The Simple Things

Realize deeply that the present moment is all you have.  Make the “now” the primary focus of your life. -Eckhart Tolle

Sometimes it is nice to take a step back from life and enjoy the simple things.  I took the opportunity today, a day off from work, to just enjoy.  I was busy.  I had a list of things to do, of course, because that is my comfort zone.  However, as I went about my day, checking things off my list, I definitely stopped to think about all the experiences in the day.

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I woke up at 8:30 a.m., on my own, without an alarm!  How grateful are you when this happens?  I LOVE it!  Love it, love it, love it and cherish it.  After throwing some clothes on, I walked down to Starbucks, grabbed a Pumpkin Spice Latte, ’tis the season, and walked back enjoying the near perfect sunny skied morning.  As I quickly packed up for the day of yoga, eye appointment, running, and massage, I was definitely in a hustle, but it was a great feeling.  It was that feeling of having an entire day, just to myself and getting things completed off my “to do” list.  I headed out the door with my arms full and my spirit ready to enjoy what the universe put before me.

Yoga

I love my yoga instructor Carla.  She is so challenging, but makes class worthwhile and fun and kicks all of our asses in the process.  Having yoga practice with Carla makes me feel like I have put in a hard workout and makes me feel alive!  It is always one of those workouts that the endorphins are pumping after and you feel like you really accomplished something.  I love it!

Eye Doctor

Just something that had to be checked off my list.  What makes me really happy is that I’m going to order one-a-day contacts.  My eyes dry out instantly with regulars and the trial pairs I have been using are AMAAAAAAZING(Oprah voice)!  Placed the order today for a full 90 day supply!

Trader Joe’s

I don’t often get to TJ’s but with a day off, I had to stop and pick up some frozen mango and pineapple for smoothies and some candied ginger for cupcakes.  The people in there are so happy and ready to help.  Always a great experience.

Running

There is a new, gorgeous rubber track between Montrose and Wilson on the Lake Shore path.  I’ve been dying to use it and today was the perfect day as I had some speed training to do for the marathon.  I ran my 4×1600 laps at a 7:43 pace.  The marathon is just over two weeks away.  I’m ready to go.  I’m ready to conquer my 4th marathon!!!

Massage

Since March I have treated myself to a massage every other week.  Let me tell you, it’s fantastic!  With all the running I do, I’ve upped it to once a week until the marathon.  It is something wonderful that I give to myself.

Putting a Card in the Mail

Today I wrote a card to my Grandma Bea who will celebrate her 97th birthday this weekend.  NINETY-SEVEN Ya’ll!!!!  Although I don’t get to see her often and I won’t get to celebrate with her this weekend, it makes me happy that I was able to get a card off to her letting her know that she is loved!  Happy 97th Birthday Grandma Bea!

Dinner With One of My Besties!

Friends are such a gift.  Even when you don’t get to see them as often as you’d like, they are always there to share a glass of rosé, a nice meal, and two decadent desserts!  Catching up and spending time with one another is important and something I value.  Life takes us all on different journeys and at different times, but it is comforting to know that friends are always there in spirit, if not in person.  Toast a friend with a glass of rosé tonight.  And remember, don’t be afraid to reach out and say “hi” or “let’s have dinner.”  We are all busy and let life pass us by.  Just because you’re single or not single, married or not married, have kids or don’t have kids, take the time to let someone know you care and to not let “busy” get in the way of catching up over dinner or brunch or a movie.  It is important that we all live our lives open to all possibilities and open to what the Universe puts before us.  I was reminded tonight that nothing beats sitting face-to-face with a dear friend. Take time now to reach out to one of your dear friends and make plans to get together.  It’s important!

So I just ran through my “to do” list from today, my day off.  While many of my friends were celebrating Rosh Hashanah, I was celebrating life and taking a moment to stop and be grateful for so many wonderful things I have in my life.

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It doesn’t have to take miracles to be happy, sometimes just taking a breath, stopping for a moment and enjoying the present is all we need.  Trusting the Universe and allowing life to unfold just exactly how it is supposed to unfold is the best that we can do.  Find happiness in your daily activities.  Tomorrow is Friday and on Fridays I get to stop at Dunkin Donuts for coffee.  That makes me happy.  Today I made cupcakes to take to work.  It’s a Martha recipe but these did not turn out like Martha’s, I’m sure.  Yet, they will still be loved by my co-workers and that makes me happy.  Tomorrow night my friend Sarah and I are hosting month nine of 12 Months of Happy, a happy hour celebration we decided to start back in January.  Each month we pick a different neighborhood and a different bar.  Sometimes five people come and sometimes 15…..wait, have we ever gotten 15 people out of the 100 we invite?  It doesn’t matter.  What matters is it makes us happy to celebrate friendships and Fridays and the weekend and new neighborhoods and life in Chicago.  This weekend I will celebrate two friends’ milestone birthdays, 40 and 35.  Have we really made it to the 40 mark?  Regardless, it makes me happy to have friends who rent trolleys and want to drink and eat pizza!

Go out and enjoy life.  Stop for a moment today and enjoy.  Say YES to Life!!

Seasons Change

Let me take you back, it’s February 10, 2002 and you are watching the final episode of the best Sex and the City season, Season 4.  Carrie and Aiden broke up again, Big left again, but Carrie has a new, sassy haircut and dark smokey eyes.  It’s Fall, change is upon Carrie, not only with men, but Miranda, her bestie just had a baby.  It’s Fall, the change of a season, leaves are falling from the sky and a lot in Carrie’s life has changed.

Today is a crisp day in Chicago and I sense the change of season is upon us.  As I drove home from yoga I couldn’t help but notice the leaves are changing colors.  Thirty minutes earlier I was at the end of my yoga practice, in shavasana.  I was feeling great.  Many of my favorite teachers have left, but this new one, Lauren, captured me.  As I laid there I reflected on the place I was a year ago.  Although I was working so hard on getting past a breakup, I was still very much hurting on a daily basis.  I’d say to myself, “You can do this.  You aren’t where you want to be but you are so far from the pain you felt in May and June and July.”  As soon as I felt strong, it seemed I felt weak again.  Each day was still a struggle, but I was making it.  I was making each day the best I could make it.  I was heavy into marathon training and into yoga practice.  However, today, as I lay there on my mat I felt completely different.  A year later I feel completely different.  I’m energized like myself.  I feel a release of energy that is so true to my being.  A year ago my intention in practice was healing, today my intention was love.   I just had this feeling on my mat today of AHHHHHH, changes have occurred and actually, I’m a far happier person because of those changes.  I’m in a far better place because of those changes.  Gosh it was a long journey, through many seasons, but I made it to the other side.  On a daily basis I did not see where I was headed, but what I know for sure, is that each day of the past 365 days, I was exactly where I was supposed to be.  And right now, September 11, 2014, I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be.

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I would never wish upon anyone to go through heartbreak.  It sucks!  But now, very far from it, with clear eyes and a full heart, I can clearly see the changes that the past 16 months have afforded me.  What should be known is that each day isn’t easy.  You have to make an effort to move forward and let go.  My god did I struggle with letting go.  But once I did, doors opened.  New people came into my life and because of those new people, other people came into my life.  I started this blog because I finally let go.  I participated in the Gay Games in Cleveland because I finally let go.  I have a different energy in my life now because I let go.  And honestly, I’ve packed on 10 lbs. because I LET GO!  Let’s be honest, crying daily and not eating and training for a marathon can take you down to 168 lbs., but sitting at 178 lbs., a year later, I’m a much happier, energized person.

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I remember back in July last year, I was sitting at my doctor’s office with a broken heart and broken hand.  She said, “Wow, you’re really going through a season, but don’t worry, it will get better.  Everything changes, you just have to hold on for a little bit before you see it.  Your hand will mend, and so will your heart.”  I of course was sobbing, but she was right.  My hand did heal and so did my heart.  I had to fucking tape that shit back together somedays, but with each stick of new tape and each step of the day, it all got better.  With friends’ help, oh friends’ help, I made it to my yoga mat today where I realized how far my journey has taken me and how far I have come.  If you find yourself in a similar situation, just hold on.  Surround yourself by loving friends and get a whole mess of tape because it could take a lot of mending before it all sticks back together.  But you have to believe that one day, your heart will stick all back together.  It may never feel the same way, but I believe that is ok.  It’s not meant to feel the same way.  Your heart changes too, just as you do.  You will always love again, just in a different way.  Thank your journey for teaching you all kinds of ways to love.  And remember this, seasons are going to happen, some of them good, some of them not so good.  You will make it to the other side.

You're not the same person

Oh, no truer words have been written, no truer words.  A year ago I was just starting to take longer steps in a forward progression to letting go.  As I reflect, I realize that I needed ALL of that time to learn about myself and heal and tape my heart up and tape again and accept the changes and SEE how wonderful the experiences I’ve lived this year have been.  A month ago I was coming off the greatest 10 days at the Gay Games in Cleveland.  Had I still been living my life of 2012-2013, I would never have experienced the love, joy, and excitement of being a competitive athlete at the Gay Games.  CHANGE, I don’t love it, but it brings us to where we need to be.  It forces us to veer off course and perhaps make our fate.  If things in my life hadn’t changed, I would not be sitting here today typing and sharing my writing.  So many parts of my life, right now, wouldn’t be as they are had things not changed.  Am I going to say it?  Change, change is good.

As seasons come and go, often fall, is a time of reflection as spring is a time of new hope, new adventures.  Winter is a time for, well, winter sucks, but summer, summer is a time for fun and joy.  My hope for you, as autumn seems to be upon us, is that you had a wonderful summer filled with more joy and love than you could ever imagine.  I hope that new people have brought joy and love to your life, as they have to mine, and I hope your dearest friends have remained that consistent joyful reminder of happiness and how far you have come on this journey.  I hope that autumn brings you a time of reflection, a nice new sweater and good changes.

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Single Season

Single

I recently read this amazing blog post by # called “You Are Significant With or Without a Significant Other.”  Over the last couple of weeks I have talked about this blog with friends and acquaintances.  Many of them have said, “Oh, I’ve heard about this.”  It is well worth a read, so take a few minutes now if you haven’t already.  What she writes about is worth sharing.  We as single people may not be where we want to be in our lives, or where we envisioned ourselves, but we have it pretty good.  We have some freedoms that married folk don’t.  We have some freedoms that parents don’t.  Rather than looking at it as a burden to be single, or something to be sad about, let’s choose to look at it as an opportunity to Say YES to Life! and live the hell out of this season.

I’ve lived the better part of my 37 years being single.  Granted, 26 of those years were spent trying to figure out who the hell I wanted to date.  Good Lord!  Once that got all settled, I spent the next nine years living it up, going to bars with friends, dating, getting graduate degrees, traveling, thinking it would be awesome to have a kid, realizing it would not be awesome to have a kid, and then finally finding that guy, the one I would call “boyfriend.”  Those years were fun, but certainly not what I was looking for, for the rest of my life.  The year plus with my ex was amazing and I thought it was everything I wanted out of life.  AT LONG LAST, I wasn’t SINGLE.  Honestly, in my head, just not being single and having a “boyfriend” was probably more significant than the actual relationship.  He couldn’t give me his heart.  He couldn’t say, “I love you.”  That is what I’m looking for, a guy who can accept emotion from me and give it back to me.

“You’ve been so unavailable/Now sadly I know why/Your heart is unobtainable/Even though Lord knows you kept mine.”

                                   –Sam Smith, “I’m Not The Only One” from In the Lonely Hour

(Check out Sam Smith’s album, In the Lonely Hour, and be amazed.  Not since Adele have lyrics been so real.)

Before my ex, I had convinced myself that I was content being single.  How many times did I tell myself, “I’d rather be single than with the wrong guy.”  I can tell you, hundreds of times that phrase went through my head.  And yes, if I’m single the rest of my life, I will be okay.  However, after experiencing a consistent, fun, and worthwhile dating relationship, the reality is that I want to be with a partner.  I do not want to be single.  Who does?  As is written in “You Are Significant With or Without a Significant Other,”    being single does not mean that we have to wait to be partnered before we can start our lives.  This is a season.  We may not be where we want to be, but this is an opportunity to live our lives freely until or if a partner should ever join us.

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“Being single is an opportunity, even if it’s not one you choose. Spend it.”  I love this quote from the blog post by #.  Yes, thank you for acknowledging that this is not what I chose.  I don’t like it, but I can take this time and opportunity and “spend it.”  And this too, “don’t wish away this season just because it doesn’t look the way you thought it would.”  What a constant reminder that I have a good life.  I am doing things with my singledom that are pretty amazing.

What has this Single Season afforded me?

Amazing Friendships:

Sarah, Dave, Michael, Patrick, Ronald, to name a few, have come in, or back into my life during this season.  This is like my Oscar speech because there are SO many more people who the above have introduced me to who have become amazing parts of my life too.  I probably could name about 50 new or returning people to my life during the past year.  If anything has come of this time, I know that I am blessed to have these friends in my life.  These are the people who reach out and ask, “Want to go grab a beer?”  “Want to grab brunch?”  “Want to go to a movie?”  “Want to go for a run?”  This season may not be where any of us want to be, but we have the freedom and choice to do whatever we want, when we want, and how we want.  That’s pretty cool.

I have not written off my married friends, though most of them have fled to the burbs with kids.  That’s not to say we can’t still hang out.  As is written in the blog post, “You Are Significant With or Without a Significant Other,” single people can still add significance to married people and vice versa.  “Don’t miss out on friendships with amazing people because they’re single and their rhythm of life is different from yours.  And don’t assume that because someone’s single, they don’t want to hang out with married people, or people with kids.”  This is true.  I love my married friends and I love their kids.  The best part of hanging out is that I get to see my friends, play with their kids, and the kids stay with them and I get to go back to the city.  I joke, but some of the friends I have who are married have been the longest friendships here in Chicago.  Though our lives have changed since we were all 24, single and living in the city, I love them all and wish I could see them more. So yes, my single friends from 14 years ago are mostly married with children and though our lives are admittedly different, it doesn’t mean I don’t want to be involved with them.  They add significance to my life too.

This Blog:

Finally, after a year of being sad, I made it through the fog and found my voice.  I’m only 5 posts (almost 6) into this adventure of blogging, but it feels good.  It feels good to write and create and express my emotions.  This blog is about taking my power back.  Taking back the power to be happy.  It is a choice and I’m choosing to find the good things in life, whether I’m single or not.

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Being single may not be where any of us want to be right now, but we have a choice to be cheerful and happy and free to do whatever we want.  I recently said to my friend Patrick, who is headed on his first solo trip, that traveling alone is amazing because it opens us up to new experiences we would not often open ourselves up to in the comforts of our own world.  On my solo trips in Thailand and Peru I met so many people I would have otherwise not, because I was single.  When we’re alone we are more willing to approach people and they more willing to approach us.  In Peru I had one of the best conversations about world travel with an older single woman who saw I was alone and asked to eat dinner with me.  That took balls, but you know what, if I was with someone, she and I would never have had that conversation.  We would have never shared our stories of the majesty that is Machu Picchu.  On the flip side, there were a few times in Thailand that I was staying at fantastic hotels and I wished I had a partner with me to experience the grandeur.  During this conversation with friends Patrick and Sarah I said, “I really want to go to Greece, but I think it is a trip to do with a partner.  Maybe a honeymoon trip?”  Wisely Sarah said, “You could die tomorrow.  If you want to go, go.  If you want to go next summer, start planning.  If you want to go for your 40th, do it.  Invite friends and the people who can and want to come will come.  Don’t wait for a honeymoon or a boyfriend.  Life could end tomorrow.  We are single now and we can go now.”  YES!  This is about Saying YES to LIFE!  Whatever makes you happy, do it.  If it is owning a nice knife, buy it now.  Do not wait for a wedding.  If it is travel, do not wait around for someone else. Do it now.  Do it for yourself because you are fabulous, free, and ready to live your life, NOW!  Forty is just over two years away.  Start saving your money because we are headed to Greece, ya’ll!

“Being single used to mean that nobody wanted you. Now it means you’re pretty sexy and you’re taking your time deciding how you want your life to be and who you want to spend it with.” 

                                                                                                                                                                           -Carrie Bradshaw

 

To my single friends:  Hold on for the ride.  Embrace your singledom and live your life.  Remember, Single is not a status, it is a word that describes a person who is strong enough to live and enjoy life without depending on others.”

How are you Saying YES to LIFE?