The Beauty of An Orlando Parking Lot Run

Even though two nights ago I literally got zero hours of sleep, I decided to go for a run tonight. “I’m in Orlando,” I thought, “I can finally run outside.” Since I’d had to wake up at 4:30am for the flight to Orlando, I figured I might as well get a little ‘Orlando time’ in. After all, I’d been working inside an Orlando convention hall for 11 hour days, two days in a row. The outside world had to be better than that.

But it wasn’t. The second I was outside, I ran into what amounted to a giant parking lot lined with stores and hotels. There wasn’t really anywhere to run that didn’t put me onto a highway or into the sides of parked cars.

So I decided to move in a circle. “That’s Orlando for you,” I thought, picking up my pace. My first racing loop was around 8 minutes, and I wanted to run for at least 30. So I began a second loop. I found a side road that was maybe almost a sidewalk which ended eventually but added depth to my loop.

It was dark outside but still warm and a light misty rain began to fall. It felt really good to be outside. I ran past dim windows with people playing pool, a Hooters with staff hovering by the cash register, a Disney Gift shop, a ‘supermarket’ that mainly sold soda and beer. I ran past our cheap Comfort Inn pool- which had a waterslide that was built into a fake rock. “This is really the Orlando experience,” I thought. And I laughed, and I ran. And a light, sticky happiness filled me up inside.

I felt happy to be in the heat, in the misty rain, listening to my Spotify Discover Weekly, running by the side of the road, past a Denny’s and a Cici’s pizza. I felt happy to breeze by the window of a tacky Irish Pub with not one, but two Cornhole games outside. I felt happy to be outside in Orlando, past another one of its lit up fountains, in all the glorious tackiness which I usually roll my eyes at.

I don’t know why a smile hovered on my lips instead of a breeze of complaints. I don’t know how that Orlando parking lot remained beautiful for the dusky fade of a half hour. Who knows. But I guess that happens sometimes. It happens.

 

 

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What Are You Waiting For In Your Thirties?

Sorry for the long post delay. I feel like I’ve waited way too long- which is the theme of this post.

Do you ever feel like you’re waiting around for that day when your life will get much better? For that moment you are finally in the shape of your life? For the year you can quit your job and retire? For that future time period when you can travel the world? And then you can be happy?

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Sometimes I catch myself waiting in this way. But what I’ve learned this year is that it’s almost impossible to be happy later if you can’t be happy now. I feel like I’ve spent a lot of my life worrying- it’s my go to habit. I can feel myself clenching up sometimes, preparing for the worst. I guess I’ve always felt like somehow my anxiety helps me to get things done.

However, lately, when I focus on manually taking down my anxiety levels and allowing myself to be happy now, I still get things done. I don’t fall into a valley of hedonism like I’ve been afraid of doing. Nothing falls apart because- god forbid- I haven’t worried about it today. My anxiety hasn’t seemed to be necessary to have a productive day.

This lack-of-waiting-to- be-happy mentality brought up thoughts of another trip with Jane. We haven’t taken a trip together just for fun in over seven years. Last time we went to Austin, so this time we picked the equally bizarre city of Portland, and it was wonderful.

At first it felt weird planning a trip purely for fun, but why wait?And why not? We just got back yesterday night, and we were so happy we’d made the leap, took the trip, and didn’t wait for some ‘better time’ in the future.

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First night in Portland!

You are allowed to enjoy life right now. Choose happiness right this moment. Of course you will feel sad and anxious sometimes, and that’s absolutely okay and actually good and normal. But anxiety doesn’t need to be the status quo. You can feel all the feels. But you don’t have to stay miserable..or anxiously await a better time.The future is uncertain. Choose to be happy now. What are you waiting for?

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Blue Star Donuts!

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Voodoo!

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Portland Love!

Being Single on Valentines Day in Your Thirties

This is the first time in 8 years that I’ll be single on Valentines Day.

And now I’m 30- an age where I watch many of my friends not only go out with their significant other for V-Day, but also get married and have (multiple) babies. I watch relationships bloom all around me, like the red rose bouquets popping up everywhere this time of year.

Is this familiar to you? Are you in your thirties and single and wondering what this holiday means for you..if anything? Are you single on what Hallmark and others call ‘the most romantic day of the year?’

Last Valentines Day, if you told me I’d be single this year, on this day, I might have cried. Correction- I would have most definitely cried. I would have wailed. I would have said ‘oh god, what am I going to do? What’s wrong with me? How can I prevent this from happening? How am I going to fix this?’ I would have felt lost. I would have felt desperately alone.

I can put myself right back into that mindset: lost, alone. That thought pattern still comes and goes in waves. I know exactly what it’s like to cling onto something, to clutch onto a belief that doesn’t feel true anymore or bring happiness anymore, for fear that there’s something even worse out there.. something way more scary: the unknown. And being alone.

Yet here I am. The unknown has arrived. It’s Valentines Day eve and I’m 30 and I’m here and I’m single.

And I feel… happy.

It’s a warm, glowing feeling- subtle. Soft. Unexpected. There’s something different about this happiness- there’s a strength in it. It’s a flaming ember in my chest that feels clearer than ever. And I don’t feel alone when I thought I’d be the absolute most alone in my life.

And I get what it means when people say to face your fears and jump into the unknown: sometimes the unknown is better than the desperately unfulfilling familiar. Or the known that doesn’t work for you.

So I’m embracing being single on Valentines Day! I’ll shout it loud and clear: Who cares that I’m 30 and single? I’m also 30 and happy!

So if you’re single on Valentines Day and you’re in your thirties, who cares? It’s okay! In fact, it’s awesome!  You don’t need to be in a relationship to claim Valentines Day as your own. Needing to be in a relationship in your 30s, 40s, 50s, 20s (any age) in order to be worthy is a ridiculous myth! You’re already extremely worthy!

So give yourself some love this Valentines Day. Buy yourself flowers, get yourself wine, take yourself to a movie, hang out with friends, or hang out alone!

Or if you don’t feel happy that you’re single- that’s okay too. Claim it! Have an Anti-Valentines Day party! Or ignore the day and sit home and watch Netflix all night- there’s some good stuff on.

And discover micro-moments of love and connection that can happen all the time– with total strangers! The linked article above talks about how “true love is not contained to long-term romance, but can happen in an instant, between anyone.” Or anything! It can even happen between you and nature- your surroundings. Go ahead- fall in love on the bus! Enjoy love throughout your day without saying a word! And send love to others! You’re never alone. Really.

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