Finding Your Tribe and Other Resonating Memes

As I write this, I reflect on a weekend filled with family and events-celebrations and stress, laughter, great food, children running around, and schedules.

Since my girls have been born, I have an increasing awareness that I don’t quite connect with others the way I used to. This is not a bad thing, but it’s different, because I’ve transformed, and my family is growing. Sometimes, it feels sad, like something has been lost. Other times, it’s empowering because being a mother forces you to use your brain differently, like learning an instrument or speaking a different language. I see the world through changing lenses. There is the individual, the caregiver, the educator, and the partner. Mothers are now on my radar. I understand the way they drive, and why they sleep on the couch until you come home.

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The thought is not original, but a good friend sent me an internet meme one day that put words to this idea that your energy attracts others with your energy. The meme read: “You’re vibe attracts your tribe.” I think of a tribe as individuals that share a common energy that usually drive them towards common goals. Many people who I consider part of my “tribe” are not mothers. They’re not even women. Conversely, there are many women and mothers that I don’t feel very connected to. These individuals have different priorities, and their lives have aligned differently to attain their goals, so our paths don’t cross much, either by chance or design. And that’s OK. 8671909

Being an adult means that there are choices. You are no longer confined to the small circles and limited perspectives that you once grew up with. Sometimes your vibe changes, or the tribe changes. Instead of forcing a connection, it can be a freeing moment to realize that there are others in the world with shared goals, that engage regularly in positive and encouraging dialogue, and that infuse their interactions with joy, enthusiasm, clarity, and support even when they’re just passing through.

This brings me to another favorite meme-ok, it’s actually a quote from Heraclitus.

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He’s a good person to meme out with if you’re looking for quotes about change. I’ve realized that trying to recreate a golden moment in time is not only impossible, but a waste of the precious present. Even if you reconnect with the “tribe,” after a long time away, and you tinker with all of the variables to closely resemble that original experience, it will be different. Time is transformative. It may still be wonderful, but it will never be the same, and that can be exciting and memorable in its own way.

So now I segway to soaking up the good stuff. This will sound super dramatic and may even elicit an eye roll, but I live every day as if it were my last. Perhaps the thought of backpacking across Europe just popped into your head-something you’ve alway wanted to do. Or maybe you’re thinking of starting your own business as you reflect on a less than satisfying job you’ve plugged away at for years. For me, I think about the giant, whole body hugs I get from my girls.quote15 There is seriously nothing better. I have not lived my day to its fullest until I’ve thoroughly snuggled with my babies and kissed their cheeks, blown raspberries on bellies, and tickled baby feet. When I hear the tandem squeals of laughter, or get to sing to both of my girls sitting in my lap, I think to myself, I could die happy. And I mean that. I do wish I had traveled more before children, (who doesn’t?) and I would love to add some professional accomplishments to my bucket list, but really, those are all a far second to being present in the moment and really enjoying my children.

That’s all.  Just good vibes, and grateful for another day. ❤

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#Rewearthedress

In August of 2014, hubs and I celebrated 6 years of marriage, opened a new business, and had made it through 9 months of raising twins while co-habitating with family. We hadn’t been out on a date since the girls had come home from the NICU, and barely had free time with each other.

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While running my hands over the many garment bags hanging from the rolling wardrobe in the basement, I saw the thick, white vinyl that protected my wedding dress. It was such a lovely dress. Simple, no frills. I wondered if it still fit. I remembered how I went shopping for it by myself, and bought the sample off the rack at the bridal boutique to save money. After alterations, I STILL ended up paying the equivalent of several car payments for something I would only wear for a few hours. Why did I do that again? And it’s pretty widely agreed upon that the wedding dress shouldn’t be worn again. So, essentially this is a very expensive, single use item. Like a very elaborate up-do or makeup job that looks great for the night and comes off by morning. Some people would argue that a wedding dress is a valuable keepsake, or heirloom. They would preserve their dress (which of course costs more money,) to pass on to family. But I have found that most dresses end up taking up valuable space, and people are left with a relic that no one has the guts to donate or repurpose. Or they don’t know how. Some people have imagined beautiful ways to reuse heirloom dresses, or display them for all to see, (check out some of those ideas here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/danielle-tate/10-creative-things-to-do-_b_5194277.html ,) but not everyone has the space or time to do that. So I thought to myself, why can’t I wear this again?

From this thought came #rewearthedress. Because on the one hand, it’s just a dress. Wearing it to a restaurant (or around the house, or letting your kids play in it or with it, or drawing on it…)lessens the pomp and circumstance. It makes a statement about how silly it is to place so much value and importance on a dress. It’s a piece of clothing, just like a shirt or a pair of jeans. It’s amazing that entire television shows are devoted to wedding dresses. There are some people who place more importance on the dress than finding the right person to wear it with. But on the other hand, it’s a (sometimes pricey,) wearable memento from a very special day. And it’s one hell of a conversation starter. My dress is a very tangible reminder of the day hubs and I made vows to one another and danced all night with our closest friends and family. I enjoy telling people about our great party and my great partner. And it is fun! It made me feel pretty and a little impressed with myself that I could clean up and get into it after months of wearing pajamas and nursing babies around the clock.

I made a plan to wear my wedding dress again for our 6th anniversary dinner date-no matter where we decided to go. To my delight, it still fit-probably a little better than it had pre-twins thanks to nursing. Hubs, being the roll-with-it kind of person that he is, was all for the idea, (one of the many reasons I married him!) We made plans to eat at a clubby, local sushi place, and had babysitting all lined up.

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Three days before our anniversary, a slight eye irritation was beginning to really bother me. It seemed I was developing a pesky stye. Hot compresses were applied, and I skipped makeup. The day before our date, my eye was so swollen shut, I had to go to the doctor. I was told I needed antibiotics, and possibly a trip to the ER. Aweeeesooooome. It was pretty disappointing. Murphy’s Law in full effect. We debated rescheduling for another weekend, but waiting weeks to get out alone for a few hours to celebrate an anniversary happening at that moment, just didn’t feel right. So, I improvised. I grabbed some sunglasses and a fedora, and wore the dress anyway. We never actually made it to sushi, either. By the time we were out of the house and made our way to the restaurant, my face was puffy and uncomfortable and shaded by sunglasses, so we decided a quiet, well-lit, casual meal would be better. So, we went to our local taco spot and tucked my dress under the small, wooden table where hot sauce sits in a condiment caddy made out of an old six pack box. We ordered nachos and tacos and sat face to face (sunglasses,) and had our first childless conversation, with the lights on, out of our home. Hubs held my hand across the table and told me I looked beautiful, and afterwards we visited the shaved ice shop.

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The whole outing happened so fast that we drove around just to stay out a little longer with each other. We talked about our babies a lot, but also about our wedding day, and life before the girls and plans for the future. It was really nice. I told hubs that if the dress still fits, I’d like to wear it every year on our anniversary-even if next year we decide to stay in. Why not? I’d love to see more people wear their wedding dresses again. Hell, even if that dress has outlasted the marriage, don’t let it just sit in the closet! (Check out what this guy did! http://pulptastic.com/wife-leaves-husband-gets-little-creative-wedding-dress-see-hilarious-results/ ) It gets people remembering, and talking. People perk up when they talk about their wedding day and start to tell the stories of how they met and the people that were there along the way. I read somewhere that taking photos on anniversary vacations in the wedding dress is a thing.  Maybe for our 25th. 🙂 #rewearthedress

Local. Home. Hand

I am a consumer. Stuff fills up my life and I enjoy shopping. I can’t deny it.

Living in a cargo crate or a 500 square foot “Tiny House” intrigues me though. There is a part of me that believes I could rid my life of clutter and live simply, 10926380_10152688026982099_3354934545081389695_nand then I remember I have two toddlers and shirts from the eighth grade. Perhaps we could attach multiple cargo crates together and one could be designated entirely for baby stuff, and another could be a walk in closet. Gut feeling tells me that misses the point though.

Local. Home. Hand. These are the three words I have decided to consciously incorporate into my life this year. Please don’t mistake this for a New Year’s resolution. New Year’s resolutions are not really for me, although I’ve definitely thrown that phrase around. They seem weak and easily forgotten. If they were effective, then gym memberships wouldn’t surge in January and drop off by March. A new year isn’t a good enough reason for me to decide to do something better. Health, efficiency, and enjoyment are good reasons. I enjoy feeling healthy, therefore I will do whatever needs to be done to feel healthy. That doesn’t mean I have to join a gym. Maybe I’ll juice, or take a yoga class. Maybe I’ll add taking walks with my girls more. Maybe I will do 25 kegels every time someone talks about starting a new diet. That should keep everything in place, till March at least.

It seems that if I want to de-clutter my life, and be more thoughtful about what I use, wear, and eat, I may spend more money on objects, clothing, and food. Sometimes.

Shopping locally, making homemade, or buying handmade connects me to people, not objects. I realize that I am much more invested in an article of clothing that was created by hand than I am in one that cost me $9 shipped from China. I am not only more likely to hand wash that handmade item and probably handle it more delicately (there are multiple setting on a washing machine?!) but I will tell others about it, take an interest in how it was made and who created it. The people selling these items tend to be more concerned about quality and customer satisfaction too, since their business absolutely depends on it. This creates closer relationships with not just the materials or food being exchanged, but the people making them. That is important to me.

There was a great thought from the post On the Kindness of Things, by John Tuite over on Kindness Blog. Tuite writes:

“Things speak to us of their own history. Particularly if they are made by us, they speak of the quality of care that went into their own making. The faulty and imperfect asymmetry of a hand-made pendant, or a repaired pot, can breath more balance into our system than the perfect symmetry of a factory product. The smoothest pebble weighted in the hand can be more interesting to the touch than the curves and sophisticated ridges of mass produced plastic. When we surround ourselves with such ill-made products we create a muted environment, that leaves us numb and seeking satisfaction somewhere else. Always somewhere else.”

You can read the full post here: http://kindnessblog.com/2014/12/11/on-the-kindness-of-things-by-john-tuite/

FullSizeRenderSimilarly, buying locally grown produce, or growing or making my own food or other items creates that same connection for me. When a friend hand delivered eggs from their own chickens, each omelet we made that week felt like a gift. I contemplated the work that goes into transforming a yard into a happy chicken home and thought for a second hubs and I might try it. It never happened, but I became more thoughtful about where my food comes from. My mother frequently (ok, almost always) purchases produce for my family on her daily runs to the supermarket. When H & G started eating solids I was insistent on our produce being organic. My mother couldn’t understand how we were willing to spend so much money on organic groceries, when she could round-up the same list of non-organic items for half the cost. I pointed out that although I recognize the issues this poses for many people on a budget trying to eat organically, in my mind, it is one of the most worthwhile expenses. What is more important than the quality of nourishment that I feed to my family?

Just last week I put together a care package for my brother and his girlfriend. For about two hours I went through photographs, clothing, my pantry… collecting items thoughtfully, and writing notes and creating labels. What a thrill! Can that be a job? Professional care-package creator? If so, I want that job. Nothing excites me more than giving gifts or surprising people. (Hubs almost always knows his birthday present before his actual birthday because I can’t contain MY excitement at the thought of watching him open it.) Anyway, I shared my project with a family member, to which they snarked, “Oh, are you cleaning out your stuff?” I replied with a deflated, “no.” This was a thoughtful collection of objects! “Well did you buy the things you put in there?” At one time I did-but you’re missing the point! I spent my TIME on this gift, I tried to be creative, witty, and thoughtful. I can’t wait for them to get it. Maybe I’m making a bigger deal of it in my head than it is. They might open the box and chuckle and move on to drinking coffee and eating tacos and never mention it to anyone else. But I hope they know there is a lot of love in that box. It is purely coincidental and convenient that I now have a little extra room in my closet for those hand-dyed, matching crocheted sweaters for the family from a local knitter. 😉