Sunday, May 1, 2016


The other day, I was listening to a morning radio talk show on my way to work - err, on my drive to the bus transfer point to my bus ride to my walk up Bascom Hill to work. They were talking about how the "American Dream" has changed a lot over the past several decades.  How people use to want the gorgeous house with the white picket fence, health, lots of nice things and money in the bank.   Now people are happy and satisfied more with experiences instead of things.  People want their health, to be surrounded by people that make them better and happier, omit those that bring negative energy to their lives ... and that people are learning to simplify. 
This really resonated with me.  Since I've gone through several life changes over the past five or six years and even more changes recently (good and bad), I've learned a lot about life and myself.  I use to go shopping to fill my time.  I spent money on things that I didn't necessarily need.  And sometimes I spent money on things that I didn't necessarily want.  I attended at home parties for friends hosting online businesses.  I felt the need to buy something.  When shopping, I also bought things that were "the new fad", because I thought that I was supposed to have them.  Not necessarily because I liked them or because I needed a new pair of shoes, gadget or outfit for my daughter.  These things were fad, I saw them in magazines or on friends' Facebook feeds.  I'm happy that I've learned life lessons and immediately have no problem saying "no" to at home parties, staying out of the mall unless I have a mission or need something and I am in awe at how much people spend on "things" sometimes.  I have no problem buying a garbage bag full of infant clothes for my child at garage sales or thrift stores - and thinking twice before I purchase something that she needs, even if it is only fifty cents.  Instead of going out and buying something new for myself or our home, I think twice about if I can fix it or if it can be repurposed.  Having more things and the best of these things doesn't necessarily make you happy.  I don't have fancy packages showing up at my doorstep - unless they are products to review for my blog.
After trying to find a balance with my schedule (which I'm learning is an ongoing process), I'm learning that less is more here, too.  I'm working half time and coaching several times a week.  My life is just as busy - if not busier.  But, I'm investing my time and energy in different places.  Things that are important - and most importantly, things that bring me joy.  And joy to others (my children).  I'm bringing home half of what I brought home five years ago.  Yes, HALF.  But, I'm so much happier with living simpler.  We still have everything we need and can take advantage of opportunities.  But we think twice (or three or four times) before committing to the things that we REALLY want to do.  I look for free/cheap outings and experiences that we can share together, rather than always spending money on expensive concert tickets and family vacations.  When we do make those extravagant purchases, it makes those experiences that much more special.  I've also been very open with my kids about how our family spends money.  I don't want them to be scared about whether we have enough money to put dinner on the table.  But, I let them be involved with making choices about doing one more expensive thing versus three more affordable options on a day off of school.  We can go out to lunch OR we can eat at home and do this fun activity afterwards.  I love having them involved in our decisions.
I use to feel the need to say "yes" to every opportunity that came my way.  I was afraid to tell people "no", even if I didn't find value in an experience or that it didn't bring something positive to my life or those immediately around me.  I said "yes" to satisfy others, not myself.  This is my year of saying "NO".
As I mentioned in my post yesterday, I use to feel the NEED to do every single race and travel all over the Midwest to experience races every weekend.  Not only should I not have done that from the aspect of my bank account.  But, after more than a decade of being a runner, do I need to prove to myself - or others - that I am a "real runner", by committing to so many events.  I am just as much of an athlete, running on my own or with friends and throwing a few half marathons and a marathon in there to give myself a personal goal to work towards. 
I am a runner.  Whether I run twelve half marathons this year - or three.  I am still a runner.  You may not see as many racing selfies of me on your Facebook feed this year.  You will probably be seeing me running by myself or with someone close to me or with my dog.  But I'll be putting in the miles, just like you.

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