A long overdue HELLO to all of you!!! Goodness, it’s been so long since I sat down to write a blog post I could barely remember my log in info (face palm). There has been a lot of growth and change happening on this side of the screen in the last seven months since I’ve been on here. It’s felt a lot like sitting in a glass house, watching the world move by around me, while I was quietly rewriting and rewiring my heart and my head. I’ve watched three people grow and birth humans and another unexpectedly begin the journey of motherhood for the second time, seen a friend pack up and move across the state to create a new life for her and her family, and had the delight of being in the front row as a dear friend wrote her story on actual real paper and sent it out into the hands of actual real agents. The temptation to judge my seeming lack of productivity was strong. “Look what they’ve created, what they’re accomplishing, and I’ve just been sitting here ‘finding myself,'” my brain tried to say. But the thing about “finding yourself” is that the old thought patterns and ways of thinking get changed along the way. So when my brain tried to dredge up negative thoughts from the past, it was liking having a newly installed stoplight that regulated the traffic, and the more positive, more REALISTIC, thoughts finally had a chance to get through.
The title of this post is a phrase I heard on a podcast recently and it’s been flitting through my mind ever since. I wish I could remember which podcast and who said it, but I listen to so many different ones my brain can’t keep track of them all! I’ll link to some of my favorites at the end of this post (see below) and maybe you’ll find some wisdom for yourself scattered among them. But despite my inability to remember who said it, I loved the way something so simple reframed the way I viewed change. I have of course heard the adage “saying no to one thing is saying yes to another,” and vice verse, but the use of the word Hello tickled my fancy. Goodbyes can be a little tricky, they can happen unexpectedly, you don’t have to be willing for them happen, and sometimes other people get to decide to say it while we stand there trying to figure out what the heck just happened. But the Hello part is a greeting, it’s intentional, you have to want to say it, it doesn’t just happen on its own, it requires effort and desire, and even the possibility of rejection, but it’s such a cheery sounding word. The prospects that arise from it can be life altering, whether that’s in a way obvious to the world, or only to yourself.
I’ve had the delight of being on a book launch team for Lisa Jo Baker’s new book The Middle Matters: Why That (Extra)Ordinary Life Looks Really Good on You, (out July 23rd) and I can honestly say this book changed my life. Not in the way people sometimes use that expression, I didn’t suddenly have a desire to go save the world, or become the next American Ninja Warrior (although that would be cool), but I did start to wake up to how much I was holding on to things I was never meant to hold on to. One quote in particular just about did me in:
“I had surrendered the dream…Not out of a sense of defeat but instead with the sense of relief that came from letting go of my own demands, my temper tantrums, my judgement of myself. When I let go of my shame…I stumbled into a welcome season of freedom.” – Lisa Jo Baker
She was referring to her dream of owning a home instead of renting, and the shame she had carried for not being able to accomplish it financially, but I read in that so much of myself and the things I carried that I felt ashamed of. I’m no stranger to shame, I had held on to all of the bad choices from my 16 to 18 year old self for far too long before finally finding freedom from it several years ago. Because of that I thought I knew what shame felt like, but I was surprised to realize that shame can look and sound different in different stages of life. The book, which is more a collection of essays, was full of encouragement, and I really enjoyed reading it. It was like a slow ride down a river, it kinda sneaks up on you and lulls you into a safe enough place to really begin to think about how you’re viewing your life. I don’t peddle things for the sake of peddling them, so believe me when I say it’s worth the read!
After I finished the book, I began to consciously say goodbye to a lot of things I’d been hanging on to, some bigger than others. I said goodbye to guilt over relationships that I couldn’t change and had to back away from. I said goodbye to guilt over not being more fit or skinny (side note: I bought a one piece bathing suit this year and IT HAS A SKIRT! My grandma Marilyn used to wear bathing suits with skirts, and I feel a little more connected to her when I wear, what I affectionately call, my ‘old lady swim suit.’ I’ve been way more willing to get in the pool with my kids this year as a result. No regrets guys, no regrets). But mostly I said goodbye to the idea and the shame that I wasn’t living up to my potential.
Every month that went by and I didn’t write on the blog, I cringed a little. Kind people would tell me they enjoyed my writing and had missed it, and I would smile and my heart would swell and I would soak in their words even as I winced at the fear that perhaps I was letting them down by not writing. Slowly, the old passion began to burn again, but still I couldn’t bring myself to sit down at the keyboard. It felt like it had been too long of a pause, too much awkward silence, for me to just suddenly pop back in with a fluffy piece, so I didn’t. But the other day, I had an epiphany…I write because I like it. No, because I LOVE it. Somewhere in there I let myself believe that in order to write, I needed to make sure it had deep meaning and purpose and significance. Like I was Yoda and this whole movie hinged on my ability to share the right wisdom. That’s a lot of pressure to put on yourself to try to be responsible for other people’s growth! Or Jedi skills….confusing myself with my own metaphors, I think I am.
When I said goodbye to all of those things I had been fighting so hard against, I had the joy of saying hello to a completely different version of myself. The woman who knows her value and worth and loves well where she is loved for who she is, not who others think she should be. The woman who feels sexy in her one piece bathing suit because she is finally learning to be comfortable in her own curvy, stretch marked skin. The woman who takes things one day at a time, because that is her speed and there isn’t a dang thing wrong with it, and a host of other little things that extend to my marriage, my mothering and my friendships. So much of me was waiting on Hello, and I’ve been thoroughly enjoying getting to know this nearly 35 year old version of myself.
This morning I woke up and for the first time in awhile, I was flooded with so many ideas for blog posts I had to sort them all out on paper. I knew this one had to come first though. I make no promises of how often I will write, but I can promise that I WILL write, not because I think I’m expected to, or because I have the self inflated belief that what I say should matter, but because I absolutely love it. I love to write what’s on my heart, and am delighted when by sharing my own stuff, other people can speak it back to me with messages of ‘me too!’ or ‘I’m so glad you said that.’ Isn’t it such a lovely gift of humanity that nobody will ever have all the answers? It’s so refreshing to me that we are all on this journey of figuring it out together.
As promised, here are some of my favorite podcasts! If you listen to any of them I’d love to hear which ones you loved and why! I love to talk about podcasts!
The Popcast with Knox and Jamie (if you listen to nothing else on this list, please listen to this one. These two are hilarious. Their mission statement is: Dedicated to educating you on the things that entertain but do not matter. And they DELIVER.)
What Should I Read Next? (If you love books you will love this podcast. I’ve had some really good recommendations from this one.)
The Lazy Genius Podcast (Her tagline is: Helping you be a genius about the things that matter, and lazy about the things that don’t. Need I say more?)
The Holderness Family Podcast (Good, clean, entertaining and informative)
Typology (If you’re into the Enneagram then you will think you’ve died and gone to heaven with this one.)
Crystal Paine Show (She is the Money Saving Mom, and she discusses a wide range of things from marriage, to parenting to saving you money).
That Sounds Fun with Annie F. Downs (She really is fun, and she interviews various people from various industries. My favorite show was when she interviewed John Crist)
The Rachel Cruze Show (Dave Ramsay’s daughter bringing you practical, attainable ways to help your finances).
Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend (Full Disclosure: This has swearing in it, but if you’re looking for very entertaining interviews of celebrities, then this is for you!)