On Turning 26

Last week, I made a routine visit to the ABC store. It may come as a shock, (as it did to my mother) but I don’t frequent that establishment. The people there don’t know me as a “regular.”

booze

I perused the aisles, grabbed my booze, and went to check out. As the woman was ringing me up, I instinctively grabbed my ID.

Not needed.

She didn’t card me. I thought it was like, a law, to card anyone who looks under 50 years of age. I was slightly perturbed by this, but I didn’t let ruin my day. I mean, it was a FLUKE.

But maybe not.

Because the next fucking day, I was shopping when an older woman (who actually wouldn’t need to be carded) came up and tapped me on the shoulder.

Excuse me, I don’t mean to stalk you…

I immediately thought she was a blog reader. One time, and my head blew up.

…but I’m shopping for my daughter. Her birthday is coming up and I want to buy her a new outfit. You look about her age, so I want to ask you opinion. 

Of course she could ask my opinion! We briefly laughed about how moms can sometimes miss the mark when it comes to buying clothes.

I happened to ask, How old will your daughter be? 

Oh, she’s turning 38. 

THIRTY EIGHT?!

 

My world immediately imploded. I felt myself getting hot. First, I didn’t get carded. Now, this woman thinks I’m approaching middle age. What’s next?! Someone offering me a discount on a Hoverround?!

Screen shot 2013-10-03 at 11

I’m not one to ever complain about getting older. (As I say, it’s much better than the alternative, am I right?!) But this is just fucking ridiculous. Tomorrow is my birthday. I’ll be 26. Please, everyone, come tell me how young I look.

Totally Truthful Thursday: (Pre) House Hunters Edition

1. I can’t really eat. Or sleep. Or anything in between. Why? Oh, I’m only paralyzed by fear because our House Hunters episode airs tonight on HGTV.

Thanks to my friends, LK, for tweeting this picture to me and making me barf at work.

2. I’ll say it now: If you watch the episode and hate me afterwards, please keep in mind that it leans way towards the scripted side.

3. I am fearful that I will have to write a “Behind the Scenes” post, just to clarify any embarrassing things we may have said or done.

4. Because of camera stuff I don’t understand, we could only wear certain colors, and very few patterns. I forgot what I wore, and I’m very nervous about it.

5. Let’s all agree right now that the camera definitely adds 10 – 25 pounds.

6. Jamie will be here for moral support (and more importantly, wine-glass-refiller.) Emily will be sorely missed.

7. If you watch it, let me know. Mmmkay?

 

Bathing Suit Shopping

Things that are better than going bathing  suit shopping:

  1. Traffic
  2. A stingy bar tender
  3. Math
  4. Taking a bite of pizza too soon after it comes out of the oven, resulting in burning the bejesus out of the top of your mouth.
  5.  Knowing that Ryan Gossling isn’t single
  6. Having to stop to get gas
  7. Stubbing your toe
  8. Sweet Frog being out of rainbow sprinkles
  9. That ravenous/belligerent feeling you get when you know dinner is still 30 minutes away and you’re thisclose to gnawing your arm off.
  10. Getting weighed at the doctor, while constipated, in the middle of the day, after you’ve eaten breakfast and lunch.


Friday Things

1. I am SO GLAD it’s Friday! If you read this blog and/or follow me on Twitter you know I’ve been loving on Pretty Little Liars real hard this past week. While I truly am obsessed with the show, the real reason I’ve been giving so much TLC to PLL is because Cory has been gone ALL WEEK.

And I’ve missed him. He’s the person who gets my weirdness. Without him to laugh with every day, I feel…weird.

2. We’re going to visit our best couple friends this weekend!

3. Do you have a friend whose laugh you just love? Emily sent me this picture from college that she found on her computer, and I genuinely smile every time I look at it because I can hear her laugh through the photo.

Ten bucks says she’ll text me about this, so let me say it: Emily has lost ~40 pounds since that picture was taken. And I’m proud of her! 

5. My in-laws are super sweet and came to this side of town last night just to take me out to dinner because I’ve been alone all week. It was so appreciated!

6. I feel like a total tool saying this, but this weekend we’re boarding my wittle Campbell for this first time ever. I am so worried about it! Please someone tell me I’m normal.

Campbell is wary of children, just like me. (But we both ADORE this one ;) )

7. It’s FRIDAY! Have a great weekend, my friends! :)

Lent: Not a Pre-Easter Diet.

It’s Lent.

Please don’t tell me you’re “giving up sugar, soda, and carbs” unless you plan on praying about it every day. If you’re doing it to lose weight, it’s called a Pre-Easter Diet.

(source)

 Sorry, that’s a ginormous pet peeve of mine.

As apart of my Year of Zen efforts, I’ve been slowly tapping back into my Catholic roots. (I’m choosing not to take Pope Benedict’s recent news as a sign.)

I haven’t observed Lent in a few years because my heart wasn’t in it. Maybe it was my way of rebelling from my Catholic school upbringing, but as a young adult, Lent felt like a chore.

(source)

Also, I don’t like half-assing stuff (I’m a medicated Type A gal, remember? ;) ) Especially if I’m going to tell GOD that I’m going to do something. I mean, I know He’s all merciful, but I don’t think He appreciates shotty efforts.

So, I decided I’m not going to give up anything.

Rather, I’m going to DO something. I’ve compiled a list of 40 specific individuals, organizations, and causes. Each day, my focus will be aimed towards that person, organization, or cause.

  • Cory: He’s my priority every day, but I’m only human! Some days I’m not as selfless, kind, and compassionate as I could be.
  • MDA: Maybe a repeat?
  •  “Green” efforts: Actually turning off lights when I leave the room, turning off the water when I brush my teeth, reduce waste, etc.
  • The Rosary: I LOVE praying the Rosary, but I don’t take the time to do it very often.

These are just examples, and some efforts will be bigger than others. The point is to focus on people and things outside of myself. To do something. To be thankful for what I have, and to reflect on it. That sounds like something we all could do, regardless of religious affiliation! :)

*If you volunteer for a certain organization in the Richmond area, let me know!

Let’s chat 

  • I’m interested to see what (if any) comments I’ll get to this question: What religion – if any – do you practice?
  • If you observe Lent, what are you doing/giving up?

Sometimes {I Don’t Make it to the Gym}

I go to the gym in the morning.

Let me rephrase: If I go to the gym, I go in the morning.

And lately, that’s a big fat if.

Sometimes, my bed is just too warm to leave.

Sometimes, I’d rather beat the breakfast rush than rush to the gym.

Sometimes, I make plans to go in the afternoon, but then I realize my pajama pants make more sense than my yoga pants.

Sometimes, I make myself believe that I have an ailment that prevents me from making it to the gym. You know, like a random knee pain an hour before I’m supposed to be at Body Pump.

Sometimes, I think: Oh, hell, what’s the point?

Sometimes, it feels like a chore. And I hate chores.

Sometimes, I’d rather watch Ellen and Dr. Phil.

Sometimes, I’d rather be at home than at the gym when Cory gets home from work.

Sometimes, I can’t say no to comfy clothes, pizza, and a glass (or two, or three) of wine.

 Sometimes, yes, sometimes – I do make it five days a week, but that’s not always the case. The reason I mention this is because I like to consider myself an advocate for the average person, you know?

And when it comes to physical fitness, I think most average people fall below the recommended daily amount – and you know what, that’s okay. Sometimes.

Do I condone laziness, overeating, or your letting spectator sports count as your physical activity? Heck no!

I simply condone giving fitness your honest to goodness best effort. We all have our own “sometimes.” The point is to not make them our “always.”

Dealing with Anxiety

Disclaimer: I like to keep this a happy, funny blog, but I also know I have a pretty solid readership and I like to use this platform to discuss serious things sometimes. I hope you can dig it.

I had been intentional about not posting about my New Year’s goals in January, because honestly, I wasn’t ready. Although many exciting things happened in December, it was personally a very difficult month for me.

I’ve been anxious for as long as I can remember, but it was “normal” for me.

That said, moving is one of the top 10 life stressors, and that alone could have put me over the edge. Add it to filming for a TV show, several family illnesses, and over-filling my Life Plate, I ended up in the ER a week before Christmas.

My stress had morphed itself into a nasty, relentless anxiety that I could not shake. Long story short, one morning while I was at the gym my heart went out of control, and I knew immediately that something was wrong.

I attempted to drive myself home, but soon realized I was too shaky and lightheaded to drive. I pulled over and called 911.

I had never, ever beed so terrified in my entire life.

I ended up in the ER and when I left, I was told to follow up with a cardiologist.

A sonogram of my heart was ordered, and I was hooked up to a 24-hour EKG.

After a slew of tests and doctor’s visits, my cardiologist said: I have one piece of advice for you, and it’s to seriously get your anxiety under control. If you don’t, it will end up getting the best of you – in the worst way. 

What I heard: Stop stressing, or it’ll kill you.

Oh. Great. Thanks. That helps a lot. What’s that? Yes – I would like a paper bag to breathe into. 

I’m a mental health professional. I KNOW what stress and anxiety can do to the body. That’s why I’ve been so frustrated with myself. I help people everyday who experience anxiety, but I had been struggling to help myself.

So now what?

Great question.

I really do believe that everything happens for a reason, but I’ve been grappling with why I was given this lesson of unshakeable anxiety, and as a result, the most terrifying experience of my life.

For me, it’s been a tough lesson to learn (thank God my friends love me), but I can honestly say that, now, I feel really, really good.

 

I’ve seen a therapist, which has been awesome and I highly recommend the service.

I’ve been serious about my yoga practice, which has been amazingly helpful.

And I started taking medication, which has been the BEST DECISION I’VE EVER MADE!!!

The medication is NOT a forever thing, actually it’s quite short term, but it’s helped me think clearly, free of anxiety, for the first time in years.

(If you have something negative to say about medication, please don’t do it here. I’m taking the time to mention it because I’m constantly trying to do my part to help demolish the stigma that “therapy” and “medication” are only for “bad, crazy people.”)

Like I joked about earlier, 2013 is my “Year of Zen” and I’m taking my mental health seriously. I want you to know that I’m not a basket case. I’m not talking to walls or hearing voices. I’m just dealing with stuff.

In my opinion, anxiety is impossible to explain to someone who has never experienced it; But for someone who is familiar with that tight-chest-for-no-reason feeling, I know you understand, and I want you to know that you’re not crazy, and that you’re not the only one.

*As always, if you have questions or need someone to relate to, you can always email me at lunchboxdiaries[at]gmail[dot]com.

Abnormally Frigid (Me, Not the Weather)

Unless it’s 70+ degrees, I’m cold.

Cold is an understatement, really. I’m frigid. I’m frozen to the core when everyone else might feel “a little chilly.”

I get so cold that my nose becomes bright red. Like, so red that people feel the need to comment on it all the time.

Jerk 1: Woah, what’s wrong with your face?

Jerk 2: Hey, Rudolph! 

Jerk 3: Are you sick? Your nose is BRIGHT RED.

Me (Jerk 4): I’m abnormally cold, okay? Back off, you sweaty beast. 

In case you were wondering, I believe Hell to be somewhat like a camping trip to Arctic Tundra and realizing a little too late that you forgot socks.

I digress.

Cory insists that we keep our house at a bone-chilling reasonable 64 degrees. No matter how loudly my teeth chatter, or how often I grunt I’M SO FUCKING COLD, Cory’s response stays the same: Go put on some more clothes.

And put on more clothes I do. A t-shirt, long sleeved shirt, hoodie, leggings, pants, two pairs of socks, and slippers. (For once, I’m not dramatically exaggerating.)

When I watch TV, I bury myself with blankets and pillows, and I become annoyed when I have to pee, forced to leave my cocoon.

The only enjoyable thing about cooking is feeling the gust of heat when I open the oven.

And don’t get me started on getting out of the shower. Mis-er-a-ble.

But last night, things started looking up. Cory surprised me with a gift greater than diamonds or pearls.

These are the best things about walking into Costco. I’m that girl who stands in front of these space heaters with her face thisclose to the cage oohing and ahhing about this is what Heaven must feel like.

If I do that in public, you can imagine how I acted in the comfort of my own home.

No blankets or socks?! It’s practically summer here at our place! ;)

This is Why I Avoid Children

I’m not what you would call a “natural” when it comes to communicating with/being around children. I normally use adult words in a high-pitched voice, and I notoriously ask close-ended questions.

I hosted a friend’s bridal shower last weekend, and while Danielle was opening her presents, a girl scout rang my door bell, hoping I’d buy some cookies.

Oh, hi!!!! (!!!!! = high pitched voice)

Would you like to buy some girl scout cookies?

Oh, you see, I’m right in the middle of hosting a bridal shower at the moment. 

blank stare

awkward silence

Oh, sure, I’d love to. 

Conversation over.

Even when I make a genuine attempt to like children, I usually fail. Like the time our neighbor’s daughter (whom I’d never met) ran up to me in my yard telling me that she CAN DO CARTWHEELS.

I said, Oh wow! That’s really neat. Maybe you can teach me how to do a cartwheel.

No. You’re too old.

Right.

A few days ago, our neighbor’s cute-as-a-button daughter was out on their deck, staring at Cory and I, as only a child can do, as I ate oatmeal and he futzed with the garage door.

I made this my “do one thing a day that scares me” and approached this girl. I assume she’s 4, but she could totally be 11. Either way, I think it’s probably a good idea for children to know their neighbors, right?

It was a successful conversation, in my opinion. She told me she likes raspberries. And her new room. And the color purple – at which this point, I contributed to the exchange by saying, I can tell. Your entire outfit is purple. (It was.) She just stared at me.

Regardless, neither party ended up crying, and we parted with smiles and a wave.

I was bragging to my mom about this conversation, WHICH I INITIATED, and what does she pick up on?

You introduced yourself as Colleen? 

Um, yes. That’s my name.

No, she’s a child. You’re Mrs. so-and-s0

I was literally dumbfounded. Any other 25 year-old would feel disgusted by this, right? I mean, my friends’ MOMS are “Mrs.”

Just add it to the This is Why I Avoid Children list.

A Different Kind of Hoarder

Have you ever seen that show Hoarders? It’s quite an appalling show at first glance. People have literally buried themselves in filth; old newspapers, take-out food from 1996,  dead cats.

I’ve watched this show and thought, Oh good God. HOW does that HAPPEN?!

But not too long ago, it hit me: I’m a hoarder.

Don’t worry, I don’t have my pet hamster from 3rd grade (Rose Bud – what a name for a brown piece of fur) somewhere under my bed. I can walk easily from one room of my home to another. I’m married to a minimalist, so really, a divorce would come before a hoarding situation.

I’m not a hoarder of tangible, material items, but of shoulds and obligations. I constantly bring new obligations and I should(s) into my life, even if I don’t need them or want them, or worse yet, when I can’t handle them (due to aforementioned hoarding.)

Join a club? Sure.

I should volunteer more.

I hang on to relationships that don’t fulfill me. I mean, that’s what “good” people do, right? 

I have trouble asking for help. Not on a I-can’t-stop-drinking scale. More like a, I-need-help-with-making-dinner scale

And then? I can’t let go. I don’t have the take-one-let-one-go mentality. I’ve felt buried and attached to obligations and shoulds that should (see, there I go again) be easy to let go of.

Just like a hoarder you see on TV.

I know I’m not the exception. I’ll make a sweeping generalization when I assume that most women are like this. We like to please people and we care what other people think about us.

For what would happen if someone (who didn’t know our entire story/filled-to-the-brim planner) thought we were a failure?! Or a quitter?!

Oh, I’m certain the sky would certainly fall.

Or then again, would it? ;)