Why Don’t We Keep Dating?

Dating is such a wonderful thing. We are energized and excited to get to know another person. We are exploring places we might have already been, but with a new person so it feels new. We hold hands. We hug on each other. We kiss often. So much laughing and giggling and love.

Then as the years add up, dating becomes less important. We see each other all of the time and know pretty much everything there is to know. We rarely hold hands or kiss, especially around other people. We just live life each day and don’t focus on the things that kept us as physically close as we used to be. Less giggling, some laughing, a different kind of love.

As time goes on, there is less conversation. Things we never cared about before start to becoming extremely annoying. We get on each others’ nerves easier. The love is there, but life has changed and so has the relationship since we fell in love.

But why? Why do we lose the dating? Why does everything become so serious? Why do we forget about the little things that used to bring us closer together?

I don’t know. I don’t have an answer for any of this. What I do know is, that no matter how good or even great our relationships may be, the loss of dating and these little things make a big difference in our daily lives. I also think that right now, today, the day this is posted, we are living in such a different time in life that is challenging all of us. Some of us are spending literally all day every day with our spouse. We might only have a wall, separate ends of the house, or different levels of our house between us. We are always around each other. While, yes, we agreed to a life together, we may need time away from one another.

I think Eddie and I are definitely at this point. We spend too much time together and things that never used to bother one of us, are definitely bothersome. We are finding new ways to be apart while being together. I’m going to the grocery store by myself more often. I’m sending him to his cousin’s and best friend’s. We are finding new ways to get out that won’t put us in a position of encountering someone who may be ill. We are working to get into the mountains more without being at popular destinations. I’m pushing for us to find our own hobbies and goals more than I ever have.

While going out on dates right now is not as easy as it once was, there are things we can try to do to change up our seemingly monotonous days. I saw a TikTok where a couple wrote up a list of things to shop for that reminds or describes the other person. Those became gifts for each other. It looked fun and like a great way to date while working around social distancing.

Let’s get creative and find new ways to date after many years in our relationships. We’ve got to bring back those feelings we had early on and laugh and giggle and kiss again.

I Embrace Me

As I’ve talked about many, many times, I’ve always struggled with being true to who I am. I’ve never truly embraced me for me. Until recently. I am really starting to get the hang of just being me. Me as a happy person, me as a grumpy person, me as a friend and a wife, me.

Understanding and embracing who we are, how we’ve been created, is the launching pad for living a fearlessly genuine life, where we’re no longer pretending or trying to be something other than what we are on the inside.

Jen Hatmaker, Fierce Free Fire

The key to my progress of late starts with understanding who I am. It means peeling back all of the layers that I’ve built up to get to my core to understand who I was created to be. I have not lived a genuine life embracing myself. I have lived a life embracing who I thought other people wanted me to be. I am no longer going to pretend to be anyone for anybody. I am going to show my true me.

Who is the true, genuine me?

I am still discovering this. As I continue to peel back all of the layers I’ve built up, I get to know myself more and more. This process is exhilarating and it is scary. It’s like I’m in a new relationship and the other person is the me that I’ve been hiding all of these years. I am taking chances and living into things that I’ve avoided before. I went camping a couple of weekends ago and woke up in a frustrated mood after sleeping like shit. I was kind to other people, but instead of getting mad as myself for being frustrated, I let it roll. I let myself be in that space and feel those feelings. Soon enough, the frustration just slid away. I also had the first conflict with a friend that I’ve had in a really long time. Fuck that sucked. We had differing opinions and I told her my opinion, not to tell her she was wrong, but to stand up for myself. We agreed to disagree and that it’s okay to have different opinions. It sucked, but it felt better to be true to me than to cave or just go silent until a new topic arose.

I’m also leaning into the things that might make other people annoyed with me. I have some serious (maybe not to the diagnosable point) OCD tendencies. I also have some strong beliefs about what it means for my home to look sloppy. I prefer to have everything in it’s place and if there are piles, I feel like a slob. My husband disagrees and thinks my view is only me thinking about or caring what other people think. Yeah, I can’t deny that is part of it. But, it is a deep-rooted feeling. I’m caring less and less what some people think because I know that what I think matters more.

Then there comes the topic of weight and health. I’m not perfect in my healthy eating. I want to do better, but I know that if I diet or get extremely strict, I will go so far the other way. I no longer want to eat healthy to lose weight. I don’t care. I don’t care that I have a bit of a gut or the my thighs are flabby. I have finally come to the realization that I do not have to fit anybody else’s opinion of health. My health journey is now primarily focused on how I feel and eating or being active to embrace habits that might help prevent or delay the onset of Alzheimer’s.

I embrace me. All of me. Even the parts that I historically have not liked.

I embrace me.

I Quit Quitting

So remember a few months ago I talked about quitting alcohol? Maybe it was more than just a few months, but it feels like it was just yesterday. Well, I quit quitting.

What does that even mean? Well, it means I am drinking again. But, I’m not drinking like I had been. In fact, my tastes have completely changed. AND so has my tolerance.

I am more sensitive to the red wines that I’ve tried. Not all of them are good anymore. I don’t like every seltzer that I try. I haven’t really even started with the mixed drinks. I haven’t tried white wine or sipping bourbon. I had two full glasses of wine one night and holy crap! I was drunk.

Who am I? This is not the person I have been in 20 years. I am absolutely okay with it. The time I took off from drinking has allowed me to reset myself and get to a point that I only drink if I want the flavor and if I don’t like it, I don’t force myself to get used to it. I don’t drink every night of the week or even every week.

So why did I quit quitting? Because I wanted to. I wanted a glass of wine for the flavor so I let myself have it. As long as I stay at the level of drinking I’m at now, I don’t foresee feeling like I need to quit again. I don’t drink often and I don’t drink near as much quantity. I stay cautious about how much so I keep my overall health in check. My focus now is my health. That is the most important thing for me.

The Power of Fear

Fear has power over each and every one of us, even if we don’t want to admit it. Fear is a natural basic instinct that can easily control so much of what we do. I, from personal experience, know how debilitating life can be to live through the power that fear has over me. It is exhausting and stressful. It can be crippling.

How does fear have that much power over one person? Because we keep it all in and don’t share what we are afraid of. We don’t tell people. We don’t talk it out. We don’t write it out. We bottle it up so we won’t look incapable or weak.

This has been my life. I know I talk about fear a lot, but I do it because it is something that I am always working through. Fear is not simply something we can overcome once and be “cured” of. Fear is something we will work through for the entirety of our lives. The power that fear has over us is something we will continue to work through and against.

Something I learned about the power of fear that I didn’t realize that I had learned until I read this sentence in Worth It by Brit Barron, is that every time I write or speak about my fear, I am taking away the power it has over me. Do you journal? Do you complain to your friends about things that you won’t admit are fears? Me too. Do you feel better when you do these things? Yeah, me too. Those actions are reducing the power of our fears, even if we don’t realize it.

Every time I share something here with you when it is heavy on my heart or just by starting to type about something that is bothering me, I am reducing the power that the fear I have has over me. Sharing my story with you reduces that power. And you know what, it can reduce the power your fear has over you to.

You are here reading this post about fear and you probably have already thought of many fears that you don’t want to share with people for whatever reason. Or you’ve read a few of my posts and relate to them. A lot of them are about my underlying fears. If you relate to anything I am sharing and feel even a smidge better after reading it, you are also reducing the power your fear has over you.

You don’t have to have a public website to write out your fears. You don’t have to share them with friends. But if you share your fears with a piece of paper and a pen, if you write them out, you will start to feel so much better and you will start to reduce the power your fear has over you. I share with you because I know that I cannot be the only one going through this life with these fears or issues. No, we might not have precisely identical fears or issues, but there can be some sort of similarity. I am sharing so I can hopefully inspire you or be a mentor to you that you’ve always hoped was out there. I am sharing to let you know that you are not alone. And I am sharing because writing it out lifts a giant weight off of my shoulders.

Give Yourself Some Credit

When you stop to look at your life and where you’ve come since some date, say high school, do you ever give yourself credit? Or do you tell yourself that you haven’t done enough?

To be honest, until I heard this in some video I was watching, I hadn’t really thought about it. I am really good about looking ahead at what I want to achieve and at how difficult it probably will be to get there, but I don’t look back at how far I’ve come.

Why don’t we give ourselves credit? Because it is easier to berate ourselves for what we haven’t accomplished that to celebrate the things we have. It is easier to be negative about the things we keep saying we are going to do and don’t. So many influencers tell us to not look back because we aren’t going there. But if we never look back, we will never know how far we’ve come.

How far have I come? What do I need to give myself credit for?

A whole fucking lot.

I graduated high school. I went to college. And I obtained my master degree. I moved out of New Mexico, twice. I stood up for myself in a shitty relationship and left. I worked two, sometimes three jobs to get through college. Every time I was laid off, I got back up and kept going. I bought a home. I’m renovating our home. I bought my dream vehicle. I have a job that is rewarding and mission driven. I am happily married (and marriage isn’t easy!!). I have great friendships.

If I want to compare my life to my family, then I am not a drug addict or alcoholic. I didn’t settle with living off of other people or the government.

In general, I take care of myself. I take care of others. I’m a damn good friend and wife. I never settle and I don’t easily give up. I pursue excellence (or close to it) in everything I do. My life is what I make it and I’m making it a great life.

There, that’s some credit I really deserve to give myself. Now it’s your turn, give yourself some credit. It doesn’t have to be a full history. It could be something as simple as something you did yesterday. Or today. You could give yourself credit for being in the middle of accomplishing something. Give yourself credit for being in a good mood. Give yourself credit for getting out of bed this morning. It doesn’t matter. Just don’t forget to give yourself credit.

Give yourself credit for anything and everything. Be grateful for what you’ve accomplished.

Free

I’ve always wanted to be like that girl who is free from judgement or care about judgement and is just herself. You know that girl who dances like nobody is watching, laughs as loud as her laugh comes out, is silly, can pick up and randomly do whatever, says what is on her mind, and just lives her life like there isn’t a care in the world? That girl. I have always been envious of how she just does it.

I mean, how does she? How does she not care what everybody else thinks? Was she one of the popular girls in school who teased and bullied the rest of us for doing just that? Did she have parents who encouraged her to be herself? How in the hell does she do it?

I have no fucking clue.

What I do know is that I still want to be that girl. I want to be free. And as I write that, I hear Zach Brown Band’s song Free playing in my mind. Specifically, “Just as free, Free as we’ll ever be.” I see a girl dancing and twirling and laughing. I see a girl who is laid back and chill. I don’t see me.

I have lived my life in fear of being teased or ridiculed. The bullying I encountered when I was young has stuck with me all of these years. I might slip and be free and enjoy it and then I realize people are around me and I freeze up. I rein it all back in and shut it down. My fear of being bullied takes over.

What would happen if I didn’t shut down? What would my husband think of me? My friends? My in-laws? My coworkers? Will they think I’m immature? Will they ask me what the hell I’m doing? I don’t know. I doubt it. I mean, I can be that way when I’m drunk, like shit faced drunk, and haven’t heard anything bad about it. So why can’t I be that free sober?

Fear.

Fear shuts me down in so many ways. Today, I want to say no more. Today, I want to be free. Today, I am going to start opening myself up a little more so I can reach that free feeling I’ve always envied. I’m going to grow into this free and happy person that I want to be. How? Little by little.

I Don’t Qualify

Have you ever muttered these words to yourself? Did you just have movie reel roll through displaying all of the times you have, or did you say no? If you said no, I would like to meet you because everybody I know has disqualified themselves at one point or another. How do I know that? Because we all say it for so many things.

I am extremely guilty of disqualifying myself before even taking a chance. I used to do it for my career. I’ve done it for this website. I’ve done it for our overlanding adventures. I do it frequently for my looks and my body size. I do it when thinking about how good of a friend I might be. Or wife. It is so much easier to say “I don’t qualify” or “I am not good enough” or “I don’t have what it takes”, than it is to put one foot out there and say “hey, I’m here and I’ve got this”.

But you know what? We are going to stay exactly where we are if we don’t take the fucking first step! As Brené Brown refers to this, it’s okay to dive into your Fucking First Time (FFT). How does a first time align with whether or not we qualify? Um, because most of the time that I have disqualified myself, it has been for something I would be doing for the first time. It is far easier to disqualify myself than it is to do something for the fucking first time.

FFTs suck!! We are more often than not going to either fail, trip over ourselves, or stumble along for a while when we do something for the first time. It is scary and intimidating. But what usually happens after that failure or stumbling period? We start to excel and then we succeed. But we can’t get to the point of success if we don’t embrace the suck first.

Stop looking to disqualify yourself.

Trent Shelton

I have spent most of my life disqualifying myself for one reason or another. I probably do it at least once a day. That sounds depressing, doesn’t it? Well, it is. Every single time I disqualify myself, I hold myself back. I tell myself that I’m not good enough. I tell myself that I don’t believe in myself. THAT, that is depressing.

I know that if I were to flip that thought every time I have it, my life would change drastically. I would improve my own impression of myself and I would be dramatically less stressed and dramatically happier. But it isn’t that easy. We can hear a quote or hear a statement and fall in love with it and know that we need to apply it to our lives, but then go about life and never actually apply it. How often do you do that? Me, I do it all of the time.

I’m finding that I have done so much personal development reading and listening and training and yet, I can’t remember it all. Why? Because I read it or hear it and then move on with life. I disqualify the importance of application.

I am here to say, I qualify. I am a badass woman and I deserve everything I want. I qualify. I qualify. I qualify. And I’m going to remind myself that every single day. I’m going to use the power of my phone wallpaper and reminders. I am setting reminders as soon as I’m done typing this to tell myself I qualify.

Are you willing to do the work and tell yourself multiple times a day that you qualify? How are you going to do it?

It’s Time to Rebuild

Life is a lot different today compared to just a couple of months ago. If there is anybody who can say that it isn’t, please tell them to share their story with me. I mean, how can it not be? Everyone went through the toilet paper rush and the lack of meat in stores and the boomerang advice of ‘wear the mask’, ‘no, don’t wear the mask’, ‘okay, yes wear the mask’. Others also went through trauma of one sort or another. Some are still in that trauma. For those who have or are still there, my prayers are with you. I don’t know how to help any other way right now.

We all used to have a life that we were living, sometimes without a concern of tomorrow. I used to travel for work frequently. I would go to friends homes or have double-date nights out or just go shopping. We have many expos and events that have been canceled this year. Absolutely every plan we had for this year has been canceled or rescheduled to next year. I haven’t traveled outside of Utah since early March. There have been zero double-date nights.

Life is different.

My husband now also works from home 100 percent of the time. His company is unwilling to open an office while cases are so high. They have no date in sight of when they will return to the office. We went from sharing an office to selling a guest bed so we could have our own offices. We have lunch together pretty much every day.

Life is different.

Is that a good thing or no?

In my life, my response is yes and no. No because I don’t get to travel and so many fucking people are dying or getting sick with last side effects that nobody knows how to cure, or if there is even a cure. Yes because we were forced to slow down and our society has been upended, hopefully paving the way for some better years.

Through all of the trauma and pain and change, we have a unique opportunity. We get to rebuild a new life. We get to design how we live our life as we come out of this pandemic. Do we know when exactly that will be? No. We don’t need to. We get this time to slow down and really take stock of what is important to us. Did you want to go back to school but couldn’t find the time? Did you want to start a garden? Yes, you did because all of you new gardeners took all of the supplies I normally buy. Did you want to pick up a new hobby or side gig? Did you want a new pet but didn’t have time to dedicate to training? Yeah, a lot of you have cleared out shelters. Thank you and be good to those pets.

For me, I don’t know how I will rebuild my life. What I do know is that I want to be more intentional on my health, my personal growth, my relationship, and my hobbies. I want to make more time for the house projects and the family (this includes friends) that are close enough to see. We need to be with them more often. I want to grow this website and our overlanding site as well.

I am going to build my life coming out of this pandemic intentionally.

How are you going to build your future? What are you changing? What are you keeping?

How Do You Talk to Yourself?

My journey to self-love and healing has involved a lot of changes to how I speak. Not only to others, but to myself. Most importantly to myself. How I speak to myself has been absolutely shitty for most of my life. I most definitely cannot say I have perfectly corrected how I speak to myself, but I can say I am getting better.

The biggest improvement I’ve made in how I speak to myself is around my weight and how I look. I quite frequently told myself how fucking ugly I am and how disgusting I am because I have cellulite, flabby arms, and a bit of a gut. I am not a size 2 anymore. Even when I was a size 2, I still told myself how fat I was.

It’s been a couple of years since I was a size 2 and I couldn’t work out hard enough to get to that point again even if I wanted to. To be fair, size doesn’t actually matter. Especially because I’m anywhere between a size 6 and size 14 depending on the brand. Over these couple of years, I have been up and down in how I talk to myself.

In the past couple of months, I have made big strides in how I speak to myself about my weight. What changed? Honestly, the inputs I have in my life. I have been seeking out and following models who are not perfect in societies eyes. In fact, some of them are models but show through their accounts how models move and pose to hide all of the things that we are told are ugly. I’ve also hung out with friends at the pool who are just like me, real women with our own perfectly imperfect bodies.

When we think about how we speak to ourselves, we also need to look at all of the inputs we have in our day-to-day lives. Who are you following? What message are they sharing? Are they sharing realistic messages?

As you speak to yourself, ask, have you been speaking out of love or out of hate? If it is out of hate, what are you telling yourself? Why are you sharing that hate with yourself? Where does the hate come from? If you’ve been speaking out of love, ask yourself how you can love yourself more.

Like Brené said, talk to yourself like you would talk to someone that you love. Love yourself first, even if you don’t like everything about yourself.

Not Quite 60

Tomorrow my mom would have been 60. She should be having a party to celebrate her milestone year, but she died from Alzheimer’s when she was 56. I stopped talking to her for the final time when she was 49. Even before that, for the four or five years prior, I didn’t hardly speak to her. Do I regret it, no. Do I wish things were different, yes.

I was just talking to a friend about vow renewals and big parties. She wants to do a party for her and her husband’s 50th birthday. It made me realize, that if I waited to celebrate a milestone birthday like 50 and if I follow in my mother’s medical path, I won’t really know who I am or who other people are at 50. I wouldn’t make it to the milestone age of 60.

So I am most likely going to celebrate 40. Why be so morbid? Because why wait? Why wait to celebrate some age down the road when I can celebrate an age that is just around the corner?

I know, I might out-live my mother by 10, 20, or even 40 years (God I hope not), but I don’t know for sure. I won’t know until that time comes.

So while I am still young and have my wits about me (most of the time), I am going to live in the moment and I am going to live for today and I am going to celebrate. I mean, I don’t know what will happen between now and turning 40. Hell, I might even start celebrating every five years. Why not?

My mother didn’t get the option to celebrate frequently. She also didn’t know how to take care of herself to help her live longer. While I don’t regret not talking to her in her final years, I don’t want to waste a day not living the life I have now.

Happy Birthday mom. If only things were different.

Who Am I?

I am Crystal, a strong, beautiful woman. I am a women who knows her values and lives by them. I am a proud, successful woman who never settles for less than what I know I can earn through hard work and dedication. I am an adventurer. I am me.

Notice, I didn’t say I am a project manager or I am a wife or I am a dog mom. I am those things, but those things don’t define who I am to my core. Those are things that are who I am because my core shapes them. Being a wife is shaped by who I truly am. Being a project manager comes from who I am to my core. Being a dog mom comes from the love I have and can give to these precious pups.

Who we are is not defined by who we are attached to or what we do for work. Who I am is not defined by anybody but myself. Who you are is not defined by anybody outside of yourself. You disagree? Then there are some changes you need to make in your life.

I am an individual before I was ever anything else. If I were to represent my union before myself, then I would be discounting who I am for who we are. I do not expect my husband to represent us before himself. He sure as hell tries (the stupid ‘happy wife, happy life’ way of thinking), but I don’t want our relationship to come before each of us as an individual.

I am an individual before I am an employee or manager. Being true to who I am and being me first helps me to be a better employee and manager. By bringing my individual experience and beliefs and education to my role, I can have a diverse team that works well together.

Who are you? Have you sat and thought about who you would be if you didn’t have your spouse, your children, your pets, your job, anything other than yourself?

Who are you?

It’s Good For Me

One of the things I share the most here is about my struggle to live for myself and put myself first. Each and every time I write about it, I’ve learned something new or I just need to get something off of my chest. Today I was inspired by Trent Shelton. His message in the podcast I listened to stuck with me and I felt I needed to share with you my thoughts on it.

In living life to impress others or get other people to have positive opinions about me, I didn’t do what was good for me. If there was ever a chance to go back and change something in my life, I would go back to being a young girl and I would change my outlook about myself. I would be a confident, bossy girl who could give a shit less if that other kid made fun of me again. I would learn and grow instead of drinking and partying to get people to like me. But I can’t go back. I can’t rewrite my history.

What I can do is rewrite my future. I can put a fork in my road and I can do what is good for me. Making that declaration is the easy thing to do. The difficult part is actually doing it. The ability to put aside the gut emotions that I’m so used to allowing to take control over me and pushing forward knowing that whatever caused that emotion is probably not good for me. It doesn’t matter if someone is criticizing me because of a post on social media or because I am so fucking clumsy or because I know that I want more out of life than just coasting along. It does not matter. I get to determine what is good for me, not anybody else.

Another difficult thing about rewriting my future, or rather taking control of my future, is staying sane. This is a journey with lots of ups and downs, lots of times where I am blind-sided by what I am going through, lots of times that I cannot control the situation or the outcome of the situation. All of this uncertainty can be absolutely paralyzing for me. When it gets to this point, I cave and start to fall back to old habits of people pleasing and changing my chameleon colors to fit in.

What’s helped me stay sane is me doing what’s good for me. Okay, me staying true to who I am whether people like it or people don’t.

Trent Shelton

Staying true to who I am is what I am going to strive for in these situations. When something comes up that challenges me and would normally send me back to people pleasing, I will work to ask myself what the next move is and if it involves staying true to myself or not. If not, I will need to adjust my path, adjust my response, and do what is good for me regardless of whether or not the other person agrees.

This means that there will be certain people I will not ever lower my guard around for any reason. I’ve been teaching myself the boundaries to have with some people, now it is time to up my game and use those boundaries to do what is good for me.

Staying true to who I am requires me to know who I am. That is the next challenge. Do I truly know who I am without any external influences?