Day 142 — It’s the Little Things

I was reminded that today it is the little things…friends to take walks with…good conversation…hearts found in quiet places…and chocolate-covered strawberries for dessert…

I love living in my day as if it is the only day that matters…my life is so much fuller this way…thankful for this Friday and all that it has offered me…

Day #97: Weird Day

School was out today due to the snow but it warmed up quickly so the snow didn’t stay for long. The theme of my day was flexibility.

I wasn’t planning to take off work today but with little love out of school I really had no choice. So we spent the morning getting laundry finished, house work done, and of course, a little coloring was in order.

Little love then had a play date with her favorite friend at school this year. They played beautifully and I was able to get my cloest cleaned out. I took them to lunch and it was from there that things went a bit awry. On the way home, having a strained esophagus, little friend threw up all over my backseat. We got home, got her and the car cleaned up, and the girls went back to playing.

Weird day!” I thought.

We then went to the gym to run a bit later. I took 5 steps into my run and felt my calves seizing up on me. I tried running slower, I tried running faster, I tried walking… the pain would not stop. So I hobbled my way through my hardest run yet and made it three miles. I was disappointed but decided it was better to be careful than injured. So I went and stretched for a long time and did some ab work.

The night ended with a quickish dip with my Love in the therapy heated pool to hopefully loosen those muscles and a quick dinner at Chickfila.

We made it home and my legs and back continued to scream at me so I took some Tylenol and after making sure little love was tucked in and passed out, I hit the bed myself.

Not the day I was expecting or really even wanting, but it was the day I was given and while it wasn’t perfect it was full of love and lovely moments.

And that’s all I really need…

Blonde girl coloring with 101 Dalmations movie playing in the background.

Day #94: A Marathon of a Day

Today was a marathon of a day… pun intended…

Vibrant fruit in a mixer with milk in the bottom.We got up, ate breakfast, did a little housework, and headed to the gym…

Eight miles later… we came back home, showered, ate lunch, and left to pick up little love from play practice…

Blong girl in a blue sweater swinging and smiling, with a black and silver VW beetle in the background.We then met some friends at the park, played for a bit, and left to pick up my Love’s mother for dinner…

Next lap was a restaurant, lots of conversation, lots of trying to entertain the little one, and then we took “Ma” home…

Final stop was Walmart for the grocery basics of the week, then home, then the realization that we forgot dishwasher detergent, and so back to the Walgreens down the road…

Home again, PJs and bed time snacks, cuddled to a movie while I worked on homework and grading papers…

And we all fall down (or pass out)… it was a day filled with doing and being but honestly not much more thinking than the moment required… it was 26.2 miles kind of a day and I’m just glad to have survived it without injury…

Good night, sweet friends!

Mallards and white ducks swimming on a cloudy day with choppy water.

Day #81: Comfortably the Same, Tantalizingly Different

Today was surreal. I was in Albuquerque. I lived here for two years. And Adalie happened to be born while I was here… I got to show my Love the apartments we lived in, the mall I often frequented, and introduced him to several of my friends and co-workers at a late lunch. It was fun to listen to conversations all around because several of them had moved on and everyone was catching up on the who and what and where…

cottonwood-mallIt’s incredibly grounding to see how people change and don’t change in the space of time. I have this distinct memory of my experience at this school doing this job as a team with these teachers. And in a lot of ways I have frozen pictures of this time in my brain. Frozen moments, snapshots of events, whispers of feelings that tinge my recollections. I look around at the table… at personalities that still shine through, at physical features that remain true to memory, but I see growth, too. I see depth that wasn’t there, courage showing through in who they have become, and I feel so proud of these souls who have continued to evolve… some despite… others because of… but we all showed up a delicious mixture of being comfortably the same and tantalizing differentA man in a black hat and beautiful brunette woman drinking yellow Boba tea together in a mall.

This was also my experience with some of my favorites in Albuquerque… the BLT with egg I had so adored at Flying Star… very different although not bad… the Boba Tea in the mall I was addicted to… comfortingly the same and still just as decadent.

 

Day #77: Friends and Loss Along Our Journey

Today was my last class. It’s always an odd feeling for me to walk in that last time and know I will probably not see any of these students again. The classes are only five weeks long but we spend quite a bit of time together talking about semi-personal stuff because it’s a psychology class.

As I ran this morning, I had one of the best 3 mile runs I’ve had so far. Because of that I felt some loss about not getting to run for at least the next three days due to our vacation. As much as I was looking forward to getting out of town for the weekend there was a bit of apprehension about my normal routine being changed.

When I got to class that night, I looked out at their faces that represent so many stories, so many personalities, so many thoughts and futures and lives…

It made me think on how many people have wondered in and out of my life… as an adult we endure this, probably even expect it and only when it’s someone extremely close to us or rather unexpected do we acknowledge the loss of attachments that happen. Obviously they hurt more, cut deep, and strip us of our normal.

But I feel the need to affirm that small losses are losses too. The coworker you rarely see after you switch jobs. The friends that fade away. The “gangs” you outgrow. The runs that go unscheduled. And the class you say goodbye to…

Everyone you come into contact with adds to your journey in both their entrance and their exit. And it’s okay to feel those moments…

Day #50

The day was long and extremely hectic. I worked all day then taught a 4 hour class an hour-and-a-half away. I felt stressed about trying to get a walk in. In the midst of the day, I was texting with a friend and we were discussing self-nurture. How we live in a world with so many rules and with superegos yelling too many shoulds in our own heads.

I am an overachiever by nature. In 10 years, I’ve always had more than one job. I was the first in my family to graduate and the only one thus far to also complete a masters degree. I have a full time job and still make a point to take my daughter to dance class, help with every school party, and attend all parent-teacher conferences. I do not feel pride about these things, it just is me.

I am a multi-tasker by first nature. One of my biggest self-“projects” is to slow down and enjoy my life, to live presently without the to-do list running a marathon in my brain.

So I said to her, my friend:

“Absolutely … the way I think about things is not what is right or wrong but what brings me to my healthiest state emotionally, physically, spiritually, etc. Because me being my healthiest puts me in the best place to flow with others. And it changes everyday for me … sometimes it’s choosing dinner with a friend, sometimes a bubble bath, other times I want to work so I don’t feel stressed about falling behind.”

And it dawned on me, gentle readers, that a walk every day is not serving me if it is constantly stressing me. Most days it is the healthy choice for me because it moves my body, clears my mind, grounds my soul. But on the days it is not, I will not allow myself to feel guilty or “less than” because of this blog.

But I will be authentic with you in this journey, and will learn to be real with myself in that process.

A headshot of Rachel Olienyk with brunette hear and wearing a pearl necklace.

Day #23

Conflict… not my favorite word.

Definitely not my favorite thing to do. And although I have evolved in my ability to handle it, it eats away at my body.

I walked today, on the phone most of the time with a friend enduring conflict. I walked and noticed the contrast from the angst in her voice to the peace in the trees… We try to control so much as humans: ourselves, others, the environment… I just feel that in doing so we cause so much unnecessary conflict. Why do we attach ourselves to an outcome, an ideal, a expectation?

Because it’s human, I suppose…

I walk and talk and breathe and hope for the best.

I think there is so much we could learn from nature. It’s so intricate but not at all moody. It’s so powerful but not all arrogant. It’s so vast but not at all demanding. Maybe I should take those characteristics into MY next conflict…

Nature also expresses itself without fail, without fear, and without fakery. It is what it is and never apologizes for what it is not. Maybe I should take that with me as well…
I tuck these nuggets into my jacket pocket and walk along to the human voice that pleads for understanding in a conflictual world…

A vibrant purple and pink sunset over a shadowed neighborhood.

Day #13

“There sure are a lot of crusty people out tonight.”

We’re at Walmart walking and buying goodies for Adalie’s Grinchmas Party tomorrow. I’m counting this as my walk because it was again wet and cold today (you would think I live in Seattle!) and we were there forever!

My Love made the previous observation and I giggled. “Crusty people” just seems funny.

We sit in a restaurant (I refuse to tell you which one because I’m ashamed to admit it was fast food!) after Walmart and watch the news. We don’t have cable so we rarely get to see news live. They were showing the protests in NYC over Mr. Garner who was killed by the police. The protesters looked so strong and unified. It was really beautiful to watch.
I sat back in admiration at brave people who do things.

I teared up a little watching. Selfless people just seems moving.

An acquaintance messages me out of the blue and wants to come to our Grinchmas Party tomorrow. I’m excited because there will be some new faces and graces at my house (I love making friends!), but I feel nervous, too, because well…they’re new people. What if they judge my house, my party, my family? I want them to like me!

Friendly people make me nervous. And I laugh out loud at my juvenile ways and shake my head. But I still clean my house like my life depends on it… because “new friends” just seems awesome.

As I walked and people-watched and observed my own reactions today… I think my most profound thought…”people are just people.” We see snapshots of the “I’m off work and refuse to wear make up” run to Walmart. Or the specific cause for which they choose to lie down, or the friendly smile, or party hat. We see pieces of people, known and unknown, all the time.

And our brain tries to connect dots like someone is a puzzle who can be easily squared. But no one is that simple or that put together and we are all… just people. A colorful collage of the familiy with the vibrant word love centered in the middle.

Day #2

ducksI ponder friendship as I walk.

My friendship skills have seem to decline as the years have passed. It was just so EASY when were younger. Our friends were essentially picked for us; they are our mom’s friend’s kid, or the other girl in the class that likes green instead of pink, or whatever. And time… you have all the time in the world to devote to these beautiful connections. No pesky jobs,  or needy kids, or significant others to prioritize. And although I seem to have outgrown friends, I have not outgrown the need.

Therefore, I bumble through.

I have friends… kind of… I have those that find me when they need to vent or dump. I have those that spend time when time is easy but never when it needs to be made. I have those that surface love me but cannot dig too deep, and finally, I have those that just have too much on their shoulders without adding me. And these lovely souls waft in and out of my life–enriching experiences–but never devoted.

I once asked my husband why he didn’t need friends. He said, “People are just so damn fickle.” And I am inclined to agree. Friends of decades-and-the-most-intimate-moments turned a silent shoulder to me when I made one decision for myself that they could not understand. Friends of deepest-darkest-secrets disappear because another one has stolen their heart. Friends of good-times-and-bad-times lose their way to my door when my door is no longer their need.

And a part of me feels betrayed… angered… shamed… but more of me feels sad.

As I walked today, I became mindful to these things.

And I noticed: leaves whirling in tornadoes together, turtles sunbathing in a pack, geese talking amongst themselves, ducks huddling together to stay warm against the wind, families playing together at the park… and roots.

Everywhere roots!

I once read that dying trees will send energy out through their roots to other trees. There is a massive root system under the ground that connects trees and if we could see the root system we would not be able to distinguish one tree from the next. I feel we, as a human race, are like this; all connected but separate. We look different, we bloom different, we need different but fundamentally we are the same and intertwined. I know this because … empathy.

At times, and especially with those close to me, I cannot always separate their feelings from my own. They weep, their heart is broken, they hurt and my soul carries that burden. They celebrate, enjoy one of life’s gifts, they smile and my soul soars on dancing clouds.

Connective-ness is not always fair or pleasurable–but it is the essence. The thread that interweaves itself through the tapestry of our lives , holding us together and ripping us apart. But it keeps us warm at night… you know?