giving myself credit

I found this on the interwebs today. And let me just say: “Preach.”

The quote is what took my breath away. “Success isn’t how far you got, but the distance you traveled from where you started.” — Steven Prefontaine

Right now, as you know, I’m a pretty far distance from where I started. That’s speaking both physically and metaphorically. Like the article talks about, I think I’ve spent a lot of time being focused on a particular destination. The odd thing is that I’ve found my life being swept up in the lovely in-betweens to the destinations—more as an adult than ever before.

People told me that when I turn 30, all the questioning of my 20’s would go away. I can tell you guys, that much is true. However, in place of it, I find myself questioning the bigger things like marriage and babies and homeownership. I believe it takes special people to get married, stay married and then put that union through the trials of homeownership and children. I have nothing but respect for the people that make those choices every day.

I feel so conflicted sometimes because part of me keeps thinking I should be more concerned with the destinations; my pesky adventurous spirit has always kept me from acting on those feelings. I’m saving those joys for a time that’s precious to me. Some destinations are meant to be savored and fully realized. I have to keep it top of mind that my journey isn’t meant to be like anyone else’s—it’s only meant to be mine.

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ioway

photo 2

look at that sky – majesty

 

There are a lot of things that Ohio and Iowa have in common.  For example: four seasons in both states, the landscape isn’t vastly different (vastly being the keyword), we’re both considered Midwestern states (which I didn’t know till I moved here); in a nutshell, it’s not a total culture shock to move from Ohio to Iowa.

Back in another blogging life, before I left my home state, I wrote a little homage to Ohio which some of you may remember.  I wasn’t sure what to expect moving to Iowa but here I am.  I am happy to confess that all my preconceived notions were totally wrong.  Turns out there is more here than pigs and cows and corn; there is a great little music scene if you’re patient enough to wait for it to come; there are wonderful places to roam and big cities within driving distance.  My job has blessed me immeasurably by indulging my traveling heart so I think I’m now qualified enough to write a post about the differences between Iowa and Ohio.

The first and most obvious difference is how kind people are here.  It was a lesson I learned after one of my first trips to Hy-Vee.  Everyone there said hello, made eye contact, smiled… it was really weird.  I chalked it up to the liberation of being completely anonymous but it persisted everywhere I went: at the gas station, at Target, driving down the road (people wave a lot in rural Iowa)—Iowa kindness was rampant and it changed me.  I became Iowa Ryan and Iowa Ryan is personable and will ask you about your 150 head of cattle, your dog, your sister’s dog, your daughter’s goats and I like that people are willing to share their stories with me.

There was also a learning curve with some minor things.  Here, instead of asking “would you like a bag for that?” people ask “you want a sack?”  Sack.  At first I replied, “yeah, I’ll take a bag” but it wore off when I realized “sack” is much more fun.  Plus, I blend in when I use the local lingo.  Another word that was met with a quizzical brow was my usage of “expressway”.  I don’t know if that’s a Ryan-thing or an Ohio-thing but in my house/family/network of peeps we always called all the highways “expressway” whether it was 76, 480, 71 or even 80 (“the turnpike” sometimes).  Here, Iowans use the correct highway, “I was eastbound on I-235…”.  Speaking of, people here use cardinal directions.  It seems like everyone has an inner GPS and they know what’s the north side of the street or the east building so it forced me to learn pretty quickly that my former method of taking directions just wouldn’t suffice.

While there are still pretty much all the same landscape elements in Ohio and Iowa, there are far fewer trees here.  I remember my old commute to the office when I lived in Ohio, both sides of the expressway were lined with forests of trees.  Here, it’s fields as far as your eye can see.  It’s almost like the sky touches the grass.  There are rolling hills, more corn fields than you could ask for, farm animals and wind turbines for miles.  The landscape here truly is something special.  Last week I was lucky enough to find my version (so far) of heaven on Earth.  It’s called Corning, Iowa.  There was dirt road after dirt road where no one would pass by and when I watched some calves run and play along the banks of a pond I knew in my heart that being here has been so right.  I never anticipated running away from home and ending up so far away but I am convinced that this is my kind of place.

Corning, Iowa

Corning, Iowa

I’ve become a better person for being an Iowa transplant.  The other day, my friend Kelly told me that I know Des Moines in my year and a half here better than she does having been here longer.  I learned everything I know from a fella that loves his city and I honestly think that makes all the difference.  I never gave Cleveland that same respect until I left.  This place is just magic to me.  I love and learn from the differences in my two homes.  So when/if you come to Iowa, prepare to go back home just a little bit changed.

stolen idea

I’m completely stealing this blog idea – because I love it and let me tell you why.  I love the honesty of it and I’m continually looking for balance when it comes to my honesty here with you all and making sure that I’m not crossing into territory where I’m hurting someone’s feelings.  I’m sure other bloggers can empathize that when you’re blogging about your life, it can sometimes get compartmentalized and complicated.  I’m sure it’s much more freeing to blog about recipes and cooking or fitness.  What’s going on in my life drives this blog – good and bad (probably the reason for some lengthy absences).  I don’t want it to come off “Dear Diary” style but at the same time, it seems like when I’m writing from my heart, it’s less work to convey an idea and you all are more receptive.  So in the spirit of honesty, I give you the 3 Things I’m Bad At.

#1 Paying “silly” bills on time

Okay… I wrestled over including this one cause it makes me sound *so* immature.  But since we’re being truthful, I do have a few bills that I regularly don’t pay on time.  I know it’s not a good thing, guys.  Stuff like my cell bill, a store credit card (cringe), internet – those are bills that seem a little sillier than rent, car payment, CAR INSURANCE so I take a few liberties when getting those paid.  I know all bills are to be taken seriously and I’m in the process of trying to scale back the spending and tighten up on the whole budget thing.  The funny part about this is that I never feel more adult than I do when all my bills are paid.

#2 Openly correcting grammar

Okay, so I love proper spelling and grammar.  I’m sure I’ve abused it a time or two in the past – who hasn’t?!  I can tell you that I’ve gotten a lot better at knowing when to correct in mixed company (I used to be worse and way more annoying).  Sorry, family, you’ll always be fair game.  My eyes are trained to find the errors in PowerPoint presentations and in business situations I take people less seriously when something is misspelled.  I love the English language and I will be the first person to butcher it intentionally, so I’m really sorry in advance when I mutter “well” under my breath when someone says “he did good”, or “supposedly” when I hear “supposebly” or “essspresso” when I hear someone order “expresso” because truthfully, I have no right to do that.  Clearly, this is an ongoing area of opportunity for me.

#3 The follow-through

This one is probably the hardest and the most honest.  I start a lot of things I don’t finish.  I’m well aware through old adages and reading that this is an undesirable characteristic.  My resume includes diets I start and don’t finish, gyms I start and don’t commit to, books that lose my interest and end up back on the shelf, starting and stopping running about five times, leaving the last dish in the sink unwashed after doing alllll the other dishes, and not calling my family/friends as often as I should. There’s also the ideas that pop into my head randomly throughout the day of things I think I’d like to do.  Prime example: today I was thinking maybe I should make all the food I eat from scratch and eat nothing processed.  Let’s be honest, guys.  That’s a setup for immediate failure.  I can spin this a plethora of different ways, both positive and negative.  It doesn’t hinder my growth as a person but I really do this a lot.  I think it probably frustrates me more than anyone else (right, family?).

I believe we all have things we’re bad at.  And generally speaking, those are the things that cause us a bit of heartbreak, some bumps and bruises and leave us with some thicker skin.  Yes, a good portion of the time we’re the better for having gone through hard times.  That’s not always true, of course, but when I look back on times I thought were so hard they’d crush me I scratch my head wondering how I could have thought it was so bad.  The point is, if we start owning those things we’re bad at it becomes easier to embrace the unique person we are.  They don’t have to be defining characteristics… they can just be a smaller part of what makes up the whole.

act your age

I have to be candid here… I’m sorry for the break; I’ve had some heavier than usual stuff swirling around me lately (Chris Martin and Gwyneth Paltrow’s “conscious uncoupling” amongst other things) and serious things are the ones I struggle blogging about.  It’s always a challenge to figure out how I feel and then to translate that to words… it makes my head hurt.

My younger sister turned 30 this past week.  Our respective 30th Birthday celebrations were quite different (there may have been tears for mine—but who doesn’t cry on their birthday?!).  It got me thinking about her first 30 years and how I’ve been a part of each year.  That makes me feel old.  I’d venture to say even more so than my own birthday.  It also got me thinking about how I don’t feel my age at all.  I started mentally compiling a list of reasons why I don’t feel 31 and I’ll keep the self-deprecation to a minimum.

Reasons I don’t feel my age

1. I leave the house at least 3 mornings a week with wet hair—for work.

2. I still struggle with exercise and eating right.  Still.  10 years later.

3. I wear Chuck Taylors with shocking regularity.

4. I actually own nothing of value with the exception of two TVs and all my Apple products.

5. Money management?

6. I have way more teeshirts than dress shirts.

7. I own a very impractical two door stick-shift car.

When it comes to aging, I always think about an assignment we had to do in 5th grade health class—we had to make a timeline of the rest of our lives filled with important events and at what age they would happen.  At first, I was filled with anxiety because even then I had no concept of what the next day would hold let alone 30 years of days.  Once I overcame the seriousness of the task (they didn’t really expect us to know when we’d die, right?!) I think I slopped down that I’d graduate in 4 years of college, have some ambiguous corporate job, wake up at 7 every morning, be married by 25 and have kids by 30.  Obvi, that timeline was rooted in the idealistic views of my 5th grade mind and I’ve managed to embrace the fact that my real-life timeline is very different from my imagined one.  Sometimes I let that silly timeline get to me and I start thinking about all that I *haven’t* done.  I can’t really say that I know how to combat it other than to let it in, let it have about 5 minutes and then get rid of it with thoughts of all that I have done and all that I do have.

I’m pretty blessed and I definitely know it.  Thank you to all of you lovelies that keep me chasing creativity; the ones of you who challenge me to look at the world, who keep me running and cooking and striving to be the best me I can be.  And not least, thank you to my amazing sister who makes 30 look sparkly and fabulous.

avery.

avery 1

Tomorrow will be two weeks since my niece, Avery Jo, was born.  I started to write the story of her birth on the plane ride to Cleveland but I decided that it might be better to get it down in cyberspace—after all, the internets are forever.

The Story

From the time my sister found out she was pregnant, I’ve been telling everyone with ears how excited I am about being an auntie.  About a week before the birth, my sister emailed the family their birth plan.  My portion of the birth plan was hard to actually plan for.  The plan was this: my sister wanted to labor as long as possible at home before going to the hospital, so she’d text me when she knew she was in labor.  Hopefully she’d labor long enough for me to get on a plane and get to Cleveland so I could be at the hospital.  It made me really uncomfortable cause this plan hinged on the baby being ready—so she could be on time, early or late… the whole month of February belonged to my sister and the baby.

After a fitful night of sleep on February 4th, I awoke to a text around 5:15 am:

“Morning sister!!!”

“You may want to pack a bag, and look at flights.”

“I’m timing my contractions…”

My response:

“Seriously?!”

Rachel had been having contractions since midnight.

Six hours later, I had a bag packed and was on a flight to Cleveland.  The weather in Des Moines had other plans… we sat on the runway for an extra 30 minutes while the plane was being de-iced.  I had foolishly booked my connecting flight through Chicago O’Hare which I’ve had mixed luck with in the past.  I joked pre-labor about Home Alone-ing it through O’Hare (you guys know, when they overslept and had to sprint through the airport) and all kidding aside, that’s exactly what I had to do.  The 30 minute delay made me miss loading on my connection so I ran through the airport, suitcase behind me.  The gate agent had to open the closed door for me to get on the plane.  I’m so lucky I made it because there was a snowstorm already happening in Des Moines and it was headed to Chicago.  I don’t know if I’d have been able to get another flight if I had missed my connection.

I pulled into Rachel and Adam’s driveway just as they were loading up to go to the hospital.  My mom told me later that Rachel waited for me.  She was 8 cm dilated when we got to the hospital but there was still a long night ahead of us.  This is the part where I have to stop and tell you that my sister was a warrior.  Their birth plan included no “drugs” of any kind, no constant monitoring, and the ability to get up and move around if she wanted to.  She had the birth she wanted and she was incredible.  The whole experience was so special because there was nothing but love in the room.  Rachel was kind, patient, even apologetic at times but most of all she was herself.  She pushed for three hours and never once said she wanted to give up.  She was ready to meet their little girl and she worked hard.

Avery was born at 2 am on February 5th in the middle of a snowstorm to two of the most loving people I’ll ever know.  She made a quiet entrance and had quite the little cone-head.  I know I’m a little biased but she is perfect.  The whole experience, from that first text to seeing Avery’s little body flopped up on my sister’s chest, was so far beyond anything I could have expected.  I never understood the magic of birth and babies but I do now.  There’s nothing I wouldn’t do for her; I love her more than I thought I could and all that happened in one breath.

avery 2

I stayed for a week.  My mom, sister, brother in law, Avery and I were all holed up in the house together for the first time in ever.  We cooked together, ate together, laughed together and made some new memories as a family.  I got to see my mom as a grandma and my dad as a grandpa (his teary eyed response to holding her was beautiful).  I stayed up with Avery at night so my sister could get rest.  I changed diapers and helped during feeding times.  I sucked in as much of that little girl as I could before I had to leave.  My emotions are still very raw even two weeks later.  I’ve never cried leaving Cleveland but I did when I left them.

I couldn’t really be told what this would mean to me, like all good things in life.  I had expectations but it was nothing short of the biggest moment I’ve been a part of.  More than anything, I feel overwhelmed by the hope and excitement that comes with new life.  It took 9 months and an instant.

avery 3

dads.

Since I’ve been driving so much for my job now, I’ve taken to listening to podcasts to pass the time.  Buying books “on tape” from iTunes has been getting just a liiiittle expensive and there’s only so many times I can listen to the same news on NPR.  I’m a huge fan of the Radiolab podcast as well as This American Life (the “Good Guy” epi = amazing).  I’m pretty impressed by the way people they interview can recount one really amazing personal story.  Storytelling is one skill that’s always evaded me.  And if there’s anything about me you should know, it’s that I get really interested in things I can’t do well (examples: farming, running, being a grown up, etc.).

I learned once that the more you tell a story, the less true it becomes.  That would be a good problem for me to have cause the details of a story are where I stumble.  I’ve spent a lot of time thinking of stories to tell you guys but the things that I remember seem to be limited to the things that were big lessons or turning points for me and they’re snippets at best.  There is no fear more acute to me than the dreaded sharing of ‘fun facts’ at work functions with a room full of my peers.  Maybe I’ve mentioned that I became slightly preoccupied with the notion of a book of essays—till I realized that I have no stories to turn into essays.

So I think I’ve painted a pretty clear pictures of how bad I am with memories… you guys get that, right?  That point is important here because I’m writing the rest of this about my dad (and dads in general).  I don’t have any great dad stories to tell you because I am not so good at telling stories.  What I’m hoping to give you are broad ideas to paint a picture of what my dad means to me.  Let me first tell you, again, that I am blessed in the parental department.  I have three very special parents who would do anything for my sister and me.  My cup runneth over.  There are amazing qualities about my mom and there are amazing qualities about my step-mom, Jodi, and I love all three parents the same.  Growing up, there was always someone to teach me something, someone to ask questions to and I was lucky enough to have three different teachers and three different perspectives.

Moms are amazing creatures.  I think society can agree with me there.  Just this morning on the Today show there was a story about how women do it all: wash the kids, dress the kids, pack the lunches, have a career, run the kids to sports/ballet/tumbling, make time for the hubs, make dinner, do the laundry—and because I’ve had two amazing mom examples, I know this to be true.  Credit where credit is due, sometimes I think dads get a bad rap.  I think the stereotypical dad is the guy that provides financially for the family, is the disciplinarian and generally the TV watcher.  I think there are many, many, many dads that break that stereotype into a million pieces and those are the dads that amaze me.  I’ve observed my friends as dads, friends of friends as dads, my dad as a dad, TV dads, dads of friends and let me tell you—I have seen some AWESOME dads.  That brings me to my dad.

This past week my dad celebrated a birthday and it got me to thinking.  In the last five or so years, I’ve observed my dad being my dad much more than I ever have.  It’s because I see more of him in me as an adult than I ever have before.  My dad is strong, intelligent, capable, hard-working, sensitive, funny, personable, silly and he wears his heart on his sleeve.  What you see is what you get with my dad.  For as long as I can remember, I always wanted to be someone my dad liked; I always wanted him to *see* me.  His eyes and his smile and his laugh and his satisfaction were always favors I wanted bestowed upon me.  My sister and I used to take turns sitting in the middle seat in the front bench seat of his pick-up truck so that he could rest his giant dad-hand on our knobby little knees when he wasn’t shifting the gear shift.  My heart is full of a mishmash of memories of my dad: I’ll always think of my dad wearing a tee-shirt in the middle of winter; of him letting us put barrettes in his hair for hours.  I’ll think of him wearing suspenders or riding the subway on our family trip to Washington DC or of teaching me not to be afraid to try new food (my first taste of a mussel at East Side Mario’s).  I’ll think of my dad in stories he’s told or the picture of him as an altar boy when he was so young that’s forever burned on my brain.  I’ll think of him with his huge family and his hand-me-downs and him drinking powdered milk as a boy.  I’ll think of him working from the time he was able baling hay so he could save for things he wanted.

From my dad I learned to be hopeful, I learned to work hard for what I want, I learned to appreciate nice things, I learned the art of giving and I’ve learned patience by watching him (we jokingly refer to it as “the patience of Joe”).  He means the world to me and even with all the ups and downs and highs and lows and wrongs and rights in our history, there is nothing in this world I wouldn’t still do to have him laugh with me or smile with me or talk to me or see me.  Our relationship is less about my seeking his approval and more about understanding the place where we each come from.  Maybe even a little bit of walking a similar path to get where we are now.  I couldn’t be more grateful for my dad.  Pretty soon, I’ll get to see him as a grandpa to my sister’s baby (truth: I’m excited to see all my parents in the grandparent light).  While there are a lot of things my dad isn’t, there are even more things that he is.  The scale tips in my favor and I realize how lucky I am.

The beauty of my parental tapestry is that the colors run together so I’ve become who I am from all my parents’ values and lessons and hopes for me running together—to the point where there isn’t just one person who taught me to love and accept and be open-minded.  Somewhere along the way, all of this became something I noticed.  I’m grateful for that perspective. So on this birthday and all the birthdays to come that I’m lucky enough to spend with my dad, I’ll celebrate him for all the good he’s done, all the good he’s yet to do and all he is.

Happy Birthday to this guy.  My dad.  (and me, obvi.)

Happy Birthday to this guy. My dad. (and me, obvi.)

lucky.

I’ve been thinking the same thing for two weeks now.

I can’t believe I get paid to do what I do.

I mean—I make a living doing something I truly love.  Every day for the last two weeks, I get my day started with a little coffee and head out to rural Iowa to meet people and do my job.  I get to drive a car furnished by my employer (who I’ll be deliberately vague about since they’re a rather *known* company) and while most people wouldn’t be too thrilled driving around a billboard, I’m not one of them.  I couldn’t be happier driving it around, letting everyone know who I represent.  I hold doors at gas stations, I smile at strangers, I shake hands, I make small talk, I set my cruise-control and I rock out to my Windshield Time playlist on Spotify.

Iowa never fails to be a magical place for me and I’m really lucky to get to explore as an added bonus to my job.  For example, the last two weeks, I’ve gone down at least one dirt road to get to someone’s house.  I’ve visited two legit farms.  I’ve seen countless windmills and I’m becoming very familiar with the route from Des Moines to Omaha.

Today… and I’m going to do this an injustice—I was driving down a county road where I saw no one for 15 miles.  It was corn as far as the eye could see.  And beyond that, everything was painted white with snow: the trees were skeletons covered in white, the power lines were all coated white, the corn fields were white rolling hills.  The world felt quiet and beautiful and I was lucky enough to be a part of that.

The point of all this, guys?  I’m insanely lucky.  Blessed, even.  It’s been a long road getting here and it’s not lost on me that I’ve been well taken care of along the way.  Every day, I’m thankful.  Every day, I know I’m doing the right thing.  I’m not planning my next move, I’m enjoying exactly where I am in this moment.

waves

When was the last time you did something that mattered to you?

I mean really mattered.

It could be something incredibly simple or something that matters enough to shake your core.  For me, I realized today, I’m lacking in the core-shaking department.

I drove to Sioux City for work today.  It was a gorgeous day for a three-hour drive west in my uber-posh Detroit dream-machine rental.  I had the windows cracked and some Portugal. The Man. on the radio.  I was about an hour outside of Sioux City when I started to smell the smell.  Now, anyone that’s spent any time in Iowa knows what I’m talking about.  (They say in Iowa corn is king but let me tell you that meat has an equal share of the kingdom.)  It was the sickening sweet meat smell from the processing plants that are situated across the state.  In fact, sometimes when the wind is right I can smell it outside my apartment floating over from the east side.  After rolling up my windows, I thought about what might happen at those places.  It disgusts me to consider it.  Yet I’ll go into a restaurant and order a burger that probably started its voyage to my plate the very same way.

Like most of the personal revelations that make their way to this blog, it translates to my life as a whole.  I can’t remember the last time I stood up for something that mattered to me.  I can’t remember the last time I put my money where my mouth is, so to speak.  You all know the kind of woman I want to be, so when did I stop chasing those dreams?  A younger Ryan was a vegetarian in personal protest to animal treatment—and I stayed that way for five years (I wasn’t PETA-level crazy, guys).  It became part of who I was.  Eventually (probably for reasons of convenience and lack of proper protein) I went back to eating meat and tried not to think too much about where it came from.

My parents (all three of them) always taught me that I could do whatever I wanted.  They gave me love no matter what I decided to do.  They were on my side when I did well in school, when I was too lazy to care in college, when I was unemployed, when I moved to Cincinnati to go to school cause it seemed like a good idea and every subsequent endeavor whether it be success or failure.  They never made me feel like there was something I couldn’t do.  As a consequence, I think it’s taught me to love everything.  I don’t have just one dream, I have many, many dreams.  I think it’s left me in a constant neutral state as an adult.  Instead of mastering just one thing and pursuing just that thing with my whole heart, I pursue many things with 1/4 of my heart.

I know too much about the things that do matter to me to ever feign ignorance.  I know too much about food and I have very strong feelings about it, I know too much about exercise and the human body and eating right but I still offer myself the best of excuses as to why it’s okay not to live it out, I know too much about living whole-heartedly and being vulnerable yet I still choose to hold myself back; I struggle with the just do.  I read a blog post recently by someone I really admire.  She said “how you do anything is how you do everything.”  I have been kicking that around and turning it over since reading that, trying to find how that fits and resonates in my life.  And it does.  I always thought my life was waiting to happen.  That things would really get going for me when I found my purpose.  And as all of you good people may already know, I learned that my life is happening now.  So if I follow the “how you do anything is how you do anything” principle, how I procrastinate about the minutiae of life is how I treat my life as a whole; how I treat most days is (in reality) how I treat all the days.  I want that thought to light the motivation fire that I’ve spent so much time lamenting the loss of.

So that takes me back to where I started… when was the last time you did something that really mattered to you?  Is that something you think about when making decisions—is this something that matters to me?  I know that for me, I’m going to have to keep that top of mind and chase those things.  It doesn’t come as naturally to me as it might to you but it’s a noble pursuit to chase it.

on excuses (sort-of)

I don’t like excuses.  I never have.  It’s not to say that sometimes there isn’t a really valid reason why you did/didn’t do something.  I think the reason I don’t like them is that I know (deep down) there really is no excuse for my not doing the things I should do.  (Example: yes, my kitchen is small but that doesn’t mean it’s okay to let the dishes pile up in the tiny sink.)  Excuses are the first thing to flood my mind when a challenge is presented.  (Example: my dear friend wants to run a half-marathon in five months.  My first thought is ‘I can’t do it’.)  I’m sure this has a lot to do with psychology and negativity and whatnot but that’s an idea I don’t really have the desire to explore cause I’ll just confuse you and I’ll confuse myself.  I have a point with this blog entry and I want to stick to it – for your sake, friends.

The working title of this blog started in my head as ‘reasons why I don’t write’.  Then I realized that it’s bigger than that; it’s about my relationship with excuses.  To me, excuses are like a vapor: they float in and fog up my end-goal; they confuse and disorient me and I can’t grasp them.  I’m a little too good at giving myself excuses and as a consequence, I sort of end up shaming myself.  Crazy, right?!  The way I deal with this shame is to close in on myself.  I cut out everyone and everything, I go dark on social media (yes, even Instagram), I shuffle on through my life keeping my eyes down.  I retreat – all because of excuses.  That brings us to writing.  I know a lot of bloggers (not that I’m calling myself a “blogger”) struggle with finding their voice, consistency in writing and building a readership.  I know the only way to build my readership is to write consistently.  I feel like, when I’m in this self-shamed-state, that I don’t want to write.  I get so tired of myself and as a consequence I feel like you all will be tired of me too.  I feel like nothing I’m writing will be of any real gain.  Before this spirals into a web-based pity-party, I’m going to continue my original idea giving you reasons I don’t write.  Without further adieu:

reasons I don’t write:

  1. My phone deleted all my pictures (long story – not my fault) so any picture blogging I had planned came to a halt.  I say “my phone” but it was really a misunderstanding between my phone, a work PC and a camera.  I’d never blame Apple for something like that.
  2. I still kind of hate it that I don’t completely understand WordPress.  I’m going to have to resign myself to the fact that I’m simply not a person that can teach myself.  I need someone to teach me.  My ‘WordPress for Dummies’ remains uncracked.
  3. There’s cat litter on my desk which my cats use as a glorified perch.  How is one expected to have a creative space when there are two cats running around like crazies, leaving a trail of litter everywhere (did I mention my apartment is small.  Small space + two litterboxes = mayhem).
  4. I’m not really super happy about anything going on at the moment.  Springtime is fantastic – don’t get me wrong.  I love the city and I love my apartment… but I can’t muster up the modicum of happiness required to put into a blog entry.
  5. See aforementioned “excuse” of closing in on myself – I’m kind of floating around in there right now.
  6. I’m overly critical.  Of everything.
  7. Once I stop being regular about writing, it’s easier to stay on track that way than it is to get a thoughtful post up.

It’s not that I don’t want to blog.  Cause I do.  In fact, I’ve even thought about maybe putting some effort toward writing a book of essays.  Please just forgive me for this awkward time of in-betweenness.  I’m going to get better, I promise.  After all, if I want to be the next David Sedaris, I have to start somewhere.

P.S. I’m headed to Vegas in t-6 days.  Something good will come out of that, surely!  Right?!

on spring

photo

Spring is here!

We have been enjoying some wonderful weather of late here in Des Moines.  It felt for a moment as though we’d never escape the grasp of winter—we were still receiving snow up to two weeks ago.  However that seems to have been relieved by this burst of 60 degree weather.

Spring is notoriously a time for renewal; a time when new life blooms on the ground and in the air; love of life and circumstance is all around.  People are out running, walking, taking their dogs out and babies out and that’s really easy to see here in such a walkable city.  Driving with the windows down, I am encouraged to see runners out hitting the pavement.  Maybe they’re shaking off their winter treadmill blues or maybe they’re energized into this new endeavor by the breath of fresh air accompanied with the change in weather.  Either way, it got me to thinking.  If there’s anything I’ve noticed, it’s that this life wraps people up in the pursuit of betterment.  It’s something I’ve felt so alone in at times but it’s striking to realize that it’s something most all of us share as a common bond.  We’re all seeking personal improvement—exercising, eating well, furthering education, attending church—it’s all in the noble pursuit of being better people.  It’s probably one of the reasons springtime is so magical.

So here’s to spring!  Here’s to new, healthier habits.  Here’s to breaking down old walls.  Here’s to new beginnings and falling in love with our surroundings.  Here’s to being happy right where we are instead of looking off into where we’re not.  Here’s to open windows, sunglasses, the smell of grilling, the song of birds and whatever else moves you to happiness, friends.