Twenty Five

I’m 25 today. Some people call this quarter-life, but I’m a facts person and statistically speaking my life expectancy as a healthy woman (regular workouts, regular drinking, mostly healthy eating, living in Dallas county) is 80.2 years meaning, technically, I hit a third-life milestone. Third-life means you’re fine, not crazy. Right?

I’m not so much a believer in the quarter-life crisis phenomena, though I see how it could easily happen to me or to anyone around me. In addition to being a facts person, I’m also an emotions person so I totally know how the combination of nostalgia, wishes not granted, dreams come true and general length of twenty-five years behind you could pile up into a mound of feelings. And we’ve all just realized how complicated I am as a human.

Twenty five years.

When I was young, my imagination stretched only to age 21. I figured once I got to 21, the rest would be a cake walk because then I’d graduate, get a job, get a husband, get a cat, get a baby, get rich, retire and then eventually die. In that order, and that streamlined. Clearly, 16 year old’s thoughts about adulthood don’t win out in this world.

Which is fine.

Because since age 21, I’ve learned, stretched and hurt more than I thought possible. I’ve felt extreme joy, jealousy, compassion and passion. Probably all in the same week. But more than anything else, here on this day, I can finally say the feeling I feel the most is gratitude. Thankfulness for all I’ve been given and all that’s been withheld, all I’ve deserved and not deserved. Happy the way I see things, want things, isn’t always the way they go and the way things go doesn’t always work for me.

I’m also thankful my birthday is in January, when the year starts fresh. New Year’s Eve is so quick, so sparkly and I never feel like I have time between the rush of the holidays and presents and food to really take inventory of myself, my year. Those 8 days in January before my birthday, though? I use those.

So, what do I want most now?

  1. To primarily operate out of an attitude of thankfulness, because I believe only then are you joyful
  2. To get over myself and stop my jealousy
  3. To stop being jealous by starting to live out my dreams
  4. To live out my dreams
  5. To count blessings more than hurts
  6. To work smarter
  7. To lift others up
  8. To smile more
  9. To teach Jackson to stop eating walls (I mean…)
  10. To write more
  11. To notice more – the details are where you find it, I really believe that
  12. To live bigger, more uncomfortably, in the awkward places and spaces I try to shy away from
  13. To stop talking about being single, sad, or anything else not on my wish list of life
  14. To do my dishes regularly (this will be on my birthday list indefinitely)
  15. To learn a new skill
  16. To rest
  17. To stop feeling guilty about anything
  18. To pray
  19. To release expectations of others
  20. To bake more
  21. To quit Facebook
  22. To travel, far and frequently
  23. To trust in Jesus, the Universe, the plans I don’t get to make for me
  24. To savor the good days, foods, moments – to enjoy something so much I have to close my eyes to feel it
  25. To make it to 26 with love in my heart and grace in my hands

Simple, easy, straightforward. I typically don’t make resolutions or numbered goals. I’ve found in the last four or five years, my goals are similar yearly: to live gracefully, content with the items I get and share as much as possible – but twenty five is different and I felt it required a bit more intention this year.

Happy birthday to me, and happy New Year to you.

Xo,

CB

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New Year, New You, New Goals, New EVERYTHING

Just kidding. I’m not an infomercial.

I’ve thought a lot about resolutions these past few days and I’ve realized they’re all a crock. Also, get out of my gym and stop buying all the produce at Sprouts you wanna-be healthy eaters.

Kidding, again. Eat more vegetables and move your butt around, it’s good for you.

So, my outlook for 2014? Uncertain. I’m excited – like the sometimes-its-hard-to-sleep-tomorrow’s-the-first-day-of-school feeling – and quietly unambitious at once. I didn’t put my finger on it until today when I read Jenny Blake’s plan for 2014 in which she quotes Lao Tzu:

Do you have the patience to wait
till your mud settles and the water is clear?
Can you remain unmoving
till the right action arises by itself?

The Master doesn’t seek fulfillment.
Not seeking, not expecting,
she is present, and can welcome all things.

Mind blown. Not seeking, not expecting. Sounds like the ultimate change from my 2013 mindset, activities and goals. I’m in. Don’t get me wrong! There are still actions I’ll take and feelings I’ll seek, including establishing a regular posting schedule for this blog, writing more, exercise, all the usual suspects. But I’m going to cease the striving to there and focus on here. Can I remain unmoving? What a great challenge – to be still, thankful and fine with what is. Sounds good to me.

One new thing this year will be Monday posts. I don’t have a super creative title for this today, but I want to share things I think are interesting with you every week. Here you go:

  • I made this pasta and I loved every moment of every spicy, creamy bite. I added in about two tablespoons of plain greek yogurt for the creamy. Everything Jessica makes eventually also gets made in my kitchen. Go try something on this blog, you will love it.
  • Guess what? Only 46 percent of us will still be working on our New Year’s Resolutions by February. And everyone wants to be skinny.
  • In addition to the supreme cold everywhere (if this is the first time you’ve been told ‘it’s cold’ today, congrats on not reading the news, being on social media or speaking to anyone), today is generally the crabbiest day of the year. Mashable gave us 24 gifs to cheer us up. I love the flirty cat.

What sounds good to you in 2014?

Xo,

CB

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#31days: Day Thirty One (or, the fear)

No, not the Halloween kind but see what I did there?

This morning I decided to play with my decidedly ALWAYS playful dog. As I swatted my hands around, I noticed something interesting. If my hands were outside of a blanket, he’d playfully lick and jump around. If I put my hands in the blanket, things got aggressive. Teeth came out, so did growling. When he couldn’t decide what was coming at him, he was scared – it wasn’t fun.

I’m getting somewhere, I swear.
(And no, Kate this won’t be a whole post on dog analogies.)

I realized I’ve been acting like Jackson, lashing out with fear and concern because I can’t see entirely in front of me. Instead of playing – having fun, living in the moment – I’ve been gritting my teeth, putting my head down, working hard. I’ve been disappointed by standards not met or dreams not fulfilled which aren’t even necessarily real or needed? I’ve been living in the confines of fear – fear of failure, fear of dreams not coming true, fear of disappointing someone (anyone), fear of routine, repetition.

One of my favorite songs is called The Fear, by Ben Howard. This line gets me every time: Mama, cold-hearted child, tell me where it all falls | Oh this apathy you feel will make a fool of us all. The Lumineers said the opposite of love is indifference.

Apathetic. Indifferent. Fearful.
Not who I want to be.

This isn’t fear manifesting like I don’t want to go on the rollercoaster, or my hands get sweaty in a big meeting. This is the fear manifesting in a way forcing you to live smaller than you were ever intended to live. Big fear holding you back, telling you to hush, to stay in, to keep it to yourself. Fear, like hope, hides in the corners. Either will come to you, depending on what you look for.

So, as I wrap up 31 days of sharing my early morning and daytime thoughts with you all, I wanted to share the deep desire in me to not be afraid of dreaming big, out-of-reach dreams and how badly I want everyone in my life to live in less fear as well.

mAGIC HAPPENS

Thank you, thank you for reading and encouraging me as I do this. My dreams are bigger than just a 31 days series, and it’s because I have people who tell me what you are doing is a good thing, we like this that I am realizing my dreams may not  be too far out of reach.

You can find all posts from October’s 31 Days of a.m here: http://cbaugh.wordpress.com/series/31-days-of-6-a-m/

Xo,

Cb

PS: I’m still waking up at six tomorrow.

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#31Days: Day Thirty (or, thoughts on your best)

I’m not even sure what my ‘best’ is. Are you?

I’ve seen many inspirational posters focused on giving your best and most articles about careers encourage you to do your best. What is “your best” though? One thing I know is my best is not consistent.

And I think this is OK.

What I mean is, my best one day may look like a completed to-do list but my best another day may only have two items crossed off, both of which I paid more attention to than the day I crossed off ten items. Which is the best? Depends.

I think your best is whatever version of you suits the occasion and offers up your truest self. 

Today, I looked back on the month of early mornings to determine the ‘best’ use of my time (which is how I got to this post.) I decided, though, there is no best use. I did a variety of things, as I said I would, and each of them were perfectly suited for the day at hand. Some days were decidedly more productive in terms of maximizing time – I did dishes 5 times, worked out twice, did laundry twice. Some days I rested, meaning I woke up at 6, quietly shuffled to the couch and laid there in silence. I read some books, wrote about lonely hearts, danced once. Is it important to decide which day was the best? I don’t think so, because each day was exactly what it was.

I’d like to apply this transcendent attitude to all aspects of my life, giving myself a break on days when my workout isn’t so great, or work doesn’t go smoothly. Also, maybe I could apply it to friends and family – it’s ok you’re not giving me your best, because that doesn’t so much exist but you do and I appreciate you sharing life with me.

I’ll let you know how it goes.

Xo,

Cb

This is the 30th post in a series, 31 Days of 6 a.m. To see a list of all posts from the month of October, click here. If you would like to have these posts delivered directly to you, enter your email address in the form located at the top right of the home page.

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#31Days: Day Twenty Nine (or, my day in photos)

Today, you get to see what 14 hours of life as Chelsie Baugh feels like. You are welcome.

6 a.m. – meditating on Psalm 30

Psalm_30_5_3x5

7 a.m. – Jackson decides to wake up

389

8 a.m. – driving to work

390

9 a.m. – sorting email, making a list for the day

391

10 a.m. – I wish this was closer to my desk

392

11 a.m. – driving to Fort Worth. Don’t let the clouds fool you, it’s warm and muggy.

393

12 a.m. – team lunch before a big afternoon

394

1 p.m. – media event set up

395

2 p.m. – CEO of RadioShack remarking on new concept store in Fort Worth

397

3 p.m. – “thanks for coming, here’s a gift bag!”

396

4 p.m. – driving back to Dallas (not pictured: Pop2K on Sirius XM)

403

5 p.m. – also, that drive took a whole hour to get back to my office

405

6 p.m. – bootcamp, because I am crazy

406

7 p.m. – continuing work, also setting up my blog

407

8 p.m. – Asian chicken and stir fry vegetables, because food is good.

408

So there it is. Day 29 of the month of October in the life of Chelsie B. Additional items not pictured: 4 bottles of water, 2 glasses of red wine, a shower, 4 phone calls to Kate, many texts from the family group text, Halloween costume ordering, me crying while watching The Biggest Loser and Jackson losing his mind barking at the most well-behaved dog ever.

Xo,

Cb

This is the 29th post in a series, 31 Days of 6 a.m. To see a list of all posts from the month of October, click here. If you would like to have these posts delivered directly to you, enter your email address in the form located at the top right of the home page.

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#31Days: Day Twenty Eight (or, how to not drown)

You can be a little over your head, but don’t drown.

This quote is one of the fifteen (not kidding) inspirational-ish items tacked up around my cubicle at work. It’s a good thought with a lot of real-life credit behind it.

Think about it: in your life, when have you tried the hardest? Usually, when you don’t want to (or you’re scared you will) fail. When you’re a little in the water, but you’re not sinking yet. When you’re having to swim against the current, but your arms and legs aren’t fatigued yet.

This is where I sit today.

As I said yesterday, I am bone-tired. Not tired in the I-need-more-sleep way. Tired in the  I feel very empty way.  My wheels are spinning and I’m moving, but getting nowhere. I’m putting energy into a lot of things and feeling empty, getting no investment in return. The current is strong and I’m sitting neck-deep.

But, when you have to – you will. I stumbled across Dre All Day’s motivation posts and this happened to be the one that popped up. You’re lazy when you can be lazy – if you’re in a situation where you can’t not do it, you will do it. Same principle as being in over your head without drowning. You start swimming.

This morning I was most thankful for the quiet hour before 7 a.m. I read a magazine and I purposely thought about nothing other than what I was reading. This didn’t change my schedule for the day, didn’t remove my anxiety or auto-pilot my laundry. Unfortunately. But what it did do was give me some still, quiet moments to think about how to swim before I had to jump into the day.

I’m so glad I’ve made this a habit.

Xo,
Cb

This is the 28th post in a series, 31 Days of 6 a.m. To see a list of all posts from the month of October, click here. If you would like to have these posts delivered directly to you, enter your email address in the form located at the top right of the home page.

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#31Days: Day Twenty Seven (or, additional voices in my head)

Some days I am very satisfied with myself – these days when I mark up a to-do list with highlighted lines and check marks. These lists are not limited to my cubicle at work, I make them for cleaning or cooking, for personal goals and packing. I mark up mental lists, post-its and lined notebooks.

Today I had a thought – what if I didn’t make these lists?

Maybe I shouldn’t. Maybe I don’t need to list and structure my life. Maybe these lists – this pressure – is one of the sources of my deeply rooted guilt I can not shake when even the most minor of infractions happen.

Tell me – who feels guilty when they live alone and leave toothpaste in the sink? Who can’t shake the feeling of irreversible wrong doing if they let a call go to voice mail? Who feels a consistent need to confess a minor fender bender to any and all coworkers, as if not telling them of my act would somehow be worse? Who believes their dog is sad when he isn’t taken for a 15 minute walk? Who goes to bed at night worried because there is one load of laundry left in the dryer? Who wakes up mentally calculating the hours in the day and wondering when they can fit in work out and a light dusting of furniture because they have to do it today, this Monday, right now? 

I can’t believe I am the only one with this insane amount of self-pressure. Some blame the internet or TV – pinterest is the root of all self-doubt, right? But I think this pressure actually comes from the tiny voice saying you have to figure it out as soon as you can, and you better figure it out correctly.

Maybe I should stop telling you all how many voices are in my head, I’m starting to look a little crazy. At any rate, these voices are doubling down on my sheer exhaustion at the pace of October this year. I’ve worked a lot, traveled a lot, moved a lot, thought a lot. Everything is just a bit much and I have a deep, deep desire to rest.

Hoping this week shows a balance. Only 4 more days of 6 a.m., if you can believe it.

Xo,

Cb

This is the 27th post in a series, 31 Days of 6 a.m. To see a list of all posts from the month of October, click here. If you would like to have these posts delivered directly to you, enter your email address in the form located at the top right of the home page.

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