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I have officially started my 365 fortune challenge… but instead of doing a Tumblr it made more sense for it to be a Twitter page. You can start following my daily posts here! There will be a new fortune every day at 9 a.m. Central. Today is day one for all my 2013 Quests…excited to get started on what this year has in store.
James and I kicked off our healthier eating this morning. I read somewhere online that January 2nd is a good start date for NYs goals. I am refusing to call it a diet, just a lifestyle adjustment. I don’t think it will take long to get back on track, and it is really nice to have someone to do it with.
2013 Quest #4:
Complete the Florida Half Ironman on May 19th. I’ve done two Half Ironmans in the past (both in New Orleans), but have yet to complete the swim portion. I couldn’t finish in the rough waters for my first one, and the second was called off due to dangerous conditions. I think this is my year to complete all three events! I am lucky have an awesome group of girls to do it with, too. Let me know if you are interested in joining us! Training just started, but you could easily catch up at this point.
2013 Quest #5:
Do more fine art projects. Just recently I’ve started to pick painting back up and I really enjoy what it’s added back into my life. James and I have a collaboration series in the works that I am really eager to get started on as well. Once again, having another person to keep you accountable not only makes it more likely to happen, but a lot more fun in the process.
2012 Flashback #4:
I stopped writing in my blog everyday. That was a big deal because since starting my blog in March of 2010, I had written every single day for over 650 posts. That’s a lot of blogging. I still post pretty often, and try to do so at least 3-4 days a week. I am really happy with my current pace.
2012 Flashback #5:
I learned a little bit of patience. It is so hard to wait when you want something really bad. However, I am not going to settle for less that what I think I deserve. As I was saying to a friend earlier – all you can do it try your best. The rest will happen as it is supposed to. Be strong, be brave, be grateful.
That’s the end folks for my 2012/2013 Flashbacks and Quests! I wish I could take credit for this, but James once again found an amazing website where you can write your future self a letter. I am going to write mine today. What would you say to yourself 12 months from now? Once you figure it out, maybe you should send it off too.
I love the first day of school on Facebook, it is so much fun to see all the little kiddos in their outfits and the looks of anticipation. The parents always seem equally as excited as their babies, until after they see them off. Then you start to see posts about tears of realization that the years have somehow gone by way too fast. The first day of school is in fact a big life moment for both parent and child. There seems to be landmark events that bookmark our lives at different points: birth, walking, talking, first day of school, driving, graduation, college, first love, marriage, child-birth, career…then there is this big lull from like age 30-55 or 60 where there’s a definite lack of what’s perceived as noteworthy. This is the time where most people’s focus shifts to their children’s lives, then the whole cycle is repeated again. There is certainly joy in watching another human experience important events, especially when they are your own baby. But what about your own life during this time? As a woman with no children at 33, I’ve found that I have to make my own “big events” to look forward to…which is actually kind of awesome. I’ve said many times before that growing up I couldn’t really see myself past the age of 34… not that I thought I would be dead, I just didn’t know what kind of visual to assign to it. What am I doing in the future with my life? What are my long-term dreams and goals? I think having children is a wonderful, wonderful thing, and maybe one day it will happen to me. But if it doesn’t then I still want to have a bad ass life worthy of looking forward to everyday and remembering when I’m old and gray. Here are some things that I would love to do and uphold:
1. Travel as much as possible, see as many places as I can.
2. Write a book, or twenty.
3. Make a feature film, become a respected female director.
4. Treat my body well: keep it in shape, feed it good food, and love it every day.
5. Make things with my hands.
6. Love with no insecurities or agenda.
7. Laugh as often as possible.
8. Do good work.
9. Help other living beings.
10. Embrace optimism.
11. Continue making experiences a priority.
12. Appreciate everything that I have.
13. Learn from others wiser than myself.
14. Be passionate about everything.
15. Be open to change and other viewpoints.
16. Define my own life.
17. Be remembered as someone who lived as best as they could.
Last night while watching the Olympics (which I am totally hooked on despite all the spoilers), I did some research on the idea of opportunity. What is the ratio of opportunity sought out compared to opportunity that just presents itself? And if one is looking for opportunity, what is the average amount of time before giving up if it can’t be found? I found all sorts of answers to these questions, and as you probably suspect it has everything to do with outlook, drive and determination. The likelihood of success is highly in your favor if you are actively searching it out, even if it doesn’t unfold exactly the way you had planned. I think if you put positive energy into something, eventually it is going to come back. Maybe not when or how you expected, but it does nonetheless. I was thinking about this as I was watching Gabby win her gold medal in the women’s gymnastics all-around. Just a year before she had considered quitting, and was at a low point in her athletic career. What a difference 365 days can make, as she is now #1 in the entire world. I know this is an extreme point/case, but I see it happen more often than not. When someone really, really wants something – and they give it their all – it can’t help but happen. That’s also why they say, “be careful what you wish for.” If your outlook is doom and gloom, your world probably is too. But if you have hope, good intentions, and dreams (with a little sparkle of energy) then that positive energy will turn into something beautiful.
As I write this, Rebecca is on her way up to Indiana to see our short film Crush screen this afternoon at the Indy Film Festival! It also played last weekend in the same shorts block, and from what we hear it had a great response and a full house. Can’t wait to hear how it goes today, and I am super glad that Rebecca gets to be present for it since that is her college town. AND, it’s her birthday weekend! What a great way to celebrate. It’s also really fun that it is playing in a national block with other short films about love. I can hardly wait for it to play here in Birmingham at the Sidewalk Film Festival next month…so be sure to mark your calendars to see it while it is in town!
With this being the last weekend of July, I feel like there is a need to do something extra summer inspired. Looks like there is the possibility to go tubing down the Cahaba tomorrow, which I’ve never done before. If it happens then we’ve officially filled our summer quota of warm weather southern activities. I promise to post lots of pictures if it happens.
It will be nice to stay in Birmingham this weekend since I’ve been out of town so much in the last few months. Tonight there will be wings and Olympics, which I’m super excited about. I rarely love to eat chicken, but there’s something about a hot wing that makes me giddy. Maybe it’s because I only indulge in them a few times a year. It was literally the first thing I thought about when I woke up this morning…which also inspired me to get my butt out of bed for that four mile run with Vero before the weekend.
Do you have things in your life that make you excited? I live for things to look forward to, projects to complete, and dreams to fulfill. I also get excited about seeing people who I really love being with. It changes your internal chemistry and outlook. Sometimes there is nothing better than kicking back with someone who makes you smile. Or your kitty who adores you completely. There are so many things – small and large – that just thinking about can brighten your whole day. I am very grateful for loved ones, kitties and chicken wings on this last Friday of July.
Yesterday I received an authentically moving comment on how to find hope in what may seem like a hopeless situation. If you have any thoughts or ideas on this topic, please see the post from yesterday and maybe offer your own words of wisdom.
Last night a really special thing happened – my Facebook status changed to “in a relationship.” Believe me, that wasn’t something I was going to do lightly… I’ve even wondered if it would happen at all, as I was very sensitive to the idea of being public about that part of my life again. I still won’t say too much about it, but I have indeed found someone very wonderful and for whom I care about a great deal.
Don’t you wish you could have a life snapshot of yourself at the same point every year, just to see how much you’ve grown and changed? 2011 was pretty monumental in a lot of ways, and not all happy stuff…but yet necessary. 2012 is turning out to be of equal magnitude, but through the roof positive. I’d like to stay in this mental place for a while. I’ve learned my lessons and have grown from past experiences. Now is the time to savor the rewards of coming out on the other side after a lot of hard work. I have not wasted one single moment trying to heal my spirit and return to the Jennifer that I’ve always been. I feel that she is back, and ready to appreciate every second of happiness that is given to her. I am full of gratitude for that.
Have you ever noticed that when you are grateful, that you want to push that energy forward to others? That you find yourself smiling a little more and sharing the vibe in other ways you probably don’t even notice? When you find little nuggets of joy, that little extra bounce to your step is apparent. Your aura changes. On the flip side, joy can be addictive. Sometimes you start to chase bigger and better highs, and you all of a sudden stop seeing the small wonderful things around you all of the time. Big life moments are always fantastic and worth celebrating, but I never want to forget the things that are constant. Like the comfort of having my kitty sleep by me at night, or the simple pleasure of spending time alone in a park dreaming of the future. True happiness is everything wrapped up into one pretty little package – big and small alike.
I got an unexpected compliment yesterday during what seemed to be an average day for me. While chasing my niece Lily around my parent’s house, my mom said, “You look really pretty, Jen. Whatever it is that you’re doing, keep doing it.” That about made my heart explode. My hair was less than perfect and I barely had any make-up on. But at that moment, I did feel really good. I think happiness is attractive, and I was having a happy afternoon. I felt like there was a positive energy radiating inside of me…one that’s been sneaking back as of late.
My mom used to jump horses competitively when she was growing up. For some reason I’ve always had this visual of her in my grandparent’s old yard practicing over different types of obstacles. So when I think of the phrase “overcoming obstacles” that is usually what I think about. When I think about this past year, I feel like I’ve climbed a big wall. So tall that I’ve had to climb it alone instead of with the aid of a horse or other tools. Sometimes when I’ve looked up while climbing the weather has been stormy, and other times it’s been sunny and bright. I feel like I’ve reached the top of that wall… and I can finally see the other side. I can see where I am going. I’m not “on top of the world”, but I have a clear view. It was worth the effort, and now all I have to do is climb back down the other side. I think I will stay in this new mental place for a while.
I love New Orleans more than I could ever express in words. It is such a magical old city, and while only being here for a few days some very magical things have already happened. Just for the fun of it, several of us went to see a fortune-teller down in the French Quarter last night after dinner, and what she told each of us was nothing short of amazing. I’m not new to that sort of thing, as there is nothing I like more than to have my future told (even by someone who isn’t very good at it). It’s just fun for me. But out of all of the people I’ve ever had “look into my future,” no one holds a candle to this lady. She pretty much blew my mind. It’s no secret that bad things can, have and will happen in life…to everyone. There is no way around it. Luckily though I was very fortunate to not only get an accurate reading, but a very hopeful and exciting one as well. I completely respect those of you who think that this is a load of horse sh*t, but I honestly believe that some people have a gift in this way. While the majority who claim that they have this special talent are totally full of it, I have genuinely run across a select few in life who really have something very unique. This lady was definitely one them. I’m very grateful to have had this experience with the specific group of friends I was with as well. It was something that I will always remember.
While attending our work conference, there’s been a big budget movie (Broken City) shooting in front of the hosting hotel. Out of all the places we’ve been so far in the last 3 days, it is the only film I’ve seen around…and it’s dead smack in the middle of our walking path in and out of the conference. I’m taking it as a sign to buckle down and work hard, as I hope to turn my book into a feature film once it is completed. I get a fuzzy feeling in my stomach every time I pass the working set. Especially since we got to see Mark Wahlberg.
I am going to leave this city tomorrow feeling energized and recharged.
Today is the first official day of the Sidewalk Film Festival weekend!! I am still going in to work today until about 3 p.m., then I head home to get ready for 2 fun parties tonight. I am officially off of work tomorrow & Monday, because heavens know that I am going to need the extra rest. My time this weekend will be equally split between having fun and volunteering. Sleep is totally secondary. :)
For those of you in the Birmingham area, I hope you take advantage of the special menus during Birmingham Restaurant Week. I have two reviews left to post for Little Savannah and The Gardens Cafe. While visiting these establishments, I realized even more how important it is to support our local businesses. Plus, they are offering a whole lotta good food for very little money this week. For a full list of participating restaurants, click this link.
Sometimes when I get really excited about something (for example, Sidewalk), I start to develop anxiety as well. I guess when you really think about it, excitement and stress make you feel similar ways… except one is positive and one is negative. As most people who know me would say, I am overly full of energy at any given moment. That energy is either translated as a joy for life or worry and anxiety. Usually I can find healthy ways to channel my energy, other times it is a little more difficult. I do this in anticipation of big trips too. I get so excited in the weeks leading up that my mind starts to run away with me. So, an ongoing challenge for me is to realize that it’s hard to really experience something until it’s actually happening to you. And while looking forward to something can be fun, I shouldn’t let it consume me. Once again the word balance pops up in my life. Simple moments are important, too.
I’ve spent a great deal of my life worrying, looking forward to and trying to calculate the future. In high school, and ever since, I’ve relied somewhat on tarot cards and astrology to predict events yet to come. I read Susan Miller’s monthly forecasts religiously the 1st of every month. There was/is some comfort in anticipating anything hurtful before it has a chance to happen. I know this form of anxiety relief is very specific to my brand of OCD, but I know plenty of others who indulge in different forms of unrealistic/unhealthy comfort as well. Some people use religion, some use food, others use alcohol or drugs. Whatever it takes to get you through the day while keeping the demons at bay.
The truth is that you can’t predict the future. (*Shocker*) Some of these tools that I’ve used may or may not have any real basis in the real world, but the point is that the future is the future for a reason… it’s supposed to be a ball of clay waiting to be molded into whatever set of events inspire it. You can assume that Z will happen because of X and Y, but it will always be an assumption. Until it actually happens, it’s a figment of anyone’s imagination. That’s always been scary as hell to me, but on the other hand, there is comfort in the fact that no one is special enough to be privy to that information. And what fun would life be if we could predict everything anyway?
The last time I saw my therapist we talked a lot about what brings me comfort. After much discussion we discovered that the extra weight I carried for so long was a form of comfort, and that my marriage was also a tremendous form of comfort. In fact, they were almost like blankets covering my wounds from childhood as to not allow them to heal. Now that both of those blankets have been exposed, I can now work on healing those things that I’ve covered up for so long. I need to work on finding new forms of comfort that don’t involve another person or unhealthy habits that hurt my body. I have a few ideas of what these could be, but I’m not quite ready to share just yet. You don’t have to answer this here, but what do you use for comfort in your own life when anxiety rears its ugly head? Does it depend on another person, or is it something that you can do on your own? You always hear about the importance of teaching a baby how to self-soothe, but sounds like it may be even more so for adults.