Susan Kennedy // My word for 2018: HEALTH January 29 2018
I feel so lucky to know Susan for over 10 years! In so many ways, she has watched me grow through my late twenties into thirties. I am always so thankful to hear her wisdom in life and feel so honored to share her personal health and wellness journey here on our story page.
I turn fifty in five months. Some people think that it’s weird that I am kind of excited about it. I really am. I have learned so much about who I am and what makes me tick in the past twenty years, I’m anxious to put it all to work.
In my thirties, I was a newly married woman and a step-mom to four kids. I worked for a Fortune 100 automotive supplier and ran a large department with a huge budget for research and travel. I spent at least five years of my career downsizing my budget and team to where I was no longer involved in the actual work that made me happy. My Dad also unexpectedly passed away which threw me into a complete tailspin. My mental state at this time was questionable. Going from a single, fit twenty-year-old to a thirty-year-old wife and step-parent who worked 50-60 stress-filled hours a week plus travel was chaos for me physically.
In my forties, I was out of corporate America (by choice) making it on my own as a consultant. My motto was “Cool people, Cool projects”. Mid-forties I lost 50+ pounds, stopped drinking for over three years, and took care of my Mom while she battled cancer. I started focusing on work projects that had significant personal meaning. I also started experiencing perimenopausal symptoms that included debilitating migraines and a bunch of other crazy physical stuff.
However, I truly began to feel more comfortable in my own skin. I became more confident about who I was and what was important to me. I also learned to identify and somewhat gracefully live with my depression and anxiety. The key for me was to start tracking my health in my TN Passport and to continue to journal and document life as a way to remind myself that my experiences and thoughts are a huge part of who I am. It’s become very important to be able to look back and see where I’ve been and what I’ve learned.
In my thirties, I learned a lot about who I am and in my forties I’ve learned about what is most important to a happy and healthy me. Now all I have to do is take what I’ve learned for the past twenty years and apply it. Slowly. Purposefully. Gracefully.
I have three key goals for myself I’ve outlined for this year.
BE MINDFUL: Track and really listen to your body and mind. This includes focusing on introspection through planning and journaling. In addition to my TN health journal, I’m absolutely loving my Jibun Techo Biz for this goal. It works for me in a way that my other journals have not. To call it a life-saver is a bit much, but truly it has made a huge impact on my life in a very positive way. Even when I have what I would call a “bad” day, I can look at what I’ve accomplished and feel good about myself.
BE HONEST: Acknowledge what makes you tick. Be you, unapologetically. This includes focusing on the things I love and I am good at, and to not feel extreme guilt about what I am not or cannot do. I’ve started a gratitude journal in my trusty Travelers Notebook that I write in each night. Inside is another notebook where I just write whatever is on my mind at the time. I’ve been incredibly inspired by Trina O’Gorman’s stories for BK. At the end of each week I sit down and play with my supplies and create a collage.
BE KIND: Practice radical self-care. This includes naps, baths, and exploring my creativity through cooking, paper crafts, and gardening. It most definitely includes at least 2 weeks in California this spring. I really enjoy journaling about both the big and little things that I do. This year I am hoping to be more timely with documenting my travels and experiences. I tend to collect things and wait for a time when I can sit down and get artsy, but that doesn’t always happen and I lose the memories. I’m inspired by Madalena's and Marcy’s Love for Analogue stories about having an ongoing part of their system where they capture daily moments and mementos from events.
I picked HEALTH for my word last year in 2017. Perhaps that is why I am actually OK with turning fifty this year. I liked it so much, I picked it again for 2018. I’m excited about seeing how my “golden” years will kick off.