Bucket List Time! A New Decade, A New Chapter

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I’ve actually had a bucket list in my head for awhile but I have never written it down. Ever since I saw Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson in the movie The Bucket List I’ve wanted to make a list of my own. Though jumping out of a plane is definitely NOT on my bucket list, I do have a few things I want to do before it’s too late to do them.

But First, About my Birthday…

This past Friday I celebrated my 40th Birthday. I had originally wanted to celebrate with a few of my female friends at home with drinking and games and shootin’ the shit but the ladies thought it would be great to go out. I wasn’t all that sure as I am not big on the partying these days but I went out.  what the hell though right? It’s not like I do it very often and it was my birthday.

Before heading out though we all had a glass of wine and a few jello-o shots for the road. Then we picked up our 4th party goer at work where the girls surprised me with a piece of birthday cake. After the song was sung and the cake was eaten – I needed help eating it as it was very good but so rich – we headed to our destination.

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We went to a place called The Tunnel Bar and I fell in love with the Martini bar and the seating area was so comfy!You literally are walking through a small tunnel as you enter. The leather seats and coffee tables are on either side of you as you walk towards the Martini bar. I should have taken pictures because it was very cozy but of course I didn’t. I had my first Raspberry Truffle Martini. Well, two actually. They were so damn good! After our drinks the girls took me upstairs to the dance floor. They wanted to dance. I wasn’t feeling it but I followed them.

There was another bar upstairs where we all had a birthday cake shot. It wasn’t that good but it certainly had a bang and I was definitely feeling the liquor in my system by then. The dance floor was way too crowded with way too many 20-somethings around me and the music was unfamiliar. They only played two songs I actually knew. Yep! That made me feel a bit on the old side.

After dancing to one or two songs we went outside for some air. At that point I remember we were chatting up a very nice police officer then heading back to the car. When we got back to my place we chit chatted for awhile before passing out. The night was fun, even if it wasn’t what I had in mind. It was a good time and I was definitely hungover the next day.

So Now to my Bucket List….

bucketlist_rockinrandommomAll the next day I pretty much laid on the couch watching Ghost Brothers on my DVR. Occasionally Conner would come cuddle with me but I had time to think and reflect on many things that day. One of them being my bucket list. I’m still working on this list. I think I will be working on it for at least the next ten years because there will always be things I want to do.

 

 

 

Here is my list so far:

  1. Travel to the UK – I have wanted to see Ireland, England, Wales, and Scotland since I was a child. From books I’ve read to movies I’ve seen the landscape just looks so beautiful and amazing and the history! Oh the history! From Queen Elizabeth I -who is one of my historic feminine heroes- to visiting ancient Viking settlements, to actually seeing up close Stonehenge, I cannot wait to go there!
  2. Visiting the rest of Europe – I look forward to visiting France, Germany, Italy, Greece, and many other countries in Europe with so much history!
  3. Finally finish my first book – Maybe even get two published!
  4. Go on a three day hiking trip – I know this one seems small but I’ve been busy raising children and I haven’t had the time or the money so now it’s on my bucket list.
  5. Conquer some of my fears – Like my fear of tall heights and my fear of spiders. This one will be the hardest one on my list.

As I said, I’m still working on this list but these are my top 5 things I want to do within the next 20 years. Yes you read that right. 20 Years! I want to give myself some time to complete this list. Especially about the spiders. I am so not ready for that one!

Have you made a bucket list yet? What’s on it? Leave a comment below:)

Thanks so much for reading!

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My New Mindfulness: Meditation at 40

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Meditation was never something I thought I’d ever do. I remember when I was in my 20’s and I would see a group of people meditating at a park.  I would think, “what the hell are they doing? I’m never gonna do that. That looks boring as hell.” Little did I know that 20 years later, that’s exactly what I’d be doing. With 40 looming right around the corner, meditation has recently been added to my repertoire of calming activities to help keep my sanity.

As we get older and the reality of life sets in with work, kids, bills, and various other factors that stress us, we look for ways to keep calm and DE-stress as much as possible. For the past two months I have added meditation to my routine.

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Because my mind runs about a mile a minute I really wasn’t sure I was going to be able to do this meditation thing. I mean, come on, I have to sit still and clear my head. Clearing the brain is difficult but giving up is an option because of my stress level and anxiety.

You know how on Facebook you get ads in your feed about various things? These ads are supposed to cater to your interests based off of your likes. That’s where I found it. An app that actually talks you through meditation. It’s called Calm and you can try the free version or purchase the yearly subscription on iTunes.

Calm App

I tried the free version first. It starts with the 7 Days of Calm. It’s the only one you can try with the free version but you also get three different sleep stories and several different nature sounds.

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You can do these meditations anytime you want but I chose to do them before bed. I have a really hard time shutting my brain off at night and because of this it takes me 2 hours to fall asleep. So I really wanted something to help me calm my mind. I didn’t just do the meditation though. I added the sleep story right after. By day three I was asleep before the end of the story. Each story is about 30 minutes long and I was sleeping 15 minutes in.

That’s a pretty big difference from 2 hours! At first, I wasn’t doing them on the weekends but I found that if I skipped, then by Monday I was back to being easily stressed and way too much on my mind. So I added the weekends in and it has made a big difference. I finally went all in and purchased the full version of the app and I have been loving it!

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One of my favorite things about this app though are the quotes shown to you after every mediation. I love quotes and always look for positive and inspiring quotes to help me when I’m feeling down or just need a pick me up.

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It has helped me so much and for a person who has never put much stock into meditation, this is a big deal. My therapist has recommended I add one more meditation time in so I’m going to do that. Well, I’m working on it anyway. This past week has been pretty busy and I will be busy for the next week. But I think finding the time to do even a 10 minute mediation will help me keep my calm, especially through the busy times.

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We all know that when we get busy, we get irritated easier than normal. That’s the stress of life. But adding just a small meditation has helped me immensely. I do yoga first thing in the morning. The yoga DVD I have has a 2 minute mediation at the end of it. Then I do my meditation at night with the Calm app.

I am working on adding Tai Chi to my day but it has been difficult because I don’t have a lot of space. Yesterday I spent the whole day rearranging my room to make more space. It looks like it might be enough. That’s one more piece to my puzzle added to my quest for peace of mind through out the day.

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They even have meditation and sleep stories for the kids. I have tried getting my two boys to try it out with me but to no avail but I won’t give up though. I figure if they keep seeing me do it, they may eventually want to do it too. For you parents who have younger kids though, give it a shot.

What do you think of meditation?

Thanks so much for Reading!

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40 and Single and Happy About it!

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I am 40 and single and yes! I am happy about it. Some people who read this might not understand why I’m happy about being single. We live in a society where being coupled up is normal and the notion of even wanting to be alone scares us. It’s not considered the norm to want to be alone. After all, we are social beings and wanting to be eternally loved by another person is only natural.

In my early twenties I looked at love and relationships much like most people. I wanted to find “the one”. For me, I wanted to find someone who would rescue me from my shitty life and I’d live happily ever after. Those are the dreams of a young woman who doesn’t know where she fits in this world.

I had very little confidence in myself, though I hid it well. Being young, confused, and without rules set me up for much heart break. It also made me cold and bitter. With no solid boundaries I didn’t know what a healthy relationship looked like. When I was at my worst, I met my ex-husband. Looking back, I had gone into that relationship not knowing who I was or what I truly wanted.

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He is a good one but again, neither of us really knew what we wanted. Neither of us understood. We clashed. We had kids. I got diagnosed with PTSD. Our oldest has Autism. All of this was draining on two young people from broken homes and issues we didn’t know we had. Now that I’m 40 and single I am looking back on this and realizing an important life lesson.

That I need to find happiness within myself first before I can be with anyone else.

After my separation from my ex, I dated a little. I thought that I could just date around and figure things out. Turns out that’s not me. It never was. Casual dating doesn’t make me happy. I’m just not built that way. That was another thing that I learned about myself.

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So I took a few years to work on myself. Then last year I met someone and for a time, I was really happy. He met a longing in me that I didn’t know I had. We had a soul connection. It was profound and beautiful! As time went on and as I’m fast approaching 40, I started to really think about what I want from a romantic relationship.

My therapist says I want a male version of me. Haha! I sat down and made a short list the other day of the qualities I would look for and I am beginning to think she may be right. My top three qualities: self-sufficient, independent, and motivated. Then the list got longer as I was writing. Most of it is what I assume most people want. Great sense of humor, laid back, and intelligent. I love a deep thinker who I can have great conversation with. But I also love someone I can go on an adventure with who also loves to veg out on the couch. There is a lot more to it than that but you get the idea.

Then another Epiphany happened and I discovered yet another new thing about myself…

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I’m not sure when this happened but there it is. I’m afraid of commitment. It’s not just with relationships though. Apparently, this is why I haven’t finished any of my books. Nor why I can’t commit to a career path. Friendships, family, even my blog have suffered because of my commitment issues.

Then I had another epiphany. I’m happiest when I’m alone. Now most people tell me that this is only because I haven’t met the right person yet. Maybe that’s true. What I do know for sure is that I’m on my own path of self-discovery and I am constantly evolving my thinking and my perspective. If someone comes along that is on the same path as me – Great! If not, I’m okay with that too.

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I spent the bulk of my youth dating some real jerks. I let the wrong ones into my life. The deep seeded trust issues I already had didn’t help. I didn’t know myself. I wasn’t the self-assured and confidant woman I am today. Twenty years ago I settled because I was a “go with the flow” kind of person.

Today, I know what I want – and what I don’t want. I am 40 and single because I won’t settle for less than I deserve. When I was 20 I didn’t think I deserved a whole lot. Now that I’m 40 and single, I know better. My standards are higher and I’m not afraid to set boundaries or walk away from something that doesn’t make me happy.

Thanks so much for reading!

 

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July Goals and Turning 40

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Yep! This is the month I turn the big 4-0! Turning 40 has been on my mind a lot lately. Actually, my 40th birthday has been on my mind since New Year’s, if I’m being completely honest here. It’s not something I have been looking forward to. In fact, I’ve been dreading it, though not for the reasons you might think.

I dread turning 40 because I don’t want to leave my thirties. And no, it’s not because thirties are younger. Truth be told it has nothing to do with age. I learned so much about myself in my thirties.  I struggled through mental illness most of my life. In my thirties, I fought back. I worked my ass off to overcome my past. Through this work, I learned to accept myself while still working to become a better version of me.

I learned to forgive those who have hurt me. I have also learned to forgive myself. Forgiveness was something I never thought I would know. But it was a goal I set in my thirties and I achieved it. Loving myself was another thing I never thought I would know or understand. Learning to love myself came with healing but I got there. I love myself now. So, turning 40 is bittersweet for me.

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You know how people say that when you close one chapter in your life you start a new one? That’s the exciting part. I’m starting a new decade and writing a new chapter in my book of life. Turning 40 is a good thing. At the same time, it’s incredibly sad for me because it feels like I’m leaving behind a friend.

Rather than sulk though, I have decided that this month I’m going to write posts about my mixed feelings towards turning 40. I am going to write about what this means for me in many different aspects of my life. What does motherhood look like? How about career? Where does love play into it?

I have recently discovered several different blogs that talk about the importance of setting blogging goals. So I’m going to work on that. Until now, I’ve just been winging it. Now that I’m turning 40 I want to set new goals and make new rules for myself.

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Turning 40 is also surreal. It still doesn’t feel like I’m about to be “over the hill”. What does that even mean anyway? Maybe because we are living longer these days, 40 really doesn’t seem like that big a deal. It is a big deal though. It is because now I am a more confidant person. I’m definitely more confidant now than I ever was in my twenties.

Yes, this is what July brings to me. I am looking forward to sharing most of my thoughts with you as I get ready to start this new chapter!

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Thanks so much for reading!

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My Son’s Participation in Autism Awareness Night

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As most of you already know Every April we celebrate Autism Awareness all month long. Adam was really proud to participate in his first presentation this year on Autism Awareness. The high school has been running a workshop for the past two years where the middle school and high school students present to visitors what Autism is. They go beyond that though and talk about their own experiences living with Autism. My son was so proud to be a part of it. I’m going to highlight a few things from that very inspiring night.

 

So let me give you a rundown of events

Junior High!

Our first stop was the Junior high school table. Two young boys, both in the 7th grade, each talked about their experiences having Autism. These two brave young boys talked about the teachers who have helped them while praising their parents for being there for them through all of their tough times. We also got to see how each boy talked about the differences they had within the spectrum. One boy loves anime while the other boy was all about Science! They helped to spread Autism Awareness through their presentation.

 

Next Up

ADAM!!

While the high school kids had a group presentation, which I will get to in a minute, Adam put on his own. He worked really hard with the help of his paraprofessional and Special Education Liaison. They told me though that it was all Adam. He came up with the theme of his power point using old cartoons and the Simpsons, and wrote his own speech. You can view the video below.

 

 

The rest of the high school group

High School!

There were four other high school students and they all spoke about their specific issues within the Autism Spectrum. Two of the kids have ADHD as well as Autism. They are all high functioning but they all have slightly different social drawbacks too. One girl was very talkative and communicative while two others were quiet and spoke softly and slowly. They said this was because if they talk faster, their words get jumbled. I know I, myself, have done that quite a few times. These kids also spoke highly of their teachers at the high school but also spoke highly of their parents. One boy said if his parents weren’t so understanding and patient about his meltdowns when he was younger, he wouldn’t be where he is today. His meltdowns centered mostly around social situations.

 

Now to the last group

The College Kids!

I will be honest here. While I loved Adam’s presentation and am so very proud of him, I really enjoyed listening to the college kids. The main reason for that is because Adam wants to go to college. He wants to study video production and script writing! So, naturally my curiosity about what college life is like for young men and women on the spectrum filled me with excitement.

There were four young people at the college presentation station. Two of them go to one of the local Community Colleges while the other two attend a small college in Vermont that was designed for men and women with various disabilities. I don’t know much about the college but the two young men praised it for the small campus and the welcome home feel they receive from the professors, students and staff.

A lot of questions were answered but one thing the young woman said really stood out to me. She said, “Let them find their way.” Now that is a scary notion for any parent regardless of their abilities. The young woman made a good point though. She added that we should help our kids do research to know which office to turn to for help. She also pointed out that most college students don’t know there is help on campus. Having had that experience myself, I understand what she means.

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And the night went on

After the Autism Awareness presentation the Special Education Department treated all of us to dinner at a local restaurant. They are hoping to add in the elementary school kids next year. It was such a great night for everyone. All of the children gave high praise to their teachers and parents during their presentations. The night was pretty magical and awe-inspiring. The best part is afterwards I got a huge sense of relief that my boy will be okay. He has a bright future ahead of him and I couldn’t be a prouder parent!

#autismawareness

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