Project 52: Week 46

Week 46:  Preschool Field Trip to the Farm!

While in the midst of getting the house ready for the market I took a morning off in order to accompany Aaron on his field trip to the farm (it was either I go with him, or he doesn't go).  It was a beautiful morning, we had a lot of fun, and I had a good opportunity to use my camera.  We ate apples, picked a couple pumpkins, fed the animals, and then played on lots of fun playgrounds.  (this overload of photos can make up for my lack of pictures from last week.)

Project 52: Week 45

Week 45:  Coming Soon...  big changes!

I'm a little behind schedule... so much has been going on.  And I have kept pretty quiet about a lot of it because it involves certain things that Matt and I have been talking about forever, but then change our mind about every other weekend, so I didn't want to mention anything until it was certain.  But, we're moving.  Away from Virginia.  We have a destination in mind, but again, until that is more certain I'm trying not to get too caught up on specifics (hopefully somewhere in New Hampshire).  But... all that to say that... We have been super busy getting our house ready for the market (cleaning, purging, cleaning, organizing, cleaning, boxing stuff up, and more and more and more and more cleaning).  And it goes LIVE today.  My hope is that it will be sold by the end of the weekend, but I'm sure it will take a little more time.  So anyway, I technically didn't take a picture for the 45th week because I spent every waking moment working on the house.  But here's one I took today anyway.


Leaning in

I recently started reading the new Brene Brown book, Rising Strong.  If you haven't heard of Brene Brown I highly recommend watching her TED talks, reading her other books, following her blog... basically absorb everything she puts out in the universe.  Her research and writing on shame and vulnerability have resonated with me in a way I didn't think anything was possible of doing and overall have been personally eye opening and life changing for me..I understand this may not be true of everyone, so feel free to ignore all of the rest of this sappy post.  Because the rest of this post kind of relates back to some of what I read in her new book today.

Over the past few years, as I started running, I found myself using short mantras to help motivate me and keep me going when things got hard.  There was a lot of "I can do this" and "keep going" and a lot of counting my steps, or breaths, or some strange combination of the two.  Then it shifted to being more than about just running, into something about finding my own internal strength that maybe I never believed I had and digging deep to prove to myself that I am capable of more than I previously allowed myself to believe.  A lot of these mantras came from song lyrics, which while I stopped listening to music while I ran, I would still sing in my head over and over from time to time (maybe changing a little word here or there to suit me better): "When there's nowhere else to run/ Is there room for one more run/ If you can hold on, If you can hold on, Hold on."  "I want to break free, I want to break free, I want to break free from the lies/ You're so self satisfied I don't need you.  I've got to break free.  God knows, God knows I want to break free."  "My head is on fire, but my legs are fine/ After all, they are mine... 'Cause we are, we are shining stars, we are invincible, we are who we are.  On our darkest day, when we're miles away/ So we'll come, we will find our way home.  When you're lost and alone, or sinking like a stone.  Carry on./ May your past be the sound of your feet upon the ground.  Carry on.  Carry on, carry on."

Then I started working on my own little mantra.  Something short, simple, easy to remember, and something that would keep me going between runs, during runs, in parenting, in life itself.  I started with "Just start.  Finish stronger."  Which I love.  It's become my personal motto.  But I have spent all this time knowing that something was missing in the middle.  Something important.  You dont just start and then finish.  In fact, the starting and the finishing are usually the easy parts.  At the beginning you are fresh and motivated and ready to take on the world.  At the end, you are so close to accomplishing what you set out to do that it's easy to dig deep past the pain and give one last push to finish strong(er).  It's the middle part that sucks.  That's the part where the pain really gets you, where the hardness makes you consider quitting.  Where the boredom, tedious, nature of plodding along gets you doubting the point of it all.  Where the fear and doubt of not being good enough, fast enough, smart enough, WORTH enough can be paralyzing.  In other words, the toughest part.  Also the part, I've found, that I tend to like to skip over in life.  Have a problem?  Okay, here's how to deal with it... Identify problem, find solution, implement...  yay, done!  But that's not really how life works.  And it actually did take running to help me see that (I know it's super cheesey).  I hurt in all of my runs.  Either I was pushing my speed (painful) or distance (painful) or running hills (painful), but despite the pain (from pushing, not from injury, that's a different kind of issue), I was able to keep going.  Not because I ignored the pain, or because I let it stop me, but because I learned from it.  I learned that I needed to either change my pace, or my stride, or the way I was striking on my feet.  I learned that running up a steep hill was always going to hurt and the only way to get better was to learn that I can keep going even though it's hard.  I learned to (as Brene Brown puts it) "lean into the pain" rather than ignore it, avoid it, or let it stop me.  Because otherwise, there is no running.

So today, finally, I figured out what to put in the middle of "just start" and "finish stronger."  I've considered things like "try hard" or "endure" even "feel the pain,"  But I think what I really mean is that I need to "Lean in."  Lean in to the the pain (and the joy!  thank you runner's highs) of the experience.  Don't try to numb the discomfort and avoid pain.  It's that part of the process that actually MAKES me stronger.  There's no finishing stronger without going through the tough middle part.

Just start.  Lean in.  Finish stronger.