love is all you came here for

My birthday’s here. 3-0. I’m one of the last to join the club, and so I feel like it’s a threshold I’ve already passed, with a line of spectators waiting on the sidelines for me to finish, screaming encouraging words my way like the end of a race, so excited for me to join them on the other side.

I’ve already started saying I’m 30. I used to always graduate to the next age when my BFF turned older than me in January. Since I started dating Jeff when I was 20, I feel like I’ve spent the last year in his and Nikki’s shadow, watching and learning and practicing for someday when.

But 30 still means something anyways, because doesn’t every year? Every threshold? Every moment. It’s a day like all others, except it’s not, because it is a reminder to ourselves to check up on our integrities and make sure we’re in line. At least, that’s how I feel about it.

I usually try to do this on my birthdays, to share and ask you to learn something, do something, be something, change something. 30’s no different. Some modest advice, and requests, from me to you. Without further ado:

ONE: Sign up to donate blood marrow.

TWO: Find somewhere to donate blood locally.

THREE: Donate your time. This is one of our great equalizers, isn’t it? I’ve been neglecting this one, and I’ve got to get back to it. Alternatively, donate your old shit. You probably don’t need it.

FOUR: Help me save the bees. No bees, no food, big problem. Our bees (and other animals) are on the decline, and we have to do our best to help save them.

FIVE: Educate yourself about inequality. Watch for it. Bear witness to it. Change it. Example: the other day someone mentioned something to me about how I don’t like confetti or balloons because I’m not “that kind of girl.” What? Hello? I don’t really like (or purchase) confetti or balloons because I care about the environment, and find those things wasteful. I’m pretty sure I don’t think that has anything to do with my gender, however.

SIX: Find something every day to be thankful for. Practice gratitude. It can be so hard, but each day honestly is such a gift and we should all try to be a little more appreciative. Try to remember this when you’re cut off at a light or late to work or drop your breakfast or spill your coffee.

SEVEN: Speak up every time you stand. Speak up for those who can’t. Speak up for those who won’t. Speak up and speak out. Speaking your mind is one of the greatest gifts of our free countries. I hate when people say “Let’s not talk politics” because politics encompasses lit’rally everything about who we are as people and community and because it all affects us. We must have civil discourse in order to advance our thinking. Speak to open minds, but keep yours open, too.

EIGHT: There is always someone with more than you. There is always someone with less than you. Jealously and envy beget bad juju. Instead, see SIX and also: every time you see someone with something you want – a) figure out if you want it because you need it; b) think about how you could obtain it; c) think about what obtaining it would really mean d) do something about it or let it go.

NINE: Vote, please. Just do it. Civic duties have come at a cost.

TEN: Pay the fuck attention to food. Please?! Friends, please, please learn about what you’re putting into your body and how you’re fueling your life. Here is a good start.

ELEVEN: Share your tunes with me. I am jamming to new Matt Wertz, Brett Dennen, Beyoncé, and of course Hamilton. What’re you up to?

TWELVE: Open a door for someone else. It doesn’t have to be a real door. Recommend someone for a job. Offer to read someone’s paper/story/resume. Keep your eyes peeled for that perfect chair someone mentioned to you. Pay it forward in little ways that don’t really take much time out of your life. It’ll make everyone’s life just a little easier.

THIRTEEN: Practice your mantra. Here are some good ones, “Other people do that, I don’t do that.”; “Good for her, not for me.”; “Just breathe.”; “I am here.”

FOURTEEN: Try something new. Eat a new food, listen to a new band, drive to work a different way, walk a new path, try a new exercise, learn a new style of clothing or dance or speech. Keep it fresh, keep it fun, but challenge yourself!

FIFTEEN: Put yourself first where you can. The healthier you are, the healthier you can be for, to, and with others.

SIXTEEN: Get outside! Enjoy the outdoor world! Here’s a site for places near LA, but I swear, a quick Google search will help you find a place near you. You’d be surprised what some fresh air can do.

SEVENTEEN: Drink more water.

EIGHTEEN: Taking breaks is OK. Quitting is OK. Crying is OK.

NINETEEN: You know that thing you always want to do but never get to? Today, do it. #TreatYoSelf

TWENTY: Put the phone down. Look into someone’s eyes. Pay people attention. We all are guilty of not doing this more.

TWENTY ONE: Tell people who you love that you love them. 

TWENTY TWO: Get into yoga. Here are some places to get started. (Here, too.)

TWENTY THREE: Be aware of the environment. Shower shorter. Sort your trash and recycling. Use reusable bags. Reuse paper. Turn off the lights. In the words of me (apply as necessary relating to your local struggles) “THERE IS A DROUGHT, PEOPLE.” We get one world, like our one life. Use it wisely. Here’s some help.

TWENTY FOUR: Never be embarrassed of who you are. What the fuck for? I love Hanson. I love bad TV. I love good books, I love love, I sing loud in the car, I speak my mind whenever I want. I am loud most of the time, I like to talk, and I like to tell people stories, and I don’t shy away from any of it. Whatever, this is me. Get used to it.

TWENTY FIVE: Treat others how you’d want strangers to treat your mom.

TWENTY SIX: Find your anthem. Play it loud and proud. Mine jam now is “Sorry” by Beyoncé.

TWENTY SEVEN: Everybody fucks up sometimes. If you do, do your best to fix it, learn from it, and leave it behind. 

TWENTY EIGHT: Just breathe.

TWENTY NINE: Stop those little habits you hate that you do. Pay attention and spend time trying to stop. (For me, I pick at my nails when I’m nervous…I’m working on it.)

THIRTY: Keep on learning. Learning is living.

Mom, thanks for having me 30 years ago. Y’all, thanks for reading this. I love ya to bits.

xo

and so the balance shifts

I turn 30 in a couple of days. As with most things, it’s snuck up on me mainly due to the wonderful things happening in my life that keep me busy from day to day – among them, two dear friends getting married this weekend and a new niece welcomed into this world on Jeff’s birthday. For reference, see some of the happy faces of joy from the past week.

13350478_855191877241_7106773044964443444_o13403996_10100600426452501_2714091358779749362_o

13403763_10100599944428481_5922158482235979503_o

But I did just want to say one thing about today. It’s June 7, 2016, and for the first time in our history, there is a woman who is going to be a nominee for a major party for President of the United States. I watched her speech in Brooklyn tonight, eyes welling with happiness. I thought of the future children I’ll hopefully have and how they might possibly be born when there’s a woman president. Jeff mentioned that it’s all Eleanor will have ever known (our new niece.)

In her speech, Hillary mentioned that her mom was born on June 4, 1919, the very day that the US Senate passed the 19th Amendment, giving women the right to vote. A movement that is credited as starting in Seneca Falls, NY, only 115 miles east of where we watched our friends get married this weekend.

Women have had the right to vote less than 100 years. And look how far we’ve come in those 100 years. The cultural progress we’ve made in the past 100 years is astounding if you look at how long societal barriers lasted in every aspect of our world. It’s so humbling to think that these women couldn’t vote – there are women alive who remember a time before voting was allowed. There are many people alive who had mothers who couldn’t vote.

And now, look where we are. At the cusp of history again. I look at all that’s going on – the feminist movement, the focus on accountability for sexual predators, women’s right to chose, and beyond, and I see a world that’s finally moving towards equal. There’s a long road ahead, but it’s being paved every day by woman like me and you who are standing up and righting wrongs and saying YES to having it “all” and saying NO to sitting on the sidelines.

I know it’s not what everyone wants. Such is the discourse of this great country. But tonight I’m so proud to be in an America that’s about to finally, finally vote for a woman to not be less than.

We are enough. And so, the balance shifts.

IMG_6981

you got your heart right.

Photo Apr 16, 10 49 16 AM

Well chickadees, today was Day 30 of my 30 Day Yoga Camp. Yesterday I did yoga in the parking lot of a hotel just so I didn’t have to skip a day and miss the amazing streak I was on.

I can actually say that’s the most days in a row I’ve ever done yoga. It’s the most consistent practice I’ve had. And it’s been an amazing journey. It’s taught me that it is possible for me to get up early, get on the mat, and make time for myself. I made myself a priority for the last 30 days, and I carved at least 30 minutes out for me to focus. It wasn’t always easy, and there were days I wanted to skip it, do it later, quit halfway through…but by the end of each video, I was so happy I’d committed the time to it.

My hips are more open. My shoulders are more open. My balance is better. My patience is longer. My breath is more even. My heart is cracked wide open to the world. To the endless possibilities and the light and the sky. I’ve loved taking advantage of my backyard to get outside and appreciate nature while I practice, and I cannot wait to see where this practice takes me. It was the perfect reset to my yoga practice, and I see only up and up from here.

I want to get back into running a bit because soccer will start this month and I want to be prepared, but my body feels so much better after having focused on this yoga, so I know I need to focus on that as well. My wrist is healing and strengthening, and my right quad is feeling better than it has in ages. I pushed myself too far for that half-marathon, and now is the time to find the balance I deserve.

That’s where I’m at, y’all. Hope you’re in some valley of balance, too. Namaste.

check your thoughts.

After weeks (probably months) pushing this off, I’ve started Yoga with Adriene‘s 30-Day At-Home practice. I’ve been off the mat too long, and Fiji’s 14-Day Yoga, while amazing, is just too much for me right now. Adriene is chill enough yet serious enough to get me hooked, but hard enough to make me stay and stretch and feel happy.

treepose

Yesterday was day one, today day two. In class yesterday, she remind us to “check your thoughts” – keep focused on what you’re doing, what you’re feeling, and where you are. My life mantra is pretty much “Do the best with what you have where you are” and I feel like this is what Adriene was trying to tell me through the TV, too.

So much of our lives is spent having negative thoughts and I’ve been working ons self-love for years. As hokey as it can sound, you have to put yourself first if you can love others. You have to take care of you to take care of “them.”

Adriene’s 30 days have different mantras. Yesterday’s was I Accept. Today’s what I Create.

I Accept where I am.
I Accept who I am.
I Create time for myself.
I Create space in my body for twisting, turning, stretching.
I Create energy and light to use and spread through my world.

I can’t wait to see what’s in store tomorrow, and the next day, and the next. I need this reset to get me back to a place where I am hitting the mat more on the regular. Luckily this is a great time, before soccer starts again, to get back to it.

What are y’all up to?

5gts: i can make good turning amazing

1. My mom comes to town tomorrow, and my dad is already here! Super-fun weekend, bring it on.

2. No time for after-parent sadness, because on Monday they head back to Chicago and I head to NYC to see my sorella and co. for HAMILTON.

3. While in NYC, we’re going to play tourist – here I come, Lady Liberty! I can’t wait to do something in NYC that makes me feel like I’m 14 again, and maybe I’ll even by an I (HEART) NY shirt on a street corner for $3. I’m a wild woman!

4. Our first pizza night in our new house tomorrow night. This would be number 2, but see number 2, and you get me.

5. I’m sorry, have you seen 2? Also, Lin Manuel Miranda. Also, Angelina/Eliza/And Peggy. The list goes on…in fact, soon I’ll have my Hamilton playlist available for you. You’re welcome.

xo