Tina knows what she’s talking about.
Tomorrow’s the day …
39 years ago at some God-forsaken hour I took my first breath and set my sights on big dreams.
I’ll still be dreaming about some of them tomorrow. In fact probably the next day too, because am I where I’d thought I’d be at 39?
But then again I wasn’t where I was supposed to be at 38 and I’m still standing today. Chocolate, laughter, and comedy have played a big part in my life so far and I’m grateful for that, I couldn’t have gotten far without it.
But my Happiness Projects, Bucket Lists, Misadventures, Sandbox Adventure Lists, races, meditation challenges, Super Soul Sunday Moments, the Clear-Eyes-Full-Hearts-Coach-Taylor-Moments, and the 10-Day-Mental Diet trials have also played an important role in getting me back on track. They kept me from jumping over the ledge really, and that’s a big thing. I’m grateful for the change in perspective, for the life and vitality they bring back to the George Costanza phase of my life, for the reminder that any day above ground is a good day, and all I’m trying to do is win little victories.
A friend recently told me … “win moments and they become hours and they become days…”
That’s great advice that I’ll be sticking to at 39, hopefully it’ll get me to 40. If not … there’s always Ben & Jerry’s
Containers that take you waaaaaaaaaayyyyyyy back.
It was the kind of weekend I needed.
After the emotional exhaustion last week I needed something to pull me out of that state, I needed a moment … A moment for myself … A Super Soul Sunday moment to last me at least two weeks … A bottle-me-up-this-is-so-awesome moment … A-Tony-Robbins-workshop moment … A-let-loose moment … A-comadres moment.
Do you know comadres?
They’re faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive and able to leap tall buildings in a single bound.
They’re Gatorade-worthy moments waiting to be unleashed.
They’re as essential as oxygen and chocolate.
These are the ladies that recharge my battery after a tough week with anything and anybody. They hear you and understand what you’re saying. They see you, the way you see yourself. They support you, when you feel alone. They’ll volunteer to help move the body if necessary … they’re your friends — your lifelong friends.
Comadres … everyone needs at least a pair. And in truth I don’t get a chance to see them as much as I’d like to because parenthood without babysitters usually equals lock-down. But when I do get a chance to escape the world of Legos, Nickelodeon, Superheroes, Doc McStuffins, and Pull-Ups diapers, I make it count. I thoroughly enjoy their company, and get a chance to remember who I am, because sometimes when you’ve had a rough week, you tend to forget.
So this weekend we all got together to celebrate one of our own taking the plunge into the Happily Ever After pool. One of our dearest friends got married and we drove through mounds of gridlock traffic to witness this pretty awesome moment. I was extremely happy that my friend had found someone who shared her same values, journey, and dreams. I knew she was gonna be happy with this dude. She was Zen and I was there to high-five her. It was a great life-moment. And the thing is she was so happy (no bridal-wedding stress anywhere) that her reception reflected that joyous mood and everyone benefited from that.
The music. The people. The atmosphere. The vibe.
It was a great night to once again find myself when I hadn’t realized I was lost. You forget things sometimes and I guess I was trying to get some of that back with the start of my whole 10-Day Mental Diet Challenge, and don’t get me wrong I’m still on that, but all it took was one night out with my comadres, to fuel my fire again.
Dude last week was a tough one for me, thinking about everyone and everything else as always on hyper-drive, in addition to thinking about my Dad. My gas tank was on E and I had forgotten. So when I saw las comadres and began talking, and laughing the tank was filling up and then the DJ started playing my jam and it was on … I let my awesome out. It didn’t matter that I had ended up going solo to the wedding and everyone else had their dudes with them, I was all good. I let my freak flag fly and it felt great.
I let my awesome out and managed to come out victorious from many dance battles, despite having a Tom Cruise Risky Business dance move in my socks go wrong. I had found my mojo and was glad that the laughter and companionship of my comadres unlocked it.
So I dedicate this post to the ladies (and their dudes) for making our friend’s celebration a great one for me too.
I didn’t plan on it happening it just kind of did.
Serendipitous. I guess.
I hadn’t planned on mentioning it but considering I was at one of my ultimate lows I figured I’d share how I was able to peel off the layers of grief and have heartbreak take a seat in the back of the bus.
My diet. My mental diet.
I mentioned Monday that I had begun a mental diet, same process as a 30-day-juice cleanse, but instead of cleaning out my internal organs with green kale smoothies, I’m in the process of cutting down on crap … Emotional crap that adds at least 50 pounds to the weight I’m already carrying on my shoulders. It’s a mental well-being cleanse.
Now considering I was born and raised in the awesomeness that is the dysfunctional Latino-American family there was probably a lot of excess “stuff” lingering around my love handles, but this mental diet has helped trim away some of that unwanted heaviness.
However this is not like other diets where by day three you’re ready to stab somebody because your body has been starved of essential nutrients. On Day 3 of this 10-Day Mental Challenge I’ve managed to avoid hostile encounters with clueless people who really deserved an ass-kicking, but I thought of my mental diet and I got all Zen on them.
At the end of the day, I felt better than the day before, and in truth that’s what it’s about … being better than the day before. It’s about interrupting old patterns and replacing them with something new. It’s about being able to change my state regardless of the disastrous environment surrounding me and finding a resourceful state of mind–the-Kurt-Russell-playing-Coach-Herb-Brooks-in-the movie-Miracle-state mind-the-Coach-Eric-Taylor-in-the-TV-show-Friday-Night-Lights state of mind.
This was not, and is not easy, especially when you’ve got all kinds of shenanigans of the I Love Lucy-Gilligan’s Island kind. But on Day 3 I’m still managing to stay afloat. And on this Day 3 I’ve learned that it’s not about lying down and ignoring the technical difficulties in your life, but putting yourself in a better mental and emotional state so that you can be prepared and find a solution.
Be prepared to be Coach Herb Brooks or Coach Eric Taylor.
So how do I do it?
Running. Biking. Swimming. Kickboxing. Some kind of physical activity just to get me breathing and feeling differently, to get me in a pumped-up state of mind. And I do it in the morning. And let me just refresh your memory … I hate the morning. I am not a morning person at all, but I do it early so that I can start the day right, because I know there’s gonna be some wrong in it. After getting that Rocky Balboa feeling I start the day and if someone decides to act like a jackass or something bad happens that’s out of my control, I try not to hit the George-Costanza-serenity-now phase immediately. Instead, I ask myself if there’s something I can do at that specific moment to help improve the situation.
So far I haven’t exploded.
But it’s only been Day 3 and I still have Ben & Jerry’s in the freezer. Plus I had a lot of positive support from my WordPress family on Monday (the unexpected Day 1 of the diet) so that definitely helped keep me on track.
I’ll let you know how things pan out in the end. Maybe I’ll lose the rest of the mental-this-is-draining-my-soul weight, or maybe I clear out the ice cream aisle at Vons. It’s still early in the mental challenge, but I’m feeling pretty badass … like a contestant on the Biggest Loser with that chick Jillian Michaels in my corner and my inner coaches Brooks and Taylor always watching my back.
Today is the day I usually slip into my Lieutenant Dan phase …
You know, the angry one where he’s on the shrimping boat with Forrest Gump battling a monster storm and yelling at The Man upstairs.
Yeah today’s the day.
Every year the weekend is an emotional Goliath with my kids’ birthdays being celebrated on one day, and taking a trip to the cemetery to visit my dad on the anniversary of his death on the next. My mind filled with thoughts … Thinking of pop-up tents, umbrellas, sand toys, sunscreen, goody buckets, Star Wars and princess kites, parachute guys, cheese sticks, sandwiches, potato salad, and shark fin cupcakes for a beach birthday party for a dozen kindergarteners and preschoolers to thinking about my Dad’s white collared shirts, baseball caps, Black Samsonite briefcase, Jovan Musk cologne aftershave, and smile.
Feeling happy that my kids are happy and then feeling incredibly bad and broken-hearted that he was missing all the laughter and smiles.
Lt. Dan-in-a-storm-kind-of weekend.
But I’m still here. Sitting in the hallway closet surrounded by his shirts trying to breathe in whatever cologne lingers between the cotton fibers that was not washed away by Tide with Bleach. I try not to get upset with The Man upstairs about how things turned out, but in truth sometimes the anger of him dying despite my faith hurts and so I struggle.
And I know all the speeches of being in a better place and all that but I find no comfort in that because he’s not here and in truth the better place would have been here with me and his grand kids. But most of all I get upset at the things he missed out on that he would have truly enjoyed … like the birthday beach party for the kids, and that’s when my Lt. Dan phase slips out.
I’m trying to be better about it … You know trying to remember how he lived instead of the painful way he died, that in and of itself takes a lot out of me because I hate that cliche too. But I’m trying this new mental diet that’s suppose to help me trim the negative and unproductive states of mind … However I’ve never been too good with diets … I’m a chocoholic.
But the “mental diet” did raise some good points about trying to focus on what you could do now, instead of reliving a bad moment you could never change. So I changed my focus to remembering things that would make me feel closer to him and I thought of TV nights … those times where we vegged out on the couch after dinner, watched TV, and “talked about life”. Simple stuff like that brought us closer together.
So with the help of the mental diet I remember the positives with my Dad and hope to relive that this week with my own vegging out marathon of his favorite shows.
His top ten…
World Cup Soccer
Boxing on any network.
Happy TV watching.
Dear Doc McStuffins,
I’ve heard you’ve cured everything.
The Pricklethorns. The No Vroom-Vroom-atosis. The Fall Apart-atude. Stuff-fully-osis. Weak-muscle-itis. Overheat-otis. Twisted tail-itis. Big Head-atosis. Forwards-Backwards Panic-itis.
My two-year old seems to think you’re a genius. She walks around trying to cure stuffed animals and Legos of their ailments. Apparently all you have to do is put it in the Big Book of Boo Boos and you’ve got the answer. In fifteen minutes you’ve got it.
I wish I lived in that dimension … you know the same time-space continuum that Jack Tripper, Janet Wood, Crissy Snow and Mr. Roper reside in and where all is well at the end of the day.
I know it’s Wednesday and that Geico Camel is extremely happy that it’s Hump Day, but I’m needing a little assistance in the cure department.
My Hour of Power in the morning rocked as it always does, despite the three garbage trucks weaving in and out of a three block radius, polluting the atmosphere during my morning run. I was still able to come out with a positive outlook for the day. But then after a couple of hours I ran into them … you know … people suffering certain ailments that only you and your magic stethoscope and trusty hippopotamus nurse could cure.
Now normally I could shake two or three off, but I’ve seen a series of repeat offenders for the last four days and it’s burning me out.
I ran into people suffering from …
Rolling My Eyes syndrome. Foul Mouth-atosis. The Cranky-Wankies. The I can’t help you right now-atude. Debbie Downer syndrome. Inconsiderate-itis, which is a subset of The Selfish-Selfies. Jackass-osis. The it’s-you-not-me syndrome which eventually evolves to the I’m never wrong-itis flu, an epidemic in my family.
Yeah I saw them all today and desperately needed to go to a kick boxing gym to let my Jean Claude Van Damme out, because the meditation and chocolate was not working.
Doc … how do you cure stuff like this in fifteen minute increments?
Do you wear I-am-so-freakin’-awesome shirts everyday and listen to Pharrell Williams just to remind you that you’re awesome even when everyone around you is sucking the air out of your balloon?
Doc … I think I need a consult.
What you got?
… Although considering all I have to go through just to thrive on a daily basis, I think I should have one for every day of the week.
All you want to do on the Fourth of July is live like a character featured in an amazing line of a great country song sang by Garth Brooks, The Zac Brown Band, Tim McGraw, Allan Jackson, George Strait, Blake Shelton, Sugarland, Faith Hill or Trisha Yearwood.
You want barbeques, family, good times, good music, tasty drinks, relaxation, fireworks and a moment of appreciation for the soldiers out there in the world.
You wanted Zen moments on a hot summer day.
The top five things you did not want …
5. You did not want to go to the market for the third time in one day because someone forgot the tomatoes.
4. You did not want to spend time scrubbing toilets in the afternoon.
3. You did not want to go to your in-laws.
2. You did not want a cranky toddler who was in full-blown crazy mode for two hours because someone “forgot” when her nap time was while they were at their parents’ house … the same nap time she’s had for the past three years. The same.
1. You didn’t want to come home to find someone in your family had cooked 10 out of the 12 burgers in a frying pan … on the stove. Not on the grill … you know the BBQ grill.
You needed a life-preserver because this day was looking nothing like a country song.
Who or what saved it in the end?
Being able to still watch the matinée showing of Earth to Echo with my son.
Being able to eat a hamburger … the one cooked on the grill.
My iTunes playlist that featured Five O’Clock Somewhere at exactly the right time.
Kids with sparklers and glow in the dark neon glow sticks.
Ben & Jerry’s.
Chocolate and vanilla cupcakes with buttercream frosting and patriotic sprinkles.
Hope your Fourth of July had sprinkle-worthy moments.
Contrast … on so many levels.