Moving, Chapter 27

Maybe, perhaps, it could be that I have commitment issues.

I recently calculated out how many times I have changed my place of residency. It comes to twenty-seven. For real. The weird thing is that if when I find myself exaggerating, I often use the number twenty-seven. You know, like when I tell you how many red lights I hit on my way to your house (which is why I’m late), but it’s really only like five. It’s way more fun to say twenty-seven red lights. Maybe it has something to do with extra syllables when one is exaggerating. See?

It is not fun, however, when twenty-seven is the actual number of how many times I have physically relocated. Every last one of these moves has been as an adult, with a few cross country, and many were across town. My parents still live in the same exact house they bought when I was a wee babe (circa 1968). I lived there until I was eighteen, and I’ve been moving ever since.

Something always breaks, or gets bruised. Every single time.

What my family saw as stability, I saw as boredom. I couldn’t wait to live in other places, especially somewhere not cold, like Florida. I’m happy to say that I’ve been in Sarasota since 1996, so at least there’s that. Some stints have been on the longer, more respectable side, like five years in one place, and four in another, but this is my third move in as many years, and this spot is only mine for a year at most.

Some of the moves, probably half, involved a boyfriend or fiancee or a wedded relationship. I won’t bother to chronicle it all out for you (you’re welcome), but it’s safe to say I understand what propelled each move. Some moves were simply necessary, and some were fueled by desire. I know the next place will be a purchase, and the only name on the closing docs (and mortgage) will be mine. Oh, and probably the bank, too.

Back to the moving, I’m over it honestly.

It seems silly that I’m just now embarking on this home ownership goal, but that is my reality. I’ve been spending all my dollars on raising children and adventures and travel and college and braces and my soon-to-arrive grandson. So the timing hasn’t been right to even dream of it until now. With that, it is my goal, and this girl is getting after it.

One step at a time…

Where I am living is perfect – for now. It’s big enough for visitors, and cozy enough to feel like home. It’s peaceful and quiet and deer literally play in the front yard. It’s comfortably furnished, and all the maintenance is included, so I can just relax and unwind once I’m home. There are several options for my hammock, and it goes up tomorrow.

That is the hard part. Knowing that this location is temporary, when I am so ready to settle in. Do grandparents go through nesting too? Is that what this is about?

Update: Baby Grandson’s official due date is in just 2 weeks, so my goal, which was to be unpacked before his arrival, was met this weekend (yay me!) I will be ready to head north by the time her contractions take hold, which can be ANY DAY NOW!!!

Could she be any cuter?

And back to the moving…

When I buy my very own place, I will be able to paint whatever walls and colors I want. I will get to choose light fixtures and cabinet handles and I can plant things in the actual ground. I can hang wind chimes in the backyard oasis I plan to create. This actually frees me from fussing over every nook and cranny here.

But, first things first. My grandson will be here very soon, and my attention will be appropriately consumed! There will probably be a few pics, and maybe some gushing. Who am I kidding? There will absolutely be pictures and gushing . And you’ll want to see, right?

Of course you will.

It’s gotta be better than reading about endless moves!

Thanks for reading, until next time,
Sherri

Nearing the end

I am a great starter. I absolutely LOVE the beginning of new projects, like a freshly unwrapped canvas, or a new journal. Even the blinking cursor on a new page.

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And then the place in the middle gets mucky for me. Slugging through it. Keeping my eye on the prize, and persevering through the not-so-fun places of the journey. The middle is my least favorite. It’s where I usually second guess my goal, get discouraged, and have often been known to just quit.

I may be exaggerating..

Finishing? Ahhh. That is the sweetest thing ever, especially when I’m satisfied with the result. How did the thing turn out? Can I stand back and give it a final look and be proud?

When I was running last summer, I enlisted the support of a couple of my more athletic runner friends. They each shared with me how important the finish is. To pour it on when you see the finish line. To always sprint at the end, even though you’re tired and just want to lay down and die.

There are TWO finals standing between me and graduation. And I have already checked my “what if” grade to see what happens if I bomb either of them. As it turns out, I’ll be just fine, and my grade will also be just fine.

Oh Ryan, stop distracting me.

But I am not going to bomb them. My version of “sprinting” to the finish is to forego an afternoon at the beach. Instead, I am reviewing 16 weeks of notes. It’s the worst part, but also the very best part. It’s the last time I’ll have to do this.

Sure, I’ll continue exploring and learning new things, but on my own timetable. I will certainly have more trips to the beach, more time with friends, and more time for just any ol’ thing I feel like doing. When I’m done with this.

My favorite thing. Sunset on Siesta Key Beach.

Homework and tests and papers and finals – I’m not gonna miss you. It’s been a VERY long middle, over 6 years!! I’m not the same person I was when I began, but I’m so very glad I persevered. Besides, Game of Thrones will still be there waiting.

In just one week, I’ll be an official college graduate. I could just cry at the thought. I can see the finish line. It’s right there, and I’m going to sail across it like a champ.

Thanks for cheering me on! Until next time,
Sherri

Not a contestant this year

The end of the year is typically a time for reflection of what is behind, coupled with anticipation of what is ahead. I’m faithful to this practice. Even if the “Publish” button isn’t clicked until days after January 1, it still counts.

While the list of personal accomplishments of 2018 is not short, the value of reflection is not in reveling in self-admiration. The value is in what I learned and how these experiences are shaping me. Honest evaluation shows me how to improve, which is the ultimate goal for me.

  1. I completed 36 credit hours of college this year. Two of the three semesters I landed on the Dean’s list. I learned that I can meet high performance levels when there are clear objectives before me.
  2. I served as a Sea Turtle Patrol volunteer once a week for 6 months. I made a great friend and thoroughly enjoyed the morning walks on the beach. And saving turtles. I learned that early morning commitments can be magical when you’re doing something you love.
  3. I ran an entire 5k without stopping once as part of the Wanderlust Mindful Triathlon. There was so much pride in setting this goal and meeting it. I learned that running is a mental game – along with just about everything else.
  4. I lost 25 pounds and dropped from a size 12 to a size 6. This happened mainly because turning 50 (oh yeah, I did that too!) was a number I could not change. I learned that I can apply the Serenity Prayer to everything.
  5. I entered into a romantic relationship (hey Prince Charming). While there have been a few bumps here and there, it has been a wonderful experience with the hope of more to come. I learned it’s okay to be vulnerable and I can still be myself while being a partner.
  6. I discovered that I have a green thumb, and am now the proud caretaker of 8 indoor plants as well as about a dozen outdoor plants. While there have been a couple of casualties along the way, overall it feels amazing to see green happy plants in my world. I learned that my past doesn’t define my future.

So…all this explains why I feel tired. And why binging on Netflix lately has felt so fabulous. I’ve spent more time on my couch in the past month than I have the previous 12 months combined.

While 2018 was big and I learned a lot, I missed out on more than couch time. There were fewer sunsets the beach, only a dozen-ish blog posts, and a handful of finished canvases. I know I cannot do everything. When I look back, it feels like I was in a contest for who could do the most things in a year. If there was such a thing, I should have at least gotten third place. Either way, I’m not repeating the frenzy of 2018.

My life and what I put in it is totally up to me. Next year is looking good, but different. It holds only a couple of big things, like graduating college and a trip to Europe. Beyond that, it’s more about what I will not be doing.

I am not raising my hand for any new hobbies or projects or volunteer opportunities. I am not making endless to-do lists. I am not saying yes to more things, even when they are good. I am not stressing myself out. I am not entering the contest this year.

How are you approaching your new year? Is your list ridiculously long? Are you content with where you are and what you’re doing? Change the things you can, friend, and let go of the rest.

Happy New Year!

Thanks for reading, until next time,
Sherri

15 down, 1 to go

It’s hard to believe, but it’s true. There is just ONE little semester standing between me and graduation.

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Earning my Bachelor’s degree is a personal goal that I have been pursuing for six years. The good news is that it’s almost complete. Sure, I’ve taken on some important classes, but much of what I have learned had little to do with the actual curriculum. Here are the top six (I could have done just five, but you know I’m an overachiever).

1. It’s one semester at a time. I can tolerate terrible professors (can you speak English please?), difficult courses (my buddies Al and Cal), and a rough schedule (commuting 45 min each way, 4 nights a week). And I can do it because it’s only for 16 weeks. (Or fewer when it’s a summer class.) Breaking big goals into smaller pieces really works.

2. There’s a lot to learn if -and when – I’m ready to listen. Not every subject is interesting, but there is always a hidden nugget when I look for one. When the student is ready, the teacher will appear. This frequently happens outside the classroom, btw.

3. No one cares about my grades. After this long, I can include myself in this category. My job is to do my best. Sometimes this means my name is on the Dean’s list, and sometimes I am satisfied with a C.

Confession: it feels pretty damn good to make the Dean’s list. It feels equally good to not repeat a miserable class. In case you hadn’t heard, C’s get degrees.

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4. It’s not a race or a competition. Some 30 year olds are getting their PhD’s. That’s amazing, and also, it has nothing to do with me. It doesn’t matter that I’m 50 and still working toward my undergrad. I am improving each day and that is a reward in itself. It’s never too late to pursue a goal.

5. Failure is actually valuable. When I flunked online Algebra one summer, I learned an expensive lesson. Ever since, I am more realistic about how and what I can master.

6. Remember the big picture. There are people in my life who are important – even when I have homework. I need to make time for those I love. Achieving goals is great, but not at any cost.

As I look at the next four glorious weeks of zero assignments, I am breathing a sigh of relief. I will not overpack my calendar. I will take naps and socialize and read for fun and get back into my studio to paint. All at my own pace. It feels good to take a break.

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Seasons. Times of working hard and times of rest. The book of Ecclesiastes has a whole chapter about this and it’s as true today as it was thousands of years ago. Honor the season in which you find yourself.

You just may find yourself.

Thanks for reading, until next time,
Sherri

See Sherri run…

Actually, just read about it. There are no photos to post just yet, but it’s happening. Over the last ten years, I have made the occasional attempt at running.

I chose a helpful app called Couch To 5k, which takes people from the couch to running a 5k in 9 weeks. I am definitely more fond of the couch.

Each week has 3 sessions that are each 30 minutes. Incrementally, the walking time becomes less and the running time becomes more. The “coach” tells you when to start and stop, so it’s super easy to follow. That is, once you have your shoes on and decide to actually listen.

Here was the general sequence of events around my running escapades:

1- Realize I need to lose weight.
2- Decide it’s time to begin running.
3- Convince my friend Julie to join me.
—Note, this was often Julie convincing me to join her.
4- Load Couch to 5K (C25K) and buy a cute running outfit.
5- Begin training for a few weeks.
6- Hit scheduling difficulties.
7- Hit physical difficulties.
8- Hit (substantial) mental difficulties.
9- Quit training before completing all 9 weeks and/or 30 minutes of running.
10- Participate in a couple of races, but fail to run an entire 5k.

This pattern continued for several years. There were occasions when we killed it and did so great! Other nights we skipped it altogether and drank wine in the hot tub. We both believed having a running buddy was our best strategy. It was absolutely more fun, but we never actually hit our goal.

I decided I would try it again, but as a solo mission. While it was easier to plan and schedule, it was more challenging to force myself to get up and go.

With much pride, I can now report that I did not miss a single run! Every Monday, Thursday and Saturday for 9 weeks, this girl put on her shoes and hit the ground running, literally.

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Bonus – early morning sunrise on my running path

While I’ve successfully increased my run time to a full 30 minutes, I’m a bit short of the 3.1 mile mark. I’m going to keep with it though – we’re almost hitting acceptable weather for being outdoors in Florida. This is also the beginning of racing season. Sane people do not run outdoors in the Florida summers.

As my friend Susan put it, “You just have to throw your hat over the fence.” With that, I have committed to a 5k in just 3 more weeks, so it’s over the fence alright. I get to prove to myself that I can run this entire thing without stopping.

This is amazing! Not only am I seeing the positive physical results from running, I am noticing the increased self discipline. It’s for me, my health, and my sense of integrity. It feels fabulous to know that I will reach this goal by remaining focused and committed.

Once you get some momentum going, it’s easy to keep moving in a positive direction.

What goals are you reaching for? It doesn’t have to be a Marathon or an 8 minute mile. Maybe it’s just to work towards something that you didn’t quite accomplish before. You don’t have to wait for New Year’s to set a goal and give it your best shot!

Thanks for reading, until next time,
Sherri