Thursday, April 28, 2016

Thoughts on "Wellth"

Lately I've been finding the term "wellth" popping up all over the place. Particularly from one of my favorite websites, Mind, Body, Green. Sure, I have a touch of transcendentalism in me in the sense that I have always been ever-questing to better myself. It's nice to have a truly never-ending hobby, right? *wink*

What is wellth? "Wellth is the combination of physical, mental, and financial wellbeing that provides a foundation for each of us to strive toward success by living our best lives." I'd add spiritual to that list as well.

It is basically this trend/wave/philosophy -whatever you want to call it- in which a well-rounded approach to all aspects of life is valued as the new "wealth focus".

I can relate. Don't get me wrong- I know money is important. I live, breathe and have stressed a lot about that all day every day for years.  Somehow I seem to always end up struggling. Having exited my 20's in the throes of the recession (and having always been penny-conscious), I know all too well the value of a dollar and how important it is to have it and prepare for your future as well.

Would I like to own my own home, have good insurance and be able to travel and do all of the things that a bit more money could provide my little family? OF COURSE!!

The concept of wellth, however apparently stems from my generation and those right behind us see that the world is changing startlingly and is already very different from the world for which we were taught to prepare. Therefore, we need to adapt in how we approach it all.

If you look at me for example, on paper, I would look like a total failure of the traditional system of well-being.  I currently have no career to speak of, no children, no insurance, I don't own a home, my IRA is laughable. I can't travel, invest, diversify my portfolio, or have steadily climbed toward "success" in my career. I am a 34 year-old, intelligent college graduate, I am married. I outright own one vehicle. I have student loan debt and "life debt" that is more than what I have in savings. Oof.

But when I look at my life, especially since the big changes in my career over the past 6-8 months, I have noticed one thing in particular: I'm wellth-ier and happier than I have ever been in my adult life and it is astonishing.

This is an enormous thing, friends. I was truly surprised by it as it happened by accident.

Here is how my wellth has grown:

Bye-bye Anxiety.

The flexibility I have had since I quit my "job job" has nearly extinguished the chronic anxiety attacks I had been experiencing for the past few years. If you had told me that three months ago when I was having to stop work and practice deep-breathing every hour or so at the office to keep the rabid squirrel in my gut from scratching its way out- ahem- I would have thought you were legitimately smoking crack.

Q-Time is the Right Time.

I have had more quality time with my friends and family. The word priceless is not grand enough to describe how good that feels.  My myopic focus on work and surviving meant I have had to sacrifice quality time with them (especially over the past five years) due to stress, work hours, exhaustion etc. In the short amount of time I have had more flexibility, I have felt more satisfaction and deep delight with my family and friends than I have felt in a long time, and it is because I'm not worn slap out, stressed out and bitching all the time.

Body (and Booty) Benefits. 

I have been exercising nearly every day and enjoying the hell out of it. I've lost a few pounds and sleep better. I don't crave my bad habits (see wine and chocolate) hardly at all. I even made it through PMS and bought ZERO chocolate! (Who is this person?!) I have started enjoying things in moderation without even trying.

The Buddies.

My two pups are happier. Not only because I can spend more time with them, but because I'm happier. You know the saying "when Mama ain't happy, ain't no one happy"'s so true. My sweet little stinkers have been better behaved than they have been in years, which in turn means we all enjoy each other and cuddle so much more! Everyone's a winner and since my boys are 11 and 9 years old, the time I spend with them is invaluable.

Dream Weaver. 

I've started dreaming vibrantly again. I was known for this growing up. In high school, my pals would ask me to retell my dreams because they were like crazy action movies. My dreamworld has always been vivid, detailed, exciting and memorable. However, for the past two or so years in particular, they have steadily grown less detailed, less colorful, more stressful and scary and my sleep patterns have suffered. Since my anxiety has started to fade, my dreams have started growing ever more vibrant and  interesting.

Rain Man Says What? 

I've grown less obsessive about our finances. What???? Even though I'm bringing home drastically less money than I was even a month ago, my all day-every day obsessing/balancing/checking bank statements and penny pinching compulsively have all but ceased.

Do I care about our finances? Absolutely!  A part of wellth is balancing life with your financial well-being. There is no throwing caution to the wind and mindlessly trilling "it'll all work out, man." Nope. Only a burgeoning sense of balance. 

Have I felt compelled to spend money? Not really and it surprised me. We've eaten on the cheap and yes, sometimes it's boring but I haven't felt neglected or "punished" as we often felt in our financial feast/famine cycle of before.

I check the bank account once a day to make sure everything is in order and then I leave it be. I make conscious choices, when I do buy, I buy on sale. I work on my Etsy store and freelance work at the times I'm at my best instead of being too tired to think when I get home at the end of the day and doing nothing that enriches my life, sparks my creativity or engages my mind.

I buy things we need first instead of "wants" and that has surprisingly made me feel less worried about the future because I know the most important things are taken care of. It seems super common sense, and it is- but I can't say that this model in particular ever occurred to me. It has created a cycle for me in which, due to that anxiety being removed, I make fewer choices based on reactive emotions  and in turn, make better choices and have still been able to save money and pay down debt!

Productivity thy name is Balance. 

I've been making jewelry. Something I haven't done in years. I've felt inspired again. I finally wrote out an intensive business plan/proposal for a business I've wanted to have for 25 years. I've been keeping my house cleaner than I have in half a decade which actually makes me happier. My skin and hair look better. My relationships grow stronger.

I've almost broken my habit of waking up in a fit of dread because I have to go to work somewhere that pays great but makes me deeply unhappy. Old habits die hard, what can I say?

What a glorious sense of WELLTH indeed. Yes, I know that I will need to get back out there and take a job I don't love again for a while because it's what is right for us at the moment. The hubs graduates this week and we everything is up in the air about where he'll be working or where we may be going (or not). I know I'll take something positive from all of this not-knowing. It does throw this all into stark contrast, however.

I've had a taste of the good life. A beautiful world in which I have time for the things and people I love instead of just dreaming about it. It feels magical. I have dreamed of having a life and career balanced in such a way for decades and I actually wondered if it could happen. Now I know it can. I will have to do some stuff I don't like (big whoop- such is life) until I can manifest the career I want for myself. But I can do it.

I can. I can. I can.

It makes me emotional to even say it aloud.

 I've discovered that flexibility is a key factor in my work happiness and in turn, life happiness and balance. 

I've discovered that my wellth is true and will lead to all aspects of my life (especially including finances) growing healthier and stronger due to the fact that my brain, heart and psyche are all happier and humming along.

Balance begets growth. I'm all about it, y'all!

How is your wellth, friends? Here are a few links if you're interested in learning more about what "wellth" can mean.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Sound barrier.

Alright kiddos- I did something super nutso last week. I up an quit my job. This is not the one I had mentioned last year, but in March I had begun a new job that I was very excited about. For various reasons, it was a big NOPE and here I am. I am not the type to do such a thing and I actually surprised myself. With jobs, I'm the kind of gal who will stay around and whimper for three years before making a move (I'm sure y'all noticed that over the years).

I should feel more afraid than I do. The hubs and I aren't swimming in cash like Scrooge McDuck or anything. However, I have a few options that I am working part-time from home on and hopefully a little something extra on the side to boost our income until the hubs graduates and gets a good welding job.

I learned some interesting things over the past few days. Some I'm proud of and others I don't really know what to do with. One of my biggest fears is that we will be unable to pay our bills. Instead of letting that thought consume me, I'm working on a plan to make this ish work, y'all.

Remember this post? Well, I did.

Thanks to this newfound cavern of opportunity and terror, I will most likely be posting a lot more. Hopefully!

It's been a weird year and my head is still spinning big time, but the air feels fresher, that squirrel in my gut doesn't seem to be digging around as much and I feel inspired. I had forgotten what that actually felt like and it has been a long time coming. I truly believe if I work hard enough and stay positive and be mindful of our lifestyle/expenses etc....I can do this.

My mama always says when a plane is about to break the sound barrier it quakes, rattles and it feels like it's about to explode all around you. Then it breaks the sound barrier and it's smooth and quiet again. Boom, y'all. BOOM!

I have big ideas and I want them to step out of the ether of my mind and manifest "in real life". I am fortunate to have friends and family who love and support and encourage me. So, here goes! Wish me luck. I want to believe I can do it, to truly make it happen.

I'll swing by again soon to give you more soul high-fives!


Monday, March 28, 2016

For a friend.

photo by moi.

I debated about whether or not to discuss this on the blog, as this is generally a place where I try to show sparks of inspiration even after my own sometimes whiny venting. However, I feel compelled to talk about something that has recently occurred in my universe.

A buddy of mine, an acquaintance really, committed suicide eight days ago.  His obituary was neat and tidy as most are in these types of situations, mentioning a few sports interests and the name of his family and dog, where he went to school etc. In lieu of flowers, please donate to...etc.

I am still trying to wrap my head around why he would do it, though I unfortunately am no stranger to suicide- but in the meantime I thought I would shed a light on what a lot of obits of those who take their own lives lack. I am not mentioning his name for the sake of his family, as there is still a huge stigma associated with such an act. Anyway-

My pal. My pal was smart. Wicked smart. Compulsively so. His brain was quick to pick apart a mistake or a detail said incorrectly. I'm a "mistakes are part of the game, man" kind of free spirit, so we made a funny duo. He frequently rolling his eyes in mock disgust with me and I teasing him for nitpicking.

He hated...HATED slow drivers. Of course, his idea of "slow" was the speed limit I think. I teased him for it all the time. Every morning when we'd get to work and settle in, I'd intentionally ask him about the traffic on the way in because it tickled me so how mad he would get. He was in on the joke and often exaggerated his frustrations for comic effect. It never ceased to amuse me, however I frequently felt there was secretly something deeper behind it. An anger or a rage I didn't understand.

My buddy was obsessed with the Walking Dead. I'm not one for zombies, and it's macabre to think it may have been somewhere deep in his psyche that one could physically live again after death...I dunno. But he and his spouse marathoned entire seasons over the weekends and at work on Monday he would fill me in on the Reader's Digest version of what was going on in the series. It lit him up to talk about it so I encouraged it, as it seemed to make him happy.

We frequently laughed, rolled our eyes and spoke fluent sarcasm together, especially in long meetings. It was a riot when things got monotonous at work or you're trying to push through that 3 pm slump. To look across the conference room table and you're both making hostage eyes at each other never ceased to amuse. Sometimes we'd get the giggles, though he was better at hiding it than I.

The last month or so we worked together, he suffered migraines. Severe migraines that kept him home from work and caused him to leave early from meetings. He was obsessively embarrassed that the doctors had given him a bad haircut after a brain scan. I told him I hadn't noticed and that he looked fine. It wasn't a bad haircut. Still he mentioned it at least a half dozen times to me and seemed genuinely relieved when I was like "Dude give it a break, you look fine!". He was clearly sensitive and had a good heart. Oftentimes seeming slightly offended if I left without saying goodbye at the end of the day. Funny the things you remember...

There was an incident at work that was deeply embarrassing for me. He was so sincerely concerned for me, it was a surprisingly kind and sweet comfort. On my last day that we worked together, he was upset he couldn't make my "going away" lunch with all the pals from the department. It really bothered him. I could tell he was pretty pissed about it. But before I left he told me "I am really going to miss having you to talk to."

I thought it was sweet, unnecessary too as we had each others' numbers and could text any time to make snarky jokes about life and work and nonsense (and did on occasion). It still stuck with me. I hear it in my head a lot now. His idiosyncrasies and obsessive tendencies have been greatly magnified.

A week ago, my pal drove off in the sports car he loved so much, parked it in a city several hours from where he lived and killed himself. I don't know if he was clinically depressed, buried up to his eyeballs in debt, had gotten a medical diagnosis for his migraines and decided to take it into his own hands...I have no answers. Only questions and a heavy heart. As it is with suicide, there are a lot of unanswered questions. That's just part of it, I reckon. Not everything gets tied up into a nice little bow as it can sometimes appear.

Again, we weren't best friends. We knew each other for five months. We were pals who worked together and made sarcastic jokes to one another. Yet, I hear him say over and over and over again: "I am really going to miss having you to talk to." I imagine him feeling so alone, so without hope that it breaks my heart. I don't want him to be remembered as a whole as a man who took his own life.  He was more than that.

I know y'all don't know him from Adam. However, I want at least someone out there to know- this random bland obit in the paper was for a person who lived. He had a life with love, challenges and mundane annoyances, humor and Netflix binges just like you and I have. I want to somewhat smudge the stigma from suicide just a little because though it is absolutely heartbreaking that people around you could be suffering so deeply and you not know; it isn't shameful to discuss.

The folks who lose people to suicide are often afraid to talk about it publicly because it makes others visibly uncomfortable and make pity eyes at you (Ugh with the pity eyes). I've seen that with my own experiences and most likely those left behind are sad, scared, confused and oftentimes riddled with guilt and a whole lotta anger. Don't regurgitate "comforting" cliches. Tell those left behind that it sucks and that you are here for them. Drop off a casserole with a note sometime, or tickets to a movie.

Remember that you truly don't know what someone is going through. You don't know their lives, their heartaches or their struggles. Be kind, reach out- but don't pity. Notice the little things. Good, bad, ugly and in between. Be there when the calls come in. Call if you think of it.

My pal is gone and he would soooo roll his eyes at me writing this, but I know deep inside it would have probably made him smile. And I always liked getting him worked up about stuff, so this one's for you, dude.

To you, friend. Wherever you are.


Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Boot & Rally

My Japanese Magnolia.

Where do you get the fuel to do what makes you truly happy?

You see, I feel called to do a handful of things. I daydream about them all the time, I wake up thinking about it and fall asleep thinking about it (I'm an Air sign, it's kind of our thing). But when it comes to taking the necessary steps to getting those things I dream of started, I short-circuit. I find other things that could be done instead. Things for other people, busywork tasks, mundane life errands etc.

I know I am intimidated to start. I also know I'm afraid to fail and afraid that if I succeed, I'll find out that said life plan is shite and then have to find another one and end up at square one again.

I'm not good at teaching myself certain types of things. I get worked up into a froth and take a two hour bath or drink three glasses of wine instead. Then I wake up and I'm 34 and still staring into the middle distance dreaming of the things I want to do.

It's bogus, man. Truly uncool.

We don't have a lot of time on this magnificent blue marble. We have talents and gifts for a reason. Not using them is nonsense. Not taking the first step because it scares the snot out of you and has your stomach in your throat is nonsense too.

This is a rally cry, y'all. For myself to get my ass in gear, and for you too. I know a lot of you who read this blog (hey y'all!) and I know for a fact how completely badass you can be. To those I don't personally know (hey y'all!), there is all kinds of badassery you are capable of that I haven't even been made aware of yet. And all of this marvelous madness should be shared with the world. It's interesting and honest and we need more of it!!

Let's do this, kiddos. Let's take a baby step today. Let's make some moves!


Friday, March 4, 2016

February Yoga Challenge - What I learned

Last month I decided to try the 30 day yoga challenge. Every night before bed I would devote time to practicing a pose of choice. This one and this one (5th pose in the series) in particular were working for me.

In conjunction with that I have made it a practice since Christmas to do some basic stretches every day when I wake up and before/after my daily jogs. Here is what I discovered:

1. That awful feeling of being inflexible when you first start goes away after a week of doing it every day. Now my body craves my daily forward fold. No lie, kids!

2. I did 26 days of yoga, as the last for days I fell off the wagon due to some major shifts in my personal life. However, as soon as I did, I experienced sciatica pain from hell! My body had grown accustomed to being stretched and cared for every day. Woah. Lesson learned.

3. The floor bow pose (second mentioned above) really intimidated me. The first time I did it, I couldn't hold it for more than 10 seconds at a time. By the end of the month I could hold it a full minute like no big deal. It felt good and powerful.

4. I didn't see any results physically per se, but I could feel it in my body. It didn't feel like drudgery as much as normal daily care for my body. However, if I had committed to doing a full series of poses every day, I know I would see tone.

As with the hydration challenge, I am keeping this as a part of my daily life now. It feels good and my body appreciates the extra care.

As for March- it's Meditation March for me. Every day I'm taking a ten-minute meditation (more if I crave it...don't laugh you really begin to crave the peace of mind). Care to join me?

P.S. This made me laugh.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Today's post is brought to you by H2O!

January azalea. photo by moi.

Good morning, friends! This year I decided to take a challenge every month of the year. January's was to stay as hydrated as possible. I had read that it can improve your skin, give you more energy, help you lose weight etc. etc. so, I gave it a try!

It is recommended for women to drink around 2.2 liters of water/fluids per day. That equals nearly 75 ounces. All in all, I drank an average of 95 ounces a day which is over that recommended amount; however I was still thirsty so I kept on drinking. A few days I only had 50-60 ounces and I woke up with bad headaches the next morning.

It took discipline to keep up with how many ounces of water I drank a day. Though, after a few days it became a game to keep track and ended up helping me with my memory a bit. By doing that, I automatically drank more water and less caffeine and alcohol. In fact, I think I only had one or two cups of caffeine the entire month and haven't had any since (with no headaches or withdrawals from it).

I also found that no matter how much water I drank, if I had a glass of wine I felt like crap the next day. I can be an idiot sometimes, therefore it took me a few tries before I figured it out. My body has completely gotten used to and prefers water. That's quite a capital benefit! I also stopped craving my evening glass of wine as I did before. I saved about $40 on that alone!

My skin does look better, so my mom says. But I didn't see the changes as much as I had hoped. I think it's because we had a fluke cold spell and the air in my house is dry and hot. I can tell though, on the days that I don't have any wine in particular that my skin is far more glowing and clear. As if I have a soft-focus lens on my face- sweet!! The days I have wine or go below my comfortable threshold of water intake, my skin looks a little dingy and the redness around my nose and cheeks comes back. You would think vanity would be my game changer...but sometimes I'm a bit thick.

When I would get bored, I drank decaffeinated berry tea and that would push me to get past the "boredom wall". The boredom wall is this thing I have in my mind where I start to crave things that aren't super great for me such as booze, sugar, convenience foods etc. because I'm bored. I used to give in to it almost daily. This experiment helped immensely in realizing when I had approached a boredom wall and what I could do to get past it. Surprisingly, by buckling down in those moments and drinking more water or decaf tea, the wall would almost always disappear with the cravings. I found that having little mandarin oranges around helped a lot too, due to the water in the fruit, but also the sugar (hello hypoglycemia!).

Results: drinking more water makes me feel awesome, save money, make better choices and look better.

Would I do it again? Heck yeah! In fact, I've kept it going and am currently on Day 39. It feels good, y'all! I highly recommend it.

Would you consider doing monthly challenges with me too? I'd love to know! February is all about yoga!


Sunday, January 24, 2016


photo by moi

Hello strangers! We're three weeks into a new year and I have to say...I'm a fan. Don't get me wrong...2015 was a year of some pretty great and much-needed changes for my little family unit. However, I'm digging the 2016 vibes so far (though still super sad about Bowie and Rickman).

What have y'all been up to?

'Round here, it's been a lot of cooking. A lot. Still working at the same place. Quite a bit of meditation, not nearly enough murder-mystery reading and exponential hours reviewing and maintaining our finances in the hopes of kicking their asses this year.

I've got a lot coming up in the next month. Groundhog Day (a total and complete real favorite of mine), Mardi Gras, my 34th birthday and Valentine's Day all in the next 3 weeks. Almost every favorite holiday at one time. I'm already exhausted and simultaneously exhilarated. It's so much awesome wrapped up in such a short amount of time, I kinda want to run away and be quiet on the wintry beaches instead. Typical ambivert.

That's what is happening in my neighborhood, y'all. I'm not gone, I'm just...working through some stuff. And I'm super happy to check back in with you wonderful folks. Truly!

All the love, y'all-