolution carries over

Softer, slower responding over quick reacting

Learn how to curl my hair (carried over from 2016, 15, 14…)

Fancy schmancy new website

Practice good sleep hygiene

Create dedicated space to write

Learn how to write

Live life with an attitude of abundance

I’m determined to get everything I want out of this life. I want to work hard to be a better, kinder, and more decent human being with every step, rocking casual beach waves along the way.

I want the same for everyone else, too. Go after your dreams. Be a good human. Lookout and do for others, not just yourself. We’ve got this one little life. Let’s all stay focused on the road we’re intentionally creating. Cheers to another, even better spin around the sun!

*I’ve developed a tick where I cannot hear the number 17 without breaking out into Fetty Wap’s, Trap Queen. It’s going to be a long year. All day, every day, ”I’m like, Hey, what’s up? Hello…”

**All the time with the jokes. I could keep a joke or two in or at least laugh less when I make a funny. Eventually people will tire of that. Which is a shame because I'm only getting funnier with age. F*ck.

***Yesterday, I saw a couple walking with their unleashed dog behind them. The couple crossed the street and I caught the dog very purposefully stop and take a seat, resisting the cross of another block. The dog kept his eyes on his owners until they noticed his absence and turned around, coaxing him to continue. “C’mon Lou, we’re out for a nice long walk.” I watched as Lou communicated (as best he could) his extreme disinterest in this plan and furthermore, his frustration about not having been consulted from the start. It was hysterical and adorable wrapped into one tiny moment. A moment I surely could have missed if I was checking Instagram for the 21st time that day. There’s nothing so grand on our phones that can trump what can be found without them. Disconnect to connect. Imperative. After I post this to social media, of course. What a trap.

keep going

that's a wrap