To say I’ve felt a bit isolated since moving to Tucson would be an understatement. Mind you, we moved to Tucson in 2007, but it has taken me the better part of seven or eight years to feel like I belonged. What changed? Volunteering.
As soon as I said yes to volunteering at the kids’ school. My whole world and perspective changed. The simple act of showing up, serving our school community and being open to connection opened me up and gifted me friendship and community.
Holy. Moly. Cow. Was it really that easy? In a word: yes. If I had to do it all over again, I’d throw myself into volunteering years and years ago. When I walk into Satori (the kids’ school) I feel like I’m feel like I’m home, like I belong. What could be better than that?
If I could give just one piece of advice to anyone trying to find connection it would be this: find a place to volunteer. Pick a cause or and organization that speaks to your heart and then just jump in. Give some of your time and energy and you will find people to connect with and a place to call you own.
I only wish I would have done this sooner.
One of my goals is to say no more and be extra thoughtful about when I say yes. “Say Yes” is a series featuring the things or experiences I’m saying yes to and why.
I took a spin class last week. I hated it. Hate might not be a strong enough characterization. I hate, hate, hate spin class. About 30 minutes into the class, I had to quit. The competitive side of me was pretty upset, but I was fighting back vomit, like yucky tuna-salad vomit, so I left class and waited for Mike to finish the 55-minute torture session. I only went to the spin class because Mike loves (LOVES) the cycling classes at our gym and wanted me to work out with him.
Normally, we do most of our working out together. We’ve been running and walking together on and off for a couple of years now, but since we joined a gym back in April we’ve struggled to align our workouts. We’re still doing a running program together (three days a week), but on the other days Mike wants to cycle, while I want to go to yoga. Because we’re so used to working out together, we made the very wrong assumption that we had to go to the gym together every, single time and had to love the same exact classes. The major reason we joined a gym was for the classes and for a place to exercise during the peak heat of the Arizona summers. Anyway, Mike very quickly fell in love with spin class and out of a sense of obligation, I went to a class with him. I was miserable. I didn’t like the music. I didn’t like the teacher. I didn’t like the rock hard seat of the exercise bike. I didn’t like the actual work out. And to make matters worse, I started to feel sick 30 minutes into the class. By the time we got home from the gym, I was running a fever, my whole body ached and I had a horrible case of the chills. I can’t say that spin class made me sick, but I had a pretty crappy 24 hours after that class, and never, ever want to go back.
Mike and I had a little chat about this and I explained to him that though he might love spin class, I don’t. And I don’t think we have to love the same classes. But, our exercise practice has been so deeply rooted in togetherness, both of us feel almost compelled to exercise together and only together. Does that make sense? We’ve been motivating each other to make healthy choices, so it feels like we have to do all of our exercise together or it’s not going to happen,
In our oh-so strong spirit of togetherness, Mike came with me to a yoga class yesterday. We even stopped at Target on the way to the gym and got him his own mat (we’re an “all in” sort of fitness couple, even if we have no idea if we’re going to love whatever it is we’re trying … that’s a whole different topic of discussion). So we got to the gym, unrolled our yoga mats and got our stretch on. It was about 15 minutes into the session when I heard Mike laughing. By about 30 minutes in, I noticed he was rolling up his mat and leaving. I finished up the class and went to find Mike. He was dripping sweat the elliptical (a machine I’m not fond of). He immediately said, “It didn’t take me long to realize: yoga is never going to be my thing. It’s nothing like everything I love about exercising.”
He loves spin. I hate it. I love yoga. He hates it. And guess what? It’s okay. It was like was like we were trying to fit square pegs in a round hole. We were both insisting the other just had to love the same classes we loved and it doesn’t work that way. And it never will. I listened to my body and it said “NO SPIN CLASS.” And I’m going to respect that. And happily, Mike is going to respect that too and never ask me to go to spin class with him ever again.
We returned his yoga mat to Target on our way home the gym. There’s no point in keeping it. He’s never going to love yoga or even like yoga. And I’m not going to ask him to go to yoga class with me. We’ll run and walk together and all the other stuff we can do on our own (no more spin class for me!!!).
This parenting gig is tough. And last week, I totally screwed up. I had a major parenting fail. Shelby saw a photo of herself on my Instagram feed and went ballistic. The photo she saw was one of her shaving her legs. She was so, so mad at me for posting the photo
Let me share a little back story: when I was texting Shelby to shave her legs, I took a photo. She protested. And I begged her to let me take it. She said, “Okay, but you can’t show anyone.” I promised and then promptly forgot about it.
Fast forward a few weeks and I posted a Project Life layout to Instagram that included that photo. I honestly forgot I’d promised her I wouldn’t post the photo. And I honestly didn’t think it was such a big deal. But to her, it was a huge betrayal. I had both broken my promise and posted an embarrassing photo of her for everyone to see.
This parenting gig is tough.
I felt horrible. I didn’t mean to hurt her. I have forgotten what it’s like to be a twelve-year-old girl and didn’t think about her feelings. But even more than that, I made her a promise (not to share the photo) and I broke that promise. Major parenting fail. Talk about feeling like the world’s biggest asshole.
This parenting gig is tough.
I deleted the post, and then Shelby and I had a major heart to heart, which started with an apology. Then, she laid out the ground rules for posting photos of her. She’s 12 now and has every right to privacy and a say in the pictures that are posted of her. Simply put, if she says no posting, I will respect that. Even if I think it’s no big deal, I have to remember that when she vetos something, then I can’t post it.
This parenting gig is tough and I’m really just trying to feel my way through it all. I need to make this my mantra: if it were me, would I be happy about (insert situation here)? And would I still be okay with it if I was 12 again? I’m sure I’ll screw up again. I’m pretty good at that. But I’m going to try not to and try to make choices that will make both my children continue to put their faith and trust in me. That’s all we can do, right?
I working on putting together a travel journal from our trip to Europe (oh yeah, Mike and I went to Turkey and Spain a few weeks ago). Most of the memory keeping I do now is all digital, but for this trip I have a physical journal/scrapbook of our adventures.
It wasn’t my plan to have a physical scrapbook, but as we prepared for our trip Mike started keeping a journal of all the important information we needed for our trip. Along the way, we started tucking receipts, tickets and brochures we picked up into the journal. And suddenly the idea of creating a travel journal was born.
In order to make this journal actually come together (remember, I don’t do a lot of physical memory keeping these days), I had to come up with some rules to help me stay on track.
1. Keep it simple. I have a habit of overthinking others like this. To get this done, I have to keep it simple. There will be no embellishments … just photos, handwritten notes and the paper ephemera we collected on our trip. (Though I will admit I’ve been using some washi tape, since who can resist washi tape?)
2. Print directly from Instagram and ignore all other photos. Mike and I took a ton of photos. Could easily get bogged down in sorting through all the photos we had. Instead of doing that, I decided to print only the photos Mike and posted to Instagram. I connected our Instagram accounts to Walgreen’s One-Hour Photo service, printed our trip photos and picked them up an hour later. Super easy.
3. Leave the journal out until it’s complete. I’ve left the journal, photos, glue/tape, a stapler and all the items I want to add to the journal sitting on our formal dining room table. When I have a few minutes, I sit down and work on it. Since I see it all the time, I feel more motivated to get it done. And I can always seem to find a few minutes to work on it, since it’s all there ready to go.
4. No pressure. Whatever I happen to get done is great. I’m not putting a lot of pressure on myself to get anything done by a certain time, nor does it have to look a certain way. Whatever I end up with is far more than I’ve ever had before … so that’s a win, right?