Looking For Wisdom In All The Wrong Places

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I am writing this post for you as well as myself…

There is a dissatisfaction permeating the very air around us. This isn’t a menacing thought or one stated haphazardly, but something that I have been thinking about.

You reach a certain point in your life and start looking backwards. “I should’ve done this differently” or “gee, I have not accomplished AT ALL, what I thought I would have at this point”.

Fruitless ruminating.

Social media doesn’t help because it seems that everyone else has it together. Fabulous lives with fabulous homes and fabulous families and fabulous kitchens with just the right amount of subway tile.

“What am I doing wrong?”, we think. “What is wrong with me?”, we wonder.

The answer of course, is nothing. Nothing is wrong with you. You are more than fine.

The problem isn’t necessarily social media either. I have met blogging friends in real life whom I consider friends, and that never would have had happened without social media.

I feel that as people striving to try and find our “why”, we are trying to find answers from people and things and gurus and everyone and their mother, when the answer is really within ourselves. No, I am not spouting some new-age mumbo jumbo, I am saying that we ignore our gut feelings and what we really want out of life because we are doing things because that is what we are supposed to do.

Take myself as an example:

Growing up, I was a smart kid. I got good grades, took an AP class when it was merited, got into college, graduated from said college with a Bachelor’s degree, followed the blueprint that was my life. What precise job I was supposed to hold, I am not sure. I took a mediocre job after college graduation, got raises that barely covered my cost of living, and eeked out an adult-this-is-supposed-to-be-what-it-is-like living.

In my spare time I read voraciously and occasionally wrote.

But all I really wanted to do is be a mother.

I had this epiphany the other day when reading a post from a woman who always knew she didn’t want children and how people keep hounding her about it and at the end of the day, it is her choice.

For me, it is always been the complete opposite. I always knew I wanted my own family, I always wanted to be a mother, and even more to the point, I always knew I wanted to be a stay-at-home mother. I wanted to pick my kids up from school, bake chocolate chip cookies, go on field trips with the class, kind of mother.

This is what I always wanted.

And it clicked for me, why I never wanted some kind of professional career when I was younger, and why I don’t want one now. I think for the longest time, I kind of felt bad about that, like I had to hand in my feminist card or something, because I didn’t want to conquer the world. My generation was supposed to do it all, right? Well, I didn’t.

And the other day, after reading this woman’s post and her choices in life that had led her to this point in her musings, my epiphany non-withstanding, I realized that I have the life I have always wanted.

Yes, let me repeat that. I have the life I have always wanted.

It is not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, let me tell you. There is no sugar coating here. There are aspects of my life that I want to change and am putting in place, the proper tools to do just that. I still struggle with my depression, which is and can be, a daily battle. I lost my home years ago and still struggle with the guilt of that. My finances could be better, sure and living in a super expensive state comes with its own woes.

But at the core: I have the life that I want. I am married to my best friend in the whole wide world and I have two daughters whom I love fiercely.

Everything else will fall into place.

I have been, to quote a song that I love, looking for wisdom in all the wrong places, but that wisdom is really and truly inside of me. I have been on this earth for several decades now, and no one knows what is better for me, THAN ME.

Me. I know what is best for me.

And maybe deep down, I always knew.

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Direction

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My friend Tanya wrote a great post this week about feeling a bit lost right now with certain aspects of her life. She spoke about having ideas and wanting to implement them but also lacking the motivation to do so. It is hard when you feel like other people are accomplishing things and you feel like you are just languishing.

My other friend Tonya (no relation, ha!) has moved from Los Angeles to Boise, Idaho, looking for a new start to her life. She felt “stuck” here in California and thought a change of scenery would be just the thing to get her proverbial gears going and forge a new and interesting chapter.

I am totally rooting for my friends as they look to make changes in their lives.

But I also root for them not just because they are my friends, but because I can and do relate.

I feel like my generation (Generation X), was told that we needed to work hard to get into college. After college, get the super well-paying job, find the person you will marry forever and ever, buy a humongous home, have some kids, live happily ever after. The end.

Oh and throw in some female empowerment because The Spice Girls told us so.

Well, fast forward to the here and now and all of us Gen-Xers are in our 40’s and for many of us, we are saying what the hell happened? What am I doing? This life has not gone at all like I expected.

I did everything right.

I followed the rules.

I trusted my intuition.

I did what I was supposed to do.

Why am I unhappy?

And if unhappy is too strong of a word, why do I feel unfulfilled?

This is the part of the post where I say that I do not have the answers nor do I know anyone who does.

But I am putting this all down in writing because I need to get this out. I need to speak what is rolling around in my brain when it is not being diluted by super-happy images of people living their best super-happy lives on social media and/or television.

Because the truth of the matter is that life is not all unicorns and rainbows and I am sure by the time you are old enough to remember watching Molly Ringwald movies in an actual movie theater, you know this.

I think as women, we were sold a bill of goods. We are supposed to have a fantastic career, fantastic husband and children, fantastic home, fantastic friends and family, fantastic coming out of the wazoo, if you catch my drift.

When one of these supremely awesome fantastic things doesn’t happen, we wonder what went wrong with the plans. Here, let me look at that blueprint again, and see where I messed up, so I can course correct and get back on track.

But that is not how life is. That is not how life works. And it doesn’t take into consideration things that happen that are out of your control. We have had happen to us or know someone that it has happened to them, things that occurred that were out of their control, whether it is a job loss, depression, debt, infidelity, infertility, substance abuse, etc… These things that happen to people, are not in the blueprint that we created for our lives.

And yet they happen every day.

For me personally, I feel bad that we lost our home 8 years ago. When the recession descended upon our country, it took my house right along with it. I feel bad, not every day, but most days, that I do not have an actual home for my girls to grow up in, and that we are in an apartment and do not have a backyard. It kills me as a parent that I am unable to provide this for my girls.

And yet I know that losing my home does not define who I am. It does not define me as a person. But some days, the shame washes over me and I feel baaaaaaaad.

Just as having depression does not define who I am, neither should not having a home. I am blessed in other ways and I know that. But my point is, plans go awry. And that is where the lack of motivation, the inability to move forward, and the feeling of ineptitude to overcome, just come roaring in.

If you feel like your life’s blueprint has gone missing, I am here to tell you that you are not alone. I am here and I hear you.

I too, feel lost.

I too, feel unmotivated.

I too, feel unqualified.

But deep down , I feel the flicker of a flame. I feel this thing that just won’t let go. I feel this voice inside me that is screaming for me not to give up and to implement Phase Two, whatever that is.

Direction is moving forward.

My steps may be tiny, but my inner voice is mighty.

We can do this. Who’s with me?

 

I Don’t Know Who I Am Without You

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Really feeling the need to share what is on my heart right now…

As most of you know, I had a baby back in December. All was right in the world. I had my family, I was starting to eat right, I even managed to get in a few blog posts! I thought, hey, I got this! I can manage all of the things and I am Superwoman.

But the reality is, is that nothing was really okay. I thought it was and maybe on the outside, it looked like that, but it wasn’t.

It took my husband to point out to me my mood swings and constant crying and dark thoughts were all symptomatic of post-partum depression. I didn’t realize it because I didn’t have post-partum depression after the birth of my first child and also, I already suffer from depression as it is, and didn’t realize the volatility of my current situation.

If you are a new reader, then yes you may not know that depression is a part of my life.

I wish, from the bottom of my heart, that this wasn’t the case, but I know, it is true.

I don’t know who I am without you…

I had a tumultuous childhood. I had a lot of stuff happen in my life at a time when the real world shouldn’t intrude the way it did. I am not going to go into any kind of specifics because they are private and personal. But needless to say, I found myself “retreating” from others for reasons unbeknownst to me, and feeling sad for days at a time. These feelings would “magically” go away, until the next time they came knocking at my door, and I felt the sadness envelop me once again.

This cycle had been the blueprint for my entire life until one day, I broke.

In every way possible a person can mentally brake, I did.

And I realized that this thing, whatever it was, it was bigger than me. The beast needed to be tamed, and I needed help in doing just that.

With the help of my wonderful husband, a caring psychologist, and medication, I began to put my life back together.

This was years ago and there have been dark days since then and that is the truth. Depression doesn’t just “go away”. It is always there, for lack of a better term, “lurking”.  As people who deal with depression, we have to have tools in place, so that when the dark days come, we can better cope.

I don’t know who I am without you…

My whole life, whether I was aware of it or not, I have dealt with depression. I don’t know really, who I am, without it. It is a part of me, like an extra appendage.

All this to say that when I was made aware of this different kind of depression, this un yet mitigated for me post-partum variety, I was defiant and also at the same time resigned.

“I don’t have post-partum depression. I am fine!!!!”

“Oh no, not another depression. Why is this happening???”

Suffice to say, I realized that everything I was feeling, the everything is off-kilter feeling, the everything is wrong feeling, the uncontrollable sobbing, it was all true and I acknowledged it and attempted to move forward.

I am here.

It has been a tough road, I’ll be honest with you.

I have had to dig deep into reservoirs I didn’t even know I had. I had to trust myself and trust God. I have had to make changes in my life that are still new to me.

But I am here on the other side.

I just wanted to share a bit of me and who I am because I feel it is important. Blogs and social media tend to show the highlights and glossy side of life, but there is always an underbelly.

Thank you for reading ♥

Currently: The Sunday Afternoon Edition

Hey y’all! Long time no talk to!  🙂

I realized my last post was in April and I didn’t want anyone to think I fell off the face of the earth.

After having my 2nd daughter this past winter, I really thought I could manage being a mama to two, and blogging, and all the other things that definitively take up my time. I thought I had this whole thing figured out.

But I have learned the hard way (crying, mostly…) that there really are seasons to life and I can’t force things. There are only so many hours in the day and there is only so much I can fill my proverbial cup with. I am trying to keep myself healthy mentally and quite honestly, haven’t been doing too well in that department, but I am getting back into my groove, slowly but surely.

All this to say is I am not going anywhere: I will still be blogging here in my tiny corner of the internet  🙂 But my posting schedule might be a bit erratic, so bear with me! Being a mama to my girls and trying to get my mental and physical health back on track, are my big priorities right now.

Moving on…  🙂

What I Enjoyed This Past Month:

Going to the farmer’s market with my girls. My older daughter loves to go and sample foods and we always come home with some yummy fruits and vegetables!

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What I Am Absolutely Over:

Anything that is trending on twitter. Just don’t click on it. I swear, the world is going mad.

What I Am Looking Forward To:

The fact that this is my older daughter’s last week of school. Yay for no homework and rushing around every weekday morning!

I know this post is short and sweet, and I promise I will be back soon! Happy June everyone  🙂

I am on Instagram. I am much more active on that social media platform. Come say hi!

I Could Never…

This post is 100% completely inspired by Courtney from Be More With Less

Courtney had this awesome email from last year that I have saved in my inbox for the past six months. I didn’t delete it. I didn’t archive it. I didn’t stick it into an electronic folder to be forgotten.

I kept it in my inbox, knowing it was important, and that when I had an opportunity, I wanted to write a post about it.

Courtney’s email talked about exploring crazy ideas and about how we have them, but tend to dismiss them. She wrote about the crazy ideas she had (she thought they were crazy at first) but then she thought about them, and followed through with them.

“Wouldn’t it be crazy if we downsized and sold our house” she thought. And guess what? Her and her husband sold their 2,000 square foot house and downsized and moved into a 700 square foot apartment.

“Wouldn’t it be crazy if I dressed with only 33 items for 3 months” she also theorized. And voila! Project 333 was born and it is utilized all over the world!

Courtney lists several other examples of how “wouldn’t it be crazy” sounded exactly that at first but ended up fulfilling so much more that what she thought possible. She asked her readers to think about things differently and see the possibilities in what could potentially be life changing opportunities.

Because the truth of the matter is, we are the absolute best when it comes to battering our own self-esteem. We see flaws in ourselves that no one else sees. And to be honest, sometimes those flaws are just figments of our imagination. We brutally attack our own strengths and tell ourselves that we could never do the thing we really want to do, because we simply aren’t worthy.

Pay attention to your self-talk.

You are not flawed. You are exquisite.

You are worthy.

If there is something in your life that you want to accomplish, I am here to tell you that you can make that happen. Don’t say “I could never…”

YOU COULD.

And you can. Challenge yourself and disregard those “nevers”.

Courtney had a list in her email for contemplation:

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Think about this list. Is fear holding you back? Is there something you want to change?

Is there a way for you to remove the word NEVER from your vocabulary and start moving towards your goal?

YOU CAN DO IT!

Turn “I could never” into “Guess what I just did!” and “Wow! I am so proud of myself that I accomplished that!”

You. Can. Do. It.

Currently: Spring Is Here!

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Happy April Everyone! 2018 is in its fourth month 🙂 Can you buh-leeeeeve it???

My oldest daughter is on Spring Break this week, so I’ll make this short but sweet!

What I Enjoyed This Past Month: Coffee and books. Period.

What I Am Absolutely Over: Too many things to list, but a few in no particular order: the news, stories that trend that are so stupid, that I get mad at myself for clicking on it, the news, and oh yeah, THE NEWS! The world has gone mad, hence my burrowing in coffee and books. It is literally the only things that make sense right now.

On The Healthy Living Front: I am eating carrots again! I know that sounds like a weird thing to say, but when I was pregnant, the baby had a serious aversion to carrots so I couldn’t eat them. They made me nauseous. It has taken me a few months postpartum to actually go to the refrigerator and deliberately pick them as a snack. Woo hoo for small victories!  🙂

What Blog Posts I Am Loving:

Stop Filling All The Spaces by Courtney Carver

I Lived on an Average of $31,000 For 7 Years in Los Angeles by Tonya at Budget and the Beach

How To Be Anxious by The Minimalists

How is everybody’s week going so far? Let me know!

Extra Square Feet = Extra Anxiety

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When I first started this blog, one of my first posts had to do with the size of our apartment at the time which was 530 square feet. This housed myself, my husband, my daughter, and my cat. And it worked for a while. Honestly.

But last year, we found out that we were expecting a baby at the same time my husband and I were starting to feel that after 18 months of cozy togetherness, the walls were starting to close in our beloved 530 square feet. So last spring, we upgraded to a bigger apartment and added another 150-ish square feet.

So now we are a family of four humans and one cat resting comfortably in 700 square feet.

Or are we?

Here is the thing: I absolutely try my darndest to limit what comes in our apartment. I freely admit that clutter and messes give me anxiety. I am also aware that I have two children who will inevitably make messes and am also aware of the hilarious dichotomy between the two.

Now to some, 4 people and a pet living in 700 square feet sounds just fine, while to others, the word “claustrophobia” probably comes to mind. And that is okay. This just happens to be our season of life right now.

I find that with the extra square footage that we acquired last spring, it is easier for items to make their way past our front door. It is easier for paperwork to pile up on the kitchen table and counters. It is easier to shove items in the master bedroom closet since it is bigger than our last one and now voila! items are now unseen.

And all of this ramps up my anxiety.

I understand that another reason we have additional items is because we now have a baby. Babies need clothing and diapers and wipes and…well you get it. They have things they need and all of this stuff has to go somewhere. My older daughter also has her items whether it is homework stuff, or her books or toys.

So being methodical about what comes in and out of our apartment is something that I continuously have to work on because I do absolutely love the size of our apartment. I love the natural light we get and I love all the trees I can see outside of my windows.

But I also need to find a healthy balance because anxiety is no joke. Clutter drives me crazy. I need to get a bit of Zen in my day-to-day, for reals…

Do you guys live in a space with a limited number of square feet? Any tips and tricks you can share? Let me know in the comments!  🙂

Currently: The January Edition

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Hey guys! I can’t believe I am actually in front of the computer typing and not holding a baby! My hubby is on baby duty and helping out while I get a quick post in to let you guys know that I am still here. Tired, but still here  🙂

We have definitely adjusted to our new dynamic in being a household of four instead of three. Well, five instead of four if you count the cat, but still, we have found our groove. But mama is exhausted. Life with a newborn is not for the faint-hearted, but obviously it is well-worth it and I am oh so thankful for both of my beautiful daughters!

What I Enjoyed This Past Month: Actually, I am still enjoying it: The series Victoria on Masterpiece about Queen Victoria when she first became queen. The second season just started and I am absolutely in love with the show just like I was last year when the first season debuted. If you aren’t watching it, you need to!

What I Am Absolutely Over: Twitter. Yes, I have a twitter account and yes I use it. But it seems like every day, it is just crap that is on there or crap that is trending. There are days when I consider deleting the app off of my phone, but then panic at the thought of not being “informed”. Does anyone else go through this? I seriously admire the people who have either sworn off twitter, or only check it when they actually sit down and log into their computer.

And this isn’t a complaint against the actual medium of twitter as a tool for social media. I enjoy the initial concept of twitter. And honestly, how else would I have found out that my favorite show Elementary, comes back on air with new episodes in April?  🙂 But some days, twitter leaves me exhausted with the sheer stupidity that seems to seep forth from it.

I just want twitter to be a happy place. Is that so wrong?

On The Healthy Living Front: I have indeed lost some of my pregnancy weight. But here is the truth: I am not actively trying to lose weight. I am only a few weeks postpartum for crying out loud. However, I am also not immune to the enormous pressure that is put on moms to lose the baby weight immediately. It took a couple of months to lose the weight after having my first daughter and I expect it take the same amount of time or a bit longer this time around.

I walk a lot and am eating as healthfully as possible but if I want a few potato chips with my lunch time sandwich instead of my normal side of carrots, I am not beating myself up over it. I accumulated this weight over 9 months; it is not going to disappear in a matter of weeks.

What I Am Currently Reading: A Tree Grows In Brooklyn. GUYS!!! I LOVE THIS BOOK! And I am not even done with it yet!

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I think for many people, this book may have been required reading at some point during your education, but I have never had a chance to read this novel. But I have always, always wanted to read it.

Well last week when I was at the library paying my overdue fines (#frugalfail), I wandered over to a section I rarely visit and saw this book on the shelf. I grabbed it and said to myself, it’s now or never, I am reading the gosh-darn thing, and checked the book out.

I get why this book is beloved and considered a classic. If you are a bookworm like myself and have never read A Tree Grows In Brooklyn, please go to your local library and check this book out. You’re welcome  🙂

Also as a sidenote, I post pictures on Instagram of all the books that I have read. If you are looking for a book to get your hands on and are fresh out of book titles to peruse, check out my feed or better still, look up what I am reading under the hashtag #mackenziereads.

How is January going for you guys? Let me know!

Let It Go

January is upon us and with it comes the expectation to be more and do more. Goals and resolutions start with this year of new, and pretty soon, we will all be knee-deep in regret of not accomplishing anything past the first of February and wallowing in self-pity.

Although I personally subscribe to the philosophy of having a “word” to encompass what I want the year to look like, lofty unattainable goals and feeling like something has to be accomplished, really and truly need to fall by the wayside.

Let all that $%!* go…

Let 2018 be the year that you LET IT GO.

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Let go of:

  • the need to be someone you aren’t
  • inhibitions that prevent you from being your true self
  • expectations that you unfairly put on yourself
  • self-loathing and feeling inferior

Let go of all that is unnecessarily weighing you down. Whatever you are fighting, whatever you are struggling with, whatever is causing you to have sleepless nights…

Let. It. Go.

2017 was a messy year, let’s be honest. But here is a chance to make 2018 better.

As someone who can frequently get inside her own head and ruminate for hours on the past and decisions that should have been made differently, I can tell you that it is a fruitless exercise. A futile enterprise not worthy of anyone’s time.

If you are carrying the past, tethered to its mores, anchored to its beam, it is time to let it go. The past only lives because you give it life.

Let me repeat that.

The past only lives because YOU give it life.

If you feel that your past is weighing you down, the expectation of unfulfilled thoughts and dreams mirrored back in your reflection, turn the page. Get a new outlook. Change the station. Put the past in its proper place and move on.

Life is short and it goes by fast.

Please don’t spend the next 300 plus days of this year moored in regret.

Let it go.

There is an oft-quoted sentence that states “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting different results”.

Is this you? Are you doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting a different outcome, yet it never happens?

Move on and let it go.

Remove the negative and replace it with the positive.

2018 is the year you are going to soar.

All you need to do is let go.

My 2017 Goal of Wellness: The Highs and Lows

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Back in January of this year, I wrote a post entitled “2017: The Year of Wellness”. In this post I described how setting goals just doesn’t work for me because I end up breaking them by February and then getting down on myself for not realizing all of my resolutions.

Instead I chose a word, just one word, to encompass what I wanted to accomplish holistically for myself, for the year 2017. And I choose the word: Well.

Be Well. Feel Well. Live Well.

I wanted to be well physically and considering that I lost 30 pounds in 2016, I definitely wanted to continue down this path and become a healthier version of myself.

I wanted to be well emotionally. I wanted to get into yoga and do meditation on a regular basis. I also wanted to continue to minimize the items we had in our apartment and pare down the clutter, which in excess, can give me anxiety.

Finally I wanted to well financially. Sell some stuff, save some money, pay off some debt. Do what needs to be done.

Those were items that I wanted to continue to work on during the course of 2017 and always remember to be well.

How did I do and why I am writing this in November when we still have technically two months left in the year?

Bet you know the answer!  😉

Yup, because of my pregnancy and the baby who will making their debut in the next several weeks!

When we found out that I was pregnant in late Spring, certain things had to be gently laid aside and that totally makes sense in the grand scheme of things. For example, I kept up my daily meditation until my morning sickness kicked in and it was all I could do to stay functioning. The exhaustion mixed with the constant nausea made it impossible to pay attention to anything, let alone meditation or even attempting to do any yoga.

I did walk whenever I could and continue to try to walk now, but I am in the waddling stage and I can’t go very far for too long of a period, but I try to do what I can.

With the exception of crazy cravings, I do continue to try to eat healthy.

I have done really well in the decluttering and minimizing aspects that I wanted to accomplish this year. You can read more about that here and here.

With the help of my husband, we did get rid of a lot of things that just were not conducive to the kind of clutter-free living that we were desiring. I am a huge bookworm and I made myself honestly look at the books that adorned my shelves and posed the value question. “Do I get value out of this?” “Am I really going to read this book again?” If the answer was no, we sold the books. And this is just one example of items that we got rid of.

We did pay off some bills this year and our savings account is chugging along, I am happy to say!

Be Well. Feel Well. Live Well.

I believe that I still lived my year of wellness for 2017 even though I’ve been pregnant for most of it. You have to be healthy physically and emotionally for your baby that is growing inside of you. Wellness is a part of your life even if you may not realize it when you are living for two people.

And I realize that there is still time to go before 2017 is over and I could have written this follow-up post at the end of December or the beginning of January, but I am being proactive because I already know that once the baby is here, blogging will fall down the list of priorities and I wanted to share this with you before that happens!  🙂

How have you guys done with your intentions for 2017? Let me know in the comments!