34

Processed with VSCO with g3 preset

Admittedly, I’ve been pretty quiet on this blog.

Over the last year, there’s been an inward focus and I’ve dedicated time and energy to better understand what happiness means to me. I have not arrived at a concrete answer but I have discovered what brings me joy and what drains my energy. This list is under the lens of self-discovery (not intended to be preachy!). On my 34th birthday, I’m giving myself permission to reflect and maybe get a little sentimental. If you’re in that mood too, read on!

 

  1. Life is precious.
  2. Prioritize priorities.
  3. Raising a little kid and a big kid is a challenge and a joy.
  4. Taking trips with girlfriends is always worth the logistics and time.
  5. Change is a constant.
  6. We don’t need any more things.
  7. Understanding different perspectives on motherhood is humbling.
  8. Having a strong point of view takes guts.
  9. Having a strong point of view and an open mind makes a lot of things easier.
  10. Food is medicine.
  11. A month without coffee isn’t so bad.
  12. We are all stronger than we think we are.
  13. Always accept hand-me-downs.
  14. There are many definitions of minimalist.
  15. I’d like to be a minimalist.
  16. Green smoothies are a great way start to the day.
  17. Bloody Mary’s are a great way to start the day.
  18. Podcasts are a great way to start the day (and pass the time when cleaning).
  19. I scroll on my phone way too much.
  20. But I just love @picturesoftext on Insta so much.
  21. Running is still really hard.
  22. There is no finish line.
  23. I’m probably more of an introvert than I think I am.
  24. Learning my husband’s MBTI type was eye-opening.
  25. Flowers from Trader Joes are a good investment.
  26. Cheese from Trader Joes is a no brainer.
  27. Getting older isn’t that scary.
  28. Buying stuff doesn’t make me feel happy.
  29. But planning purchases does.
  30. Date nights on the couch with fancy takeout are actually fun.
  31. You’ll never be wrong by trusting your parenting instincts.
  32. In yoga, going upside down is really fun.
  33. Trusting myself to go upside down is really hard.
  34. Finding the root cause is more fulfilling than constantly searching for a band-aid.

Cheers!

The Middle

arek-adeoye-213476.jpg

In January, I committed to my health in two important ways. The first, registering for yoga teacher training and training for a half-marathon.

The two journeys started on their own path but like many things in life, they are starting to support and combat one another.

Somewhere deep down (very, very deep down) I have missed running. I didn’t miss training indoors on the dreadmill or repetitive loops around the track. I didn’t miss battling Mother Nature’s elements either, but I did miss the routine and the build running programs offers. One week you’re absolutely certain there is no physical way your body can run more than six miles and a month later you’re running ten miles. I’m still in the “Ten miles, no way!” camp of training but I can see a small light at the end of the tunnel.

Yoga teacher training is a completely different discipline and I’ve embraced my role as a student. I’ve completed four of the ten weekends of teacher training and my thoughts and emotions are all over the place. I’m energized, humbled and intimated. Some weeks I’m more committed than others. New yoga pants have been purchased but a solid daily meditation practice? Not so much.

You know that feeling when you’re on a long road trip? You’ve burned through the trail-mix, looking forward to the next state but you’re not sure how and when you’ll ever reach your final destination? Is the final destination the best part or is it the trip itself? Does it matter?

Too literal of an analogy?

Even so, that’s where I am. The trail-mix will do but, didn’t we just eat that an hour ago? Each state is better than the last and how did I not know that Idaho was this beautiful? Where are we going again? Will I even know when we’ve arrived? I’m in the middle and by definition, the middle is the messiest. If not the messiest, it certainly feels the most confined.

This type of nonsensical question-asking is just the sort of the thing The Middle loves, I assume.

What does The Middle feel like?

A little yoga 101, there are eight limbs of yoga (we’re familiar with the third limb asanas, postures). The second limb are the Niyamas which are moral codes that guide us toward positive behavior. They are principles that help us live our yoga practice on and off of the mat. The third Niyama is tapas meaning, discipline and “burning enthusiasm.” Tapas can mean cultivating a sense of self-discipline, passion and courage in order to burn away “impurities” physically, mentally and emotionally, and paves the way to our true greatness. It’s the fieriness that gets our heart pumping, heightens our desire for personal growth.

Pretty intense, right? And that’s where I am right now.

For me, yoga has also become the “insulation to my live wire.”

Another tool in my toolbox to pull out when my thoughts get the best of me. The practice helps me pause and ask “Is this situation worthy of an emotional, intense, dramatic reaction?” The discipline has helped me stay present and recognize that emotions are not something to push through, but rather embrace and honor.

It is not a magic bullet, an easy pill or the means to an end. It’s intense to see real physical change and recognize the path to personal growth. I’m constantly worried I’ll slip back into bad habits or behavior patterns. Or that I’m a fraud or undeserving. I’m worried state of vulnerability is fleeting and over time, my shell will build back up.

We tend to be comfortable with the end result. We love the before and after. We love to know about the process to transformation but please, just give me an overview and a path to follow. Boxes to check until I can check the biggest box, the end result! Rarely do we pause and reflect on the true discipline personal transformation requires. Or, at least I rarely paused.

Since this reflection is truly about the middle and the transformation might only be significant to me, there’s really no ending. Only comfort in knowing we can make small incremental changes. They matter to our physical and mental health, our families, friends and community. Or maybe they don’t, maybe they’ll just matter to you and to me and that’s alright too.

Instagram

Sunday runday + Sunday funday + meal prep and getting real with the laundry situation = pass me another beer. 🤗

Enter your email address to follow Happy by Design and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Happy by Design

Thoughts about motherhood, wellness and life.

Blog - Coffee + Crumbs

Thoughts about motherhood, wellness and life.

Inspired to Share

Thoughts about motherhood, wellness and life.

Motherly

Thoughts about motherhood, wellness and life.

MKE Moms Blog

a resource for Milwaukee moms

A Cup of Jo

Fashion, Beauty, Design, Culture, Food, Relationships, Motherhood

Thoughts By Natalie

A blog about simple + stylish living by jewelry designer Natalie Borton

Jamie LeRoy

Writer of things