Thursday, December 27, 2012

Holidays Can be Hard

I don't want this to be a Debbie Downer post but I feel the need to be honest and admit that Holiday's and especially Christmas are hard for me since my brother passed away.  I am a very positive person and annoyingly happy 99.9% of the time but I am also human and I have real emotions and moments of weakness.  I like to act like I have it all together all the time but the truth is my life is far from perfect.

And this is why I am single.....and far from perfect!

Christmas often brings added stress for me because I am the Manager of a 24/7 department at the Hospital and since Trevor passed away I have always worked Christmas morning.  Yes I was helping out my department but in hindsight I think it was my way of coping, escaping and not actually facing Christmas?  This year I did not have to work on Christmas and for the first time I think I allowed myself to be sad.  Sad that I deeply missed my brother Trevor, sad that I wouldn't be able to see my older brother and his family, sad that I didn't have a family of my own like my siblings do, and sad that there is so much hype about this Holiday that so many people suffer through and have no family or gifts at all to look forward to.  And then even more sad that I was feeling sorry for myself when so many people were in such worse situations than me! 

I am not an emotional person at all so it was weird and humbling to me to feel and actually express real sadness.  I always play the role of the listener, the fixer, the shoulder to cry on, the strong one that people go to for advice and comfort.  I think I can fix anyone or anything but never really slow down enough from helping others to listen and reflect on my own feelings.  I have never been good at expressing emotions and for the first time in a very long time I actually allowed myself to break down a little bit.  I am not really sure where I'm going with this post and I know it's getting overly wordy but I guess my point is that I learned that it is okay to be sad and that I should not feel guilty for expressing sadness.  I only expressed to one person on Christmas Eve that I was feeling down (my sister through a text message) and then I felt incredibly guilty for bothering her with my silly problems.  The last thing I wanted was for her to be concerned about me on what was one of the greatest days of the year for her and her family.  I felt so much guilt for telling her how I was feeling.  I went to bed on Christmas Eve feeling numb, empty, and sad.  I missed my brother so much and wanted more than anything just to talk to him about how I was feeling.

Christmas morning came as it always does and although I was still feeling empty I woke up to a pup that licked my face and showered me with love.  A Dad that hugged me and told me he loved me for no particular reason at all other than I think he could sense that I was feeling down and a Mom that was laughing and full of joy and Christmas spirit.  The day I was dreading so much was so simple and yet so perfect and just what I needed.  I was able to go running with a very good friend Christmas morning and I actually opened up to her about how I was feeling.  This is something I never do so it felt good to actually just talk to someone I trusted.  It was a perfect run and left me feeling thankful.  By the end of Christmas day I was feeling overwhelmed with gratitude, happiness, and most importantly love.  My family and friends went out of there way to make Christmas special for me and I felt so much comfort and love.  It was so good for me to realize that so many people love and care about me.  As I laid in bed Christmas night I realized that it is okay to feel sadness and that I am not always as independent as I think.  It is okay to seek help, comfort, and advice from others and not always depend on myself for everything.  I am definitely a work in progress as far as not feeling guilty about burdening others with my sorrows but I am making progress.

 As the year draws to a close I am feeling grateful, thankful, and just so incredibly blessed in so many ways.  I have an incredible family, a great job that I love, wonderful friends, and a healthy body that allows me to run each day.  I am blessed!

Thank you to my many readers and friends (virtual & real) for following me throughout my crazy life and running journey and I hope you all had a Very Merry Christmas!  The new year is upon us and I am wishing everyone good health, good fortune, a new PR, and most importantly lots of shiny new race medals. :)

Friday, December 21, 2012

Positive Affirmations - 5 Things I Like About Winter

As I was driving through a blizzard last night, getting stuck multiple times with my car high centered and wind gusts up to 50mph I was cursing Utah's winters.  It literally took me 25 minutes to drive 2.5 miles.....I could have ran faster!  I really, really, really dislike winter and cold weather and it has been freezing in Utah all week.  I could go on and on about all the things I dislike about winter but since I'm an optimist in every sense of the word I'm trying to convince myself that I'll somehow survive this bone chilling season. 

I am a firm believer that our minds are incredibly powerful and we can talk ourselves into anything with enough positive affirmations right? 

I will like winter
I will like winter
I will like winter

At least humor me if you will. ;)  5 things I like about winter.

Basketball - Winter brings Jazz season and I love my Utah Jazz!

Ginger Bread Houses - Every winter my family gets together to make ginger bread houses and it is truly something I look forward to.  I always, ALWAYS win the gingerbread making contest. ;)

Christmas - I love the lights, the time for reflection, and most importantly the time spent with the people I love most.  Holidays tend to bring people together and help me to appreciate all of my many blessings.  My new niece Vara has definitely been a major blessing in my life this year!

Hot Chocolate - It's hard to beat lounging around in PJ's snuggled under a warm fleece blanket, watching Christmas specials on the Hallmark channel and sipping on hot chocolate with a never ending refill of marshmallows.  I may or may not drink hot chocolate just for the marshmallows...

And did I mention...

Basketball - I love going to basketball games with my family.  I was raised in a strictly basketball home.  Eat, sleep, basketball growing up in the Wardle household and although I never made it to the WNBA I still love the game.
I will like winter
I will like winter
I will like winter

Happy 1st day of winter.  What do you like about winter?

Friday, December 14, 2012

The Best Christmas Gifts Are Free

I truly love the spirit and the energy of the Holiday season.  I love the Christmas music, the parties, the yummy treats, staying up until midnight playing games with my siblings, laughing until the wee hours of the morning, and most importantly just spending time with the people I love.

As I flipped through my recent photos on my phone it really resonated with me that the best things in life truly are free.  When I think back on my childhood my favorite Christmas memories have nothing to do with gifts.  My fondest memories are all from quality time spent with my loved ones.  Just being together and spending time with people you love is what Christmas is all about.  Thanks Mrs. Cotter for the free inspiration today.

Free snuggles with my nephew after a cold and snowy winter run.

Yes I did buy my nephew red pants just so that we can match. ;)
 Free trip to Scheels with the family.  Free entertainment that the kids would have believed was Disneyland if we didn't tell them any different. ;)

Completely free and spontaneous long run on a Monday, in a blizzard with a very dear friend.

Free day from work spent lounging around at my parents house until 1pm, eating a big breakfast, and watching Christmas movies in Pj's.  No agenda, no plan, just freedom to relax.

Free entertainment teaching my nieces and nephews our favorite Christmas songs while gathered around the Christmas tree.

Freedom to run for free and enjoy the free wintry views along my running paths.

The best things in life truly are free.  As the hustle and bustle of the Holiday Season approaches keep in mind that the things we often remember are time spent together and moments that are free of cost and free of worry.

What free things are you enjoying this Holiday Season?

Thursday, December 6, 2012

For the Love of Running

I love running.  LOVE IT!

After TOU Marathon I was injured and it was utterly miserable.  I cried, I whined, I complained, I completely over reacted and thought my world was crashing down!  When I saw someone running I was jealous, when my friends were racing I was envious.

For two years much of my life was dedicated to running and becoming a strong athlete and suddenly I was stripped of what I felt like had become part of my identity.  It took me far too long to put my feet up and actually accept the injury, but once I did I realized it was truly a blessing in disguise.

My body was screaming for a break and mentally I was burnt out on hard training.  I was also in need of a great life lesson.  There is truly something to be gained from every good and bad situation and experience in life if only we stop, slow down, open our eyes and seek the opportunity to learn and grow.  What I learned was a great sense of gratitude for my body.  Gratitude that it allows me to run, to compete, and to be strong and healthy.  More so what I learned is that I am much more than a runner.  Running is a wonderful part of my life but it is only a small fraction of who I am.  I am a runner but I am also a friend, an Aunt, a daughter, a sister, a Supervisor, a shopaholic, and a lover of life and adventure!

Adventurous? ;)
I have been back to running for awhile now but it is with a new perspective, a deeper level of appreciation, and a greater sense of gratitude.  I am truly running for the pure love of running!  And boy does it feel good to run my old routes and genuinely appreciate my surroundings.

No training plan, no pressure, just loving my ability to run as far or as fast as I feel like running.  Running to build relationships with my running friends and enjoying and loving the amazing outdoors that comes with it! 

So will I refocus my training and go after my goals in 2013?  Absolutely!  But it will be with a new perspective and deeper sense of gratitude.  For right now I am perfectly content with just running for the love of running.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Happiness Is...

"Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned, worn, or consumed.  Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace and gratitude." Denis Waitley

As I was scrolling through the pictures on my iphone last night I couldn't help but smile from ear to ear as every single photo sparked a memory and made me beam with joy, happiness, and most importantly gratitude.  Happiness to me is not defined by money, accomplishments, or material goods.  Happiness can be found every single day in the most simple things in life.  Happiness is not an action or a monetary good, rather it is a choice.  Life is incredibly simple if we allow it to be and happiness is a choice that we get to make each day. 

Since I blogged last I have not been on any big vacations, won any major races, or seen any incredible things.  Life has been perfectly simple and I have been incredibly happy!

Happiness Is a perfectly healthy and beautiful new niece being born into my family.

Happiness Is spending an entire day watching the new Madagascar, dancing to Afro Circus, and eating popcorn with my nephew.

Happiness is dressing up like bathing beauties and running a half marathon without a watch and with friends just entirely for fun.

Happiness Is going to lunch three days a week with my beautiful Mom because she just started a new job right next door to me.

Happiness Is running a relay race just for fun and meeting amazing people that I will stay friends with for years to come.

Happiness Is kicking Thanksgiving off with a turkey trot and winning a turkey that was half my weight.

Happiness Is hanging out with my sick niece and nephew all day and torturing Vara into a Christmas modeling session.

Happiness is ending the day by cuddling on the couch while watching How the Grinch Stole Christmas with my family on a Sunday night.
       Life is so incredibly simple if we open our hearts, stress less, serve others and just enjoy more.  Life is not always easy but happiness is always a choice and life is too short to not be happy.