Project Finish Line: A Christmas Story

A Christmas Story is one of my all time favorite Christmas movies. The tradition, the campiness, the obviously dysfunctional family, and the hilarity of it all playing out for 24 hours on Christmas Day since I was at least a teenager…I just appreciate the endurance of this classic film and that it is always predictably there, every year, like a comforting beacon of hope that some things don’t change; some things can always be depended upon. 

However, one thing is in dire need of change: This girl. 

Project Finish Line is all about getting better at finishing what I start. It’s about harnessing my busy brain and compulsive personality to see things through. 

My three goals (Size 8, Europe, and writing a novel) are all under way, and for those of you who’ve been hanging around a while you know I’ve been mostly fixated on my weight/size as most insecure people are apt to do. But it’s Christmas time, and thus I’ve given myself permission to just enjoy this one week and pay the price later. Whatever twiggy bitch said nothing tastes as good as skinny feels A) must not work out enough, and B) has never tasted my step dad’s holilday cheese ball or my baked brie. 

Or Coquito – OMG Coquito!! Imagine a creamy coconut nog spiced with cinnamon, nutmeg, and rum. Lots and lots of delicious Puerto Rican rum. 

Back to the point…

We’re not talking body issues today. Or travel. Today, in honor of my fav holiday film, we’re talking my book. I started it four long years ago around this time of year. I foolishly thought I could finish it in the two weeks I took off for the holidays. Silly girl. Between just finding the time and drive to sit and write, my short attention span, and my constantly second-guessing myself I’ve only recently gottent to a plac where I feel like I might be nearing the end. 179 pages and 35 chapters in, I may wrap this thing up at last before Europe.

Below is a brief excerpt from this goofy, untitled work of mine. I’d love to say it gets better, but I’m not the one who can say whether or not that’s true – only you can. It’s intended to be a fast-moving supernatural/sci-fi thriller w/ a dash of a message thrown in, but again…who am I to say that is in fact what it is? 

If you find this first few paragraphs makes you curious to read more, I’d love to hear your feedback. It may just help me finally push this boulder all the way up the hill. 

 


ONE

Alex tried desperately to control her breathing as she crept through the darkness of the master bedroom. She couldn’t let the shock of her discovery or the fear of getting caught get in the way of her escape, but Ger slept just behind her on the bed, snoring quietly, and there would be no way to explain her midnight flight if he woke.

She opened his sock drawer so slowly it was painful and withdrew the zippered pouch that carried Ger’s two-thousand dollars of emergency cash. Having already dressed in sneakers, jeans and a black sweat jacket, she picked up her purse from the dresser and tiptoed to the bedroom door.

The moonlight cut strips of light across the emerald green carpet as it shown through the wood blinds on the French doors leading to the balcony and, with her hand on the door knob, Alex paused to take one last look at Ger, the man who would betray her in the most heinous way, though she wasn’t sure even he knew that yet.

Sometimes it was such a burden knowing the truth.

She turned back and eased the door open just enough to squeeze through. She closed the door silently behind her and leaned against it, taking her first full breath in nearly ten minutes. She turned left towards the stairway and stopped. His office was to the right, the door slightly ajar. There might be something on his lap top. Something to explain whatever possible reason there might be for what he was planning to do to her.

Quickly and without any further thought, she quietly made her way to his lap top. She sat down in his plush office chair and looked at the door, sure that at any moment he would wake up and appear as a hulking, dark figure in the doorway. Two excruciating minutes later the screen shown bright and ready. She had no idea what she was looking for. All of this was so surreal she could barely think. Finally she clicked on Start and then Search, and typed in the only thing she could think of that might find the information for which she was looking: Alexandria Graysen.

Unbelievably, this bit of amateur investigation yielded results: a password protected file labeled with her last name, Graysen.

Crap. 

She had no idea what Ger’s password could be, and she had no time to find out. Just as she began to get up, she noticed the glow cast by the lap top’s screen fell on a jump drive inserted in the side of the machine.

Could anything be on here? Would Ger be so complacent as to leave it out in the open? Of course he would. Ger had every confidence in the world that no one would dare steal from an Ostreicher. And certainly not twice in one night.

At lightning speed Alex disconnected the little, black plastic device, shoved it in her purse along with the stolen cash and leapt for the door. She hurtled silently towards the stairs, hands shaking and knees threatening to give up at any moment. Her blood was pounding so loudly in her ears that she barely heard the deep, icy voice come from behind her.

“How did you know,” he asked.

Her heart thudded faster in her chest, her breath came in weak, frantic gasps. She froze with her foot on the first step and turned to face him. 

Project Finish Line: Shit’s Getting Real

Why is shit getting real? 

Because one of my three goals has proven itself to be in the stage where I can settle or dig deep. 

Not an ounce came off this week. Not. Even. One. 

   Last Week’s Weigh in

This Week’s Weigh In

Yes, yes, I know – it’s the holidays, we’re all eating a bit more crap, and thank goodness I didn’t gain anything. 

But that’s where goals get into trouble – they get into trouble at the place between comfort and complacency, the place where you find out if you would prefer something to change or you demand that it change. For me, it is time to recommit to this self-imposed challenge, to not accept mediocre but require my desire to be reality, to dig deep and through relentless focus on the execution of my goal believe in the sheer force of my indomitable will to succeed. 

When you see results like this after three months, when things look just fine, how do you recommit?

Remember me mentioning in The Genesis that I looked like a pork loin in shrink wrap in one of my Goal Dresses? Well…this is Goal Dress 1. With room to spare!

I decided to see where my Goal Dresses were fitting. Goal Dress #1 zipped up so effortlessly I nearly busted out the pom poms and threw myself a victory party!!!

But wait. 

There was still…(cue ominous music)…Goal Dress #2. 

Goal Dress #2 was worn in my tattoo & piercing shop days where I was the illustriously titled Shop Girl (read: clean, organize, fetch coffee, look pretty, use cleavage as the primary accessory, flirt shamelessly, and sell, sell, sell). This was sometime between 21 and 22 years old. 

And 20 pounds ago. And it was extremely form fitting even then. 

So on it went. 

Well…let me be clear. On it went AFTER repeatedly buttoning the screaming buttons; on it went after buckling the belt in such a way that said buttons were less likely to pop off and imbed themselves like shrapnel in one of my dogs; on it went after sucking in certain parts of my voluptuous anatomy and standing in such a way that I could stand in the mirror, snap a selfie, and not run back out of the room to cry into a gallon of ice cream. 

And the results were thus: 

It’s on. That’s progress. But progress is NOT the goal.

Not as flattering from this angle. A little more real. And it wasn’t all that flattering in the first place. Eek.

Yep. THIS is how you recommit. 

You remind yourself that, although we are all beautiful as we are at any moment in time, there are few fashion statements accentuated by fat rolls – back fat, belly fat, that wierd fat that somehow gets stored as psuedo-chicken wings right under your armpits and above your bra strap…

Goal Dress #2 WILL FIT AGAIN. But it’s gonna need some help. Like…at least another 10-shed-pounds of help. 

Adequately inspired, I knew I needed help. How can a girl sculpt quickly? How can we shed fat when we, the fairer sex, are intended to store fat for some mysterious childbirthing purpose? I’ve been at this for three months and am only averaging 4.5 pounds lost a month (that 1-ish a week for those keeping track). What’s the secret? Is it diet and nutrition? More cardio? Less? Weight lifting, dirnking more water, endless crunches, zero carbs, no fat, body wraps – what?!?!? 

So I went to the font of all knowledge to ask my question and throw myself on the mercy and counsel of – you guessed it – social media. 

Thus far I’ve heard: more cardio, do situps, keep eating healthy. 

Ugh. 

Fine. 

I’ll get through this week as a holiday slacker (though a gym-going-mostly-healthy-eating-slacker), because I also believe goals need to incorporate a dose of kindness and reality in order to succeed, and then I’ll buckle down even harder and strive for 2 pounds lost per week, only one controlled cheat day per week, commit to 5 days per week in the gym, and add a sixth where I can. Honestly, five is hard for me given my job, but this WILL happen! I want my body back!!!

That’s where I’ll leave it for today, kids. You’ll be hearing from me again soon as I have the week “off” (off meaning not in the office, but on call and chained to my email as always…), and thus I hope to provide a sneak preview to my inaugural novel. 

I may also be sharing a bit of information on a fourth goal added to Operation Finish Line…

Here’s wishing you success in anything you wish to acheive. 

Bad Poetry Reading

I suppose some context is in order, because normally I’m such an upbeat person, but I don’t really have an explanation I’m prepared to fully disclose. In addition to Project Finish Line, which I’ll be writing on more this weekend, I’ve embarked on a bit of an accidental journey that is putting me through my paces, and well…out this came. 

Worry not, my friends, I may not actually be as bullet proof as I claim, but I try to be tough to hit. 

And if you’re reading this, suggestions on a title?

Broken heart, yet still I stand

A shattered shell with grains of sand

Beneath the skin that rip and tear

At throbbing scars already there.

Empty numbness leaves me needing.

Someone stop the jagged edges inside bleeding.

But I walk alone with you forever,

Festering wounds holding me together.

Pull away then turn around 

For though I fight I long to drown

In the merciless sea of time ahead 

That fills my every breath with dread

Of living life an immortal cursed 

To trudge invisible upon the earth 

Across the paths of none who see

What could have been whole is broken in me.

My soul is hope transformed to doubt

Now trapped and screaming with no way out.

At the top of my lungs I silently cry 

Lamenting the second before goodbye 

Where possibilities thrived,
And we were alive,
With reasons to try,
And no end in sight.

But now it’s today,

When you walked away,

Leaving behind you this fractured wraith 

To survive in the absence of aspirations or faith.

So I put on the smile already failing me

To pretend to the world I’m still in one piece

And somehow still similar to

The person I was when looking at you,

But It’s all a lie, for with each ragged breath 

That person is gone, the thing remaining is death.

It’s desperate to fall, but I steady my hand…

Broken hearted, yet still 

Mercilessly 

I stand.

Project Finish Line: Finish Line Friday! (On Sunday)

How can a Finish Line Friday be on a Sunday, you ask?

Because I weighed in on Friday morning and it’s taken me until this fine Sunday evening during a very stressful Seahawks football game to sit down and catch you up. 

This week was another week of life happening – totaled car, late night meetings, trouble with the boss…I’m feeling pretty beat up. Happily, progress towards my goals continues.

 

Goal 1 (Size 8 by August 2015) met with limited success, although one more pound down is one more pound down. Two days in the gym (ugh – so sad), but a decent week of nutrition got me there. And may I please remind us all I started at 167 lbs. My last Size 8 days saw me at about 140-145. Eight-thirteen (what I suspect will be very hard won) pounds to go…

Week 8 Weigh In


Week 9 Weigh In

I’ve also started working on pursuing a passion that may translate into more exercise – Roller Derby! 

When I was a kid I loved to skate (roller blade, really), and the good thing about being curvy is you have a lot of weight to throw around. What better marriage of my natural talents than strapping on eight wheels and…well…throwing my weight around? 

It will also give me a chance to release some pent up aggression and my naturally competitive nature. Perhaps Seahawks football will become less stressful. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Now if only the Denver Roller Dolls or Rocky Mountain Roller Girls would get back with me.. 

Goal 2 (Finish My Novel) got little more than a few passing thoughts from me this week. I’m quite stuck as I near the end, but I plan to take the week of Christmas off from work (we’ll see if that means I am actually off or just not in the office), and at least one of those days (and probably a few nights) will be spent click-clacking away on my lap top fueled by the fervent hope that someday I’ll get to print my “masterpiece” and finally have completed something tangible. 

And, finally, Goal 3 (Go to Europe in 2015)…You may recall last week I was feeling a bit unsure of this one. Is it the right thing to do? Shoouldn’t I be 100% focused on paying off debt? Can a girl this buried by loans of every variety and trapped on the hamster wheel of working to pay bills instead of working to live my life truly, in good conscience, spend the next 8 months paying off a credit card just to rack up the charges all over again by taking something as frivolous as an international vacation?

  Southern Europe – Suggested Route

 

I’m still waffling. 

But today…today, I think yes. Today, I think I must take this opportunity before it passes me by and is gone forever like so many other missed chances I should have taken. 

My poor husband got to experience one of my random almost-meltdowns over the stress of our debt – brought on, I suspect, by a combination of holiday expenses, a newly replaced dishwasher, a totaled car, the recent loss of a dear friend, some new personal experiences, and a bad work week – and was subjected (and dealt with gracefully) to a rant inspired by my reading on Dave Ramsey’s book. 

God help the man who marry’s a passionate (Aries) woman who reads.  

In fact it’s highly likely that you’ll be seeing another Emo-series post from me sometime this week, but don’t worry – I’ve got a much less self-indulgent DIY piece coming soon as well. ๐Ÿ˜‰

 

So another week down, and many miles to go before I sleep. 

Aside

Project Finish Line: The 8 Week Itch

Having gone back over my calendar I find that I am embarking upon week 9 of Operation Finish Line. 

Like any Type A personality, I was hoping to come here today and tell you that I rocked out on yet another amazing week of kicking ass and taking names on my goals but, alas, it is not so. I am, after all, a mere mortal. 

So here’s the somewhat despressing breakdown: 

GOAL 1: Size 8 

With my Three BHAGs (Big Hairy Audacious Goals) still lying ahead, this past week was a bit less than stellar. I suppose I can call it my 8 Week Itch, since the 7 Year Itch is supposed to be when spouses start falling off the two-man bandwagon of fidelity (did I mention December 5th was my sixth anniversary? Yipes!), because I did indeed fall off the wagon. 

My post-Thanksgiving high of having lost a pound over the holiday week must have made me cocky, because last week I went to the gym only one time, did not follow my nutrition plan (so says the Oreos, cappuccino muffin, hamburger, fries, shot of Jameson, and…well…you get the point), and I traveled and ate out which always translates to disaster for me. I went from 154.2 last week to 154.4 this week. Perhaps .2 lbs gained does not actually qualify as a disaster, per se, but it is definitely NOT progress. 

Today I went and lifted weights, got sweaty, and WILL go back tomorrow for some treadmill time. 


GOAL 2: Finish My Novel

I am so happy to report that I actually made some progress here! Minimal progress, but progress nonetheless. 

I took a few hours on Saturday to hit a Starbucks, pop open my lap top, turn on some tunes, and add another chapter to my book. I’m so close I can finally see the end in sight!

Endings are hard, though, so I’m definitely not winning any speed-writing contests for this one. 

Should I post a chapter or two here? Would anyone care to read and critique?

 

GOAL 3: Go to Europe

I’ve met with a bit of an obstacle here, but as so many quotes tell us, if we really want something we will find a way. If not, we’ll find an excuse. 

I am now the proud owner of a totaled car; I have enough credit card and student loan debt to make me nauseated sometimes; my paycheck isn’t getting any bigger; the holidays are here (which inlcude the birthdays of my newly-adult niece, and a close friend); my mom wants me to come visit for Christmas; we went halvsies to bring my mother-in-law home for Thanksgiving….lots of really great rationalization for continuing to let the money roll in and out without any real idea of where it all goes. 

But live in a world (read: work in a proefession) where all the sound reasons in the world are just excuses wrapped in pretty paper and sparkly bows. 

I hate excuses. So I will find a way.

 

Overall this Progress Post could really bum you (and me!) out, but I have been reminding myself lately that it is important to learn in the face of adversity. After all, we just had a holiday that was all about being grateful.

My mantle gets dressed up for holidays. However, the giant Turkey balloon (which was later used to make Lolly Pop Guild voices at my dogs and scare the crap out of them!) was from my sister-in-law.

And there is no shortage of blessings, luck, good karma, or whatever you choose to call it, in my home. So I am learning from my setbacks and challenges a few things I have forgotten this last year. Things I think are true of us all. 

Things I Forgot to Remember:
1.  I am super talented! 

Sure, there is PLENTY of shit I cannot or should not do (including but not limited to: having kids, keeping plants, going armed into large crowds of holiday shoppers, or anything that involves prolonged periods of patience). But I also have a lot of love and kindness to share, I’m pretty damn funny when the mood strikes me, I am THE BEST at Thanksgiving (yes, all of Thanksgiving. All of it.), I’m smart a reasonable amount of the time, and I can be very motivating. 

Sometimes I forget that for all my shortcomings and character flaws, I still have strengths. What are your strengths and talents? I know you have so many!

 

2. I am valuable and deserve respect. 

I would love to be beautiful and rich, or be some kind of grand innovator or political figure, but I’m just me. I’m one small person in an unfathomably enormous universe, but I am still just as valuable and deserving of respect as are the other people with whom I inhabit this earth. Perhaps I’m not pretty enough, smart enough, social enough, funny enough, polished enough, or whatever…But I’m trying. I’m trying to be a good person, surround myself with positivity, and give love and humor to those around me. So…let’s all remember that we do those things and be nice to each other. 

And ourselves. 

3. Doctor Suess had it right. 

It’s coming up on Christmas, and though I’m not a Christian anymore I still love this holiday. I found myself with no joy this year for ANY of the awesome holidays from October-January, and I realized it was because this time of year magnifies the best and worst in people – the “worst” part being the reason my joy was waning. 

But as Doctor Suess and his tale of Whoville taught us, Christmas is about so much more, and I plan to live that way this year – even if it wierds my family out a little. Or a lot. 

It’s not about the gifts. In fact, I have no wish list (aside from the goals here), and I want for nothing. I simply want to take some time for myself, enjoy falling snow and crackling fires, be thankful for all that I have, and generally just find some peace. I want my family to be happy, and I want to try to find my own source of happiness inside that I seem to have lost this year. 

See? Already all dressed up for Christmas.

 

4. I’m not every going to be everyone’s cup of tea – And that’s okay. 

I get really wrapped up in what certain others think of me. Even strangers can sometimes screw with my mojo. Why? I don’t know. 

Childhood trauma, family alcoholism, being the baby of the family and always wanting attention, being a typical attention-whoring Aries…call it what you likek, but even the most well-intentiond criticisms get me down sometimes. 

But the thing is, that’s okay. Just like I enjoy super strong Earl Grey with milk, lemon, and honey, some folks like it weak and plain. It is what it is, and I have to remember that the individual preferences of others are not necessarily an indictment of me, but simply an expression of individualism. 

 

5. Happiness comes from within. 

Depending on outside stimuli to find happiness truly is a recipe for disaster – or disappointment. If you can’t be happy in your own company, then why would anyone else? I haven’t found that for myself yet, but…I will. 

 

Okay, so maybe a little joy came from machete-ing a pumpkin (below). 

My dad left a machete behind when he died. It came in very handy for Thanksgiving prep when I encountered a particularly difficult pumpkin. Unforeseen side affect: I want to find more stuff to machete whack!

 

So all in all, not as successful a week as I would have hoped for, but I’ve found that I am dedicated to my goals.

I choose to find the way, not the excuse.

Emo Monday, or Hope: The Silent Killer

Being the mega-nerd-girl that I am, I went and saw Mockingjay over the weekend. It’s been a while since I read the Hunger Games Trilogy, so I can’t remember if the quote in the movie that struck me was in the book, but it was this that caught my attention and sent me into one of my introverted meandering mind states: 

It is the things we love most that will destroy us.” – President Snow (played by the ever-awesome-and-kinda-creepy Donald Sutherland)

That they will, Mr. President. That. They. Will. 

You’re wondering what the hell any of this has to do with hope, as per the title of today’s blog. Well, let me see if I can bring you along my usually-running-off-the-tracks train of thought.

First, a little insider info: 

I’m generally an incredibly positive person. I have a pretty soft heart that is capable of immense amounts of love and compassion – too much, I’m finding – although I like to believe it’s well-guarded by thick brick walls topped with razor wire and surrounded by ninjas. Which tells you that I also like to think of myself as a pretty tough chick. And I am. 

It’s this kind of heart-breaking beauty that makes me hope for magic, because what else could create such sights?

 

Or maybe stubborn is more the adjective. Resilient. Tenacious. Bull-headed pain in the ass, some might say. 

All true. 

And some people might respect or appreciate that quality. After all, I was in the military and now work in emergency services – giving up is not really in the nature of successful people in those lines of business. 

I might say glutton for punishment. Because the problem, as I see it, is I don’t know when to give up. 

I think it’s a by-product of watching too much television. I love stories – TV, movies, books, poems, songs – about good triumphing over evil, underdogs winning, survival against all odds, friends loyal to the end despite endless obstacles, magic and soul mates, love conquering all! 

All the things that never seem to actually happen in real life. 

And I’m beginning to see that I am a reluctantly hopeful person. I want to see all the stories become reality – just once! I say I’m reluctant because my talent for holding on like a pitbull-on-a-pork chop has left me scarred, burned, a bit fractured, and sometimes even fully broken. 

And yet I have’t yet learned how to let go – even of the things that aren’t meant for me. 

My conscious mind, the logical part, is so pragmatic and such a realist. It tells me when I’m spinning my wheels, when what I want to happen simply will not happen, when the sheer force of my seemingly indominable will is simply not enough. My mind knows when to give up and move on.

But my heart...My stupid hopeful heart. My heart with all of its fanciful friggin’ faith. That brick-wall-and-ninja-guarded marshmallowy thing that dreams and wishes and hopes…That place in the center of my being – in the center of all of us – is a stupid, silly thing that sets me up for a fall nearly every chance it gets. 

Every perceived insult is personal, every lost friend a new emptiness, every betrayal a fresh wound, every rejection the ripping and tearing of scar tissue opened to bleed again and take a lifetime to heal. My dad’s death was a new kind of pain that now seems to have created a recurring injury that, like some horrific form of physical PTSD, now throbs anew when I’m experiencing anything akin to grief. 

So there I lie, from time to time, bleeding internally and trying to muster the strength to heal the broken bones and third degree burns and lacerations while simultaneously getting on stage to live my life – go to work, take care of a home & family, connect with friends, plan for and approach my future… All the things we’re supposed to do. And I do it. I find the strength, and each morning when the alarm goes off I step into the spotlight and play my part, fully adorned in trendy costume and brilliantly smiling character. 

See? Brilliantly smiling character. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Some days remind me of the weeks after my dad died, when I could feel every single second pass by and the goal was just to keep breathing through each one of them. And maybe try not to cry. 

There is a part of me that believes a person needs to have hope. It’s what keeps us moving forward, after all. But I often wonder – like when Johnny Cash died just a few short months after his wife, June Carter Cash – when will a broken heart, a heart made to hope and hold on for nothing, finally kill you? 

Yes, yes, I know – everything is a lesson, there’s always an opportunity, everything happens for a reason, if it’s meant to be it will be, it’s all a growth opportunity, if one door closes another opens, blah, blah, blah. I get that. A part of me even believes that. 

But wouldn’t it be a lovely, less painful thing to control hope? 

It may not be the thing that wields the killing blow, but it is the thing that opens the armor and bares the tenderest, most mortal parts of us. 

Project Finish Line: Post-Thanksgiving Shame?

Week 8 of Operation Finish Line is ending in a post-Thanksgiving Day House Music BBQ hosted by my husband’s bromance buddy (also a house DJ like my guy). I know this sounds ominous considering I’m aiming for a Size 8 by next summer, and most people eat something like an average of 3500 calories on Thanksgiving alone, but I’m happy to show you these pics from Week 7 and Week 8 Weigh Ins: 

  

 

Say what!!!???

Okay, so it’s not the kind of progress I’m looking for, but it’s also not the massive backslide I expected – especially considering the only exercise I got this week was rolling pie dough, moving some Christmas decorations from the garage to the house, and dancing to yet more house music last night (while simultaneously guzzling down a double Vodka-soda). But how can you not dance when you have boots this fabulous???

Last Friday I ran a mile in 10 minutes, so this week the goal is to make it to the gym 4 times and run that same mile again while also getting back to my Carb Cycling routine.


Now how about that book, you might ask. 

Sadly, I have done literally nothing more than consider finishing it. A little battling with some depression and other life drama has left me feeling a bit cynical and uninspired. And a week-long visit from the in-laws left me without the time. BUT, as they say, if you want something you will find a way, and if you don’t you will find excuses. I want this

So the way must be found. Inspiration or no, time or not, drama or smooth sailing, I will finish. I will find the ending. I will print, and edit, and bind. And then I’ll put it on my shelf as a completed project and reminder of the fact that I CAN do anything I put my mind to. 

Perhaps I’ll even post bits here for some feedback and comment to get me to the Finish Line. 


Finally, Goal 3: Go To Europe. 

This one is proving to be a bit more problematic than I anticipated. 

I was loaned a book by a highly respected friend and colleague – Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover – that’s proved to be a very sensible, intelligent, and comical read on the subject of getting out of debt. It’s also made me realize I’m nearly drowning in debt – credit cards, car payment, horrifying amounts of student loans, and of course a mortgage on my rental property and on the condo we actually live in – as are so many others in the country who are living the “American Dream.”

Thanks, Dave, I’m sufficiently freaked out and have a desire for change. A huge one. A massive one. A desire so consuming I’m at the point of coming to terms with giving up on something else I have a desire for – my trip to Europe. 

Is now the time? Do I get out of debt just to pile it back on again? Or take yet another year (or two…) to scrape my way out of the hole I’m in, then save the actual cash for my Eurotrip? And, oh BTW, I have 3 friends and a husband also in the mix on this trip. 

I’m agonizing over it not only because I really, really want to take this trip with some awesome people, but also because I want to live my life! I’ve spent my adult life worried about other people, being responsible, doing the honorable thing, trying to become a productive member of society and giving my life to what I thought was success – work. But I’m realizing, too, that my heart & soul are fed by experience and adventure. And I won’t find that living the same routine and never taking calculated risks. I need to see the world, I long to immerse myself in cultures outside of my own, learn languages, and eat foods, and see sights, and meet people who shock and entertain and challenge and expand my paradigm, my person. 

Mr. Ramsey would call that a rationalization. Perhaps it is. 

But what if it’s still true?