Tuesday, July 11, 2017


It's been a few days since my birthday and for the most part, it was extremely enjoyable. There was one shadow and familial overcast to the day, but if I've learned anything in the past two weeks it's that I have nothing to feel guilty over (did I ever?). While camping I got an overwhelming feeling that something was wrong with a family member. I am not sure what I was channeling, but it was strong enough to make me reach out to this person. For my effort I reached out and while their return was cordial, there was seemingly no interest in a conversation, much less any type of outreach for resolution or a future. So I'm once again leaving this situation/person in the past knowing my feelings of needing to distance myself from them is/was/has always been valid. 

Since that "conversation", I've completed a week long family camping trip to Door County and a weekend road trip to St. Louis. Camping, as always, was hard work (setting up, cooking, tearing down) but had it's enjoyable moments like; star gazing, soaking up some sun on the beach, and playing catch, boating and tubing on the lake. St. Louis was much more city-centric; touring the town via feet and riverboat, seeing a game at Busch stadium, petting a Clydesdale at the Anheuser Busch brewery and catching the sunset from the top of the arch. But most of all, each trip gave me some time to reflect on life. 

Today, I'm back to reality. Okay, so I never really left it, but it's Tuesday and I'm back at work and find myself wondering what will I do to make this 41st year of mine more meaningful, different or improved upon from the past? And the fact is, I have no idea and seemingly little motivation/mental energy to make big vows or to set big expectations. And you know what? I'm okay with that. I don't need a second set of new year's resolutions mid-year, but I think birthdays are always a cause for reflection and projections. With that said...

I downloaded Audible in effort to make better use of my time in the car. I am currently listening to David Ross's book, "Teammate: My Life in Baseball" and in the few chapters I've heard so far, I am even more in love with this guy than ever. The gist is that, upon being told he had a bad attitude and was getting a bad reputation while playing for Boston many years ago, he decided to change his life and become a better teammate, and ultimately a better person. During his last year (2016) of playing professional baseball as the Cubs' catcher, he chose to make it the best year, personally and professionally. He chose to appreciate those around him, actually see the cities he visited while on the road, spend as much time with family as possible and take in and appreciate what life had to offer him. In the meantime, he was building relationships that would last long after he retired. And it was that same relationship building skill that kept him in the game long after talent said otherwise. 

I wish I could say I've invested time in building relationships as of late, but I haven't - well at least not at work. And sadly, because that's where I spend most of my time, I often feel isolated. Major environment shifts at work have caused me to withdraw socially, and I most often feel alone - for 40 hours a week, ugh. Thankfully, my birthday was a reminder from many that I am cared about, even if I don't choose to connect with them (co-workers) like I once did. It's been a major adjustment to say the least. 

I do however, work to stay connected with my chosen few, my close circle of friends outside of work who I love and adore. It's just never easy with all of our varied schedules. I guess in reflecting upon these past two paragraphs and what is written here, of course I want to be rich in relationships and appreciate life just like David Ross, and I guess in some ways I am achieving that, but it's hard to feel it when the majority of my time is spent in a semi-toxic environment. Ahh, and there's the revelation and difference between David Ross and me. He loved what he did (and as a result of, who he worked with). I'm sure this thought process will lead to more personal actions for me to take, but just not at this moment...

Unfortunately the situation above aides in low self esteem, among other issues, but I read this quote yesterday and it stuck with me. "Beauty is what you feel about yourself, not about what you see in the mirror". I don't know who said it, but it stuck with me, and not in regards to my appearance, versus being a "beautiful" person on the inside and feeling good about myself. So how do I make myself feel "beautiful" when such a large part of my world is "ugly"? Until I'm ready to take a leap and change the "ugly" all together, here's what I am doing to feel good, and to get back to feeling beautiful...

I'm signed up at the urging of another to get my CCC - my Canine Conditioning Coach certification. I am looking forward to the workshop in September and getting to work, hands-on with some dogs because as of now, I don't get to do that often! Eventually, I may possibly take on more training classes - but that is TBD. I am at a crossroads with training so we'll see where this takes me. Additionally, at the end of this month, I'll be volunteering for the first time with the Park District. Let's hope it goes well as I am missing making a difference in the world! Oddly enough, it's a Canine Carnival - nothing like working with dogs and volunteering to help "kill two birds with one stone". And finally, after much mental debate, I have signed up for a 5K in October. This gives me time to get myself back into better shape for the event, and hopefully allows for some hiking time in between now and then. 

All the things above make me feel valid as a human, they make me feel valid as me. And when I feel the most me, is when I feel beautiful and on top of the world. So here's to continuing on with the things I like and making the 41st a "beautiful" year. Who knew that downloading a book on Audible would lead to all this thinking and typing!

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