Grab a drink, this story of my 2017 epiphany is a long one….
Back in 2012, when I bought this website domain, I had a vision: create a blog where I can be myself, share my stories of cupcake recipe creation, talk about our family’s life and have fun writing. It was pretty simple. I hadn’t really thought much further. I chose a name that my daughter had come up with, hand-drew a logo and put it in motion, perfecting my WordPress, HTML and CSS as I went. I’d had design experience from my employer and wrote professionally for them as well, but never with the freedom to create an entire site on my own whim.
It took a while to segue into a Southern California lifestyle blog, morphing from those cupcake days of old to a much broader focus onto all things that were part of our SoCal lifestyle but with our own ‘life is short, live a little dangerously’ spin. I found that crafting a website that evolved with us as our lives changed was a challenge — enjoyable, but a challenge nonetheless. As kids grow, the lives of their parents change. We no longer have to purchase diapers or arrange playdates or plan elaborately themed birthday parties. Instead, we’re helping fill out job applications, teaching them to drive and listening as much as we can about their relationship questions, social issues and worries about things they see on the news.
Going along with all of that are the fun parts of family life: parties, traveling, camping trips, football games, amusement parks, restaurants, concerts, hobbies and any other thing you do to enrich your life, along with the bad stuff, doctor’s appointments, illnesses and high school problems. Bills. Obligations. College discussions. Weddings. Adult kids returning home. Not all of it is share-worthy and much of it’s too personal to put out there for the masses, but being a lifestyle blogger does give an avenue for sharing, giving and seeking support, networking and learning from each other. The blog community is an amazing place and I’m so lucky to be a part of it.
As the blog changes while my life changes — as I’m a mom now of a teenager and three young adults, planning more traveling with the husband, possible changes in residence, readying my business for future growth, and more — I enjoy seeing where it takes me. I cover a lot of sponsored topics, where I’m compensated in some way to share something with you. I choose these topics carefully. It’s either a real-life interest for me or you won’t hear about it here. Not everything ends up remaining an interest for me, but that’s okay. Life is dynamic. I share places we’ve gone, things we’ve seen and information on things that may be of interest to other families, in Southern California or not. This last week, I went to an amusement park to cover a new ride opening, an indoor water park and tried new products to help make life easier. Next week, I’m going flying again at an indoor skydive location and trying a new local restaurant. I get to have fun with the family and I get to help businesses spread the word about their products and/or services. It’s a mutually beneficial relationship and every week is different. My main hope throughout it all is that I’m giving other families ideas of ways to have fun, save money or enjoy life, particularly other moms wondering what life will be like now that their kids are growing up.
Realizing that your life no longer revolves around being a mom can be a scary concept, but it doesn’t have to be. It brings a sense of freedom, as you still have a ton of responsibilities but you’re learning more how to deal with them. Decisions become easier to make and you find you know yourself more while caring less if it’s what others think you should be. I love to get dressed up and go out, but I’m also okay admitting now that some days, I’m happy staying home in my baggy t-shirt, yoga shorts, wearing no makeup. My wardrobe has expanded to cover a little bit of everything, and I look forward to opportunities to sport some new heels, but I’m also okay being barefoot in my backyard around the firepit, glass of wine in one hand and my iPad in the other.
The husband and I had a perfect date night on Friday. Just him and I, some craft cocktails at a new restaurant, and a decadent meal full of child-free conversation. I’m convinced that one reason we’ve been happily married so long is that we do this regularly. As the kids are less and less involved in family things and more involved in their own activities, keeping our marriage a priority continues to get even more important.
Growing up isn’t a bad thing, and it’s not reserved just for kids. It’s kind of freeing, knowing yourself more and liking yourself more. Realizing that all of your life experiences that you didn’t like, the sad things, the bad things, the things you couldn’t control, they all come together to a point where you are okay saying “This is who I am.” You don’t need to be someone else. You can still have a long list of things you want to learn to do and things to try, but without the peer pressure. It’s a wonderful feeling.
Approaching the second half of life doesn’t mean we have to slow down at all. In fact, I like to think we get to do more; we just get to be more in control. More time and more money = more opportunities to check things off of a bucket list. Sign me up for sky diving over the desert and learning to dance! It’s like having a 2017 epiphany over and over.
It also means we get to be more in control of who is in our lives. We can walk away from the drama. We don’t need to allow ourselves to be part of someone else’s head games. Not my monkeys, not my circus can be your guilt-free mantra. We get to be okay with saying “I matter, too.” No more uncontrollably being the recipient of someone’s bad behavior, then being expected to still be there in your old capacity whenever they’re ready, as though their behavior was excusable. We aren’t desperate for friendships to fill gaps, because we can fill our own gaps. We can tighten our circle and focus our time and energy on those who include us in their circle, not as an afterthought or a last resort, but as a valued member. It’s not always easier to make new friends, but when you do, they’re more genuine because there’s no pretense. Don’t like me? That’s okay, because someone else will, and does.
We can say no to being taken for granted. We get to say no to gatherings we don’t want to attend. Our requirements for what we want in relationships don’t have to be negotiable anymore. It’s okay to expect them to be two-way: you invite me to something, I invite you to something…you talk about yourself, I talk about myself…I give support, you give support….I congratulate you, you congratulate me. Basic credos of adulthood that are frequently overlooked in today’s self-centered social media-centric world. Other credos of true adulthood? Do what you love, even if no one else does. Know your limits. Don’t date your friend’s ex. Use your words. Be honest. Don’t be intentionally mean. Be trustworthy. These things come easier when all the petty crap is out of the way.
Being yourself is a lot more fun when you know exactly what it is. I’m obsessed with Marvel, mainly Thor. I love to write and bad punctuation and erroneous capitalizations bother me. I could watch Stephen King’s The Stand over and over. I have very little fashion skill and buy a lot pieces that are easily matched with black pants or jeans because you can’t go wrong. And yeah, I like leggings, especially this one brand I buy at Marshall’s for $6.99 a pair. That saves me money to blow on expensive shoes. I hate when people talk through movies and I can quote all the Avenger movies….because I don’t talk through movies. I listen, avidly. I am an admin on a MOPAR Facebook group and I love to talk about my car with the other Challenger owners. I also will park the last row of a parking lot and walk in rather than risk a ding on the car, to the point of being that person in a public parking lot, asking the attendant to let me go out of line so I can park on an end. My puppy is my 5th kid and I talk to her like she is a human baby…but seriously, I think she understands me.
I’ll sport my purple hair until I’m 90 and I’ll scream like a kid on an insane roller coaster. Math is not my strong suit but I will kick your butt at Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy, which we watch every night that we’re home. I’m a budding yogi and I am struggling to drop 20 pounds, but I also like to eat and the husband reminds me daily that he loves me just the way I am. I’m glad to not be single, because I wouldn’t know how to flirt if my life depended on it, but I don’t think I’m in danger of that because I hit the jackpot with the husband who spoils me. I’m not a fan of up-close selfies because, unlike a cute puppy or a growing baby, I don’t change much and I’m not so cute that people need to see my face that often. (Now, a photo with a memorable background you can see behind me? That’s not so bad.) I love to take photos of other people, mostly my family and dogs, but I’m finding that silly Instagram stories can be a lot of fun and I’m getting more comfortable being in them. Following rules is not my favorite thing to do either, because I really think that sometimes rules were made to be broken…except when it comes to things like work, traffic and taxes. Don’t break those rules. Life’s too short to always be serious and we have to laugh at ourselves, and life in general, or we’re going to be cranky, boring, unhappy, messy people.
I’m weird, I’m sometimes a hermit and the husband sometimes calls me the unsocial, social media manager….and he may not be wrong. I’m happy at my home, a house we’ve lived in for almost four years and we’re just now getting around to some remodeling and renovations we’ve eyeballed since we bought the house. We love to entertain, serve drinks, make food and play games. I work at home in my newly redecorated home office, surrounded by Marvel gear, and I prefer texts for communication if we’re not in the same room. I will email til the cows come home before I initiate a phone call. Years ago, I’d have been embarrassed to admit most of this, but now? I’m okay with it all. I’m not okay with how I look in a bathing suit or how badly my Spanish-speaking skills have deteriorated. I try to be thoughtful towards others and I’m pretty low-maintenance. Sometimes that’s mistaken for not being aware of things or being okay with things but I’ve also learned to pick my battles. I can still get really bothered by things, and over-think them, but I’m working on that. Some things you just have to accept, something else I’m working on.
This is my 2017 epiphany, however late. With all that in mind, I’m working on getting back to my roots here on the blog. I’m not changing my current topics or categories, but I’m working to make sure that I bring the me back to the blog. I want to my blog to not have just information, but to have personality. It’s what sets us all apart, and what makes it so we don’t need to compete in the blogosphere. I’m going to remember why I started blogging and not let the fun of it all slip away. I hope this results in more blog posts and more topics that other moms in similar situations can relate to. I want Dangerous Cupcake Lifestyle to be fun and helpful and help you live just a little dangerously, too.
(And that hand drawn logo? It’s that cupcake you see up top, just professionally re-done for clarity. Keeping yourself IN your blog, not just on it, helps continue to make it all your own. Thinking of starting a blog? Now is the time!)