Saturday, September 6, 2014

Before I Turn 40, 330 Days and Counting

As I sit here, 39 years old, leaving New York city on the train, I am in deep thought about who I am, who I want to be and what is important to me. I am not really that concerned with age and aside from the wrinkles and gray hair, I have no problem getting older. Age for me has brought clarity. The last couple of years I have decided that less is more for most things like material possessions, people that don't feed my soul and everything unhealthy. Once I removed those place holders from my life, I have found that I have so much more room for the things that matter to me like hugs and kisses, joy of time spent with loved ones and moments of happiness. And don't get me started on drama - I try to stay as far away from that as possible.

I spent the night in NYC visiting a friend and it was wonderful. Not because I was in the city that never sleeps, but because I was with one of my closest friends. We have been friends since sixth grade and while we don't get to see each very often, we pick up right where we left off every time. And while our lives have changed considerably since we graduated high school and have taken very different paths, we have both stayed true to who we are. Our friendship is proof that true love and soul mates can come in many forms.

I looked around the city as we rushed from place to place and I realized that I wanted exactly the opposite of what it all stood for. I know that many people have a love affair with New York City, my friend included, so this isn't personal against you if you do. But for me, I want simple and open and fresh. I want less stuff and less people trying to sell me stuff. And while you can live simply in the city, it sure isn't cheap. And as 40 looms around the corner, I want a life that isn't ruled by how much money I make or have, but more about how much time I have to enjoy my moments that are free. I want to play on the beach with my six year old or spend rare moments in deep conversations with my fourteen year old or quiet moments doing nothing much with my husband.

I will admit that I dream of living off the grid, being self-sustaining and adore the idea of a tiny house. But let's get real. The idea of living with a my six and fourteen year old in a 400 square foot home makes me want to stick a fork in my eye, plus I really do adore my home. And while homesteading is a huge dream of mine, I barely have time or energy to keep my one flower plant alive never mind grow a garden big enough to feed my family on. And so my goal for the next 330 days is to enjoy my moments more, focus on experiences over stuff and a live a simple, happy, healthy and meaningful life.

Disclaimer: I will still love you if my perfect life isn't right for you. I will not judge you, look down on you or gossip about you if you live a big, crazy, extravagant life full of shopping and junk food. As long as you are happy and true to yourself then go for it. And don't get me wrong, I used to love to shop, drink Coke and eat Doritos, but the older I get the less fulfilling those things are for me and so I decided to look elsewhere. But I definitely still look back with nostalgia.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Make no apologizes for who you are...

My family has been through some obstacles over the last couple of years that have forced us to examine some things and make some big changes. Like a lot of people, a big health scare can cause you to look at things related to your health and figure out how you can do things better. For my family that meant eating healthy and clean. My husband chose to go the vegan path (which truthfully I balked at in the beginning) and after experimenting with an elimination diet to see how food is effecting my body, I am now gluten free, dairy free (mostly), no eggs or processed foods. I try to buy most things organic, non GMO, and mostly foods with ingredients that are real. My kids have not been as excited to jump on the band wagon, but that is our work in process. Because most of what I have been taught by the world around me all my life (health class, commercials, magazines, etc) is less than accurate, I have had to seek out new knowledge. This learning has been eye-opening for me. I get excited and I want to share. Different people view this differently. Some of my friends are also excited by what I share, but I know others roll their eyes and probably feel as though I share too much. I would like to say right now, that if you do not appreciate what I share, than I am totally fine with being blocked or unfriended - I get it and I will not be hurt.

But let me explain why I share. First, my sharing is not about being better than anyone or judging you. How I choose to live my life, does not mean that I am judging how you live your life. I don't pretend to know everything and I certainly don't pretend to understand your journey. But I can share my journey and I do so for a couple reasons. One, I need to hold myself accountable. This is a major life change and it's hard sometimes to stay on a challenging path. What better way to hold myself accountable than to put it out there for my friends and family to see. The main reason I share, however, is because I want to help. Seriously! What I have been through in the last couple years and most recently when I changed how I viewed food, has been literally life changing for me. I have seen people struggle with weight, health and self worth both privately and now with social media, very publicly,  all my life. The messages out there prey on these struggles and a person's self worth. The diet industry has made billions on this viscous cycle they they created. If they told you the truth to being healthy, you would never need their products again. The truth is that there is no quick fix, no magic pill or shake or exercise video that will buy you what you want. But I digress...I share because I want to help anyone who is interested. Again, if you aren't interested than by all means, ignore me. But I do ask that you don't judge me because I am honestly not judging you.

One more thing I would like you to keep in mind is that I am not perfect. I have set some lofty goals for myself, but I am only human and as such, I fail sometimes. Sometimes I have a piece of pizza while at a party, sometimes I get my kids fast food for dinner, and I even die my hair with products that aren't organic knowing full well they are probably not the best for me. It happens and I am okay with that because I live in the real world with work and kids and basketball schedules and unexpected shit that happens from time to time. I cannot drive myself crazy about all the choices I make, but I can try my best to stick to my plan most of the time.

Your journey may not be about health. It may be about religion, education, love or changing the world. But you should never have to apologize for who you are or have others make you feel bad about your choices because they disagree. Our lives are hard enough when we have people on our side cheering us on. Let's all agree that we may not choose the same paths, but we can definitely choose to respect the paths that others have chosen.