Are we there yet?

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When I was a married woman, my life seemed to fit into this perfectly wrapped box. It was a package deal. All inclusive. The corners of that box were dented and rough along the edges, but the contents never changed. I knew exactly what was expected of me, day after day. 

The list: Get married ✔️, Finish college ✔️, Establish a career ✔️, settle down somewhere ✔️, buy a house (negative), have kids (negative). 

That didn’t all work out exactly as described in the package I purchased. After all, I was just 19 and the whole package was only $50, limo included. “What did you expect..”they say. “It’s Vegas!” Biggest gamble and lesson of my life by far. However, I can honestly say I’ve  never been more grateful for such a disappointment.

No, the white picket fence dream was never mine. It was never meant for me, and that’s ok. I know that now. I’ve known that for a while.

Today, I have the best friends you could ask for, a beautiful, warm home to live in, a car that still runs efficiently after 10 years, 2 college degrees ( and the loans to prove it). I’m even blessed somehow with an amazing man who treats me like some form of an endangered species! ❤

 I have a great career, one that I’m proud of and one that I could actually retire from. Yes, it’s exhausting but that’s because I actually care about what I do. I’ve traveled some, I’ve grown some. In all calculated aspects, I am pretty damn happy! Anyone who knows me at all knows that I have fought like hell to get here. Everything I have, I have built for myself, from myself.

So why do I feel so lost here by myself? Where am I going? Am I there yet…?

That’s the funny thing about once you get everything you THOUGHT you ever wanted. You are all packed up in the car and you’re just sitting behind the steering wheel with absolutely no other destination. You didn’t actually plan to get this far!  You just thought having all of the parts would make the journey complete. 

” If I could just get this one job….” 

” If I can just ace this last class…”

” If I could just find a place that feels like home…”

” If I made just a little more money…”

” If I found the perfect guy..”

Now what? 

Where the hell am I going and will I even know when I finally get there? These are the questions I ponder. These are the things I don’t say out loud. These are my first world problems. Is everything perfect in my life? Not even close! But then again, that’s what makes it mine.

Truthfully, it’s not really about where you end up is it? It’s more about the journey itself. Who we meet, who we become, what we learn along the way, the way we DO better once we KNOW better.

 I don’t know where I’m going, but I’m enjoying the sound of things not meant for me lost in the wind. I’m pleased with my present company, and excited for wherever we end up. I’m actually happily incomplete. 

So the next time you think to yourself; ” If I could just lose weight…” ” If I could just have a baby..” ” If I could just do more… be more..”. Imagine you have it. You have all of it. Now what? 

None of it will make you anymore complete because most things we think that we need are only souvenirs, or small pieces to the big never ending map of life. Some pieces are huge! Friends, family, heartache, love, loss; everything else,we could live without and end up on the same journey, just a little less distracted by all the What Ifs…

Xoxo 

Reflection – 2016 Year End

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Earlier this year, I decided my word for 2016 would be “Present”, as in being actively present in life and all parts of it. The good and the bad. As a result, I believe 2016 has felt like one of the longest and most intense years of my life. If this year were a cocktail, I’d call it Crazy Mary. Yes, that is a Pearl Jam song.

“One night thunder cracked. Mercy backed outside her windowsill.
Dreamed I was flying high above the trees over the hills.
Looked down into the house of Mary.
Bare bulb on Newspaper covered walls. And Mary rising up above it all.
Oh… Oh… Oh…
Next morning on the way into town saw some skid marks and followed them around.
Over the curve, through the fields, into the house of Mary.
That what you fear the most could meet you halfway.”

That last line strikes a true chord in me. “That what you fear the most could meet you halfway.” Whether you are terrified of success or failure, love or heartbreak, what you know for sure and what you know nothing about at all; whatever it is, it could meet you halfway. That’s  both a frightening and reassuring statement to consider. It’s like saying whatever happens, it’s going to hurt eventually because it matters… but if you are willing to go for it, if you’re willing to really put yourself out there (balls to the wall), then it could meet you halfway. Isn’t that better than never having it? Never knowing? Living the same day over and over again like a bad Justin Bieber song….for the love, someone change the station!!

Oh wait, it’s you, you have to change the station if you want to experience something new. You may not like it, it could even be worse, but it will be different. Change is good. Change is always good because we learn from it and knowedge is infinite.

I learned a lot this year…. some things I had to learn more than once. That’s just me. I’m very thorough you see. I don’t make the same mistake twice, I like to make it three or four times JUST to be sure ! (As the saying goes…) I’m also very stubborn and I wouldn’t want to be any other way.

With that said… let’s re-cap the 2016 Bucket List

1.) Go to Prom – Check!

Not only did my prom date kick ass, but Salt-N-Peppa were there to help us dance the night away in the proper decade! This was an awesome night and proves some of the best nights are worth the wait.
salt-n-peppa

 

2.) Road trip in a convertible – Check!

We were so excited about cruising around in the convertible that I never actually took any pictures of the car itself. Note: It was a Ford Mustang and a fabulous addition to this road trip!

3.) Go on tour with Pearl Jam – Check!

What better excuse for a road trip than to follow Pearl Jam around for a week? Alright, alright… so I know that doesn’t classify as actually going on tour with Pearl Jam …but just let me have this one, because it’s probably as close as I’ll ever get!

From Miami to Tampa with 2 of my favorite girls and my favorite band.

These shows were E P I C as always. I love you Pearl Jam! I love you Eddie! #yourbiggestfan

4.) Complete a half-marathon – Check!

kat.halfmarathon

Anchorage Mayor’s Half Marathon, 2 hours and 38 minutes. I am very proud of this accomplishment and I’m even contemplating a full marathon in the future. I said contemplating… don’t get all excited just yet.

5.)  Go somewhere in Alaska I’ve never been – Check!

Homer, Alaska. Beautiful waters, great halibut fishing and good times all around.


 

6.) Find a rainbow Eucalyptus tree – Check!

Maui, Hawaii


 

While we were in Maui, I also checked off:

#7: Travel the road to Hana and #8: Visit a new island.

My friend drove the road to Hana for us and I have to say it wasn’t as bad as people make it out to be. However, if you are easily car sick, this is not the drive for you. With that said, it’s a fine ride with the appropriate dose of Dramamine and the right people. That is until you pass Hana of course, and then you are basically SOL in a rented SUV. The previous twists and turns makes what lies after Hana look adorable. We turned around a mile or so away from the Seven Sacred Falls. Some things just belong on a post card! Here’s a bit of what we did see…


9.) Publish first novel – Epic fail. I did not do this for many reasons. Did I finish the book? Yes, I did. I just haven’t figured out if that’s how I want to end. I’m just not done. I don’t know if I ever will be as what’s in this book is all a very intricately weaved web of days gone by and days not yet had. More to come…

I didn’t really have a number 10 this year. I was just going to fly by the seat of my pants and see where things took me. Here’s how that has worked out:

  • Started backpack initiative for keeping the homeless warm. Donations have been received to date for this project and distribution is in the works with a local charity.
  • Set out to lose an additional 10 lbs, only 25 to go! Yes, I gained quite a bit of weight this year but I’ve also never felt healthier or happier. You win some, you lose some. Not always in pounds.
  • Brought my sister to Alaska for the first time! It was so much fun to introduce her to my beautiful world. I love her so much and so glad she got to see where I call home.
  • Fell in love. ❤ He’s like Christmas morning. Every time I see him, I feel like I’ve been waiting my whole life.
  • Let go of toxic relationships. If people in your life are consistently handing you the scissors, cut the chord.

So that’s where I am in Living Out Loud. Where are you? Do tell.

It’s been a great year! I can’t wait to see what 2017 holds.

xoxo

❤ Kat

Rainbows and Unicorns

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Life isn’t all rainbows and unicorns…. so “they” say.

One of the major items on my bucket list this year was to find a rainbow eucalyptus tree. Also known as “Mindanao gum” trees, these beauties can be found in most tropical or subtropical areas, including the beautiful paradise where I was so lucky to find them, known as Maui, Hawaii. These trees grow over 200 ft tall and have all different shapes and styles.The colors change with the season just like leaves do in the fall or a girl’s mood from month to month. At first glance, it looks like they have been painted, but when you approach them closely, you can actually see the colors are revealed by the bark breaking off. The thinner the bark, the brighter the colors seem to be.

If you find yourself in Maui on the road to Hana, you can’t help but see these just after mile marker 7. Take my advice and don’t do this in your flip flops…. you’ll go through an entire container of baby wipes trying to get the mud off your feet. Satisfaction mud, bucket list mud, but still…. mud. (http://www.treehugger.com/natural-sciences/nature-blows-my-mind-rainbow-covered-eucalyptus-deglupta-trees.html)

 

I didn’t find any unicorns, but that’s only because they are extinct. See for yourself:http://www.goodhousekeeping.com/life/entertainment/news/a37608/unicorns-are-real-fossils/

If Good Housekeeping says it’s true, you bet your matching cermaic bowls it is. Turns out they weren’t the shiny, magical type of creatures we had imagined….Elasmotherium was an extinct genus of giant rhinoceros native to Asia during the Pliocene through Pleistocene eras. Colour printed illustration by Heinrich Harder from Tiere der Urwelt Animals of the Prehistoric World, 1916 Hamburg. Heinrich Harder (1858-1935) was a German landscape artist and book illustrator. These images come from a series of prehistoric creature cards published by the Reichardt Cocoa company in 1908. Natural historian Wilhelm Bolsche wrote the descriptive text.

Well, you can’t have everything.

I very much enjoyed my trip to Maui even without the unicorns. There was plenty of other magical things to see. Waterfalls, sunsets, beautiful fish under water and even the Garden of Eden.

Even if you aren’t chasing rainbows and unicorns, make the most of out the adventures life sends to you. There is beauty in every mile.

xoxo

❤ Kat

For what it’s worth…

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Quote by William Leal by LovelyDayFleur on Etsy:

When is the last time you remember feeling inspired? It is rare and far between for me these days. I’ve been drowning in bad politics, media cocktails, numb interactions, work, routine, petty first world problems. I’ve also been consumed with love, friendships, happiness, memories, the fast pace of it all so fucking familiar… so messy. I haven’t really taken any time to just absorb it. To just sit and breathe it all in. We’re so damn busy trying to catch up that we forget to sit down, shut up and just be still in this life we have created. For some of us, that seems impossible. For others, that is completely uncomfortable because it’s not the life we imagined.

It seems there should always be more. Why am I not where I thought I would be? Why am I not better? How can I be more, do more, live more? Expectations can lead us blindly into the land of never enough. There is no value to anything there because there is no gravity of the present. Even if you sold your very soul in a place like that, you’d get only a fraction of its worth. The sooner you let go of what could have, might have… the less you’ve got to lose. That’s not to say you shouldn’t keep reaching for your goals or working towards your dream, but wake up every once in a while and cherish how far you’ve already come. Respect the years traveled. Time is your most valuable currency.

None of us are living the same story, but the struggle I sense is the same. Maybe we fall in love with life and we start to lose sight of the things that kept us so busy before. The bucket list. The goals. The job. So, we beat ourselves up over it and get back to being focused, responsible, boring adults. Yet, isn’t falling in love with life exactly what we are all after in the first place? Isn’t that the very sparkle in the hopeless romantics eye? The universal language of hope, the endless search and reason. We actively seek it out. We listen to all of the songs, watch the movies and read all of the books. We dream of a world so promising that the poetry and lyrics remain damp on our lips as we sleep. Still, we can’t be bothered with the meticulous beating of our own hearts.

When you wake tomorrow, think of what a beautiful thing it is to be alive. Take a moment not to dread that it is Monday, because you are that much closer to another exciting Friday. Each day is so full of potential. Recognize it. Taste your coffee. Inhale and exhale consciously. Daydream. Wonder. Challenge yourself just because you can, with no end reward or list to check it off from. Maybe your challenge is a day without challenges. Maybe you just show up, do your best and the challenge is allowing that alone to be enough.

All I’m saying is, allow yourself a bit of grace when you have earned it.

xoxo

 

 

 

 

 

 

Everything You Need

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You know how we are always on this mission as a society to find out who we really are and who we are supposed to be? Some of us are obsessed with it. We read all the articles, scan all the blogs, complete all 24 days of the 30 day challenges. We fail. We set ourselves up to fail by trying to follow some unrealistic goal to become this perfect robot of an individual. Yet, in trying to be perfect, we actually set ourselves WAY back. Maybe we try to sleep even though we aren’t tired because the perfect person gets 7-8 consecutive hours of sleep each night. We don’t eat when we are hungry because we’ve already reached our daily calorie goal, or we don’t eat at all because we are frustrated and then eat everything in sight! It doesn’t just apply to how we treat our bodies today but also to relationships. ESPECIALLY to relationships! The drama, the forced interactions, the people you don’t even like who you for some reason feel obligated to make unnecessary conversation with. When in reality, they probably don’t want to have the conversation either.

When we were all kids, we probably ate when we were hungry. We napped when we were tired. If someone was impolite or we just simply didn’t like them, we did not have to put up with that person unless they were an adult. When we were little, if it didn’t make us happy or satisfy our needs, we didn’t want it. We had no use for it. Kids are so smart!

As adults, we spend most of our time trying to make others happy instead of ourselves. We spend time on ourselves only trying to fit into the perfect box instead of understanding we don’t belong in any box to begin with. It is an unfortunate pattern I see in myself and in others too often. A pattern of self doubt that infects our quality of life each day. We lay in bed and worry about tomorrow as if it is promised. Why am I here? What is my purpose? Am I enough? Imagine if we used that same energy to make ourselves happy, how that happiness would infect our life with entirely different results!

Turns out… you can learn a lot about yourself by just going for a nice long run…a 13 mile run actually.

kat.halfmarathon

When I first decided to register for this half marathon 6 months ago, I was doing what I always do. I was making  a list of things I have never done and never thought I could do for the year. I like to have goals for the year so I have a road map of where I’m going. The bucket list has been my sense of purpose for quite some time now. I love my list. I have also noticed I am a little co-dependent with the list. Over the last year, I have made the list more flexible. I have removed and added new things. I have allowed myself to edit. I have allowed for things not to get checked off. Honestly, I was really worried this race was going to be one of those things. How could I actually do this?

For those of you who know me or have been following my blog, you might know that when I first started running I could barely run 2 minutes without gasping for air. I still struggle with a steady pace but I enjoy the struggle when it’s over. So I keep doing it.  I trained, I ran my ass off and I am damn proud to have completed this particular race in 2 hours and 38 minutes. That so far is my best. That is not perfect. That is not above average. That is not below average. That is just my best and that is totally enough for me. I now have the satisfaction of checking this off my list and the desire to do it all over again! Crazy, right?!

My first thought when I finished this race was “I didn’t know I could do that”. I didn’t know I could run 13 miles. I didn’t know I could out run the guy behind me. I didn’t know how amazing it would feel to finish it! The feeling of accomplishment among other runners matched with the mutual sense of community and support you feel around each other is the best part of any race. Nothing is forced out there. We are all just trying to do our best. We are all tired at the end. We all wanted to give up at some point but we didn’t. We didn’t give up. For some of us, completing our run every day may just be the one thing we feel like we have control over in our life.

No, I didn’t know I could actually run a half marathon in under my 3 hour goal. I also didn’t know I could graduate college with honors. I didn’t know when I was 16 that I would learn to drive and travel all over the United States. I didn’t know I could survive immeasurable loss and heartache. I didn’t know I could go back one day and stare it in the face. I didn’t know I could grow into what people tell me is an amazing writer. I didn’t know any of it. Sometimes what you don’t know about yourself is everything you need to start the incredible journey of discovery. That’s what life is. It is a journey. There will be set backs. There will be unexpected detours, road blocks and sometimes it’s difficult to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Keep going. When you reach your destination it will most likely be more than you expected. It will be better. You will be better too for having reached it.

I’m so thankful for what I have learned that I didn’t know before. I’m so proud of the life I have built and the things I have gone through that made the path to get me here. No, I didn’t know any of it was possible. I didn’t have a master plan. I still don’t! I am just winging it. List in hand, all sights forward and living out loud. I hope I see you out there.

xoxo

Keep Going. Everything You Need Will Come To You At The Perfect Time:

Kat On a Hot Tin Roof

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What is the victory of a cat on a hot tin roof,  I wish I knew.... just staying on it, I guess, as long as she can.:

 

Fear.

It is the ultimate barrier between you and everything you have ever wanted. It is the top enabler of invisible limitations and my own personal favorite… procrastination! It fuels doubt and insecurity like a well oiled machine. Fear finds its way into your mind and your heart even when you sleep. It is relentless. That son of a bitch!

My first race of the summer is this Friday. Twilight 12k which is in celebration of the upcoming summer solstice. For those of you who may experience normal sunrise and sunset in the summer time, solstice for Alaska means … YAY FOR MIDNIGHT SUNSETS!!

Evening Glow Sunset - Alaska P.s. simple quest for everyone) Why did Bill die?:

A 12k is about 7.5 miles. The race is at 7:00pm in downtown Anchorage. That all sounded doable about a month ago.

That was a bad idea. I am in NO way ready to run 7.5 friggin miles…. I needed to boost my workouts last week and get some good 5 mile runs in at the very least to feel even close to ready! That was my plan to conquer this weeks goal. That WAS my plan!

So, of course, right on cue…(whenever I have an upcoming goal) I took ill. Yep, so sick to my stomach I slept for 2 days and couldn’t eat anything for the first day at all. No significant illness could be detected. I had no fever or anything like that, I just felt like I had been hit by a truck and then it came back for me a few times… just to make sure I knew where my place was. That place was in the dark and buried under covers on the 2 prettiest days we’ve had so far. I missed a week worth of runs. That’s 20 miles or more.

I do recall being fairly anxious the week before, dizzy when running, forgetting to eat the right things..” Oh wow… did I just have bacon and wine for dinner again? Dammit!”

Even though that fits right into my calorie goal if I do it right, that is not exactly a runners diet. Bacon is awesome! Don’t get me wrong here, I’m fairly confident that bacon with wine is the answer to all the problems in the world. However, I do know better. Eggs, tuna, quinoa, kale, lean protein, whole grain bread and fruit. That’s what I’m supposed to stick to, and most days I have! Except for well…  Saturday, Sunday, Wednesday and most Friday nights!

My point is, I am not where I should be for this race. I am not where I wanted to be physically. I didn’t change enough of my habits to get there and in a way I probably made myself sick cutting out the right foods so I could fit in the wrong ones. This did not help me get ready. This did not properly fuel my workouts. My choices were not the best. Getting sick is not the only excuse I have. I have millions of excuses. Good ones too! I won’t list them here. No, I’m not cancelling the run even though if we are being perfectly honest… I want to. I want to throw myself down a flight of stairs instead of climbing set after set to build up my glutes!

Why? Because I am scared. I have never done this before!The most I have ever run in a race is a 5k. Those are simple and over fast, like a good one night stand! In and out, nothing to gain and nothing to lose. These runs are different. These runs require commitment to the distance. A few extra miles have never seemed so long to me. I am scared. I am scared I will fail, I am scared I will be last, and mostly I am scared about what that means for all the other goals I have set for myself. Am I aiming too high? Do I ask too much of myself? Should I set limits? I don’t know. I don’t have the answers.

I do know I am running this race Friday the best that I can. I do know I will likely be slower than most people there. I know the weekend after that I’m running 5 miles for breast cancer fundraising. The week after that it’s 13 miles for the Mayor’s Annual Marathon. 13 miles is only half. The fear continues, but so do I.

That’s the important part I guess. Trust me, when I’m at the gym running in front of other people or on a trail, I do not feel like a gazelle when I am doing it. I feel like an obese cabbage patch doll who just ate nachos. (Damn I love nachos..) I DO want to give up, I DO want to stop. The only problem with that is I want to succeed more. I want to finish more than I want to give up.

So think of me this Friday night when you are out with friends or relaxing at home, think of me as I move at turtle pace mile after mile. My thighs are already killing me from the stairs I climbed today and my ass feels like a brick HOUSE. Even so, I’ll be there. No matter how slow I go, I’ll be faster than the couch.

A little more confidence, a little less fear. Day by day. Race by race. I got this… 

xoxo

46 Quotes From Reddit That Will Change Your Life For the Better: Words can move you, make you happier, and motivate you.

 

 

 

 

The Perfect Stranger

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I need to write. I know I need to write…

Thing is…the screen looks bigger and brighter than before and the pages seem longer. I switch to paper and I’m always running out of ink, as if the words were too heavy for every pen in the house. When the ink doesn’t run out, my eyes are next… and I can’t help but sleep. I am so tired.

I need to run. I know I need to run…

Three races in the month of June. THREE, for a total of 25 miles, not including training! I know I need to run more, train more and take more stairs; but the pavement seems harder and the air seems thicker.I can’t ever catch my breath. I am so tired.

I need to be a better person, I want to be a better person…

I need to be a better employee, a better friend, a better daughter, a better sister, a better girlfriend, a better best friend, a better acquaintance and the perfect stranger. I need to be so many things to so many people, and yet I am so tired.

Someone recently asked me what the point of running 13 miles instead of just 3 is anyway? I tried to explain it’s good to have a fitness goal, it keeps you focused. Well then, he says, “What is the point of traveling the road to Hana just to see a rainbow tree? I mean you are following Pearl Jam around like a teenager and BLANK says you are writing some book? Please tell me what is the point of all these CRAZY things you do instead of settling down, buying a house and you know… finally focusing on your future? ”

I stood there silent and quite offended. I don’t even know him really. Who the hell is this guy anyway?!

What I wanted to say:

“What is the point of having another child when you can barely make time for the one you already have in the other room? What is the point of that light beer you are drinking instead of water? What is the point of you acting like you know anything about where exactly I should be in life when you stand in this room at a party you decided to host avoiding your guests? Or was it your wife who decided you would host this shindig, since she seems to make most decisions for you these days? Nice sweater by the way. You do realize it’s almost June? Also, what is the point of doing the same thing every single day with the hopes that you’ll die before your well rested pension runs out? What is your point, sir? Please tell me. Tell me how you are living your life to the fullest and tell me more about how I’m doing everything ALL wrong!”

What I actually said:

“Well, to each his own I suppose! Enjoy… (large glass of wine raised in hand as I join the crowd..)”

What I should have said:

“The point of running 13 miles instead of 3 is to prove to yourself that you set your own limits and you are capable of accomplishing ANYTHING you set your mind to.”

“The point of traveling the road to Hana to find a simple rainbow tree is that I can, because I don’t have kids, a house, or some boring future to look forward to. I know that has to drive you absolutely crazy, but I live in the present the best I can, and in the present I want to see something beautiful and rare. I want to see something that has withstood decades of devastation and still sustained growth and beauty. Why wouldn’t you want to see that?”

“Oh, and the point of following a band around a few times a year that I have loved most of my life is to make sure I still have roots. It’s important to remember where you came from and what you’ve been through. There is truly no better way to remember that than a soundtrack you’ve been playing your whole life that just keeps getting better and better.”

“So yes, I am a little different. I have unrealistic goals. I do not act my age. I try really hard every day to make the most out of every second even when it exhausts me. It’s true, I am writing a book and you can’t imagine the immensity of the fuck I do not give about your opinion on what I do and do not write. Keep asking me why, keep drinking your light beer and doing things your way. You do your happy, I’ll do mine. We’ll both be dead soon. Let that sink in!”

xoxo

6/3 Twilight 12 K

6/11 5 mile Women’s Run for Breast Cancer

6/18 Mayor’s Half Marathon

8/22 “Things We Don’t Say Out Loud” – 1st Novel release date

10/8 – Find the Eucalyptus Rainbow Tree in Maui on the Road to Hana

Gatsby Gatsby - cheers to my haters be patient so much more is coming: