Attach, Send, GAH!

I just sent my manuscript to my editor.

I just used the phrases “my manuscript” and “my editor” in a sentence.

It took a year, but with my favorite writing buddy by my side every step of the way, I actually completed a first draft of a manuscript and sent it out into the world. I’ve placed it into the hands of a professional editor.

GAH!

img_7288Time to buckle up! I have so much work to do.

Resolution Road(map)

Yesterday I discovered what kind of crazy person runs a race on New Year’s Day in sub-freezing northeastern temperatures. I’m so happy to report that kind of crazy person is now me!

New Year’s Eve is my favorite holiday and I take that rather seriously. It’s super un-social of me and I freakin’ love it. No apologies! Instead of a raging party scene with silly hats and noisemakers, I tend to opt for a quiet evening sans alcohol, oftentimes alone. No matter where I am, I duck out to chant the Om Namo Bhagavate 108 times on the cusp of midnight, concentrating intently on what I want to usher forth in the new year. Then I sleep.

This New Year’s Day I awoke early, laced up my sneakers and drove north to Milton, an idyllic Connecticut town full of rolling hills and horse pastures. I fidgeted outside in the freezing cold, sang America the Beautiful with a small clique of friendly progressive NPR-listening Litchfield-ers and took off to the ring of a cowbell onto an unpaved dirt road covered in slush and ice for the 27th Annual Resolution Road Race five miler.

To my surprise and delight, my parents had packed the dogs into their car and drove up to cheer me on. So as I rounded the first bend I got to pause for unexpected puppy love and encouragement from the world’s best cheerleaders.

From the picture below you can sort of see that I’m happy, I’m cold, and I have zero running form.

img_7272Let’s concentrate on the first part, I’m happy, and ignore the obvious question of: How in the world did my parents figure out how to take blurry sun-glared pictures with their brand new smartphones?

My life is not void of distress or difficulties, no one’s is. But I’m in a very good place physically, emotionally and financially with some incredibly exciting developments on the horizon. My goals for this year are not resolutions. They are clearly thought out projects with road maps to get me to each finish line: IronMan 70.3, buying a house, editing and publishing my first book.

Nerd alert! I am literally entering 2017 with a plan (my favorite thing) in a formatted Excel spreadsheet (my second favorite thing)! Game. Frickin’. On.!

Happy New Year everyone! Neil Gaiman sums up my wishes for you the best:

15727043_10154368425993717_4853095508206915157_n

So much LOVE ❤

– Jennifer

 

 

 

Nature’s Gym

This morning I took the dogs to Tarrywile (a 700 acre nature preserve in my hometown) for a trail run. It was crisp and we started off cold and slow.

I’ve been spending enough time at the gym lately for my body to remember and appreciate regular exercise. Once we got going on the trail the joy of it started to click. The thigh workout felt like a warm blanket instead of an achy burn. The chilly air invigorated my lungs rather than exhaust them.

We had been jogging around the woods for about 30 minutes when we came upon an off-shoot trail – a steep shot up followed by a long meandering wrap down around the back of the hill. As much as I wanted to take it, I knew we didn’t have time to complete it before my afternoon plans. But rather than pass it up all together I decided to run up the hill, turn around at the top and come straight back down to finish the shorter trail we were on.

I went for it and for the first time since I trained for the Honolulu Triathlon back in 2013, I felt the fire within me. I tapped into the desire to push myself farther and to try harder.

It was great for a minute but here’s the whole truth: I didn’t actually run up the hill. It was a mix of jogging and hiking that quickly slowed to a crawl. And the reality is I only made it 2/3 of the way up before getting too winded to continue.

It was time to choose an option: A) I could berate myself for not cresting the top like a champion. B) I could choose to be completely satisfied with the effort.

I went with B. This is just the beginning of training after all. The beauty is that I wanted to try and I did.

With a smile on my face I turned around to take in the wintry view through the starkly empty trees as I caught my breath. Just then a herd of deer ran by us, right down below where we had started, an exhilarating reward for the climb. They wouldn’t have run past if the dogs and I were still at the bottom of the hill. They would have stayed in hiding until we were long gone. But from our elevated perch we were both gone and still able to witness their stunning beauty as they galloped past.

And so there I had it: the first tiny miracle of this latest adventure. Which reminds me… I’m supposed to be studying A Course in Miracles

Ode to Godin

Does everyone know who Seth Godin is? If you answered “No” please open a new tab and Google him immediately because he’s awesome and he will bring excitement and drive into your life! You can meet him HERE or HERE or HERE.

Seth Godin is an important guy to know. He’s out there in the big big world pulling for us every single day. He says things like, “I’m going out on a limb. Want to come?” And he writes books that tell us exactly why and how we should abandon worry and embrace change, explaining what it means to unleash ideaviruses, celebrating that we’re all weird while encouraging us to find our niche.

Seth asks, “What will you create? Who will you help? What connection will you make? What will you dare to care about?” Then follows it up with, “Choose to matter in a way that aligns with who you want to be.”

He is a beautiful force that I feel lucky and grateful to have recently discovered. In fact I’m so inspired by his latest book What To Do When It’s Your Turn (and it’s always your turn), that I’m modeling this year’s blog after it. Each post I write will come from an idea in the book. I can’t wait to see what sparks!

Thank you Seth for rockin’ life! This one’s for you.

Decisions

It’s ten years ago. I’m sitting on one of those tiny Manhattan-apartment-sized love seats because the charming West Village studio I’m in can’t fit a real sofa. There is an equally petite Manhattan-apartment-sized dog listening in on my Saturn Return astrology reading, a pug perhaps?

Sherene Schostak (Saturn Sisters, Project 40, Elle UK) is helping me understand the cosmic rite of passage I’m currently limping through and what it means specifically for someone with Saturn in Leo. She is telling me many important things but the only one I hear is: “You won’t get married until 2018. And when you do, it won’t be a traditional arrangement.”

This news, if you will, goes in one ear and pours out the other into a puddle of incredulousness flooding her living room floor. What the what?! I mean sure, I don’t want to be traditional or boring, but seriously chica? It’s like you’re not even taking into account the reality in which I live – I’ve been in a serious relationship for five years. FIVE YEARS! We have a dog and three cats plus a car and I totally know his parents really well (ish). Like holiday well, ya know? We go camping and we cook together. Obviously I’ll be married before 2018. When the hell is 2018 anyway?

It’s 2006. I’m at an age when “forty” is so far off in the future I can’t fathom its existence in any real way. I can’t even do the math that would form the conclusion in my brain that I will in fact be four decades old in 2018.

So I do what any self-respecting independent know-it-all 28 year old would do: I immediately dismiss this prediction. “Pfftt…” I block this encounter from my reality. I go back to life as I know it (read : angry, miserable, stressed, constantly fighting, infatuated, “in love”, so… very… confused).

Fast forward. Of course I never get married. Of course I grow up and leave and move on and find happiness, success and peace on my own. In the blink of an eye we’re halfway through 2016. I have no recollection of this conversation ever having occurred. I think about it… never.


It’s three months ago. I’m sitting on a chair at a desk in a miniature East Village one-bedroom, where I have sat many times before, because I need someone I trust to tell me I’m on the right track. I am desperate to get un-stuck. I am desperate to understand why my life stagnated and how to kick it back into gear. I am also desperate to tell a man I have fallen in love with exactly how much I adore him.

Jenny Lynch (Astrologer, no relation) is telling me many important things but the only one I hear is: “Tell him if you want to, but it’s not him. You won’t be lucky in love until 2018. That’s when you’ll get married.” In an instant I remember: Holy shit. That’s exactly what Sherene said to me a million years ago.

Blinders securely fastened, I tell him anyway. I’m so sure I’m right, but I’m wrong. He is shocked; never saw it coming; thinks I’m great, but… no. I am shocked that he is shocked and for a little while I mourn yet another failed attempt at love.


It’s today. I’m ready to get back on my horse. I make a decision that is difficultly empowering, one I can’t believe I’m making: I will believe them. I believe them. They are correct, not me. I am not responsible for finding him. Regardless of what I do, or do not do, he will be here pretty soon.

Relief envelops me. This decision assuages me of the fear and the stress of figuring it all out by myself. I don’t worry about the sun rising and now I no longer have to worry that I’ll be alone for the rest of my days. Turns out I don’t have much time left on this solo adventure.

According to the stars, 2017 will be the last year of life as I know it.

Art La Flamme is Not Satisfied

My long distance friend Art (you can meet him HERE and HERE) does not approve of my top four goals. They need to be more specific, he says. How fast do you actually want to complete the race? Exactly how much sugar do you plan to cut out? Or perhaps more importantly how much do you plan to allow in? Don’t be vague, he says. If we are going to accomplish anything we need quantitative goals.

But he’s not realizing that answering these questions would amount to much more than a random blog post proclaiming my readiness. It would mean researching average triathlon finish times in my age group, then putting myself to the task of not just creating a training plan but practicing and completing it. It would mean cultivating a true awareness of every single time I put sugar into my mouth and forcing myself to decide every. single. time. is this something I really want to do? Do I need this or can I get by without it?

Art is demanding effort.

Jerk.

I want to yell, “You know what duuuude?!!”

Because here’s the thing: Jenny has been living effortlessly for the past year. Jenny has been sinking into the oblivion of boredom and repetition. Jenny has become… dun dun duuuunnnnnn…. complacent. And how dare he challenge her to get back into action in real time on a scale of authenticity just because she said she was ready to do so???? What kind of friend does that?!

But before I complete the angry rampage I remember that it’s a really awesome kind of friend who does that. One who knows you’re at your best when you’re trying your hardest.

I really have given myself a year off. A year to relax and not work too hard. A year to rebuild relationships with family and friends I haven’t been around in two decades. A year to not make public strides as a Strong Independent Woman. A year to take it easy basically. This is nothing short of a tiny miracle.

Can I ask honestly, how many of us actually give ourselves time to rest when we’re tired? I was exhausted at the onset of 2016 because cancer and winter and suicide (not something I talk publicly about but I lost a good friend in a shocking act of suicide exactly a year ago, less than a month after E was cleared of her ductal carcinoma), because twenty years of working multiple jobs nonstop to climb ladders, because supporting myself without a partner or a hand to hold or a shoulder to lean into to fall asleep on at night…

Wait a second. Sorry, for a second there I totally forgot that none of these things actually matter. How often we slip into defensiveness when we perceive a pointed finger. I lived my life. All I have to do now is own what I said six days ago. I had a very relaxing year and I’m ready for it to be over. That’s really all Art is asking for. And thank goodness he is.

So last night I went to the gym and put thirty miles on the bike and today I’m forcing myself to write a blog post about it even if it’s not prolific or meaningful or even remotely interesting. It feels really good. Thank you, sir.

It’s Time

OK I’m back. Missed you guys!

Tonight I took a much needed motivational cue from Tony Robbins and created an action plan poster, basically a small concise goal-oriented vision board. Check it out – I love it! You should totally make one  🙂

my-posterStep 1 – Write down your primary question. What are you constantly asking yourself that you can never figure out the answer to? Mine was (if you can imagine): “Why am I still single?”

Step 2 – Create a mission statement for what you really want to do, one core sentence to be a trigger for all that you are, all you will be and all you will do.

Step 3 – Re-work your primary question. Mine became: “How can I make the most out of being single?”

Step 4 – List your four top concrete goals. Do not be vague.

Step 5 – Write your relationship vision.

Have fun!