44 Years… And what did I learn?

15267527_10154734118794929_3858128971363300281_nI am just days away from celebrating 44 trips around the Sun, and with that type of mileage on this Earth, it is customary that I recap the lessons I have learned and the ideas I hold to be true.

These are the types of things I wish my 15-year-old, or 25-year-old, or even 35-year-old self had known. And just think – I have so many more lessons to go!

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At 43 years and 361 days, here is what I know for certain:

  1. Love. F. Scott Fitzgerald said it best: “There are all kinds of love in this world but never the same love twice.” This I know to be true. I found a new love, a constant love, the most mature love you can find. It fits. And I am better for it.
  2. Under The Tuscan Sun had it right with the following lines: “They say they built the train tracks over the Alps before there was a train that could make the trip. They built it anyway. They knew one day the train would come. Any arbitrary turning along the way,and I would be elsewhere. I would be different. What are four walls, anyway? They are what they contain.The house protects the dreamer.Unthinkably good things can happen, even late in the game.”
  3. Don’t over spend. Pay your bills on time. This will protect you from a million woes and stress.
  4. Drink lots and lots and lots of water. Don’t smoke. Ever. Wear sun screen, and give yourself a facial at least once a week. Cleanse, exfoliate, and moisturize. And you, too, can look a lot younger than what you are. (I’m living proof.)
  5. Let it go or be dragged. The ONLY way to emotional freedom is to truly forgive and move on. Believe me when I say this. There is so much healing in forgiving and moving on.
  6. Gratitude is the secret to happiness. Look around at everything you have, every opportunity you have been afforded (the good with the bad,) and be grateful. THESE are your blessings.
  7. Reading is the great escape. If you don’t read good books, you have no advantage over the person who doesn’t read at all. Consume information like you would a bowl of ice cream.
  8. When you get a chance to try something new, hear an opposing idea, or go someplace you’ve never been – just be in the moment. You will gain a new perspective. You don’t have to agree or change how you live – but seek to understand. That brings incredible peace to your life.
  9. I try to laugh as much as possible. Try it. It makes life so much more delicious.
  10. Finally, set some goals. When we have goals, it gives us something to look forward to. I call that hope. Hope is what gets us up in the morning

Back At It!

a68ab544125a454697993d467b0e3b57It’s not enough I have to plan a wedding, a dream honeymoon, and search for a home to buy, but I decided to try to get back on the wagon – The healthy wagon.

Granted, I’ve had some serious success over the past two years. I’m not talking about actual weight loss, but rather, my blood pressure, cholesterol, and triglycerides were in a mess just a few short years ago. My doctor and I reworked the medication, I changed my diet, and I lowered my stress with some severe life style changes (like… well.. dropping toxic people from my life.) The proof is in the numbers – Everything went swimmingly.

Now… I’m going to go for the gold. I’m ready to get my outside to look more like my inside. I bought a fitness program that is literally kicking my butt. However, in just one week, that muscle memory is showing up and showing out. I was sitting on the couch and looked down at my calves and they were popping! Popping, I tell you! (But you have to remember, I’ve got about 17 years dance training on those calves.) But… there they were, just looking at me all strong and saying, “We’re here.”

I want the rest of me to do that.

I probably did more damn crunches than I have ever done in a lifetime – even with a personal trainer. (Which I have used in the past!) It felt good – and not only that, I had someone, rather 2 someones, right by my side. Tim & his daughter Karen-Ann. THAT is making a huge difference.

And honestly, this has nothing to do with looking good in a wedding dress or trying to get into a bikini anytime soon – this has to do with whether I feel strong. I want to feel strong.

I want my knees to ache and pop less, I want my ankles to quit swelling from having to carry excess weight, I want my skin to glow, and I want to feel less tired. That’s it. It is as simple as that.

But the process is not so simple…

SO what did I buy? I ended up getting Fe Fit.  Here is a little more about it:

Outside of the whole mom bit, the exercises are old school exercises that build strength. I can do it in a small space in 30 minutes and it works me very hard. I sort of laugh about the mom thing, but honestly, we have the kids on average of 3 -5 days a week. I work full-time, I have night-time work activities, I cook dinner for everyone, and then there is laundry. When was there time for me? There is not a lot of it. This seems to be a good stress reliever!

Our next goal, as a family, is to purchase bikes for each of us and get a bike rack and take up biking. We want to do this when we vacation, especially when we go down to our beach house, and even in other places. Plus, we live in the country and we have the perfect back roads to do it in.

Simple, small steps. Just another one of the bazillion projects I have brewing! What are YOU up to these days?

Are You Living A Life Worth Living?

I was just lounging on my couch listening to this song and looking at some old pictures. I thought I would post the song above, and maybe you could hit play and listen. It’s incredibly relaxing, slightly haunting, and wistful.

I got to thinking about how good it feels to be at a certain point in my life. More often than not, I am satisfied. That was not so even just ten years ago. Sure, my life was good, and I was having probably the time of my life, but satisfaction and contentment was something I was striving for. Fun versus contentment is a completely different level to achieve.

16422979_10154953799194929_5855326968090544436_oFor some reason, the two officers that died a few weeks ago crossed my mind. I had met and chatted with one of them. He was hired not too long before I was and went through new employment training with me. Cute is an understatement, Officer Smarr was that stereotypical good looking guy who you could tell just oozed with personality. Granted, I am almost 20 years older than Nick, and technically old enough to be his mom, I knew that he was probably a favorite among the girls. The young man had survived Afghanistan only to come home, to serve his community and get fatally shot by some thug. I say thug, because the guy was a self-proclaimed thug. Senseless shooting. It did not have to end that way. This kid was bright and he had his whole life ahead of him.

Then here I sit – safely in my home. Not just any home, a freaking cabin in the middle of a timber farm over looking a serene lake. My wants are few and yet I have achieved almost every goal I ever set out to tackle. It’s not bragging my friends.. these are my blessings. And yet…  why me? Why do I get 20 extra years? What makes me so damned special?

The reason I pose this question is to look at it like this – Am I living a life worth living? Am I wasting it away or am I making a difference? That kid, Nick – I assure you, he made a difference every day on our streets. What about me? I never had kids, so I am not going to leave a biological legacy.

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It hit me – I have got to remember to live in the present moment and to move forward in life with joyous gratitude.

It’s that simple.

Sure, we all know this. But do we practice it? And let’s be honest with ourselves, we need a reminder from time to time.

This year was supposed to be a joyous one. I want to say that it is, but like all years, I’m so deep in the thick of the every day minutia, that I sometimes forget to just…. BREATHE.

So tonight, I did that. I had the cabin to myself. I’m sitting here with the lights turned down, relaxing music by Lisa Gerrard in the background, burning a little Nag Champa, and trying to refocus.

I got a little sad thinking how quickly my status as fiance is going. Lord knows, I can’t wait to become Mrs. Kirksey, but there is something fun about the anticipation and in between time. A chapter of my life is closing, and I know in my heart my “happily ever after” guy is here. However, I have been completely overwhelmed with trying to get this wedding & reception just right and not actually enjoying the process. Not to mention, trying to plan the perfect Honeymoon to Paris. Luckily, my friend opened a travel agency and was able to take all of our random requests and create the perfect itinerary. I think she may have just saved me from myself!

(PS – Check out her website: EurTravels)

I guess what I am trying to say is: I need to pause. Re-examine. Breathe.

This week I will reincorporate meditation; at the very least – pauses. I will feel the gratitude. I will pause in the present. And I will live a life worth living.

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Are you living a life worth living?