I paddle my own canoe

For as long as I can remember I have been someone who has done my own thing. I am not exactly a rebel, but I like to chart my own course, find my own answers, and do not love to just follow someone else’s lead. That does not mean I cannot follow directions or stay the course as needed, I am just less interested in following others. I am not usually one to read a book that everyone is reading. Instead, if the right person shares a nugget that resonates with me — that is when I decide to read the book. Not because everyone else is doing it. I like jewelry that is a piece of art and potentially very few individuals have that piece.

Having been a fan of “Wild” by Cheryl Strayed I was eager to read her next book: “Brave Enough.” Until I learned that it was basically a book of quotes. I am not usually one to sit down and read a book of quotes, and then I thought, it is a small book, it will be a quick read — and it was. She also shared some great ideas. One particularly resonated with me, it is not hers but a proverb of sorts that she shared, and it was the first time I had heard of it. It made me realize that I have always been one to “paddle my own canoe.”

“Love many, trust few, and always paddle your own canoe.” page vii

Later on the same page she says:

“Maybe you have to know the darkness before you can appreciate the light.” Page vii

Right on sister. I know I think about that often. Yesterday Chris and I were chilling on the couch while the turkey was cooking away in the oven, and I came across an email between my sister and me from 2010 about my mom, and whether I was mothered. As I read it to Chris I was getting choked up. My sister and I were remembering the good, bad, and ugly from our childhood on the anniversary of my mom’s passing. The beginning of the email my sister says: “Thinking about you tonight – and about mom and how she has been gone for half your life.” That was five years ago, and my mom has now been gone for 21 years, and yet all that I have been through over the years only serves to allow me to see the light.

I have definitely seen darkness, but I have also seen years of light and love. Thank you, Cheryl Strayed, for the reminder that I paddle my own canoe, and that I live in the light.

Thank you, thank you…

Gratitude is on the mind — and not just because tomorrow is Thanksgiving. I just finished reading “The Gratitude Diaries” by Janice Kaplan. She spends an entire year focusing on gratitude in her life (her marriage, work, children, money, etc.) It gave me a lot to think about and was especially appropriate for this time of year, the holidays, Thanksgiving, and being at the home stretch of this pregnancy.

I thought I would share a list of things that are especially appropriate right now to me:

  1. My husband: I wrote about him last week so you know all the good stuff, and if you did not read it take a peek at last week’s blogs. Yesterday I randomly said I do not know what I would do without you. His response was: “yes I am not sure what you would do.” So I started listing off all these things that would make my life miserable and he said: “You could just live in a hotel.” Ha. It is so much more than that my better half. So much more.
  2. My health: It is not perfect — but I am making it through each day, and look forward to meeting this little man and taking the tests to find out how I am after delivery. If all goes well, then I look forward to getting back to my running and feeling like myself again.
  3. My future son: I am just so excited that we have made it this far together. Your dad and I are ecstatic and cannot count the days to meet you. That and I would love my body back.
  4. My family and friends: So grateful for each of you. Thank you for being a support to me, a listening ear, and an inspiration. I miss you mom, dad, and Granny Smith.
  5. My team at work: You work hard and play hard, keep it fun, funny, and real. Thank you.

For all of you reading my blog I appreciate you too. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving with your friends and family. Cherish each moment.

I am not a morning person.

I recently read an article in Elite Daily titled: “People Who Sleep Late Are Actually Smarter And More Creative” – and immediately thought “Hmm…I wonder if that makes me smarter.” Now I am nothing like Chris, that man could sleep all day if you let him. I just like to sleep in when I cannot. Somehow on the weekends I am raring to go and during the weekdays, I just want to sleep a bit longer, and hit snooze just one more time. Well maybe more than once.

I never used to be this way. Somehow over the years, Chris has messed with me. He is chronically prone to stay up late, and I find I sleep better when we curl up next to each other, so I stretched myself to stay up late with him until I too became a late-nighter. With the exception of during this pregnancy, where he has pushed me to go to bed early and for the most part I comply — even if he is not there next to me. Probably because I am so tired I can fall asleep in minutes. Hopefully that will continue when this little man joins us as I know my sleep will be changed for years to come.

In any case, the article is interesting. Every once in a while it is a stroke to the ego to read something that tells you that maybe something you thought made you seem lazy shows you to be intelligent or creative. An excerpt from the article:

“According to research published in The Huffington Post, those who deviate from the normal sleep schedule are considered more intelligent. This finding is supported by research suggesting that those who create new evolutionary patterns (compared to those who stick with the normal patterns developed by our ancestors) are the most progressive.”

It is a good article that states near the end that it all really depends on your outlook on life. I do like to think that all those hours that I am fast asleep, I am really evolving inside, coming up with new ways to take on the world!

Be grateful, not entitled.

Entitlement. Feeling worthy. I think of both ideas often. Of course we all (admit it, you do) judge others when we look at choices they make and think “well, they sure act entitled.” Maybe they are and should feel that way. We most likely judge because we think maybe we are not worthy of what they received. “Why did they get so lucky? How did I not?” Assumptions are made by many that someone is or is not deserving of getting things, especially if they think they did not have to work for them.

Just like my dad used to always tell me: “Money does not grow on trees.” He was right, and I think the same about entitlement. Most things in life are not easy. Most things require work. Often we see people take the easy way out, and then take credit for it. You know it has happened to you. A colleague I worked with a few years ago mentioned a project he worked on recently with another individual — she did nothing to help him on the project and took all the credit. What made her do that? Did she feel entitled to do so?

Seth Godin recently posted a blog on entitlement and worthiness that resonated with me. I love this idea:

“When you receive something you feel entitled to, something expected, that you believe you’ve earned, it’s not worth much. And when you don’t receive it, you’re furious. After all, it’s yours. Already yours. And you didn’t get it. Whether you’re wearing a hobo costume or showing up as a surgeon after years of medical school, entitlement guarantees that you won’t get what you need.”

He has a good point. We need to do work that we care about and feel worthy regardless of whether we get what we expect and regardless of whether others get what we think is everything without having to work for it. And…you know what? Sometimes life is not fair.

I want to teach my son that you have to work for things in life. When they are given to you, be grateful, but not entitled. Know when something is earned from your hard work and when something is handed to you. Do not take anything for granted.

He keeps my world going

I recently saw a post on Facebook sharing a husband’s absolute adoration of his wife. They had just had a baby and were basically living in the NICU. His wife was in school and at the times their baby was sleeping she was writing papers for her classes, and he was in awe of what she was able to handle. I myself was in awe of her. I cannot imagine what it must be like to have your little baby need to be in the hospital for a long period of time, and basically living there with them while also trying to stay focused in school (or work if that is what you need to do).

Reading this on Facebook and reading a book on gratitude made me think about Chris and how hard it would be to do all this pregnant business without his daily help. There are some days that I come home from work and am extremely tired. I guess that is a given for being 34 weeks pregnant. When we come home from work the first thing I need is help taking my shoes and pants off (by the end of the day I cannot wait to take my clothes off). The second thing I usually need is food. Yesterday for example I was starving, and immediately he helped me get into comfy clothes and then made me toast — my go-to snack these days.

Then there is the most recent shift in my body. I can feel my pelvis shifting, an odd sensation, but what is more alarming is that when I get up literally every hour to pee, my body feels unmovable in bed. I have to wake him up and have him help me sit up, stand, and walk me to the bathroom. Without his assistance, I cannot get out of bed, and there have been numerous occasions recently where when I have stood up I start to collapse because of the pelvic pain. Ah, the wonders of pregnancy.

Now you might be reading this and say yes this is part of pregnancy — and you would be right. I am not complaining. I am acknowledging his patience and sharing my gratitude for an amazing husband who 99% of the time never complains. Yes, lately he says how tired he is because he has gotten up so many times in the middle of the night, and I say: “Save it. This is what I have been doing since last April.” Regardless, he has been my crutch, my shoulder, my lotion-to-belly applier, the one who dresses me, and even the one that lifts me out of the car when I get stuck, and most importantly my cheerleader.

While I will not lie, women are amazing. I do not know a man who could make it through 10 months of pregnancy. Yet, we sometimes forget that there are men that rub our backs, our feet, and tell us what troopers we are. Sure we are doing the heavy lifting, but it sure helps to have someone who keeps the rest of your world going. Thank you, Chris.