36 Things I’ve learned Over 36 Years

When I wake up tomorrow, I’ll be a different age than I am now. I’m already qualified, by time, to drive; vote; drink; rent a car; and run for president. In the spirit of learning how to find calm, gain health, and lose insomnia…I’m going to list 36 things that I’ve learned over 36 years.

1. You didn’t ask to be born, but go with it.

2. Ride the dog like a horse while you still can.

3. Hallways can look and feel longer than they really are.

4. Death happens but you can’t actually study for it.

5. Don’t ever forget the first day of Kindergarten.

6. Bring your Grandma to Show and Tell.

7. Climb to the top the jungle-gym and run like hell.

8. Make the biggest solar system model you can; never throw it out.

9. Forgive your parents for lying to you about magic.

10. Self-consciousness will take the place of not knowing how to give a damn.

11. Insecure people will try to make you feel small, so that they can feel bigger.

12. You will swear you heard your heart break.

13. Feel the confidence of being one of the oldest kids in school.

14. Feel the terror of being one of the newest kids in school.

15. Get in trouble for kissing.

16. Drive stick.

17. Your parents won’t always like you, but they always love you.

18. End abusive relationships.

19. Learn to use Excel.

20. Learn how to live with other people.

21. Live alone.

22. Wait tables.

23. Prioritize paying of debt.

24. Prioritize saving money.

25. Prioritize spending that money on an international trip with your best friend.

26. Fall in love like you will never get hurt.

27. Go to graduate school even though you were rejected.

28. Learn how to work professionally and effectively with someone you don’t like.

29. Experience a heart-break that will literally bring you to your knees.

30. Pretend you’ll always be single and live an adventure.

31. Move in with your partner before you’re married; host all your parents for Christmas.

32. Reevaluate your career choices. Even if this makes you cry.

33. Change doesn’t not equal defeat.

34. Go to Switzerland.

35. Learn how to ask for help.

36. There is always time for cake.

I Just Want to Go to Bed! But I’ve Come to Depend on at Least Ten Minutes of Fitness for Sleeping Well


Locked Up the Car and Walked Away for Five Minutes

I got home just before 11pm after a long, productive day and all I wanted to do was to get upstairs and go to bed. Great thesis work in the company of a great friend and colleague kept my focus off fitness, but I’ve come to depend on a feeling of satisfaction from at least ten minutes of fitness a day. This satisfaction has become a noticeable part of finding my calm, finding sleep, and preventing insomnia. It’s not even midnight and I’m pleasantly unwinding, looking forward to sleep.

Before heading up the stairs, I left my things and locked up the car and walked away from the house for five minutes. Don’t worry, I came back.


No One Cares If You Walk In Half of Your PJs


PJ-NonPJ Hybrid

It wasn’t until I was in the midst of getting ready for bed, when I remembed I hadn’t taken any time out today for self care today. So I’m taking my evening constitutional in the middle of putting on my PJs. What of it?

Sometimes I Peek Through Your Windows. BUT In a Totally NOT Creepy Way!


Just Noticing How Many People Have Their TVs On

It’s not like I’m going UP TO your windows to peek in. I don’t LEAVE the sidewalk. I…just enjoy glancing through your windows; you left the drapes open and lights on. Think of it like a quick anthropological glimpse into how you decorate your walls or are watching on TV.

In full disclosure I didn’t do any fitness yesterday. I let the stress help me forget…and I felt it today. Negatively. My anxiety to get to work on editing my thesis was surprisingly replaced with an anxiety that I couldn’t work enough. While closing down my computer and packing up my bag, while driving home…I felt nausea. An anxiety induced nausea. And after so much productivity. But a productivity that left me frustrated that I still have more to do. It feels like so much more.

Flirting with the notion that I’d come home and unpack my bag and get right back to editing, I remembered that I’m practicing balance. Instead I looked to find my calm. I went on a ten minute walk.

And I looked through your windows.

Walk off Computer-Screen Fatigue in 15 Easy Minutes!


Just On Your Average Evening Constitutional

Took a brisk 15 minute walk around the neighborhood after a productive day fixing a nitrogen paragraph on nitrogen fixation. See what I did there? These evening constitutionals are really good at reducing any stress or fatigue caused by staring at a computer screen for hours!

Sometimes You Solve a Duck-Murder on Your walk


Walk in the Drizzle Around the Zoo Marsh

The Moms joined me on my mental health walk at the zoo! It was like a cool autumn day, in the middle of August; animals, beautiful prairie plant smells, and we solved a duck murder…sort of.


Investigation: Ongoing

To protect the viewer, and the identification of the victim, only the untouched duck-feet are pictured.

Please Note For the Record That I Do NOT Want to Swim, but I Want to Feel Powerful, So I’m Here


I Will Swim. Reluctantly.

I was thrown for a loop this afternoon and consequently, wanted to hide under the covers until tomorrow. Then C reminded me that the woman who wants to go get em is still in there, and I took her to Starbucks to awkwardly work on my thesis. Progress was made without an ounce of grace.

C also reminded me that I feel powerful after a swim, so I’m here now at the pool. Reluctantly.

If You Bite Off More Than You Can Chew, for God’s Sake Spit It Out!


Last night I decreed that I’ll do EVERYthing that I said I’d do today! Fine. I simply said I’d do some Saturday chores, finish editing my introduction, AND swim a mile.

Then, after C went to bed, I remembered how much I likeed playing Sudoku until I couldn’t keep my eyes open, ensuring that when I did close them, I’d fall fast asleep without any of those pesky, judgemental, self-critical reflections. While this behavior can keep me “awake” until 3, 4, or 5 am, I was only able to play avoidance-Sudoku until about 1:30 because this past week, I’ve consciously made efforts to create a healthier sleep schedule to reduce stress and anxiety. Even though I didn’t stay up unreasonably late, making even the smallest changes to your lifestyle can be exhausting, and I wasn’t able to wake up easily at 7:30 this morning. Or at 8:30. Or even at 10:30. I haven’t hit the snooze button and reset my alarms (plural) in…a week. At 11:30 I shuffled to my beloved hourish coffee-sipping transition-time on the couch by the window surrounded by plants.

Even my coffee-sipping transition-time was running an hour OVER schedule. How the hell was I going to finish cleaning, editing my introduction, AND swim a mile at this rate!?

Then I had a revolutionary thought!

What if my productivity-plan was actually keeping me from productivity? I tried an experiment. I hypothesized that if I modified my productivity-plan into something more realistic, then I wouldn’t feel  the resistance nor the guilt over feeling stuck.

I haven’t run the statistics, but I’d say the data strongly suggests that you can accidentally bite off more than you can chew, and choke to proverbial death.

These aren’t new ideas to me. What IS new, is that without someone else to help me recognize how my productivity-plan was part of the problem, I recognized my resistance, awkwardly adjusted, and set myself on a new course. I accidentally bit off more than I could chew and spit it out before calling someone to do the Heimlich maneuver!