Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Peak 8

I had probably the best ski day of my life yesterday. The weather was spectacular, we ended up with a crew eight friends deep, the boys put up with our endless photo ops sans complaint and I am finally to the point where the brave outweighs the scared. I still need to get a million times better before I can truly hang with all my double black diamond friends but I'm getting there. Plus-LOOK AT MY JACKET! I never pay full retail for anything but I saw this on some girl earlier in the season and couldn't rest until Santa (me) made it mine.

Old dogs, new tricks.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Oh Say Can You See

A couple of things...

Sometime last year-and neither of us are sure when or why-a girl in Seattle who loves the Olympics starting following me on Twitter. We had a couple of exchanges where it became clear that she also liked a lot of the music I happen to like and we got to be twitter-friendly. She was super excited when our London gear launched and she was even AT the Olympics this summer. We tried to meet up but our schedules never quite jived. Well then I made that trip up to Seattle and the planets aligned and she and I were able to meet up at a coffee shop near my brother's house. We ended up talking for almost three hours while my adorable nephew demonstrated that he is the world's best baby by being completely cool with playing on the floor. She was a complete delight and I left that day feeling like I had just met a kindred spirit.

I drove home from Utah on January 2nd and had to work on January 3rd. I got home late-ish and I was tired but one of my music blogger friends  was doing a house show that night and another music blogger  who lives in Chicago and who I've gotten to know over Twitter was at the show and we were really hoping to finally meet each other. So I threw in some laundry, combed my hair, tried to look less like a half dead road trip refugee and headed over to Heather's. I creeped in just as the show was ending and sat on the stairs scanning the crowd. I actually had no idea what Mr. Song For The Day looked like so I'm not sure what I was looking for. The applause died down and this super cute kid walked over and introduced himself (I tweet a lot of photos, sue me). We had a way too brief but quite fantastic discussion about music and jobs and relationships (we are experts at Twitter so we can say a lot of things quickly without a lot of words) and I left that night again feeling excited to have a new friend.

I have a lot more stories like this but these two recent ones right in a row made so clear a point I have been mulling around for a few years now. I'm a big fan of the internet, I'm sure that is obvious. But not because I'm using it to escape my real life. And I don't think my online interactions are infringing on my ability to connect with living, breathing people. I truly believe that if the internet is not enhancing your offline life, you are doing it wrong. The amount of people who have come into my life, or stayed in my life, or our relationships have deepened due to the internet is dizzying. If the internet is ruining your real life, that's on you friend, not on the information superhighway.

My friend Adam tweeted this song out this week. My friend Jess and I are now going to see these guys in March. Boom. I love you www.

Wednesday, January 09, 2013


Maybe this is going to sound like I am in kindergarten but a boy was mean to me last week and it made me cry.

I was texting with someone who, admittedly, falls under one of the my 2012 lessons learned and isn't a fella I should still be talking to. But sometimes habit keeps a person around even when your brain knows they are bad news.

What started as teasing quickly crossed a line and I found myself being treated to a list of reasons "you are still single". Apparently a guy I went out with a handful of times and who I text every few months has me all figured out. First he gave me a few examples of my faults, none of which were news to me. Then he told me something that I just know isn't true about myself no matter what kind of blind spot I might have into my own personality. In fact, it was something that is the antithesis of how anyone who is truly part of my life would describe me.

It happened right at the end of the day so I was alone in my office and even though I should have been able to brush it off, I couldn't manage to pull myself together. Sticks and stones may break my bones sure, but preying on the biggest fear of anyone who is alone and doesn't want to be anymore? I almost don't have words for how deep that cuts and how hard it is to shut that little "it's your fault" voice up once someone awakens it.  There isn't an unattached person on earth who isn't a little bit afraid that something is just fundamentally wrong with them and that's why they are alone. I don't usually like it when people use social media to air their insecurities but I couldn't stop this rising sense of sadness that night and I posted a little bit about it on Facebook. My friends were kind enough to tell me the two things I already knew which were 1) I am not that thing he said he was and 2) everyone has flaws and mine aren't any more fatal than all the other plenty messed up people who manage to get married. I got some great messages on and offline from people who know and love me and that probably should have been that.

But I haven't been able to leave the experience alone. It's had me thinking about two things I'm becoming more and more convinced of the older I get.

First of all, mean behavior is dangerous.  I am a fairly successful, well adjusted person with a wide network of support and still I have spent five days spinning on this thinking, "well even though all the people who really know me think I'm a good person, this guy must be seeing something no one else can and maybe he's right and it's all my fault I'm alone." If I was struggling with self-esteem or didn't have the right people around me to tell me to knock it off, or if I didn't have the life experience to know that I should immediately delete this guy and cut off further contact, I can only imagine what sort of power this kind of person might have over me. I think teenage girls are probably some of the most at-risk people for falling victim to this kind of thing. Somewhat coincidentally (maybe), I was thinking about this quite a bit at church on Sunday and at the end of the service, I was assigned to go to Girl's Camp with the teenagers in our congregation this summer. I know I only get a few days with these girls but I'm really feeling the responsibility of helping these girls develop the skills to get through some tough years without too many bruises.

Secondly, while I'm sure there are some hard headed people out there who really do think they are perfect, for the most part, aren't most of us painfully aware of the pointy parts of our personalities? And aren't most of us doing our best to work on them? It's hard hard work to fix things that we don't like about ourselves and it seems like our progress is rarely clear to people on the outside looking for reasons to judge us. For me, all my emotions are almost always bubbling right under the surface. It means I am both quick to get excited and quick to freak out. It's a constant struggle to keep that part of my personality balanced and I am not always doing it well. But I'm trying. I'm always trying. And I get disappointed in myself when it gets the better of me. I do not need to be reminded by casual observers that this is a thing that I do. I'm well aware. I've always loved that Jackson Browne song "These Days" and the line "do not confront me with my failures, I have not forgotten them".

So aside from doing more yoga and trying to eat less Chik-fil-a, my major resolution in 2013 is more patience with everyone. More patience with the people in my inner circle whose flaws I know intimately but who should get more benefit of the doubt than they do because I love them and I know what burdens they are carrying. And more patience for the world at large because I have no idea what is going on in their homes/jobs/relationships and how that might be causing them to irritate me in the line at Starbucks.

It's probably going to take a few more downward dogs and maybe some flirting with a stranger to get all of the sting out of this. I guess in a weird way I'm always glad for a reminder that the world is all set on snarkiness, irony, sarcasm and unkindness,  as for me and my house, we will be nice(r).

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Rear View Mirror

So I have been thinking all this week about what I really want to take out of 2012 and how to make some good and REAL changes in 2013 and how to write about all of the above. I started listing all the highlights of the year and it was sounding like braggy mcbraggerson and besides, good year, bad year, my hope is always that there was some sort of growth in any given year and there were plenty of lowlights in 2012 too. They just happened to be surrounded by things like skiing in Austria and chatting up LeBron James.

Thus, I present to you the five big lessons of 2012 in no particular order.

1. Travel now.
I think maybe because it took me a year to save up for the first big trip of my life (NYC for high school graduation) I got it in my head that travel was sort of this once in awhile, special thing that you planned extensively for and spent a fortune on. But the last few years I have been trying to say "yes" to things I once might have worried myself out of. I did absolutely everything I wanted to this year and if you are smart and you don't need to stay at the Ritz all the time, you can do really cool things and not destroy your nest egg. Travel has made me a more interesting person but it's also made me a more interested person and our ever shrinking world needs more brains that want to know the whys and ifs and hows of our neighbors.

2. Forgiveness is a thing. Taking care of yourself is also a thing.
I think I am finally finally getting the point that you can truly forgive someone-let go of past wrongs , quit being angry, move on with your life-but not put that person in a position to rock you again. My biggest dating hurdle has been hanging on forever, just hope hope hoping someone deserves that giant benefit of the doubt I keep giving him and well ladies, he probably doesn't. So you let go. There is no victory in continuing to give someone access to you who really shouldn't be in your life. This one is really tough but makes you feel like a badass if you can pull it off.  (this says it all)

3. Bodies need rest. Especially old ones.
I worked really hard this year. I did a lot of FUN things this year. I did not sleep enough this year. That dumb college manta "sleep when you die" gets in my head and I tend to push past what is probably healthy. It doesn't help that I rarely regret the fun things I do instead of getting to bed. However. As my doctor gleefully reminded me, if I would like to keep doing fun things when I'm old and/or you know, grow a baby at some point, I need to be better about sleep. And leafy greens. It might mean a little more discipline and a little bit more NO that I know how to say but I would like to still be traveling and forgiving when I'm 80 so I'm willing to bank a little more rest now to get there.

4. Family first.
I knew this one. And then the busiest year of my life happened and my brother did an Ironman, my uncle died, my nephews moved to relatively inconvenient places and my sister got pregnant and it seemed like everything black and white got grey. I wrote about my decision to go to my uncle's funeral and at the time it really did seem like a difficult choice. Six months later with the pressure of the Olympics a distant memory, I'm relieved that I never have to say I wasn't there for my dad because I had a lot of packing to do. That 36 hour trip is a very sweet highlight of the year as is Logan's race weekend. I will never forget sitting in a hotel room in London, Emily telling me they might have to cancel their trip to Paris and starting to cry hysterically. Even in the center of 2012 awesomeness, all I wanted was to see my sister. I don't ever want to lose that perspective.

5. A job is a job is a job
I spent wayyyyyy to much of 2012 stressed out. I got on a plane to Austria on January 5 and I didn't feel like the pace slowed down until October. I put an enormous amount of pressure on myself to kill it this year and didn't do a great job of having outlets to channel the stress and worry. I have a prescription sheet from my doctor that actually says "yoga and meditation 3 times a week". My sister-in-law Tasha and I did a ton of yoga while I was in St. George and I even went on Christmas Eve. Just these few weeks of taking some time to be still and clear out my mind has calmed me down in ways I didn't think my frenetic personality could be tamed. So I think I'll be obeying the Doc.

In 2013 I want a little bit more perspective. A little more breathing. A little less of the world on my shoulders.  I feel like maybe 1-5 were lessons I took a long time to learn but I'm trying to put them all into practice in meaningful ways so I don't forget.

And if the universe is cool with it, I'd sure like to fall in love in 2013.  Neither the world nor Katie Clifford needs another break up song.

Happy New Year.