The first day of the rest of our lives

Yesterday I looked at my boyfriend, Matthew, and said, “Today is the first day of the rest of our lives.” Nothing major has happened lately, other than a pandemic, but sometimes a person needs to reset, recharge and shift goals and intentions. That’s how I’m feeling right now.

We’ve just returned from a Tennessee road trip with four of the five kids (I have two boys and Matthew has one son and two daughters). It was one of those special trips that was pretty much perfect, other than a few yellow jacket stings, parking tickets, lack of sunscreen and almost getting hit by a car. Otherwise, it was amazing.

Several things have culminated in my life recently, offering a reenergized sense of purpose. One was a singular quote from BossBabe that popped up on my Instagram feed. It said, “Get super clear on who you want to be and then do everything in your power to become that person. Clear vision. Aligned action. That’s what it’s all about.”

Below are a few of my newly stated goals:

Get in the best shape of my life

Understand America’s addiction with alcohol

Read more

Be adventurous in the kitchen

Attend a lot of concerts

Travel widely

Obtain financial freedom

Train our puppy

Write, write, write

Now for the action.

I’ve always enjoyed working out and being physically fit, but I’ve never pushed myself to the limit. That’s what I plan to do. I completed one triathlon several years ago. My anxiety during the open water swim was significant. I want to overcome that. I’m going register for a sprint triathlon scheduled for this August. If I’m registered for it, I’ll make sure I’m prepared. Meanwhile, Matthew has registered for a full ironman in October. When we’re both in training mode, good things happen. My friend has a fancy Garmin watch that’s waterproof and will track my runs, swims and bikes. It will also give me information about stress levels and sleep quality. I’m going to buy myself one for Mother’s Day.

I’m listening to a book by Holly Whitaker called Quit Like a Woman. It’s about the surge in female alcoholism over the past 20-ish years. It’s also about the American culture which has normalized drinking at every event, including baby showers and kids’ birthday parties. The book is also informative about what alcohol (ethanol) does to every system in our bodies. I don’t have a drinking problem but there are times when I’m like, “Why am I having this drink?” Or “What’s the point in drinking?” I’m not sure where I’m going with this. I’m not sure if my goal is to help others who I know have a dependence on alcohol or to completely cleanse my body of anything negative. I’m not sure, but I’ll know when I get there.

I’ve been listening to a lot of books on Audible, which is still reading in a way, but I miss the feel of a book in my hands. My days are busy with work, parenting, etc. but other people are busy too and they somehow find time to read. Whether it’s at night before bed or throughout the day during breaks from work, I’ve got to make it happen.

I broke my wrist on January 31 while snowboarding. Just before the incident, I had been trying out tons of new recipes from Kathryn Taylor’s cookbook called Love Real Food. I’d make at least six different soups and a variety of other dishes. It’s always fun to spread my wings in the kitchen but right when I hit a good stride, wham, I broke my wrist. Chopping or holding a pot became impossible. My wrist is almost 100% healed so it’s time to get tie on the apron.

Matthew and I had plans numerous concerts in 2020. It was a massive bummer to have them all canceled or rescheduled due to COVID. We understand why, obviously, but it was depressing. I’m a tried and true music lover and since meeting Matthew almost four years ago, music has been a big part of our relationship. Slowly, live shows are showing back up on tour calendars. I’ve already bought tickets to a local show at the end of April and we’ve got plans to visit Red Rocks in July to see a show that was rescheduled from last year.

One reason the Tennessee road trip was so fun is because I LOVE planning trips and experiencing new adventures. After a year of sitting at home, it felt incredible to be back on the open road making memories and seeing the sights. We have several more big trips coming up in 2021 and I’m super stoked. My girlfriends and I are headed to Hilton Head in June. I haven’t done a girls beach trip since the summer my mom passed away in 2016. Also in June, we’re flying up to DC for my niece’s birthday. In July, Matthew and I will be in Colorado for the show and later in the month we’re taking the kids on an RV trip to a bunch of amusement parks on the East Coast. There’s so much to see in this world and I want to see it all.

My mom’s death and my divorce all happened within an 18 month period. During that time, I attempted to work and maintain my freelance jobs, all while trying to maintain a happy life for my boys. Credit card and other debt ensued. I’m just about to climb out of the unsecured debt hole, which feels amazing. Aside from my mortgage, car payment, insurance, etc. my goal is to be debt-free by the end of 2021.

We got a puppy in December. He was a Christmas gift for the kids. We named him Ringo Mac. With us being a blended family, the kids are only here 50-60% of the time so while the kids love Ringo, he’s mostly mine and Matthew’s dog. Our goal is to have a happy, well-behaved dog. Not only are trained dogs more fun and manageable, but my anxiety could not tolerate an unruly or destructive dog. So, whatever it takes, this puppy of ours will be trained.

I’m lucky to write every day for Smoky Mountain News, Smoky Mountain Living and several newsletters, but I’ve moved over to this space for my personal writing. For many years, I wrote over at Zealous Mom, which was my parenting blog. Once my mom passed and I became a single mom, my delusions of perfect motherhood vanished. I tried to maintain the frequency at which I wrote on that blog, but I never could regain steam after that period of grief. I think my voice on Zealous Mom was from an old me. The blog is still live, and I will always love those posts because they tell stories and anecdotes of my boys’ childhoods. This space will be more about me as a woman, writer and person. I plan to be on here often and I plan to be honest.

My goal is to work really hard at these goals. I don’t know yet if I’ll achieve every single one, but I do know that putting them out in the universe is a start, so thank you for listening.

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