How Health Coaching Has Changed My Life

Sometimes I have to pause and just take it in… I’m working in my office, the windows are open, the birds are chirping, breeze blowing, the whole family is home and I’ve had an AHA MOMENT! The stress is not there, at least not the way it used to be.

The most important thing in my world is being able to take care of my family. I went into healthcare thinking the flexibility of shift work would be helpful once I had a family…  That didn’t end up the way I expected.

Now, I really just want to simply be the mom I always hoped I could be. I want to enjoy my family, take in the view, take them on adventures, have time to help my kids discover who they are… that time is short. It may have taken me a while, but I finally figured out a way to make it work for us. Coaching.

So many successful health coaches I know have backgrounds as lawyers, doctors, social workers, finance execs, nurses, nurse practitioners, health care professionals, teachers, social workers, business executives, serious go-getters, people that really care about the world around them, they want to help others and take care of their family too. #winwin

I work alongside some amazing female entrepreneurs, they make me believe in myself more than I ever have in my entire 47 years. It’s truly life-changing.

My children learn so much from what I do, and how I react to the world. When my world is falling apart, their world is unstable, there’s undeniably a HUGE ripple effect. When I was finally able to pull myself together, my family’s life started to get better. We finally started to heal. I finally had time to take care of what we needed. That’s the example I want to show my children. Perseverance. Caring. Faith. Compassion.

I thought I could do it all… be 110% professional, 110% mom, 110% wife… um… there’s no ME in there. I need to show my kids who I am, what I believe in, my authentic me… the me that has always said I have to put my family first. So now I do, by taking care of me, I’m taking care of them. They see it, they see the mom that they have now, and their life reflects those same positive change that mine does. As a mama, that’s the effect I need. I need to know they are feeling the effects of me taking care of me, and it truly has compounded for my family.

Take care of yourself and you can take care of the ones you love… fall apart, and they fall apart. Unfortunate truth. Trust me, it’s real AF! I know, I lived it.

Wanna fresh start? I’m right here waiting to help, just click here and we can chat more about making this opportnity a reality for you and your family. I’ll teach you everything I know.

Wanna know more about what I do as a coach, read on…

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Photo credz: Coty Jones Photography

Why I Believe in My Superfoods

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This is how Superfoods make me feel! And, for a girl w a chronic pain and fatigue disorder, that’s pretty damn special!

Superfoods…  a health term that gets thrown around A LOT these days, huh? So, what are they? Why are some foods super and some not? GOOD QUESTION! It’s taken me a long time to figure it out too. If you want to know the truth, I’m still learning more every day!

My superfoods have changed the way I am able to live. I have multiple chronic illnesses that were being controlled by what I was putting in my body.

I don’t like veggies very much. I’m a very picky eater, my grandmother used to call me “finiky”… it’s a texture thing and an anxiety thing for me. If I think I don’t like it, I don’t like it… I know, grow up, Katie. I’ve tried. I’ve gotten better, but I’m just not one that likes a big variety of foods.

I know I can eat plenty of protein and fiber (kinda) and goods fats. Y’all do know the necessity of good fats, right? The whole fat-free thing is a bunch of milarchy. It’s crucial that our bodies get good fats and if they don’t multiple disease processes can appear. Good fats keep our brain working… our brain controls EVERYTHING!

Did you know you can get TOO MUCH PROTEIN, and it will make you gain weight just like sugar will? Actually, when you eat too much protein, it turns into sugar, and then fat. That’s why I’m not a protein shake kinda girl, I’m a SUPERFOOD shake kinda girl. Sure, I need protein, but I eat protein… eggs, steak, chicken, and bacon aren’t the hard part for me, it’s the veggies. Yes, I was that kid, and still am at 46.

So, how do I get my veggies, I have some that I love and we have them with dinner each night, some days I have Caesar salad w meat on it for lunch, but my Shakeology fills in the missing nutrition. #winning

Why Shakeology?

I took this holistic nutrition class and learned about adaptogenic herbs. Cool things, those adaptogens… they help my body adapt to stress. I didn’t know food did that!!! Did you?? Adaptogenic herbs help my body detox and fight the stress of everyday life and the toxic substances that I breathe in and ingest.

Then, I learned that Shakeology has digestive enzymes and prebiotics and probiotics. Why does that matter? Have you heard of digestion? I know, stupid question… Digestion is the process of absorbing nutrients to fuel our body. Here’s the thing, we need digestive enzymes to help absorb the good stuff and not the bad, we need prebiotics to help feed the probiotics. Those probiotics help digest the food we eat so we can absorb the nutrients. These enzymes and natural organisms used to be in our food.

Ever heard of phytonutrients and antioxidants? These are the super greens and funny sounding plants that provide immune benefits. Did you know with a healthy immune system you can fight off almost any disease there is, including cancer? I know I sound like a nut, trust me, it was new to me when I first heard it too. I am a total believer though, I’ve seen too many people get healthier by committing to holistic nutrition.

Did you know that antioxidants actually are like a detox for your body? Seriously! Isn’t that cool!? They help eliminate free radicals. What are free radicals? There are toxic substances that float around in our bodies from different environmental assaults (foods, stress, organisms, chemicals, etc.). Antioxidants eliminate those free radicals… SWEET, give me some! I’m all for free, but not when it comes to toxins in my body, that’s what weakens my immune system. Not cool!

So, what else do I need to tell you?? Oh, yea, there IS protein in Shakeology. What I found in the past was most protein shakes are whey or soy, both are inflammatory for most people. (More about chronic inflammation and how it contributes to disease here.) Whey, soy, and too much protein are going to cause weight gain, which is not what most people are looking for.

My choice for protein is plant-based proteins: quinoa, oat, rice, flax, chia, and pea. Why? flax and chia have omega 3 fatty acids which are good fats that my body needs. I don’t want whey because dairy is inflammatory. I significantly limit soy because soy is bad for our endocrine health, want to know more -> read this.

You see, Shakeology is my way of getting 70 different anti-inflammatory foods, most of which I don’t know how to source or prepare. That’s A LOT of holistic nutrition in a tasty treat, folks!

Superfoods are super important for the long-term health of your body. If you’d like to know more about the choices I make, reach out, let’s chat. If you want to join my groups, I’m happy to be your health coach, we ALL need a health coach (mine makes my world a much easier place to navigate). If you want to contact me via my coach website or order Shakeolgy, start here, or you can find me on Facebook @ Katie Pink Tolley

I hope you find a way to make your wellness journey enjoyable. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. We all get by with a little help from our friends. 😉

If you’d like to hear what’s so special about Shakeology from the developer herself (yes, HER, one of my heroes, Isabelle), click here.

Oh, I should probably add the health issues that I had that are almost non-existent now that I practice an anti-inflammatory lifestyle 90% of the time along with adding in Shakeology: Asthma, Allergies, Thyroid imbalance, Eczema, Restless Leg Syndrome, Irritable Bowel Syndrom, Constipation, Anxiety, ADHD, Sleep problems, constant stomach pain, Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Disorder. Yea, that’s tiring to even think about, so glad I found holistic nutrition and these superfoods. They’ve changed my life, actually, now I can live my life! #golden

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Graphic compliments of Beachbody

As always, Enjoy the Journey & Be Well. ~kp

What Fibromyalgia is Really Like

I know I look perfectly fine, the picture of health to some… that’s because pain is invisible.

I can’t even remember a time when I didn’t have some sort of pain to deal with, sometime during my childhood I guess. I remember complaining that my back hurt when my mom would ask me to vacuum when I was a kid, probably 10 or 11 years old.

I do remember all the things my mom and the doctors used to do to try to help… lifts on my shoes (like I’d ever wear them for fear of being teased), sports, weight training, chiropractors, and even painkillers when I was in my teens (that didn’t go very well).

It’s been decades of pain, therapies, missed work, missed fun, missed sleep, missed… life… it gets old.

I’ve always been one to try to keep myself active and healthy. I’ve been working pretty hard to try to get my body in really good shape the past few years. I’ve been toning my muscle with various types of exercise, eating a less inflammatory diet, even changed careers so that I can take better care of myself. It helps… most of the time.

Until I flare… this time, it was such a simple moment. The trigger usually is, it’s usually something most people won’t think twice about.

I was going to pick my daughter up from the school bus. I was just a couple blocks from my house. Someone ran a stop sign. Fortunately, I have good reflexes. I slammed on my brakes… no impact. I felt it though. THAT was the trigger. I felt the immediate tightening in my left trapezoid, it started behind my left ear, went to my shoulder and then straight down my back. That was 4 days ago.

Currently, I can’t get away from the pain and it’s driving me so crazy I don’t know if I want to scream or cry or take a knife to my back and cut it out.

I’ve been up since 4:44, and that was after waking no less than 4 times during the night. I even went to bed early hoping for a good nights sleep. It was not a good night.

It’s miserable.

It’s debilitating.

It’s depressing.

It’s defeating.

I haven’t worked out in 4 days. I need to work out to feel better. I’m going to try some yoga in a few minutes, but right now, my mind just won’t stop, so I write.

I need to get my head together. Today is an exciting day. It’s a day I’ve waited months for.

I hate when this happens.

I don’t schedule a lot of things in my life. I don’t commit to much because I don’t know if I’m going to be able to fulfill that commitment. It’s hard. I want to fulfill my commitments, not doing so just adds to the pain and defeat. It has affected relationships and even my career. I don’t like it. I do try to make the best of it, but sometimes it gets the best of me.

Today, it will NOT.

Today, I will enjoy a family day with my kids and my mom and my nephew and sister-in-law. I will carry my peppermint essential oil to help with the pain. I will fight the tears and enjoy the show; hopefully, it will take me away for a few hours to the plains of Africa. We’re going to see The Lion King today. I know I will enjoy it. I know I will enjoy the time with my family. I will overlook the pain the best I can. I’m used to it.

I’ve done just about everything in my life in pain, it’s not new, it’s old, it’s so ef’n old!

I WILL NOT LET IT STOP ME.

So I do what I do and just keep going.

ALWAYS KEEP GOING.

What do we have if we don’t enjoy the journey? Sometimes it’s just a little more challenging than others.

I will survive whatever this wild and crazy life throws at me. What choice do I have?

I have so much to share and to be grateful for, but I could do without this fibro-crap!

Fibromyalgia 1

 

Why I Believe in Functional Fitness

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NEVER SAY NEVER

Contrary to popular belief, I am not superwoman… I’m soooo far from it.

I AM Katie Pink extraordinaire though… that works for me. It’s taken me a long time to figure that out. My path has had many avenues and many dead ends, paths that were laid out for me, and paths I foraged own my own. I’ve grown from all of it. What I’ve learned is that I need to keep FUNCTIONING at my most extraordinary. I don’t like the alternative.

Life is HARD. Life is always full of stressors. Life is about how we learn to navigate the challenges. I deal with a bad hip and short leg, Fibromyalgia, scoliosis, asthma, irritable bowel, and a few other diagnoses. I’ve lived with pain all my life. Having strong muscles to support my body equates to less pain. When I workout, I feel strong. Not only physically, but mentally and emotionally too. I am better able to “function”.

As a child athlete, I’d always been in decent shape. I didn’t realize all those years of soccer, gymnastics, skating, tennis, biking, hockey, etc. were actually like pain medicine. When I stopped doing all of those activities, the pain increased, I didn’t know why. I was young and didn’t think about how my body worked. I didn’t think about the everyday function of my body. I didn’t think that all those activities were keeping my muscles strong and “functioning”.

I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia at 25, just weeks before starting nursing school. I was told to decrease my stress and exercise more. HAHAHA. That was an oxymoron knowing what the demands of nursing school were going to be. I didn’t workout, but I did work, as a waitress, the physical demands of the job helped to keep me strong in some ways but sure didn’t help that back pain. I was functioning, but barely.

I’ve learned a bit since that initial Fibro diagnosis. I’ve struggled with my pain, my sleep, my stomach, my hip, my anxiety, my ADHD, and that little voice in my head that doesn’t always believe in me (she’s not nice). I made sacrifices. I missed opportunities with loved ones. I missed opportunities to learn. I missed opportunities to enjoy my life… because I wasn’t functioning.

I’ve learned that the secret to dealing with chronic disease is maintaining “function”.

So, my goal is “functional fitness”… What does that mean? It means keeping my body functioning the best it can with all the stressors that life brings. Life is not going to stop and allow me to regroup and take breaks, it just keeps on happening. If I’m not happening with it, I’m losing. When I’m losing, I’m not functioning at my best. See the circle there?

So, what do I do? Strength training, core training, yoga, pilates, workouts that keep my body functioning. When I say functioning, I mean, full range of motion in my joints, no pain (or very little), a digestive system that absorbs nutrition and eliminates toxins, a sleep schedule that doesn’t leave me tossing and turning at night, a life that I can enjoy with the people that I love. That isn’t the way it’s always been, and it’s not fun to not function.

Non-functional means pain. Non-functional means sleepless nights. Non-functional means exhausting days. Non-functioning means missing important events and milestones. Non-functioning to me… means not living. It’s depressing and demoralizing, and I didn’t like it. That’s why I speak out about my health and how I’ve started to save myself.

In saving myself, I’ve saved my marriage and my family. In saving myself, I’ve also learned how to make my family healthier and happier. I’ve learned how to help them avoid chronic illness and disease, or at least how to make it more “functional” and that’s not easy.

Today, I wanted to share all this with you. The ones that believe in me. I want you to believe in you too. I’m an example of what you can be. I’m also willing to help you figure out the secrets I needed to figure out. I share a lot of those secrets in my health and wellness articles.  I also share a lot as a Health Coach because I enjoy helping people feel better. It helps me believe there is hope in the world. If I can help one person feel better, I can help two. And, one by one, we can make our world a happier and healthier and more functional place. That works for me, and I think it just might work for you too.

Enjoy the Journey, Friends… that’s what it’s all about!

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Dear 17 (there’s always more;)

img_8455Dear 17,

Those that die…  they don’t want to… not really …

They just don’t know what else to do…

It’s not that nobody is listening…

It’s that nobody hears…

Nobody has time to really absorb the impact, the compound effect of what’s happening…

The words are never clear, or never clear enough…

But, TRUST ME…

NONE of us want to die…

You’ll learn… it’s gets all too real…

Love YOU & who YOU are!

Love,

Me

PS ; THERE IS ALWAYS MORE TO YOUR STORY!

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Dear 17, (starting and stopping)

Dear 17, (starting and stopping)courage is the absence of fear

You’ll start with the greatest excitement! It makes you tingle. IT’S FUN! You know what I’m talking about. You’ve always been this way. Like the day you got your driver’s license. No more taking the car when you shouldn’t. You got lucky on that one, you won’t always be so lucky.

Actually, one thing you should know… we create our own luck. I’m still learning that at 46.

Sooner or later, the excitement wears off…. Sometimes it’s the monotony, sometimes you think it’s too hard (that damn anxiety and self esteem thing again), or maybe someone doesn’t think your excitement is warranted and you take it to heart.

That’s when the trouble starts. You will let it get to you. It will devastate you. It will STEAL days from your life, DON’T LET IT!! I say that now, but I still let it. I still have to talk myself down. We’re just sensitive. It’s a good thing though, trust me.

It will take you years to understand how sensitive you are. You will accept it, but at the same time, take offense to anyone that tries to use it against you. Problem is, it’s too late once they step inside your space. You react. You can’t help it… It’s a defense mechanism. You learned all about it in college in one of your psych classes, there were plenty. Ha, I love psychology, you’ll see Enjoy the classes, pay attention just a little bit more, it helps you navigate through life more than you realize.

About the sensitive-reacting part, that’s gonna be a problem. That’s the stopping and starting catalyst!! Ugh, I wish I could help you learn… I’m still learning, guess I always will be. Aren’t we all?

Your biggest problem… you let your reaction to the outside world consume you. It changes you.

It changes your relationships.

It changes your thinking.

It changes your ability to think.

It changes your ability to function.

You basically shut down.

Kate, you need to get over that shit… you lose days of your life!! It’s NOT healthy. It’s toxic. I know it’s the anxiety. I wish we knew then what I know now. (sigh)

The shut down, that’s the anxiety. It interferes with your whole world. It’s ugly and it hurts. It’s heavy, the weight may not be visible, but it’s there and it’s real. When you finally figure out how to lift it off of you, you realize how heavy and consuming it actually is. You only realize the weight when you feel the weight lift. It won’t lift until you finally address it and do something about it. That’s the hard part. That takes strength.

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It’s ok to be afraid…

Strength isn’t something we have. It isn’t something that people are. Strength is something that people earn. Strong is something people become. And you will. You are so much stronger than you know. You will prove that to yourself over and over again. I will still take decades for you to really believe it though.

You see, at 17 you’re still learning who you are and what life is all about. Being a kid and growing up is the “learning” part, it takes years, even more than those arbitrary 18 years that precede “adulthood.”

Adulting is hard shit! Enjoy your youth. I wish you knew how much you need to enjoy your youth, we all do. We make it too serious, and it doesn’t have to be that way. I think we’d all be a lot healthier and happier if childhood wasn’t so serious. #lessons

Make life work for you, my dear. Hold your head up. Face your fears. Share your strengths. Share your wisdom. Help others. It will all help you be who you want to be.

only impossible journeyThe only things you cannot accomplish are the things you don’t attempt. #truth

We’ll chat again soon, promise.

Love,

Me

Dear 17 (that d@~m hip)

Dear 17, (that d@~m right hip)

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You WILL get stronger!

You laugh, but it bothers you. That’s a defense mechanism. You’ll learn more about that during college when you get your psych degree.

You jokingly say, “yea, that’s my birth defect” thinking that it doesn’t have an effect on you, it does. It has more of an effect than you think.

When your friend rides behind you biking when you’re in middle school and says, “Hey, are your legs different sizes?”

OMG, EMBARRASSING!!!!

What do you say, accept, yep, “that’s my birth defect hahaha”… not funny.

You know your legs are different because your hips were twisted at birth, as an OB RN/PED RN/Ped NP, I think it was probably hip dysphasia. Who knows, the documentation was different back then.

You know you had casts from your hips to your toes when you were 1  month old for the next 30 days of your life. Then, braces until we walked. I’m glad we don’t remember. The stories they tell seem like they’re talking about someone else, until we look at our legs… fullsizeoutput_45d2

You think it’s worse because you favor the left one.. gymnastics dominantly left legged, driving a stick shift, etc.

Oh, Sweetheart… it’s not the clutch that makes your leg bigger, it’s not the cartwheels and round offs either. It truly is a birth defect, and you need NOT be embarrassed about it. You hear me?

It will take a lot of pain, emotional and physical… “Mom, it hurts when I vacuum,” scoliosis, muscle spasms, pulled muscles, shoe lifts… oh, the shoe lifts (eye roll) that you ABSOLUTELY POSITIVELY REFUSE to wear on your shoes.

OH. HELL. NO! What will everyone think? I already can’t keep up. I WILL NOT put that on my shoe for everyone to see. I’ll suffer.

Ah, youth. We suffer either way. We would have suffered with the lift too, so tit for tat.

So, the back pain continues, the hip pain continues, and the stomach pain (whole different letter, and we’ll get to that) continues. Your self-esteem will plummet, you will think it’s your fought and you should do better, you know better but that doesn’t matter. You come from a good family. You have every advantage in the world. But do you? Really? Maybe. Maybe not. Only you know. But you don’t know. That’s the problem.

You are never sure; you just don’t know, you’re afraid to know… it freezes you. Literally. What if what you know is wrong? What if you don’t do the right thing? (Heartbreak of the future: Josh is the same way. It kills me. I feel it for us at 12, 17, 23, 27, 35, and I don’t want it to hold him back too. Maybe I can make a diff. Maybe I can take what I know now and help him.)

We know almost nothing at 17, that’s why I’m writing these letters. I have so much to say, and I’m not sure how to get it out. So, I’m writing… to you.

Back to that hip, it’s gonna get worse… you won’t realize it’s your hip for years. You will pull your groin muscle… oh… duh, you’re 17, you’ve already played most of your high school field hockey career. Wish I could tell you to play at Towson U. To not be afraid. To realize you were just as good as everyone else. Why would you think you weren’t? The leg. Your hip. Your back. Your self esteem. Your anxiety. It always comes back to the damn anxiety… and the anxiety stems from physical issues that aren’t being addressed (the hip is just one of them). That unknown and uncontrolled anxiety will cause decades of pain.

Here’s the good part, you will eventually figure it out… It takes a long f^@%ing time, excuse my French. We suffer long and hard as we figure it out. It takes years. Problems with our health and problems with Joshua’s health, intellect, development, it gets pretty bad. It almost destroys us, the family us. Know you are strong enough to get through it and be better for it. Trust me. Trust us. Trust you. 😉

I guess you realize this isn’t just about that right hip. I’m writing this to help you understand how BIG the LITTLE things can be. In my early adult years, there was a book that was published called Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff, some of the small stuff/ the emotional small stuff needs to be sweated. (I don’t think that’s really a word, but this is my letter, so it is now.) We need to quit telling people to suck it up. I guess that’s what I’m trying to say.

Sometimes, you need to accept your weaknesses, your challenges, the imperfections that are perfectly normal and who you are.

So, understand, that the hip is gonna get worse, orthopods will say you have a “shallow acetabulum yhada yhada yhada…”. Nobody will really help until you find Dr. D, the osteopath that helps you. And, she helps you figure out it’s not just you, she helps you figure out a little about Josh too, it’s not just you mama. (Insert another eye roll, the mysteries take years to unravel.)

Know that hip will limit you. It will stop you. You will use it as an excuse. You won’t understand the problem for so many years, that “yea, haha, it’s just my birth defect” is really a lot more… the effects compound.

All of the things in our life that stay with us day to day compound. Hence, The Compound Effect. You’ll learn about that one over time too, life compounds in every possible way, count on it, and plan for it.

Stay tuned; I’ll fill you in a little at a time as we go along.

Love,

Me.

P.S. btw- We are all crooked, just in different ways, it’s not just you, my dear. Truth. 😉

I am strong

It could be me, but it’s my girl. Our girl. She’s amazing!

 

 

Dear 17, (re: sleep, adhd, anxiety, Mo)

DEAR 17

(RE: Sleep. ADHD. ANXIETY. Mo.)
fullsizeoutput_593Mo: I don’t know where or when I learned it, but I learned to just go to sleep.

Me: That’s it…. That’s the problem, I didn’t. I never learned how to go to sleep.

Mo: I know. I see it. I can fall asleep anywhere, anytime. It’s great.

Me: If something is on my mind, my ADHD brain won’t shut down; I’m up for hours trying to figure it out or get it out. When I do go to sleep, my anxiety wakes me up worrying about what I need to do and I can’t go back to sleep worrying that I’ll forget to do it! It’s a VICIOUS CYCLE. I hate it. It’s a very unpleasant world to live in. It never goes away either. But, I do it, I deal with it, so yea, that…

 


I wish you could know that’s what it is. It would save so much of you. If only I could tell you that’s what all those sleepless nights are from. ADHD and Anxiety. Sorry. It’s gonna hurt for a while until you figure it out.

Oh, yea. Morgan. 🙂 He’s still here. There will be quite a hiatus, but it all works out in the end. Enjoy what you learn while you fly solo.

Truly though, we never do quite get over Morgan, good thing too. He takes damn good care of us. As you see by the convo above (btw- you’re 46 now). You and Morgan are the best of friends closer than any of your other friends, you are each other’s center. Damn good thing too, you won’t be able to live without him, and sometimes you’ll want to lock him out of the house. You will once or twice. But seriously, trust the bond.

If he wasn’t here, we would seriously fall part. Not just the heartache part, we’ve already lived that one, it will never be as hard as the first time, trust me. It hurts each time, but you’ll outgrow that part a little each time too. The heartache is livable; it’s the day to day taking care of one another that you won’t be able to live without. Not just because you love him, but because you need him. He fills in your blanks. He knows where to support that ‘effn ADHD and anxiety stuff. It really does interrupt our world. He’s there to catch us when we fall. He makes us look damn good.

Step back when you need to, but fight for that shit, you hear me! He’s willing to deal with all our BS, maybe because he knows he has his own. Don’t we all. You don’t even know yet, but you’ll learn. He’s ours, don’t let the next few years worry you too much. You can hold your own. You’ll get some support, take it. Enjoy life. You only live your 20s once. Oh, jeez, sorry, you have no idea what I’m talking about. Just don’t blink.

So, also, a little heads up on that ADHD and Anxiety thing… it’s gonna get in the way, it will take you a while to figure out, but you’ll still succeed, you don’t have a choice. None of us do, and somehow you figure that out. Follow your gut… most of the time, 😉

That’s all I have for now. I’ll be sure to fill you in more as it comes to me. I’ve got a few other things written down, not so sure I’m ready to share ALL THAT yet though. You know. It’s still pretty fresh for you right now.

As these thoughts come to me, I’m writing them down. I wish you could really read them. Who knows, maybe, someday you will and that’s why I’m sitting here writing them.

More soon.

Love you, Me.

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Some random Sunday out enjoying the Shore and some music.

 

Dear 17,

Dear 17,

You will have amazing kids, they need somebody like you. Not you at 17, but you later. The “you” you become. Let me tell you what I mean…

You are clueless. You will go through life that way… not your fault, we all do. We never know if our decisions are right until they are done.

At 17, you don’t even know what life is yet, really. This, all this life that you’re living at 17, it’s all just part of the lesson, part of learning what life is. All the heartaches, triumphs, anxiety, fears, growing pains, it’s all just a way for  you to learn. Learn how to not be quite so clueless.

One of the hardest lessons is learning HOW to make mistakes. Sure it seems easy, but trust me, there’s more to it. You see, those mistakes are the key to NOT being clueless. Without making those mistakes, you WILL be clueless forever. MAKE MISTAKES, lots of them, they are your lessons.

Follow that love of knowledge that you have, that love of helping and giving to others, that love of adventure, and especially whatever that instinct is you have to “try anything once” – that’s a youth thing and one you might not want to outgrow as quickly as I know you will.

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Don’t be afraid. 

What doesn’t kill you really does make you stronger. Won’t seem like it at the time, but truer truths will never be spoken.

Anything worth having is worth working for. At 17, I know you already say “anything worth having is worth fighting for”… wait until you really have to mean it. Watch what you fight for vs. what you work for. Hard work will get you further, and build your character. Fighting will do just the opposite. Always choose positivity over negativity. ALWAYS.

Anxiety WILL stop you. It will slow you down sometimes, and it will paralyze you others. It is actually going to change the course of your life. DEAL WITH IT. Once you figure it out, then, you can really deal with it, and really help others. Trust me on this one. 😉

The whole anxiety thing is going to take until your mid-30s for you to even recognize that it is the catalyst for so many of the interferences in your life. Suck it up, buttercup, and keep moving forward. It’s ok. It’s gonna piss you off. Figure out how to deal with it. Anything having is worth fighting for, right? 😉 Then, and only then, will you realize your path…

Greatness isn’t something you are born with (no matter what your bloodline).

Greatness is something you have to discover within yourself. You must be open to it. Seeking. Less afraid to make mistakes. (This is why you have to deal with that anxiety.) You’ll make enough mistakes to start to get over them, trust me. Mistakes are just lessons we haven’t mastered.

NEVER STOP SEEKING YOUR GREATNESS… this is the whole “wisdom with age” thing everyone speaks of. You’ll be in your 40s before you know this truth. Nine years of college and graduate studies will not do it for you, those years will aid you, but the struggle is yours alone.

I have so much more to tell you, but most of it you’re going to have to figure out on your own. DON’T let it scare you. The scared ones are the ones that rarely, if ever, find their greatness.

More later.

Love, Me. fullsizeoutput_38eb

Work Hard. Be anything you want to be… #whatajoke #iamconfused #nowwhat

If we work, we will succeed, and be rewarded. WHAT A FUCKING JOKE!

We grew up in a time that hard work meant you could do and achieve anything. So, we worked hard. That was the American way. You went to college, you worked in trade, you went in the service. You gave back. That’s what America is. img_3118

So, we did that. We gave back to our communities. We started to have families, and then we gave back to the community even more when we had children. As parents you want to build your community up for your children. Children do that to you, and for you. It’s about something bigger than you.

So, I worked hard, I had faith, I tried to give back, I tried to be happy (and I have been), I tried to live the life we were told we could live… and be successful. #whatajoke

It’s not true. For so many of us, it was a lie. We worked hard, we started families, we bought and built houses to provide for that family. That was our primary goal, take care of and build and spend time with the family.

Somewhere along the line, things broke… we couldn’t continue to live the way we were living. Things were more expensive. Things like shirts and pants, cheese, milk, gas, haircuts, cribs, diapers, childcare, dance lessons, sports, insurance (health, car, home, pick one), things insurance didn’t pay for, don’t even get me started on taxes (as smoke comes out of my ears)… and don’t we at least get a weekend away sometimes that doesn’t cost a thousand freakin’ dollars?

Overnight, our paychecks didn’t pay our bills. How did that happen??? I played by the rules.

We’re a 2 income family, doesn’t that mean we’re the ones working harder and should be able to get ahead. Isn’t that the whole idea of working??? Isn’t that what that Women’s Lib movement and “burn the bras” was all about? Sometimes, I wish I lived back then, maybe I’d understand it better. I’m thinking not though. Most of those bra burners put their bras back on, drove their station wagons, raised their kids and are now snow birding in the Sunshine State while the rest of us lose our everloving minds trying to keep it all together. WTF? How did that happen?

WHY did working since I was 14, even through most of my college and grad school years (minus the nursing school part, God Bless my Grandma Lorraine) NOT PAY OFF? I worked my ass off so that when my kids needed me I had a job that was only part time or at home or I had saved enough to be available for them.

WHAT A FUCKING JOKE IT ALL WAS!

Apparently, the jokes on me and many of my generation. WE TOTALLY BOUGHT IT!!! And, now I’m paying for it, and I know many of my friends are too. Nobody can get ahead in this economy if they have school debt, health care cost debt, health issues (so many do) and try to live a healthy lifestyle to remedy or avoid those health issues.

When I say a “Healthy lifestyle,” I mean, affording healthy food, time to exercise, time to work, time for family, time to troubleshoot the ups and downs of life, time to decompress, time and money for a vacation, the opportunity to get ahead. Is that so bad? Isn’t that life? What am I asking for that I haven’t earned? I’m confused. If this is what’s expected, we might as well succumb to a life of pain, illness, stress and shorter lifespans. I for one refuse to submit.

I know there is a whole adult generation younger than me now, and they don’t have the same experiences. I have friends with grown kids crying because things in society (specifically this ignorant election of 2016) don’t go their way. Many don’t see why everything can’t be free? Have we dumbed down our society to the point that they don’t realize that somebody has to pay for it? Who’s that supposed to be?

A family that makes $80k a year can’t afford $20k in health care, 30% in income taxes, another significant percentage on property taxes, utilities, groceries, home/car insurance, pets, vacations, sports, home maintenance, clothing, savings, school, etc… That doesn’t end in a balanced budget. This is why the middle class is slipping.

So, now what do we do??? #bethechange

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