Category Archives: Joy

Of the Creative-Type.

Is it strange that I seem to write the most around midnight? I probably can’t be the only creative-type who has insomnia issues, mostly related to an influx of thoughts once it gets dark, right?

Lots of things are flowing through my brain right now, mostly in large part to the big project Tom and I have been working on for the last six months or so. This website is something that we’ve spent countless hours on, between the actually crafting of the content to managing the behind the scenes technical stuff, legal stuff, and marketing. It’s an idea that we’ve toyed around with since July, and we are so excited with the direction it’s taken and the reception it’s received.

Over the long winter break, we had two thirteen-hour car rides, in which many hours were spent discussing the site, working on outlines for new posts, new segments, marketing plans, and more. When we came home, totally invigorated and excited for all the new things we had planned, a funny thing happened. The website got a huge, huge promotion, landing on the front page of Reddit’s fitness forum {the largest and most frequently visited of its kind}. Not only were the number of visitors mind-boggling, but so were all the comments and feedback: the majority were overwhelmingly positive. In fact, I’d venture to say that 98% of it was positive. I still can’t quite wrap my brain around that.

It’s gratifying to see something you love so much be so well accepted. That’s obvious, right? But it was also so exciting to see this tiny baby project that we’ve fed and nurtured every night for hours go out into the big, scary world and succeed. When we started this, neither one of us had any direct experience in running a blog of this magnitude. Sure, I write here, and I write at my day job, but I don’t write about nutrition or cooking. I’ve never had to back up a database or try to troubleshoot a PHP log. But we’ve learned as we’ve gone, and dang it, I’m proud of me.

As I {sadly} get older, the urge to put roots down and start to settle into a typical lifestyle is becoming greater. It’s especially more profound when I visit back home and find all my friends buying houses, having babies, and getting promotions. It makes me start to question what I’m doing, and if it’s sustainable, and maybe I should just change gears altogether. And then I came back to Carolina, channeled all my creative energy into this project, and returned to the little bubble that is our unconventional life. And then yesterday happened, and it reaffirmed what I’ve known in my soul all along: my roots are in my projects, not in where I live. I am happiest when I am writing or creating, or learning new things. It soothes my soul in ways I could never form words to explain.

I am humbled and grateful to be of the creative-type, even if it means a few nights spent wide away, the only light in the house coming from my computer.

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2012 has been such a monumental year in my life. As I think back to everything that has been set in motion or even completely accomplished, I am astounded at all the things I have been able to check off my informal “life list.” On a very broad level, I think it suffices to say that I am so thankful for the opportunity to undertake what I have. I think it’s impossible for me, growing up in a home that never had an empty fridge or missing parents, to really understand and appreciate all that I do have, because I’ve never truly been without. But I try to remain grateful every day.

This year especially, I am so thankful for:

  • My parents, for teaching me that life isn’t fair, for reminding me about second chances, and for making sure I really could do anything I wanted. Mom & Dad — thank you for allowing me back into your home this year (and especially my sometimes rude but well-meaning dogs). Thank you for making sure Tom & I always have a room to come home to in Chicago, and for the many, innumerable ways you’ve enriched my life!
  • Pandora. This year I’ve rediscovered how much music awakens my creativity, and I love that.
  • My health. This category is especially meaningful for me after battling so much. I am grateful for having the answers I have searched for, and positive that the changes I’ve made this year will enable me to stay healthy for a very long time.
  • My friends, new and old. It has been a blast getting to meet new people and forge new friendships this year, and bittersweet saying goodbye to my friends in Chicago.
  • My job. I may not always love it, but I enjoy what I do and I am grateful for the flexibility I have. Without this single factor, nothing I accomplished this year would have been possible.
  • My family, for being supportive, even though they might not always like what I’m doing or where I’m going.
  • Weightlifting. I never thought I’d say this, but I love this damn sport. I love seeing how much Tom loves it, I love that it’s opened doors to the Olympics that we once thought were closed, and I love that it’s enabled me to fulfill my passion of starting a business.
  • The South. I certainly still have so many moments of culture shock, but it is lovely to move somewhere that encourages politeness and good manners.
  • Thomas, who has been the main catalyst for change this year. I am so happy to be walking down this path blindly with you.
  • You. If you’re still with me, reader, I’m thankful for the encouragement I’ve received, and for every single time you visit this blog to read my words. I was unbelievably nervous to pour my heart out in those first few posts and share this all with the world, but I am so glad I did. Thank you for sticking around.

Happy Thanksgiving, ya’ll.

Deliriously Happy.

When I set out to craft a post, I usually leave the title for last. Somewhere along the way, my brain finds something poignant to represent my story, and I usually know instantly what that is once I type the last sentence. Today, I knew what the title was going to be before I typed a single word into the body of the post.

In the continuing saga of sad events in our lives, alluded to here and here, the phone rang again in the dead of the night, announcing that another life has been lost. This man has been mentioned as one of the nicest there was, supporting my husband’s team physically, mentally, financially, and every other way possible. In the short time my husband knew him, he became a mentor and a hero, the embodiment of all Tom wants to be when he grows up. As with my friend’s death earlier this year, the abruptness rocks your foundation. You call your loved ones because you need to hear their voices, you drive a little slower, you take the time to taste and smell your coffee and not gulp it down in a mad rush. Life suddenly feels heavier, the gravity pulling your mind back into the present, encouraging you to feel every ounce of your being.

In the face of pain, loneliness and change, I have decided to be happy. Personal struggles have been shelved and reframed, knowing there is only one acceptable outlook in my life right now. There will still be heartbreak and grief in my life, but the goal is to make sure it is fleeting. Instead of dwelling, I am choosing to replace it with gratitude and love.

When I miss him, I remind myself that I’m lucky enough to have him in this world with me.

When the pressure of the move threatens to break me, I remember that my husband is one of the few that has the chance to chase his biggest dream.

When the stress of work envelops me, I remind myself that I’m lucky to have a career that I enjoy that provides me with income, benefits, satisfaction, and a work-life balance that I’ve always wanted.

When I try to look at something and my vision loss prevents me from doing so, I blink, refocus, and silently say “thanks” for the ability to have received the medical care I needed to preserve the rest of my eyesight.

When I pay the bills, instead of cursing, I remember how lucky I am to have the money in my bank account to do so. {I also remember the faces of the homeless men and women that I met when I visited my sister who works at a shelter in California. Her stories remind all of us that we are blessed and lucky to have what we do, no matter how often we think it’s not enough.}

Life is not easy, nor is it always pleasant on the surface. But if you work at it, you can distill a pattern of beauty that surpasses what the eye can see. It will speak to your heart, and joy will begin to bloom, spreading quickly and warmly throughout your body. I hope that this post serves as a turning point, becoming the gateway to positive posts and banning the negative. Realism and honesty is always accepted if not encouraged, but I can no longer allow myself to dwell in the glum and melancholy.

For Jim and Kristyn, and all those that we hold dear, we owe it to them to be the best of ourselves, to choose the path of delirious joy, overzealous passion, and abundant love.

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