For Auld Lang Syne

I think goals are silly. And disappointing. And stressful.
Not all goals. Just the ones that include timelines and numbers and deadlines. 

Once I set a goal it's as if my brain takes that as permission not to do it. 
And a lot of times I find loopholes in the goal so that I can say I did it when I know I didn't really do it.

Or I tell myself that the goal I made wasn't the one I meant to make and instead I write down a "goal" for something I never planned to accomplish. Like adding things you've already done to your to-do list just so you can cross it off. That's how I do goals. 

So the last couple years I have done away with goals and instead made a list of qualities I'd like to gain or improve within myself. I've written down qualities like empathetic and forgiving. And now I'm an expert at both of those. Ha. Not really. Though I do think I am more empathetic and forgiving than I used to be.

For 2018 I've decided on awareness. This picture of Alice was my inspiration.

I often find myself sitting in a moment and thinking of something in the past, wishing I could remember it better, or thinking of the future wishing it could be here already. I've realized that because I'm old now(30), time seems to be moving faster or my brain is slowing down and can't remember things that have happened or at least remember them as vividly as I'd like. 

I'd like to be more aware. I'd like to be sitting in a moment and be thinking about what is happening right then instead of thinking of other things. I want to soak up all the details like a sponge so I can have them to revel in when I'm old(er). 

I read an anonymous quote a while ago on a friend's post that talked about how a lot of times you are unaware that the last time you do something is the last time. And that made me really sad, but then made me want to pay more attention to my own life. I want to be okay with my last times because I soaked them in. I don't want to be sad because they passed over me and I didn't notice.

That's my "goal" this year. I will do my best to live in the moments that I find myself feeling feelings. I will be more present and aware.

Now, I generally like to start the new year by taking down the tree, putting away twinkly lights and stockings. I enjoy changing our calendar and putting up new pictures of family and friends. I clean out our books and closets and donate things where they might be needed.

And this year I'm excited to change the big chalk sign that Tyler built us to a fresh new phrase that will remind me to be aware. When I read the words 'be where you are' my mind resets. It refocuses on what I'm doing instead of what I was or will be doing. 

And it will stay all year! Actually it will stay until the next holiday that needs something cute on the chalkboard. But it will stay till then and stay in my heart the rest of the year!
I've also decided this winter warrior needs to be somewhere in my daily line of sight. Winter and I don't get along too well and this will hopefully remind me that I can power through the cold, slush, and ice and I can do with a smile! Some of the days!

This beautiful gold foil art is from my friend Tessa! She creates a piece of art each month and sends it out to her subscribers. She is so thoughtful, kind, and incredibly talented. I'm so excited to get something from her each month!

With and Without You.

There is a phrase that I see every once in a while, regarding one's significant other.
"I can't remember what life was like without you," or
"I can't imagine life without you."

Or something similar. You know what I mean. While I find those things cryptically sweet, I've realized I really don't hold those same feelings. I will never forget my life before Tyler.

Tyler and I met on a "blind date" even though he saw me before the actual date and asked his roommate to switch dates with him because I looked too tall.

Months later, we went long-boarding one summer evening and I remember feeling unabashedly joyful. Laughing and playing and forgetting that there was anything to do in the world but those two things.

We spent almost all of the rest of that summer's nights meandering around town, either on foot or in his truck.

We went to the park at all hours of the day and night. We read books and played games. Chased and tackled each other. And then laid in the grass forever wishing it was our own park, on our own planet, in our own universe.

We went to the lake and sat on the dock until we had what felt like thousands of mosquito bites. We tried to use toothpaste as anti-itch cream and when that didn't work we rinsed off in the nearest sprinklers.

We bought gas station junk food and parked at the top of hills to eat and dream and watch tiny Provo glitter below us.

We drove through the mountains in the rain and the sunshine and the moonlight.

We laid in the back of his truck on blankets, in the mountains, watching the stars come out.

We laid in the cool grass listening to the wind and watching clouds. The minutes seemed to slack so we could stay that way a little longer.

I left notes on his truck and he surprised me at school and work with treats and the biggest smile.

It was like we couldn't sit still with each other. I wanted to make him laugh every second that we were together because it was the funnest thing to listen to.

I asked him questions that lead to long stories so that I could listen to him talk. I fell in love with the sound of his voice.

He put on my jeggings and let me take a picture.

He grew a mustache and wore blue sweatpants and spandex in public because I asked him to be Nacho Libre for Halloween.

When we were still, I felt like I couldn't be near him without touching him. I'd put my legs on his lap and my hand in his hand. Even when we drove I had my hand on his neck or his arm or his leg so that he didn't feel so far away.

Months later, Tyler asked me what I thought the first time he kissed me. Without a breath, I responded, "uh-oh." Because I knew that I never wanted to kiss anyone else for the rest of my life.

Being with Tyler actually lit up my life. Before him I still had happy moments, lots of them actually. But the lens through which I was living wasn't as wide or as bright.

And then I met Tyler. And I finally saw how dim my life was.

Imagine it's the middle of one of the hottest days of the year. A day you wake up already warm. The sun seems to penetrate any layer of clothing you wear and soaks into your skin and through to your bones. You walk through the grass and then you hear that familiar click and burst and your glance is directed downward as a sprinkler pops up and schick-schick-schick.

Tyler turned on the sprinklers in my life. He refreshed a living, but lacking 'me.'

I would never say that I can't imagine life without Tyler. I remember what it was like to live without him. I can never forget how small and gray my life was before him because I now get to live with his light. My two lives are incredibly different and I'm so hashtagblessed I have the one with him in it, forever.

Now please enjoy a couple of my favorite pictures of the light of my life.

A book I read: Committed by Elizabeth Gilbert

After reading Eat, Pray, Love, I HAD to see what was going to happen to Elizabeth Gilbert and her Felipe.

Allow me a small confession here: I have a really hard time buying books. One of my favorite pass times from ages 19 to 26 as a single lady (is that really the word we want to use between girl and woman? I mean, it sounds slightly like a tiny princess toilet rather than a thoughtful human being. I guess Beyoncé called all of us together cause she figured we were at her level. I suppose I am on Beyoncé's level. Thanks, Bey.) was to go to a bookstore and stare at the books I wanted to buy. Mind you, my boat is full of integrity so ne'er e'er did I crack the covers of those books except to read prologues, praises, or the poignant, tear-jerking, nostalgia-inducing author dedications. (I mean "For Dad" come ON. You wouldn't be able to wipe all of my tears from that, even if you had a ShamWow.)

I would just stare at them and wish that I had them in my hands. After my betrothed discovered this adorable habit of mine, in order to shorten the length of time spent staring at books on our dates, he would just buy me the books that I was staring at. I tell you this because Committed was one of the first books he bought me. And also embarrassing anecdotes are fun.

Back to the real reason we're here: the book!

In my other book review (singular...someday it will be more plural...someday), also a book by Elizabeth Gilbert, I simply wrote down my favorite writings from her book. I suppose that isn't really a review. I wanted to show how powerful and clear her writing was and I just didn't think that my words about her words would be able to convey that power. And I'm confident that I made the right choice in doing that. You should go read those words. So maybe I'll do the same thing here. Or maybe I won't. I guess you'll have to keep reading.

Okay, you're right. I'm going to put my favorites of her writing here + some of my thoughts. Sheesh, lay off me.

"Perhaps they do not assume that those two distinct entities (love and marriage) must necessarily intersect--either at the beginning of the relationship or maybe ever at all. Perhaps they believe that marriage is about something else altogether." (About the Hmong women she met) p.38

"...the emotional place where a marriage begins is not nearly as important as the emotional place where a marriage finds itself toward the end, after many years of partnership." p.41

"We Americans often say that marriage is 'hard work.' ...but how does marriage become hard work? Here's how: Marriage becomes hard work once you have poured the entirety of your life's expectations for happiness into the hands of one person." p.48

"...perhaps I was asking too much of marriage. Perhaps I was loading a far heavier cargo of expectation onto the creaky old boat of matrimony than that strange vessel had ever been built to accommodate in the first place." p.49

"...marriages based on love are, as it turns out, just as fragile as love itself." p.80

"Sometimes life is too hard to be alone, and sometimes life is too good to be alone." p.81 (In the book this quote is from "a friend's grandfather" just to be clear)

"Infatuation is not quite the same thing as love; it's more like love's shady second cousin who's always borrowing money and can't hold down a job." p.101

At this section here in the middle-ish to front-ish she talks about a theory from Dr. Shirley P. Glass, an infidelity expert, that every healthy marriage is composed of windows and walls. You should read about it, it's beyond sensical and eye-opening. 

"Anybody can love the most wonderful parts of another person. But that's not the clever trick. The really clever trick is this: Can you accept the flaws? Can you look at your partner's faults honestly and say, 'I can work around that. I can make something out of that.'? Because the good stuff is always going to be there, and it's always going to be pretty and sparkly, but the crap underneath can ruin you." (this is something Felipe said to her. Cue simultaneous "awww") p. 130

"There is hardly a more gracious gift that we can offer somebody than to accept them fully, to love them almost despite themselves." p.130

"To be fully seen by somebody, then, and to be loved anyhow--this is a human offering that can border on the miraculous." p.131

"...that an awful lot of my advantages as a child were built on the ashes of her personal sacrifice." (this was what she said of her mother and when I read it I realized that my childhood was very much the same.) p.184

"Raising a child is the very definition of ambivalence. I am overwhelmed at times by how something can simultaneously be so awful and so rewarding." (from a friend of hers, an exhausted single mom and gifted novelist, as she put it.) p. 188 When I read this I felt this rang true to me as a teacher, not saying that it is anywhere near being a mother but being a teacher is also very awful and very rewarding at the same time and it's ambivalent and confusing and frustrating. 

I would recommend this book to anyone who likes reading other people's insights into life and the many entanglements that come with life.