Good-bye 2012

2012, I am delighted to put you behind me.  Granted, you were not as heartbreaking (or physically uncomfortable) as 2009 or as emotionally and mentally taxing as 2010 and 2011, but you were a bit of a bitch.  Okay, recognizing the significant loss and tribulations of others in this world, allow me to re-evaluate and say that you were merely a challenge.

I have so much more growth ahead of me, but after I read a few old blog entries from the past few years (and then some even older ones from a deleted blog), I realized that this year—especially these past few months—I’ve tossed a ton of emotional baggage to the curb and said good-bye for good.  Repairing years of emotional dents is a taxing process, but this year I made tremendous strides in forgiving the past, accepting the present for what it is, and realizing that although you don’t always get what you think you want, what you finally receive is typically far beyond anything you could dream for yourself.  At least, that’s what I’ve discovered when it comes to material things.  (Like the fantastic Dyson I received for Christmas.)  I hope that this singularity will apply to love as well.

Moving on…  I saw my first (newer) 3-D movie this year.  I had my first good glass of pinot noir.  I watched my son graduate from high school.  I saw a near-total eclipse of the sun from my front door.  I witnessed the union of my brother and his amazing wife.  I survived the Apocalypse.

I had such an amazing time participating in The Color Run in February.

I LOVED it.  So many wonderful people walked, jogged, ran, strolled with their kids, and pushed their wheelchairs through downtown Las Vegas and celebrated just being alive.  Josh and I had such a great time that we’re both going to do it in 2013 and I think I’ve convinced half of the clinic to participate, too.  Plus, a portion of the $ helps support Three Square.  Awesome.

After the Color Run, I challenged myself to complete other runs throughout the year.  Success.  Big time.

The Devil Dash was my first 5k obstacle course “mud” (rather lack of mud) run.  I don’t know if I’ll do it again.  The entire course consisted of running hills in the scorching desert sun.  I can do that right outside my back door.  For free.

More challenging was the 10k New Harmony Fire Mud Run in June.  This time, mud was present.  Running through a mile of soft sand almost made me cry.  Almost.  The trail run portion was more my speed.  It was definitely a step up from the Devil Dash and a good stepping stone toward…

Tough Mudder.  October.  Beaty, NV.  Originally a 10-mile course riddled with 20 challenging (and freezing) obstacles, they increased it to 12 miles during the final hour.  Difficult, but fun and extremely muddy.  I dug my way out of ice in the Arctic Enema without crying like a baby.  In fact, in the video clip I watched, I didn’t even flinch.  I owned it.  Although I was tired and bruised after the event, I wasn’t as beaten as I thought I’d be.  I trained well for the Mudder.  As soon as I get my hands on the video and pictures (I’ve only seen a few clips as someone else has them), I’ll post them along with blurbs about the obstacles.  Good time.

I also started to expand my blogging universe this year, which has thus far created warm, fuzzy feelings for me.  I ventured out of my safety zone, one comment at a time, and “met” some truly remarkable people.  People who inspire me.  People who make me laugh.  People who have been brave enough to offer glimpses into their lives and made me realize that I’m not alone in my struggles.  We all have issues we work to overcome.  We all have fears to confront.  Nearly all have loved and lost.  We are all in this together.

Blogging is no longer a simple outlet for my random thoughts; it is my link to like-minded individuals and an online community.  It is my connection to life beyond this small town.  I am thankful to every one of you for welcoming me into your world.

This awareness triggered my first challenge for 2013: cease my sporadic blogging and commit to a schedule.  Frequent and steady.  Begin with three times a week.  Comment more often on other blogs.  Expand and deepen my blogosphere because it makes me feel like I’m part of an extended family.  It makes me smile and I always want more smiles in my life.

Another challenge for 2013: continue my fun runs and mud runs.  Not much of a challenge, to be honest.  They’re more like my rewards for exercising.  The mud runs give me physical goals to work toward instead of to “be skinny.”  “Be skinny” doesn’t work for me.  I love food and drinks.  Smoked Gouda or baked brie and red wine or a cold Stella will always trump my desire to be a size 2.  My big events of the year:  Spartan Race in June and perhaps another Tough Mudder later in the year.

I have other writing goals, but it seems like every time I talk about them, I mess up the process.  I don’t know why.  So, I’m not delving into the writing thing.

I have smaller objectives for myself that with continued practice will likely change my life more than I anticipate:

Don’t dwell on the bad events of the day before I go to sleep.  Instead, think about the positive things that I want to accomplish the next day or ask my subconscious for solutions to creative problems before I drift off to dream.  I started this little exercise a couple of weeks ago and I must say that I wake up in a better mood.  I haven’t yet solved the problems of the world, but I dream more about men- romantic dreams.  Weird side effect, but I’m not complaining.

Let it go.  It’s an ongoing goal.  I will probably challenge myself to this every year for the rest of my life.  I figure if I keep trying, I will be better off than if I don’t try at all.  Let it go.

Breathe.  When Maya is acting like a drama queen and freaking out, just breathe.  When my teenager is acting like my three year-old, just breathe.  When I feel like I’m going to lose it, just breathe.  It’s a partner to “let it go.”

Put myself out there.  Smile.  Keep my heart open.  Believe in love.  Sounds cheesy, but it won’t hurt to try.

Final thoughts:  I am blessed.  I might not have a large living space or a fancy, high-paying job, but I have a clean, safe home and a stable income.  I have good food in my refrigerator and clothes on my back.  My kids are healthy and happy.  I have a lot of love in my life and so much more to give.  I’m excited about my future.

May you all have health and happiness in your life.  Be safe this New Year’s Eve!

Fifty Shades of Arctic Enemas

In a mere two short weeks, I will jump into 34 degree Fahrenheit water.  On purpose.  I am not prepared for this ultra chill factor.  Should I buy a padded sports bra to blanket my breasts?  Because lord knows there’s going to be some extreme turkey-timer action going on when my body hits ice.  Of course, I assume the men will be obsessed with their incredibly shrinking peens, and phrases like “oh my dear sweet gubernaculum” will shake out through their chattering teeth, so perhaps they won’t notice all the high beams in the crowd.

Oh wait.  They’re men.

I also have to run through a mess of live wires, some of which are a stimulating 10,000 volts.  Glory be.  I’d love to have a spine-tingling, dirty time with hot men, but this was not what I had in mind.  Needless to say, I am not prepared for this, either.  I hate it when I flip on a light switch and I get zapped- especially when I’m wearing my footie pajamas.

Why subject yourself to such madness, you ask?  Well, I read the Fifty Shades of Grey “trilogy” and now wish to be gloriously tortured in such a way that Ana’s inner goddess’s inner goddess’s inner goddess would turn fifty shades of crimson and murmur and mutter something about… oh, hell.  I don’t know.  Alright, I lied.  I only read a wee portion of the first book and then decided that gouging my eyes out with a KFC plastic spork would result in far greater enjoyment.  (However,  I did read Speaker 7’s recraps of Fifty Shats of Twatsniffery and plan to contribute to the psychotherapy expenses caused by said Twatsniffery trilogy.  Stay strong, Speaker 7.)

I’m participating in a fun little obstacle course mud run called the Tough Mudder.  Ever heard of it?  I think I mentioned it once before.  Looks something like this:

10.1 miles of tomfoolery.  That is, if you call running a crapload of miles laden with 25 “challenges” such as the Boa Constrictor, the Death March, Funky Monkey, Just The Tip (hey now- I think I heard that just before Maya was conceived…), Turd’s Nest, Fire Walker, Underwater Tunnels (wtf), and the aforementioned Arctic Enema and Electroshock Therapy tomfoolery.  Which I don’t.

So why engage in such lunacy?

Because next year, I will turn 40.  Enough said.

I’m fairly fit as it stands.  I can knock off five miles and not collapse into ground like a limp noodle.  That said, I still know that I need to monitor my diet and increase my game if I want to make it through the challenge without eating dirt from a massive coronary.  During the past few weeks, I’ve increased my standard solo three mile run to five mile stints with Maya in the jogging stroller two days a week (talk about a work-out) and seven to eight miles on my solo Sunday night run while the tot is with grandma.  Two days a week are dedicated to weight training.  And on Saturday mornings, I strap the girl in for a long jog and every half-mile or so I add in rounds of jumping jacks, push-ups, burpees, mountain climbers, jumping lunges, plank poses, jump rope, tip-toes, and when we reach the playground, I attempt to swing about on the monkey bars when I’m not playing “catch me” with the girl.  I can only imagine how hilarious I must appear to onlookers.  Oh well.  They can stuff their Big Macs where the sun don’t shine.

I’m stronger and faster than I’ve been in long time.  I wasn’t this fit when I completed the Devil Dash in May.  Just since Josh left for Spain (I miss you, Joshie!), I’ve lost seven pounds and you can almost bounce a quarter off my butt.  Okay, maybe I still need a month on that one.  I’m naturally eating less and I feel fantastic.  I am determined to complete this sucker.  Although I think the TM will be challenging, I also think it will be (overall) a tremendous amount of fun with my friends and a chance to meet new people (ahem, ahem, universe…).  I am so excited.

This determination has had a domino effect in other areas of my life.  My confidence level is back up.  My stress level is down.  I quit biting my nails.  I know, I know.  Terrible habit since I was a child.  I don’t smoke or do drugs, I don’t drink much, I’m organized, I pay my bills on time, I’m clean, and I have a good work ethic.  Nail biting is/was my one uck habit.  I didn’t plan to quit; I just did it without even realizing I did.

I’m also writing more.  Not on this blog, mind you, but I’m writing where it matters most right now.  Lately, I’ve had several excellent breakthroughs regarding my screenplay and the pieces are now playing nicely together.  I was feeling a bit down about the script, but I hoped knew that if I kept toying with the characters and shifting the story, it would eventually work.  I have a solid idea; the story just needs tweaking.  This has been an ongoing process for the better part of a year, but I think I’m almost there.

Keep moving forward.

Or freeze to death in the Arctic Enema.  It’s up to you.