I’ve been a little slow to embrace the Boulder lifestyle, I will admit. I don’t know what was holding me back but for some reason I have resisted a lot of things that make Boulder what it is. After all, what makes Boulder what it is flies in the face of what I have lived over the past decade and it’s hard to just shove that aside and fully embrace something different. It’s not that I don’t love it here, in fact I love the Colorado lifestyle and I do want to live it fully but the stubborn city girl inside of me has dug in her heels quite a bit.
During my trip to Europe the times I was happiest, when I felt most alive stand out in great numbers but they all had one thing in common. I was on the Isle of Skye in Scotland the first time it happened. I was soaking wet all the way down to my shoes, the only pair of semi-decent wilderness-type shoes I brought with me and the same pair of shoes the bartender at the pub at the trailhead had rolled her eyes at. I didn’t care, I was out in the middle of these two mountain ranges, the sun finally had shown it’s face and damn it if Scotland wasn’t the most gorgeous. I was practically skipping down the trail, drunk on being outdoors and with adventure and doing it all by myself and I thought, wow. THIS is what happiness feels like.
Whether it was wandering the woods in Scotland, or walking the beaches in San Sebastian in Spain, or hiking through the Atlas Mountains in Morocco, there was one thing that all of this crazy happiness had in common: I was outside, immersed in the wilderness, and with the exception of Scotland, bathed in sunlight. I wasn’t in front of a computer, I wasn’t sitting inside a coffee shop killing hours (although I do have fond memories of many hours, and cappuccinos, spent at a small cafe in Barcelona), I was outside being active.
Saturday I woke up and after a couple lazy hours I put on my hiking boots and headed south of town towards Eldorado Canyon. I first initially set out on one trail, a flat trail that snaked it’s way over the plains. My first thought was This would make for a great trail run. A thought that was most unlike the old me. This trail had amazing views of the flatirons but there wasn’t a tree in sight. I wasn’t loving this hike, didn’t find it challenging enough, and when I found out part of it was closed due to mud, I turned around. I wound up walking across the street from that trailhead and just like that, found myself on another trail totally immersed in the woods. Colorado is awesome like that–whatever kind of hike you like, it has. Often within just feet of each other.
I spent three and a half hours hiking up steep hills, descending through pine trees, and picnicking in the middle of a field. I could have kept going, and almost did since there were so many trails to explore, but I was getting a blister and I was burning in random places where sunscreen had managed to miss, so I headed home.
Hiking is not something new to me and I know I love it, but I’m often held back by my desire to go with other people. I’m slowly finding the courage to do things on my own and I think I’ve finally mastered my fear of hiking alone, a hurdle that really wasn’t that hard. One of a couple things I usually balk at is trail running. I used to see people running these same trails I was huffing and puffing up while walking and refer to them as Crazy Boulder People. I could not see the appeal to it. I mean, WHY?
Well, those Crazy Boulder People now have a new member to add to their society. Ironically, and I’m sure you’ve guessed it, that would be me. My friend Katie of Sensing Self has organized a women’s run here in Boulder that goes out on Friday and Sunday mornings. Since I am a 9-5er, I can only make the Sunday runs and last weekend was my first. It was up this gorgeous canyon alongside a creek and OMG I GET IT NOW. I loved running it! I still bow down to the concrete running gods but I will definitely be throwing in a beautiful trail run every weekend. It’s gorgeous, and while I run the risk of twisting my ankle on every rock and root, I just enjoy it so much more.
This morning Katie and I went up Flagstaff Mountain to the smaller, less intense sister trail of my absolute favorite eight mile treck that’s just across the street from it. (See? Trails for everyone!) We had intentions of running this one but sometimes I have off running days and today happened to be one of them. I just couldn’t get myself out of my head and into the run, not to mention that being at that altitude was kicking some fierce butt. It did turn into more of a hike than a run, but it was amazing to get out into the sun all weekend.
I have made a promise to myself that I will be outside, as much as possible, every single weekend this summer. I’m also going to try new hikes and not just stick with my standards. I’m going to push myself, explore and do really fun things like maybe learn how to golf, go kayaking at Gross Reservoir, and go camping. I always have lofty goals every summer and have been fairly good about achieving them. This year, it is on. I found my happiness and I intend to keep it, no matter how lazy my city girl side wants to be.
After a morning of restlessness, I wound up in my car driving up into the mountains. It was a beautiful day and I hated wasting it by sitting inside. It was also cold and windy, not a day I wanted to spend hiking in the varying wind tunnels surrounding Boulder. Saturday was spent on a 6 mile gorgeous hike in Eldorado Canyon so I did have my hiking fix for the weekend. So I took off down Canyon towards Nederland with the goal of driving north up the Peak to Peak Highway, a scenic drive that takes you along winding roads past Long’s Peak and up into Estes Park. That was my plan but at the last minute I veered off down a smaller road that lead up to Gold Hill.
I was a little nervous to do the drive. It’s paved until about half way up and then it turns to dirt and with the recent foot of snow we received, I wasn’t sure how the conditions would be. I’m a little nervous driving on mountain roads but I wanted an adventure so I went seeking it. The ride up was fine, a little muddy but nothing my car–or my nerves–couldn’t handle. The scenery was beautiful, as always, and I was enjoying myself. Gold Hill is this cute old town perched aptly on the top of Gold Hill. There’s a great old inn that serves the best blackened trout, a tiny general store and a smattering of houses. There’s not much to it but it’s definitely worth a drive up, from whatever direction you happen to come from. I didn’t wind up stopping this time, instead drove straight through towards the Peak to Peak Highway. That was when things got tricky.
The snow was covering the muddy road for most of the way down and I was gripping the wheel, lost in fear. Instead of taking in the gorgeous scenery and enjoying my alone time, I was focusing on the worries, on the fear surrounding my dislike of not being in control mixed with heights. The road was slippery but it wasn’t anything my car couldn’t deal with. After all, that’s why I have 4 wheel drive, why I have a SUV, right? After managing a hair pin turn with no guard rails I realized what I was doing. I was giving fear complete control over my life so that I couldn’t even enjoy the moment, a moment that was not putting me in any real danger.
It wasn’t long after that moment that I reached the paved highway and continued on to Estes Park, the adrenaline from the ride through the muddy backroads exiting my body in shakes and shivers. The ride was just as gorgeous and a lot less nerve-wracking so I had some time to reflect on what I had just went through.
Fear. It is often an unwelcome guest in our lives and holds us back from doing things that could be really fun, beneficial to us, or bring happiness to our lives. I let fear rule far too often. I’ve written about it before, most likely several times if I really look back through my archives. I make up excuses as to why I can’t do something and prefer to stick with what’s comfortable, what I know. Changes are effing scary and sometimes you need to just take the leap.
Let’s look at another example of fear in my life. I was 15 and it was my second time skiing, the first time had not gone well–I wound up going down the hill in a toboggan, and I was nervous. I had gone down the bunny slopes multiple times and felt comfortable to go down this green hill. Then I got to the top of that hill and I stood there. And I stood there. And I stood there. My friends passed me by multiple times until one got sick of my not overcoming my fear and pushed me. It wasn’t so bad…at first. I was making the turns, I was enjoying the wind in my hair and I was loving it! Until I realized I couldn’t stop.
I ran into a lodge wall in front of about 50 people. I ran into the wall, and I ricocheted off of it.
I didn’t stop skiing though. I picked myself up and started skiing again, not that day. Not even that trip. But I went to a smaller mountain with my dad shortly after and taught myself how to stop. Eventually, I grew to love skiing–at my own pace. I prefer the easier greens and the occasional easy blue. I learned how to manage my fear in that one instance. I have to figure out how to do it now.
What’s the worst thing that could happen? I run into a wall? I’ve already done that (literally).
Before moving to Colorado I wouldn’t say I was very…domestic. I knew my way around a kitchen. Fridge for wine, sink for empty bottle, stove for storing things in. That was pretty much all NYC kitchens are good for anyway, with the occasional pot of boiling water for pasta. I also lived in a tiny space that didn’t even have a coffee table half the time so my decorating needs were also at a bare minimum. Once, my roommate Michele and I got it into our heads to print out pictures we’d taken of NYC to hang on our apartment walls. I didn’t get to see them hung when I lived there but when I visited a year and a half ago and crashed on my old couch, I got to see them.
What I’m saying is, I’m not very domestic and it takes me a while to complete projects sometimes. That’s kind of besides the point of this post. I think you’re all used to my rambling off on various off-topics by now….
The end of last week I was hit with the nastiest of nasty colds. I’m talking, worse than the cold at the beginning of the year nasty. I first tried going to the Boulder route–all natural herbal medicine prescribed to me by the “guru of sickness” at Pharmaca. After a day of feeling like total hell on earth was boiling me in a pot, I gave up that option and went in search of Theraflu. Which apparently is like trying to pan for gold because guys. I couldn’t find it anywhere! I went to five different pharmacies before I gave up and got DayQuil. After a few nights of horrible fevers and days where I couldn’t tell you what was up or down, I was ready to sleep for about 48 hours.
I did lie in bed for about 14 hours and then dragged myself up to lie on my sofa where I could see the sun since it was once again a beautiful Colorado weekend. I didn’t move until about 3pm when my raging headache finally wore off and I started to feel more human. And that’s apparently when Martha Stewart straight up entered my body and took over. I got it into my head that I wanted to plant little cacti and succulents in my new cute little flower pot I had gotten. See, I’ve had two houseplants that I’ve managed to keep alive for a year. This is a HUGE step for me, since I usually kill plants by looking at them so I figured I was safe to get a few more plants! So I made my way to Home Depot and quickly forgot how small my little pot was and got way too many cacti. What? They were all so cute!
I made my first little arrangement before heading off to a bar to watch the Michigan vs. Syracuse game. That was very un-Martha of me and very un-Spartan of me and I felt guilty the entire time, even if I WAS rooting for Syracuse. Anyway. Sunday I could not just let those poor little cacti live homeless on my coffee table any longer so I went in search of another pot. Because you know, I’M MADE OF MONEY. I think Martha forgot that part, when she took over my body. So I went and bought a cute little pot and maybe a new shirt at Marshalls because one can never have too many cute shirts to make cacti arrangements in.
Did I mention that on Saturday, when I went shopping for cacti, that I wound up with a nightstand for my bedroom? Yeah, I need a nightstand and yeah, it’s what I have been looking for for the past two years and it was a great price but my shopping is getting a bit ridiculous.
So once again I made another cacti arrangement which is so effing cute and I am like tickled pink because I created it and it actually looks good. Now all of a sudden I want to do this for a living and then remembered how many times I stabbed myself with the one little prickly cactus I got (the rest don’t have sharp points for a reason) on the trip from my car to my house, before I even started wrestling it into the pot, and realized I’d be pretty bad at this newfound job.
I’ve also discovered that if ever I need to give people gifts, I can just start chopping off pieces of this one plant I have had for over a year now. That thing has taken over and I keep cutting it back and growing those little pieces and then planting them and then watching them start taking off like weeds and am I raising a weed? No, serious question. Maybe I am. Either way it’s effing HUGE and just keeps giving and giving so friends, expect pieces of my plant as gifts.
Martha then proceeded to have me make a cauliflower and olive gratin with salmon topped with some delicious seasoning. It was heaven on a plate but unfortunately Martha then abandoned me and made me clean up her mess in the kitchen. So typical. She also apparently left me a rambling mess and gave me free reign of the internet. I have so far written this piece of nonsense and discovered that I can stay in a Frank Lloyd Wright house for $350 a night on Airbnb. Bucket list, baby!
I need some cheaper hobbies. And maybe someone to filter my brain because I’m just going to push publish on this and hope for the best.
So I played it off last night like I had no idea where I wanted to travel to. It’s true, I was torn…for like eight hours. Sweden. Iceland. Costa Rica. Colombia. All fantastic places that I will travel to but sometimes your heart already belongs to one location and it just takes your brain a little longer to catch up. Took ya long enough. You can almost see my heart rolling it’s eyes northward.
So where am I jetting off to this September?
I almost went to Sweden and Iceland while I was traveling three years ago. There’s a train ride I want to take in Sweden, an ice hotel and dog sledding that I want to do there too. Northern lights! And then there’s Iceland. It looks stunning, and everyone has recommended it to the moon and back. Hot pools? Crazy landscapes? Outdoorsy stuff? Yes, please. And Colombia has always intrigued me. The history, the culture, the flavors, the architecture of Bogota! All of them have their perks and reasons why I will one day get there. But 2013?
It’s the year of Costa Rica.
I am beyond excited about it. Jungles! Beaches! Exotic animals! It is the complete opposite of everywhere I have been in my life so far. I have been all over Europe. I’ve been to Scandinavia. I feel like going to Sweden or Iceland would have been sticking close to my comfort zone and after the past couple years of getting settled into my box, making myself comfortable there and I need to break free from that. I’ve never been to Central or South America. Colombia would be amazing and a big leap out of my comfort zone, but I’m not there yet. It doesn’t call me the same way that Costa Rica does.
You might be thinking, she’s all talk. We’ve been here before, I’ve announced I’m going somewhere and then when it came down to it, it didn’t happen. China. The big white elephant in the room. I was sad that China didn’t happen but it was a bigger monster than I could handle and it just wasn’t the right time for me and China. It was too expensive, too much in too little time and I just didn’t want to do it alone. Costa Rica is outside of my comfort zone but not too much of a reach that I will back down from it. It’s within my budget, I can do it alone or with someone else and it isn’t this massive country. Plus, I’ve been dying to go to Costa Rica.
If I spend five days lying in a hammock by the beach, I would consider it a successful vacation. Add in some exotic animals, especially monkeys, and jungle treks and some adventure to boot, and I’d call it an amazing time. I’m so excited for this trip.
I don’t know anything about the country aside from jungles and beaches and can’t wait to learn more. In fact, as soon as the Voice is over I’m going out and buying the guidebook for it. Usually, a guidebook means it’s happening but not this time. I have my eyes on flights and will buy as soon as it’s perfect.
This time? It’s happening. It’s about damn time I get out of the country. It’s about damn time I get to Central America. Now, I have to take some Spanish lessons!
Sometimes life hands you a weekend so perfect that you almost want to pinch yourself just to make sure it was real. I was lying in my hammock today in my backyard, at the end of a four mile run that topped off a wonderful weekend, and I couldn’t stop smiling. I didn’t do anything particularly special this weekend, I didn’t go on any trips and outside of drinking a lot of beer, it was not a weekend that stands out in any real way. But sometimes our souls get exactly the nourishment they need and that makes the weekend that much more spectacular.
I spent both days in Denver soaking up the sunny, 70 plus degree weather. Mainly it was on patios with delicious beers in hand, indulging in sushi and salted oreo ice cream and an Easter brunch that involved cheesy, eggy goodness, cherry coffee cake, homemade cheesecake and mimosas. It was a weekend of indulgence and relaxation and just enjoying myself. I rounded it out with a nice long run and a swing in my hammock while reading the Game of Thrones’ third book. There are happy little daffodils, my favorite flowers, on my coffee table, my windows are still open at 9:30 at night, and I’m…full. No other way to describe it. I am feeling like things are finally aligning in my life and while they’re not there yet, not by a long bit in some regards, life is effing good.
As I lay in my hammock looking up at the bare branches that have yet to blossom above my head, I got to thinking about travel. Not an unusual path for my brain to take, I’m often thinking of what trips I want to take next, what I want to see, where I want to go. You may remember how last year I announced I was going to China and I had all these big plans and even bought a guidebook (a sure sign I would go)? And then I didn’t go?
That China guidebook is still sitting on the shelf next to my bed, a constant reminder of a trip that never was. That’s not to say it’ll never happen but that book, and trip, have been shelved for the near future.
The fact that I haven’t jetted overseas since my trip three and a half years ago means I’m getting antsy. I have a couple trips to New York planned for this year; one is coming up in about a month and then the second is for my wifey’s wedding in September. I decided that second trip will be a short one–at least to NYC. I now have my sights on tacking on an overseas trip, with NYC only the very start of it.
It’s in the early stages of planning, obviously, but places I’m throwing about range from Sweden or Iceland to Costa Rica or Colombia. I’m emailing back and forth with my little brother who has traveled to so many places to get his advice (yet said today that I am a more well-traveled in Europe than he! This deserves a victory lap around my living room. One sec, I’ll be right back.)
(Alright I’m back.)
He is fully supportive of Costa Rica or Colombia, neither place he’s actually been to, but pointed out the cost of both Sweden and Iceland and how I’d most likely miss the things that I’d most like to do while in those countries–mainly dog sledding in Sweden and seeing the northern lights in either country, and both those countries are very expensive. Yet, Costa Rica and Colombia both have rainy seasons right around the time I’d be going. A little rain wouldn’t hurt, I do see the sun every single day here, but do I want to risk it raining the entire time?
There are a lot of questions but mainly, I have questions for you: if you’ve been to any of these countries I’d love to hear your opinion! Especially if you’ve been there around September or October.
All last week I slept horribly and had the hardest time waking up in the morning. All wanted from about Wednesday on was to sleep in on Saturday and Sunday. I couldn’t wait for it, I practically dreamed of it.
Saturday morning rolls around and I wake up at 4am as if I’d been getting loads of sleep all week and hadn’t been struggling with my 6:30am wake up time every single day. Happened once again on Sunday! Ah, insomnia. You fickle bitch.
What you can also call fickle is Colorado’s weather. In true Colorado spring action, it snowed for the second weekend in a row. It started on Friday during happy hour at one of my local favorites where Liz and I decided to start our quest for the best mac and cheese in town. I’m not sure if that was our goal at the time but I say we’ve started something and we need to continue it. So far Jill’s and Mateo have amazing truffle mac and cheese. Go forth and eat cheese-y goodness, which ironically ended up also being the theme of this weekend.
The snow started innocently enough–light little flakes that wasn’t amounting to much but by the time we’d got done playing in Buffalo Exchange laughing at the ridiculously horrible fashion choices some Boulderites have made (and gotten rid of) (we may also have left with a couple adorable shirts), the flakes were big and fat and sticking fast. When I woke up Saturday morning, we already had over 6″ and after a conversation with my friend Chad who was out driving in this mess, I decided to forgo my plans to go to Denver that evening. I was a little disappointed since it was not only the joint birthday party of some friends I haven’t seen in a while, but it also involved bowling and ping pong, two of my favorite sports I’m horribly awesome at.
So I did what any normal person snowed in would do–watched college basketball and day drank. It’s actually my favorite time of year when it comes to sports–as long as my team continues to do well. March Madness is upon us and if you’ve followed me for a while, I’m kind of a fan. Michigan State is my team and March is always a rough road with them. They’ve won both games so far but the Sweet Sixteen is usually around the time they flourish…or choke miserably. You can guess which game is coming up. Anyway, that’s next weekend.
I then got hit with the intense lazies, cancelled the plans I had tentatively made and sat on my sofa for nearly the entire night. I was convinced to go to a bar located within walking distance to my apartment and good thing I went! Three years ago while traipsing through Scotland I went to Edradour, Scotland’s smallest whiskey distillery. I hiked through the woods to get to it, was drank under the table by a bunch of little old ladies on a tour, and drank some really delicious whiskey. I was told that there was very limited distribution and it wasn’t sold in any stores so I grabbed the only bottle I could afford–a very small, a shot-in-a-bottle. So it was a surprise when I was admiring the whiskey selection that included one from Oban, another town in Scotland I’ve been to, to see Edradour’s label among them all. So of course I had to have some. I’m learning to like whiskey which has been a long process, but this one stands alone. It’s so delicious.
Today I got a little surprise at coffee with a friend when I walked in and my old roommate Erika was there! Had a lovely morning catching up and becoming over-caffeinated. Side note: have I mentioned I quit coffee? So this morning was my first morning having not just coffee, but espresso, in three weeks and OH LET’S NOT DO THAT AGAIN. I went straight from coffee on an empty stomach to lunch with a friend at Cheese Heaven (also known as the Longmont Cheese Importers) and I’m afraid I might have scared him just a little. Hi, my name is Ashley and I talk A LOT when highly caffeinated.
Can we just take a moment to acknowledge that I said CHEESE HEAVEN? Because I did. And it’s right here in Colorado! They have yummy sandwiches (I had prosciutto with melty cheese and fig preserves. NOM NOM NOM) and then an entire cold warehouse room full of cheeses from all over the world. It took a lot of willpower not to walk out with thousands of dollars worth of cheese. I am glad it’s located about a half hour drive away so that I’m not there every single weekend. Or day.
That wasn’t the only thing I did today–I also took myself on a date again! I went and saw Life of Pi, one of my favorite books that luckily I read many years ago so I didn’t remember details. It was visually stunning but I was glad that every time the tiger came on the screen the two year old told me what it was because I certainly couldn’t have guessed what the vicious fluffy orange thing on the screen was without it.
Who brings a two year old to a movie?!
And one that involves animals killing other animals?! At two I would have been traumatized.
What did you do this weekend?
Ever since I was a kid, music has been an integral part of my life. My earliest memories are of Paul Simon’s Graceland and Fine Young Cannibals’ She Drives Me Crazy. I was probably ten when I got my first walkman and it was constantly glued to my ears. Not much has changed, except now I have my iPhone and an iPod to replace the bulky walkman I had to begin with.
I’m one of those people who will get fixated with a song. If I love a song I will play it over and over and over (and over) again until I can’t stand it anymore. The only band to really survive this and not get skipped over any time I hear their songs is Mumford and Sons. I have played the crap out of their last album, Sigh No More, and I still can’t get enough of them. Music is so much more than a good beat for me; I usually have strong emotional ties to a lot of songs and I love when music can move me. One of my absolute favorite moments was at the Jason Mraz concert last summer when Christina Perri was playing Jar of Hearts. It’s a gut-wrenching song, but hearing her perform it live and hearing all that emotion from HER, was incredible. It brought me to tears and when it ended and the entire audience at Red Rocks got up out of their seats and gave her a well-deserved standing ovation, it was downright magical.
Since moving to Colorado I have really enjoyed discovering new bands and taking part in the huge music scene here. Live music can be a form of a drug and I love seeing bands live. Add in an account with Spotify and I’m pretty much a music addict. I’ve seen a lot of my favorite bands live in concert (Hi, Adele, go on concert so you can take all my money) and it was a hard decision not to go to Jazz Fest in New Orleans this year.
Last year was pretty epic as far as concerts go. I went to hands down three of the best shows I’ve ever been to–Mumford and Sons, Bruce Springsteen (at Jazz Fest) and Florence and the Machine–and also had a lot of smaller shows sprinkled in, like Trombone Shorty and Of Monsters and Men. This year has some pretty big shoes to fill but it’s been off to a great start with Churchill, a great local band, and now I have Fun on the calendar (and hopefully Rodrigo y Gabriella too!). It kind of makes me sad that I only have one concert planned so far. I’m going to work on that.
Now I will leave you with some songs that I’ve been loving lately (and hopefully you’ll love them too!).
The Oh, Hello’s!, Hello My Old Heart
Silent Film, Harbour Lights
The Autumn Film, Row
Maria Mena, All This Time
Justin Timberlake, Mirrors
I can kind of be a walking contradiction. I am rarely ever satisfied yet I often settle for less than I deserve. I get caught up on the smaller, more insignificant things and let the bigger things pass on by. I can be spontaneous and shake up my life drastically at the spur of the moment but with too much time, I almost have an inability to take the first step needed. I always think it’ll be better when I do this, or do that, and when I get there, I look longingly back at the past.
It’s something I’m working on and it’s proving difficult to break that habit. Let’s take a look at my blog. Almost six years ago I started blogging at This? Is Not the Life I Ordered!, an uncensored view on my life and dating escapades in New York City. It was with this blog that I discovered this blogging community and I wouldn’t be where I’m at right now without that blog. But three years ago I shut it down so that I could tack my name onto my work. I was scared of how many people read that blog and was always afraid that someone I knew would find me out. I wanted to not worry about that anymore, I wanted to attach my name to my blog and since have watched my blogging go down hill. I miss the easy days of anonymity where I could just say whatever I wanted without worrying about who is reading it. It’s something I’ve written about a few times here on the blog.
As spring creeps it’s way into Colorado, I am back to loving my state. To be honest, I went through a few months where I was ready to scratch that itch I get every year and move away. To leave it all behind. A lot has been going on since the clock struck midnight on 2012 and I’m in a very different place than where I was a few months ago. Yet, there are things that I should be doing to bring me into the life I really want here and I’m stalling. Just look at my blog. Maybe you’ve noticed that I’m writing a lot more, and maybe you’ve noticed that every week to two weeks the design of my blog changes. Maybe you haven’t, but it just went through another revamp as I try to make this blog into what I want it to be.
I’m spending hours on designing and redesigning and if you guessed that I’m avoiding doing something more important, then you’d be right. I’m focusing on the insignificant (I’m sorry, blog, but you’re not more important than some other big things in my life that I need to change) instead of focusing on the important. I know what I need to be doing, I am acknowledging what I’m doing right this minute, but I’m stubborn…and honestly, I’m afraid.
I’m afraid of failing. I’m afraid of succeeding. I’m afraid of changing. People tell me all the time how they admire my spontaneity and how I can just pick up and go as I’ve done many times in the past. But in reality? I’m a creature of comfort. When I lived in NYC I walked back and forth to work every single day along the exact same route. Here, I go between two hiking spots for the majority of my hiking. I know I need to shake it up, but I would rather go with what I know, than branching out. When I took off for Europe for three months? When I decided to move to Boulder? I gave myself very, very little time to back out of it because I most likely would have if given the chance to sit back on my laurels. I would have come up with excuses as to why I couldn’t do it and I would have sat in NYC for who knows how many more years. My big dream in May, please meet my car’s transmission bill. Transmission bill, meet my big dream.
OK, to be fair, the transmission bill is an excuse I’m using to not fully go through with my big dreams for May but it helped me make a decision and a decision that I’m very happy with. I’m not dedicated to that decision and have no regrets, a telling sign that I wasn’t really all that attached to that dream. If I was, that transmission bill would have been a lot more crushing.
I’m finally back on the working out wagon that I fell off hard last fall and I’m very proud that I’m on my second week and still going pretty strong. I’ve taken that step, which was a pretty big obstacle to overcome. But there are many, many steps that need to happen and that one? Is probably the smallest in the grand scheme of things. There are things I need to do that I hate doing even more than working out and yet, like working out, it will improve my life and my lifestyle.
I’m not sure how to overcome my bad habits, my paralyzing fears, and stop procrastinating leaving my comfort zone. I may not like my comfort zone all that much, I may feel constricted and like I’m not living up to my potential but so far that isn’t enough to stop myself from procrastinating and putting it off and avoiding the shit out of it. When am I going to start living a life I love, instead of just settling for second best?
Don’t you love how I just beat around the bush and don’t really say what I’m talking about? Yeah, me too. One day I’ll be able to tell you in detail, instead of just hinting at it.
Sometimes, I want to write all of the things. And sometimes, I don’t have anything to say. Funny how that works, right?
This weekend was full of pleasant little surprises. Like when I went jeans shopping on Saturday, a task I hate almost more than solving complex (or even simple, let’s be honest) math problems. I never can find jeans that properly fit me. I’m short, have a butt and thighs but no calves to speak of so every jeans shopping experience has ended with me frustrated, probably close to tears and with absolutely no jeans in my possession because life is unfair and blah blah blah. I was fully prepared to have a very similar experience to this so I set out an irish car bomb cupcake on my counter for when I got home and needed to emotionally eat something with a ton of butter in it.
Nom nom nom so delicious.
So, to my surprise, I walked into the Gap, grabbed the first two pairs of jeans I saw in a size I thought I could be and walked into the waiting room. I like to start with a small number, it helps ease me into the stress of jeans shopping. Don’t want to overwhelm me right away. I was almost going to beat myself up over not bringing in at least one bigger size to feed my ego since I most likely wasn’t going to fit in this smaller size…and then it happened.
The first pair fit like a glove. They fit in all the right places, even my calves, and hit right at the top of my foot. No rolling those suckers up for me! I was almost in shock when I tried them on, I even asked the fitting room attendent what he thought and he thought they looked hot. ON THE FIRST TRY? I put those in the keepers pile and moved onto the second pair.
Guys. They also fit beautifully.
I was in the fitting room a total of maybe seven minutes and I walked right back out, put my two pairs of amazing jeans on the counter and paid for them as quickly as I could, fearing that if I didn’t, they would transform into the jeans monsters that I knew they should be and not really fit me. I almost wanted to pinch myself to see if I was dreaming. THIS NEVER HAPPENS!
Of course, to continue to fit into these jeans I’m going to have to work my butt off and ignore those cupcakes that have more butter than Paula Deen uses in all of her recipes combined.
Aside from jeans shopping, I spent the weekend seeing friends, cooking a big meal for myself and making decisions regarding my car. I’m almost to the point where I’ve convinced myself to just keep it. I say almost because I had a dream last night that I got a call from Toyota saying that the engine was also going and that it would cost me an extra $10,000 to fix it. That was one dream I was VERY happy to wake up from. Let’s knock on wood because it’s day five and I still haven’t heard from Toyota regarding my car. This could mean that everything is going smoothly or GOING REALLY, REALLY WRONG. Luckily I have my shiny new loaner car (a Corolla), complete with sunroof, for however long they have my car.
Seeing that I like to reward myself when I do things like decide not to spend $24k on a new car, I decided that I was going to upgrade my current car just a little bit so that I can actually listen to spotify in my car. As in, allow my stereo to connect up with my iPhone. I may or may not have gotten this into my head after figuring out the Bluetooth capabilities that my loaner car has. This discovery lead me to not want to return my loaner car–that is, until it hit a bump in the road and I realized why I love my big car and why I do not like little cars.
Aside from thinking about cars way too much, I also set a new personal record for how many times one can go to the grocery store for forgot items. Sunday I decided to make corned beef and colcannon (mashed potatoes with cabbage in them) so I headed to the grocery store with my mother’s recipes in hand. Except I might have not paid that close of attention to those recipes because when I got home, I realized oh! I need an onion. Luckily the grocery store is just a walk away! So I went and got my onion, and maybe a six pack of my most favorite beer ever–Abita’s Strawberry Harvest Ale. I know it has nothing to do with St. Patrick’s Day but that beer does not last long at my liquor store so I had to snatch it up.
I then go for a run because I’ve got a few hours to kill while this is cooking and when I get home, realize that I don’t have all the ingredients for the mashed potatoes, like the milk. What? When you don’t drink milk anymore, you don’t really have it around! Sooo I went back to the store. Yes, Safeway employees, it’s really me again.
And after all that, I woke up the next morning and realized I forgot to get eggs for my breakfast and potluck was also that night and I had nothing. Aside from the 2 lbs of corned beef and about a gajillion pounds of mashed potatoes.
I need to go to a different grocery store so my Safeway doesn’t think I am homeless and live there.
Hope everyone had a lovely St. Paddy’s Day!
If you remember, last year I signed up and trained for the Bolder Boulder, a 10k, with only two or three weeks to spare. I hadn’t run before that in years and I know I ran the risk of hurting myself by going from Couch to 10k in only two weeks. I was pretty proud of my 1:13:01 time, though, and the fact that I went through with it. I meant to run more races and continue running but June got really busy with blogging conferences, wine festivals, and beach vacations and running fell off to the side. I haven’t quite figured out how to balance my social life and working out and am hoping that this will be the year I figure that out.
I just started working out and training once again for the Bolder Boulder, to be followed by the Color Run in Denver a month later. This time I gave myself more time to train and my sights are on a better time and turning the next two and a half months into a habit that sticks with me. Nicole wrote about how we need to change the stories we tell ourselves in order to change our lives. It was exactly what I needed to read at this exact time.
It’s true; I have spent the past 10 or so years telling myself that I hate working out. That it’s just not me, that I will never be a runner, that the gym and I have a hate/hate relationship and I just had to accept that. Except that I don’t have to. I do like running and I do like working out–I just have never placed my priorities there. Instead I have made excuses why I shouldn’t work out, put it last on my list and have made this my story. I have told myself this for so many years that it has become my reality.
I wrote last year about how things that I once identified with, like hating football and not having ridden a bike in 22 years, no longer were true anymore and how weird it was adjusting to living with my new truths. Those were happy accidents; not something I purposefully sought out like this quest to change the story I tell myself about working out. I’m up against a lifetime of not liking sports, not liking being active and it’s intimidating to try to change another thing that I have identified myself with for so long. An identity that is actually pretty detrimental to me since it involves my own health.
Races are one thing–I’ve done one already and running is something that I do enjoy. It’s something I know I can do. Now what I should really push myself to do is try a team sport, like kickball. It would go completely against everything–everything–I’ve been telling myself for the past few decades. I have a whole host of tried and true excuses to not do this–I’m not competitive, I’m not good at sports, I’m not active, I won’t enjoy it…
Oh, but I just might.
I’m not going to dive right into it just yet, I don’t want to scare myself off, but it’s something I want to work towards. I want to first develop this habit of working out, I want to find that balance between working out and being social, and then push myself to do team sports. Maybe it won’t seem so scary by then.
This blog has turned so…self-helpy. And I’m okay with that. I promise it won’t always be like this but this is my journey and…damnit, I need to stop apologizing for what I write about on here. I need to stop being uncomfortable with this journey, because that’s what I am. Uncomfortable, and why? (Because I should already be perfect, duuuuh.) (Oh, and I don’t like being vulnerable. Which may be why I’m still stuck on week two of the Fierce Love course. I don’t want to face those inner critics. I don’t want to face the icky parts of myself. Acknowledging them makes them real but it also will make them easier to deal with, right? Rambling!)
What I’m trying to say is…my life is messy, it’s not always sunshine and rainbows and often I cry for no reason, but it’s also beautiful, it’s 100% mine and it’s only going to get better. That’s why I’m doing this. To get the life I really want. And well, I’m going to write about it, a lot. So be prepared.