Monday, 15 December 2014

When you don't want to be mediocre anymore

This morning I came across Jeff Goins. Have you heard of him? I didn't, which is bizarre, because he is a blog-superstar. Here's just a few quick facts for you: 
He grew his blog from zero to over 100,000 readers in less than two years.
He does inspirational podcasts that encourage each one of us to be our best possible selves. 
He is all about writing, and has tons of tips, motivation and advice to share.

What really grabbed my attention and got me thinking was this statement: 
"You can be remarkable, or you can be mediocre. There is nothing else."
Most of us are mediocre, and there are lots of perfectly good reasons why. It is safe; it is easy; it is 'normal'. It requires no extra energy, turmoil or leaps of faith to be mediocre, because it is a natural state of being.

Sometimes I'm sure I am happy with a mediocre life. I have so much to be grateful for: A loving husband, family and friends, a place to live that I love, a secure job, all the creature comforts that one needs. 
But then I picture my life in 10 years from now, or 20, and this little nagging voice whispers into my ear: Is that it? Going to work, coming home, watching TV, reading a bit, going out occasionally, going on vacation once or twice a year. It is wonderful, and I am grateful, believe me. 
However, I can't help but wonder: Shouldn't there be more to life?

With the year coming to an end, I have been thinking a lot about my plans and goals for next year. What is it that I want to achieve? Then, to take it one step further: what is my purpose in life? What do I want to achieve? What do I want to be remembered for when I'm gone?

When you work in a hospital, you encounter people at the end of their lives daily. The one thing they all agree on is this: Life goes by quickly, and we gotta make the most of it. 
And you know what? I don't think I'm making the most of it right now. I can do more. I want to do more! I don't want to be mediocre any more.

So here is what I'm intending to do:
  • Break out of the rut. The biggest time waster I have currently is watching hours of Netflix every day. (Damn you Gilmore Girls!) While I won't quite them completely (I couldn't), I will be much more intentional with my TV watching. Yes, that's right: I'm giving myself TV time. No watching GG until I have accomplished my goals for the day.  
  • I also want to find more inspirational people and share them here on the blog. We all need role models, and I will find them, feature them here and refer back to them often! I made a button for them that's now living in my sidebar, look:
  • Lastly: work hard. Work towards my goals, grow as a person, practice and learn. Turn myself from a clueless, wishy-washy person into a go-getter who will be remarkable!
2015, I have big plans for you.

What are your plans for the new year? In which way are you remarkable?

xo Miriam

Saturday, 13 December 2014

How I Met Your Father (part three)

* Part three of our love story. Part two | Part one*


"So, uhm, how was the drive?" I asked, butterflies in my stomach. Richard's steady blue-eyed gaze made me nervous.
"It was fine. You know what I would really like? A shower. Could you point me in the right direction?" 
"Yes, of course! Let me show you where everything is." I inadvertently glanced down, and realized for the first time how I looked: old shorts, dirty legs (had I shaved today? No, I don't think I had!), the cotton sweater with the funky smell (why, why had I worn that old stinker today??). I was sweaty, probably red-faced, and I had the sneaking suspicion that hay was sticking in my hair (it was). 
Extremely self-conscious, I tried to inconspicuously smooth my hair back as I was leading him up to the house.

After showing Richard the downstairs-bathroom, I flew up the stairs to the second bathroom and sprung into action. I shed my dirty clothes, yanked the elastic out of my ponytail and a brush through my tangled hair, and hopped into the shower. While soaping up and carefully shaving my legs, I was humming - I couldn't wait to go back downstairs to get to know him!
As I was blowdrying my hair I agonized about what to wear - I had nothing that was appropriate, nothing! In the end I settled on jeans and a simple top, pretty much my uniform back then.

By the time I got in the kitchen, Richard and his three kids had unloaded some stuff from their camper, amongst them a bottle of rum and a 12-pack of Coke.
Rose, Anne and Bernd were there already, glasses in hand, and I accepted the proffered drink gratefully.
That first evening was spent eating, drinking and swapping stories. Most of the time, Richard did all the talking, and I was only too happy to listen to him.

He told us how he had ended up in Canada (a thirst for adventure, a restlessness in Germany, and a yearning for living a life of hunting, fishing and wilderness revelling), and how he now lived on a hobby farm with horses, dogs and birds.  "I work in Vancouver, because that's where the money is. But I like to get away from the job site for a bit, so I usually have lunch at a restaurant. Vancouver has the best food in the world! Great sushi. Do you like sushi?" he directed this question to me. "Uhm, I've never had it. What exactly is it?" Yes, that was me back in 2002. Oblivious to the deliciousness that is sushi. I also couldn't quite grasp the concept of eating out every day. Craziness! In my family we only ate out at customer's restaurants, maybe once every couple of months. Being a student at university, I didn't have the funds to eat out with my friends - all we ever did was go to cafes or pubs.

Richard continued telling us tales of hunting in the Yukon, camping in the wilderness, galloping on horseback through the park at dawn, going on road trips to California. It all sounded absolutely fantastic to me. This was my dream life!

The next morning, Rose mentioned at breakfast that a few of her tools and machines didn't work properly. Richard told her he would take a look at them.
Thus began the day I fell for him.

It was the middle of August, with temperatures way up in the 30s (Celsius, 90s in Fahrenheit), and as an excuse to be with him I kept bringing him glasses of water and juice. We still laugh about this today - I must have brought him at least 10 glasses! "Being hydrated is very important!" I protest now, but we both know the truth - I simply couldn't stay away from this man. We talked for hours, discovering similarities - we both grew up in family businesses, and we both didn't want to spend our lives working in them. He and I both loved animals and nature, and back then I still thought I would be a hunter one day (I studied Forestry at the time).
I asked endless questions about how he had immigrated: was it hard? (Yes.) Was it worth it? (Hells yes!) What had he done in the beginning? (Washed cars; worked in construction; started his own landscaping business within two years.)

"Why are you doing this?" I asked him after several hours, referring to him fixing Rose's shoddy equipment. "Because she is a friend", he said simply, and I swooned. Handsome, adventurous and kind - I really liked this man.

His twin daughters (15 at the time) were nowhere to be seen for most of the day, hanging out with Rose's kids, but his third daughter, 10 years old, came once in a while to see what he was doing. She was a sweet, quiet child, with white-blond hair, skinny long legs, and a beautiful smile. They would talk for a bit, and then she would scamper off again, but not before Richard gave her a quick hug and kiss.
"So, you have three kids?" I asked, stating the seemingly obvious.
"No, four. My youngest one is at home with her mother."
Wow. Four daughters!

Richard and the kids left after breakfast the next morning, but not without Richard promising he would be back the following week. "I have a friend coming over from Germany, and I told him we would go into the woods with the horses. I'll bring him here next week!"
He gave me a hug goodbye, and my stomach did a flip - boy, did he feel good.

The next eight days were bliss and agony. I couldn't stop thinking about Richard and his life in Canada. Living on a farm, with horses and dogs... eating out every day... travelling... going on adventures... he had it all.

Including four kids - and a wife.

I knew that he was married, had known it before I even met him - Rose had mentioned it when she announced that he was coming for a visit.  

I tried to convince myself that I simply admired him for all his accomplishments.
He was a kindred spirit.
We had a lot in common.
He had immigrated to Canada, and I wanted to immigrate to Canada. (A desire that had suddenly appeared exactly two days ago.)
I liked talking to him.
I liked looking at him.
I got weak-kneed when his blue eyes found mine... "Oh, stop it, Miriam!" I told myself sternly. "You are ridiculous! Could the situation be any more hopeless?"

I listed all the reasons why my crush was silly: He was married. He had four kids. He was 48 years old. He lived in Canada, I lived in Germany. He was married!

My head knew all this, because those thoughts were on a constant loop, repeating themselves over and over.
But my heart, my stupid, hopeless heart - my heart couldn't wait to see him again.

Would he come?
What if he didn't come?
What if I never saw him again?
"That would be awful", the devil on my one shoulder whispered into my ear.
"It would be for the best", the angel on the other shoulder tried to tell me.

All I knew was: I was desperate to see him again.

And on the 8th day, he returned: With his friend, three horses, and those bright blue eyes twinkling at me.
His gaze found mine. "Hi, you", he said softly. My heart lifted, and all I could think was: "I'm so happy you are back." We smiled at each other.

What we didn't know yet: The next 48 hours would change both of our lives forever.

Thursday, 11 December 2014

Fashion Friday: Location, location, location

Can we talk about taking pictures in the winter? Okay, cool.
The short version is: it sucks. Take yesterday as an example: it was pouring rain, dark and grey. I tried it outside (the rain had stopped for about a minute): 

 This is my "I'm not impressed" facial expression.

Naw, didn't work. Then I moved it inside in front of the Christmas tree: 

Ehm... no.

(Here is a close-up of the sweater. Isn't it so cute?)

I tried an old location:

Hmm, not really feeling it. Discouraged and out of ideas, I laid down on the guest couch for a while. Aahhh, so comfy. And that's where it came to me: Take 'em in bed! No better place on a day like this. 

Sweater: H&M; skinnies: American Eagle (old), similar; shoes: Swedish Hasbeens (via Amazon)

Wake me when it stops raining.

xo Miriam

Linking up with Rachel the Hat