My mommy juice now is tea. A glass of kombucha (fermented tea) a day, and a hot cup of tea while I work or while I’m winding down for bed. Tension Tamer is great, and I like Yogi’s Invigorating tea with the flavor of nectarines. Yogi is fun too because their tags have sentiments on them. Today I used two bags and they read, “Spread the light; be the lighthouse” and “An attitude of gratitude brings opportunities”.

I like the sentiments and I decide to glue them into my planner. As I flip the page, I realize the sticker I put on yesterday reads, “Have an attitude of gratitude”. I know this is a common sentiment, but it’s pretty crazy my tea ends up having the same phrase on the tag. I believe in signs, so here goes.

I’ve noticed a lot of changes in my life, positive changes. It’s amazing how things happened when I decided I needed a change. I love my life right now…I still get overwhelmed and frustrated, but it’s so much easier to put things into perspective.

Taking the boys out of daycare has been amazing. I look forward to going to work, to interacting with my patients. Then I look forward to coming home and slipping into bed to wake up to my boys the next morning. The two extra days to stay on top of laundry and household chores have been so good.

I’m so thankful to have a husband like Nate, who lives for his family and holds himself to such a high standard. As I watch him check the oil in my Jeep, I catch myself thinking, “Man, he’s hot…” Yet he’s the first one to jump in and do laundry and cook dinner, doing what needs to be done through the day to provide for his family financially and then coming home and working tirelessly, without complaint.

I’m thankful for my boys. Logan is at the stage (I say the last hurdle before he’s more independent!) where I have to keep a constant vigil to keep him from harm’s way. Walking the fine line between letting him learn even though it means he might get a bump or two. Dillon is such a tender hearted young man–he looks after his mama like his dad does. He knows I get lost in my head sometimes and tend to forget things, but I when I remember that I forgot something, he’s right there next to me, “Here it is, Mom. I grabbed it for you.”

Dillon told me he doesn’t like feeding the animals in the morning–the smell of the kibble makes him gag. So he asked if his job could be getting Logan ready in the morning–getting him dressed. He is such a good big brother and Logan worships him. I love the relationship they’re forming and I pray it lasts forever.

Last New Year’s Eve, I was such a hot mess but I couldn’t see a way out. It truly felt like this was just the way it was, and I was helpless. Now I know this is a lie. My mom and stepdad write down their hopes for the year every year on New Year’s Eve–not resolutions per se, but what they want to see manifested. I honestly don’t remember what I wrote down, but I do remember feeling disgusted with myself, with my drinking, and how it was affecting my relationship with my loved ones, and more importantly, the way it was affecting my self esteem. But I didn’t know how to let it go, because I needed a crutch to get me through my self-created unhappiness. Ironically, the alcohol was the main contributor of that depression and misery.

I couldn’t imagine how things could possibly get better, but SJ and Mom said it doesn’t matter–just write down what you want to have happen. So I did. I knew the morning rush & commute to get to work was too much and my mental health was suffering. I truly thought that was just the way it had to be–a depressing, disheartening lie.

Mom and SJ flew home to Maine, taking the scroll that had all of our hopes for 2018 with them. We went back to our regular routines, and while I tried to cut back on my wine, I wasn’t successful. But through a sequence of events since I started this blog, things have fallen into place. I went from feeling miserable because I felt like I was an exhausted hamster, running a wheel and not accomplishing anything to feeling…joyful and content.

Really, not a whole lot has changed…I’m still working in the same job, for the same people, just 16 hours less a week. But that small change that I was so afraid to ask for, coupled with changing how I think about things, has made all the difference.

My mindset has changed. I’ve listened to countless podcasts, read blogs, self-help books, and found my faith and my church (again). I’ve realized 3 core truths that I truly believe. I might find more eventually, which would be nice. Each truth has felt like a key, a way to release old, or even false beliefs.

1) I don’t need to worry about what others think about me or my life. The only ones I need to concern myself with is my God, and myself. As long as I can go to bed at the end of the day and be at peace with myself and my actions for the day, it doesn’t matter what other people think or do, say or believe. This might sound selfish, but I’m realizing it’s the opposite. By giving myself permission to be true to me and stop trying to please everyone, I open myself up to being real with people, and I find it’s easier to love others when I’m at peace with myself.

2) Everything is neutral. Alcohol is neutral. Death is neutral. It’s how we think about alcohol and death that makes them “good”, “bad”, etc. Dillon asked me if alcohol is bad. I told him no, alcohol is not bad. But just like anything you try in life, you have to ask yourself if you like the results you’re getting. Having a glass of wine is not bad. Having ten glasses of wine isn’t necessarily bad, as long as you don’t mind the results you get (which will likely be a nasty hangover, but I digress!) 🙂 I finished explaining to Dillon that I didn’t like the results I was getting with my drinking, and so I made the choice to stop. I told him it didn’t mean I was never going to drink again, but my relationship with Dillon was suffering because of me drinking wine, so I stopped drinking.

This is cognitive behavioral therapy–the think/feel/act cycle to be specific. I heard about this concept in Rachel Hart’s podcast, Take a Break, and it was revolutionary to me–it changed the way I viewed wine and everything else. Your life is pretty much black and white; your thoughts are what color your world. When I described my world as bleak and gray, it was mostly due to my pessimistic outlook on things.

3) You have passions for a reason. For so long I shut myself down whenever I felt creative. I would tell myself, “You’re not an artist. You don’t know how to draw. You’re being silly…” Why? Why was I squelching that little whisper, pulling away from my soul tugging at me, urging me to create? When I gave myself permission to play, and stopped comparing my beginning to someone else’s middle (comparing my beginner art to those with years of experience), and just enjoyed the process, a whole new world opened up to me and it was amazing! Colors and textures, the smell of gesso and another unfurling of a white page or canvas to reveal hidden beauty, playing with new ideas and going down rabbit trails of “What if I try this…” and “What would happen if I do that…” I don’t do it for the accolade or the money. It’s the joy of the process and I could literally sit and play and create all day, everyday.

Growing up, I had a passion for medicine that led me to becoming a nurse. I still like being a nurse, but I don’t feel a passion to keep going to school to further my career. I don’t feel called to return to the ER. I’m content where I’m at. I get to sit and talk to patients, something I love. I get to have a job that allows me the flexibility to make my family a priority. For my coworkers and my boss, Sue, I am at a loss to say how thankful I am.

When I talk to teenagers, I tell them to follow their passions. They do not have to follow the cliche of graduate high school, go to college, get married, have babies and work for corporate America. They have interests for a reason! Pursue whatever tugs at your heart, pulls at your mind, and makes you feel alive! Do it with reckless abandon and everything will fall into place. You might not be a millionaire, but you also won’t be wasting your life doing something you hate, counting down the years to retirement.

I am grateful for my life, and the change to soak up every second of it and try to capture these precious moments in words and pictures so someday I can look back on a life well lived, and a life I loved living.

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