Wednesday, January 28, 2015

January's Thoughts on What I Already Have

I was dead set on getting a YMCA membership this January until Paul and I were looking at the numbers for our new budget.  This was a month ago at the tail end of December and at the end of a year where I had really struggled, truly needed a perk like the Y to pull me into a new year.  I had my eyes on a gym membership since the twins were born (day care for 3 kids: enough said), but now I had my eyes on these budget numbers and that shifted my needs a bit.

It's okay to say I struggled last year.  I feel like there's this terrible burden in our culture to make sure the choices we make are at all times spoken of as "really awesome!" from our lips even when our hearts and minds are a bit messier.  I'm okay saying that going from working mom dropping my one kid off early and picking him up late to stay at home mom to three <deep breath> adorable boys who run and shoot at each other with invisible guns on the regular has been a transition.  I'm building mommy muscles. That takes some time.

Really though, those tough bits about last year was all Paul's travel.  It turned out to be about 2, sometimes 3, weeks a month, and at the time I was like "no big deal, I've got this".... and then he didn't travel from mid-December until this week and woooooooooah, okay, I get it.  I'll just say it.  Not having him here is a lot more difficult than I realized.  But anyway,  my complaining is just to say that the Y = freedom and = day care and = exercise to clear my mind from all that gun shooting and = I'm finally going to feel fabulous in a swimsuit post-baby belly this year! Okay, the last one is a stretch. 

But those numbers.  Did we have the money? Oh yeah.  Could we "afford" it? Yes.  But dreams.  I've got some. Dreams bigger than me being strapped to a membership fee, larger than what we can or can't afford.  So I said no to the Y and went back to the drawing board, and I realized we already had so much. Namely this:

a great neighborhood for walking

The first hobby Paul and I shared was walking the trail that is at the edge of the current neighborhood we live in.  We walked often & I treasure that time we had together.  That trail is awesome.  In fact, he proposed in the middle of a walk on that trail, in a hidden, wooded spot at the edge of the park as we sat on the roots of a tree and dipped our feet into the cool waters of a creek.  The diamond sparkled from the light peeking through the tops of trees. Pretty magical in my book. 

I used to walk Thomas to the park and back during summer days and when it's warm we like to hop on our bikes as a family and take the trail out for miles.  But just as great is the layout of our neighborhood.  We couldn't afford a gated community (bahaha...understatement), but ours has a little secret you might not realize unless you come visit:  It was intentionally designed to discourage drive-thru traffic.  Yes, it's super close to the mall and grocery stores and everything in town,  but no one drives thru because it is a winding maze of streets just for use of its residents. It's brilliant, really.  

So guys. I've been waking early. 5 am every day. I've been reading, writing, and walking.  Anytime it is at least 25 degrees and not precipitating, I'm out there.

I've walked in the fog and on ice.  I've spied a fox run back home, two creatures I couldn't quite make out slink back into the sewer (a sight to make you shiver at 5:30 in the dark morning), and a little adorable beaver hauling teeny bits of twigs and things to build up his palace.

I've listened to a couple dozen podcasts, walked nearly 50 miles, and friggin' danced on the streets to Beyonce's Upgrade You.  I've said a well-deserved "good morning" to dozens of my fellow early-rising neighbors. I've crossed paths with the curious fellow who zig-zag exercises across the street.

I've watched the ducks walk gingerly across the barely frozen pond. I've breathed cold air of hope into the coming day.  I've watched the day roll out in a dark blue, lighting the tips of trees on fire with the smallest of notes that this new day has arrived and it is beautiful.

When I climb the last big hill near the end of my regular loop, a smile spreads across my face.  I'm happy.  Happy just to be, just to live, just to have the freedom to walk.  Happy for the bodies snug and asleep, warm and safe, in our home.  Happy to be learning that meeting my needs, our needs, calls for a little creativity and a lot of simplicity.

Happy to be waking up each morning to lean into all the beautiful things I already have.

Good morning, Alfred!


  1. Love this! Finding joy in what we already have is challenging and rewarding at the same time. So glad we're friends!

  2. Ughhhh this post hit too close to home... :) I don't wanna get out and run that early!!!! In the snow?!?! Whaaat!! Super impressive.

    1. Jamie, I totally understand. I told myself the first week that I only had to commit to snot hitting snooze and getting out of the bedroom and not falling asleep. Sounds weird, but that worked for me to start the habit.

  3. This is a super good idea that I'd really need to have an arm or two twisted to try...but now it will be on my mind when instead I want to scream, "Where's my me time?!"

    1. Oh good. I'm not the only one thinking that. It's so easy, when someone works from home, for all the needs and wants from everybody else to come crushing in (like that scene in Star Wars in the trash compactor) with no space left to breathe. At least that is my experience. But I'm really trying to use my margins now and hoping that I just get some super productive sleep. ;)