Tag: goals

GSL 2014

Another amazing open water swim race has come and gone.  Honestly I’m so exhausted I don’t know how much I can write but I will do my best.

I’ve often said I race partly for my swim family, partly for nature, partly for fitness but mostly for life.  Every swim teaches me something profound about life and this was no exception.

Here I am before the race:

before raceI was really nervous as I always am.  Great Salt Lake is so unpredictable and my last 2 years have been very tough for me, even 2012 when I was so well prepared was a beast. Both of those years there was wind advisories and the races were nearly cancelled.  I was praying so hard that we would get smooth water for once…

And my prayer was answered. Smooth water!

When you enter the Great Salt Lake it is like no other experience I can describe.  Your whole body screams with all the salt.  Your tongue swells up, your nose burns, and any soft skin let’s you know quickly it doesn’t like it.  All this adds to the challenge.

But luckily I decided to go for it and this year my friend Anna came with and she did amazing! A lot of my other friends weren’t in town or didn’t swim for one reason or another.  In fact, it looked like over half the swimmers were new to GSL.  There was one group from California that flew in for the race.  They go to races as friends all over the country.  How fun is that!

So they started the race in an odd way.  We had to climb over all these rocks and I had flip-flop sandles on.  I felt like I was going to slip and break my ankle.  It was kind of nuts.

Here I am trying to get down to the start:

DSCF5601Then the race started and within the first 5 minutes all the sudden my whole right side cramped up.  I felt like I could hardly move.  It seemed like I would have to pull out with that much pain so early on.

Luckily there was an awesome kayaker who helped me calm down and encouraged me to try another stroke so breaststroke it was. It seemed to strain my side less and after about 3 sets of 100 the cramp was mostly gone. (I count strokes in batches of 100)

I was still doing a lot of breaststroke but then worked in 100s of freestyle and even got a 150 in.  It was so shallow that it was hard to do a freestyle stroke for a lot of the race.

There’s me in all that water. Surrounded by nature and all that water.  It will never get old.  So beautiful!:

S0015609See how close the kayaker was?  He was a lifesaver and was so encouraging.

I also decided to not worry about sighting and just swim.  The current was very light so I didn’t have to worry about getting pulled inward like I did last year. I was confident enough in the kayaker that I knew I could just swim.  With my lazy eye sighting is not my strength but it’s especially hard at GSL because there are no trees or big objects to sight on so it’s sort of a fruitless enterprise.  I’m glad I abandoned it all together.

So, I kept going in batches of 100 strokes.  Another one and then rest 20 seconds, and another.  Finally I got to the spot to run in and it was probably 200 yards.  I actually speed walked because I was worried about turning my ankle on that type of rocky/sandy beach. (Plus I was exhausted).

Eat your heart out Bo Derek! 🙂

DSCF5621Here’s the crazy thing- cramp, stops, breaststroke and all I finished in 1 hr 4 minutes.  Last year it took me 1 hr 23 minutes!  Almost 20 minute faster this year!  I still can’t believe that!

It just goes to show a lot of obstacles can be in your way at the beginning of your goal but if you keep going, do 100 more, and then another, and another, you will finish.  Like I said, swimming teaches me about life. And what a perfect lesson to learn this week starting a new job for new company, doing something new!

I will never forget crossing the line and knowing I did it!  Cramp and all I did it! Please take my story and set a bold goal.  People of all shapes and sizes can do awesome things.

Thank you to the organizers, kayakers and my friends for cheering me on both at the race and away. I might not have done the race at all if it wasn’t for all the wonderful encouragement.

It feels good to be Rachel today!

DSCF5638
A brick of salt for a salty race. Love this photo
DSCF5636
My awesome kayaker. Such great support
DSCF5632
Anna did amazing. 35 minutes first GSL/open water race!
DSCF5630
We did it! I love my open water family
Advertisements

A 3 AM Introduction

(Started this last night.  Now some of you are seeing the guest post I thought you might like to learn a little more about me)

Awake
Awake

Ok.  So its 2:33 but it will probably be 3 by the time I am done writing this.  It helped me to get to sleep yesterday to write so I thought maybe it would do the same today.  What do you have to lose?

So today sometime my guest post will be added to http://littleferrarokitchen.com/ and I’m pretty excited.  It will be fun to open myself to a new audience, and I’m super proud with how it turned out! I thought on the off chance that people check out my blog from reading the post on her blog I would take some time and introduce myself.

First of all, I have been blogging for going on 6 years and I’ve done over 748 posts on everything from recipes I like to religion, to movies. When I was a little girl my sister and I would make newspapers that covered politics, movies, and current events.  We even drew comics for them.

I am currently working on the nanowrimo challenge and almost done!  I am also a homeowner and social media purveyor as they like to say.  You can follow me on  instagram and twitter at @smilingldsgirl.  Please introduce yourself to me.  Let’s be friends.

I have bolded any links below so if you want to learn more about a particular topic click on it and read a post.  Share your feedback.  Thanks for reading!

So here is the 411 on Rachel

  1. What’s your name?  Rachel Wagner
  2. How do you spend your days? I work as an accounting clerk for Poler at www.polerstuff.com
  3. Have you always lived in Utah? Nope.  I grew up in Maryland, but have also lived in Indiana and California.  I’ve lived in Utah for most of my adult life.
  4. What are some of your hobbies? I love open water swimming (7 races done!), blogging, writing, reading, party planning , movies and subscription boxes!
  5. What’s the best meal you’ve ever had? That’s a tough one.  There was a time on my mission when we had worked so hard in the bitter cold and the RS Pres made us breakfast for dinner with hot cocoa.  It was like gold.
    Another meal that comes to mind is when I made spaghetti and meatballs for my friends in 2013 and decided I needed to make some major changes in my life because the food was so good.  No joke
  6. If you could vacation anywhere in the world, where would you go? Hawaii.  Always Hawaii. North Shore. Oahu.
  7. What’s the best gift you’ve ever given? I’m a pretty good gift giver but this was one of my best. Also last year I got my Dad Lord of the Rings in German and he really loved it.  When my sister got engaged I made her a cookbook of all the recipes I’d made for her when we were roommies.  She still has it uses it so that was a good one
  8. And what’s the best gift you’ve ever received?   I’d have to say on my mission I had a companion from the Philippians and she didn’t have a ton of money.  My parents sent us a tiny Christmas tree in the mail and gifts for both of us.
  9. What ability or skill do you most wish you had (that you don’t have already)? I’m an ok singer.  I wish I was a great singer
  10. What is/was your favorite subject in school?  In high school it might have been drama.  In college definitely political philosophy.
  11. What’s the biggest problem facing the world right now?  So many…the secularization of schools and the distancing of overall life from religion.  More detailed thoughts on politics and such can be seen at- interview 1, interview 2, interview 3
  12. If you alone could solve it, how would you do it? Be a missionary forever!
  13. What’s your dream job?  Teaching at BYU
  14. If you had to choose only one: cat or dog?  Neither but if I had to chose I’d pick a small dog like a goldendoodle.  I have a bit of an animal phobia so that is never going to happen.
  15. What’s your favorite movie of all time?  So hard to pick just one but if I did I’d have to pick Up. My five favorite films
  16. Aside from food, water, and shelter, what one thing could you not go a day without?  Prayer (cheesy answer but its true!)
  17. In everyday life, what is your number one pet peeve? Talking to machines and giving them all this information than a human finally comes on the phone and you explain it all over to them.
  18. Where do you see yourself in 5 years? Hey I have a 30 year mortgage so I’ll be in Draper.  I’d like to think I’d be married but probably not.  Probably just living here with tenants and a roommate and making the most out of my life.
  19. Where do you see yourself in 20 years?  30 years is more interesting because then I’ll be close to retiring and can be a missionary for my church for the rest of my life. That would be my dream if I don’t get married. .  20 years I will probably be doing the same thing I am doing now but hopefully still swimming and singing and blogging.  I can think of worst lives and you never know Mr.  Sunshine could finally make an appearance.

What do you want to know about me? Ask me some questions!

So that is a little intro.  I think I’m a pretty interesting person so check out the blog and get to know me a bit better.  Thanks!

rachel (10)

Swim Shutdown

So I have made a difficult decision.  I have decided to not swim Slam the Dam.  Here are the reasons:

1. I miss General Conference for my church.  I should have just abandoned the attempt in the first place because watching this live and tweeting during it has become a big part of my life.  I need the nourishment and its just not the same watching it backwards.

2.  Despite their best efforts I have not gelled well with the organizers and I’ll just leave it at that.

3.  My friend won’t be able to go so she will be driving me down just to watch me swim.

4.  The likelihood of my finishing was about 50/50 (being generous).  My best time in a 1 mile swim is 54 minutes which is cutting it very close to the hour time limit. I get why they needed to have it but it just wasn’t the best for my friend and I to have the time limit.

5. With the government shutdown looming and very likely the race would be cancelled anyway because they rely on the parks department for the permit and race.  I think the chance of everything being resolved by Saturday is very small.  One of the organizers said “If the government shuts down the park will be closed and no swim. It’s that simple.”  I think its very unlikely the race will go on at all.

6. I have gotten to the pool about 4 times in September.  With vacation, sickness, back treatments and everything else it just hasn’t been a great training month like August was

7. In the end, driving 7 hours to not finish or have it cancelled while missing Conference just didn’t seem worth it especially considering I don’t really have any friends going or who would be there to cheer me on.

8. My friend summarized why she wasn’t going and her outlook and I agree:

“I’ve also withdrawn, asking that my swag bag and hoodie be mailed to me. I still dont regret signing up. I had a goal to reach for, and though I fell just short of it, I succeeded in becoming a swimmer. I will take that as the lifetime win it is. And, this just means my first “official” swim will be a SLOW swim. I think I love that!”

9.  I will also be following the directions and repeated orders of the planning committee.  Today they reiterated that if you are “unwell, ill, injured or generally “off” from your normal self (whatever that means?)  or can not meet course cut offs times, please do not swim” .  I will respect their request and not swim, leave it at that.

10. All goals just don’t work out and I think there is a lesson in that.  This is the second year I’ve tried to do this swim and will be my last for a time.  It’s just too busy a time for me and has been too stressful for all involved.

Thank you to all the volunteers and my friends for your amazing support.  I love you all so much.  Swimming is after all just a hobby.  It needs to always be fun and the last month or so it hasn’t felt fun.  I’m going to work on that.  I know that I’m a good swimmer.  Not swimming Slam the Dam does not change that.  I know that it is all for the best.

Thank you especially to Tania for being my training buddy and becoming my cherished friend.  You are the best. (I feel like I’m giving an Oscar speech but its true).

Thanks you guys!

This is what its all about in the end.  Friends always
This is what its all about in the end. Friends always

Guys- it was cancelled in the end so I’m extra happy with my decision (and glad I made my own medals in advance!).  I am sorry for those hoping to swim that couldn’t.  Karma…

NO GOALS, NO RESOLUTIONS

Normally I am a huge goal setter.  I love having a plan and motivating myself to do better, be better.   As you all know my life has been overwhelmed lately with the building of my house and my move. So much so that I haven’t been able to eat well and my stomach has been continually upset.  I wish I could control this but I can’t.I’ve thrown up a lot, had nausea, sleep apnea, insomnia, stomach cramping, headaches and asthmatic episodes and I actually think I’ve handled it all pretty well for me….Sigh

So with this in mind I had an interesting experience yesterday. I met with my nutrition counselor on Saturday and she tried 3 times to get me to set goals- goals for the New Year, goals for the month, and then I think getting a little desperate, goals for the week.  I just couldn’t do it!  My brain couldn’t formulate one goal. Even as she asked me I felt my heart begin to race and my stomach churn. My whole body felt raw, wrung out and tired.  Really kind of numb… I just shook my head and said ‘I can’t do it.  I have no idea’. 

This is highly unusual for me but it was in fact a healthy choice for me to make. I’m kind of proud of myself.

I told her that I knew I was in a vulnerable spot and whatever goals I set would become obsessive for me.  I’m searching for things I can control and diet goals are something I could go way overboard in feeling I can control.  I just knew I had to step back and take it one day at a time.   It’s a good thing that I am getting to the point in my mental health where I can tell I am vulnerable and when I am not.  Right now I just need acceptance, congratulations and as much normality as possible.

No goals!  No resolutions!  Just survival!  I feel a little guilty even saying that but its true.  I need to coast for a month until I get in this darn house and then it will be back to the goal setting Rachel.

Does that make sense? I can only take so much and I also feel I need to savor the moment and be grateful for the blessings of so many changes.  It would be easy to distract myself from the fear of change with a diet rush or some other goal, obsess into that instead of dealing with all the new and absorbing it with fearlessness.

just-say-no-to-new-year-resolutions

So there you go.  No goals!  Just going to try and be happy to be me. 248072_10151332018897239_58777808_n

Officially a NaNoWriMo WINNER!

So its official I have completed the 30 day NaNoWriMo challenge!  Here is the certificate to prove it.  I’m really proud of my accomplishment.  I’m proud that I finally, however, incompetently put pen to paper and wrote my story.  I have thought of those experiences from 2007 over and over again and now they have been written down.  I look forward to editing, changing things around and making it as good as it get can be.  Then I am going to bind it and keep it as a prized possession.

In the meantime I am already thinking about what to write next year.  It is a lot harder because this was my one big idea.  I had practically written the book in my head a million times and had practiced many of the events on this blog.  I may not have that luxury the next time around.  I could do a sequel but that would’ t really be my life at all as the character gets married at the end and I clearly am not married. I think I will just have to find another way to write about God and the Workforce but in another set of characters. Hmmm…

Well, I thought since I am ‘finished’ meaning initial output done I’d give you one more snip-it of the book.  My friend Polly read it and she enjoyed it.  I hope you do as well.  This is a closing scene when the character has just had her last day at the job she is quitting.

Thank you in advance for your feedback.  It’s still in a rough state so please bare with me. Just enjoy some early, exciting, writing in its raw form.  Plus this is a pretty romantic section, so enjoy that!  I enjoyed writing it and can’t wait for it to happen to me in real life! 🙂

I have decided to be happy because My Life is God’s and He is happiness.

LEAVING

As I descend the stairs I feel like an astronaut who is  about to take the big step onto a new planet.  Each one feels important like a plaque should be put in that honor stating ‘Rachel took the leap of faith here”.

Sometimes I still wondered why God was asking me to do something so strange?  Quit my job with nothing to fall back into?  Who does that especially in this economy?  Evidently I do. I finally reach the bottom of the stairs and open the door.  With the fresh air my brain is flooded with thoughts but  I am drawn back to the scripture Jamie read to me the other day:

“That you may love the LORD your God, and that you may obey his voice, and that you may cleave unto him: for he is your life, and the length of your days: that you may dwell in the land which the LORD swore unto your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them..”

“He is my life” I am putting it in His hands.  A rush adrenalin crawls up my spine and I feel ticklish all over.  It’s like happiness is bursting out of me from every pore.  Setting the box down for a minute I raise my hands high into the air and let out the loudest ‘Yes! I did it” I possibly can. For a moment I am dancing and I’m a terrible dancer!  The smile on my face is wide and a million pop ballads embracing freedom and adventure pop in my head.  That person they are singing about is me.  I’d done it.

In the middle of my revelries I feel a tap on my shoulder.  Looking around I see that it is Oliver and he gives me a huge hug.  “Congratulations.  I’m so proud of you for taking this big step”.

“I’ve never felt so great in all my life.  I did it!  The thing I didn’t think I could do for three years, I did!” I raise my arms to the sky one more time and let out a little ‘Hurray!’

“So what do you think you want to do with all your free time?” he asks

“Well, I’ll be looking for a job mostly but I have lots of projects like my college scrapbook to work on.  I would love to volunteer maybe go and tutor for Dr. Thomas for free.  That would be the best!  We will just see what life throws at me and where God wants me to be”.

All of the sudden his voice sounds a little nervous and I wonder why.  “What about doing some wedding planning?”

“Oh that could be a fun career” but before I can go on Oliver is on his knees in front of me with a ring.  It’s a princess cut ring small stoned ring with a the most beautiful platinum band”  I look at it and him with amazement.

“Will you marry me?” he asks

“Yes, of course, I will marry you!” I quickly reply and put the ring on my finger.  It seems to have always been there along with my necklace around my neck.

“Yes, yes, she said yes!” he says to nobody and we kiss but this is a kiss like never before.  Long (way past our 20 seconds), soft and tender and then rough and passionate.  I never want it to end. Without helping it I start to cry a little bit and put my head on his shoulder.

“What’s wrong he asks” hoping I haven’t had a change of heart.

“Now this is the BEST day of my life!” As I stood there with my head on Oliver’s shoulder I knew I would always look back on this moment as perfect.  Life would get hard again, I’d feel anxious and stressed, maybe even panic, but I would always have in my pocked that I had gotten through these 3 years.  I had learned to pay attention when God tells you to ‘make a change’ and that the more you fight Him the unhappier you will be.  I’ve learned that God has patience and he gives us far more blessings than we deserve, especially when we aren’t listening to him.  I’ve learned that diving into nothing is the greatest feeling a girl can have.   Most importantly I learned that my happiness matters to God, and that He really does love me.

Life is going to be good for Rachel Wagner former employee of Marshall Plastics.

“ka,ka,ka”  I hear and look around me on the top of the patio ledge is a crow getting ready to fly off into the distance. “ka,ka,ka”.  It rings in my head and I look at Oliver and smile.  He has work to do but I give him a sweet and simple kiss and then it gets longer and harder.  Perfect.

“Have a great day at work” I say with a wink and I hold onto his hand until it is just fingers and we finally let go.  “See you later tonight”.

As I get into my car, I let out a large long sigh.  “It is done.  Thank you God.  We did it!” Just as pull out of the parking lot the Clocktower ticks loudly and I push the gas pedal.  “Done and on my way to a new adventure”.

 

 

The Curse of the Should Be’s

Frequently I have people say to me ‘you are a great ______’ and then followed by ‘You should be a _______’.  Some different variations:

You are a great cook.  You should open up a restaurant.

You are a great writer. You should be an author.

Your blog is great.  You should do it full time.

Your state your opinion well.  You should be a political writer.

You should be an editor, lawyer, politician, speech writer, teacher, PHD, fiction and non-fiction author, event planner, singer, ect. (Ironically nobody has ever said ‘you would make a great mother…)

The sad part is they are all right.  There are so many dream jobs I have.  There are so many things I should be doing and would be genuinely good at, even brilliant, but how did I end up doing accounting?  Basically I took the first job that was offered to me after my mission and I ran with it.

In 2008 I tried to make a change and get something in marketing or event planning.  Something a little more creative and had no luck.  Its a tricky cycle you get into because you need experience to get most jobs and to get that experience you need experience.  So even if I went back to school my position really wouldn’t improve much because I’d still have the same experience.

I don’t mean to seem ungrateful because I’m not.  My job has tons of perks and it gives me a lifestyle I love. It’s just not what I envisioned for my life. I didn’t have some specific dream but I never thought I’d be an accounting clerk my whole life.

Now I’m buying a house and that makes it all the more difficult to make changes.  Sigh…

I guess a side of me feels like a sell out but I don’t know what else I could have done.  I took the only job offered to me. I get to work from home and have flexibility.  I’m pretty lucky in many ways.  Plus, I’m good at what I do. I work as hard as I can and have overall a nice life.

But always in the back of my head is that nagging question of all the things I could have been and done? Do any of you struggle with unfulfilled dreams? With what you have settled for in your life?  We all have to make compromises in order to live.  At least most of us do.   How do you reconcile your wishes with reality?

I know there are ways to contribute outside of my job, so I’m looking out for that right now. I think it is how I will have to do all the ‘should be’s’.
When did we decide that the only way to contribute to society was through your job or family?  There has to be other options for people like myself?   Got to start writing all those books and articles I dream about 🙂 .

Btw- thanks to everyone for all the encouragement.  It always makes my day!  I think my friends often see more potential in me than I do in myself.  In fact, I know they do. Thank goodness for great friends.

Dream Deferred

This will be an intentionally cryptic post.  Sometimes I wish I could be more forward than I am on my blog. I know I’m pretty forward but I honestly wish I could be even more so.   However, I try to only talk about myself and allow others to publicize their life if they chose to (which I highly recommend as it is thoroughly therapeutic.)  As the song says:

I am what I am
I am my own special creation
So come take a look
Give me the hook or the ovation
It’s my world that I want to have a little pride in
My world, and it’s not a place I have to hide in
Life’s not worth a darn ’til you can say
“Hey world, I am what I am!”
I am what I am
I don’t want praise
I don’t want pity
I bang my own drum Some think it’s noise I think it’s pretty
And so what if I love each sparkle and each bangle?
Why not try to see things from a different angle?
Your life is a sham ’til you can shout out loud: “I am what I am!”

(Btw, is there a better description of me than that song?)

As I was saying.  I was sitting alone at night lost in my thoughts, and I started thinking about a question asked to me by a friend when discussing a problem in my life.  She said ‘What do you hope for?’.  It’s such a simple question but so hard to answer.  What do any of us hope for?

The answer is simple and complicated at the same time.

I hope for an eternal family with a companion who loves me forever.

I hope to always have good friends. Friendship is hope.  Almost all the love I’ve had in my life has been from friends. I love that in the Greek language the word love is actually 4 different words, agape, philos, eros and storge.  Agape is especially moving as it means a love so great we would sacrifice all for it.  Fits with the scripture- greater love hath no man than this that he lay down his life for his friends (John 15:13).

I hope for a healthy body that can really be used to inspire other people.  I am healthy now but I know if I looked healthier to the average Joe I could do more good.  This motivates me to keep trying.

I dream of writing a book based on my life and my struggles.  My sister is the writer in the family but I have lots of ideas, both fiction and non-fiction that I think would be terrific books. Its starting and having the time to keep at it that keeps that dream deferred.

I dream of the ocean on a daily basis and can hear the wish, wish of the tide accompanying my life and keeping me calm.  I feel sad that this year will go buy without a glimpse of the ocean.  Someday I want to own a house near a beach.  Any beach.

I hope to contribute to the world in a meaningful way.   I think I do but I want to do more.  I want the world to know Rachel existed. I still haven’t figured out what my big contribution is going to be. Maybe it’s this blog and if it is I better be sure to make it authentic and the true Me.  Hmmmm

There are many more things I hope for.  I could spend all day.

But at the moment many of my dreams  are deferred.   I think a lot of us have to defer our dreams.  I love the Langston Hughes poem and had it on my mind today:

What happens to a dream deferred?

Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore–
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over–
like a syrupy sweet?

Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.

Or does it explode?

I don’t know what it does?  Probably some of everything?  That’s all I will say, but I have moments where it dries up, festers, stinks, sweetens, sags, weighs me down and even explodes.  I’m a bit of a control freak and a dream deferred  is the ultimate loss of control.

It’s a dream deferred and I don’t want to wait!

So those are my thoughts and as almost nobody reads my pondering posts, I will say goodnight to myself, and try to do some actual dreaming. Sigh…