Reclaiming this space and the journey

Photo cred: Alex Krivec

Maybe it is being in my thirties or having two kids instead of one or the postpartum anxiety, but I’ve reached this feeling of having stalled out. That feeling where you’ve accomplished all of the really cool things in your life. That new experiences are a thing of the past. That you are to old to try something different, challenge yourself, and face down insecurities.

It is way to early in life for that!

So I am embarking on a journey to fully embrace what I started this blog for, hopefully gain a little of my swagger back (who am I kidding I never had swagger, I’d twist my ankle), and find not only peace but growth in this new season of life.

When I started the blog I was transitioning into motherhood and out of what I thought was going to be a long term career in travel. I started this blog as a way to stay accountable to my goal of keeping my eyes open to the world and  embracing exploration. We spend so much time online and shuffling from place to place we miss the adventure that lives in each day. I started this blog to eat, travel, and meet amazing people and build my own adventure.

I want to continue to grow, learn, and challenge myself. I want to finish life saying I really lived it and provide lots of amazing memories for my children. I want to try new things – things that scare me, that make me anxious, that force me to face down insecurities and unrealistic fears of failure.

I want to meet new people – yes me, a hardcore introvert with anxiety (legit I take meds for that) want to meet people. I want to connect with people following their passions and writing their own story of life. I want to be inspired by their creativity, joy, and ability to face down their own fears.

And of course I want to eat and travel to experience new flavors, see new places, and meet new people.

So, I’m reclaiming that challenge and I’m sharing the journey as a way to stay accountable, provide a journal for my kids to look back on, and, hopefully, inspire some of you to do take on a new challenge, explore a new place, or meet some new people.

Here we go!

 

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Little one, love your body. It is the only one you get.

For years I pinched every part of my body that I could get even a pea size grasp on. Was there extra weight on my hips, my thighs, or the back of my arms? I obsessed over every bite that went into my mouth and constantly thought about the food that I wanted so bad, but refused to consume. When I found out I was pregnant with my first child at the age of twenty-eight, I was just beginning to really get comfortable with my body and food of all kinds. Fills the hole inside me

As my body went through the myriad of changes that occur when you are pregnant there was one thought that kept me on track – I will not let my eating disorder affect my child. As a recovering anorexic and exercise addict I feared that I would unconsciously pass on some of these unhealthy habits. Four years later and expecting my second child I think we have done a pretty good job of teaching our daughter healthy habits and acceptance.

So, when I recently found my four-year-old daughter sitting in the middle of her bedroom floor with her shirt lifted and pinching her belly, I had to take a step back and breath before approaching the situation. After asking her why she was doing it I was sickened to hear that she was copying an image she saw on a billboard we had passed on the way home from the grocery store.

I instantly knew what billboard she was talking about — an ad for CoolSculpting body shaping that I had often found myself evaluating. A woman shown bare skinned from the rib cage down pinching at a slight bulge on her waist. A woman who honestly looks like she is at a healthy weight and had to really work to grab that little flap of mostly skin.

DSC_2115But, how to get a four-year-old to understand we don’t judge our bodies in that way and certainly not by comparing it to other people? Would you pinch a friend like that? No, well we shouldn’t treat our own bodies that way either. Think of your body as your closest friend, someone you care about and want to keep around for a very long time.

I may not be able to change the way brands present their messages and get people to pick apart each little part of their body, but I can help my daughter accept every muscle, bump, and curve of her own and love everything that her amazing little body is capable of.

I can praise her for her accomplishments and not what she looks like. When I see an example of a body positive woman in an ad I can be sure to point it out to her. And most of all, I can love my own body and let her see that acceptance and appreciation on a daily basis as I look in the mirror, as I enjoy my workout because it makes me feel strong, and as I hold my head high and work towards the things that are important to me on a creative, professional, and personal level. I can let her know that her body will change throughout her life, but it will always be hers and what she does with it is much more important than how it compares to the artificial image on a roadside billboard.

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Food Life Project Day 4: A Lazy Day

When I set the goal of writing daily for 365 days I thought I might have issues thinking of a topic each day. Nothing like a 24-hour deadline to cause writer’s block!

So I decided to seek out a few writing prompt sources in case I needed inspiration. I had to laugh to myself when I saw the first prompt – What is your favorite way to spend a lazy day?

A better question might be “what is a lazy day?”. Between being a mom, an MBA student, a full-time professional, and actually having hobbies I can’t even remember the last lazy day I had. Oh, and my lazy days probably don’t look like many other people’s.

So if I did find myself with a lazy day how would I spend the time?

Waking up to the sun streaming through the bedroom windows and the smiling face of my daughter ready to face the morning.

A leisurely breakfast of eggs and toast with a large coffee and some online news on the side.

 

relax

Photo: Alice Hampson

 

Lacing up my running shoes for a mid-morning outdoor run. The sun kissing my skin and the tunes keeping my pace.

Cleaning up for a special lunch out on the town with my two favorite people. Possibly a slice of pizza at Cossetta’s or a burger on the deck at Jersey’s.

An afternoon spent reading a new book and sipping iced tea.

After a little lounging, I’m ready to get moving in the kitchen. Turn on a little music, pull out the cutting board and chef’s knife, and raid the produce drawer for a killer salad.

What better way to end the day than a relaxing meal with a glass of wine and some lively conversation. Unless, of course, the day actually ends with some snuggles in bed and kisses from the loves of my life.

Maybe I need to start carving out some time in my calendar for my lazy day!

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Exercise gave me more than great legs

I was recently contemplating the physical goals I want to tackle in 2016 – my first marathon since having a child, Intensity max, that hill that I didn’t make in 2015. I sometimes feel like I’ve digressed in my fitness, but I am still going at it which is what matters. Besides, even if I don’t run like I’m 18 anymore working out continues to teach me about myself and life.

running

Sacrifice form, sacrifice results

For nearly everything you do there is the right way and there is the short-cut. It might seem smarter to just take the easy route, but you won’t truly end up in the same place. You miss out on the lessons you didn’t realize would be a part of the journey and lose an opportunity to work muscles and skills you might not have otherwise.

Whether training for a marathon or working on a project at the office there are times I’m tempted to cut corners – skip that long run or pass off the grunt work – but I know that won’t get me nearly as far. If I don’t put the work in I know later I will feel it, either at mile 13 or when I didn’t learn that new technology that could have advanced my career.

What you can accomplish is a combination of mind, body, and heart

I started running when I was fifteen. Athletics weren’t really my thing. You were more likely to find me reading a book than lacing up tennis shoes.

Those first days included lots of breaks and more walking than running, but I kept pushing myself. Fifteen years later and I am still running. I am also pushing myself in other areas of my life because I know if I keep at it I can accomplish more than I ever imagined.

When I started grad school two years ago I doubted I would make it to the end. February marks the end of the program for me and I made it with my sanity (mostly) intact and several new friendships.

You can have too much of a good thing

When I began working out at fifteen I received nothing but praise. As the years progressed, exercise became a part of my daily routine and my go-to for stress release. This is exactly what everyone says you are supposed to do, but in college the good habit became an obsession.

I would spend three hours a day working out and when not working out I was thinking about it. Remembering how unbalanced my life became reminds me that I need balance and boundaries. It is good to spend some time alone and some with friends. I can’t work non-stop or have fun with no care in the world. It is okay to need a break from being a mom and sometimes to drop everything else in the world for a Teddy Bear tea party.

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You can fly anywhere #MondayMotivation

Life has presented many challenges and opportunities lately, and while I was feeling like I was simply going along for ride this quote came my way.

Blue bird fly

Photo taken in South Dakota at Custer State Park

When it feels like you are sitting still in life, remember that you can go anywhere as long as you ask yourself where you want to go and you take the flight.

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Happy Holidays 2014

Happy Holidays 2014

Hope you have a holiday season filled with yummy treats, lots of sweets, time with those you love, and high hopes for the year ahead! See you in 2015

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A 30 Day Challenge and coaching for life

I have to admit I am a bit of a self-help book junky. From The Secret to Happy for No Reason I’ve read them all. I never find one to grab on to, but I do find little gems to make my life better. I have a pretty amazing life – I’ve got a loving husband, a rambunctious daughter, a supportive extended family, I’ve traveled the world and have an ocean of opportunity before me. What fascinates me about this genre is the ability to learn things from others about how I might add a little joy or gratitude to those days when I’ve lost focus of how great my life is.

blogSo I’ve taken two steps in the past few weeks – one of them massive for me – that has led to me being absent from this blog. First, I’ve added another experiment from a book on self expansion. Okay so maybe that isn’t massive considering my history in this area, but I am super excited about this one. While reading The Charge by Brendon Burchard I was inspired to follow his lead and add a monthly personal challenge to my life. He has kept it going for over 15 years! Since school, work, and family life has left little time to volunteer I am hoping to fulfill that internal need by making my first monthly challenge to help out a favorite local animal rescue in a big way. Second Hand Hounds is a great group I was introduced to several years ago and have followed ever since. (I am still trying to convince my husband if we acted as foster parents for a pet awaiting adoption we wouldn’t end up with a small herd of dogs and cats.) So instead I have set a goal to get 500 cans of soft cat food in the month of July. Message me if you want to help by donating! (ashleyrobinson0412@gmail.com)

The massive step I have taken is to enlist the help of a life coach to get me refocused and loving life to the fullest while pursuing the opportunities that will lead me to the life path I want to be on. In the past I would have never asked for this sort of help. I mean if I can’t figure out my own life how is a complete stranger going to give me relevant assistance! One session in and I’m seeing the errors of my previous ways. I will be updating you all soon on call one and the activities to get me focused. The biggest lesson learned already is you can’t do all of it alone . . . including gaining your own clarity. I am in the slogs of work, school, motherhood, being a spouse, etc that I can’t see the sliver of sunlight that will lead me to the clear joy that I’m looking for. However, if I have someone to keep me on track and provide me small exercises that I would otherwise file away for later I can see where I’m headed.

Not every journey involves a suitcase, a plane ticket, or leaving your own home for that matter. So I am looking forward to taking you all along on this new journey.

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