Coloring on the Blank Pages of Life

When I was little I liked coloring books. Know why? Because the “art” was already laid out for you. All I had to do was pick up my crayon and color inside the lines and I had an instant masterpiece. There wasn’t any creativity or real talent involved, just fill in the blanks. Even better was color by number because those told you what colors went in what areas so it was guaranteed to come out looking just perfect. No surprise that I am still a “rule follower” personality type, huh?

I’ve come to realize that for the first time in my whole damn life I’m coloring on a blank page. And it scares the shit out of me.
Life is suppose to follow the plan:
*graduate high school…check
*go to college…check
*graduate said college…check
*get married…check
*get a Master’s Degree…check
*get a good job..check
*buy a house and get a dog…check
*have a baby and live happily ever after…oops.
The plan derailed. No mention of my big fat divorce in that plan.

My coloring book life had a misprint, but I feel like I picked the pages up and stuck them back together as best as I could at that point. I started a new book and a new outlook. This book looked a little more like connect the dots then color by number, but I was learning to be ok with that. I’ve never been one to accept change easily (and that my friends is the understatement of the year) but I had a rough idea of where I was going and I just had to work a little harder to make the picture appear.

Now that there are no more dots to connect and no more pictures to color I’m left with blank pages in my coloring book. For the first time in all of my 30 years I have no clue where I am going or what I am doing. I have a degree and a job. I have the most supportive parents on the planet. But otherwise it’s page after page after page of blank paper. I have no guidelines on where to go. A lot of people would find this really exciting, a “choose your own adventure” situation, to continue this terrible metaphor. Me? I’m scared out of my mind. I feel lost without a plan. I will let go of the anger and bitterness and resentment of not being able to connect all of those dots when I thought I was remaking my coloring book. It gets a little easier as the days pass. But the emotion looming is just the simple fear of the unknown on all those blank pages. I’m not one to travel without a map, and life is a pretty big adventure to tackle without an itinerary.

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Delayed Gratification

Do you know Chocolate Covered Katie? If not, you should. Healthy desserts? Many vegan? I’m in.

Sometime ago, I pinned this recipe for Peach Breakfast Bake. I have a not-so-secret love affair with peaches and more recently with nectarines. Seriously, my addiction to nectarines might be reaching intervention level soon. But they are a superfood! Not when you overdose, Becky. Anyway, I decided there was no way I was going to wait 45 minutes first thing in the morning for this bad boy to bake, so I popped it into the oven last night. Let me tell you that it took every ounce of restraint I had not to gobble it up and “Screw you Breakfast! You can have eggs!” It smelled heavenly and made my whole apartment smell heavenly. But I was a good girl and left it until this morning when I woke up with drool practically hanging to my knees.

As you can see, I put it over plain yogurt, but honestly, I think vanilla would have been better, and ice cream would have been best. I’m not opposed to eating ice cream for breakfast, I just don’t have any. The recipe says it makes 3 servings. 3 servings for who? Elves? Must be for people who don’t like food! I will admit to being a glutton who ate the whole pan. I tried to kid myself by only taking half, but I knew that wasn’t going to do it. My nectarine fetish kicked it the minute my tongue got a hint of that sweet goodness and I had to finish off every single crumb.

Now for my alterations:

-I only used 1 tbsp of brown sugar in the topping and no other sweetener anywhere else. Peaches are sweet.

– I used crushed rice chex since that’s what I had and it’s going stale anyway.

-I used 1 peach and 1 nectarine, again because it’s what I had. Probably could have used 1 more piece of fruit.

-No margarine for me (ick!) I used coconut oil. (margarine and soy “cheese” is where I start crossing hairs with vegans on the “healthiness” of lifestyles)

This recipe is a keeper. And seriously, go check out CCK’s other recipes. And nectarines. Eat more nectarines.

No Excuses, But Maybe a Little Forgiveness

I am a total list maker. I mean, a queen of list makers. I make lists of things to make lists of. This was my “To Do” list for this weekend:

See anything that stands out? I got a lot done! But what I didn’t get to was the work out. I’m getting ready to go out of town soon, so I had a lot I needed to get done in preparation for that, and I had household chores that needed done too. (And the haircut involved a 45 minute drive each way.) This was one jam packed weekend. I was really feeling guilty about not getting the work out done though. I told my best buddy (and work out accountability partner) that I didn’t make it this weekend. He asked me when the last time I missed a Saturday workout was. I can’t remember. He also asked me what I did instead of working out. I had good excuses, but they were all excuses. My friend then told me what I needed to hear most, it’s ok to miss one sometimes because Life Happens. He reminded me that I said this to him when he started a new job that was running him 60 hours a week for a while. BUT! You have to keep going.

This is not an opportunity to fall off the workout wagon. The old me would have skipped this weekend and then skipped this whole week doing the rest of the stuff on this list (you see I didn’t get any of the cooking done either but managed to shop ok!), then skipped the week I’m on vacation, then who knows when or if I would be back to exercise. I will not allow old habits to creep back in. I have noticed that they do that sometimes on the sly when I don’t realize it. As for this weekend, I will not make excuses for missing my workout, but I will forgive myself and not worry about it because I know I will be back at the gym tomorrow. I even bought a pair of weight lifting gloves on my little shopping trip 😉

To Infinity and Beyond

“We can never judge where we will be tomorrow by where we are today.”

This last year has been a year of massive personal change for me. In fact, that last sentence might be is an understatement. I’ve been through a separation and am preparing to finalize my divorce in the coming month. I have sold the home my husband and I bought together and said goodbye to the dreams that went with it as well. I have moved 30 some odd miles up the road to a new city and into a much smaller apartment closer to work. I have said goodbye to processed foods, artificial coloring, flavoring, and sweeteners, chemical additives, and most white flour and sugar. I have pretty much written off alcohol and have cut way back on the amount of caffeine in my life. Exercise has gone from being something I do because I should, do something I do because I want to. My body has let go of close to 40 pounds of dead weight. My outlook on life has switched from a glass is half empty to glass is overflowing full of good because I choose to make it that way. I have become an active participant in my own destiny rather than watching life float by me. I can’t begin to describe how much I have changed mentally.

We are truly only limited by our own boundaries, as I have come to realize.  What I can do today is not an indication of what I can do tomorrow. Tomorrow has its own possibilities. Stop and think about that for a minute. On your worst day, the day you think you have f-ed up the worst of the worst, everything that could go wrong has, you still have the chance to start all over again in the morning. Just like the phoenix, you can rise from the burnt ashes of who you are today to become something new and amazing tomorrow. And if today has already been amazing, that’s not the upper limit. You can continue to advance higher than today’s aspirations by grabbing tomorrow by the horns. To quote an awesome superhero, you really can go “to infinity and beyond” as long as you don’t limit yourself. 

If I judged my tomorrow by today I would still be 200 pounds and a size 18. I would still be sullen about how I was unhappy and there was nothing I could do about it. I would still be drowning my sorrows in a bottle and getting my wings with Red Bull.  Instead, I listened when that little voice inside me spoke up and said, “NOW, change your life NOW or never.” And now my tomorrows all look awesome. They look awesome because I choose to see them as awesome.

I’m looking at another set of personal crossroads in my windshield right now. It’s a ways off in the distance, but I know it’s approaching. Normally something so big would be a major source of apprehension for me…or I would shove it off as a “no way Josè” kind of situation. But with this outlook in mind, I am really trying not to judge the chance to change my tomorrow based on my today. I know that If can look at all the possibilities with an open mind, there is a chance for real change for me. I just have to be open to seeing it.