Reflections

I’m surprised as you are, but somehow, October is coming to a close. It all happened so fast, from June to now, though if I’m being honest, even last year passed by quickly. Time needs to slow down except for situations where you are dreading something because then it can speed up, thanks very much.

Thinking about this while swimming laps today (I probably could have just swam outside in the pouring rain…), I wondered how I could incorporate this into a post. The idea of gratitude is one that reinforces a mindful life to be lived. We think a lot about what we are thankful for coming Thanksgiving and through the holidays, but I’ve found that it is a matter we all struggle to convey otherwise.

For every new month, I want to talk about a few of the things I am excited about, feel are important, and worthy of admiration. At the end of every month, I want to offer a word of reflection for all of the wonderful, important, and surprising events that have happened in my life for which I am grateful.

Yes, we still have a week left of October- yay Halloween!- but since I thought of the idea today, I want to introduce the post today too!

October Happenings:
– Wedding dress shopping with my sister, mom, and my sister’s future mother in-law
– Family party with good food, good wine, and great celebrations
– My dad’s birthday
– My sister’s birthday (Halloween)
– Playing kickball
– College reunion apple-picking trip
– My cousin’s ring and tassel ceremony
– Experimenting more in the kitchen
– Meals with friends
– Fall weather
– Writing
– Reading more

Okay, this was harder than I thought. When I asked my mom to remind me of any such events she said, “I don’t think you have any. Any of us.” Um, thanks mom.

But I have a feeling this is because I wasn’t keeping this idea in mind while living my life. As I am constantly on a quest of self-improvement, one facet I am actively working on is mindfulness. This relates in terms to eating and living in general, having the ability to relax and understand just what is happening to me in that particular moment. Important life lessons are there for the taking, but you won’t learn or grow in anything if you haven’t noticed it happening!

Wedding dress shopping was such a fun and exciting event because as MOH and as a sister to someone who is very happy, that makes me very happy. I may tend to be more of the princess in the family, but she’ll find the dress she adores.

Yeah, I’m not sharing that picture! NO SPOILERS!

The family party I talked about earlier this week, but if nothing else, it is just remarkable that my huge extended family can get along as well as we do. Our time together is always filled with laughter and good old bonding and I am so grateful for that.

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With my cousins Erin and Mikey.

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With my sister Lauren and cousins Erin and Carolyn.

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With my Godmother and cousin Maura.

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With Uncle Mike possibly vogueing and Mikey photobombing.

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With my Aunt Stacy.

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With my Uncle Peter.

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With two of the greatest women I know: my Auntie Bea and Grandma.

Birthdays are the obvious ones because it means another great year of happiness and health, which we are all fortunate to have. No one else in my immediate family cares about their birthdays as much as me, which I don’t understand, but just the idea of a birthday is a really cool concept. If you hate your birthday, I just want to throw this out there: It could be worse, think of where else you’d be….?!

Kickball has just been a really fun thing to do to meet some cool new people and I’ve enjoyed playing. The ball is not as small as I remember and much harder to kick, but I’ve had some memorable- good and bad- moments on the field.

Anytime I get to see my college friends, I get super happy. It’s funny how we can spend so much time apart, but when we finally get together again, it seems like no time has passed at all. And this time was particularly special because my friend Erin is getting married and asked me to be one of her bridesmaids in the form of Hogwarts acceptance letter. Yay!

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Not only was it surreal to be back at my alma mater for the first time since graduation, but it was for a super cool deal. I was extremely honored when my cousin Erin asked me to be her sponsor for her ring and tassel ceremony because, as I’ve said 1000 times before, family is important to me. I’m really glad and fortunate to not only be close with my siblings, but to have formed some great, lasting relationships with my cousins. This has shown itself in some more serious ways- being the sponsor- and silly ways- finding this shirt in a store and immediately having to share it with them.

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I’ve taken more liberty and risks when it comes to cooking and baking lately and I’m having a lot of fun! Let me tell you, it’s not always been perfect. I still have a waffle recipe I need to work on, but just the process of learning and exploring the science of cooking has been fascinating. While I’ve tried developing some recipes of my own, I also think it’s important to try different recipes because you get to learn how to use different techniques and strategies you may never have thought of before. That’s the essence of learning!

This month, I’ve shared some great meals with friends. From the mini college reunion I mentioned before, to brunch with my friends Lauren and Andrea and dinner with my friends Bobby, Laura, Lauren, Emily, and Mary, I’ve been fortunate to spend some quality time over quality food to catch up. Maintaining friendships are such an important part of life, but I find that I often take them for granted and expect them to just be there. Looking back on my life, I realize that I’ve had a lot of friends come and go for all sorts of reasons, so it is remarkable how some friendships last.

I mentioned my affinity for apples before, and also how I can’t eat them year round due to some pretty sucky spring allergies (that last too long!), but fall is the time I can enjoy them without my throat growing itchy and threatening to close- it hasn’t yet, no worries. Thank you, fall, for this gift to eat apples during its best season, but also thank you for your beauty. Most afternoons, I’ll walk the dog with my mom, or when I’m off running on my own, I get to look out into the beautiful landscape that surrounds me. From the colorful foliage to the crisp chill in the air, fall makes me so blissful and content, albeit a tad nostalgic- though that isn’t necessarily bad!

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For whatever reason- probably because I’ve put in more thought and effort- my writing has been taking off. Though I haven’t dedicated as much time to the editing process as I should, right now, I’m focused on just getting my words down. Whether for my blog, which I feel I have been so much more consistent, or for short stories and a novel I am working on- not about the mermaids, yet!- I’ve been so happy to connect my thoughts and words to something more concrete. Writing is not only an outlet, but a passion. Passions, I have learned, do not always come easy, but have to be fostered, and I have begun to put that into practice more.

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The reflection I will end on is actually something that has occurred more frequently these past couple of months, though I suppose that could be said about a lot of my points. Last year, I didn’t have as much time to read for fun, or at least what I wanted to read, between work, classes, and homework. When I got into bed, I fell asleep immediately. Having the time and liberty to read to my heart’s content has made me smarter, happier, and more thoughtful. Reading is such an unbelievable privilege of humanity.

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These reflections were not in any particular order, but were typed as I thought of them. October, as the months and years before it, have passed by so quickly, but they were not without their lasting memories and important moments.

Look for a post, come early November (the best month!) where I discuss some of the things in which I’m looking forward!

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