2017

I don’t have “one word” for 2017. I don’t have a theme. I don’t have transformative resolutions, or a “New year, new me” mantra. I am perfectly fine with this.

It feels as if I’ve finally settled into who I am. I’m no longer “in crisis,” as I was several years ago. That is not to say I’m not still turbulent in some ways, and I am critical, wanting and demanding more from myself, and being forgiving where possible. At the same time, however, I feel more level-headed and clearer about what my priorities are.

I know where I could get better in my professional and in my personal life. I know where I want to grow. Instead of wishing, I’ll write it down and track my progress. I’ll use my voice to see things through.

I will not quit trying to improve my health. I probably will never be elite-level in CrossFit nor weightlifting, but that isn’t a reason to quit trying. However, even the best intentions for a super-fit 2017 won’t matter if I don’t focus on taking care of my shoulders and honing in on weightlifting technique. I could say, “I want to snatch the yellow plates,” as much as I want, but that won’t happen if I don’t make an active decision to focus on the details.

In a nutshell, setting intentions isn’t just for yoga, and I feel free enough now to set my intentions outside of arbitrary parameters.

So, I suppose in 2017, I will strive to push boundaries and live intentionally.

That seems just fine.

 

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Love Medicine (Not the Book I Once Read)

“In love as in medicine: first, do no harm.” (Source: Thought Catalog)

I have not stopped thinking about the above quote since reading it earlier. If I could have this tattooed down the back of my arm, I would. Talk about wearing my heart on my sleeve.

I got called a tough girl at my gym tonight as I reset for a third attempt on a 95lb. hang squat clean & jerk. I finally got under the bar properly, with “no fear” as my coach said. I got the bar overhead, and then brought it back down, tired, spent, but accomplished. I could have given up, walked away, went home for the night without hitting that lift, but something caused me to think, “No, just one more shot.” And my tired, slightly defeated self wrapped her hands around the bar and gave it her all.

I’m waiting for a time when other parts of my life come together like that. I’m waiting for the time when all those lonesome moments, all those hours spent wondering if I’m being deceived, all those disappointments and broken dreams don’t matter anymore because someone thought, “This woman is like no other I’ve ever met,” and he is man enough to do right by me. Passing up meaningless dates with unremarkable women–no matter how good their hair is or the way they put on their lip gloss–will be so simple, even he’ll wonder what’s wrong with him.

How many times have I picked myself up from the ashes of a train-wreck relationship and said, “Just one more try.” Something keeps me going. Something tells me that I’ll eventually get it right, that he’ll* eventually get it right, and that the universe will eventually let us both get it right.

But it’s hard. No one said it would be easy. And I guess I never asked for a fast pass through all of this.

In the meantime, can we all agree on no more harm done to me? Can we make sure that men with whom I am involved don’t have the capacity to manipulate or to deceive or to break my trust the way too many have in the past? Can we aim for no more train wrecks? Because that all sounds nice.

Let’s shake on that, universe.

Please.

Bleeding Hearts* Whoever he is.

Games

I sat on my bedroom floor and laid out the cards to my favorite word game solitaire-style. Riceboy Sleeps was on in the background, and my cedar nutmeg candle burned, filling the room with its warm, calming scent.

I felt very much like I did growing up many years ago, keeping myself entertained the way only-childs do. I needed some time to stretch my mind beyond what had become ordinary and routine.

As it has been for the past few years, I am still a spectator as my friends settle down, get married, buy houses, and do all the things grown-ups should. I am walking down a very different path, and tonight, as I contemplated how to play two “QU” cards and a bunch of consonants, I wanted someone to challenge me in this word game.

I couldn’t help but think about what I would say to him as he played his overly-complex words or maybe it was a set of absurd short words. I would give him a hard time, tell him that what he was doing was unfair, and I would either fire back with my own words or make a face, defeated. Then I would laugh, and we would play the next hand.

It can’t just be anybody, though. I have played this game with several guys before, and I am still looking for that special partner.

I know I am quite abrasive about my views on relationships, publicly saying things like, “I hate men and politics equally,” even after meeting really nice guys. Yes, I have been wronged and I have wronged, too, but that isn’t the whole story. It’s just an unfortunate theme.

I don’t really hate you, guys. I haven’t actually given up hope that a nice one in whom I am interested will come along and treat me well, and I am so excited for him to share in this adventure. And vice versa.

You see, I am just impatient. I don’t get why I have to wait so long. I still don’t understand. And I don’t like to settle, either; I am too functional to just say, “Good enough.”

The right partner for me understands that.

I wish so much that this or that could have been different with so-and-so, or that I hadn’t lost touch with another, or that the circumstances were different, or that he maybe said hello in the first place. Those little things, those little details–those haven’t quite worked out for me yet.

Regardless, I carry on. I find joy and challenge in my job, and I look forward to growing myself as a professional. I welcome new travels with open arms. I try to nourish friendships, and I try to cultivate my own spirit (to borrow a phrase from Astin and Astin). I am rooting myself in fitness and health, and I am so happy to have found a team that accepts me as I grow. I call home to say hello, and I take time to appreciate who I am and where I have been and where I am going.

I succumb to loneliness when left to my own thoughts too long, but I know I am loved. Many things are good in life, and I’m not saying the single life is bad. I am doing what I can to make it the best possible, and when Mr. Righteous comes along, hopefully all those little nuances in the universe work in my favor.

For now, I plan to wake up every tomorrow and do what it takes to keep improving myself. Some days, that means looking in and remembering where I come from and what that means for my future lover.

I promise I am worth waiting for.

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As a big believer in moving through transitions (and learning as much as possible from them), let me share today a fellow blogger, #SApro, and new OSU Beaver’s thoughts on her transition.

annmarieklotz

How we enter an organization is critically important.  In a recent blog post about my first day of work (entitled “Day One”) I discussed some things to think about as you embark on a new professional endeavor.

45 days later I have started to reflect on the transition-what worked, what didn’t and what I might do differently next time.

1) Say yes as much a possible: Whether it’s to listen in at a meeting, join a group of colleagues for coffee, volunteer at an event outside of your department, or attend a goodbye party for an employee you barely know, accept each invitation as an opportunity to learn campus culture and build your new network.

Saying “yes” has helped me to understand institutional context, start to build collegial relationships and learn about new resources within the outside community.  “Yes” can be a little scary when you are still learning your job…

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Maybe I’m Crazy (Sunday edition)

There are some days when you wake up too early, get some work done, then think about making pancakes. And while you are thinking about whether you want one big pancake or a few tiny pancakes, you read an article like this about “bad romances.”

And then you realize several things: (a) it’s time to come clean about how emotionally beat-up you really were in a particular relationship; and (b) you’re not alone.

When I say this last year has been “tough,” in terms of dating, I truly mean it. When I look back on the relationship I had at the beginning of my graduate program, how I was treated, and how it in turn caused me to try and clean up that mess with other relationships, it makes me sad. It hurts to see how willing I was to say, “I’m not changing anything about myself,” when my spontaneity, humor, independence, intelligence, values, and self were stupid and naive in the eyes of someone else–someone, I thought, I loved. It’s hard to answer the question of “Why?” in regards to why I would let that happen, and every time I’ve tried before, I just made myself feel worse about it. And imagine trying to answer that to other people–it was best to not talk about it and write it off as just another failed romance. But that wasn’t the best choice; it was just the easy way around it, to get myself re-focused on school and on my career. It’s done some damage, and it’s time for that to stop.

I suppose one of the things I should have done after my relationship ended with the Super Ninja was get this out there:

Dear future partner,

I know you care about me; I care about you, too. I want you to listen for just a second, though, because what I’m telling you right now is important to us. I was hurt before you came along, and I don’t think I ever found a way to fully heal from it. I thought I was okay, but that’s an easy way to say ‘I buried the negative experiences deep down in my memory, where they won’t bother me from day-to-day.’ In other words, I’m embarrassed of the way I let myself be treated before, and rather than come to terms with it, I hid it–away from myself, away from my friends, away from you.

I don’t expect you to fix me; I’m not hiring you to be my counselor. I do hope that you can see past my hesitations. I hope that if we’re together on an afternoon and I go quiet, that you’ll ask what’s wrong–and that it will be okay if I tell you I’m just remembering unwillingly how I felt several years ago. Yes, it’s out-of-character; it’s not like happy, bubbly, funny Ardith to be so closed-off or overly emotional. But this will pass. Understand that I don’t want to be broken anymore, and the chore of cleaning up isn’t the prettiest. I’ll understand if this is too much, but I at least hope you understand one more thing:

I’ll be okay. It’s just taking a bit more time.

Love,

Ardith

Not exactly a great pick-up line, huh? But… there it is. And that’s me retracing my steps to take a first step all over again.

Now, back to my regularly-scheduled pancakes.