With Valentine’s Day fast approaching, I’ve been thinking a lot about love. The funny thing about my thought process is that recently I was a guest on the Charlotte Magazine podcast #DiscussCLT to talk about love and dating in Charlotte. Far from an expert on love and dating, I was invited on because of an article I wrote for the November issue.
Even before this month, or the podcast came up, it felt like I couldn’t escape the word or the topic of love. In the past few months, I have been asked numerous times about my feelings about love. Does it exist? Do I believe in it? Do I want to fall in love again? Out of all the questions I was asked, the one that got me was about whether or not I wanted love in my life.
Even after a divorce and some breakups since, I have never once thought that I didn’t have love in my life. I have an awesome family, incredible friends, a fluffy and lovable dog, and I have my faith. I won’t lie to you and tell you have I haven’t had moments where I’ve wondered what the hell I’m doing in the romantic relationships department. There have been many times when I’ve thrown up my hands and said “I’m done,” but those declarations only lasted for a dramatic southern moment.
While my track record with love has had some hits and misses I don’t blame love for any of my bumps in the road. Love doesn’t hurt us, it’s people, situations, timing, etc. that hurt us. Over the past few years I have learned that love is more than just love between spouses or partners. To me the greatest love is love of self. If you can’t love yourself, how will you ever be able to truly love someone else?
Reading a book, listening to a record, cuddling with my fluffy and lovable dog on my green couch, and just being OK by myself and with myself is sometimes enough. And even though I happen to like myself, that doesn’t mean there’s not room for one more on my green couch.
So for all of the questions I’ve been asked about love, the answer is always yes.
As the first month of 2017 comes to a close, I realize I haven’t declared my word or theme for the year. As I’ve said in previous years, I don’t believe in New Year’s resolutions, but I do believe in selecting a word or a theme to shape my year. A way to set intent for the year, which is ironic, because my word for this year is… Intentional.
In 2016, my word was Grace. That was the perfect word for my first year as a full-time writer and business owner. Grace got me through my personal and professional mistakes, successes, heartbreaks and triumphs. I learned I have a good head on my shoulders for business. I learned sometimes I have to say no to things no matter how much I want to say yes. I learned the importance of surrounding myself with amazing people. I learned that I am capable of loving someone even though I may get hurt. Through Grace, I allowed myself to grow.
Grace allowed me to grow, but my hope is being Intentional will allow me to succeed. I plan to be more intentional professionally, personally, physically, spiritually, mentally, and so on and so on. All of it. I want to be the best I can be for myself and for those in my life, including my dog, Smitty.
My Intentional 2017 has already started strong professionally, but not so much personally. This is why I’ve decided that I’m going to take the first intentional step for myself personally in February. During the month of February, I’m giving up alcohol and taking a break from social media. Time for a detox. Time to take intentional steps for me. I’ll still be on Instagram and I’m going to use the time to write more here. I realized I write so much for others, that I don’t write for myself much these days. Time for a change.
I believe we all have certain paths we are supposed to take in life. Some paths may lead people to become doctors, teachers, or world travelers. Some paths may lead people to become parents, animal rescuers, or crusaders of causes. And there may even be a path for a thirtysomething writer with a passion for all things related to the ocean.
I fought my path for a long time. I always knew I would be a writer and my own boss. The reasons I knew all of this was because a normal 9 to 5 job never fit my personality, I like doing things my way, and writing always made me deliriously happy. Even though I knew these facts about myself I never fully accepted them or my path. Time for some honesty… fear was a huge reason I avoided my path. Fear of the unknown. Fear of going against the grain and doing something different. Fear of admitting to myself that I had made wrong decisions in my life.
“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” ~ Anais Nin
There was a time when instead of going down the long and winding road, I took the path of least resistance. I decided I could be happy where I was and I just needed to ignore the voices in my head telling me to be brave. Well, God had different plans for me. Whether you believe in God or not, I truly feel that if we are not doing what we are supposed to be doing, we will somehow be put back on our path. Usually, that process is a lot more painful than if we had stopped being fearful and stubborn in the first place (I’m totally talking about myself here).
We all will experience different paths in life. Some paths will involve careers, love, friendship, heartache, missteps, face plants, but everything will be worth it in the end. The path I am on now has broken and rebuilt my heart piece by piece, and I wouldn’t change a thing. Well, maybe I’d change a few things, but I’m trying to follow my path with a sense of humor and an open heart.
I don’t believe in New Year’s resolutions, so for the past three years I opted to select a word or a theme to shape my year. In 2014, my word was my name, Erin. I had gotten so far away from who I was that I needed to get back to the heart of me. It worked. I felt more like me than I had in years.
In 2015, my word was Fearless. I did things that both scared and challenged me. I allowed myself to be vulnerable and to pursue my dreams. Well, 2015 ended with me leaving my job as a marketing director and going out on my own as a writer and a business owner.
Although 2016 is half gone, I realized I haven’t written about my word yet. This year, the word I selected didn’t come easily. It didn’t roll off my tongue and I didn’t have a big “a-ha” moment. My word came to me one day while I was reading. I kept seeing the same word scattered throughout the pages of my book. By what was probably the tenth time that I saw the word, I paused and said it quietly to myself. A sense of peace came over me and I let a small smile spread across my face. I found it. My word for 2016 is Grace.
Life, love, writing, and everything in between.
This year I’m going to make brilliant decisions and I’m going to make mistakes. I’m going to get hurt and I’m going to hurt others. I’m going to have adventures and I’m going to have missed opportunities. I’m going to laugh and I’m going to cry. I’m not perfect, and I like knowing that about myself. There is comfort in being imperfect.
I’m going to give myself the grace to learn from every decision I make, every person I let in my life, and I’m going to give that same courtesy to others. Grace is a gift that I plan to accept and to give.
Posted in Grace
A gorgeous tree outside my building
Although this weekend was chilly in the Queen City, it was gorgeous outside and I tried to take advantage of the sunshine. Long walks with Smitty and a little hike on Sunday at McDowell Preserve was a great way to clear my head and enjoy the sunshine.
One of the views at McDowell Preserve
This weekend, I also listened to a lot of different music and rediscovered some classics. I was really feeling Nina Simone and that carried over to today too. What better way to get through a gloomy Monday than by listening to one of the greats? If you haven’t, you should absolutely check out Nina’s work. She was one of a kind and left an incredible legacy.
Smitty is not feeling Monday at all.
Apparently, I needed sleep this weekend because I slept for 10 hours on Friday night and 11 hours on Saturday night. Full disclosure: I also took naps on Saturday and Sunday. I’m not sure if it is the time change, my hectic schedule, or the fact that allergy season is upon us, but I definitely needed the rest.
While this weekend was a delightful time for sleep and Netflix (I rediscovered Alias), I also did ‘things’. One of those things, is something I’m extremely excited about and happy to share. Two Bottles Wine Co., invited me to attend an information session about their company. The concept behind Two Bottles is to bring delicious wine produced by small batch, family owned wineries in Italy to consumers via online orders. The wines are currently unavailable for purchase in the U.S., and all have a unique story of how Two Bottles discovered the wineries. As a lover of stories, I was fascinated by the Italian adventures and relationships created by business partners Adam Hill, Katy Hill and Justin Gallo. I’m also incredibly honored to have been asked to write content for the Two Bottles website, which will be launched in the coming months. Keep them on your radar, especially if you love delicious wine and stories of far off adventures.
Adam Hill telling about the different wines being tasted
This weekend I also tried ROCKSALT, a new restaurant tucked away behind a Charlotte shopping center with a great patio that specializes in sustainable seafood. The food was fantastic. I had oysters to start and then had their famous (that’s what our waiter said and I believe him) Chesapeake Crab Cake with cream spinach and a grit cake. It was amazing. The crab cake came with a Boo-Ya sauce (I did not make that up) that I want to put on everything. The food was amazing, but there are a few growing pains that still need to be worked out regarding service and timing, but that will get fixed in no time.
I did a closet purge this weekend, and I now realize that a good chunk of my neighborhood may have seen me dancing around my place like an idiot. My apologies for my singing (my dance moves are on point). One of the songs on repeat was a favorite of mine by Feist. It helped me clean yesterday and get up today, although Smitty was not feeling it. Enjoy and happy Monday.
Smitty passed out after a long walk this weekend
Today marks day 10 of my month of no alcohol and I’m shocked at the changes I’ve already seen. Before I get to that, I’d like to say thank you for all the encouraging words and inspiring stories I’ve heard in the past few days regarding this reset. I love that people want to share their experiences with me. It’s very humbling and I don’t take it for granted.
So back to my month sans alcohol. It’s been 10 days and I feel amazing. In the past 10 days, I’ve lost weight without really trying, and I’ve noticed I’m sleeping through the night even with a million things on my mind. I’m also proud to report that my social life hasn’t taken a hit. This past Friday, I went with friends to the first anniversary party for Fahrenheit, a great restaurant where the bartenders will dress up your water with fruit so you still feel fancy at a party. The rest of the weekend consisted of dates (yes, plural), brunch with friends, and being outside enjoying the weather with my pup.
A lot has happened in 10 days and I’m curious to see what else happens as the month progresses. In the coming days and weeks, I’ll be writing about my observations on things such as my energy level and my adventures in dating. I seriously think I’m a character in a weird Rom-Com movie and am waiting for Meg Ryan to appear at any moment.
My friends and I with chef Rocco Whalen at the Fahrenheit anniversary party
Photo courtesy of Kseniya Martin