Have you ever seen
the meme’s that show ‘What I think I look at doing this
activity,’ ‘What I really look like doing this activity’? Good.
That is what today’s post is all about, and it’s not pretty.
As you know, I
wanted to learn a musical instrument this year. I chose piano for
1) Guitars cramp my
2) There’s a nice
keyboard in the loft of where I’m living.
3) My roommate is
giving me free lessons.
I had my first
lesson last Sunday. I knew a little more than nothing, and was proud
of myself for picking up some of the basics. I learned the C-Scale
and was able to do it with both my left and right hand and together.
I could do it before; however, my finger positioning was incorrect.
That readjustment took some time, but I eventually got it. I was so
proud. Not only did I think I mastered the first ditty, I got
adventurous and tried to learn the second song on my own too. I
practiced every single day last week. I had this piano thing in the
I was so confident
at how good I was, I recorded myself playing one of the song and sent
it to no fewer than four people. I didn’t truly think I was going
to be the next Mozart, but I was convinced that this was going to be
EASY like Sunday morning.
I had my second
lesson earlier today. As I was walking up to the piano, I might have
been strutting a little bit. I was oozing confidence. I played what I
had learned last week with gusto. And my roommate’s first question
was “So, how do you think you did there?” And my confidence
fizzled out like helium from a balloon.
Well, it was time to
get real. I truly thought I was doing going. (Not doing bad is not
the same as doing good in case you wanted to know.) After being
slapped with the humble stick, I thought. I knew deep down what the
answer was—my timing. I was consistently ahead of the beat. I also
would take my time during parts I wasn’t quite sure on, and sped
through the stuff I had down pact.
We did some work
with a metronome (first spelling: metro-gnome). I’m starting to
understand (a tiny bit) what I need to do to improve. Fixing this
now, in the beginning of my studies; however, will help me down the
road, and that is important. I want to practice playing music, not
We worked on some
chords. There was a name for them, major triads? (maybe… I was
listening, I swear!) This week I’m to work on the beginning parts
of Wild Thing by The Troggs and at my request, the chords for New
Year’s Day by Taylor Swift.
I tried my best to
not let my eyes gloss over at some of the terminology. It is only
week two after all, and I need to give myself a little grace in the
By the end of the session, I felt more like a Muppet than Mozart. Steve did mention that Animal was a bad ass, so I guess I have that going for me. (It’s irrelevant that Animal was the one playing the drums!) So now, I’m going to practice like no one else. It’s the only way I will improve. Mozart, here I come!
I’ve got to tell
you friends, 2019 has been the best yet. Sure, my car is still
sitting at the Metro Impound Lot waiting to be processed, but the
initial police report is stating that it is undamaged. I am hopeful
that I will hear back this coming week with a more solid time frame
of release. As soon as we get the car back, my student loan is going
to take a large hit (the total will be BELOW $30,000!) We are in the
home stretch, and paying debt has never felt so good or been so
I was leery going
into a living situation that involved a roommate, but I think Steve
and I both agree that it has truly been a blessing. We have a nice
sized bedroom with a perfect alcove that fits both my work and
personal computers that I have simplistically decorated with twinkle
lights. There are also books everywhere, which means it is perfect.
Double vanity, Jacuzzi tub, and 10 foot walk in closet. We share the
communal living spaces and the cleaning responsibilities. I take care
of his dog while he is at work in exchange for piano lessons.
If you’ll remember
way back to the beginning of this month, one of my goals for the year
was to learn piano. I had my first lesson last Sunday and I will have
my next tomorrow. I have also managed to practice for at least 30
minutes every day. I have only really been working on the C-Scale and
a simple tune, but I am getting close to perfecting the next song in
my piano book, because I am an over achiever.
For a moment I let
doubt creep in, telling myself I’m too old to learn an instrument.
Well, that’s a load of crap. Will it take me longer than if I
started as a kid? Yeah, most definitely; however, that just means
that I need to work a little harder, and over the years, my
dedication to what I believe in shows in my work.
That was just one
goal on my list. From yesterday’s post, I am now up to six books
read this year thus far and passionately on the right path there. But
what about my other goals?
This afternoon, I
got in touch with Molly Margaret from https://esquescript.com
and signed up for a Brush Lettering class one Saturday in February!
There is still room if anyone in the Nashville area wants to learn a
dying art (all supplies are included for the brush lettering class!).
I took one after school calligraphy class when I was in elementary
school and I am so excited to finally get back to this.
Also, on Monday 07
January 2019 I transferred out of the department I worked in for more
than four years and took up another job within my company. It is
nothing like what I know, and my first week of training has been
When I first started
with this company I thought that they had made a mistake hiring me.
Nothing made sense and I was filled with dread. I didn’t know what
to do. It didn’t take long for those feelings to come back as I
finished up my week one training.
Granted, week one is
general new hire orientation giving you a brief overview of the
company and an idea about what your job entails. However, it doesn’t
go into depth as to my day to day job. That training starts next
week. I had to talk myself down out of a brief panic. I took some
time to do some deep breathing and chose to let the stress and worry
The energy from the
new team is really great. I love my managers involvement. She is so
very supportive and wants to see everyone succeed. She knows that I
eventually want to get into coding, and she is already recommending
me free classes I can take within the company and has guided me down
the best path of how to obtain my certificate. Having a leader that
wants to mentor you and see you succeed is a new change for me and I
am very thankful for it. I want to make her proud.
With the projections
of paying off debt this year, finally putting money toward our
retirement, and saving up for (if not going) England this year. My
relationship with my husband has never been stronger. We are
unstoppable when we are together. I love sharing this life adventure
with him more than anything. I love you, Stevie.
In 2018, I
participated in the Good Reads reading challenge. It was my aim to
read two books a month every month and by New Years Eve 2018, I would
have read 24 books. As some of you know, last year I crushed that
goal and ended up finishing the year at 65 books read.
I was really strong
in the beginning of the year and then from September through
November, I did not read a single book. There was a lot going on in
our lives during those months. We were both working two jobs
steadily, and we were faced with decluttering our lives and moving in
I made a huge push
for the final couple weeks of December and got my momentum back.
I spent some time
discussing it with friends and contemplating on whether or not I
wanted to do a reading challenge for 2019. It did not take me long to
decide that the answer was an absolute yes. Trying to pinpoint where
I wanted to place my goal this year was a little more difficult.
With a fairly long
inner monologue, I settled upon 52 books for the Good Reads 2019
reading challenge; however, I have a not so secret goal of reaching
100 books read this year.
1) Because I want to
challenge myself. I never want to get too comfortable. I want to push
myself to always improve.
2) But why 100?! The
truth, is that I told myself years ago that I was going to do the 100
book challenge in a year and then stopped reading after 24 books. I
went on to not read a single book for several years because I saw
myself as a failure. How silly is that! How many people even read 24
books in a year? 10? 5? Yes, I failed the challenge, but no, I am not
3) So, with more
confidence than ever this year, I’m going for that 100 mark. And I
am pretty damn excited. I may not make it… but what if I do? That
The road so far…
We are now ten days
into the new year, and I can happily report that I have already
completed five novels and on top of that, I am part way through
another five. Let’s do a quick review:
1) Love in the
Afternoon by Lisa Kleypas. This was the final novel in the Hathaway
series (5 books total) set in England. This novel focused on the
youngest of the siblings, Beatrix. After allowing the book to settle
in my mind, I think her book was my favorite. She was the most
vibrant of the siblings with her love of animals and all things a
proper lady shouldn’t like (or at least not discuss publicly). From
innocence to deception, this book goes to show that everyone deserves
love, and weird girls are more fun than what society produces.
2-4) The first three
novels of Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum novels. These were all
light reads, full of mystery and humor. I spent the first many years
of my life in New Jersey, and in an odd sort of way it felt like
5) The Good Daughter
by Karin Slaughter. This is the first book that Alice and I read for
our 2019 Badassery Book Club (BBC for short), and it was also my
first Slaughter book. I had a hard time putting this book down. I
found Slaughter’s method of building up this mystery and then
dropping off to another character for a quarter of the book both
frustrating and brilliant. Her work is dark, and brutal, but
memorizing at the same time. I will definitely read more of her
catalog in the future.
1) I’m listening to the audio book for Alice Feeney’s novel Sometimes I Lie. I’m about 65% of the way through, and I like it well enough. I’m pretty sure I’ve figured out the big mystery (which I’m not sure is very mysterious) so we shall see how it concludes. I do enjoy the time jumps between: then, now, and before.
2) Janet Evanovich’s 4th Stephanie Plum novel. I could use a little more Grandma Mazur; however, I like the bounty search, Lula, and the predicaments that Stephanie gets herself into.
3) Awaken The Giant Within by Tony Robbins. I am reading this book in 30 minute increments when I wake up in the morning several days a week. I’m about 50 pages in, and as you can tell from my previous posts, I’m definitely getting a lot out of this book. I want to always continue to improve myself, and part of the way I do that, is to really get to know myself. This book is helping.
4) England 8th
edition by Rick Steves. If you don’t know already, my husband and I
are going to England either late this year or early next year and I
want to read about all of the places to see and what to do so that I
can plan our dream vacation. This is the other book I read a little
bit before work a few times a week on days I don’t read Robbins
stuff. Yes, these two books will take me at least 2 months to read,
but I am enjoying them both tremendously.
5) Kushiel’s Dart by Jacqueline Carey. Some say you save the best for last. This 912 page book came recommended by my BBC partner in crime Alice, and I am devouring my first true TOR fantasy novel. After I got through the first 60 or so pages, I’ve really struggled to put it down. To say I’m blown away isn’t saying nearly enough.
I have several books
in the wings just waiting to be read, and I have never been this
excited to read in my life. Trying to balance reading with walking,
rowing (machine, not actually on a boat), and learning piano has been
a fun challenge.
What are your
reading goals this year? What was the best book you read last year?
Reflections on the beginning of chapter three of Awaken The Giant Within.
“Human beings are not random creatures; everything we do, we do for a reason.” – Tony Robbins
What is my reasoning
for what I do and who I am?
I have always
struggled at figuring out why I wanted something, or why I wanted to
do something. My typical answer was “I just do.” Sure, it’s not
very elaborate, more like the queen of being vague.
It took me a long
time to figure this out, but I wouldn’t set standards for myself,
because if I didn’t set any standards or goals for myself, then I
wouldn’t have to worry about the disappointment, I wouldn’t have
to feel guilt. I was taking the easy way out. I also wasn’t living
to my fullest. For far to many years I told myself that just existing
in this world was enough. Just existing is not enough.
Robbins says on page
53, “Everything you and I do, we do either out of our need to avoid
pain or our desire to gain pleasure.” I was living my life one
sided. I avoided pain by numbing. I ate my emotions (the good and the
bad) for decades. I spent more time playing computer games than
sleeping or working for more than a decade. I let life move on
without me so I could avoid the trauma from my childhood. I dug a
proverbial hole so deep I had given myself no hope at climbing out of
I allowed the weight
of my debt (mostly student loans) to consume most happiness in my
life. I never felt as though I deserved to travel. My debt was
It is easy to talk
about this now because my past is no long an open wound. You cannot
talk about these thing when you’re bleeding out. My past pains and
choices are a part of me, but they are finally scars. I’ve been
able to move on over the past couple of years.
When you try to
change yourself, whether it be your person, environment, or
situation, it is hard. I knew I wanted to change, but every time I
tried, I was met with frustration and overwhelming doubt. I knew I
wanted to change, but I couldn’t bring myself into action to change
because the wound was still too fresh. I just couldn’t get myself
to do it.
where I was faltering: “There is one elementary reason: they keep
trying to change their behavior, which is the effect,
instead of dealing with the cause
behind it.” I’m not going to lie, I was also procrastinating. I
knew I should change (needed to change), because at some level, I
believed that taking action in the moment was going to be more
painful than just pulling it off (Robbins, 53).
That being said, I saw a therapist, I stopped (mostly) with self-hatred, and started setting standards for myself. Almost immediately I started seeing a change. I chose to take control of my life instead of allowing society to dictate what makes a woman beautiful, or smart, or funny. In May of 2018, I read the Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey and my husband and I started turning our finances around. We took control of our financial future and are currently control our money instead of letting our money control us. And guess what? In less than six months, we will be debt free. I don’t know a lot of people that can say that.
“A man who suffers before it is necessary, suffers more than is necessary.” – Seneca
I’m not going to lie, I’m a worrier. I overthink, over-analyze,
and over-plan about everything. As I continue to take control of more
aspects of my life, I feel less anxious. I almost never (I cannot say
never her) stress about money anymore, and it is a glorious feeling.
There are so many more aspects in my life that can be improved; however, my husband and I have created a very solid foundation for ourselves and I have found that it keeps getting easier to not only set goals, but accomplishing them. Why? Because I have powerful reason’s why.
I took a few steps back into the driveway of my last delivery. My body began to shake uncontrollably and I began to sob…
I went back to the house of the strangers.
I banged on their door.
I counted to thirty, because that seemed like a respectable amount
I knocked again.
I put my hands in my hoodie pocket, and my fingers wrapped around
my phone. They had only asked for my keys and my money. I still had
With unsteady hands I called my husband. He was on his way.
I tried the door again, the woman finally answered. To the best of
my ability, through endless tears I told her what happened and she
ushered me into her house. The kindness of strangers is real. I asked
for a glass of water. She brought me soda. Her nearly deaf husband
kept offering me pizza.
Unsure of what to do next, I called my boss and told him what
happened. He told me to call the police.
I googled the number for the non-emergent police. I wasn’t
physically injured so I didn’t feel as though 911 was necessary. I
got an automated system. They gave me a number to call. Memorizing
that, while shaking, crying, and people trying to understand what
happened, was a small miracle.
A woman answered.
I told her the story. She thought my car was just stolen. I told
her about the men and the guns. Her voice quickened and asked me a
different set of questions. She wouldn’t let me get off the phone.
They had sent officers to my location.
There were two of them. I don’t remember their names. Tall,
close to scalp haircuts. At least one of them had a redish tint to
his mustache. They were nice enough. They were telling me I was fine
like it was no big deal. I think they were trying to keep me calm and
levelheaded, but it kind of annoyed me.
Once they were finished asking me the same questions as the woman
on the phone, they told me a detective was on his way out and we
needed to wait fifteen minutes for him. His name was Lukas. He was
very thin and young. In his 20’s for sure. Can you be a detective
in your 20’s? I guess so.
He gave me paperwork about identity theft and his card. We were
free to go. Steve guided me to our truck, and we drove back to the
store. We were still on the clock. I retold the story to my manager
and the other drivers around me. We cashed out for the night and then
Almost a week later, on January 2, 2019, I got a phone call from
Detective Haslip. The good news is that they found my car. Whomever
took it left it around 11th Avenue South here in
Nashville. The car was unlocked and the keys were inside. The
detective told me that it was brought in undamaged. Small miracles.
He told me that they needed to process my vehicle for prints and
that they would wave the storage fees with the car being held (that
was nice of them), and that all I would need to pay for is the towing
fee. He quoted me $65-$75, my insurance company believes that it will
Tomorrow it will be a week since I received that call, and I still
have not received my car back. My insurance representative for my
claim called the impound lot… there is no record of my car. I
haven’t been able to get a hold of the detective since. I will try
again tomorrow at the one week mark. Hopefully I will get some
Yesterday, I started a new position within my current company.
It’s a virtual position, so thankfully a car is not a necessity. My
new manager is amazing. I told her everything that has been happening
and she was able to authorize 20 hours of overtime a week for me;
which means I will be making more than what I was making with my
regular job and Pizza Hut before, and I only have to do one job!
The downsides: I don’t get to see my husband as often. We were
delivering pizzas on the same nights so we could see each other in
passing. I actually really liked the people that I was working with.
Why the extra jobs? We’re paying off our debt lightning fast! If
you’ve read some of my past posts, you know that England is in my
This experience has taught me many lessons and has made me a
stronger person. I knew from the moment I saw the gun that I was done
delivering pizzas. I want kids in a couple years. I need to be alive
I won’t lie to you, there was some serious anxiety that came in the following week. I struggled with the dark, being outside at all, and more especially, when vehicles would slow down and pass me on the road if I was out walking my dog. I am still struggling. I am very observant of my environment. I am getting better.
Being who I am, my first thought was, “I bet they are lost and need directions. I sure hope I can help as I’m not super familiar with the area.” My second thought was: “…well fuck.”
The street light was flickering. The rain and wind had completely stopped. It was cool but not chilly out. I placed my hand on the trunk of my car to steady myself.
Three doors of the
dark sedan opened in quick succession. Three black men in their late
twenties exited the vehicle. Their height ranged from 5’9-6’1.
They weren’t that much taller than me. All three work dark wash
jeans, a black hoodie and all three were carrying guns. I am not
particularly for or against guns, but I can honestly say I’ve only
been around them twice in controlled circumstances. I moved my hand
off of my trunk and stood as still as I could.
The world around me
silenced, it was deafening, and strangely serene at the same time.
The driver was the only one of the three that approached me, and the
only one that spoke.
“Give me your
keys. Give me your money.”
I look at his face.
His eyes are dead, blank. He was looking directly at me and I’m not
sure he saw me at all. There was no jittering, no rage, nothing. And
that terrified me.
“Give me your
keys. Give me your money.” he repeated.
The man from the
shotgun position had moved into the driver seat. He was taping his
hand on the steering wheel. His hoodie was up, but I could see that
the sides of his face were concave around his cheeks. His eyes bulged
slightly. He was on edge. Was this his first time too?
“Give me your
keys. Give me your money.”
I could see his mouth moving, his words rippled through my mind. They still weren’t making sense. He had to of been getting impatient, but his eyes were still dead. Worried that I was studying his rounded face with a 5 o’clock shadow too much I looked down. His gun was still there, threatening me. Existing in my presence without my permission.
“Give me your
keys. Give me your money.”
I leaned toward him
a little. I could see the man that had exited the back seat. He had
lost his footing climbing out of his car so quickly. It might have
been amusing in any other situation. He regained his composure and
moved to stand next to my drive-side door. MY door. MY car. The
newest car we had ever owned, and it was paid in full. Get away from
my car. Is this real life? He stepped closer to me.
“Gimme your keys.
I looked down to my
feet. My right hand was empty. My left hand was holding onto an empty
pizza bag. I was trying desperately to comprehend the words that were
coming out of his mouth. Why wasn’t I getting it? I hand him the
empty pizza bag. He takes it from me and drops it on the ground.
“Gimme your keys
and your money.”
I get it. I start
patting myself down. Why I started at my shoulders, I couldn’t tell
you. I got to my back pocket and heard a clink. My keys. I really
didn’t want to give them to him. He didn’t work for this car. The
title wasn’t in his name. My keys. My car. Dead eyes stepped closer
again and spoke slowly.
“Give me your
keys. Give me your money.”
I reach into my back
pocket and hand him my keys. I pat down my other pockets. My “bank”
from working at Pizza Hut. I had $10 in my pocket. I reach in, grab
the neatly folded money (A five dollar bill and five ones folded in
half and folded again).
“It’s only ten
dollars,” I whisper. “It’s all I have on me.” I pat myself
down for good measure one more time. He snatched it out of my hand
with his gun hand. He hesitated. “Everything I own is in the car.”
With those words he
nods at the other men. Two men get into my car, start it, and peel
out making a u-turn and following the dark sedan down the road and
out of my life.
The license plate
had a dirty cover and the lights knocked out. I couldn’t read the
plate. I tried to. I was also too afraid to keep staring. I didn’t
want them coming back.
I stood at the side
of the street. No one had driven up or by where I was during that
entire exchange. I shrugged lifting my arms up in disbelief. I stood
there. Silent, processing what just happened. Is this real life?
I leaned down and
picked up the empty pizza bag they left me. They’re not cheap and I
knew my boss would want it back (because thinking about someone else,
something else was going to be easier than what was to come). I
didn’t know what to do or where to go. I was miles from the store.
I took a few steps
back into the driveway of my last delivery.
My body began to shake uncontrollably and I began to sob…
To be continued in: Seeing Through The Dark: Part Three
I wasn’t sure if I was going to publicly write about this subject; however, after several weeks of contemplation, I just wanted to get the whole story out there instead of reliving the experience every time someone asks. If you have a sensitivity to language or guns, please proceed with caution.
Christmastime had come and gone, faster than ever. I worked on Christmas eve and after work my husband and I went across town and spent a lovely evening with friends and family. Christmas day was quiet as my husband and I celebrated together. It is not often that we have days off, and this was much needed quality time together.
Wednesday, I went
back to my main job (full time), and it wasn’t until Thursday
December 27, 2018 that I went back to work at Pizza Hut (part time
side hustle to pay off that pesky debt). Steve and I work at the same
Pizza Hut, and he works all of the same days as I do (plus one) so
that we can still see each other.
I was dragging
getting back into the swing of things, but I was happy to see my
husband and my co-workers. The delivery board was lit up, and I was
excited at the potential tips for the night even though my shift was
short (6-9:30pm). There was an order ready for me. I dispatched
myself and hit the ground running.
I knew the apartment
complex I was going to so I didn’t need to pull up my map program.
Those are always my favorite deliveries because that meant I could
listen to podcasts or audio books as I drove. I was getting paid to
listen to entertainment, it was excellent.
The rain had just
ended and I didn’t get stiffed on the tip, so I was flying high.
There was a little traffic, it is Nashville after all, but I made my
way back to the store in good time. It was a good thing too, because
there was a double (two orders near each other) ready to go. I
quickly dispatched myself, gathered all of the orders and lugged them
out to the car. I was on a roll. I consider it a success if I can
deliver three to four places within an hour.
My first delivery
was about a mile from the store. I always love delivering to excited
children. Some of my favorite experiences are when their eyes get big
and they’re all “You’re a pizza girl! I’ve never seen a pizza
girl before! That’s what I want to be when I grow up! (No you don’t
kid, no you don’t.)” That was what awaited me at my first
delivery. It was good because the woman signing the credit card
receipt crossed out the tip line so hard that it nearly ripped the
paper. No tip, cute kid. Moving on.
There was a light
breeze and it was fully dark. The silence that surrounded me was
rare, but the feeling of serenity abounded. When you’re focused on
a goal, it’s amazing when the hard and tiring things almost appear
to become easier.
I got back into my
Focus, locked the door, and punched in the next address. Delvin
Drive. I wasn’t far. Four of five minutes max with the stop signs.
I sighed as I knew I would have to listen to the driving directions
instead of my book, put my car in reverse, and I was on my way.
When I arrived at
the house on Delvin Drive, I sighed as I noticed how funny they
parked in their driveway. I knew I would have to park on the side of
the road. I rolled past the house, flipped a u-turn, and pulled up in
front of their one story home. I knew I had delivered here before,
and grabbed my phone. Last time I had to call them because they
couldn’t hear me knocking. They had one of those glass backed iron
doors before their regular door, and it is really difficult to make
I grabbed the pizza
out of the back seat and locked my car. The wonky cars made for
difficult walking, so I opted to just trudge through the squishy
front yard. I knocked. I waited. I knocked again. Nothing. I pulled
out my phone to call them, and the door opened. I slipped my phone
into my hoodie pocket and smiled at the old woman in front of me. Her
husband yelled something from his seat (almost completely deaf I
later learned) and I waved. The woman signed the receipt, I handed
her the pizza, and wished her a great night. I backed up and made
sure her front glass/iron door closed without a slam and turned
I capped my hot pink
pen (I get so many compliments on how well it writes), put it in my
pocket and started walking back to my car. I walked gingerly across
the yard as to not slip and fall. I had wondered if my boss would let
me go home and change if I had fallen, or would he want me to just
work with the dirt.
I reached my car. I placed my hand on the trunk to steady myself off the grass and onto the road. Phew. No falling. Yay me. I looked down at my feet. As I looked up, I noticed a dark, likely black 4-door vehicle pull up next to my car. Being who I am, my first thought was, “I bet they are lost and need directions. I sure hope I can help as I’m not super familiar with the area.” My second thought was: “…well fuck.”
Today in “Awaken the Giant Within,” Tony Robbins talks about how decisions are the pathway to power, inner power, taking control of ones own life kind of power. And that starts by owning up to who you are and the decisions you are making. Life is meant to be lived, and we have the power within ourselves to shape our futures.
On pages 33, Robbins states, “the decisions that you’re making right now, everyday, will shape how you feel today as well as who you’re going to become in the future.” On a very basic level, to me, part of this is actually being kind to myself. Accepting my failures as lessons learned and growing from them instead of dwelling in victim-hood (or the land of lazy excuses, a not so far off land that I have spent far too much time visiting).
This had me asking
myself: What do I want for myself? What do I want my next 10-15 years
to look like? How do I get there? That last one is easy. You just
start. You make a clear and conscious action decision and you chase
those goals. There is a very large difference between being
interested in something (“Oh, I’d like to learn how to write in
calligraphy.”) and being committed to doing it (“I am going to
learn how to write in calligraphy. There’s a class that meets once
a month starting in February and I have signed up for it. In the off
weeks between classes I will print off practice sheets and do
everything in my power to master this skill in my time.”) Pretty
big difference there, don’t you think? What is something that is on
your “I’d like to do this eventually list!” that you can turn
into “I’m going to take action and do this!”
Almost every time
we’re face with the decision of powering through the hard times or
giving up. This is not the time to give up or give in. No joke, I was
the queen of giving up. I’d have temporary passions of all these
things that I would like to do, and then I would do them for a day, a
week, a month, and then they would suddenly disappear.
This was very destructive to me. Not only was I not following through with my commitments I made to myself, but I felt depressed and guilty for not being able to follow through with my supposed passions (like blogging, or writing in general). I kept telling myself that I wasn’t good enough and that there was no reason to continue. My standards for myself creatively were as low as one could go. Actually, my standard for myself was non-existent. I have ridiculously high standards for myself in a work environment or when other people are involved; however, when it was just me, I didn’t think much.
The first thing I had to do was set up a baseline standard for myself, you know what I was willing to actually accept in my life. Once I did that, it was actually harder for me to allow myself to fall back into laziness, or “slip into behaviors and attitudes or a quality of life that’s far below what you deserve.” (Robbins, 35)
am not discouraged, because every wrong attempt discarded is another
I really enjoyed
Robbins’ ‘Ultimate Success Formula’ (p. 38):
1) Decide what you
2) Take Action
3) Notice what’s
working or not
4) Change your
approach until you achieve what you want.
On page 39, Robbins writes, “The way to make better decisions is to make more of them.” His statement is self explanatory. Where I’m going to take this on a person level is that I will be conscious of all of decisions. It’s hard to admit, but I struggle to make decisions. I usually let someone else take the lead and I just go with the flow. That’s not very take the bull by the horns and control your own life of me.
The most common
example (and I’m pretty sure everyone already knows this about me)
is that I almost never decide what type of food to eat (ie: what
restaurant). I am such a people-pleaser that I will just accept where
they want to go and be done with it. I always thought that I just
didn’t care what we were eating, but I’m wondering if I was more
not choosing to make others happy (which is in fact a decision, just
a weak one).
This is easier for
me to commit to because I almost never go out to eat; however, when
the occasion arises and asked where I want to go, I will make a
decision. I will likely be willing to compromise if it’s a place
the other person isn’t in the mood for… but there are only so
many things that I can control.
The following is two
decisions that I can make right now that are action driven:
1) I will blog
regularly. This will be backed up by daily reading, writing, and
coming up with post ideas. As one of my new year goals, I decided to
write every day for 15 minutes (minimum).
2) I am choosing to
participate in and successfully complete a 5k walk/run in 2019. This
will be backed up by daily walking (minimum of 10 minutes per day),
slowly jogging when my knee cooperates (made it two solid blocks a
few days ago), and pushing myself to do my best everyday.
To discuss briefly
my commitment to decision two, I did not want to walk today. It is
not pleasant out. It is cold, and I was just dog tired. I was
actively giving myself permission to “call in sick” from
exercise. I wasn’t hurt (a little sore), and there was still plenty
of time left in the day. (Come to think about it, I didn’t want to
walk yesterday and only went ½ a mile and took 13 minutes to do it,
but I did something.) I was discouraged (but not defeated) by
yesterday, especially when I could feel myself giving up.
With some wonderful
encouragement from my husband and a solid game plan, I grabbed my dog
Kaylee and we headed out into the chilly night. She and I enjoyed the
remaining Christmas lights that were still up and didn’t notice the
cold with my hood up. Before I knew it, I had walked nearly 1.5 miles
and it felt amazing.
I truly believe that
these two decisions are going to actually change my life. And that is
pretty damn exciting.
There may not be a place in the world that I have wanted to explore more than the beautiful country of England. I have been talking about it for years, and everyone that knows me even a little bit, knows this this is my dream. Well my friends, my dream will become a reality in the very near future.
If you don’t know,
Steve and I have been vigorously paying off our debt (medical bills,
credit cards, bogus taxes from a state we didn’t live in, and
student loans) since May 2018. This year, 2019, is the year we will
count down from three and scream: “We’re debt free!” I’m not
going to lie, I’ll be saying that, and thinking: “We’re going
There are several
hurdles in our way that we intend to power through this year. Aside
from getting completely out of debt (this will be the first time in
my adult life), we will set up an emergency fund that will take care
of us for six months in case one or both of us lose our jobs (which I
don’t foresee, but better safe than sorry), and we want to fully
contribute to our retirement this year by maxing our our Roth IRAs.
This will start setting us up for our future. Once these items are in
place, we plan to cash-flow our trip to England. As much as I would
love to travel toward the end of Autumn, it is more likely we will go
in the Spring of 2020. I’m not against going in the winter, but I’m
also not 100% sure it is a wise decision. The official season we will
be traveling will be determined later this year as we continue to
progress through this process.
In the meantime, I
was gifted a copy of Rick Steves England: Eighth Edition and have
begun reading. I have a few friends across the pond that I am seeking
advice as to what we should see. Also, Laura and Leslie, if you’re
reading this… I’m ready for your counsel!
completed the 30 page introduction and I’ve got to say, I don’t
think I have ever been this excited or terrified in my life (which is
also kind of exciting). In all of my years on this earth, this will
be my first TRUE vacation. That means I have never planned one
What I know to be
true so far:
I think I would like
to spend an entire week in London. Besides the city itself and all of
its sites, it is also a great launching place for day trips to
Stonehenge, Avebury, Salisbury, Windsor, and Cambridge. The Cotswolds
sound like the most heavenly place on earth and two to three days
there sounds divine. Bath and York are also toppers on my list. Both
of my friends are north of London, so it all seems to make sense. The
Lake District sounds lovely, and hiking sounds a perfect way to spend
a handful of days.
There is an area
that really interests me which is Dartmoor. There is a “mysterious,
desolate, moor-cloaked national park” that has “wild ponies,
hiking paths, and an ancient stone circle.” Does that not sound
enticing to you? (I would also really like to point out that I just
said I’m interested in hiking in two different areas! What has
gotten into me!?) If we can make it that far West (maybe I can learn
to drive on the “correct” side of the car and road), I would also
like to check out Cornwall.
Devonshire is also
on the list, as is a couple of days in Paris to tour the Louve, visit
the Eiffel Tower, and to eat French patisseries.
Y’all, I have no
idea how to narrow this down! I suppose that is a good problem to
have. It is my desire to keep things simple and smart. Although I
plan to make a very detailed itinerary, I know that things don’t
always go as planned. Who knows, maybe the detour will turn into
being even better than what was originally planned.
One thing that really stood out to me in Steves’ introduction what a quote that can be applied to any life that is opening up to adventure:
“When an opportunity pops up, make it a habit to say, “yes!”.
With the start of
the new year, I was reinvigorated into improving myself in all
aspects of my life. This book was highly recommended by my wonderful
husband, Steve, and I have finally set aside the time to read and
study this particular book.
I plan on taking it
pretty slow, a chapter a day, in the morning’s before work. I start
work at 6am, which means I’m CHOOSING to get up between 5:00am and
5:15am every day to read.
I began Part One:
Unleash Your Power by reading chapter one: Dreams of Destiny. Robbins
spends most of this chapter introducing himself, outlining the
purpose of the book, and giving readers a taste of what is to come
and welcoming them into discovering themselves and their potential in
a whole new way.
On page 19, Robbins talks about how his past frustrations and failures actually helped build the foundation for him to truly understand a different level of living he will enjoy. In a matter of a dozen years, he went from being a janitor to the man he is now. I don’t know a lot about him as a person or his journey, but from point A to B is impressive.
I’ve been focusing
a lot on my goals, how to accomplish them, and what over the years
has gotten in the way of me achieving these dreams. The most common
answer I discovered? Me. Yes, you read me right, I get in my way.
Let me tell you a
very short story. A few years back I missed a single day of blogging
after three months of blogging every single day, and I let that one
failure propel me into giving up completely for the remainder of the
year stating, “well, maybe next year!” If you’re anything like
me reading this now, it sounds pretty ridiculous.
How is this year
different? I will forgive myself. If I miss a day (I don’t actually
plan on blogging every single day), it’s okay. It’s not the end
of the world. I just need to pick myself up and do it tomorrow. The
same goes if I miss a day of walking or I have that craving for ice
cream that overcame me.
On page 21, Robbins
states to not “major in minor things.” What I got out of this is
to set my standards high. To work for what I really want, and not
settle on lesser because it is easier. I actually want my journey to
be difficult. I want to feel struggle. I want to fight for my future.
To Robbins, “for changes to be of any true value, they’ve got to be lasting and consistent.” (23) I am currently in the stage of building many habits. Right now, it’s not about running for an hour (a task that sounds terrible to me), but about creating the discipline for the hard work to build on—to build my foundation. So for the month of January, my fitness goal is to walk for at least 10 minutes a day. Both days I have done this so far, I have exceeded the time limit. That 10 minute minimum is more for days when I don’t feel like walking at all (or the rain will not cease). The same goes for my daily writing goals of 15 minutes a day. In the greater scheme of things, but this foundation I am building now is meant to last, and I need to be consistent.
“You see, in life, lots of people know what to do, but few people actually do what they know. Knowing is not enough, you must take action!” -Tony Robbins, Awaken The Giant Within.
know what to do, and I am executing it. I am taking each day new,
letting failures and frustrations build my foundation for the life I
want to live. This is a call to action, and I am answering the call.
to a better future, starting from within.
In the immortal words of Julie Andrews from The Sound of Music, “Let’s start at the very beginning, a very good place to start.”