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Friday, October 2, 2015

Adventure 31: Surfing into Thirty.

The signs have been everywhere, I look at the clock and it's 3:00.  My change from the recycling center is $3.30.  When my coffee needs a quick reheat and I hit the automatic start button on the microwave, it pops up with :30 seconds.  It's like the universe is poking fun at me by placing a 3 and a 0 beside each other at every opportunity to remind me that I'm turning 30.... TOMORROW.  Don't get me wrong, it's been on my mind without the Universe's little numerical prank.  There is something bittersweet about leaving the twenties for me that is making this birthday a little harder to swallow.  Not just that the 2 will be missing from the front of my age, but that my twenties contained the worst and the best experiences of my life.  When I say "worst", I believe the better word choices might be "most educational".  In honor of turning the big 3-0, I've separated this blog into two pieces:  Three things I learned in my twenties, and a bit about what thirty looked like when I was sixteen.  :)

3 Things I Learned in My Twenties:

  • I deserve to be happy and IT IS OKAY to let go of people and it's also okay NOT to "forgive and forget".  This was the hardest lesson for me to learn because I am a people-pleaser and being self-less with those I love brings me the greatest joy.  I used to assume everyone was just like me because making the people you love happy is the best feeling ever.  I got very hard and shocking doses of reality from someone in my childhood into my teens, and then another person in my twenties. I believe in the phrase "Do onto others as you would have them do unto you", but when that comes at a cost of your own happiness, you just need to step away from that friendship, relationship, family, etc..  When I find that someone is constantly negative, or dramatic, or self-absorbed, or breaks their word, or they're deceitful, or criticizing.... or even that our relationship is not even close to balanced, (i.e. I'm giving 90% and getting 10% back instead of even a 60/40% balance), I back off.  Jim Roth said, "You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with", that's why when I find myself feeling exhausted, overwhelmed, negative, self-conscious, drained or down-right shitty whenever I'm in a certain person's company, I've learned to quickly cut ties and I must say, I'm a happier woman for it.  With learning the worth of myself and my happiness, I have developed the best relationships, (while letting go of plenty), and I also have the most amazing and supportive family.
  • The "invincibility" feeling ends, especially when you have children.  I do think that young people, (OH MY G.... Did I really just say "young people"?), should embrace that feeling while it lasts and use that courage to have awesome adventures and learn activities that require balls, (yep, it's the only word I could think of).  I now have a fear of heights which may keep me from ever sky-diving, and I'm more cautious on surfing bigger waves, because as you get older, you do get "wiser", (meaning you put your mortality into closer perspective).  I also consider my daughter with every single thing I do or risk I take... Which means her safety and my own safety are now of the upmost importance.... Which brings me to:
  • When you have a child, you will learn a side of yourself you didn't even know existed.  I may look and act like a gentle, loving lady... but cross my child, (or my husband), and I will turn three kinds of crazy like you've never seen!  I also will never put myself first again, which means, if it comes to the last slice of the best pizza on earth and we are all starving, I'd risk my life to make sure that my child gets every bite of that slice of pizza.  I already know that this will last until I'm dead and gone.  She's not even three-years-old and when Jun and I talk about retirement, we already say, "We'll just have to wait and see where Reise wants to go after she graduates high school."  The love inside of my body and my bones is more than I knew was fathomable.... Literally to the point where I've looked at my daughter and wondered how I was not physically combusting with the love that I feel for her.  Having her has also made me love my husband more, (which I didn't know that was possible either).  I would do anything for them both.

What Thirty Looked Like to My Sixteen-Year-Old Self

I remember writing "30 Things I Want to Do Before I'm 30" on a sheet of paper as a teenager.  I was in my painted orange, psychedelic bedroom, and at that moment, (while sitting on my hand-painted mini-trampoline like some comeback hippy-child from the 70's), 30 seemed like a lifetime away.  Heck, I was just over halfway to it back then!  I very clearly remember feeling like, "Man, 30 is when you are REALLY grown up.  Married, children, routine, and the beginning of wrinkles... the exciting part of life is basically over when you hit 30!  I better come up with my bucket list and knock it all out before then!".  So I wrote down everything my adventurous teenage brain could come up with and I folded it up and put it in my desk drawer.

Now I know I've toted that list all over the place and it still exists... I just can't find it right now, but I've memorized most of the list.  It included things like:  Swim in clear blue water like you see on TV, get my pilots license, learn piano, bungee jump, sky-dive, visit a foreign country besides Canada, etc. etc..  When I reflect on that crumply yellow piece of paper with it's eager and ambitious handwriting, I may not have achieved them all, but I've achieved the ones that matter and more.  I now LIVE and swim in that clear blue ocean "like you see on TV" nearly everyday.  I've traveled to Peru and Costa Rica and road tripped across the USA in a van for 50 days.  I learned guitar, banjo, and ukulele instead of the piano.  I bungee jumped in Peru, and as it turns out, I HATED it, (I honestly can't imagine anyone liking that feeling like you're diving to your death and then being snapped around by a 300 foot rubber band).

I still keep a vision/bucket board where I dream up everything I want to achieve, and then toss the picture into the bucket when I've achieved it.  As it turns out, some of the "30 Things Before I'm 30" don't even interest me anymore, (like my recently developed fear of flying that knocks the pilot's license off the list).  I think there is a shift as you approach the big 3-0, and I imagine there will be another one when I reach 40.  And since I've seen how there can be such a shift in desire in 10 years, I'm going to just keep on using my vision board to pin-up and take down my dreams and desires as they come to me.

Here's some stuff that I've recently knocked off my vision board with before and after photos:

This is straight off my vision board... It was my desire to learn to SUP surf well.

And this is me.

This is the picture that I had up for "learn to brew beer".

And here is my first batch of a delicious brown ale I home-brewed,
(Thank you Tutu for the home-brew kit).

A little compilation of pictures in my bucket.  The ones on the left
were on my board, the ones on the right are my own pictures of my successes.
(A Mother's ring with Reise's name carved in it from Jun, kombucha brewing, and
throwing pottery... I was 9-months pregnant when I took the pottery class with Jun).

Currently my board has things like home/farm ownership, getting
barreled by a wave, lots of hikes and travel dreams, and more.

My vision board/work space.

Here's to the next adventure!

With Love and Aloha,

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Confessions of a Cop Lover

So, you’ve all seen the media lately.  Officers shooting “innocent” victims: You know, all of those “upstanding citizens” that are being picked off one by one by the cops.  Oh, and NEWS FLASH: All white cops are racist.  And incase you live under a bush, you know that the police are corrupt, dirty, law-breaking jerks who are arrogant and cocky and will shoot anyone when presented the opportunity.  You did see all that too, right?

I’m married to one of those dirt bags and I just can’t believe what an asshole he is.  I mean, what gives him the right to arrest the guy armed with two knives that threw a lit gasoline filled bottle at him?  And how could he possibly have the nerve to shoot at someone trying to run over one of his fellow officers?  And WHY THE HELL did he get a Silver Medal of Valor for carrying victims out of a house engulfed in flames?  Oh, and when he was out with a buddy of his for dinner and a drink, he TOTALLY deserved to get blind-sided attacked by some chicken-shits while PEEING by a group of guys that recognized him as a police officer.  He was black and blue and completely swollen.  And while he does everything wrong because all people are OBVIOUSLY law-abiding citizens, he has to come home and be a husband and father and son-in-law too.

We cannot afford a home; not one that would pass inspection at least.  And say it did pass inspection; we wouldn’t have much of a yard because land is very expensive here.  Renting is the unknown, but it is less scary the smaller your family is.  My Dad lives with us and a three bedroom is way beyond our means to buy.  We might have the mind to give our daughter a sibling, but if we can’t afford a home that is safe and has a yard for them to play in, to chase butterflies, grow a garden, play catch, plant a tree, then we will forever remain renters with one child.  My husband is the only full-time worker and I work part-time from home doing marketing.  Our fortunes are many: we have our health, food in the fridge, a roof over our heads, and our daughter does not have to be put into a daycare.  Yet what gets me is this:

The hardest working man I’ve ever met is stereotyped, criticized, harassed, and hated every single day of his life.  Why is this amazing husband, incredible father, wonderful son-in-law, exceptional employee slandered on a daily basis?  Why because he wears a blue uniform and a badge of course!  It turns out that this good guy is perceived as a bad guy thanks to all of the media outlets that focus on the mistakes of a couple of officers or the few bad eggs in departments NATION-WIDE. 

I try really hard not to let the media outlets get to me.  In fact, I don’t even watch the news and I’ve began blocking the bigamists on Facebook.  Still, information seeps through somehow, (probably mainly through my Dad who likes relaying every police related news story to me… Still love you Dad).  When I hear it, I just want to shout and scream these words:

“YOU IDIOTS!  You always hold the military in such high regard… Those people that are keeping you safe by fighting a war overseas that doesn’t make a lot of sense, while you bash the officers protecting you from some of the craziest people of all… your neighbors!  The amount of corrupt people in this nations police force is no greater than the amount of corrupt firefighters, corrupt service members, corrupt teachers, corrupt office officials, corrupt priests and parish members!!!  So please… take away the 1 out of 10,000 negative stories you can dig up and create mass controversy with and put up the easy millions of life-saving stories that are going to paint the more accurate picture of what police work entails.  Why do I ask this of you?  Why do I BEG this of you?  Because officers are second-guessing themselves now and losing their lives for it.  Officers are being shot rather than shooting because it “might not” be a gun the person is pulling on them and they could be the next “trigger happy” cop all over the news.    

Kids always pretended to be cops and robbers… but why would they pretend to be cops and robbers?  Because cops ARE the good guys who are out protecting complete strangers and getting the “robbers”, (like the heroes in a story, except this is a real story).  I fear that with all the negative media coverage, our children will perceive police officers to be villains while robbers will become the “victims”.  This is already creating riots against officers; what will it do to future generation’s perception?  

All I know is that we will have many talks with our daughter about what it is Daddy does and how hard he works for our family so that there is no confusion if she catches a glimpse of the daily news.  When he's working obscenely long and unpredictable hours on a case, or he's filling out the endless paperwork that's attached to his job, or he's arresting someone who was drinking and driving and killed a family and can't make her dance recital, I will hug her and tell her again and again that he wishes more than anything that he could be there.  I know it might not make sense to her why he's spending his time with others and not with her, but when he gets home after seeing a child her age who has died and he hugs her until she won't let him hug her anymore, I hope she knows that her Daddy is NOT the bad guy, but instead a selfless man who will do anything for his family... and for complete strangers.

I took this picture almost two years ago.
It's CRAZY how time flies.

PLEASE SHARE THIS IF YOU AGREE!  Let's start spreading the message about what police life is REALLY like and show our support to officers.

Disclosure:  These are all my own opinions.  I also am very grateful to our military service members and appreciate every single one of them who keeps us safe.

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