Category Archives: family

courage over comfort: coming back home

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Growing up I felt that I was truly a rebel. I marched to the beat of my own drum and I felt that I did things by my own rules. I defied the wishes of my parents, and hung out with some kids they didn’t think were a good influence; knowing that I was changing the world by showing love to those that I didn’t feel were getting it from their own homes. I dressed however I wanted, and I drove over the speed limit. In my heart, I was truly a rebel who was also going to make the world a better place.

As I moved through my high school years and into my 20’s, I was always the child/grandchild/sister/niece/friend that everyone always wondered “what will she do next?” For other self-identifying rebels, I was about a 1.5 on a 1-10 scale of rebellion. In my family I was at least a 9.7! Everyone in my family were great at following the order of things and the rules.

You went to high school, you went to college, you got married and you had kids.

I wore my uniqueness and my desire to forge my own path as a badge of honor. I was always acting true to my spirit and to the calling of my heart; even if it made others uncomfortable. In my eyes I was living on my own terms and the rebel spirit was at the wheel! So I went to high school, went to Junior College, went to Cosmetology school, moved to New York to be a Nanny…and the journey went on for a while and was full of great adventures and countless stories I hold dear to my heart.

I was also learning that when you live this way, it can make others uncomfortable and worry about you. They will also judge you. Even if they think their judgements are for your own good, they are still judgements. I have also always been someone who does care what others think, so these judgements had a way of seeping into my subconscious thought.

Back then it was more in a way of taking in what they are saying, but still making the decision I thought was best for me; even if it went against what judgement or opinion someone had shared.

It served me quite well, and it gave me a life full of adventures, failures, sheer joy, and great challenges. You know, Living Life!

Over the next couple of decades my rebel spirit became tame. Society has a way of doing that. You’re told you need to “grow up” and do things a certain way. You need to have health insurance and a 401K or retirement plan. You need to “plant roots” and “settle down”. Slowly you start to see everyone else around you doing this. Getting the stable job with all of the trappings, starting families, buying a house and possibly a mini-van. Although some of these things appealed to me, these things didn’t seem to be showing up at my doorstep. I was getting restless for something that looked like stability, as that was what I was seeing all around me. I was open to whatever it was.

It showed up as a moment in my living room, watching Oprah. The Universe was telling me loud and clear that I needed to go back to school to become a teacher. I heeded the call and took the steps I needed to get started. Although it didn’t seem rebellious to go to college, for me it brought back those same feelings. Fear, excitement, bravery, change; and the desire to make a difference in the world.

I went back to school. I worked hard and earned 2 degrees. I started a career that met all of the criteria that had the big safety net. It has served me well, and I wouldn’t have done it any other way, but as of late, some questions and curious thoughts have entered my mind. Am I truly living my life, or have I chosen to just be comfortable? Where is my rebel spirit? Where is my need to explore new places and to try new things? Have I chosen comfort over courage?

About 2 years ago I began the task of cleaning out my attic space. I ran across some old photos, notes, books, and memorabilia that transported me back to my rebel-self. This also happened during a time of great turmoil in my job and a time of deep self-reflection; as I was feeling lost, battling depression, and just feeling very disconnected with myself and the world around me. I ended up putting the items back into the attic and closing the box on those memories until I knew I was ready to dig deeper. Not into the attic [which will easily be a 3 day project when I get the courage to tackle it, again], but dig deeper into myself.

It is now over 2 years from the time I found those items in the attic. The attic is STILL not organized and I haven’t revisited those photos yet; but now I am excited to see what other treasures I have buried in there. I won’t approach the job with trepidation about what I may discover, but I am excited to relive some of the amazing things I have done in my past.

At the same time, I am finally ready, and have actually begun to find my rebellious spirit again! To be able to find it, I had to really understand what it actually was for me back then.

Upon further inspection I saw that the scope of my true rebel spirit didn’t meet the Merriam-Webster definition. It was more subtle than that. Much more subtle. I didn’t skip school or party. I didn’t sneak out of the house or steal. I actually followed most of the rules, had a high respect for authority and the great desire to not disappoint anyone. But what I felt was the SPIRIT of rebellion. I was the only person in my family who didn’t fit the “mold”. I didn’t follow the same path or the beaten path. My path was forged by me and me alone.

I could see that I felt I could do anything and I KNEW I was brave enough to do it.

I took risks, but didn’t seek out danger.

It was a force within me that only allowed ME to define myself. I was strong, brave, bold, and I knew that life was for living and I was going to squeeze everything out of it that it was offering up to me…even if it made those around me a little uncomfortable.

That was my definition of my rebel spirit.

Now at 46 years old, I see that being a rebel only takes BELIEVING that you are one! It’s being BOLD and BRAVE. Faking it until you make it. Saying it out loud in the mirror to yourself. Saying it over and over again in your head as you’re walking down the hall at work.

Saying it until you BELIEVE it!

Because in the not too distant future, it will become your truth; as it is becoming mine again. The rebel spirit can return. Your bold, brave spirit will emerge from its long hibernation, ready to stretch its legs…and kick some ass!

Rebellion may be loud and messy, but it can also be soft and subtle. Your bold, brave self is defined by YOU. It is defined by choosing Courage over Comfort. Thank you Brené Brown for your quote “You can choose courage or you can choose comfort, but you can’t have both”.

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I have chosen courage over comfort recently, and it is serving me well. It doesn’t come without its own set of challenges. That is where the learning takes place. That is where the rebel spirit resides.

When rediscovering your rebellious, bold, brave self,  it also requires having grace with yourself.  It looks different on all of us and it manifests itself differently based on a myriad of things. It may be that soft, quiet voice or it may roar like a lion. It’s unapologetically yours and can look however you choose.

I invite you to explore your own rebellious spirit. To answer the call of your heart and to see where it takes you. It will be a grand adventure, and I know it will be well worth it.

Allow it to be what it organically is….YOU. POWERFUL. REBELLIOUS. BOLD. BRAVE.

YOU.

 

~e

40….. is the magic number

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I recently celebrated my 40th birthday. My friends threw me the most FANTASTIC party! I knew it was going to be awesome, but I had no idea how awesome. I mean…what kind of friends make jello shots that looked like little orange slices?  AWESOME friends! That’s who!

This post isn’t going to be about the fabulous party they threw for me or that the party also included a unicorn piñata (what did I tell you….awesome!!!) I can write more on that later; 
You see…. When you turn 40, you become reflective…at least for a few minutes. I think it is because it really could be the middle of your life.   For me it was a time to take stock in the things I have accomplished and my future endeavors phases. My reflective moment had me creating a list of things that I felt were a part of what makes my life awesome. Some things on the list you might have heard before…but I thought I would share anyway.  I will keep the list to 20 nuggets of “advice” ( I use that term very loosely).  Please feel free to comment with your own little nuggets (that sounds weird…but funny weird, so I’m not editing it out) So….here you go:
  1. Don’t “collect” friends. It’s better to have a close group of friends who will really show-up for you, instead of a contact list full of friends who will show up for your Superbowl party… but won’t be there for you when you decide to adopt 2 puppies at the same time and are totally regretting your decision. (that’s a true story… for a later post)
  2. There is nothing wrong with turning down an invitation to do something. If you don’t want to go out, just say so. Don’t  make up an excuse.
  3. Your relationships with your family members can change over time. A lot of it has to do with how you deal with things. Remember…you are now an adult, act like one even if the other adults aren’t.
  4. Don’t be so serious. Make sure you have as much fun as you can… at most everything you do. 
  5. The “fun” (see #4) should include lots of laughter (which might require Depends if you have a weak bladder).
  6. If you’ve picked your friends according to #1… then #2 shouldn’t be a problem. Real friends learn who you are…but you need to do the same for them. They also need to call you out on your shit. That’s what friend do. 
  7. Forgive yourself for stupid things you did as a kid, teenager and young adult. Once you’re 30…you’re old enough to know better and will have to live with that guilt until you die, sorry.
  8. Sometimes it is better to ask for forgiveness than permission
  9. Fart jokes are still funny at 40. If you don’t think so…I’m sorry that you are missing out
  10. Not every friend has to be a best friend. Friends play various roles in your life, and sometimes the roles change as time goes on. It’s OK. Sometimes a friendship might have run its course. It takes courage to walk away from a friendship that isn’t working out anymore, but it is worth freeing up yourself and that person to have the right people in your lives. 
  11. You can have views that are different than your family members and still be able to get along really well…but you have to be brave enough to set ground rules when it comes to touchy subject (ie: politics, religion, paper or plastic) Sometimes the rule is that no one can talk about the touchy subjects.
  12. I would rather live paycheck to paycheck doing something I love than have lots of money that I earned doing something that doesn’t bring me joy. (but that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t enjoy winning the lottery….even just the $100,000 jackpot….I’m not greedy)
  13. Be sure to have at least one friend who will honestly tell you if your ass looks like a billboard in those pants…and be sure she goes shopping with you every time. 
  14. Don’t do something you know you won’t enjoy doing just to go along with the crowd; but also be willing to try something new, if you have some interest in it…even if it scares you. (example: I won’t go skydiving…ever. I have NO interest in trying it. I don’t understand the concept of voluntarily throwing yourself out of a plane….. I did, however, have a group of friends convince me to backpack across Mexico and work on an organic farm with them for a month, a few summers ago….I had NEVER been camping before this trip. Yes, it was outside my comfort zone…but traveling is something I love…it was a life changing experience…totally worth it!  I’ll blog about the Mexico trip at some point too!)
  15. Everyone should live in a big city for at least 6 months in their life. It’s good for your soul…and it also makes you appreciate the small town you grew up in (hopefully…unless you grew up in a small town that totally sucks…if you did, just skip #15)
  16. The level of happiness in your life solely depends on you. No one else.
  17. If you are still blaming you parents, siblings, exes, 8th grade Volleyball coach, etc…for your problems/unhappiness…you are wasting a lot of time and missing out on life
  18. Your presence in this world changes people’s lives. Think about that. 
  19. Know that everything you post on Facebook or on your blog goes into your permanent record
  20. Just because your opinion is different than someone else’s doesn’t mean either of you are wrong it just means that you have a differing opinion…unless it involves the following..then you are TOTALLY wrong:
        • If you like Rick Perry (he is an asshat…I don’t care what you say)
        • If you like Mariah Carey’s music (although I can forgive you for this one… I may hold it against you, but I can forgive you..but you’re still wrong)
        • If you think it is OK to bash someone because of race, sexual orientation or special needs. (policial affiliations are fair game…just sayin’)

I could have gone on and on with my list of nuggets….but I’ll stop (because I’m really tired and want to go to bed)…but I will leave you with one of my all-time favorite quotes….


“Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.”
~Dr. Seuss

~e