Life Lately: Excitement & Doubt

Grand Canyon with Colorado River

I feel like these two words pretty much sum up the last several weeks. I finally got confirmation yesterday that I will be able to move to Alabama and keep my current position with my company. As of right now, I am planning to move back in late February or early March 2018. My dad needs time to get things set up and I need time to wrap my head around the reality of actually moving! (And also, winter is the best part of Phoenix, so it makes sense to enjoy that part before heading east!)

Reality is already starting to set in. I’ve committed to moving back to and being involved with my family. There is a big part of me that feels like I’m jumping from the proverbial frying pan right into the fire. Do I really, really want to do this?? Truthfully, no, I don’t. But my grandmother needs me right now and I need to get out of Phoenix. This is just one step forward down the path I’ve finally chosen. That last sentence has become my mantra…

I’ve also just recently come to realize how much power authority involvement in my firm I will be giving up. Right now I’m in the office most every day. I can see what goes on, interact and build relationships with my coworkers, play office politics, help out with various issues, join staff meetings, bake birthday cakes, etc. etc. When I move, I’ll be a one-woman show most of the time. I’ll no doubt be back to Phoenix for a few weeks during the year for meetings and big holidays, but it’s definitely going to be a very different dynamic. I know this is a sacrifice that has to be made if I’m going to move forward with my master plan, but I don’t for one second think it’s going to be easy.

I will miss all of my coworkers, but especially my dear, sweet friend M. We do stuff outside of work on a regular basis and there’s not a single day we aren’t in each other’s office to chat about things. We’ll still chat every day (online), but it won’t be the same. I’ll also miss my Phoenix friends outside of work. I’m going back to my childhood home, but I really only have one friend there that I’m still close with. So this is going to be a pretty drastic change in social life as well. I know how this is going to sound, but it’s my truth – I would almost prefer a clean break than a half-break. Right now this is just a separation before the divorce – all of the components are still there as a reminder of what was, which is bittersweet at best.

Clouds reflected on pond with reeds, Alabama

I know that with time all of this will be the new normal, at least until the next change. I know that I’ll grow, make friends, maybe (hopefully) strengthen my family relationships, and eventually move on to the next big change. All of that calms me down when the panic sets in. I did, after all, choose to make this happen. It was, and is, my choice. I know that for my health and happiness this is the right move.

But I also feel like hiding the doubts beneath the excitement is disingenuous. May 2018 would mark 10 years in Phoenix. I haven’t lived anywhere nearly so long since I left my dad’s house. This place, these people, deserve reflection and perhaps a little remorse, for I doubt very much that I will ever move back here. As various friends have moved away over the years, I’ve been struck by how difficult it is to be the one left behind. I’d forgotten how equally hard it is to be the one moving away.

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Life Lately: Keeping Options Open

Upper Antelope Canyon, Arizona

I’m writing this from my dad’s house in Alabama. My BFF’s son turned 1 this week, so I took a long weekend to fly back for some friend time and forest bathing. My friend and I have been friends, quite literally, since kindergarten, and times like these make me realize how fortunate I am to still have her in my life. Now I have my “niece” in California and my “nephew” in Alabama – I’m all set!  (Ironically, their mothers both have the same name, so now I just use their kids’ names to differentiate 🙂 )

I admit that I’m normally not terribly excited to come back to Alabama. My family and I have some major differences of opinion, but it’s a relief to see those mellow a bit with time. I felt like I needed this trip – I needed to see green things, put my feet in the grass, listen to the birds sing, and just breathe. So that’s where I’ve spent all my spare moments these past few days between grandparents and birthday celebrations and it’s been lovely.

So lovely, in fact, that I’ve found my thoughts going in a wholly surprising direction. It’s not a big secret that I’ve been wanting to move east. I’ve been looking at opportunities to do just that for almost a year now, but nothing has felt quite right. Recently, however, I’ve happened upon some potential options much closer to home that started me thinking about moving back here. As in back to my dad’s, as in the place I swore up and down for over a decade I would never live again (at least until retirement, and then only maybe). I have officially gone mad.

But the more I’ve thought about it this weekend, the more right it feels. There would be several ways it could play out and all of them potentially beneficial to myself and to my family. My grandmother really isn’t doing well since my grandfather’s passing, and it would be nice to be able to help her more. She’s been my mother figure since I lost my own as a teenager; I would love to be able to help her out even a tenth as much as she’s helped me through those years. There’s potential that I could even keep my current job and work east coast projects. At least until I am ready to make the transition into this other thing I have in mind…but that’s getting way ahead of myself.

I must be crazy. Absolutely mad. I have to be to even be considering this. Yet I’ve talked it over, in part anyway, with my dad and he seems on board with the idea. He has a lot of room here on the farm and there’s another dwelling that could be all mine with a little paint and TLC (okay, a lot of both but still). It would be a bit of a reset, a slower (and cheaper!) pace that might really be what I need to try to get some stress and my health concerns under control. My biggest con (among a well sorted and on-going list) is my pride – I’m not sure I could come back here and not see it as a negative set back instead of a simple step back. I would have to face up to and accept a lot of things I’ve been avoiding for many, many years. It could be the best idea ever or a total failure. Who knew moving home would be a leap of faith??

Anyway, all of this is just speculation at this point. I have a lot to think about and there are still several things that need to play out before I can make any final decisions. I haven’t given up on D.C., I’ve just opened up another option. We shall see which one plays out best in the end – I leave it up to the Universe!

Upper Antelope Canyon, Arizona

In other news, I’ve officially checked off almost every item on my Arizona bucket list! Last weekend we made it up to Antelope Canyon for a photography tour and can I just saw – wow! I was super impressed with the canyon (obviously), but also with the number of tourists up there (in a slightly different way). My first trip to Page was nine years ago and it was almost a ghost town. Too bad I didn’t visit Antelope then! I’m happy for the town and all of the lovely sights in the area that are getting their due attention. I just hope that they can figure out the best way to grow together sustainably. Anyway, I’ve been editing photos and hope to share more very soon!

Next month, I’m off on a very impromptu girls’ trip to Barcelona! My California friend and I have been talking about Spain for years, so it’s hard to put into words how special it is that we’re going together. I’m more excited for this trip than I have been in a long, long time!

I’ve also been feeling inspired to write again. I’m hoping the long, hot days of summer bring an opportunity to ease back into some personal pursuits. I feel like other things have taken priority for far too long – I’m looking forward to reevaluating and getting back into those things that make me happiest! That also includes reading more – one of my secret bucket list items has always been to read the classics, so I (somewhat randomly) downloaded this list and the fun has already begun! I feel like it’s a bit ambitious, but it’s a life goal so there’s time. (smile)

Toadstools trail, Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument, Utah

Life is funny. You can go round and round (and sometimes quite literally around the world) only to find the answer you’ve been looking for right where you started. Apparently there was more to The Alchemist than I gave credit for… Perhaps it’s time for a re-read while I’m busy trying not to overthink some major decisions. But you know, as long as change is finally and indeed coming, I find I am content.

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As always, feel free to check out my Instagram for the latest adventures!

P.P.S.
You may have noticed a change in my Instagram name – all part of a new venture I hope to share very soon!

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Wednesday Wisdom (11.4)

Some of the most life shaping decisions , quote

I’ve had reason to really ponder these words lately. Now that I have a clearer idea of what I can’t live without it makes me both excited and incredibly impatient to make the necessary changes. But I’ve also learned in life that sometimes it’s important to give the “good enough” the respect and gratitude it deserves for getting you where you are.

My Word (2015 edition) | WARRIOR

Warrior rune

My New Desk Print

Last night as I was writing in my journal attempting to work through my thoughts on this, I wrote the following – “2014 was the year for my physical self, 2015 is for my spiritual self.” My “word” for 2014 was HOPE; my “word” for 2015 is WARRIOR. I was struck by a certain irony that these two words seemingly belong to the opposite years, but when the Universe spells it out for you, you don’t argue.

You see, I put a lot of thought into last year’s word, and I intend to carry it along into this year as well. I don’t ever want to lose that hope again. This year’s word, however, found me. As soon as I asked myself the question, there it was as if it had just been waiting for me to see it. Thinking back, I have been particularly drawn to warrior themes lately – both in the physical and mental/spiritual sense. Sometimes it just takes me awhile to catch on (smile).

So what does this word mean for my 2015? Fierceness, balance, fearlessness, and peace. I spent a great deal of last year translating the concept of hope into a more physical manifestation, and now I believe I understand what I want out of life – or at least I have a much better idea. Hope strengthens, fear kills. This is the year I want to move past all the fears that have been holding me back and show myself that I can do whatever I want to do. I had that warrior spirit years ago but it was tamped down into the dungeons by a series of unfortunate events. I kept it there because I thought it was easier to just go with the flow, procrastinating really, but I know now that living with half your self isn’t really living.

warrior hope

This year I want to get back to my “why not” and “f**k it I’m doing it” philosophies. I want to care enough to take a chance and understand that losing the battle isn’t losing the war. What’s the true worst-case-end-of-the-world scenario that can happen after all? Losing everything? Death? I believe there’s a freedom in both and at least I’ll have gone down fighting instead of willingly. I want to be brave enough to say no to things that I need to say no to and have the courage to face the guilt and hurt feelings that get projected on to me for doing so. I want to step forward and say yes to those opportunities that scare the s*** out of me because those are the ones that bring accomplishment. I want to find a better balance – and my peace.

So what’s my first order of business? Hitting publish on this post (smile).

What’s your word for 2015??

Pondering Summer [August Goal Check-In]

As predicted, July was a crazy sort of month. It was filled with a lot of stressful decisions and (luckily) unexpected beach time. I guess you could say it all balanced out (smile). August promises to be a busy month as well, but I’m okay with that – I’m hoping it makes the time go by quicker so we can move on to cooler weather! I definitely want some semblance of all four seasons in my next location (smile).

Huntington Beach California Water Flower

Huntington Beach

July Recap

1. Personal decisions. This one is technically from June, but better late than never, right? I’ve recently realized that I actually have a future plan in mind. I know that sounds weird, but for so long all I could tell you is what I didn’t want – so it feels weird to have a solid direction again. Unfortunately, step one was making a tough personal decision and hurting feelings, something I absolutely hate to do! However, I feel good about where I’m going and really excited to have taken the first step!

2. Plan a baby shower. Done and done! Only a few weeks until I head out to California for all the fun and (embarrassing) games! (smile)

3. Call my grandparents every week. Mixed results on this one – I haven’t called them every week, but I’ve been checking in every other week at least. I know I need to bump it up another notch; I just need to figure out the best way to keep it in the schedule.

4. Organize all my photos. This one is a complete fail. I did manage to get the hard drive out of my old computer, but haven’t plugged it in to get the photos off yet. I’m moving this one to August.

Puerto Pensasco Mexico Sunset

Puerto Pensasco Sunset

August Goals

1. Organize all my photos. As stated before, this has to happen!

2. Finish blanket for baby shower. In the winter months I normally really enjoy crocheting. Recently I got it in my head to make a baby blanket for my BFF, but with the shower fast approaching I need to get a move on!

3. Order a PMP study guide. I’ve been toying with the idea of taking the PMP (Project Management Professional) certification for a while now. I think I should have the requisite qualifications by the time I study up for the exam, so I just need to get my study guide and get going! It’s part of step 2 on the new life plan (smile)!

What are your goals for the rest of the summer??

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Pondering February Goals

Right around a month ago, I had the brilliant idea of setting monthly goals in 2014 instead of just an arbitrary list of resolutions. These monthly goals are (loosely) based on 10 basic principles I came up with last year. Even though this is the first check-in, I can already tell this was genuinely a brilliant idea (no sarcasm) – as was sharing these goals on this blog. I felt some sense of accountability and it felt good to have goals that I could actually accomplish in a set amount of time!

So how did I do on my January goals? Well let’s review and see…

January goals:

1. Create a thought/wish/hopes/dream board. I’ve had the most success with this goal. I had a great time with pottery barn magazines, my own photos, and of course Pinterest looking for just the right images to represent what I’m hoping to achieve both in the near and distant future.  The Pinterest board version of this is it’s own beast (smile), but I tried to focus on the really compelling images for the physical boards. I was a little surprised by the connection I found when I sat down to physically add the various bits and pieces to the cork boards.  The act was so much more deliberate and personal than clicking the “Pin” button. I didn’t expect to have such a connection with this board with random photos attached, but in thinking about it, I’ve just literally pinned my hopes and dreams onto a corkboard for anyone (who comes to my apt anyway) to see! This is no private Pinterest board. The most surprisingly overwhelming emotion? Excitement. I call that a win (smile).

2. Research educational/work-related opportunities. This is the one I probably slacked on the most. I have some leads, but I didn’t dedicate the same amount of effort to this task. I think that’s primarily because I’m afraid I’ll find an opportunity I can’t pass up. It is one thing to want to do x, y, and z; it’s another to be staring down the barrel of the opportunity to do just that! Why? Because if I do get that opportunity there will be change and potential for catastrophic failure. Unfortunately I’ve learned through the years that there are these things called consequences, and I fear them. So I’m keeping this goal into February. My word for 2014 is Hope, not fear. Hope strengthens, fear kills.

3. Health changes. I went back to the doctors and re-initiated some discussions. After a lot of sucky tests, I still don’t have a definitive answer. I do know that it’s not an auto-immune disease as I’d feared. There are still a few things it could be, but it’s all likely related to stress. Yep…no matter what fancy name you put to these “symptoms,” the cause all goes back to being forever stressed out apparently. Coming to terms with the fact that there’ll be no magic pill in this case has been difficult. I wanted an easy out, but there isn’t going to be one. The only cure for me is me. I have to continue making the lifestyle changes necessary to feel better.

Overall I feel good about January. It was a solid start to the year and at least I can say that I took the first steps in all of the goals I’d set. After so many months of feeling completely unmotivated, it feels good just to begin moving forward again! And I’m not really surprised – or disappointed – that January’s goals are leading into February’s. It’s all a build up to a greater end result after all (smile).

February goals:

1. Continue to research educational/work-related opportunities – as discussed above.

2. Lifestyle changes – get moving! I ordered a FitBit Force today – I’ve heard such great things about these little devices, I’m excited to try it out! I don’t know that I’ll be setting any ridiculous weight loss goals or anything like that, but I do want to track my mobility. I have a desk job and I know I don’t move around as much as I should or as much as I’d like. Hopefully this little techy piece of fun will help me work on that in a more tangible way.

3. Be consciously grateful – for my family! To say my relationship with my family is complicated is probably an understatement. But as we all get older and lives begin to shift, I know it’s going to be important to me both now and in the future to build positive memories with my family. Since February is so often considered the month of love, and since I’m not actively looking for a special Valentine, I want to dedicate the month to the love I have for my family and my friends. Whether that’s making a phone call, sending a letter, or dedicating a blog post to them (yeah…head’s up on that) I want to consciously make an effort to be grateful for the family – and the really wonderful friends – that I have in my life.

I think those are fair goals for a short month (smile). Challenge accepted!

Hearts and Flowers clip art

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Pondering 2014 Resolutions

Part of me feels like I should just share this link and end this post here. It pretty much sums up what I would like to do in 2014. But where’s the originality in that??

Christmas lights, tree, resolutions

As a general habit, I’m actually pretty good with sticking with my New Year’s resolutions. I try to be fairly specific and keep things attainable, primarily because I enjoy marking things off the list way too much (smile). Of course that being said, there are a few things on the resolution list that re-appear year after year (such as learning to play an instrument and actually wearing a bikini in public). I feel like at some point those types of resolutions need to just shift to the bucket list, to happen or not in their own sweet time.

Looking through 2013, it was a record fail on the resolution front. I’m slightly annoyed by this, but as previously mentioned, it wasn’t a bad year. In life, you have to leave room for the surprises – even when they edge out your intentions. Those surprises are generally way more fun anyway (smile).

Ardmucknish Bay, Scotland

Surprise! Let’s go to Scotland! (Ardmuchnish Bay)

So this year, I’ve been thinking of trying something a little different. Towards the end of 2013, I set myself a list of everyday goals, and I’ve been trying to keep those front and center. So I think I’m going to let those stand as my 2014 “resolutions,” with the idea of fleshing out the details of each in monthly goals. Small, attainable, monthly goals that assist the greater good, if you will. I have a habit of setting lofty aspirations for myself and then being disappointed when I fail in some way to meet them – I become my own worst enemy. In 2014, I need to learn to love myself again, both by caring for me physically but also emotionally/mentally – something that does not necessarily leave everyone else out in the cold. I enjoy helping others way too much. But in order to really be of any committed use to anyone else, I have to solidify my base, myself. I guess I’m aiming for a ground up approach.

As a reminder, here are the motivational goals I set last year. I’ll be keeping all of these in mind every month, but some of the more open-ended ones are just begging for specificity; something I know I’ll enjoy giving them (smile).

  1. Find something satisfying in every day.
  2. Remember to be grateful for each experience, be it big or small.
  3. Cut back on the daydreaming and be more present in each daily scenario.
  4. Create a thought board with my bigger goals made by smaller pictures to remind myself that this is how we create our worlds.
  5. Take one small task that I’ve been trying to turn into a habit and do it.
  6. Begin researching opportunities for changing my bigger picture (e.g., job, location, etc.)
  7. Focus on an area of my life I want to change and begin the steps of pursuit.
  8. Find activities to participate in that take place during the week.
  9. Put dates on my To Do list and stick with them.
  10. Breathe deep and let it be.
thought board, quotes, pinterest

JANUARY GOALS:

4. Thought board: I’ve been collecting images and other ideas for this board, and I think it’s an ideal time to assemble. I’m in desperate need of some wall art at my apartment anyway and I think I know the perfect place for this to go (smile). When I get it together, I’ll be sure to share it with you guys.

5. Health change: I’ve been dealing with some health issues for the last year or so, but I have also been trying to power through on my own thanks to a strong aversion to doctors. This aversion mostly stems from how quickly most doctors seem to dismiss my concerns. It is incredibly difficult for me to admit there’s anything wrong to begin with, so I need someone to listen. To top it off, I have an even stronger aversion to medications. I want to get better, but I’m only swallowing those pills if I need them, not to promote someone’s wallet. All that said, I have reached a point where I can no longer avoid the issues, so something must be done. I have an appointment at the Mayo Clinic next week. As a diagnostic facility set up on a different operating platform, I’m hopeful that I can finally find what I’ve been looking for –fingers crossed.

I realize this sounds cliché, but I have a really good feeling about 2014, a feeling that I’ve missed these last few years. I’m hopeful, which is a really nice feeling (smile). I admit that I have some personal goals set aside in my official journal, it’s tradition. Maybe some of those will come out as the year progresses, but for now I’ll just leave them for surprises!

Welcome to 2014 everyone!!

Tell me, do you go in for resolutions? Are you good about keeping them, or do you tend to forget them by March?? I’d love to hear some!

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