The smiles just keep coming

Really, how can you not smile while holding dancer pose on a wobbly surfboard?
Really, how can you not smile while holding dancer pose on a wobbly surfboard?

I feel like everything is coming up Candace right now. I had a fantastic weekend that I can’t stop smiling about. It involved a trip to Brooklyn, winning a picture frame, SurfSet fitness class, riding oversized swings in an exhibit, cuddling by a fireplace and watching the Seahawks win.

I went to the office today and got good news that I actually earned more money in 2012 than I was paid, so I could expect a check this week with the retro pay. Plus, that gives me enough to qualify for a better apartment AND my company is sending me a desktop calendar!

My trainer told me I could come to Monday night kettlebell class tonight at no extra charge. So the happiness just continues.

Also, I must give more props to Quyn who told me not to settle for an apartment I don’t want. That girl is a genius!

Now if only I could connect with Tara, all would be right in my world.

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Meh! Who wants to be happy anyway?

The other day, a friend sent me a text saying he didn’t think I seem that happy.

It pissed me off! How dare this guy I’ve known for five months question my happiness! Who the hell does he think he is? That was the toned down version of what I was thinking. My sister doesn’t appreciate it when I cuss. Sorry, Kelly. New York brings the four-letter words rolling out.

Once I texted four friends, called my sister and made an appointment with my therapist, I felt better. But I also realized he wasn’t wrong exactly.

I’m not happy today. In fact, I’ve kinda felt like sobbing the last couple of days. It’s been a rough week. Everything seems to be happening (or not happening) all at once and that’s hard. But I can handle it. None of these things – even all piled up – is enough to break me. I’ve got this. I’ll find a place to live. I’ll find a job I’m excited to go to every morning. I’ll stop feeling bad about breaking The Boy’s heart and my room will stop smelling like the Hudson River I hope. Life ebbs and flows. Smiles come and go. It’s cool.

In fact, is anyone really happy? I was trying to think of the happiest person I know. My friend Pam was the first to pop in my head. She always seems cheery, even when she’s up and working at 5 a.m. But she’s admitted to me that she isn’t happy all the time (sorry, Pam, I blew your cover. I told everyone your secret.)

My nephew, Adam, is a happy guy. I actually don’t know that I’ve ever seen him really upset. Not to undermine his ability to be happy, but little dude is 3 years old. Life isn’t too stressful at age 3. He’s got a table of trains, a collection of puzzles, a PB&J maker at the ready and a couple people to tell him they love him when they tuck him into bed at night. What more can a guy ask for?

So I guess I’m OK if I’m not a Pollyanna every day. I met a guy at a wedding once who was so over-the-top happy it made me sick. As we were watching the bride and groom open their gifts (it was a small, destination wedding), he was oohing and ahhing over everything. “Oh! An immersion blender! How wonderful. You’ll use that all the time. What a thoughtful gift, you guys! … Oh, an elephant statue. I love it. It’s the perfect shade of gray … Ahh! A framed wedding invitation. That will look fantastic on your fireplace mantle. How nice.”

My then-beau and I were snickering in the corner and mocked Happy Man for years after that. “Ohh! What a wonderful sweater! It has so many colors. It’ll match everything, and you’ll look like Bill Cosby. Wonderful!”

Now I’m laughing at Happy Man. I must be back to happy.

How many times can Candace say “yay!”?

I’m in a crazy good mood today, so it’s time for (read with a loud announcer voice) 10 THINGS MAKING ME HAPPY RIGHT NOW!

1.Imagine this scene: Standing on a paddle board in Warrior 2, gazing at the sun setting behind the majestic Olympic mountains. Oh, look, a sea lion head popping up. To the right is a standup paddleboard class – mostly guys – yelling at the girls in standup paddleboard yoga class. Everyone laughing, enjoying being out on the water on a perfect late-summer evening. I just realized I still have sand on my leg. Ehh, don’t care.
2.I made a brand-new friend! She was in my SUP yoga class on Saturday and we chatted. Surprise! She was in class today, too. Neither of us planned to be there today. Just happened. We chatted again about fitness classes and running a 5K. I think we were meant to be friends. (P.S., it’s awkward to give a girl your phone number and email address, right? How do you get over that picking-up-a-friend weirdness?)
3.I got TWO checks in the mail today from my insurance company, reimbursing me for claims dating back to January. Yay! I got my money back. Finally! Now I can afford …
4.My upcoming trip to the East Coast! Another yay! I get to see my sister, her family and new house, a college friend and work friends. Yay! My time spent in Maryland is pretty much limited to a train ride through. This time will be legit.
5.Work has been crazy fun lately. There’s talk of drinking together, participating in celeb fantasy leagues, and today we all found our superhero names. The color of shirt you’re wearing + the object immediately to your right. I’m Purple Glasses. Our superhero team includes: Sea Green Post-It Note, Brown Polka Dot Uniball, Black Tablet, White Candace, White Whisky and Bluish Grey Hand Cream (wait, what?).
6.I made chocolate peanut butter cupcakes and froze them. They are a-maz-ing.
7.Fall TV is back. Remember how fun it is to cocoon in the evenings and watch new TV?
8.5K in 30 minutes and only getting better!

9.Seattle is freaking amazing. I love it here so much. The water, the mountains, people leisurely walking or running on the sidewalks, even the suburbanites who gawk at the Fremont Troll.
9.5 is really fun

10.Have I mentioned how fabulous my friends are? I have some of the best around. New and old, they all make me happy.

A graduation of sorts

I graduated from therapy! OK I graduated over a month ago. This posting is a bit delayed, but I wanted to share what I learned and discovered. First, some background: My ex and I started couples therapy. After two sessions, the therapist decided we really needed to do individual work first. She said that’s totally normal. You can’t have a healthy duo unless you have two healthy individuals. So, I went every three weeks or so for six months. It was among the best things I’ve done in my life (along with parasailing in France, moving West for college, and turning down a better paying job to be a reporter).

When I started, I didn’t really think I needed therapy myself. I came from a good, strong family. I had lots of support and get along fine in life. I don’t have self-esteem problems, feel hopeless or have addictions. What I didn’t know is that you don’t have to be mentally ill or have obvious issues to benefit from therapy. I just needed someone else to take a look – to point out things I missed on my own.

For example, I had a tendency to be needy. I expected everyone else to fill me up. I didn’t know how to fill myself up. My therapist described it like trying to fill a sink without putting a stopper in. I’d feel good, but the feeling would run right down the drain because I was so concerned about where the next thing was coming from. I learned how to put that stopper in; to live in the moment and appreciate. I learned how to be a strong Candace. I learned to recognize the signs and how to deal them in a healthier way. Win!

I also learned to stop “shoulding.” You know, saying, “I should go to the gym today.” “It’s been six years, I should look for a new job.” “I should volunteer.” My yoga philosophy fits well here. Do what feels good to you today. I actually like my job and I adore my co-workers. If a dream opportunity comes up, I’ll take it, but right now I’m going to appreciate where I’m at. It’s a really good fit for me. I’ve done a lot of volunteer work in the past and I will in the future. But right now, I need to take care of me, not everyone else, so that’s what I’m going to do. “Shoulding” is doing what you think other people think you “should” do. I find when I don’t beat myself up for not going running like I “should,” I workout because it makes me feel good and I want to. And sometimes I feel like strength training or climbing stairs instead of running.

That’s another thing. Once I slowed down and thought, I realized I really don’t like some things I thought I did. Instead of the TV being on all the time as a distraction, I’ve found that it annoys me. I turn it on when there’s something quality I actually want to watch. The rest of the time, I’d prefer to listen to music or NPR. I’ve also found myself quietly reading in my alone time. Alone time is precious. No need to fill it up with distractions.

I learned to own my experiences. I thought it was D’s fault we broke up. I wanted to keep trying. He didn’t. He gave up, not me. But now I have to thank him. He’s right. It wasn’t working. It had to end. And I am 50 percent responsible for what went wrong. I don’t regret the time we spent together. I can’t say I wish we broke up sooner because the fact is I’m this healthy version of Candace because of those experiences. And I think the Candace I am today is pretty great. No regrets.

I also read a book that changed my life called “Getting the Love You Want.” And yes, I was so embarrassed to walk into the Seattle Public Library to pick up a self-help book, but it was worth it. My eyes were wide open. Whether you’re single or coupled, I highly, highly recommend this book.

Now go be nice to you.

The big 3-0

A few years back, a friend was turning 30 and mentioned that she felt really good about it. She felt like she’d accomplished what she needed to in her 20s and was ready for a more confident, self-aware decade. I really liked that attitude. And I agree. On my 30th birthday, I feel like I’ve set myself up to be in a healthy place, mentally, physically, financially …  I don’t have it all figured out, but I do feel like I have the tools to weather whatever is thrown at me (is that tempting fate, or what?).

For the most part, I feel like I can put my people-pleasing days behind me. Maybe not completely, I mean people-pleasing is one of those tools you need to get through certain situations. But I feel like I can choose who and what is important to me and let some “I have to be liked!” get pushed aside.

I’ve learned that investing in quality friends is preferable to having 300+ “friends” on Facebook. I no longer date guys who aren’t going anywhere. I’m in a relationship with a guy who matters to me. Experiences and quality purchases matter more to me than a big house full of stuff.

If that’s what my new decade has in store for me, then I quote my dear friend Riki: “Good riddance, 20s!”

I’m ready to move on from the setting the stage stuff into the real, gritty living.

Are you freaking out about turning 30 (or 40, or 50)? Were you unfazed by the number? I used to say 25 was my favorite year. I felt like I was in a good place then, but I’ve done a lot of growing in the last five years. I might have a new favorite.