When Work Gets Me Stressed!

So many of us have high stress jobs these days…especially in education! My job is no different. I work 50-60 hours per week most weeks of the school year. I feel that there are days when I truly lead, and days when I just put out fires. I bring in on myself…I work to help struggling schools improve and this is not a job for the faint of heart!

As I became a school administrator, I remember how much I loved running (I started running in some capacity when I was young). I remembered how in college, it helped me focus and get studying done. As a young mother, it helped me find balance and remember that I was still a person, not just someone’s mom. And, as a principal, it not only helps with my health, but my stress level as well.

I run at least 1 half marathon every year. I love the training! I love the feeling of exhaustion after those long weekend runs! I love the feel of crossing the finish line! And I love that I know that I did it…my body allowed me to complete 13 miles (yes, I would love to run a full, but I am not sure I can commit to the time it would take to train)! I also love that after the official run, I can wear the shirt and walk confidently around, showing the world that I did it!

This year we had this little thing called a pandemic….have you heard about that? So, the Houston Half Marathon was virtual this year. Yes, I said virtual! All 13.1 miles on my own, without the crowd, without the noise, just me and my thoughts in my neighborhood on a crisp January morning! I am not going to lie, I was a bit nervous. I trained as usual, but I was fearful that if I didn’t have the crowd to keep me going, I would not finish!

Well, it was a perfect morning! I went out early, after the sun had just come up. My daughter and I had a route planned that included pit stops back home to get water and use the bathroom. She also had herself stationed around the neighborhood, with her music playing from her car, cheering me on! As I came upon my first mile, I saw a small crowd on the side of the road…some of my teachers and my assistant principal was there wishing me luck as I began my journey! About 4 miles in, another one of my teachers drove by, honking wildly, boosting my stamina a bit more! And, of course, at each trip back to the house, my Oakley was there to give me loves and to keep me going!

I finished with a pretty solid time! It was weird, but not as awful as I thought! And, I was even prouder of myself this year, knowing that it was more challenging than ever, but I could still do it (and in my 49th year of life!)! Of course, the medal and shirt were a bit delayed, but when they came in the mail, I wore them both proudly!

Running will always be a part of my life! It helps with stress, but it is definitely my place to lose myself in my thoughts, enjoy the beauty of nature, and feel accomplished by doing these half marathons each year! I highly suggest to all, find something physical that you enjoy doing and set yourself up to do so! It will truly help with your work-life balance! It will keep you healthy, and we all have learned this year how important that is! And, it will make you feel that you can be more than just the principal, the mom, the co-worker, or the single lady in the crowd!

The email came yesterday that Houston is back on, in person, in 2022! Cannot wait to be at that start line and do my thing!

My view as I approached mile 3, 7, and 10 during my virtual Houston Half Marathon 2021!
Running along Lake Houston during my virtual Houston Half Marathon!
My MOST favorite house in my neighborhood, which I got to run by 3 times during my virtual Houston Half Marathon!

A 40 Year Old’s Guide to Divorce

I love spring days in Houston! I walk my dog, enjoy the low humidity (yes, we get like 10 days of low humidity here), and soak up the sunshine! I also lose myself in my thoughts…well actually, I reflect. It is such a peaceful time to look back on what I did that day, that week, that year, etc. Today, however, I spent time thinking about how lucky I am to have gotten to a point where I LOVE my life! I am in charge! I make my decisions! I got this!

This has not always been the case. There was a time when I would walk my dog and reflect (in a different world, with a different dog) on how lucky I was to have a partner (thinking I had to have a husband to be happy) and that we would go through the rest of our lives together. Of course, you are reading this because that is not the way my life turned out. Re-framing my thoughts definitely had to happen….and in the process of doing so, I made some good and bad choices along the way! And I also had to realize that that was ok!

Here’s what I should have done differently:

  • I should have realized that a major life change like this would take time to embrace. I wanted to feel better instantly, and when I didn’t, I thought there was something wrong with me.
  • I should have realized that my friends did not understand what I was going through. Until you have experienced certain things in life, you just don’t know. I was hurt that they didn’t understand.
  • I should have realized that I would learn so much from this experience. Instead, I was angry all of the time…or wanted to NOT FEEL anything. Not a great place to be.
  • I should have realized that dating in 2010 was WAY different than dating in 1989! That was my biggest learning curve ever…well, except learning Istagram! 🙂

But, here is what I did well…and got me to where I am today!

  • I got up and did life…every day! No matter what!
  • I learned how to sleep in a bed alone…well, ok, with the dog! But, he never snores!
  • I learned how to live alone…safely! Something we all need to know!
  • I spent time with my single friends (which I don’t think I did so much when I was married) and refreshed those relationships!
  • I took challenges that I may not have taken when I was married…like relocate 1000 miles back home! And, I didn’t feel bad when that move didn’t work and I rushed right back to Houston!

The list can go on and on…but my point today is, when you reflect on your own journey, know that however you handled it, whoever you got a little angry at, and whatever bad decisions you made (hopefully, they didn’t get you in too much trouble…haha), it is ok! Everyone needs to embrace their own journey…heal in their own way…learn to love themselves and their life again, no matter what it looks like when you come out on the other side! My biggest piece of advice, keep going, keep getting up every day, keep dreaming, and keep working toward you new normal! I know you will make it!

Photo by Puwadon Sang-ngern on Pexels.com

My Journey to Home Ownership

It took me years to realize that I could own my own home once again! It has been a bumpy road to home ownership! Let me share my journey (both mistakes and celebrations) with you!

When I learned that I was getting a divorce, I also discovered that my ex-husband was walking away from everything…well, almost everything…he wanted the washer and dryer…hmmmm. It made sense because at that point, we had separated our money and I was paying most of the bills, which included the house payment and all recent repairs needed due to a massive hurricane. Within a couple of years, as I decided to transition back to Iowa, I sold the house and used the money to fund my courageous move to a new life in my home state.

Once in there I decided to try a house flip. Unfortunately at the time, I could not get financed for a home loan, so I walked away, leaving behind the money I used to help a friend make her home better (yes, see, I made many mistakes!). I came back to Houston, with hopes that I would lease a house for a year or two, build my credit back up, and purchase my dream home! That was six years ago! Do you realize home much money one throws away renting for 6 years! Yikes!

I had to learn how to budget and save money! I love to shop, decorate, have fun out with friends to nice places…and I was spending a lot of money that I should have been using to pay off f credit cards or put into savings. Learning to do this was HARD! I think mainly because prior to the moment I realized that I really truly wanted to do it, I really truly did not care if I owned a home or not! It took me time to get feelings back…to care about my future….but once I did, it was on!

January 4 will stand out as a very important day in my life! That was the day I drove past my soon to be new neighborhood, went into the home office, and decided that I would commit to a mortgage once again! I close in June and to be truthful, I am nervous each day building up to the closing, but so excited to have something I can say is mine…that I did this, on my own, because I am a strong woman…whether I am married or not!

Photo by Anna Nekrashevich on Pexels.com