Tuesday, May 24, 2016

My Favorite Things: May 2016

It may not officially be summer yet, but summer activities have been happening! May has been a great month, highlighted by a couple of good outside days, new vibrant green turf in our backyard, and my first watermelon of the year. Here are some of my favorite things from the month...

Favorite New TV Discovery: Broad City
Trust me, if you haven't watched this show, you'll laugh your ass off. In addition to being hilarious, it will give you some serious #friendshipgoals...

Favorite View: Bryce Canyon

Favorite Purchase: Jason's wedding band

Favorite Poem: by Rupi Kaur

Favorite Inspiration: 11 Totally BS Things Life is Too Short For (Huffington Post)

Favorite Adele Song That's Finally a Video: Send My Love

What were some of your favorite things this month?


Saturday, May 21, 2016

Leading By Example

On Mother's Day, I felt inspired to write a personal essay about my mom. I started writing with no plans to publish it. It was only after I finished writing that I thought about sharing it.

Throughout my life, my mother has been my most prominent role model. Growing up, I was always known as a little carbon copy of my mom (oh, how times have changed, and now she's the one copying me most of the time ;-), while my younger sister was my dad's little mini. I would always roll my eyes at this, as kids and teenagers do, but I was always secretly proud to be like my mom, since she is the strongest woman I have ever known. She embodies the phrase, "Tough times don't last, but tough people do." I don't consider myself the strongest person, and in fact, I admit that I am extremely sensitive and emotional. But strength, to me, means picking yourself up after every fall, and moving forward with purpose and determination. Strength has nothing to do with holding back tears when you're feeling sad, or anxious. Emotions are a big part of how we relate to one another, and something this world could often use healthier expression of. I will forever be so grateful for the lessons my mom has taught me, especially in strength. She has always led by example, I think without even realizing it. She's just lived her life and been true to herself, and I've picked up so many cues, just from watching her in action.

Aside from strength, a quality I've picked up from my mom's example is empathy. She was an only child, so the responsibility of caring for my grandmother, as she dealt with multiple health problems, fell solely on her shoulders. I witnessed how stressful it is, caring for someone in that position. I think it was always difficult for my grandmother, and many other elderly people, I'm sure, because you were once strong and able to care for yourself. I can't yet imagine what it feels like to be aware of slowly losing your independence, and eventually having to rely on your child, in a bizarre role reversal scenario. It's the circle of life, but I can't imagine it's easy to accept. My mom never lost patience in dealing with my ailing grandmother. She often went out of her way for her mother, visiting, fulfilling requests, and bringing supplies, not to mention the hassle the government seems to provide in all situations. It all looked overwhelming to me, at times, on top of the emotions she must have felt, watching her mother's (her only surviving parent) health deteriorate.

My parents

One of my deepest fears - one that I try not to think about - is losing my mother. It happens to everyone, and there is nothing we can do to control life and death. I do know that I try my best to appreciate her while I have her. Although we don't get to see each other as often as I'd like, we keep in touch on a daily basis. I take opportunities like birthdays, and Mother's Day, to thank her for raising me and teaching me lessons in strength and empathy, along with many other invaluable life lessons. Even when our moms do leave us, as is inevitable, whether by death, distance, or some other circumstance, they carry on through the qualities they've sacrificed to instill in us. I'm sure there were times when my mom didn't want to be strong, or sacrifice her plans to be with someone who needed her, but she sacrificed her own feelings and time to do the right thing, and that left an indelible impression on me. I owe my entire being to my mom. She brought me into this world, and she taught me how to survive it. If I can reach halfway to the bar she has set for me, I will consider myself a success.

With my wedding day drawing closer each day, I have found myself thinking about how (or if) marriage is going to change my life, or my identity. Even though we don't plan to have children, I think about the examples my mom has set for me, in being a wife, a friend, and a human being. As with any two people, we don't agree on absolutely everything, and I wouldn't make all of the choices that she has, but that's part of her gift to me - she hasn't taught me what choices to make, but she's taught me how to make choices for myself. This has served me infinitely more throughout my life thus far. 

If I could tell my mom anything about my life, who I've proudly become, and how I continue to evolve, it would be: thanks. It all stems from you.


Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Better Than My Usual Tuesday View

This Tuesday, instead of sitting at my desk, staring at a computer screen for 8 hours, I took the day off and traveled to Bryce Canyon with Jason. Bryce Canyon is about 90 mins from home, but this was my first time there. At our highest point, we were over 9,000 feet, and trust me when I say I truly FELT like I was standing on top of the world, surveying the entire planet below me.

Before heading to Bryce, Jason had to make a pit stop for work at Tropic Reservoir. This was where I made a few new friends.

Bye, squad!

View from the top!

We had ominous skies for much of the day, but we got lucky and managed to stay one step ahead of the storms.

Always, when I share photos and stories from an outdoor adventure in Southern Utah, I feel like it's just completely inadequate. Words and photos just don't do these kinds of majestic views justice. My favorite thing about living in Southern Utah is getting to travel to these places on weekends (and random Tuesdays). It keeps life in perspective. No matter how shitty it can feel sometimes, you can't visit a place like Bryce Canyon, or Zion, or any of the lesser known, but still as awe-inspiring areas, and not feel like there's meaning in it all. I couldn't feel more grateful for this reminder.