Saturday, 31 December 2016

Top 10 Things I Learned in 2016

1. You will find what you are looking for.
You will find drama, anger, revenge, misery, joy, hope, and love if you seek it out.  I’ve learned that people are amazingly intuitive; they sense what you are looking for when you show up somewhere, and they deliver it. 

Last year for me—2015—was full of setbacks, anger, and sadness.  All I wanted was for it to go away and to find some joy.  I even wrote a “finding joy in 2015” blog post and followed my list of activities from that closely. Then, I walked by a church almost exactly a year ago and the word on the window said, “hope.”  It resonated.  I thought to myself, “2015 was about finding joy.  2016 needs to be filled with hope.”   And it’s what I set about looking for this past year.  I am going into 2017 with so much hope for a good future, surrounded by an amazing community of family and friends.
2. Don’t let solid friendships slide for too long.
I’ve learned that there is a point where you can’t expect the friendship plant to keep blooming with zero maintenance and care.  In 2015, there were days when I couldn’t eat, sleep, and was a total blob of energy. When I needed my friends the most, they showed up for me, literally banging on my door to make sure I was ok, and I dropped in on them just needing company and support.  It was a year of taking, for sure. And carrying into this year, I banked on some friendships longer than I should have.  Maybe I didn’t take advantage of these relationships but I certainly let things slide and chose to spend time on other commitments.  Hmm! What happened to my marriage started to happen to my friendships this year.  That’s not acceptable to me.  I can be stubborn and justify where I spend my energy and time, but slowly it will catch up to me.  I am sorry to everyone who has always been patient and loyal to me; I want and need to give back to you as I would not be where I am without you.  Next year will be about continuing to go back to my friendship roots, and be “faithful” so to speak to my dearest friends.

3. “The love of my life,” is a really misleading phrase. That implies there can and should only be one.
 For some, maybe this is the truth.  For me, I learned I can love and trust after my marriage ends. It is not a feeling of, “this will have to do.”  Of course it is different, but I wouldn’t want it to be the same experience all over again.  I’ve had some real hangups over what’s the right thing to do going forward—what does marriage really mean?  How soon do you give it a go again?  I don’t have the answers to that for myself yet, but I do know that it’s a blessing to actually get a second chance. 

4. Don’t be proud of being able to do it all (alone).  Being stubborn and refusing help is not a sign of strength.
Why did I refuse help to paint my new house this year? Or an offer to grocery shop for me when I started to work in Vancouver half the time? I can’t do it alone.  And yet I do really want people to wonder, “how does she do it all?” and I’m not sure why I want that?  I’m no different than everyone else, with 24 hours in a day to get it all done.  I really fell apart this summer trying to do it all.  I sat in my house one morning at 3am after painting the whole thing over 2 nights by myself.  I was so determined to make this new house my own that I lost myself in it.  Time to make realistic to-do lists, and let others step in.  My name does not have to be on everything, I don’t have to do Pinterest-worthy birthday parties for my kids, and I don’t have to run 5 half marathons next year. Maybe I’d yell at my kids less if I made time to just hang out with them. And I’d eat healthier food if I wasn’t running around doing other stupid stuff that I committed to.  It’s like we all know what we need to do to achieve balance, but we can’t bring ourselves to do it.  The only thing I can think of doing is acknowledging it publicly here, and committing to making changes.  Hold me accountable on this one, please!

5. Love your neighbour.  Literally, the annoying people who live next door. Or, at least, try to get along and you will go farther than battling it out.
Ahhhh, my neighbours.  I had the most amazing neighbours when we first moved to the island and I had no idea how bad it can be.  Long story short, my neighbours have parked their boat and allow all their family members to park communally in my driveway which crosses over their property since the summer. After repeated attempts to explain how that is not legal, and lots of going back and forth, I have decided that I just need to let it go.  It’s less about the legal and more about the relationship.  I need them on my side especially if I am gone half the time working in another city.  I realized if I just smile and pretend everything is fine, my neighbour has no problem with me parking on his property.  His renters even scurry out of their unit to move their vehicles if they see me approaching.  It is becoming kind of hilarious. If I get into a yelling match with him he comes marching down to my house trying to save face for his family and tenants and suddenly there are vehicles and trucks and this boat blocking my way.  I see this whole situation as a metaphor for a life lesson I need to learn: being right does not get me farther in life. 

6. Be a parent and a friend to your kids—they need both.
I’ve learned that not every moment with my boys needs to be a learning moment for them. I don’t need to come from a place of advice all the time.  Yes I am the adult who makes the decisions.  But I did learn this year that laughing hysterically with my kids or recognizing they need my attention, not discipline, goes far.

7. There’s no such thing as achieving life balance.
Why are we all trying to achieve balance? As soon as we think we’ve got it, stuff changes.  As soon as I thought this year that I’d finally let go of things I needed to and started up the important things, everything changed again.  There were new work projects, my car broke down, I injured myself and it took me off my marathon training and exercise regime, my budget was off again because I needed a new water heater, etc. etc.   And this is totally normal! I find it disheartening to pursue something that was never meant to be achieved.  Instead of focusing on achieving balance, which I think is not possible, I am going to be more aware of all the demands on my time and my energy.  And from there, make choices in the moment – less locking in to planning and more flexibility.

8. Look back just to see how far you’ve come.
This quote resonated with me a lot this year.  The feeling of making progress is so motivational.  I started a journal about 18 months ago.  Everything in my life now is different than what I described in those earliest entries.  I read it, not to rehash old feelings, but just to recognize that I am changing fairly dramatically.

9. Do things with intention.  If you don’t create it on purpose, something else will be created in its place.  And we might not like what that looks like. 
(Thanks, B, for this quote.) My coach’s words to me over 2 years ago are still with me.  I have tried this year to think, “to what end am I doing this?” in everything I do.  Am I working in a job that will get me closer to my career goals?  Am I parenting in a way that will help my kids reach their goals and be successful?  Am I saving money for the things I want?  And if not, then what do I need to do to fix that?  I made some big changes this past year – I moved houses and I changed jobs.  I love the part of the quote that reminds me that if I don’t fix these things, something will happen regardless.  I might as well take control of my actions and make my life the way I want it, as much as that is possible.

10. You can go through life’s changes kicking or screaming, or with grace. 
I loved these words (thank you, Ara) when I read them earlier this year.  I can resist or accept change, but either way, it’s happening. I would like to make the inevitable as enjoyable of an experience as possible.


I wish each of you a fulfilling 2017, wherever that takes you.  xo


Monday, 9 May 2016

Moving on

I woke up this morning in a new room. My new bedroom.  In my new house.  “My house.”  These words sound so strange. For the first time in 15 years I have downsized; my little family empire building days are over.  And man, I have so many boxes of things…things that built an empire that came to an end last year, things I sorted through by myself, things that are first world problems to have too many of.  So here I am, surrounded by too many things in boxes, in a house that is just mine, and it feels liberating and hopeful and sad all at the same time.  I feel liberated from a 5 bedroom house and a yard that simply wasn’t affordable on my own.  I feel hopeful that “my house” will eventually become an extension of me and I will make it a home.  I feel sad that I seem to get the short end of the stick sometimes, literally cleaning shit in my old house on Mothers Day while my children frolic in a brand new pool their dad bought them.  I need to dig myself out of those resentful thoughts and just get on with it.  Ah, so many metaphors about moving houses--One of the last heavy doors has closed behind me in this marriage. Tick “sell the family home and move out of it” off the divorce checklist.  That is pretty huge. Time to pick paint colours, envision a bathroom that is not puke green with purple counters, cook something in my new kitchen, enjoy my beautiful (and tiny) yard.  It is time to emotionally move on. 

I walked around the empty house deliberately yesterday before I closed the door forever.  I walked around the beautiful yard and said goodbye to the arbutus and cedar trees that made it truly a west coast paradise.  I blew a kiss at the house too—it seemed like I should salute it with a bit of love on my way out. I could say something snarky about how there wasn’t much love in that house but I’ll just skip over that part.   I wasn’t trying to be melodramatic; just needing to acknowledge there were a lot of emotions running deep yesterday and rather than bury them, it should be dealt with in the moment. 

As much as that house became a bit of a trap in the last year, it was the perfect place for my door to always be open to friends, drink wine, have many a good conversation, and to let the kids run free with their friends.  It was where I learned how to renovate a home, gutting the basement and what sweat equity really means.  It’s where I got to know a lot of international students who financially enabled me and the boys to stay in the house, and offer a bit of stability for them when everything else was changing around them.  It’s where I went through a bit of a transformation and turned into a stronger more independent version of me.  It is with gratitude that I look back at that house too—it’s not all bitterness.

So, hello new neighbourhood, hello many opportunities to start again, hello new life.  I am going to make this place awesome if it’s the only thing I do this month J And, the door is open—come and visit!

Monday, 21 March 2016

open letter to the guy who's ghosting me

I’m writing to you because it is worth my time to tell you these words. If I didn’t care about you as a human being I would not bother and I would walk away from you.  Everything I am about to say to you comes from a place of compassion. I am compassionate towards you because you are human, humans make mistakes, humans regret things sometimes, and at a very basic level, I cannot judge you because I am also imperfect and human too!   I just ask that you read this and consider what I have to say.  I wanted to tell you these things in person, but I respect your need for space.  So as much as I do not prefer writing a letter, I feel as though you have given me no choice but to communicate like we did in high school passing notes back and forth to each other. And to be honest, the way this is going down feels very high school.

Here’s what I see: I have spent a lot of time, intense time, with you in the last weeks.  And then on Friday you were not responsive. It felt like you were avoiding me and going cold.  I do not want to make assumptions on why you need space (is it something I did? Is it you getting scared that things moved too fast?).  But I would like to know, if you are willing to share that with me. 

So here’s how your behaviour made me feel: I, like you, am an emotional and sensitive soul.  I feel things deeply and I will blame myself first if something doesn’t seem right.  I feel confused that you can be so distant so suddenly.  I am sad that you did not empathize and see that I would be hurt if you walked away suddenly. So while you were going about your life for the last 4 days, I was hurt wondering why you did not take the time to communicate and give me clarity on what you needed.  I thought about the story you told me of the girls you’d meet in your 20’s and you would lead them on….and then have to apologize later for hurting them.  My gut tells me this is a repeat pattern and it was my turn to experience this. 

So while I have not felt very good at all the last 4 days, I know that there is no way I can make you understand what this has done to me. The only thing I can control is my actions.  I cannot control you, or your thoughts, or your behaviour.  I cannot even control my own thoughts.  But I can control what I do now, going forward.  I have decided that writing you this letter is a good way to articulate our situation, and I have decided that what I am going to say to you next is what I’d like you to hear.

  1. Be authentic and vulnerable

I know it bothers you a lot to be called a fake. You have told me you want to be real, open and honest.  My experience over 3 weeks with you is that you are authentic until things get awkward and hard.  Then you retreat and disappear.  You become the opposite of all the words you use to describe yourself.  You found it very easy to tell me your life story and about all your successes. You presented a compelling picture of yourself. I just wanted to tell you I see past all of that success and work and know that there are some insecurities underneath that.   And how amazing would it be if you let those shine too? Expose that shit! We are human, and we can’t be amazing all the time. We all have our faults. You do not have to disappear when you don’t feel amazing. In fact, you would be exponentially more amazing if you didn’t ghost me when you weren’t feeling on top of your world. 
1. Try to do it differently—so that you don’t repeat your mistakes

As a well known figure within this community, you will undoubtedly garner respect.  And as a physically attractive person you could also probably have any girl you want.  You can use that to your advantage. Sure, I was intrigued by your success, your work ethic, your rewards and recognition to date.  I say this out of love for you as a human being; if you abuse this you will just attract the same kind of girl over and over—the one that wants to brag about being with you and maybe does not love you for you.  If you want someone who can hold their own and match your work ethic, as you told me you wanted, you will need to do things very differently going forward.  If you go about your life the same way you always have in the way you meet and date women, of course you will always have the same results.  Wasn’t it Albert Einstein who said, “the definition of insanity is doing the same things over and over again, and expecting different results”?  And, I think you told me that that has not been a successful strategy so far in your life.  Maybe let a girl outshine you sometimes and see how that feels to support someone who is very successful in their own right?  Maybe let a girl take you for dinner? Or pay her share of a vacation? Maybe let a girl give you real advice about how to do business, or how to live a healthy life?  It’s scary to give up control and power in a relationship.  But perhaps this is the action you need to try to see if you come up with a different result? 
2. It’s normal to have conflicting emotions

I understand that you are going through a lot of heavy emotions.  Speaking from experience, I know the raw emotion – that sadness and anger of realizing your marriage is over and your children may suffer from it.  It is devastating even if you both chose to end it.  But it is possible to feel despair and happiness at the same time.  It is possible to feel that trauma of ending a family unit and a relationship with your spouse, but at the same time feel euphoric in a new relationship with another person.  These feelings can coexist.  It takes some time to process and talk through. 

I am here for you as a friend.  But I know that from a relationship stand point, I deserve someone who is interested in me and my feelings, not just their own.  I am interested in someone who is consistent, who has integrity, and is willing to take some major risks for me, as I would be for them.  For everything I had to experience and work through last year, this is not the reward I am seeking.  I worked way too hard last year to call this “worth all of that.”   

My dear, you are an amazing person. I find so many compelling things about you.  I am attracted to you but I am also disappointed in you.  I am disappointed that you sell yourself hard for 3 weeks, and then you disappear.  I am disappointed that you say you want to be present, open and honest, but you are the opposite of that.  I don’t want you to worry about what I think of you though.   What matters is what you change in your life for the better.  I was doing great before I met you, I did great while I knew you, and I will do even better moving on from this.  I wish you the same greatness going forward now. I am grateful for this experience of knowing you. Thank you for an amazing 3 weeks. Thank you for showing me the successful parts of your world.  It was an honour to see that part of you.  And now, I can say thank you for quickly turning and showing me your faults.  I am grateful to see this part of you too. 

I am sure our paths will cross again, and I hope they do. And I hope when that does happen, we are truly joyful and living the lives we have worked so hard to attain. 

Sunday, 28 February 2016

choosing alone

I remember as a child having dinner in some revolving restaurant with my family and watching a woman having dinner solo at another table.  I did not feel like this was empowering…it was profoundly awkward and sad to watch her have an entire meal in public by herself.  Perhaps she was enlightened and was really enjoying her own company. Perhaps I picked up on her sad energy. I will never know.  But it affected me and that memory has burned a hole in my brain for almost 30 years.   To me, enjoying your own silence at a table for one is a major test of whether you are actually cool with yourself. Why do I need to be in someone else’s company to validate me?   

I had a moment last week when I realized for the first time ever, I want to be by myself more than I want to be with other people.  I want to sit at the beach or go for a run by myself. I even have elected to go for lunch by myself. The silence of my home is not deafening anymore.  As an extreme extrovert, this is most strange.  I have been desperately filling my life with noise this past year. It was manic; I took no time off work because I knew I would go crazy hanging out in my own mind, I fell asleep with earphones all night listening to songs on repeat, and I talked and texted incessantly with anyone and everyone. It’s one thing to have a few hours to myself or even a few days or weeks, knowing my partner and my family will return to me.  There is an end date to that kind of aloneness.  But when I know that being alone could go on indefinitely, I do not meet my evenings and weekends with relief or anticipation whatsoever; it’s been more like dread.   

That noise I created was an escape, though. And escapes are not sustainable. There was a day around Christmas that I told myself I was going to choose to hang out with myself that evening and I was going to LIKE it.  I had not watched TV since I started to live alone almost 4 months earlier.  That night, I watched some random Jamie Oliver show about raising his own Christmas turkey and then cooking it for dinner.  It didn’t matter what it was, the fact was I was just sitting by myself in my basement, not doing anything “productive” like burning calories or cleaning my house, and I was not freaking out.  I think that night I realized, “This is great. I am enjoying not doing anything and I am totally alone. I could totally do this again.”

So fast forward to February, and my favorite part of every day is hanging out in my room, not saying a word. I go to bed and stare out the window at a giant arbutus tree, admiring how it flails and dances in the wind and heavy rain.  I wake up and the feeling isn’t dread.  It’s kind of this peaceful, “Oh hey, myself, good morning,” thought that first crosses my mind as I stare at this beautiful tree across my yard.  I think about how I will miss this view in a few months when I need to move out of this house.  And then I think about the fact that I get to move and find my own place for the first time in 12 years.  I’m not afraid of becoming a crazy cat lady and being alone forever…and you have my word! I know some day I will meet the right partner for me.  But for now, the only warm body I need is my own, and my kids are pretty warm and fuzzy too. 
arbutus tree view in the morning

I might regress; I can’t promise it’s only onwards and upwards from here.  I still squirm at the thought of taking myself for dinner, but I sense a noticeable change in my self-acceptance and comfort with silence.  We are all stronger than we think. I believe we can all choose a life where we love our own company. I am learning it takes hard work to get there, not just passively hoping for the best.

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

365 days later

Today marks one year of separation. 

1 year ago today…
…I cried 15 times.

…I could not sleep all night.

…It physically hurt to eat.

…My biggest fear of being rejected by my husband was realized.

…I felt trapped and out of control.

…My cell phone bill tripled.


…I focused all day on the "hard stuff" at my job. 

…I did not cry.

…I am 3 dress sizes smaller.

…I listened and helped a friend through his own grief. (I can start to give back to everyone who put their lives on hold in the last year to be there for me)

…I am better at French.

…I’ve made new best friends, including a “stand-in husband.”  (She’s awesome)

…I realized I like my bed all to myself.

…I don’t answer to anyone; I do what I want.

…My son gave a thumbs up to describe me. (I used to get sideways thumb)

…I’m really looking forward to tomorrow!

Saturday, 23 January 2016

Is this normal?  When I fly across Canada, I love watching the map on Air Canada’s little tv screens the entire time I am on the plane.  I have no interest in watching movies or shows. I just want to watch the map that shows all these remote communities across our vast nation.  I like the feeling of progress, watching the distance we’ve travelled accumulating.  I like looking out the window and figuring out what community is this whose tiny lights I see.  I feel especially nostalgic when I fly over Rainy River, Ontario, where I spent every summer until I was in my early 20’s.  I say a silent hello to my grandma who is buried there, and think about the memories of travelling to see her on the Grey Goose bus from Winnipeg.  We’d pass through Steinbach and Piney Manitoba, such random places that Air Canada chooses now to highlight on the 4500 km journey home I’m making. I think about what the hell has happened to me since I lived this uncomplicated, simple life in Rainy River, catching tadpoles, climbing hay bales, and lying for hours on the black rocks at Lake of the Woods. 
Rainy River

So here I am, 9 days into 2016, watching the little map on Air Canada’s tv screen, watching Quebec move farther and farther away, seeing Rainy River, Ontario approaching.  2674 km to go and then I am home.  I think about how many times I have flown across Canada this year…I can’t believe the distance my own life has travelled in the past 11 months.  I think about what a roller coaster this life is and this year has been.  Being married seems like such a foreign concept now.  I start to think about whether I wish I was still married and if I had my old life back.  It’s a resounding “no.”  True, I miss being exclusively loved by another human being.  I miss snuggling.  I miss the ease of a second pair of hands to help with the kids.  I miss having someone to talk to every day about the mundane things—the basics of sharing a life together.  But I see now that life isn’t about being married.  Or being with someone.  Right now I think life done well is about loving reality. Loving the every day stuff and the every day people in it.  There are the escapes and wild rides to break things up, but I am not sure if this is what life is about all the time.  Wondering what might have been if I stayed married…but it doesn’t matter. It’s gone and not coming back. That is my reality.  I need to love that.  

There was one traumatic day last year when I realized just how over my marriage was. Before this day, it was as if there were little cuts in my heart and I was slowly bleeding, just slowly trying to figure out what was going on in my life and what I was going to do about the fact that separation was inevitable. But on this day it was as though a large bullet punctured my heart and I bled so much I physically could not move and my breathing was more like gasping. I have never felt so angry or devastated as I did that day. It’s like I fell into a deep hole and I could not climb out of it by myself. 

But I see now that being in this deep hole was exactly where I was supposed to be.  When it hurts this much and it’s this uncomfortable, you have to change right away.  I see now that I was not going to change unless life was so painful I had to move. So, let’s just say I made some moves. Within two months of falling into this “hole” I found myself feeling hope and happiness.  To come from such a place of brokenness, these feelings were so euphoric.  I was astounded at how quickly a person’s heart can stop bleeding and begin to heal.  It was the greatest self-validation I’d given myself in about 10 years.  “Look at me; I am strong; I have power. And I am beautiful.”   But the thing about any emotion, happy or sad, is that it’s fleeting.  Neither can be sustained, because we are always moving, our environment is always changing.  There never is this ability to put a checkmark in the “I’m happy now” box in life, and be done with it.  And, the same goes for the “I’m really sad” box.  So suddenly I was feeling happy, and at the same time I became very fearful of losing this fleeting feeling.  I was so scared that I would slip back into that dark place I had come from. I felt this need to chase the things that created all these happy feelings in me, and keep something alive as long as I could.  It has been over a 6 month losing battle.  I see that now; I have been trying to control the actions and feelings of other people, and I have been trying to control my environment.  I can only control my actions.  My choice to pursue those things I can’t control has probably stalled my progress in loving my life on my own…that every day life I so need to love.  

So on the last day of 2015, I chose to head to Quebec and Ontario on a week long trip to  spend some time with my family out east. It was the best way to start 2016.  I’m getting pretty good at vacationing on my own sans husband. That used to be such a fear…having no one to share happy vacation times with.  But I actually prefer the lone wolf traveller—who would have thought!  Those of you who know me know why I went to Quebec…I went to confirm that I am ready to start 2016 standing on my own two feet, out of the dark hole feelings I had earlier in the year. I went to confirm that I don’t need anyone or anything to help me be happy—I can choose people to be in my life or I can opt out and feel joy either way.  And it worked.  I can’t tell you how freeing it is to realize I’m going to be totally fine on my own because I’m never going back to the dark hole I was in earlier this year.  I had hours on the long plane ride home to process what has happened and what I’m going to do in this new year.  I realized that if people who came into my life when I most needed to be saved from the dark hole go away now, I am ok. I will not fall back into that place I so feared returning to. I can stop chasing and trying to control the situation.  I have done some hard work since the summer, rebuilding my life. I had a massive opportunity to grow, and I am capable of making things better. I have a long way to go before I can say I am totally healed but there is no pressure to hurry this up.
beautiful Quebec!

So what should I do now? I should stop thinking of myself as this washed-up single mom sitting on her laptop on the west coast.  Life is going to pass so quickly, and I don’t want to look back and wish it all went differently…or not know where it went.  I like Keanu Reeves’ quote I read the other day – “none of us are going to get out of here alive.” So we might as well make living about what we have and where we are right now. 

For the first time, I left Quebec and Ontario and I was not in tears.  I got off the plane, found my car at Victoria’s airport, sat in it alone, and did not feel despair of any kind.  It feels good to be home and I am ready to start 2016, on my own, and far away from that dark hole.


Sunday, 13 December 2015

Top 10 things I learned in 2015

I want to declare 2015 the worst year of my life.  But the more I think about it, the more I realize I don’t agree with that statement.  2015 was the best year of my life, actually.  I am standing here, in December, feeling strong. Strong doesn’t mean happy or full of answers about the future. To me it means having confidence to walk forward into 2016 and handle my business.  There were days this year when I was not ok, and truth be told, I thought it might be better to be dead.   I needed days like that to feel so much pain that I had to change and move.  And oh my God, how much I did move out of complacency this year.   God knows I have many socially acceptable reasons to play the sad victim of life card. I do not wish what happened to me upon anyone else.  That said, I am grateful for the life I got to live in 2015, and while it was nothing I could have ever imagined, I am better for it.   Here’s what I learned and can take into 2016 with me:

1. Be present—right now is all you’ve got. 

Slow it down and be mindful of what is happening in this very moment. I got blindsided at the beginning of 2015 with a marriage that blew up in a spectacular way. When I started asking, “Where have I been—how did I not see this coming?” the answer I found was always that I was a few steps ahead of the present.  Biggest lesson and I’m still learning it.   

2. Love, like everything we do and feel, is a choice.

It doesn’t happen to you or stop happening to you.  There’s no such thing as falling in love or out of love.  That’s a cop-out from choice. We are always in control.

3. Trust your intuition.

It’s a human survival mechanism, and we spend our lives trying to shut it down and look for rationalization or hard evidence. Even if you can’t prove what you are feeling is the right thing, you know a lot more than you think. Don’t let anyone tell you you’re crazy.

4. No risk, no reward.

Take your proverbial helmet off and let love, a new career, or whatever your fear of failure is take a shot at your head.  For me, the biggest risks I took in 2015 made me feel so scared and liberated and euphoric at the same time. It was all worth it, not because it was a wild ride, but because I learned that I am stronger than I think. I can take the failure that some of those risks brought, but also not everything failed dramatically.  There are sweet rewards too.  

5. Work so hard on your physical strength.

Be faster, be stronger, and do this every day. It’s a forever thing; if you view it this way you will do it this way. Life is intense; we need an avenue to burn off that intensity intensely!

6. Love your current conditions. 

Body shape, job, marriage, relationship…always there is someone else who wants what you’ve got really really bad. It surprises me to hear so many of my friends tell me, “you are living my dream life right now” or, “I am living vicariously through you”.  Really? You envy me?  I envy you!  I guess all I can do is learn to love what I’ve got.

7. You can’t love someone if you don’t love yourself. 

Like they say in the plane safety briefing before every flight—you’ve got to put your own oxygen mask on first before assisting others.  I have to take care of myself before I can be of any value in someone else’s life—and that’s not being selfish.   
8. No one and nothing should be your “everything”. 
YOU are your everything.  It’s totally up to you.  Someone else can’t be your bandaid or your drugs.  That’s not fair to them or to you. I have to love myself enough to say, “I am enough.”

9. Getting better takes discipline and hard work. 

Simply allowing time to pass and hoping your grief or your crazy life will get better is not the wisest coping mechanism. Time does make some things better—it numbs out the rawness of recent events.  But time in and of itself does not heal you.  I turned the major corners out of grief this year when I chose to reframe my attitude. It is hard work because sometimes it's easier to have a pity party and get your energy out of playing the victim.   

10. Where you are right now is perfect. 

You might not feel that way in the moment but it’s serving a purpose. Everything I have done and chosen has led me to right now.  So it’s perfectly aligned with what is about to come.  That brings me back to my lesson learned number 1 – be present. I don't want to get ahead of myself if I am already in the perfect place! 

I hope some of this resonates with you. I'd love to hear about it! Wishing you a healthy, fulfilling 2016.