New (School) Year Resolutions

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Fall, for me, always feels like a secondary “new year.”  A time to slow down and dust off after a nonstop, jam-packed summer, and turn inward and reflect on what’s next.

Perhaps you can relate – whether you’re going back to school yourself, sending your kids back, or simply sensing a turning of the tides as the magical season we call summer takes its final curtain call and that familiar chill creeps back into the air.

Fall is a good time to right our course. To cultivate new habits, or return to old loves (such as yoga class while your kids are in school – can I get an amen?).

What do you want to return to, or start anew, this fall, the season when rhythm and routine take center stage?  I have a few ideas of my own, and thought I’d share in case they get your wheels turning, too…

1)    I resolve to become a “night before” person.  This does not come naturally to me, but I really believe if I could develop the habit of laying out clothes (mine and the kids’), packing lunches and snacks, and locating things like shoes and coats the night before each school day, we’ll all enjoy less frantic mornings.

2)    Monday food prep day – I have my youngest in school M/W/F mornings this year, and I plan to use most Monday mornings to thoughtfully prep good home-cooked food for the week ahead.  I envision this as chopping and storing vegetables for multiple meals, baking something easy (like banana bread or a quiche) that can contribute to quick breakfasts throughout the week and cooking a big batch of some stew/soup/roast in the slow cooker that’s large enough for leftovers.  I envision these Monday morning hours as almost a religious experience adorned with coffee in my favorite mug, an audio book or TV of my choosing in the background, and a QUIET HOUSE TO MYSELF in which to work.  Is there anything more glorious?

3)    Explore new volunteer opportunities.  Entering the world of elementary school parenthood, I’m quickly learning, means a whole slew of volunteer opportunities.  I look forward to becoming a familiar face in my son’s classroom and finding my place within the school at large as I cultivate my own role in this new community that will be a part of our lives for years to come.

4)    Rediscover walking.  I’ve been pretty focused on running these past couple of years, but lately I’ve felt this nudging in my spirit to slow down and be content with a good walk.  I’ll still run at times, but one of my newfound loves is walking to the rhythm of an engrossing audiobook (if you’re new to this media as well – Born a Crime, Something in the Water and Educated are all excellent places to start!). And of course, nothing beats a walk-and-talk with a good friend.

5)    Stay in my lane. This is a broad one, but it’s something I think about a lot.  To me it’s a reminder to accept what is working (and isn’t working ) FOR ME, at this season in MY life.  It means practicing mindfulness around the people and influences I take into my life, time on social media, cultivating healthy routines, being conscious about comparing myself to others, etc…

And on that note, these words come to mind.  I don’t know about you, but I always appreciate this wise reminder from one of my favorite writers and thinkers, Glennon Doyle:

“You can’t miss your boat.  It’s yours.  It stays docked till you’re ready.  The only boat you can miss is someone else’s. Let them have theirs while you wait for yours.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Half Marathon: Second Time Around

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My becoming a somewhat serious runner over the last year and a half has really shocked the hell out of my husband. 

Our conversations on this topic tend to go something like this:

Him: I just still can’t believe that YOU of all people, just told me you ran 10 miles today.

Me: Is that like a thickly-veiled compliment?

Him:  I mean…we’re talking about YOU!  You hate mornings and love pajamas and really don’t like being in a hurry to do anything.  I just can’t believe you are doing all this RUNNING…

Me:  Hmmm.  Interesting point.  Yes.  I do very much also enjoy my time as a “bathlete” (as my personal idol Glennon Doyle calls it), but I don’t know…I’m just pretty into running now.  It kind of makes me feel like a superhero. 

Friends.  If you would have told younger me I would be running 13 miles at any point in my life I would have probably responded like Aaron does now.  In 9th grade, I spent my first and last season on the high school basketball team because I HATED RUNNING SO MUCH.  And we only “ran” like 30 seconds at a time!!! 

I’ve always loved to WALK Green Lake, here in Seattle, and used to joke to my friends that I wanted to buy a “I will never run a marathon” t-shirt as sort of my own personal protest to all the runners and their souvenir t-shirts and 26.2 and 13.1 stickers.

Now those crazy people are my heroes! And I just want all their t-shirts.  I get a little starstruck talking to anyone who has run a bunch at this distance – let alone a full marathon or more. 

This morning I got to run my second half marathon with a couple of girlfriends.  We are all at different places in our running journey and it was just cool to see us there cheering each other on, yet each running mostly solo, doing “us.”  Or, as my friend Liana so aptly puts it, “Friends who run together find each other at the end of the race.”

Against my better judgment, I decided to make it my mission to “find” my super fast and accomplished runner friend Erica at the BEGINNING of this race.  We had taken off from the starting line (btw – my start could not have been clumsier – lip balm and Clif bloks flying everywhere from my unzipped and now moving waist pouch, as I fumbled with some stubborn apps on my phone – but no one was injured in my madness and eventually, off I was!) when I had the incredibly ill-advisesd idea to absolutely annihilate myself by running an 8:01 (!!) second mile in order to catch up with Erica, if only to say that we ran together for just a moment!

 SV HALF(This is super-runner, Erica.  She is the one I was chasing.)

Did I know that burning out in mile 2 was a very bad idea?  Why, yes.  Yes, I did.  In fact I talk about how incredibly important setting a sustainable pace early on is ALL THE TIME.  Did I do it anyway?  Yes.  Yes, I did.  After completing my first two miles like a bat out of hell at under 8:30/mile (for reference, my first half marathon I averaged 9:57/mile), shit kind of hit the fan. I made up for it with many miles over 9 minutes and one over 10.  I walked several times and lost all wind from my sails setting the stage for my longest, most defeated walking session when the 2:00 pacers finally passed.  It was all just so hard and demoralizing!  But I pulled it together and ground out that last mile and a half, post-pacers.  When all was said and done, I finished the run at 2 hours and 2 minutes, and my wildly irregular splits averaged out to about 9:20/mile, still much faster than my previous race. 

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(PR stands for “personal record.”  This is one of the many things I did not know two years ago.)

I had a goal today to beat 2:00 (two hours/total race time), a common benchmark goal for women at this distance.  As I achily, thirstily neared the finish line and knew for sure that had slipped through my fingers this time around, I had my own mini-Hillary Clinton moment.  I thought to myself, “I may not have shattered that highest glass ceiling, but there are a million more cracks in it!”

Running is so personal.  It’s SO mental.  It’s such a love-hate relationship.  And it’s one of the most rewarding, transformative things I’ve ever done.

The 2-hour ceiling awaits…. I guess there will just have to be a “next time.” 

PS – I used to ask myself, “If I run two half marathons, can I say I’ve run a marathon??”            

NO BETH, NO YOU CANNOT, says every marathon runner ever.

PPS – I just want to be clear that my husband, in all his disbelief of me, really is my biggest fan and most amazing support.  There’s no one I’d rather see at the finish line when I’m crying allll the ugly tears of pain and joy and relief, and he was right there today.  He’s also watching our wild children right now so I can indulge in my other love-hate relationship: writing.  He’s basically the best. 

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“I Just Felt Like Running”

For almost three months now, I’ve been training for my first half marathon.  It all started with a good running buddy, a new year’s goal, and a LOT of Christmas cookies to burn off.

My friend Megan and I love a good travel adventure, and when we began tossing ideas around to do a race together (she’s done three halves; this will be my first), we immediately thought that making it a “destination” race would only make it *that much* better.  Work hard, play hard. Win-win.  Plus it’s added training accountability when there are plane tickets and babysitters involved.  No backing out now!

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Megan and me after a 10-mile run around the lake – my first time hitting a double digit run! 

So, in two short weeks Megan and I will be flying out to Charleston, then driving to Savannah, for the “Publix Savannah Women’s Half and 5k.”  You can check out a shot of the course scenery here, it’s just so pretty.

Prior to this January, I had never run more than 5.6 miles (two laps around Green Lake’s inner loop, for those who know Seattle) and rarely ran more than four miles at a time.

I absolutely hated running until my mid-twenties, when I somehow began to sort of enjoy it…or even if I loathed the process at times, loved how I felt when I completed a run.

In recent years I’ve ebbed and flowed with how often I run, casually and somewhat regularly at best, and not at all during either of my pregnancies.

The last couple of years I’ve thought more seriously about training for a half marathon.  I knew the length would be a true challenge for me, but doable.  Enter a fun and motivating friend and a perfect race opportunity in a city I’ve wanted to visit — sign me up.

So sign up I did and over the last 11 weeks we’ve gradually increased our “long” runs, from 2.8 miles around Green Lake, to 6.2 around Lake Union, 9+ along Alki and, finally, just this past Monday, about 11.5 miles from Gas Works Park to Golden Gardens and back.

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It was cloudy and only raining a little on this part of our run, passing under the Aurora Bridge.

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Pausing to admire this gorgeous mermaid I made in 4th grade, installed in a tile work path at Golden Gardens. ; ) 

One might question my judgment to choose the months of January, February and March to train for a race.  In SEATTLE.  Lately our running forecast has basically looked like this most of the time:

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I have run in absolute soaking rain (once for almost two hours), in falling snow and over crunching ice, in freezing sub-thirty-degree temperatures, and on exactly one gloriously odd occasion while in the San Diego area for my son’s birthday, in this:

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Cue angels singing.

But more often, when I’ve finished a run, I’ve peeled off a sweatshirt that feels like it weighs about 20 pounds in water weight, like this:

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You really can’t tell HOW SOAKED I am there.

I am confident I would not have made it this far, through this many miles, in the CRAZIEST weather, without the motivation of my faithful and fun friend and running partner.  So thank you, Megan!!

Keeping with the work hard/play hard mantra, we decided to do our post-11 mile stretching at a bar, in a booth, over beer and happy hour food.  Inspired by Big Little Lies.  🙂  I’m sure we smelled AMAZING.

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Oh, and we cross train with yoga, stroller walks, and our 1-year-old sons’ “Little Gym” classes.  Sorry people, those are all the tips I have.

Oh, and Girl Scout cookies. You deserve ALL the Girl Scout cookies.

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Here’s to many more stories shared on long runs, celebratory beers, setting goals and seeing them through.  Crossing that finish line in Savannah will feel oh so sweet.

And it’s only fitting that much of Forrest Gump was filmed in the South Carolina/Georgia area where we’ll be.  What better setting than that of a movie about a man who set off to see the country because he “just felt like running?”

YOLO.  That’s reason enough for me.

Back to School

 

 

I can do this.  I need to do this.  I am excited to do this.

It was advertised as an evening class, once a week for six weeks from mid-July to mid-August.  An essay-writing course offered through Hugo House, a nonprofit resource for writers offering beginning- to advanced-level writing classes, workshops and other events here in Seattle.  I first became familiar with Hugo House when I was an editorial intern at Seattle magazine, and this year, I finally decided to become a member and take my first class there.

I hadn’t stepped foot in a conventional classroom since my senior year at the University of Washington in 2005.  At that point in my life I was ready to be done with school — the heavy book bags, the homework always hanging over my head, the stressful nights and early mornings at various U-District Starbucks spent cramming for tests and pounding out essays left to the last minute.

Contrary to my classes of dozens if not hundreds of people at UW, this class at Hugo House was an intimate size of 10 students plus one very encouraging, laid-back instructor all huddled around one large makeshift table, the combined total of four smaller tables pushed together .  Each Monday evening (minus one on vacation) for six weeks I battled west-east traffic to First Hill, took my seat in this small, spare, non-air conditioned room, and was immersed into wonderful, stimulating conversations with a truly great group of people whose life experiences almost couldn’t be more diverse.

That diversity of lifestyles and experiences is what I found most refreshing about this classroom environment.  People wrote and shared about animals in Africa, battling illness, the art and science of ballet, sexuality, relationships, being single, and learning to embrace their ever-changing identify.  It was eye-opening to realize how narrowly immersed I’ve become in the world of parents-of-young-kids in recent years.  So much of my life, social circle, volunteer outlets, the language I speak, activities I attend, vacations I’m drawn to, articles I read,  etc… revolve around babies and young kids.  Understandable, but narrow nonetheless.  Neurons were firing like fireworks as my brain was immersed in these stories of things so unlike anything  I come across in my everyday life.

Throughout the course each of us – male and female, ranging from our 20s to our 50s, world travelers and native Seattleites – wrote about our own life experiences and read about each others’.  Several of  us, myself included, wrote about very private, intimate topics that we felt more comfortable sharing among a group of encouraging strangers, than within our own inner circles of folks who know us all too well.  It was liberating to put things on the page that are seldom said out loud, and I know others had a similar experience.

I also was once again reminded how much I need accountability to keep up with my writing, lest it get buried forever under piles of laundry, dishes and Hot Wheels.  Not only did my classmates read my writing, but they put it under a microscope and dissected every part for what worked, and what needs work.  It was an honor to receive such thoughtful feedback on such a personal part of my life, and to delve into such profound stories from theirs.

I can’t wait to sign up for another quarter of classes.  It felt good to be back in school.

Things I Wish I Wanted To Do

Things I Wish I Wanted To Do

“When you say ‘yes’ to others, make sure you are not saying ‘no’ to yourself.”

– Paulo Coelho

My book club recently read and dissected The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin.  Over water and lime wedges (turns out that while I’m no longer pregnant, everyone else is), it became clear this writer’s year-long experiment culminated in a “love it or hate it” book for our little critics’ circle and beyond – as all pop culture hits seem to do to some degree.  What do they say – there’s no such thing as bad press?

While this book was a slow, underwhelming start for me, suddenly around April (the book and the topics and resolutions it entails are divided into months), it was as if a switch flipped and I was ravenously hooked on this Manhattan lawyer/writer/mom/wife’s musing on hundreds of minor tweaks we can make to our daily routines (no Eat, Pray, Love pilgrimage required) to partake in a more fully-examined existence, boost our quality of life, and thus that of those around us.  Things like buying the nice $4.00 pen instead of the crappy 25-cent pen that just feels cheap and always runs out of ink.  Changing the lightbulb yourself instead of nagging your husband to do it.  Listening contentedly to others and resisting the urge to jump in with a competing story of your own.  Accepting a limitation (or more positively, my God-given uniqueness) such as the fact that a certain hairstyle – try as I might – Will. Never. Look. Good. On. Me.

I could go on and on about the author’s simple yet pointed insights on things from learning to laugh at yourself and lighten up with your kids, to the liberation that comes from “tackling a nagging task,” be it a cluttered hall closet or a toxic relationship.  I was obviously in the “love it” camp.

But the section of the book that provided the biggest “aha moment” for me was about how to distinguish between things I truly want to do, and things I wish I wanted to do.

The phrase “I wish I wanted to do that” resonated with me so clearly.  How often do we trick not just others – but ourselves – into believing this forcefully painted picture of our supposed hobbies, inclinations, status, interests and overall identity?  Maybe you love the idea of buying everything organic but you hate the sticker shock you experience in the check-out line.  Or perhaps you think you want to take a big family vacation every summer, but spending a week with your in-laws/great-aunt/cousins/stepchildren actually induces widespread panic attacks.  You wish you wanted to do these things, but when it comes down to it, you just don’t.

True introverts may feel like they wish they wanted to get dolled up and mingle over cocktails and loud music on a Friday night, but what they really want to do is stay home with a book and pajamas, power off their phone and read until their quiet little heart’s content.  Can I get an Amen from all the introverts?

As this book goes on to point out, “…relinquishing my fantasies of what I wished I found fun allowed me more room to do the things that I did find fun.”

Being so struck by this notion of real vs. illusory desires, I couldn’t help but make my own list.  Without much thought and totally off the cuff, this is what I came up with:

Things I Wish I Wanted to Do:

*Work out more

*Not eat cookies for breakfast

*Play complex family board games (my in-laws are way into games and it’s freeing to admit I could spend the rest of my life mastering Scrabble)

*Chaotic playdates combining two or more of the following: toddlers, junk food, bouncy house, water parks or long car rides

*Camp (as in, outdoors, devoid of proper toilets, with the possibility of bear attacks)

*Go to a grad school (I must face the fact that a few proud extra letters after my name does not a happy homework-haver make)

*Have a third baby (our second is six months old and we’ve hired an overnight nanny and professional sleep coach in recent weeks – this talk is tabled for now.).

*Spend time on my hair (all roads lead to dry shampoo)

*Seek out cool indie music (Top 40 ‘til I die)

*Read classic literature (see grad school reference above)

*Embrace early mornings (maybe this will be The Happiness Project: Age 60)

As I immediately scribbled into my journal upon completion of this hasty (yet pretty darn honest) list:

Wow – there’s such a freedom to just admitting – if only to myself – “I don’t actually want to do any of these things!”

What would you not do, if you knew you could not fail?

Maybe it’s worth cancelling some unwanted plans and sticking around to find out.  Gretchen Rubin would definitely give you a gold star for that.

 

(*featured image by Anne Taintor*)

Hibernation

FullSizeRender(3)I’m going to share something personal with you. Which is ironic because it has to do with my not wanting to share personal things.

The photo above is part of a journal entry I wrote on New Year’s Eve. I like to carve out time on the last day of the year, to reflect on the previous 12 months – things I feel good about, and things I want to improve upon – and lay out a plan of attack (aka resolutions) for the new year. This year those hopes and goals largely revolved around a theme of practicing quality over quantity – in things ranging from my relationships to time spent online and in social settings. We’ll see how that all fleshes out, but I promise my intentions are good.

I’ve been using this blog as a personal writing and reflection platform for a little over two years now. Though I may only post once or twice a month, I think about writing all the time. For those who don’t know me as well as others, I am painstakingly aware of my conscience, agonize over things like, “Did I say that right?” or “Did she understand where I was coming from?” am an obsessively thorough proof-reader and perfectionist editor. And I struggle with guilt over really wanting to write when the urge strikes, while also really wanting to be a devoted, undistracted mother who doesn’t get enveloped in a heated essay-writing spree while her son watches reruns of Sesame Street.

This last year, I wrote some stuff that really put my heart, insecurities, flaws and personal beliefs out on the line. I think that’s hard for anyone to do, but I always tell myself that some things are just important, even if they’re not fun, easy or comfortable. The reason I know that wearing my heart on my sleeve is important, is because I know how important it is when others do that for me. The truth is, I know I am my own worst critic, and it’s been a while since I’ve written something I was really totally pleased with. And then sometimes, when I feel like I actually really poured my heart, brain and time into something important and said what I wanted to say – **vulnerability alert** – I’m disappointed because it gets two likes on Facebook and I feel totally unvalidated, OR what I wrote is apparently important enough to be controversial and I get super stressed out if I sense conflict or disapproval.

Deep exhale…

Here’s what I actually set out to write: I’ve learned that in the month of December, I get busy, busy, busy! And festive, festive, festive! It’s Christmas and everything is so put together and pretty and peaceful (OK so not really 100% of the time, but I keep telling myself that it is to keep the Christmas spirit meter up) and I just want to soak it in and pack my calendar with red and green frosted social engagements and I think to myself, “What am I ever going to do when Christmas lights are down and we’re just stuck with drab, gray, uneventful January?” It always sounds so depressing!

And THEN – all I want to do is go into hibernation mode. Meaning – I basically just want to disconnect my phone and computer, pull out my best apron, be a June Cleaver mom and wife, and bake apple pies all day while no one bothers me or picks my brain.

This year as I seeped deeper and deeper into the holidays, I was all busy and social and Mrs. Party Planner and Ugly Christmas Sweater on the outside – and I’m not knocking that stuff; it was festive and great and important in its own right and I’ll probably be just as excited to do it all again next year- but on the INSIDE, I felt like I was burrowing deeper and deeper into an introverted, “don’t look at me,” “don’t analyze me” hole. I realized that this year I had made myself and my real, fragile emotions available possibly more than ever, through essays I published, through sharing personal struggles with people I barely knew, through hot button issues I weighed in on over Facebook, and even in smaller scale personal conversations.

By the end of the year I found myself feeling a little proud and brave, but A LOT over-exposed, drained from “putting myself out there” and kind of just wanting to hibernate. I felt sort of emotionally spent. And I still kind of do.

I had extreme visions of ending my blog after two years (my husband says he won’t let me), closing my Facebook account (but that’s such a dramatic thing to do, and I’ve already done that before – it didn’t fix life), and fleeing to Amish country where they don’t have the burden of electricity (OK I made up that last part, I probably couldn’t handle the early mornings, and actually really like electricity).

I’ve spent the last few weeks being less connected to social media than I have been in years, without quitting cold turkey. I’ve genuinely tried to be more unplugged, less reactive and more intentional with how I set out to spend my time each day. I’ve tried to step back and do a cost-benefit analysis of being emotionally naked.

I happened to briefly log on to Facebook tonight, which has been a refreshing rarity for me in recent weeks, and two of the first things that caught my eye were posts from fellow blogger friends (Abby and Emily, I’m calling you out – I loved reading both of your posts and they made me drag my butt out of bed and get my laptop out to write this).

So in reality I have felt like I have had writer’s block THE ENTIRE time I’ve been writing this, but here’s to being imperfect and posting it any way.

The truth is, I don’t want to stop writing. I know I would regret it. Maybe it can be hard, and maybe it can be draining, and definitely it is hard to balance with everything else as someone who struggles to be disciplined with her time.  Maybe I’ll write more privately and less publicly this year.  I don’t know yet what the right decision is for me.  But I’m making this public so you know my intentions to figure it out.

But I have to believe that it’s worth it. That it’s worth slogging through the writer’s block and the half-finished stories and the endless rough drafts, for the unbeatable feeling of FINALLY writing something that makes you lean back, look at your monitor with sheer amazement and say, “That’s it.”

A really great baseball player still only gets on base a third of the time. And a world-renowned surgeon may only cure a fraction of the patients she treats. Why should it be any different for writing? The only way to get better is to write. And you can’t hit a homerun by hibernating.

“Be bold and courageous. When you look back on your life, you’ll regret the things you didn’t do more than the ones you did.” – H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

The “D” Word

The “D” Word

Sometimes I feel depressed.

Readership of this blog is now divided into exactly two categories: people who understand exactly what I just said, and people who don’t (lucky you).

Like today, and about every third day for the last few weeks, I have just felt “blah,” and sluggishly tired, unmotivated and illogically unexcitable. When I’m feeling like this, I use fewer exclamation marks and smiley faces in my texts, and wear my least favorite t-shirts while dragging around the house. So as not to alarm anyone – this, for me, is not extreme depression. It is mainly annoying, and tiring, and I’m sick of feeling like I shouldn’t talk about it. So I am. I think it’s one of the healthiest things I can do.

My funk/depression tends to come on when I have a ton in my life to be happy about and thankful for. And for no particular reason, though I am determined to keep guessing. Hormones, weather changes, and lack of vegetables are the frontrunners today.

Personally, I tend to use the phrase “in a funk” to describe these feelings that come unannounced and uninvited, often in the midst of an otherwise good week/year/month.  But I think that’s mainly because it just sounds safer, with the stigma attached to “depression” and all.   I went through a bad bout of these feelings about 9 months ago, which my therapist and I agreed was probably hormonal (I was weaning off of breastfeeding).

Today, while lying in bed at 4 in the afternoon with a blotchy dried out face, the 1100th episode of Grey’s Anatomy on pause, and Lena Dunham’s memoir (which IS kind of depressing…frontrunner #4?) – I had this thought:

“I try so hard to come across as so put together, and I have a hunch that a lot of people have that general impression of me, and of my life. But really, sometimes all I want is someone I can call and say, ‘I feel like shit right now.’” But just the thought of calling someone and saying that, followed by no logical explanation always sounds way too exhausting to my already exhausted self, so I never do. But maybe I should sometime. I would want people in my life to feel like I could handle – even welcome – that call from them.

I am aware that my last post here was about channeling Martha Stewart via baskets and striving for the perfectly organized home, which may make this depression diatribe seem a bit out of left field.

One thing I’ve learned about depression, is it’s REAL. It’s valid. It deserves respect, and understanding, and patience. You can have a great life – even be at a particularly great place and point in time IN your life – and it can just hit you, out of nowhere. Like a really unexpected foul ball that leaves a kid in the stands with a black eye.

So I’m choosing to write about it, in hopes that maybe I’ll open a little window for someone else to feel a little less ashamed or confused or shunned from appropriate public chatter, when they too are “in a funk.”

Here are 5 things that help me move past the numbing, heavy waves when they strike:

  1. A change of scenery. Some of the best advice I’ve received about how to get “unstuck” from a mood is this: If you’re lying down, get up. If you’re inside, go outside. If the curtains are drawn, open a window and let the sunlight in. It’s amazing how little changes of scenery can shake us up, in a good way. Seriously you guys, try it even if you don’t think it could possibly make a difference.
  2. Eat healthier food – I think eating like crap or realizing you’ve perhaps neglected an entire food group like vegetables, for days, can help turn things around. OR –
  3. Eat whatever the hell you want. Aaron recently brought me back a box of fudge from a work trip he was on. He was relieved that I liked the gift, and told me that one of his co-workers had mentioned maybe I would prefer a toy for Anderson, or something more wife-ly, other than…fudge. They couldn’t have been more wrong. Solidified butter and chocolate is a salve for the mildly depressed. Just don’t forget to have Brussels sprouts for dessert (yes, I really ate those things in that order. Red wine was the tie that bound).
  4. Ask someone to touch you. OK this sounds weird, especially if that someone is a stranger on the bus instead of your significant other (Revise accordingly based on your immediate surroundings). I read today that a good solid lingering hug has been proven to be a natural antidepressant. Snuggling, massage, having your partner play with your hair – it’s good, under-rated stuff. We should all do it more.
  5. Talk about it (or in my case, write about it). Many, many people feel some degree of situational and/or random depression. I already feel better simply stating the obvious and knowing, it too, will pass. I’m not writing this so that friends of mine will follow up with a private text asking if I’m OK. I am, and I will be, especially after more fudge.

I’m writing this because I’ve spent at least as much time feeling like this as I’ve spent feeling giddy about home organizational systems, and I simply thought my funk deserved an honorable mention as an uninvited, yet real and valid, part of my life – and perhaps it’s a part of yours, too.

Like that bazillionth Grey’s Anatomy episode said today, “The carousel never stops turning.” Tomorrow is another day, and I’m betting it’s a better one. We’re all in this together and we all have these hidden, unflattering parts of us that make up our moments, and our lives, whether we want them to or not. I continue to be surprised that the more I just take the leap and talk about or write about hard stuff – there is always an overwhelming majority of people who say, “I’ve been there, too.”