Believe…

Morning….Starbucks Barista Dan the Man hands me my coffee as I barely kiss the brakes on the drive-thru window line. I hear “Have a good day Karennnnnnnnnn”. I mutter thanks and hope he hears me as I shimmy my way out of the lot into traffic. The sun is coming up and I settle into another drive into work. Texts start appearing on my phone. Siri acts as my secretary with my girls as we chat about what Boot Camp classes we will take and what is driving us nuts at the moment (right girls?). Howard Stern is boring today so I turn to my iTunes playlists to get me going. Bethpage to Massapequa traffic was extra “special” and challenging this morning. I digress. That is another Blog topic for another day.

I thought about which class I was taking at Boot Camp tonight. It is a strength class that I absolutely love. Let’s be honest, there aren’t many classes I don’t love when it comes to Boot Camp. For those who are not familiar with my world, the gym has become my home. It has given me a new outlook on life and a new sense of strength that I haven’t felt in years. Quite frankly I don’t know if I ever felt this level of strength.

My mind jumps to what I’m training for. I set foot on this path to hopefully become healthy and finally look good in a pair of jeans. One class a week turned into two…three…then to five. I was hooked. My gym team asked me to join the Spartan team. In 2015 I declined the offer thinking that my sister’s wedding was immediately following the first race and how would my sister react if her Matron of Honor was hobbling down the aisle on crutches and with gashes all over my face. I continued to train with the team. I regretted not running Spartan that year but decided to commit to it the following year. I volunteered for a Spartan race at Citifield in April 2016 where I met many new friends from the Spartan community. I was hooked on the energy. I drew from their enthusiasm and training tips. If you asked Ernie, I started to become obsessed with the lifestyle. Little did I know how this enthusiasm would help me in the months to come. In June 2016, I became a Spartan when I jumped fire and crossed the finish line. My life changed forever as they placed the medal around my neck. That fire had reignited a force in me that I had forgotten about. I was 50 years old and felt like I could do anything. I was bruised, banged up, full of mud, and covered in cuts from head to toe. I didn’t care. I knew that I was never going back to the old Karen. She didn’t exist anymore.

Training sessions increased over the next few weeks. I was on a food plan that allowed me to drop weight and body fat while gaining muscle. I felt stronger and even more empowered. I ran a Tough Mudder and a Spartan Super. There were so many moments in that Super where I could feel myself changing. Was there fear? Of course there was fear. I grabbed a rope to climb the slip wall at the end of the race and pulled myself over. I saw the fire ahead of me and the finish line beyond the fire. I just had to make it over the fire. I charged forward and right before I was about leap, I froze. Froze. I attempted to hop over it and froze again. My teammates were cheering me on but I was frozen. Fear? I don’t know. Dammit I was a badass and I couldn’t do it. Suddenly there was a hand on my shoulder. This voice said “You are going over. Hold my hand and I will take you with me.” I said to this person I did not know “What if I fall?” He looked straight into my eyes and said “Then we fall together. We are Spartans.” I held his hand and we jumped. The tears started mid jump. I could feel them. I wondered if I was sobbing when my feet hit the ground. I was alive and not on in flames. I looked around for him and he was gone. I ran to the finish line and received my medal. I looked back. My friend said to me “You made it”. I said I have to go back and thank that guy. I was shaking as I said “I need to thank him”. I looked for him. I knew he was a volunteer based on what he was wearing. Everyone working there said they never saw anyone matching his description. I left there knowing that an angel had helped me and I was forever grateful.

I went on to finish the season by completing the Spartan Beast which turned out to be a 15.2 mile course in South Carolina. I had already been changed by this path I was on but that race. That race…I’m still trying to process what it did to me. When I returned home I realized that my life would never be the same. My outlook was different. My house was different. My outlook at work was different. I sliced friendships that just didn’t support me anymore. I started to realize that I don’t need certain people to make me feel special or important. I have the power to do that on my own. It was suggested that I leave this new lifestyle behind now that I accomplished my goal. I won’t do that. The old Karen was living in a very comfortable world…in a very comfortable house…in a very comfortable lifestyle. Comfort was no longer an option.

Traffic started to move and I tuned into the song that was on. It was “Believe in Yourself” from The Wiz. I heard these words…

If you believe

Within your heart you’ll know

That no one can change

The path that you must go

Believe what you feel

And know you’re right, because

The time will come around

When you say it’s yours

Believe there’s a reason to be

Believe you can make time stand still

You know from the moment you try

If you believe

I know you will

Believe in yourself, right from the start

I don’t care at what point you are at in your life. You CAN do anything you set your mind to. The fire within you can reignite any goal or dream you have. It is NEVER too late to accomplish something. There will be people to help you get there – angels who you just never expected to walk into your life and make a difference. Forever friends who can change your whole day with one word or look. Hopefully one day maybe just one person can see that if I can do this, that they can do it too. You just need to believe in yourself.

My Playlists

I’ve always considered the power of music to be extremely therapeutic. It is different things for different people. For some it may be background music…music to drown out what is going on around you. For me it has always been a way to Comfortland. I can remember discovering different artists and genres while sitting in […]

I’ve always considered the power of music to be extremely therapeutic. It is different things for different people. For some it may be background music…music to drown out what is going on around you. For me it has always been a way to Comfortland. I can remember discovering different artists and genres while sitting in my living room at home. We had a turntable or record player (stay with me millenials) that was on a tall brass stand. I’d flip through my parent’s albums and listen to all sorts of their faves. I grew up with Johnny Mathis and Andy Williams. I would repeat my turntable rituals at my grandparent’s house in Brooklyn every week with selections from Perry Como to an Irish folks singer who’s name I just can’t remember at the moment. The point being is that I was lost in music. It was fascinating to me and allowed me to think and just enjoy.

As my love of music grew through the years, I developed an appreciation for the artist and musician. This happened early on when I discovered that I cannot carry a tune. Sure I pretended to in chorus classes but the truth is I am just not a singer. I’m not good by any stretch of the imagination. I never let this deter my love of music appreciation. Hey, I was a good singer in the shower. Aren’t we all? Don’t even get me started on Karaoke. I’m a star on the Karaoke (or Karenoke as we later called it). This friends is another story for another blogspot.

I discovered concerts. Andy Gibb was my first concert at Nassau Coliseum when I was in 7th grade. Jean Daly and I were dropped off (yes, dropped off in 7th grade. That’s right. Don’t call CPS on my parents – it was the time and we as 7th graders were mature beyond our years) and enjoyed nearly 2 hours of Andy belting out tunes like “I Just Want to Be Your Everything” and “Love is Thicker Than Water”. I was hooked. It would be the first concert of many throughout these years. Sometimes seeing your favorite artist live was a religious experience while other times it was not. For years (don’t you dare judge me) I would sit on my gold/yellow flecked shagged carpeting in my room with ALL of my Barry Manilow albums around me. I’d read every single liner note on the album insert while listening to Barry belt out tunes as if they were written just for me. Years later I had the chance to finally see Barry at Jones Beach. He took the stage and I literally burst into tears. Suddenly I was ten again watching my idol sing those very songs to me. It was magical. One of the best performances ever in my mind. Ernie and I have seen Billy Joel 13 times and each time was a different yet religious experience. A few years ago however I found myself ten feet from the stage at Webster Hall. I had waited years to see this artist. I listened to every song he’d written…watched every show and movie he’d been in. He was my modern day Andy Gibb and I adored him. Ok, ok I even fantasized about him at times My ideal. I nearly passed out when he took the stage and seemingly looked down at me from his mic. Yes, the moment was here when I was eye to eye with Lenny Kravitz. After he took a swig from a huge unlabeled green bottle and stumbled that I realized that he was so drunk and high that he barely made it through 9 songs. I became disillusioned. Ernie called him a skid and I can’t say I didn’t agree. I still listen to his work but quite frankly I could care if he lived or died at this point.

One of the greatest inventions in my mind is the iPod or my iPhone in my case now. You could download music to a playlist. It is our modern day cassette tape. How many of us (I will slice those who cannot relate) sat for hours creating the best tape to reflect our moods? Ok no one? Come on. We all did. I dated a guy once who made me a bunch of “love” tapes that reminded him of our times together. Fortunately the relationship did not work out but those tapes were gold. I’m still making tapes…errr playlists to reflect moods and fave artists. I have my Training list for the gym, a Sunday list that I play while having coffee and watching the sun come up, Hamilton (sheer genius if you ask me), and a vintage Karen list.

Everyone has their own form of therapy. For me, it is the gym and music. Sometimes I combine the two. Music in my world is normally played at a ridiculously loud level. I’ll belt out a few tunes on the way to work after leaving Starbucks. Again, I can’t sing but that’s ok. I could care less. That’s the problem of the guy driving next to me.

Have a good week everyone…

 

 

My Playlists

I’ve always considered the power of music to be extremely therapeutic. It is different things for different people. For some it may be background music…music to drown out what is going on around you. For me it has always been a way to Comfortland. I can remember discovering different artists and genres while sitting in my living room at home. We had a turntable or record player (stay with me millenials) that was on a tall brass stand. I’d flip through my parent’s albums and listen to all sorts of their faves. I grew up with Johnny Mathis and Andy Williams. I would repeat my turntable rituals at my grandparent’s house in Brooklyn every week with selections from Perry Como to an Irish folks singer who’s name I just can’t remember at the moment. The point being is that I was lost in music. It was fascinating to me and allowed me to think and just enjoy.

As my love of music grew through the years, I developed an appreciation for the artist and musician. This happened early on when I discovered that I cannot carry a tune. Sure I pretended to in chorus classes but the truth is I am just not a singer. I’m not good by any stretch of the imagination. I never let this deter my love of music appreciation. Hey, I was a good singer in the shower. Aren’t we all? Don’t even get me started on Karaoke. I’m a star on the Karaoke (or Karenoke as we later called it). This friends is another story for another blogspot.

I discovered concerts. Andy Gibb was my first concert at Nassau Coliseum when I was in 7th grade. Jean Daly and I were dropped off (yes, dropped off in 7th grade. That’s right. Don’t call CPS on my parents – it was the time and we as 7th graders were mature beyond our years) and enjoyed nearly 2 hours of Andy belting out tunes like “I Just Want to Be Your Everything” and “Love is Thicker Than Water”. I was hooked. It would be the first concert of many throughout these years. Sometimes seeing your favorite artist live was a religious experience while other times it was not. For years (don’t you dare judge me) I would sit on my gold/yellow flecked shagged carpeting in my room with ALL of my Barry Manilow albums around me. I’d read every single liner note on the album insert while listening to Barry belt out tunes as if they were written just for me. Years later I had the chance to finally see Barry at Jones Beach. He took the stage and I literally burst into tears. Suddenly I was ten again watching my idol sing those very songs to me. It was magical. One of the best performances ever in my mind. Ernie and I have seen Billy Joel 13 times and each time was a different yet religious experience. A few years ago however I found myself ten feet from the stage at Webster Hall. I had waited years to see this artist. I listened to every song he’d written…watched every show and movie he’d been in. He was my modern day Andy Gibb and I adored him. Ok, ok I even fantasized about him at times My ideal. I nearly passed out when he took the stage and seemingly looked down at me from his mic. Yes, the moment was here when I was eye to eye with Lenny Kravitz. After he took a swig from a huge unlabeled green bottle and stumbled that I realized that he was so drunk and high that he barely made it through 9 songs. I became disillusioned. Ernie called him a skid and I can’t say I didn’t agree. I still listen to his work but quite frankly I could care if he lived or died at this point.

One of the greatest inventions in my mind is the iPod or my iPhone in my case now. You could download music to a playlist. It is our modern day cassette tape. How many of us (I will slice those who cannot relate) sat for hours creating the best tape to reflect our moods? Ok no one? Come on. We all did. I dated a guy once who made me a bunch of “love” tapes that reminded him of our times together. Fortunately the relationship did not work out but those tapes were gold. I’m still making tapes…errr playlists to reflect moods and fave artists. I have my Training list for the gym, a Sunday list that I play while having coffee and watching the sun come up, Hamilton (sheer genius if you ask me), and a vintage Karen list.

Everyone has their own form of therapy. For me, it is the gym and music. Sometimes I combine the two. Music in my world is normally played at a ridiculously loud level. I’ll belt out a few tunes on the way to work after leaving Starbucks. Again, I can’t sing but that’s ok. I could care less. That’s the problem of the guy driving next to me.

Have a good week everyone…

 

 

Mobile Order For Karen

Besides saying goodbye to my family and my 3 bedroom California style ranch…these are usually the first 4 words that leave my mouth each morning. Technology allows me to order my coffee as I walk out the door. My order is ready in 3-6 minutes at my local Starbucks. The baristas know me. We have a bond that is truly unspoken. No really…I don’t speak to them. My Venti Iced Cafe Americano and accompanying straw is literally waiting for me as I cruise up to the window. After securing the java I drive to the true South Shore of Long Island to start my workday. The drive is the best therapy ever. The sun is coming up and I am reminded why I love (and hate) Long Island as much as I do.

So this is my first blog. Ever. I’ve always loved to write and wished my career took me in that direction. Figured I’d start out here and share snippets of my life that I think shape me. Some will be bored. Ok most will be bored. Hopefully though you will be somewhat entertained. Many of you may just get to know how I tick and what goes on behind these eyes each day. Life is pretty good in my world. Some days are frustrating but hey – who doesn’t have those days.

For now…welcome. Stay a while. Let’s share a coffee or tea each week or each day depending on how the mood strikes me.