Day 144 – When I Run Alone, I Prefer to be By Myself

Today I had a revelation: it’s only when I’m alone that I can focus on me. As I ran twelve miles today, I thought about why I prefer to run alone. My Love is always there but usually way ahead of me and I prefer it that way…

Today I realized why…I am a natural empathizer…I feel this makes me a solid friend, a good mom, and a caring wife…but not so good at being in tune with myself…

If anyone else is around, I immediately tune in to them instead. For the most part this is all good for me. However, when I am struggling emotionally or physically, I tend to want to be alone, although others want to support me and I love them for that. I find that in alone is the only place I can truly find me without being influenced.

Maybe I am a bit of an introvert after all…mind blown 🙂

Day #139: Adulthood is Hard on Friendship

Today I rested and relaxed with a friend. A friend who has been around for a while. Who knows my stories and the emotions that guard them. Who makes me laugh and has heard me cry. Who is honest and in turn I can also be authentically me…without apology.

As we caught up tonight…I glowed inwardly with pleasure of her company…the sweet reminder of friendship…

The evening was perfect, the breeze soothing, and Love was planting flowers and interjecting his own comedies and tragedies…

It was so nice. *sigh*

Why are friendships so hard to maintain as an adult?

Because at 8:01 I became a pumpkin. Little love came home and we had pjs and snacks and bedtime routines before school and work in the morning.

But I savor the moments porch sitting with two of the bestest best friends I have ever had…until next time

Day #87: Valentine’s Day and Living with Passion

Valentine’s Day… a day for romance and love… sweetness and hearts… passion…

And running. Today was our first long run (to me) at 8 miles. We had our little love this weekend so we asked Mimi to keep her while we ran (it was an awesome date, lol). We took off and about two miles in I was wiped out… thanks to different trails and gear… my passion for running was at its lowest and if I had been alone in the run I would have walked away for the day. But I wasn’t, so I didn’t. I trudged through… and as with most things… the endurance paid off and I picked up a second wind… I ended the 8 miles running although I could not run it all… it was a start… and it felt good to finish what I started… to taste the victory.

I thought about this as I ran… I thought on passion and how passion demands you to be all in… no sitting on fences, no pretending to be unbiased. I realized that I often fear becoming too passionate about anything or anyone because that requires me to become vested in how things turn out. On the one hand, I like this about me. In my job, it becomes important to give space for people to do their own work. If a counselor becomes too enmeshed it becomes difficult and often unethical. However, in my personal life, I find this is also a trend. If I don’t care too much, it won’t hurt if I fail, if the friendship fails, if the plans fall through.

The problem becomes that living without passion about anything means also living without profound joy, the taste of victory, the pounding heart of pride, the hot passion surging through your bones. So maybe I save myself a degree of pain, soreness, and possible defeat, but I also never know the sweetness of eight miles done and the lightness of victory at hand.

I hope through this journey that 2015 becomes my year to learn the impractical necessity of living passionately.

Bearded man in black hat, sitting on couch with his arm around blonde girl, wathching television.

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 #80: Tread Lightly, and Laugh Loudly

Another day of skiing, another wonderful adventure…it was a bit windier today which kept things more…”interesting”…and cold.

We both only fell once today. Him while standing perfectly still, and me when the lift chair decided to give me an extra push… we laughed both times till we cried…

On the way back down the mountain, we stopped at the overlook and took some pictures. The aspens were breathtaking… they stood so white, so stately… so unassuming in their pale nakedness… and I could feel their energy… their whispering… as I stood there…

I am not generally a mystical person but I felt so drawn to these trees… I felt compelled to touch them, to take them into me… a reminder… “but for what,” I wondered… and then it sang in my heart…“tread lightly.”

Smiling brunette woman wearing heart-shaped glasses, purple beanie, and wearing pigtails.
I spent the rest of the day contemplating this… my mind took it all over… to Theodore Roosevelt’s similar advice to “speak softly, but carry a big stick” to thinking about the footprint I leave on this earth and what we can continue to minimize that we haven’t (we currently recycle and compost).

But it took on a completely different meaning for me that night at dinner… we met up with an acquaintance from my hometown and her significant sweetheart. She is a couple years older than me, so growing up she was a grade or two ahead of me. She was super popular, wealthy, and a cheerleader. She was beautiful and outgoing and smart. And to me, growing up knowing of her, she had it all. So I was nervous as I got out of the truck and headed in for dinner. I could have never dreamed or hoped for the shared connection that transpired. She is going into the same field I am in and we have similar interests. She is still beautiful, and outgoing, and smart… but as she shared her journey with me… the good, the bad, and the ugly, I listened in awe of how perception and reality are often so contradictory… and it reminded me of how we see people two-dimensionally and think we see it all.

We forget the depth, the shadows, the corners of a person that actually gives them sustenance.

It was a beautiful reminder to tread lightly because it’s so much easier to not know than to know… 

Smiling man woman bundled up on top of a ski slope.

Day #78: Marriage, Love, and Abiding Joy

We drove and drove and drove today. We went from Arkansas to Santa Fe, New Mexico. We sang and danced. We played games. We jammed to music. We ate. We listened to TED Talks. We answered “love questions.” We talked about everything and nothing. We sat quietly holding hands.

We laughed and we loved and we never once grew tired of each other. The thing is… we never do.

And twelve hours later, I was in New Mexico getting ready to embark on a new adventure with my best friend. And I couldn’t be happier…

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 #66

I had an unexpected visitor today on my run … sharp, cool wind. We did not make friends. I found it very difficult to catch my breath, and regulating my breathing while running was pretty much out of the question. But I finished my 3 miles and as always I felt better for having done it.

Upon my return home from our run, I found another unexpected guest at my door. A beautiful soul who lights me up every time I see her. She was much more welcome than the cold wind, and instead, an instant friend.

Has anyone else noticed how it’s hard to make friends when you are an adult?

Everyone is so busy with careers and jobs and honorable pursuits that there is little time to really dig in to the sustenance of existing together. This was a chance of a chance kind of friendship that has taken root in my heart because I have few friends who really get me … she is one of those. And this is how I know …

After dinner with her and my Love, we enjoyed the rest of the evening in pjs, snuggled up, eating cupcakes, drinking wine, and coloring … yes my gentle readers … coloring. And in the glow of the lamp with my sweetest Love on one said and my dear friend on the other, I had never felt more complete with a color pencil in my hand. Sometimes the simplest connections are the hardest to come by … I urge you to connect with someone today … I dare say you will smile … genuinely, whole-heartedly … and it feels good.

A coloring book lying upon a bed with colored-pencils and a mandala coloring book in the background.

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.