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I have been a bit more silent than usual for quite some time now. For those that know me, I am not regularly an introvert, but these past two years have changed me quite a bit. For clarification, I would still classify myself as extrovert, just a more contemplative extrovert. Like most people, I have reverted inward and learned to question things that I thought were vital to happiness. The crazy thing is, that the things that were vital to my personal fulfillment were there all along, but I was just too busy doing XYZ to see them. I was just blind.

I blame myself for falling into the unhealthy habits of life. While my body might have been in the moment, my mind was going 5,000 miles per hour thinking about everything that I needed to accomplish. Professionally and personally, things were great on the outside. Work was going well and I was able to attend all of the special holiday events at for each of my children. I was prepared for the holidays and did all the things to make it a special time. Truth be told, I was just so overwhelmed by tasks that needed to be accomplished for others that I stopped performing things that I did for myself. On the inside, things were changing. That little voice kept asking, “What is wrong?” After much thought I finally realized that I was trying to be everything to everyone all the time and it wasn’t working. I wasn’t being good to myself.

One thing that I have learned is that I cannot pour from an empty cup. Honestly, during these times I do not exercise enough patience with family and friends and my mind is just continually racing. I need to take care of myself, no matter how selfish that statement may sound. Even as I am typing this, I am having to quiet my mind on the other things that are also on my list. Writing is my passion, both professionally and personally and when I don’t take the time to write for myself, my writing for others suffers. Others may not see it, but I do. I know when the words come easily or when it takes significant effort to produce the same level to which I hold myself accountable.

Crazy thing is that it took a simple conversation with my husband for me to voice my intentions aloud to see how everything was interconnected. I realized a bit on my own, a bit on a bike ride after having an argument with my son and a bit over a campfire chat with my husband on New Year’s Eve. Sometimes we have to say it, acknowledge it, and move forward.

It is not a resolution, but a way of life that I hope is able to stick with me for the long term. The concept of being present means that some things may suffer initially. I may not respond to an email with record speed or turn in items numerous days before deadline, but I am committed to living in the moment and remaining focused on the task at hand.

When I am working on a piece for a client, I will set a period of time without email alerts or phone calls.

When I am volunteering at my kids’ schools, I will not check email in between volunteer obligations.

When I am supposed to be spending quality time with family and friends, my phone will be put away.

Truth be told, it is vital to my happiness and well-being. I want to be the best version of myself both personally and professionally. I can only be the best version of a wife and a mother if I am the best version of myself FIRST. So, if you see me wandering aimlessly down the aisles of Target with a cup of Starbucks or biking to yoga with a mat-filled backpack, just know that I am taking some well-deserved ME time! You should do the same!

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There have been countless articles written about balance. It is something that many are looking for to live a better and happier life. There are numerous different perspectives on how this magical unicorn can be attained, but the other day I read a post that stopped me in my tracks. The author of the post simply stated that the normal 9 to 5 workday was no longer the norm for them. Their day was fragmented into areas of work, self-care, and family time.

YES! Someone had finally articulated what I had figured out on my own. My days did not look like the “traditional” workday as it had for nearly 20 years. It looked incredibly different. I was pleased to see that I was not the only one with this eclectic mix of a day. My days are filled work, physical activity, and parental duties. It works for me and I was pleased to hear that I was not the only one with this ulterior mindset.

Then, I kept reading.

Others quickly commented that the author was incorrect. Their mentality was that a traditional 9 to 5 job in an office was the only way that a work environment should exist.

My mind began to wonder. Why has this simple topic become an open invitation for debate? It should not be an argument. The truth of the matter is that they are both correct as balance is not a one size fits all scenario. It is different for all of us.

The truth is that balance is something that needs to be chased after and worked to attain, as it will not simply land in your lap. For me, the pandemic was the catalyst that forced me to decide what was truly important in my life. My head wanted to be challenged intellectually and professionally while my heart continually tugged at me as a reminder that my kids were growing up entirely too quickly for my liking. I longed for both areas of my life to be fulfilled, and then I looked in the mirror and remembered that I must also be fulfilled personally.

Juggling all three things may seem impossible some days, but somehow it works. Along the way I have determined that my personal cup needs to be filled first because it overflows into the other segments of my life. Like a flight attendant telling you to secure your oxygen mask before helping others, I needed to take care of me. I prioritized yoga and running and stopped feeling guilty about taking a 15-minute reading break in my day. Over a year ago, I started my own business as flexibility was a vital element to balance in my life. I have made transparency a priority with my clients and work daily to establish relationships that encourage recognition of the multi-faceted lives that everyone is living. Family has remained a priority and I am happily writing this after just returning from a volunteer opportunity at my daughter’s school.

Balance is attainable, but we all must make a daily decision to prioritize it. We are all human. NO one is perfect. It’s time to extend grace this holiday season and value people as individuals who are all trying to find their balance in life.

P.S. – Special thanks to Shawn, the ultimate yoga instructor, for posing in the photograph above.

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As I was walking around with my sweet daughter and her friend on Halloween, I noticed a few things. The main realization came after looking at the children in contrast to the adults. The kids were on point in multiple ways.

Creativity: The kids that walked by us had the coolest costumes. They were truly creative ensembles and not store bought like the plastic ones that we used to get from the corner drugstore when we were kids.

Confidence: They were SO proud of the way they looked. Self-pride oozed out of them like a melted marshmallow after being placed over a warm fire.

Character: The moods and speech of the children were a reflection of the character that they portrayed. They were all in and it was awesome to see!

The parents, on the other hand, were the opposite. Very few parents were decked out in costume. There were some, don’t get me wrong, but most adults were wearing normal clothing. Others tried with a festive shirt, but the whole costume was just not happening with most adults.

This disparity of creativity and excitement between the children and adults was staggering.

I began to wonder, where did it go? As children, we were encouraged to draw anything on piece of paper with crayons that were every color of the rainbow. We had imaginary friends that lived behind couches and used our upside-down bicycle as if it was an ice cream machine. We played imaginary games until the streetlights came on and repeatedly asked to play for five more minutes.

What happened as we grew? Some may blame it on childhood innocence turning into adult responsibilities, but I do not buy it. There is no reason to let our minds stop being creative as we get older. What if we did continue to think that anything was possible? As children, we did.

What changed?

There is no reason to have to be serious all of the time, even as adults. We need to tap into that inner child that lets imagination run wild. I am 100% certain that if we let that side of our persona come out, we would all be better because of it!

P.S. - This year was #peanutbutterjellytime for my daughter and her bestie! Creative costume? I think so!

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