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A New Day

A new day life without a paddle

I woke up smiling this morning, without a hint of anxiety or even the suggestion of stress and I laughed out loud. I scrolled through Instagram, seeing what friends were up to, nodded at some memes, laughed at some cats, and giggled still at others. Then I got up and fed the animals, made myself a fruit & protein shake, a large iced coffee, and started to brew a fresh pot to start chilling in the fridge for tomorrow and Monday. I let Shelly sleep in – she’s been under a lot of stress lately and puts a lot of pressure on herself while wrestling with imposter syndrome and I know how draining that can be. I deal with that too. But not this morning.

Having the house quiet with nothing but the breeze enticing the wind chimes into a quiet song while the fans hum and the dogs nap nearby as the cats lounge inside and out, is bliss. Getting a jump on the week with a healthy start, and a fresh pot of coffee cooling down so it can chill means the next few mornings will be easier too. Sometimes it’s the simple things that help keep my mania at bay, and let me see that I actually do set myself up for success in so many ways. And I’m learning to be kinder to myself too.

I put away the laundry this morning after letting it sit, clean in the bin in my bedroom for three days and that was lovely also. To be able to let something go, not have to do everything all the time completely before I am allowed even a moment to rest, is huge for me. I’ve been working on that this week. I worked on it as I moved hay and back-bladed some of the tractor ruts in the field, and smiled at the grass growing in the pastures reminding me that hard work does pay off. But you have to stop to enjoy it too. I watered the garden. My roses are in full bloom and I have two rose bushes now – a deep pink one and a brighter pink one and they are next to each other and they make me smile. Stopping to smell the roses is literally a thing I do on the way in or out of my front door lately and I am better for it. Sometimes you just have to slow down, and learn how to say enough, and take a deep breath and let it all go and be happy.

I am so happy today, it’s beautiful. Not a frantic manic inspired running around happy. Content. Still. At peace. It’s something I need to do more of so I plan on sitting in the hammock reading a book for a little while until I get too warm and decide to get in the pool for a bit. I may get in the hot tub after (or before – depending on how hot it is out as the hot tub is turned down to 96º but that’s still a bit much in a heat wave). Later I’ll go meet a friend I haven’t seen since last fall up at a local bar about 30min north that I don’t get to go to nearly enough (don’t worry, I only drink a few PBRs and lots of water and drink very very slowly…I’ve been known to bring my own Yeti to bars so I can drink as slowly as I like without my beer getting warm. I hate warm beer. I digress.).

Tomorrow I’ll meet a dear friend who is always there for me, at Do Good Spirits, another place I don’t go to nearly enough that is owned by another friend and has a lovely atmosphere. And then if the Yankees game is still on (and they’ve remembered how to play baseball) I’ll head over to my usual spot for Sunday sports and be home before 9, coffee already made for the week ahead.

I’d say tomorrow is a new day, but it’s today. It’s already here. And I’m smiling.

Hell or Highwater

Hell or high water cjmillar82

Just like the song, and I’m sitting here under a full moon blanketed in the soft glow of fog that settles high among the mountains, and I’m left wondering what’s next. I’ve been through so much, but I’m sure there’s so much more to come and I’m left looking at the sky asking if this is hell or just high water, as if I didn’t already know the answer.

Childhood abandonment issues repeat themselves in my own life, as well as those around me, leaving me questioning myself – is it really me, am I really that undeserving of love, or is it something else? I am reminded that through it all, I’ve grown and continually push myself to do so, and clearly while at times this feels like hell, it’s anything but. Therefore it must just be high water.

As my aunt always said, this too shall pass.

It will, and I know that now, but it’s hard at times to be abandoned by nearly everyone you trust and to then look at others and even know how to begin to let someone else in. When you open you heart and your life which has been mostly solitary at best, to others – in a way beyond comprehension during a pandemic to take in responsibilities that are not yours, and not your fault, I’m left asking myself why? Especially when one of those people is the very same who turns their back on you time and again even when you do ask for help, and then you realize. You are that person who always is taken for granted.

Suddenly I remember why every few years I tend to move, or disappear, or both. And then some.

When I trust you, and am there for you, and ask you how you are and if you’d like to spend time together to be told over and over and over again you’re busy, life is hard, you worked late again, you have things to do – all you do is remind me that your priority is not me. Sure, I can run your household, your company, your everything, your safety net, I am just not important enough to set time aside to spend with on a personal level…I used to say I’m sorry, I’ll try harder, I’ll do more. But you know what? Fuck you. No.

I won’t. I’m not here to be taken for granted to run the house / company / team / life you’re building, I will not be the only person dedicated 100% to us while you go off in other directions and can’t even make time to pick up the phone and say hey, how are you? I miss you, I love you, I care and I want to hear how your day was.

You know who I tell my day to? My cat and my dogs – Astrid and Reese and Meeko. The other ones care too, but let’s be real, this already sounds crazy enough without bringing the other cats or horses into it . And, yet again, I don’t care. I care about who shows up for me when I need you and right now there’s less than four people on the list. I’ll be honest, if you’re not sure if it’s you, it’s not so don’t worry. You’re off the hook and whatever else that means to you.

And then there’s so many people who came out of the woodwork from no fucking where this week to say hey – in case you don’t know this, you’re awesome, I care about you, you’re amazing, you’re caring and you have a huge heart. And I am checking in to see if you’re okay.

Thank you. Truth be told, I am not okay, but I will be. And I’ll always be honest, but this week was hard as fuck, harder than most, and somehow no one died or freaked out but it was still super fucking isolated and hard and I am not sure if I am okay yet or when I will be, but I know I will be, and I thank you guys for checking in on me and telling me you care. I don’t think you know how much it helped, but it did. It made a world of difference and I thank you and I will never take any of you for granted even when the people I have tried to help always do.

The moon is covered fully yet in fog like a light trying to shine but shrouded in the night’s secrets. I have no secrets, only the weight of the world – or perhaps just my world – coupled with the thick wet summer air and heavy night’s dew weighing in on me as the solstice wanes and the moon ducks behind a cloud for cover.

Life is what it is. When no one wonders where you are, or asks how you are doing, do you call it freedom or loneliness? I call it both. I miss Deadwood. A life on the road, with no roots, no ties, and no love lost or found. I wish for more, but wonder why all the lives I’ve known I’ve always chosen to be alone. Perhaps it’s me. Perhaps it’s better this way – or so I I tell myself. I know damn well it’s better than settling for mediocre or shallow or superficial, and I would choose alone a thousand lifetimes over any inauthentic bullshit relationship I’ve ever had this life. To be clear, I am not just talking about dating either –  I mean kids, friends, boyfriends, family – step up or step out, be good or be gone. I’d far rather be alone than settle for half-assed, disrespect, a dirty home or a superficial relationship.

Fuck you for being afraid. Failure doesn’t scare me – I’ve failed a million times at a million things and I’ll keep failing because it’s through our failures that we learn. Fuck you for wanting me to be perfect. Wanting you to be perfect. And pushing me away in the process, I hope you know what you lost, what you are losing, and just how much it takes to earn that back.

I am loyal to a fault, and I told my kids I’ll always fight for you but only if you want me to. The second you throw me away is the same moment I walk away from this, from you, from all of it, from family and friends and relationships. You see life taught me nothing if not that we’re all replaceable, and I – of all people – can live on my own if need be. I am a survivor. Trust is earned and priceless and once broken, hardly replaceable. My boundaries and my words match my actions always, so do not pretend to be surprised when I am exactly who I say I am always.

I will leave you for my own peace. No one has ever protected my peace but me. I will hold my boundaries. No one has ever held them for me. I am who I say I am. Just like the moon – fog or not, it is still full and it still shines, as will I. Always take me for granted all you want, but like the moon, I will still hang low in the fog in the sky over the mountains. Enchanting you or haunting you, but always reminding you I am there. You can take the moon for granted but it will always rise, some days brighter than others, some nights full and some barely visible if at all. But there nonetheless. And, like the moon, even when taken for granted, I will keep going, keep rising, and keep shining. Take me for granted all you want. You can still shine in the light I shared with you, even when you claim it is your own, for we all know you are not the sun and there is light from many sources. Perhaps the ones that have aways risen even through your darkness shouldn’t be the ones you turn your back on in morning.

Find your way. I hope you do. I’m finally finding mine.

All That Sugar

Sunset over Crystal River Florida cjmillar82 life without a paddle

And is it really that sweet? Does it do for you what it says it does or is it just like the cherry on top – looks good for decoration but doesn’t really add much after all? That’s something we can only answer for ourselves.

I’m not that sugar on top, or that little bit of sweetness to soften the truths you hide from yourself. I’m finding that you can actually fit 10 pounds of sugar in a 5 pound bag if you have a little water and let some of that excess you’re piling on top of yourself dissolve and run off, leaving you with exactly the right amount of space for all the important things you always meant to focus on first.

Boundaries. Love. Respect. Honesty. Truth. Authenticity. Life. Passion. Belief. Excitement.

LIVE. I mean really though. Live!

I’m not that glass of whiskey that helps you forget. I’m everything the opposite – and more. I’m that dose of reality that sees who you are behind your eyes and the stories you tell, who sees right into your soul in a way that makes you both uncomfortable and excited at the same time. I’m that nagging truth that you already know but are afraid to accept because you’re too afraid to truly look yourself raw in the mirror and have a heart to heart conversation with the person staring back at you. I’m that stark reality that sets in when the reality of your actions and those that follow hit you in the face and you realize not only the mistakes you’ve made, but how far you’ve come along the way too, and you are simultaneously terrified and proud of who you are, and you look ahead in wide-eyed wonder at the world as if everything you’ve already seen, you’re seeing again for the very first time with fresh eyes and wonder.

I’m that person that seeps into your bones, haunting your soul or inspiring your dreams, or a little of both all depending on how you see me. I’m a little of all of that and more, and while I can see beyond the here and now, I can also see clearly enough to hold space for you to be who you are and take your own path to growth or change or even in choosing stagnation without making it any bit personal because it never was about me, anyway. It’s about you. It always has been. That’s the beauty of things – it’s always been about you, and you, and you, and me, and each of us ourselves on our own journey at our own pace on whatever roads we choose. There’s no use in getting mad at any of that. If anything it’s all the more reason to look upon those who have grown ahead of us with admiration and respect, and look at those behind us with compassion and love, and to even look at ourselves and allow us the grace we so willingly give to others.

I am who I am, make no mistake about that. And I’ll tell you and anyone else who asks the truth about me – all of them – if they really want to listen. It doesn’t bother me if you judge me, for that’s not a reflection of me but rather of you and where you stand with yourself in this life right here and right now and I hope you can see that as the first door opening in the pathway to amazing that lies right in front of you. But you can only see it if you believe in yourself. I can’t do that for you, you have to do that for yourself and I can’t help. I can only do that for myself, and do my best to inspire you along the way from whatever distance is needed at whatever point time mandates based on each and every one of our own journeys this life. We all do have our own, after all. Where and how our paths intersect isn’t only up to us, though we do get say in it too.

Life is amazing, and there’s so much more yet to come! I am so deeply grateful to share it with you. ❤️

So Beautifully Close

So beautifully close life without a paddle

Stay honest, be authentic, and always speak your truth and everything else falls into place. It’s so beautiful to watch because as it all unfolds, it gets easier and easier to see, and even easier to keep smiling. Hard work really does pay off, it seems. So does following your true north, holding your boundaries, and not settling (anymore) for anything less than you deserve.

I had a fabulous dinner with amazing company this evening on the heels of a beautifully productive and successful day, filled with intelligent conversation, belly-laughs, ear-to-ear smiles, and comfort that comes from just being yourselves. And I realized something. Life’s actually getting easier. It’s like all that darkness and all that digging and all that work I did for so many years has lead me along on this evolution where every day the person I am is better than who I was the day before. Oh, I’m human, and a jack-ass of one at that at times for sure, I make mistakes and I do the wrong thing or slip up from time to time. I still overthink things, wake up with anxiety, and need to exercise my body to settle my brain before I can focus and really get my day going. I’m difficult and outspoken, I rarely if ever do what I’m told, I question everything and if I don’t know the answer, I’ll find it or figure it out. I’m a lot, I know that much. Too much for most. But I think that’s a good thing.

Because as I sit here and ponder the past 5 months, and the past year, and the past few years before that, I pause and think, and my reaction is to sigh with a smile. I feel all that weight I carried just let go, and understand now the importance of the process. The lesson isn’t arriving at your destination. The lesson is the journey to become who you really are.

I am becoming. We all are. We always are, that is if we let ourselves grow. We can’t if we live in a place of fear or hide from ourselves. But we all have the potential within us to become the most amazing version of ourselves and for the first time in my life, I am so beautifully close to understanding how to keep growing myself, while holding love and space for those around me without adding the weight of expectations – mine or others – to myself or others, and man, does it feel good.

So close. So beautifully close. I can’t wait to see what’s next!
Stay beautiful, my friends, I love you all ❤️

That Wasn’t the Other Shoe

CJMillar82 that wasn’t the other shoe

Sometime last December I said I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop. And then someone told me it had. But recently I realized something.

That wasn’t the other shoe.

Nope. That shoe didn’t drop. Yet. I’m still waiting for it. And, like so many times before I can feel things bubbling just below the surface, glimmering just behind the veil of what’s right in front of me, waiting for the moment to reveal themselves as the truth I always knew was there.

It’s interesting to me how the farther along in life I get, the more clearly I can see ahead of me. The future used to look like this giant blur of overwhelming life that I couldn’t make heads nor tails of, and I felt like I was drowning trying to sort it all out. Sometimes even as I can see more clearly, I stress myself out trying to map out the next weeks, months, years, and plan things down to the last detail. But I am learning to let that level of detail go, trust in the process, put in the hard work along the way, and focus instead on the large goal posts ahead of me. It’s funny how as I do that, things come even more clearly into focus and I am reminded once again, that wasn’t the other shoe, and I smile.

Honesty has a way of always showing itself, and the truth can only be hidden for so long. Eventually we grow – we all do – or else we remain stagnant and watch everyone else around us grow and pass us by, and that is a choice like everything else. Life has a funny way of being so absolutely unbelievable that the only thing you can do is learn to laugh and roll with the punches and realize the best you can do is be a good person and be honest and truthful and that everything else will work itself out. It always does. Along with that other shoe…

Funny how the happier I am, and the more I pour my heart and my soul into my family and my work and my relationships, the better they all become. Things get hard, money gets tight, and instead of stressing and panicking, I put my head down and work harder and focus and get things done and all of a sudden things keep falling into my lap, into place, and even more truths become uncovered. It’s incredible really.

How lucky am I to work a career and live a life that feels like vacation? I get to travel back and forth to Florida and New York, between manatees and mountains, catboats and snowboards, and all the fun in between. Enterprise frequently upgrades me to a free convertible or Jeep to the extent that now friends and colleagues and acquaintances in Florida know I am in town when they see “my Jeep” parked in the driveway. Really! I have the ability to take my kids on an amazing family vacation to my other home, to meet friends and clients that have become family to me, and then to a theme park I haven’t visited since my own childhood ahead of a conference on tourism right in downtown Tampa. A dead-end client waned off (at our recommendation) and is getting ready to be replaced with another similar client but with more income and an even greater cause (they are a nonprofit). We’re working with a new small business and several nonprofits in Citrus County to help them grow and fundraise, while also working on for-profit clients so that we can all grow and prosper together. We’re changing the world one positive act of kindness at a time, and the more we do, the better things get.

It’s amazing how even knowing that other shoe hasn’t dropped just *yet* that it will, soon. That all these conversations going on, and all of these changes happening, soon will make all that out in the open. Amazing how honesty is so intimidating to many, yet freeing to others, and how it inspires change in the most unforeseen yet beautiful ways. Stay beautiful, my friends!

Truth Speakers & Adventure Seekers

Truth speakers and adventure seekers cjmillar82 life without a paddle

Strong women scare weak people. I see it all the time, and I am finally embracing it instead of figuring out how I should tone things down or be less intimidating, less up front, less confrontational, or whatever it is others want me to be to make themselves more comfortable. Instead, I am being me. Seeker of truth and adventure. Speaker of my own mind. Answering to no one but myself and the reflection in the mirror and the universe in front of me. Forging my own path, to hell with what society thinks. Call me what you will – crazy, loud, intense, arrogant, insane – no matter to me. I do not answer to you. I answer to me. And I am inviting women everywhere to join in the search for truth and adventure.

I’d say I am inviting them to join me but that’s not true and that would just be vain and contradictory to what I believe in. It’s not about joining me, it’s about coming together and finding your own truth, your own adventure, your own strengths and weaknesses and learning that above all, you never ever are alone. We can be individuals together. Strong women who empower each other rather than work against one another. We can intimidate the weak men and the fearful women, and inspire all of those around us to look inside themselves and find their own truths, their own adventures, and their own path – and help them see that they, too, are never alone.

Fear breeds isolation for it needs you to cut off others so that you can believe the lies you tell yourself. If you stop and listen to yourself in how you describe others, how much of that is a psychological projection of who you really are and what your fears are made of, as opposed to what you actually believe about another person? If you have to whitewash the truth, sugarcoat the story, adjust the details even a little, then how true is it? Ask yourself the more pressing question – how true are you being to yourself if you can’t even speak the truth out loud?

Does spreading falsities about others actually bring you more joy, success, or happiness?
Does telling people what you think they want to hear to keep from hurting them actually keep them safer from the truth not just in that moment, but long term, also?
Does hiding your phone from friends and family really protect them from what you said or is it how you protect yourself from being accountable for your own words and actions?
Does any of that actually make you feel better about yourself?
It doesn’t for me, or for those who I choose to spend time with. I won’t tell you what it does for you – only you can answer that.

Know this: I do not give my time to dishonest people or cowards. And remember this: time reveals all things.

I’ve been through some deep self-reflection and growth past childhood and buried trauma recently. It’s come back to me in nightmares and dreams turned healing, and anxiety turned productivity turned positive but it didn’t come without its own price. Sleep has been hard, and being busy has been better but also makes it harder to turn off my brain. These things underneath bubbling to the surface have been tremendously helpful even when they didn’t feel as such in the short term. Because ultimately they helped me clear out some of the cobwebs of the past and in reopening old wounds, let them heal for real this time. And that was transformational.

I started writing this a few weeks ago but got stuck and couldn’t finish it and then after the changes the past few weeks (and few nights most specifically) I could feel things shifting and the timing was right and I felt like I came through the tired, awake again and feeling like spring is fully here – weather notwithstanding.

Recently the question came to mind, “what are you more afraid of – being hurt or being happy?” And I struggled with that a bit. I wanted to answer that I am afraid of neither however there was still some part of me nagging to be acknowledged that I was afraid of both so I sat with that feeling for a few days and let it sort itself out. It has, and some pieces of my past came to light that helped lighten the load, and open the door to even more growth. It helped me find more of my own truth, forgive more of my own past, and look towards others with even more compassion and understanding than ever before and I am grateful for that. In doing all that, it also helped me see that I can honestly say that I am moving to the place in my life where I am not afraid of being hurt or being happy. I already am happy, and hurt comes as a part of living a passionate life filled with love and joy and emotions. Both ends of the spectrum are part of living and it’s in accepting them rather than fighting them that we learn how to truly live and accept the life around us.

The sun is out today though it may rain later. The furnace had improvement work done with a few more little things to go. The tractor is apart with parts on the way and hopefully a (final) fix this week. The upper oven heating element is going and the lower oven light flickers but that’s next on the list. When the weather holds for several days I’ll pressure wash the house and the porch and deck, and then the following weekend stain the porch and deck but that may be next month or so. There *is* always something when it comes to home ownership, and I’m so blessed to have a home I can call my own. I am learning to take things in stride and not feel overwhelmed putting all the expectations of the world on myself all at once to constantly do more and more to the point of breaking and as such today I am sitting still. I made me and the girls a beautiful brunch. I am relaxing on the couch with the animals watching the Yankees game. Later the neighbors invited me to come by, and this evening I am going to try to swing by my friend’s restaurant to help celebrate their grand re-opening that I missed last night because we were working on the tractor. I was also invited to go grill with friends. Tomorrow I have a few small home repairs to do, as well as maybe stop at two different friends’ breweries, with the dogs for a short hike, and of course there’s always sports to watch.

This week will be hectic with softball games M/W/Th and a tournament all day Saturday. I’m looking forward to some time on the next rainy weekend day to start chipping away at the basement and get that ready for finishing in the next several months to a year. Getting organized and cleaning always makes me feel good, and working a job where so much of what I do is intangible, having tangible results around the house and farm always brings with it a sense of accomplishment. Balancing that with family time, downtime, and time out with friends comes easier these days, even as my travel schedule ramps up and things continue to grow with my business. I am grateful for that too.

So speak your truth and you won’t have to go looking for it. Let your fears dissipate as you embrace all life has to offer and the freedom that comes with honesty. Seek adventure and find that richness is measured in smiles, not dollars. Spend your time wisely, be kind to yourself, and embrace the downtime as much as the go-time and everything else in between. And above all else, be you. There’s no one else in the world like you. Get outside. Look up. Believe in magic. Smile. Speak the truth, seek adventure, and embrace all that life has to offer!




cjmillar know let's go life without a paddle

It’s amazing how good life gets when you learn to step back from the stress, release the worry while still acknowledging the underlying fears and learn how to move through them, accept the emotions and feel them without letting them rule you, and learn to look at everyone with an honest respect – including saying no, no thank you, and walking away when it’s not the right fit for you or your life. I’m not only talking about romantic relationships, I am talking about friendships too. And families. When someone treats you with disrespect, saying no takes your power back. Putting boundaries there, removing free-flowing trust, and telling someone that you will not tolerate that behaviors is not only acceptable, it actually opens doors for the RIGHT things to come into your life and when you learn how to do that, it’s pretty amazing.

Recently my friend re-shared something she posted back in 2020 and while I’ve read it before, it really hit home for me this time, more than ever and she gave me permission to share it here (and thank her again for being an inspiration to me ❤️).

Make sure the love you want is the kind of love you’re ready for. I post a similar stance every valentines day. Probably because for the longest time, I made horrific choices for myself. I was conditioned to. I didn’t realize that at the time, I just wanted to be “loved”. Love can look like so many things but it should not be coerced, conditional then withdrawn.

If you feel worse after being with that person, he/she is not your end goal. How can you ever say YES to good when you’re stuck in a cycle of dysfunction? I always say I’m the luckiest woman for “finding” my husband but, and this is a big one, I had to make a conscious effort to say NO to the people and situations that brought me pain. Say NO more often. Stand up for yourself. Try it once. It’s a muscle you exercise that gets easier the more you use it.

You’re not “unlucky in love”, you’re not thinking critically. Take a step back and focus on the things that bring you joy in life. Joy most always leads to love.

Amazing really that it’s taken me so long to consciously do that, especially since it’s something I consider myself relatively good at doing when it comes to friends, work, or family. But when it came to love, I realized I was SO inexperienced in dating, I just didn’t know how to actually date or be dated. As a result, even after being single for literal decades, and trying again 3 times in 6 years, I found myself right back in the same toxic situations with emotionally unavailable men, men masquerading as strong, honest, and open who were anything but. Men who put on a good show, but when it came down to it, were absolutely nothing like what I wanted as a partner in life.

I got a little better at it each go-round, pulling back and holding boundaries, cutting things off before I got emotionally attached and finally starting to see the writing on the wall when their words and actions didn’t match (and trust me, they didn’t). But I still had to realize that letting it drag on at all – even for a few months (none of those three made it to the 6mo mark) – was a few months too long. So I started saying NO.

I recently started saying NO to more dates than I ever have in my life, if I didn’t feel the opportunity for a long term relationship which for me, includes physical attraction as well as emotional connection. I started saying NO to just accepting that drink/beer/conversation from whomever at the end of the bar if I wasn’t interested “just to be nice” or not be perceived as snotty or called a bitch. I started saying NO to spending time and energy on people who weren’t willing to spend time and energy on me – and here’s the real kicker – INCLUDING time and energy being honest and straightforward. Life isn’t just about you do this for me and I’ll do that for you. There’s a lot more to it. I started saying NO to last minute plans and people who didn’t respect my time and started making my own again. And I said NO to being goaded into a situationship with anyone who isn’t wholly committed to investing in me as much as I am in them – and that starts with learning about each other and caring enough to prioritize me as a friend and potential life partner, not just one or the other.

I’m holding my boundaries without anger, frustration, or judgement. I am allowing others to be whomever they want to be or whomever they are today, without expectations of their potential coming from me regardless of what I see in them or think I may see. I’ve continued to reach out to people in need across my communities both in NY and FL where I hope to provide inspiration and help to others and allowed people to accept or deny that offer however they see fit for where they are at in their lives without taking any of it personally.

I’ve looked back at some of the people I’ve had a positive influence on. One dear friend credits me for getting him through high school (and he is the only family member to graduate!) and he just had a child with his wife, in the home they bought not long after they were married a year and a half ago. Another thanked me for being there for her and remaining positive and objective even through hard times. Another acquaintance was relieved to hear that I was reaching out just to say – hey, you’re not alone, let’s grab coffee sometime – and not to dig for info or add to or spread rumors around town like so many others. I have two teens who (I hope) are better off for my influence and their own father who lives several hours away thanks me for my ongoing support and I am grateful for that. I look to the future for ways that I can continue to share that light with others, be an inspiration for change, and remind everyone that credit for their change never belongs to me – it belongs to them! I did not change anyone, I simply helped with the inspiration to show them that all the change they ever needed was already inside themselves, they just have to believe, be honest, be brave and willing to walk through fear to get to the parts of life where we really grow. It’s amazing and I am so blessed.

Work is growing, my kids are thriving, we all got new (to us) vehicles so far in 2024, the house is amazing, the property and area in which we live is more home than I’ve ever felt in my entire life, and I’ve been so blessed to ride both my snowboards and my horses in the same weekend, with the first smoker session on the grill and an amazing campfire in between! Because I said NO to the things that weren’t good for me, and started to finally make space for the things that are.

So what’s next? Well, for starters, today I had the chance for the first time this year to go out on my own property with my dogs and cat-dog (Astrid loves to hike and has missed it all winter!). Walking back on my own property with just my animals and the forest for company I was able to reflect on the year so far, the progress I’ve made, and the splendor in which I live. I almost forgot how stunningly beautiful my property is and I momentarily felt bad, but I let that feeling move through me and released it and it was immediately followed by gratefulness for everything around me.

I’m not entirely sure what’s next but what I do know is that I have found my purpose, and will continue to grow on my path, welcome others to join me who match my level of intention, integrity, and love. Love is truly limitless – the more we give, the more we get, as long as we are giving in ways that still protect ourselves. Loving those who love us back is easy. Loving others when they least deserve it is hard. The hardest part is figuring out how to do the latter while still maintaining your own healthy boundaries and respect and knowing that giving love doesn’t mean depleting yourself. It’s okay to say I wish you love, but I do not wish to have you in my life any longer, and close that door. It’s IMPORTANT to do that when someone disrespects you or is dishonest with you (or worse, themselves!). Otherwise, we’re back to accepting the love we believe we deserve which the more we lower our standards, the more toxic and unavailable relationships will find us.

Stand up for yourself from a place of love and respect.
Offer love without conditions.
Hold boundaries without anger or insult.
Remain consistent and authentic in your interactions.
Act with integrity.
Always be honest with yourself and others.

Learn to face fear first by yourself by saying those fears out loud in the mirror, and eventually by learning how to feel, accept, and release without letting fear rule your life or forcing yourself to suppress it to where it destroys you and those you love from the inside out.

Learn to understand fear-driven behavior and lack of openness and honesty in one’s actions are all forms of selfishness. Do not claim to be unselfish, giving, or generous when you are not honest with yourself, giving of more than just what you can afford, or as generous with yourself as much as others.

Treat your servers, waitstaff, janitors, and garbage men with as much generosity and respect as you do your boss, the CEO, mayor, or other influencers for those are the REAL people who are helping you out and a true show of character. Tipping poorly is a red flag. So is being cheap, stingy, or clingy with your money. Alligator arms are never welcome here. I believe what goes around comes around and in the times I can afford more, I share more, and in the times I cannot, I have always been surrounded by people who stepped up for me without my asking because they know that friendship and life is about sharing experiences and time with others.

Stand up for what you believe in.
Speak up. For your kids. For your friends. For your neighbors. And most importantly, stand up for those who are worse off than you or who cannot stand up for themselves.
Be brave.
Be honest.
Be true.
And say NO every chance you get to every single thing that doesn’t feel right for you, your life, and your higher purpose.

So what’s next? This. All of it, and more. Onward and upward! There are adventures to be had! Who’s coming?!

adventures cj millar life without a paddle



be brave and free cj millar life without a paddle

It’s amazing what being brave can do, and it starts with you. Be brave in how you speak to yourself. Be honest with your words to yourself and others. Use your voice. Speak up. Speak out. Listen, and learn. As people start to understand that your intentions are always borne of love and compassion, and your goal is to always help the people and world around you become a better place, they start to realize that what you say isn’t ever meant in a mean way, as a judgement of them or others, or for personal gain. The world has a lot more at stake than what it can do for you. Let’s be a part of making it even more awesome together!

Sometimes, when you speak, people hear negatives in your words and assume that it is a judgement rather than an observation. Not all observations are positive. Not all stories have only heroes and happy endings. And above all else, the truth is just that – the truth.

I tell my kids all the time that if you don’t want someone to know your actions or what you said to me or others, the best way to prevent that from happening is to not take those actions. Once those words are spoken, those actions are taken, you are accountable to them regardless if others know or not. They still happened. They are still the truth. If you don’t want people knowing what you said or did, easy answer is simply don’t say or do it. And while none of us are perfect and we all make mistakes, it’s by owning those mistakes, or those things we said or did that we aren’t proud of that gives us courage, and takes our power back from others. How powerful is it to say – yes, I did that, or yes, I said that, and I was wrong or I could have done better, or I know better now and I’m sorry? It’s powerful, truly mind-blowingly powerful. Try it sometime and you’ll see!

It’s where freedom comes from. Because it’s rooted in honesty and integrity. If you don’t want someone saying you are a coward, then learn to stand up for yourself, speak up and tell the truth even when it’s hard or scary. If you don’t want someone saying you are a failure, own those failures and learn from them and then suddenly they aren’t failures at all, they’re growth and that’s beautiful! Kaleidoscopes aren’t pretty because they are made up of perfectly arranged pieces of art and colors. They are beautiful because they are made up of all the little pieces of glass or beads or whatever else is inside them that changes and shifts depending on which angle you look at them from, making every perspective that much more beautiful.

You can be whatever you want to be. You just have to be brave enough to be honest and speak up. It’s the only way you’ll ever be free and the first step to finding true happiness and love.

You can be amazing
You can turn a phrase into a weapon or a drug
You can be the outcast
Or be the backlash of somebody’s lack of love
Or you can start speaking up
Nothing’s gonna hurt you the way that words do
When they settle ‘neath your skin
Kept on the inside and no sunlight
Sometimes a shadow wins
But I wonder what would happen if you
Say what you wanna say
And let the words fall out
Honestly I wanna see you be brave
With what you want to say
And let the words fall out
Honestly I wanna see you be brave
I just wanna see you
I wanna see you be brave
I just wanna see you
I wanna see you be brave
Everybody’s been there, everybody’s been stared down
By the enemy
Fallen for the fear and done some disappearing
Bow down to the mighty
But don’t run, stop holding your tongue
Maybe there’s a way out of the cage where you live
Maybe one of these days you can let the light in
Show me how big your brave is
Say what you wanna say
And let the words fall out
Honestly I wanna see you be brave
With what you want to say
And let the words fall out
Honestly I wanna see you be brave
Innocence, your history of silence
Won’t do you any good
Did you think it would?
Let your words be anything but empty
Why don’t you tell them the truth?
Say what you wanna say
And let the words fall out
Honestly I wanna see you be brave
With what you want to say
And let the words fall out
Honestly I wanna see you be brave

Sara Bareilles’s song Brave came on my playlist the other day and I hadn’t listened to it in a while. So I did. I didn’t “just listen” while doing stuff. I listened to the lyrics. I turned up the volume. I sang along. I played it again and let the words sink in further. I let myself breathe. I let my thoughts go wherever they did and I examined why I kept looking back instead of forward wondering what was going to happen next and I realized that was simply because I was looking back on recent past experiences as a means to predict where I was going. But I didn’t want to go there. I didn’t want to be there. That wasn’t a cage I wanted to put myself in. I had just found more freedom than I had known in a long time – or ever – because every relationship and every experience is another opportunity for me to learn and grow and understand myself better and know what I want and what I need and what I deserve and even more so, what I love! I am free to be myself, and that’s something I won’t ever let anyone take away from me, and something I won’t ever take away from anyone in life, friend or foe, acquaintance or neighbor, past or future.

That was brave.

Some people may say I fail at relationships over and over. Some people may say that I’m “old and alone.” Some people may say that I’m batshit crazy. Some people may say that I’m too much. Some people may say that….wait. You know what? They can say whatever they want to say. They should say it! All of it! And I will always speak my truth.

My relationships are never a failure for me. They’re an inspiration and a learning experience. They have taught me boundaries, values, red flags, green flags, and self-worth. They’ve taught me I want someone with generosity in their heart who always tips a little extra, reaches into their pockets to offer whatever little they have even when things are tight for them, and who offer love and support through uncomfortable conversations and vulnerability through their own hard times knowing that we reap what we sow. The more we give, the more we get. The more we hide, the more we lose. Respect, love, trust, integrity, friendship, value, and above all else, freedom. Who wants to lose that? Certainly not I.

So I donate even when I don’t have enough and it’s come back to me tenfold.

I pay it forward in the drive-thru and the love and kindness reverberates around me.

I overtip even when my bill is small because I appreciate those who serve me and support me and when things are tight I know that I can still go out for a beer.

I tell people how I feel, even if it may hurt them and I share observations that may be perceived as negative or judgmental, to remind people that how they interpret words from others is their choice every bit as much as how they choose to react – with anger, resentment, defensiveness, or growth. I choose to grow.

I also choose to remove access to my life and my heart from those who do not share theirs. I choose to share with everyone I love, and even those I don’t because I know that sharing our stories and our failures is how we turn them into growth and success stories and stories of love. The skeletons in our closets cannot live in the daylight and as such, I’ve stopped throwing them out in the street for people to run over or hanging them like Halloween decorations to scare away the intimacy I say I’ve been seeking. I bring them out in the sun and tell their stories to people it may help. And, as a result, I am never alone. I’ve built connections that have changed lives, surely as they have changed mine. And in turn, that means that someone else is also realizing they too are not alone, because we are connected by our skeletons or our pasts or our fears and together we bring them out into the light where their bones crumble, our fear of them fades in the shadows, and suddenly we realize together – all of us – that they were far more scary in the closet like the monsters of our childhood than they ever were once we told people what they were. Once we told people who we really are and let them see us for all of our glory and our love and our fears and our scars and our shame. That right there – all of that – melted all that fear and shame and regret and negativity away. Only the light can do that, but it’s bright. You have to be ready.

You have to be brave.

I’ve learned that sharing with the people who are not kind to us, or do not love us, or speak ill of us is even more important than sharing all of those things with the ones who do love us everyday. It’s how we make the world a better place. I want to make the world a better place. Do you? Then be brave.

And, when things are shitty, or you’re questioning yourself, worried about what someone will think of you for your past, your present, your fears, or your futures, try just saying some of it out loud. One little thing that scares you or makes you feel ashamed – say it out loud to yourself in the mirror. That’s the first step. And then go outside in the light and go on an adventure. Do something you’ve never done before whether it’s to pay for a stranger’s coffee or tell someone you hate that you are sorry life has been unkind to them, or donate to a homeless person or something, anything different. LIVE. Be brave.

The world is awesome! Go be a part of it. Let’s experience amazing together!


unconditional love @writingraw

Yesterday was beautiful. It was the first Valentine’s Day in ages that I didn’t wear my Bullet for My Valentine tee with the band’s name and a gun shooting a heart in metallic (yet fading) red across the chest, paired with my studded black collar as if in warning to everyone around in some dark humorous way poking fun at this “Hallmark holiday.” Yesterday was different and it was amazing.

After driving to school this morning at 6am, I returned home and sat on the porch as the sun rose, and the dogs and Astrid watched with me. The air was a cold, crisp 16° and it felt refreshing. I hadn’t made coffee yet, and yet didn’t feel cold, just grateful. As I took in the world around me, I felt something different. This year I didn’t wear my Bullet for My Valentine tee, or wish people a happy Bullet for My Valentine’s Day, poke jokes at the sappiness of the holiday or make fun of anyone giving anyone flowers or chocolate or showing other signs of affection scoffing as if affection and love made you weak. I also didn’t fly away somewhere this year – the past few I’ve been in Florida – and as I sat on my porch swing watching the sun paint the horizon in whitewashed colors of winter morning light as it lifted itself over the mountains, listening to the birds chirp at the day ahead, I realized that I felt something entirely different. I was exactly where I was meant to be. Right here, right now, on that porch swing, yesterday running errands, talking to colleagues and friends and family. I bought flowers and ice cream to make people I care about smile, knowing they would be coming home to something sweet after an emotional day. I wished strangers “Happy Share the Love Day”, and “Happy Galentine’s Day,” and said “thank you,” and “I love you,” and “I’m excited for you,” every single time that or any other thought came into my mind that I felt was worth sharing to help make the world a better place.

You see, I don’t believe we need to be headed towards another civil war, or world war, or mass destruction or self-destruction or anything else negative for that matter. But I do believe that in order to change that path, we all need to start by sharing the love more and so I celebrated yesterday, with plans to carry that message forward every day.

We need to share the love with ourselves more, allowing ourselves the grace and forgiveness to accept our pasts. We cannot change it, but we can learn from it and even the stuff we may regret right now we can learn to be grateful for when we realize that it was another step forward, a learning experience, and a valuable lesson that helped shape who we are today. There will be more. More experiences – good and bad, easy and hard, more challenges, more heartbreaks, more losses, but there will be more laughter too, and more love and more confidence and more reassurance, and more happiness if we start by forgiving ourselves, and looking up.

We all need a sense of self, and self confidence. We need friends and to find our tribe, too. A sense of belonging and connection to others is how, with love and vulnerability and expression, we can begin to change the world. One little act of kindness can start a ripple effect if you let it. Pay it forward (like the movie showed) can make truly profound changes across a neighborhood, a community, a region, and even the world. But it has to start somewhere. Why not with you?

I know why I am here and am confident of the path I am on even when I question details and things such as why didn’t this work out, or why did I push that person away, why am I afraid of relationships or change or whatever else it is that I am afraid of that I probably never had the courage to share with you before. I am learning how to recognize those fears and really feel them and sit with them and work to understand where they are originating from so that I can continue to rise above and move forward. Always one step closer to everything amazing that is yet to come.

My ability to share my emotions and share love and show people how to find all the magic and wonder in life is truly my greatest gift, and I am so grateful for it. I sat on the porch swing this morning and breathed in the crisp morning air and felt something different. Alive. Not just living, but filled with life and wonder and hope, and knowing there was so much joy to come from sharing all of these things with people around me. And I realized that we can make the world a better place by showing compassion and openness and even telling stories of our own pasts – even the parts we may be afraid of or ashamed of or that make us question if we’re even worth loving – with the people we care about and love. But I also realized that it’s even more important to share those things with the people we don’t love, for they are the ones that need it the most.

So please, do me a favor, if you have anything to share, please do. Practice random acts of kindness. Reach out to the person in town struggling with addiction or depression or both who’s losing everything around them and let them know they’re not alone. It doesn’t mean you have to be their friend or their support or their counselor or guardian angel. It just means you are letting them know they are not alone, and sharing a little piece of hope that they may not otherwise be able to see themselves. We live in a society where people are shunned for their pasts, where depression-turned-addiction is met with ridicule instead of compassion, and where everyone is measured by what they have rather than who they are. Why? Why do we keep accepting this? Why do YOU keep accepting this? What are you waiting for? A sign that it’s time to change? Well here it is. It’s now. Change. Be. Trust. Grow. Love.

Instead of holding on with anger towards the people who have wronged you, or questioning if you’re worthy of being loved, capable of being honest, willing to dig deep into the uncomfortable stuff for the chance to find something amazing, or wondering if you can hold yourself to the same standards you hope for your children and those around you, why not start with looking yourself in the mirror each day and saying out loud one thing you are afraid of. Start there. Let one fear out a day. Let it go – but don’t push it away or chase it. Just release it. Release the anger towards others and release them with the understanding that we can’t change everyone, but we can let those who have wronged us go with compassion and love even as we hold our own boundaries, and at times that means closing the door behind them.

Let go of one fear, one piece of anger, one negative emotion you feel towards yourself or your past or your life every day but say it out loud. To yourself at first. Find the power in that. The power that words have in releasing those emotions once they are spoken, and how it takes the power out of the fear and the regret and the shame. It’s not your fault. It never was. We are all doing the best we can with what  we have for where we are in life at the present time. That doesn’t mean we’re automatically excused from bad behavior. Who we are absolutely is our own responsibility. It means that the addict may have no one to turn to. The single parent may have put their entire life on hold trying to rebuild a broken family and find their own “missing piece” in a partner that they never found their own tribe or friends or someone to really connect with and open up to. The bitter jealous controlling person who name calls and argues over petty details perhaps is just someone afraid to see their own insecurities and so keeps looking for reassurance from others without realizing that they more they grasp, the more they lose. Perhaps their perspective would change if met with compassion and love instead of resentment and rejection. Perhaps they already feel really, really lonely and don’t see the value they hold within because they are too distracted by their own self-concerns, fear that they are unloveable, fear of being rejected over and over again, too. Men used to write love letters while at war. Today’s men are taught that sharing emotions and feelings equals weakness, but where was the weakness in the men at war that wrote those letters? Why are we so afraid to say how we feel, when we feel it, in that moment as if someone who does not view you with compassion or love should ever have the power to hurt you? How can someone be compassionate and loving and honest to you when they do not feel they deserve it themselves and as such continually push others away?

Who is the first person you want to talk to when you have exciting news to share? Something big to tell? Someone to lean on? An honest opinion needed or help requested?

I’ve dreamed so much of this lately. The nightmares stopped at the end of the year and have been replaced with dreams instead. Not all are good ones. Several have been warnings. Someone hiding a truth from me about something that I later confirmed to be true even though I knew it because I dreamed it the night before it happened. Again with something different, a friend upset by running over a small animal when driving that ended its life (fortunately quickly) that I also dreamed the night before it happened. And again even more recently, seeing through my own past and mirrors of my parents in people in my present, transitioning to present day (or presumably the day after the dream) where someone started to see the ugliness of a person on the inside and realize that no amount of back-and-forth words and mind-changing and moving targets and insecure boundaries could change someone who didn’t want to work on themselves. Recognizing with new eyes how internal ugliness transformed them on the outside, giving weight to the metaphorical saying that beauty comes from within. It does. Allowing others to figure out their own paths, while being willing to listen to their excitement, share in their joys, and be there for their fears and their pains, too is beautiful. No human is meant to go through this life alone.

Sometimes you have to let something go with all the love in your heart to find out where you are really meant to be.

I am meant to be right here, in every way. Sharing my story. My past. And even some of my fears. Learning that some of the horrible things I have done don’t make me a horrible person. Even looking back to who I was decades ago, I can see now that she was a terrified girl who thought she’d never be lovable and never deserving of a real relationship and she acted accordingly and received the same in return. It took a lot of time and work, and disarming fear bit by bit, year by year, to get that girl to see she’s me. And she has so much love to share with the world if she just let down her guard a little. One day at a time.

cjmillar82 life without a paddle share

Just be you. No makeup. No filters. Nothing hidden inside or out. Completely, authentically you. The world needs more of it, trust me. ❤️

Step Forward

cjmillar82 mad passionate love

Eat the cheese. Drink the bourbon. Have a beer. Wear the good boots. Buy the hat. Speak your mind. Wear your heart on your sleeve. Walk with purpose. Live with integrity. Love all the things big and small with all your heart. Work hard but play harder and never ever take yourself so seriously that you forget to laugh at yourself. Be different. Be you. Who cares if it looks weird to others. Embrace who you are – all of you – and know that when you let yourself shine, you bring out the light in all those around you ❤️ #bedifferent #beauthentic #beyou #laugh #workhardplayharder #bepresent #behonest #bereal #lifeisbeautiful

cjmillar82 life without a paddle

I posted that on social earlier this week after a visit to the salon ahead of my next big business trip, followed by the purchase of an incredible hat (and a few other things too!), and a glass of Bulleit and a charcuterie board at one of my favorite places to go while working. The response was pretty amazing. The hat is a lot. It makes a statement for sure. But as someone said to me, “the hat doesn’t wear you, you wear the hat and you, my dear wear that hat well!” Someone else told me that I was an inspiration to others. Someone else told me to keep being me. And it continued.

The point? It made people smile. It made me smile. And while I was a bit self-conscious walking around Warwick and then into my kid’s high school game later that evening, I wore the hat and I smiled, and it continued to make others smile too. That’s real confidence. Not about how I look or what my outfit was, or even how much of a statement that hat made. It was about owning it. Owning my own presence in a way that wasn’t intimidating, wasn’t cocky, wasn’t rude or pushy, but in a way that just said, hey, this is me and I embrace all of it!

I wish more people would embrace their inner selves, allow who they really are to shine through. Some people spend years looking for themselves and some people find themselves out in the woods, in their reflection in the lake, on the top of a mountain, standing in the ocean, or simply sitting at home at peace with themselves. But other people spend lifetimes looking and never find themselves. That’s because usually they are looking for themselves in others, looking to be completed much the way Shel Silverstein’s Missing Piece keeps rolling along, looking for his missing piece and when he finds it he finds that sometimes being your own person is better, and that sometimes you can be yourself and still share your life with someone else. But when you keep looking for yourself in others, you’ll keep coming up empty. Happiness doesn’t come from other people and neither does confidence. Sure affection and admiration are great, but they aren’t what makes you YOU.

When you spend all of your time chasing something or someone just to avoid being alone – and I don’t mean being alone for an evening to binge watch a show while texting someone to keep you distracted from your own thoughts. No, I mean truly being alone – spending several hours out in the woods just wandering listening to the forest and sorting through all the thoughts in your head. I mean alone in the sense that you’re not afraid to sit alone with your thoughts, examine the good and the bad, the guilt and the shame, learn your triggers and work on healing those old wounds, that’s how you find yourself. And from there the path to happiness somehow seems to just simply *appear*. Ask me how I know.

There are things I have lived through in life that help me understand others, and that’s why I share my past. I understand abandonment issues because I’ve lived with that my entire life. From my childhood to losing my best friend at 18, my first (and only) long-term boyfriend cheating on me in my early 20s, becoming estranged from my father over and over and over again no matter how hard I tried, and so much more, that eventually I just forced myself to be alone so that I could learn what was wrong with me, after all, that everything I loved either left or died. Turns out, there was nothing wrong with me. There was everything wrong with how I looked at myself and that – that hiding, that running, that fear – permeated every piece of my being and as such, I attracted the same insecurities and fear and abandonment I held inside over and over and over again. Until recently when I learned how to say, enough. You had your second chance, and I deserve better. You deserve better, too but where you go from here is your choice. Going backwards to the past may be an option for you, but it never is for me. Not anymore.

step forward cjmillar82 life without a paddle

I could have helped you if you let me. I could have helped you, too. And also you. But I’ve helped others, starting with the people I share my home with, and continuing to those select friends I can truly open my heart to, and who in turn do the same with me. We’ve helped each other. Pushed each other out of our comfort zones to breathe, think, and grow. Sometimes that’s something like getting back on a snowboard for the first time in 20+ years to help overcome the great losses that marred 2020-21. And other times it’s as simple as laughs around a campfire, or a night out to check out new places, meet new people. Or, even taking chances at going on a new first date, even when you’re terrified.

We’ve helped each other grow in so many ways. It’s why I do wear my heart on my sleeve, and I say, “I love you,” to all of my friends when we hang up the phone. We never know what life has planned tomorrow, so cherish today, every day.

Earlier this week I had a friend tell me that I helped them open up for the first time really, in their entire life, because they were so used to speaking their mind and having people yell at them or leave or abandon them, and I was grateful that I was able to help. They told me it was because I was one of the few people they ever met that could understand some of their past experiences, but truth be told, as we open up about our pasts and our pains, we often find that a lot more people understand us and react from a place of love rather than a place of defensiveness than we’d expect. If you’re surrounding yourself with people who react to your thoughts and your feelings without love and empathy and compassion, you’re surrounding yourself with the wrong people. But no matter, that’s your choice, not mine.

And in many cases, shining a light on people’s dark places within themselves is scary and some people won’t stay to do the work, or want you to be there to do it with them. You can be, if you are strong enough to do so, and so long as it’s not a one-way street. If you’re told their focus is on one person and one person only, and that person is not you, proceed with caution because what does that mean for you? You are not a focus? Or you are a secondary focus when they need understanding and support in the areas of their life that their chosen partner is unwilling or incapable of giving? Choose wisely, for life doesn’t have a do-over button, and some people will give multiple chances, but I am a woman of my word. I say what I do and I do what I say and my boundaries – which are different than walls, they are there for my own wellbeing and security, and are how I ensure that I am not taken advantage of or taken for granted, always operating from a place of love and integrity, always looking at things from the other people’s perspectives who may be involved in any given situation – are never negotiable.

We are all responsible for our own choices. I choose to respect myself and those around me, even when they have not been respectful towards me, because the only way this world is going to become a better place is if we all spend more time understanding and respecting each other than we do hiding from our fears, worst of all the fear of change.

Another great friend said to me, “I am sad for them that they had a real opportunity, and chose comfort and familiarity – even when it’s proven to be toxic, repeatedly, for years prior – over progress,” and that hit me hard. So many people choose comfort and familiarity. The devil we know…well what if the grass really IS greener? Only you have to actually weed it and fertilize it and water it and only then it will grow. Well, that sounds like more work than a dried out yard where you keep pouring water into it for nothing to come out but the same old dirt you had last time you tried. At least you know you’ll always have dirt. I don’t want dirt. I want grass. Life is hard. It’s hard to be in a toxic or unhappy situation. It’s sad to look at the same old dead yard wishing the grass would grow again. But it’s also hard to walk away from the yard you know, down the road to where the grass is greener because you know that needs tending to, you know you’re going to have to put in the effort, you know you’re going to have to roll up your sleeves and dig in to the really deep stuff because otherwise, you’ll be asked to leave that yard, too (if you haven’t been already).

It’s also interesting to me how when people are fragmented, struggling to find happiness within themselves and learn enough about their pasts and their hurts to grow and understand what they really want in life, how they also tend to be fragmented outward. Looking for the deep conversations they’ve never had in life is a huge, scary step forward. But, when the person you are looking for that from is different than the person you’ve chosen to build a life with, you become even more fragmented. If both paths were to move forward at the same time, the result is everyone gets hurt, and things crumble, the person in the middle tearing themselves apart finding that they are hiding themselves from themselves seeking comfort in one place, a life in another, friendship elsewhere, and always always finding something to do to keep their mind busy so they don’t have to deal with the things that lie within. I’ve been that person, more than once I am sad to admit, but it taught me a lot so I don’t regret it. I’ve learned boundaries because of it, and I’ve recently thanks to a very short-term relationship, been able to learn more about what I do and don’t want in a partner.

Want to hear it? Well, since this is my blog about my life, I’m sharing lol. Here goes.

I want someone to be a best friend to me first and foremost, and grow into everything else from there. Tonight we are going back to one of my favorite places where we went on our only date in that last relationship, because I’m starting over. I want someone to ask me on dates, take me out once in a while – nowhere fancy (though check out my IG, I do rock a ballgown, with an even better one to come end of Feb!), and it doesn’t need to be extravagant. Actually I prefer it not be. Down home country bar. Night out around a campfire. Dinner at the new place that just opened up to try it out. Meet up with friends for darts and pool. Go see another friend play live music. That.

I also want someone who loves snow as much as I do. Snowboarding / skiing, snowmobiling, snow tubing, snow shoeing, and hiking in the mountains. Sitting in the hot tub on a crisp winter day. Football Sundays. Baseball everyday. Simple pleasures of working on the fencing and projects around the house and farm together that are more bonding in the shared experience without the need for words all the time. Comfortable silences. Individual time for family and friends with a sense of independence and security. Coming together after a business trip with a huge hug that clearly says, “I missed you!” Saying, “I love you,” before you hang up the phone not because you’re in love (or anywhere near it, yet), but because you know that life is precious and that love doesn’t always mean romance or relationships, but also means I care about you and I’m glad you made it home safe.

Honesty, integrity, authenticity, openness, playfulness and excitement, passion for the things that makes life amazing, an adventurous spirit. Hunter, fisherman, outdoorsman, hiker, camper, and lover of mountains. The ocean is fun on occasion too. Trying new things, even when it scares either or both of us. A good heart, a willingness to talk through challenges and issues and arguments and never (well mostly not, sorry sometimes I do lose my cool I am human, but I am learning!) yelling at each other. Don’t go to bed mad, but don’t go to bed distant, either. Ask questions of each other so neither of you ever feel like you have to pry. Have nothing to hide. Here, look at my phone if you want…oh yeah I told my best friend you were being a douche canoe the other day bc you were. Sorry lol, glad we’re over it now! And laughing about when we call each other on bad behavior and then get over it together.

That’s building a connection. That takes time. I have time. I have all the time in the world. But I’d like to get started today so today, I’m taking a step forward. And I’ll take another step tomorrow, and another the day after that. And some days, I may take a step or even a few backwards, but I know it’s just a step and not a reverse. And I’ll give myself the grace to learn and be patient with myself and know that the next great thing is always found by going forward. I love you ❤️.