We are closing in on the end of summer here on the West Coast and with that comes our end-of-summer trip. This will be our second such trip with my in-laws and I’m excited to see it turning into a tradition of sorts! Last year we spent the week in a cabin at a near-by lake and it was nice, but got at least a little dull at points during the week. This year, we are going to repeat some or most of the trip that we did as a family at the beginning of the summer. We’re going to Oregon!
When we went at the beginning of summer, we had a great time. We did so much! We are going to do some of my daughter’s favorites again – the Dinosaur Gardens, the Oregon Coast Aquarium and maybe Seal Cove. We are also going to try to visit some family and friends up in that area. I am looking forward to it, but we have a lot of planning to do. Figuring out how far we want to drive each day, getting hotel reservations, figuring out when we will be in what areas to let friends and family know. I’m sure we will want to visit some of the breweries we visited before as well.
Whenever I’m planning a trip, I like to try to plot out as much about the trip as possible. I am happy to make changes during the trip if we see fit, but I like to have a plan to start at least. What is your trip planning process? Do you like to wing it or are you a Type-A traveler who likes to have a strict itinerary that is closely followed?
More on the trip in coming Travelin’ Tuesday posts!
I have noticed this summer that I often forget to eat. Well, I don’t really forget to eat. I forget to have meals. I will “snack” on something here and there, but I will go without a meal for an entire day. I try to have my daughter eat meals at semi-regular intervals, but she is also a snacker. For a long time, she would not eat. She was on the short list for being identified as “failure to thrive” because she just would not eat enough. She doesn’t have that problem anymore, but she is still an irregular eater. She eats a lot of small meals and every second or third day she will eat something substantial during a meal time. I have taken to following her example (instead of vice versa). And I pay the price. My energy levels are low (my snacks are not always healthy in addition to being irregular) and I often binge on some unhealthy snack food since I’ve missed a meal. I think the eating thing is part of a much larger problem that will rear its ugly head over and over again as I explore places where I can make improvements in my life. I have no regular schedule/routine in my life! So, most people get up at a certain time, eat breakfast at a certain time, have lunch at a certain time, etc. But, me – my schedule varies greatly from day-to-day. I don’t ever sleep in very late (because I have some issues with insomnia as well), but sometimes I am awake and up and about at 6 a.m. and sometimes it is as late as 7:30 a.m. Sometimes I have to leave my house in the morning (during the school year, my daughter goes to preschool three days a week and has to be there at 8:30 a.m.). Other times, I will never leave the house the whole day (this is relatively rare, but does happen). Other days I am working at speech and debate tournaments and have to leave a hotel by 7 a.m. and not return until 11 p.m. Because of this, I don’t really have a regular eating schedule either. So, sometimes I will get up and eat something first thing, because I’m hungry. Sometimes, I get a cup of coffee and that makes me forget that I’m hungry, so I don’t end up eating breakfast. Sometimes I will eat something “lunch”ish around 11 am, sometimes I will just snack throughout the morning and never eat lunch. Sometimes I’m absolutely starving around 2 or 3 p.m. and will eat a full meal then – and it usually isn’t a healthy one. Then, I won’t be hungry for dinner. During the school year, I will teach in the evenings two or three nights a week, and on those nights, I may eat something at 10 p.m. when I’m done teaching or I may not eat anything at all. It is horrible. I know it is horrible. But, I can’t seem to break out of it and get myself on some kind of schedule. So, I think a simple goal I will set for myself between now and next Munch n Move Monday is to eat at regular intervals. I have a random week this week so it will be a good test of my ability to do this. I will set a goal to eat breakfast (an actual breakfast of a protein, fruit or veggie and carb) sometime between 6 and 8 a.m. (my daughter takes her meds at 8 every morning, so that should be an easy check point for me). Then, eat a lunch (protein plus fruit or veggie at least) between 11 and 1 p.m. (today, I ate a sandwich at 2:20 p.m. after not having breakfast, so this would be a vast improvement), and then dinner (a complete balanced meal of some sort) between 5 and 7 p.m. When school starts, I will have to make some slight adjustments to that to work around my teaching schedule, but for now it will work. If I can do that for a week, then I will consider it a win! It isn’t much, but hey, I’m baby-stepping into more, not jumping in with both feet!
So, yeah. That was my entry way closet a few weeks back. And I think of it as representative of what my life feels like right now. Way. Too. Full. Of stuff. And some of the stuff is good stuff – like I’m using that big pink, plaid purse right now and I love it for summer. That soft blue blanket laying on top of the pile is awesome on a chilly night. There are coats and sweaters hanging in there that are awesome to wear as well. But, there are also a bunch of DVDs (up on top there) that we never, ever, ever watch. We don’t even have a DVD player hooked up to our TV anymore. Since I took that picture I have cleaned out some things and it does look better. I’m not going to show an “after” picture because that isn’t the point of this post. The point of this post is that most of my life looks much more like that picture than the “after” picture (and in fact, the closet has even started to look a bit cluttered again already).
I am not a neat freak by any means, but a house in total chaos drives me a tad bit crazy. And I would say that my house has been in a state of at least partial chaos for the past six years, but especially in the last four and a half years (since becoming a parent). And that partial chaos is always on the tipping point of becoming total chaos – and it often does. There are many causes for this chaos that I can identify – lack of routines to get things done around the house, a four year old who likes to do a lot of different things in a day and owns way too many things to choose from, somewhat unpredictable scheduling or traveling for work (which isn’t unpredictable, but still kind of throws me off), my hatred or avoidance of certain cleaning duties, but most of all, it is that we have way too much stuff! And we are pilers. All of us are pilers. We pile things here, we pile things there and when we need to use a space where there is a pile, we move the pile somewhere else. And often, those piles go missing or things in the piles go missing. And that means purchasing more stuff to replace the stuff from the piles. It is an evil, evil circle of pain.
In addition to all this physical clutter, I also know that I’m living with a serious level of emotional and mental clutter as well. I believe that I may have some slight PTSD issues going on from my daughter’s illness, heart transplant and second open heart surgery. I also think that I have a bit of an issue with focus, in that I totally lack it. I easily lose interest in things. My job is one that requires many, many different things to be done all at the same time and it is tough to keep track of all of them. So, I am constantly struggling with finding things that have slipped through the cracks and dealing with them at the last minute or after the last minute as the case may be. So, I am often feeling torn in different directions and unable to keep track of all the things to do and deadlines, etc.
So, one of my things that I will be focused on in this search for MORE is more space, more peace and more predictability/productivity. That will mean a big purge of stuff, a big purge of guilt and sorry and shame and more, and figuring out what is going to work for me organizationally speaking for work.
Watch this space on future Sundays for some specific ways I accomplish these goals! I’ve already started the “stuff” purge – slowly but surely, bags are leaving the house.
This is my first blog post of what I hope to be many here at More at Forty (Five)! I celebrated my birthday a few days ago and have been trying to figure out how to truly make this year and beyond meaningful. I thought about a challenge. I thought about a bucket list. I thought about simply letting it fade into the woodwork like the last few dozen years seem to have. But, then I figured out that I am ready for more. I am ready to be more. I am ready to live more. I am ready to do more. In essence, I am wanting for more and this blog will be my record of whether I actually get it or not. I’m hoping the blogging (1) puts some pressure on me to actually follow through with more and (2) can be some sort of encouragement or inspiration to someone else out there who is looking for more – of whatever it is you might be looking for – to actually go out and get/do/be it!
So, where to start? I am, as the title reflects, actually forty-five. My fortieth birthday came and went without much thought. And I’ve now progressed up to forty-five without much thought. But, I feel like I’ve reached the point where I am closer to fifty than forty and fifty really does scare the heck out of me. It sounds so very old. I’m sure when I get there, it won’t be much different than forty-five, but it still is causing me a bit of consternation. I will not only be fifty, but I will have a nine year old child. No, not grandchild – child! So, I need to make fifty look and feel good and be healthy. And that, my friends, can not happen overnight. So, I’m taking my five-year head start and getting my sh*! together!
So, the plan is to log my progress on making my fifty year old self awesome here on this blog. I’ve got five years (almost)…two hundred and sixty weeks (almost)…one thousand eight hundred and twenty one days (exactly) to do this. But, I have faith. I am motivated (finally) to make some changes and see what happens. I have a certain amount of stability in my life, which makes the other changes easier to make. Or, so I would like to think…I am NOT planning on changing any of the following: my job, my marriage status or spouse, the number of children I have, the city in which I live. Other than that, I think everything is pretty much up for grabs. There are a few areas I would DEFINITELY like to change/improve: my weight and general health, my eating habits, my level of community involvement/socializing, my relationship with my husband, the number of places I have traveled and actually done things while visiting (so going for work and not seeing much other than a hotel does not count), my relationship with my friends both far and near, my level of organization and productivity, my financial security, living simply and with sustainability. So, you see, I need the full five years!
I figure I can baby step into a better future if I give myself enough time and space!
I am still working out how the blog will work, but I would like to start with a schedule that forces me to consider each area for at least a day each week. Some areas seem intricately tied to one another, so they will be interchangable, but others deserve their own space.
Simplicity Sundays – Living simply and with spirit will be the focus on Sundays.
Munch n Move Mondays – Getting healthy will be the focus at the start of the week – healthy food, exercise, etc.
Traveling Tuesdays – Planning, reviews and ideas for traveling to places both near and far.
Wordless Wednesdays – I just love the Wordless Wednesday posts I see, so I’m going to participate in this each week.
Thumbs Up Thursdays – This will be a kind of catch-all of positivity for each week. We all need more of that!
Fortune Fridays – This will be my money post for each week. Financial security, not necessarily wealth will be my focus.
Social Saturdays – All things relationship – marriage, friendships, family, community, etc. will go into Saturdays.
I think that about covers it. I do have to learn more about blogging as I take on this new blog. I’ve started many blogs, but always become frustrated with it quickly because I never took the time to really figure out how to make it work, keep people reading and maybe even make the time I spend on it worth something monetarily speaking. Not that it is necessary, but it would be helpful. And I would love to do some fancy blog stuff and attend a blog conference or two as the blogosphere is truly somewhere I feel at home!
So, look out world – I’m Forty (Five) and I’m coming for More!