10 Things I Know For Sure At 37 (Well, Kinda)

Cassie Roma Wordpress

I turned 37 this week. Holy moly, THIRTY SEVEN!

This means that I’ve now outlived Hank, Jesus, & Marilyn in terms of years spent on this spinning rock we call home.

I won’t lie to you, 36 was an interesting trip around the sun for me. I had some amazingly high highs, & some killer lows. My family grew closer, my friendships grew stronger. I married my best friend & soulmate! I traveled home to California three times, spoke at some of the world’s most prestigious industry events, & was elected Chair to an amazing Pride organization. I still have to pinch myself when it comes to how lucky I’ve been.

That said, it’d be remiss of me not to take a moment to nod to the lows that happened, too. You know those moments in life when you think “I couldn’t possibly handle another kick to the guts.” & then another one happens? And another. And another… ad infinitum.

Yeah, I got kicked a lot. Right in my soft bits. I also had some unsteadiness in my own identity. I guess you could say that I fell upon some rough times. Author & researcher Brené Brown called her own ‘rough time’ (AKA an early-midlife crisis) an unraveling.

So, I’ll say it: Last year, I unraveled.

In fact, if my journey through this world is seen in the light of being a knitted sweater of sorts – yes, an awkwardly ugly-yet-amazing Christmas sweater is just fine with me – last year was the year in which I tugged a loose string far too firmly & everything came undone. I’ve always had a knack for keeping myself on my toes!

And, as a true adult does when struggling, I found myself the most kick-ass of professionals (yassssss, counselling FTW) to help me learn to re-knit myself together. I’m no sweater, yet. But at least all of the necessary parts are right here in my lap waiting to be spun together in time.

So, without further ado, below are 10 things I know for certain heading into my 37thyear that I’d like to share. Hopefully these lessons are familiar to you, & maybe a little bit helpful, too.

  1. Grey hair, it’s there – embrace it (or colour over it)
    I’ll level with you here, there’s no EASY WAY to find your first grey hair (or have your spouse/child/BFF find it.) There just isn’t. I can deal with smile lines, laugh wrinkles, & diminishing eyesight… but the hair change? Wow. It’s a beautiful reminder of how lucky we are to age. But, it’s also a bit of a wake-up call. Time to really buckle down & enjoy the journey, kid. Now’s YOUR time.
  2. Glasses are cool
    Hair changes. Eyesight changes. Waistline changes. And, the older we are, the cooler we look in glasses. Seriously, this is a proven, data-driven fact. Once you’re in your 30’s, you go from a nerd-bird to a cool-cat overnight simply by wearing corrective lenses. I have embraced the four-eyed-factor of my life & have many a pair of tortoise shell glasses filling my days & bringing me literal clarity. Win-win!
  3. Self-care (book in time for this)
    If you’re not prioritizing your own health (physical, mental, spiritual), you’re not doing time management right. Have too many meetings to meditate? Too many errands to be able to exercise? Nah. Recalibrate. You are your most important person (if you’re not, you should be), & you deserve time to take care of you in the ways you want/need. If you’re super busy at work/home like I am, book in time for you. Early in the morning, late at night, or sometime during the day – you’re worth 30 minutes of you, daily.
  4. Exercise more (seriously, book in time for this)
    Get up & move. Seriously, move your body as much as you can. Remember that feeling of being a kid & running, sprinting, jumping, playing, & sleeping like a rock? Yeah, it was the best! As adults, lots of us have forgotten how to move our bodies. How to spend time on doing things we’re built to do – like walking, jumping, lifting things (no, you don’t have to become an Olympic weight lifter…but it is a fun sport!) etc. Moving your body helps to temper your mind. Make time to move. I promise it’ll be the best time you spend all day!
  5. Who are you? Who, who? Who, who?
    Someone recently asked me “How much of you are you filling your days with?” when I did the math the answer was shocking. None, really. I had forgotten who I was, & how to tease out small selfish pleasures from moments in the day. Now? I take time daily to walk & think. To listen to music. To write poetry. And, simply, to re-discover the beauty of childhood imagination & play that has been dulled down with the marching on of time.

  6. Family matters
    More than anything, family matters. I know most people think this is a big “No duh!” statement – but you’d be surprised at how many folks I know that are pulling long hours, emailing whilst at home, spending time on stuff that seems important…that really isn’t. Our modern culture tells us stories about success that include forsaking everything in the pursuit of money, title, & status. I’m here to call bullshit on all of it. The only thing that’ll matter when you’re being buried is how much you loved the people who loved you back. Spend time on family – chosen or given – & you’ll find that success is in the eyes of the people who need you most looking back at you smiling.

  7. Being a good spouse means being 100% you
    I’m not gonna beat around the bush on this one. I’ve been a spouse to two people now. The first person I was married to taught me a lot about love, giving, & being selfless. He is kind, he is worthy, & he is a big part of who I am still. Marrying so young, I know now that I didn’t really know who I was or what I wanted to become. For a decade I floated through life seemingly at the whimsy of the tides. As I came into maturity, I started to uncover who I was becoming. When confronted with the truth, I realized that I wasn’t meant to be married anymore. I wasn’t fully me – which meant I’d never fully be the spouse I could be if I were 100% myself. Fast forward to marriage number two, I am now fully aware of who I am. And, I am a much better spouse & partner for it. I don’t get caught up in my own head anymore or stay quiet when I want to speak. Being a good spouse, it seems, means knowing who you are & accepting yourself enough to accept another. Ah, love!
  1. Know when to listen & when to speak up
    We have two ears & one mouth – use them in proportion. This little bit of advice was handed to me as a small child & I have tried to live my life by this mantra. Sometimes it works, sometimes my mouth outruns my brain. But, after 37 years of learning how to interact with others, I know how important it is to listen…and I mean really listen to others. Listening without the intent to reply is a skill that takes time to build. As does having the courage to speak your truth when it feels scary to do so. The precarious balance of knowing when to speak/send that email/reply to that text vs simply listen & take in another’s opinion is an interesting one indeed. 
  1. Read Maya Angelou
    Every morning I find a passage, poem, or quote by Maya Angelou to help ground me for the day. Her strength, passion for kindness, drive to be courageous, & ability to weave words together fills my soul. Having someone to look to as a human North Star is so important for me when it comes to staying balanced & in the moment. More than reading her words & hearing her voice inside of my own head, hearing her speak her words & taste them before she speaks them is magical. Her kind of magic, even just a moment of it, is what the world needs more of.

  2. Practice thankfulness by the minute
    Not by the hour, the day, the week, or the year… practice thankfulness by the minute. Spread kindness around like it’s the air that you breathe. Share both as far & wide as you can. And, even when you’re at your lowest point – remember that the simplest of actions (a smile, compliment, or kind email) can make someone’s entire world a brighter shade of happy. Saying ‘Thank you.” & writing down the things that you’re thankful for daily also help you remember just how many silver linings there are – even in the angriest, darkest of rainclouds.

Wandering And Pondering, Slowing Down to The Speed of Life

Goodbye, Commute. Hello, ‘Me Time.’

I recently had three weeks at home between jobs. Well, really, only one week between them – but I spent the last two weeks at my old job tying up projects from home. But that’s all beside the point.

What I got, was three weeks of not having to fight traffic, rush out of the house, or stress about running from meeting to meeting without time to eat, drink, or pee (AKA the trifecta of natural losses stemming from most corporate cultures these days.)

I know it wouldn’t surprise you to know that a professional life without traffic, timeframes, interruption (open-plan offices can be both the best thing & the worst all at once), or the need to wear anything other than activewear is good for both mind & body.

But, I’ll say it here anyhow:  whoa nelly, a few weeks of working to my own timeframe, at my own pace, & with the ability to exercise & ponder was amazing.

When I set out for some “me time” between jobs, my goal was to do nothing. And, to do a lot of it, at that. All of those copy-paste days of waking up, getting out the door, driving to work, sitting through meetings that could’ve been emails, driving home, sleeping…wash, rinse, repeat… oftentimes, fill a soul they do not.

For me, the goal of doing nothing was the pinnacle of re-setting. Though, as it turned out, my idea of nothing became doing a lot of somethings. And, looking back on it now, I’ve learned some good lessons when it comes to the art of slowing down to the speed of life.

Meditation in Motion
What have I learned about slowing down, then? Well, firstly I’ve learned that walking – or rather, wandering – without reason or end goal is the most cathartic thing for me when it comes to clearing my mind & moving my body.

I so love wandering. I walked every, single, day for three weeks & felt a huge shift both mentally & physically for me. I put my phone away & looked at flowers. I relished in the sunlight on my arms & legs. I sat near the ocean.

I went to cafes & eaves dropped on little old ladies (man, they’re the queens of the Gossip!)  In all, some days I walked over 30kms. Never did I have a day under 15kms. And, the wander + ponder gift I was given by time cleansed my soul happily & helped my mind wander creatively.

There’s peace in allowing your brain to wander freely. When you realize that there’s life beyond office politics, chasing numbers, & exhausting yourself to the point of tipping over – you put more onus on chasing memories.  We’re all only ever here for a short time. We might as well make it a good time. Right?

Wandering for the sake of it is akin to re-learning to play. At some point, as adults, we deprioritize playing. Some of us (I’m guilty of this at times) forget to play at all – or we create an internal narrative that playfulness at work will be seen as weakness. Pish tosh to that crap. My goal moving forward? Play more. Laugh more. Connect more.

What a blessing to have time to play without boundaries. With the only reason for it being to have fun & be joyous. I believe 110% that there needs to be more time built into corporate life for people to work play, physical movement, & the space for thinking into a day.

Slowing Down Means Speeding Up – Creatively
Between & during walks – & whilst getting myself ready for speaking events & workshops (that I also shoehorned into my “me time”), I listened to hours upon hours of podcasts with topics ranging from the science of happinessto building engaged teams to LGBTQ+ rights conversations & beyond.

By listening to other people, other points of view, & diving deeper into topics & conversations that interest me, I was able to think deeply. To ponder. To pontificate. Most mornings my friend Wendy would come for walks with me & we’d end up with no ears between us (because, ya know, we talked them off of each other).

What I found from having more unstructured learning, more fluid conversations, & more time to dive deep into different topics – is that my creative mind flourished. It’s almost as if the walls of big business act as force-fields against creativity. Really though, it’s not the walls that cause many of us to think inside of the proverbial box, it’s the constraints on time.

Creativity & cleverness both take time. For amazing work to happen – we need air to breathe, time to settle in, & space to evolve. And, a knowledge that speed does not equal best results by any means.

Just as we nurture those we love, we must learn to nurture ourselves & our own ways of working. We must honour the individuality inherent in each other, because the ways in which I work best won’t always be the same as the ways in which you feel most free to do your best.

By binging the TED Radio Hour with Guy Raz, Queery with the amazing host Cameron Esposito, & a handful of other amazing podcasts – I filled my mind day in & day out. And, in doing so, I felt myself becoming more & more interested in the world around me.

Slowing down, for me, was a reawakening of sorts.

No Phone, Who Dis?
One thing that happened the last week of my “break” was that I became homeless as far as mobile phone plans go.

For a full 8 days I had no data on my phone (don’t get me started on the absolute highway robbery of telcos in New Zealand when it comes to top ups on pre-pay plans – $120 literally got me ten minutes on my phone – & I’m still seeing red about it). Day one & two were the most difficult for a tech-addict like myself.

It’s amazing how often we all pick up our phone & look at it for no reason. And I mean NO REASON AT ALL. We’ve hardwired ourselves to have our little BFF in our pockets or on our person at all times. And, I’m being real here, there were moments where I almost struggled to put my phone in my backpack & just leave it there.

By day three, everyone who needed to get in contact with me (or might need to) knew I had no connectivity unless I was at home with wifi or in another public place with wifi.

The freedom of knowing I wouldn’t hear the dull pings of emails, text messages, DMs, or social media notifications while I walked was awe-inspiring. I was no longer on anyone else’s timeframe. I made the rules in my day around when I would check emails, when I’d answer messages, & when I felt like turning back on to the tech.

What I’ve found since heading back to an office setting this week is that I’m the odd bird out (this is usual in most places) because I tend to now forget to bring my phone with me to meetings. The output? Being present. Taking in conversations – & remembering them.

I spend more time ideating, having better conversations, & am enjoying the heck out of my time in a new environment. A lot of it, I reckon, is due to the fact that I’m not tethered to a device that makes me feel like I’m living my life around other people’s to-do lists.

Winning!

Ye Olde Wrap-Up
So, what’s the point of all of these words? Why praise the art of wandering aimlessly?
Easy: we all need to do more wandering & pondering.

We live in a world where the exaltation of busy  is the way in which we comport ourselves day in & day out. I reckon we all need to ask for (perhaps even demand) time to slow down to the speed of the wind in the flowers, the bees in the trees, & the cadence of lyrical gossip that flows from the mouths of old ladies in cafes at lunchtime.

When we allow ourselves to do nothing – something becomes of it. If time is our most precious resource, we need to be kinder in doling it out to ourselves on a daily basis. We also need to be able to realize when we’re moving too fast, too often.

Climbing off the hamster wheel of life & running beside it – then out the door – is the best way to stay hungry, creative, & able.

I hope you’re able to enjoy slowing down soon, you deserve it!

 

Happy Yule, Y’all!

It’s exactly 5:51am on Christmas morning & we’re all up & amping to rock into the day.

Kenny Chesney’s Xmas album is playing in the background. The birds are singing along.

Presents are begging to be opened underneath the tree & Santa’s left us a cookie or three to munch on.

Here’s wishing you & yours a magical holiday season – wherever you are, whomever you’re with, & whatever you believe in.

Cassie & The Roma Family

Social Media Influencers (one kid’s perspective)

On the drive to school this morning, while sipping a hot chocolate & telling me all about Minecraft and why I MUST LEARN TO PLAY, my daughter paused to ask me what I was doing recently at work – &, if she could help with anything.

My first response was a quick internal conversation with myself that went something like: “WHOA! What a cool little cat to ask how work is going. #proudmommamoment” but what came out was “Babe, I’m thinking a lot about social media influencers & the different channels they make an impact across. And, ultimately, how businesses can work with really cool people to share stories & create some fun moments between customers & businesses.”

Her next question? Brilliant. Simple. Pointed. And, necessary.

“Momma, can you define influencer for me, simply, please?” Um, yep! While coming up with an answer though, my mind was buzzing. Here I had, in my vehicle, an engaged 10yr-old keen on working out factors in her mom’s business & why they matter so much. I jumped on this moment & went with it with a keen eye on selfish learning…from a kid.

To answer  her question, I defined an influencer in the simplest way that I could – not because she wouldn’t grasp a longer winded explanation, but because explaining something simply always challenges me to be a better communicator (& because she asked me to keep it short & sweet).

“So, kiddo an influencer is something like this: a person (or people) who have a large, engaged social media following on one more more channels. They might be famous, or not. But, they’re always someone who people like a lot – enough, in fact, that they’ll follow them, share their stories, and trust their opinions.”

Hmmmmmmmm. She sat quietly for a moment. Looked at me, & said “Mom, I have some ideas… would you like to hear them?” Yes my girl, I would. Hit me with your view of the world.

MINECRAFT (had to happen, right? The kid’s 10yrs old)
If you’re going to work wit influencers – then at least one of them needs to be a Minecrafter. Why? Well, because Minecraft is amazing. Mom, did you know that Microsoft bought Minecraft for something like $2.5B US dollars? $2.5 BILLION! Surely if people are good at that, AND they have millions of followers hanging on their every word & move… then they’d be good to have.

They Should Be Funny (and Nice)
This is a good one. Why? It takes us right back to the start about why we like other people. No business objectives or brand synergies needed, just funny, nice people communicating with like-minded individuals. Seems a great place to start & reminds me that kindness really is the only way to be when professional & personal lives interweave. So, if you’re keen to be a social media influencer, Rule #1 must always be this: Don’t be an a$$hole, & be funny & nice.

They Need To Mess Up Sometimes
We all mess up sometimes… but a lot of people online try to pretend they don’t. That’s not fair to most people, right? Because, it makes it seem like some people are perfect. And, they’re not. By making mistakes, we know our favorite YouTubers are really real, just like us. The more we can see ourselves in others, the more we can empathize with them…the more we want to follow them, to share their coolness, & to be like them.

They Also Need To Know Cool Stuff
That means, they need to know stuff that I (the fan) don’t know yet but could share with my friends for added “cool factor.” The more cool stuff they know & share (it doesn’t have to be BIG stuff…just cool stuff), the more we’re going to want to watch their shows & engage with their stories & videos. For kids especially, feeling like we’re learning – but that it’s fun – is really important.

So there you have it. Four pretty spot-on ideas around social media influencers. What makes them popular, engaging, & worth aligning with as a brand or another influencer. From my perspective, I love how kids can grasp concepts so easily & then give unfiltered feedback that makes so much sense once you take your own preconceived notions out of the equation & truly listen to what’s being said.

Beyond all of the social media & influencer stuff, what did I learn from my daughter this morning? First, to just sit back, slow down, & to listen. Most of the time we talk about Pokemon, school plays, sports & friends. Allowing kids to talk & to be heard is just as much a gift for the child as it is for the parent – I for one can attest to that 100%.

Teaching moments are all around, whether with kids, colleagues or friends…embrace & enjoy them. As for my amazing 10yr old & I, I hope our relationship continues like this through time. An easy, two-way conversation about everything & nothing. A love built not just on blood & DNA, but of a foundation of trust, kindness, and safety.

Thanks, social media influencers (and Minecraft) for today’s talk on the way to school. It was a goodie.

A Quarter Turn of the Sun

MatarangiThe last time I sat down to type out a blog post, 2013 was still looming ahead bright, warm and sun-filled. Today, it’s 4 months into the year already. I know, I know…what a lazy bunny I’ve been when it comes to taking the time to write. But hey, I guess that means that life’s been busy and full, right? Right!

So what’s happened so far this year that’s worthy of remembering by putting proverbial pen to paper? Well, just about everything (no, really!) So far this year we’ve had adventures to last a lifetime and squeezed them into 12 short weeks alongside school, work and other everyday aspects of modern life.good friends…we ended up spending New Year’s Eve sitting in the sun at the Riverhead Tavern sipping cold cocktails and looking out over a gorgeous vista. From January 1st on, the summer has only gotten better. In fact, this summer has and still is one for the history books. After 2011/2012’s dismal effort at a wet, grey and We rang in the new year by taking a trip to Helensville to visit bummer of a summer, this year’s has been a real corker! Sun, sun and more sun…which makes my Southern Californian heart as happy as the Larry guy everyone always talks about.

Through January we traveled far and wide checking out new beaches, holidaying with friends in Matarangi and enjoying the heck out of each other – and our close friends. There’s something about sunshine in New Zealand which inherently means more time laughing and making memories with people you care about…so this long summer has been a true summer of fun!

Amongst the fun and laughter though, there have been tears. In January, the world lost a true good man when my Uncle Jack was taken from us very fast, and very young. It seems our tears had just left our eyes when other big blow hit in late February. One of hubby’s best mates – part of “the gang” since teenage years – died suddenly and without known cause.

Having one of the boys, one of our boys taken after just spending a weekend in Matarangi with him so full of vim, vigor, and life…let’s just say I’m still getting my head (and heart) around Wilt’s death. Looking around at the broken hearts and tear-stained faces of hubby’s friends at the funeral, men I love dearly to the last, was horrible. But, it has reminded many of us to tell our friends we love them. And it’s meant a lot more raising of glasses to those no longer with us! And, along with the losses I should mention that there have been many new beginnings. Babies have been born, marriages have begun and life has continued to go on in all of its imperfect glory. Which always gives me hope, and always paints a smile on  my face.

MatarangiAnd here we are, on the cusp of the 4th month of the year. Already! When I look back through our photos we have sure squeezed a lot into 12 weeks – and there’s so much more ahead planned. My Mom arrives for a visit in 3 days and then there’s a big trip home to California to look forward to for all of July (I need to get back my accent). There will be a trip to San Francisco, a Kenny Chesney concert, the 4th of July, my 32nd birthday and more to experience then…so bring it on.

After California I’ve got some physical challenges penciled in to keep my fitness on track. There’s a mud run in August with big group of girls I love to pieces and then I’ve put my hand up for the Auckland Half-Marathon in November which I am running on behalf of Starship Children’s Hospital (help keep my butt on track and raise some coins for the kids…you can donate big or small here.)

So that’s been my journey so far this year! May yours be filled with laughter, love, sunshine and lots of adventure!

My Memories of 2012

IMG_40442012 started BIG. Hubby and I put in an offer on a home that I’d fallen in love with – even though I’d been warned to never get too attached to a potential “new home” – and it was accepted! I remember my phone ringing just before boxing class started on a hot Monday afternoon. I answered expecting for our offer to have been declined…but when Hubby told me we got the house I danced, shouted, hooted, hollered and danced some more.

So, yeah, BIG is how the year started…and it’s also how the year is ending.

Looking back over the past twelve months I’m floored by how much we’ve achieved, by how many memories we’ve made…and by how many adventures (both big and small) we’ve lived. In March I set myself a personal fitness goal, one that promised to be as scary as it would be fun. I signed up for the Tough Mudder in Sydney, Australia.

20111228-190555.jpgFor six months, along with a rag-tag crew of 11 other hearty souls, I trained for the event. During these months I learned a lot about myself, about people, about trust, and about what motivates individuals. The event itself was easy when it came…but the preparation and the journey leading up to it is where many cherished and bittersweet memories now reside.

Beyond training to become a card-carrying Mudder, the true depth and happiness from the past year has come from spending time with my family and close friends. My biggest highlights were when my Mom came out to visit in March as well as when Mom and Dad visited in October and we took a trip away to Queenstown.

Adventuring in the South Island with them was awesome! We went paragliding, ascended some of the highest peaks in New Zealand, went jetboating and enjoyed time together. Before heading to the South Island, Hubby and I spent three very relaxed and fun days in Sydney (after the Tough Mudder event). We reconnected as a couple, laughed, explored and spent an epic afternoon sitting in the sun on a balcony overlooking Manly Beach drinking jug after jug of tropical sangria. Priceless!

In July, Hubby took us (the little girl and I) skiing at Mt Ruapehu. We stayed at the Chateau Tongariro and had an unforgettable vacation away – stopping along the way in small towns for photos and on the trip home to visit Rainbow Springs, some hidden hot springs and the Huka Falls. Talk about a great way to spend a birthday/wedding anniversary.

Watching our 6 year old daughter take to skiing like a fish to water was very cool. Her eyes were wide with excitement and her heart was full with adventure. I imagine she and her daddy will have many skiing trips together in the future (I will stay somewhere with sun and warmth).

In between our adventures outside of Auckland, there were hundreds of days and nights spent enjoying time with our friends. To say we’re blessed with a group of great people is an understatement of huge proportions. From Saturdays after rugby with the crew to BBQs on weekends to random times in town and on empty beaches (surrounded by kids!) – we’ve spent a lot of time laughing. A lot!

Beyond the good times, there’ve also been some trials and tribulations along the way. I’ve been knocked down, have trusted too openly, and have sat reeling from deceptions. That said, I have stuck to my guns and gotten back up – stronger and happier than I was before. For me, I have come to realize that it’s the hard times that teach us the true depth of our own intestinal fortitude. Thanks to a strong group of close friends and family I remain true to myself, standing tall, looking at myself in the mirror and smiling back at the person in front of me. I reckon this is a pretty cool way to be…even cooler with a nice, crisp glass of wine in hand.

That said, what I’ve learned in the past 12 months can be summed up as the below list:

1) Trust your gut – if someone or something isn’t sitting right, move on
2) Enjoy silence – there’s something beautiful in quiet moments
3) Stick to your guns – be yourself, stand up for what’s right
4) Don’t allow others to change who you are & what you believe in – being someone else sucks
5) Take the punches, and get back up again – chalk the hard knocks up to life experience
6) Smile, laugh and enjoy every moment – just because life is too short not to
7) Determine your priorities – find out what’s most important to you, spend your time wisely
8) Keep an eye on your dreams – grab them with both hands
9) Just be happy – it’s easy to get caught up in the negative stuff, let it go

I will be carrying these lessons with me as 2013 starts. Another trip around the sun for my family and I promises to be a good one.

My goals this year are simple: to enjoy every moment I get with friends, family and colleagues.

Life is too short not to feel blessed by each new day that dawns. It’s cheesy, I know. But, it’s the simple pleasures in life, the unplanned travels, and the new memories that fill our days – and hearts – that matter most. Bygones are just that, and right here and now is what matters most.

So if you’re looking for smiles, a cold bottle of bubbles and a few random adventures…just drop on in.
The more the merrier.

Rock on, 2013!

Summer so far – in photos

Summer is a magical time.

I grew up in a land of perennial summer and sunshine.

So, when then weather turns from grey, cold and wet to sunny and warm here in Auckland I become my full self.

Happy! Dancing! Swimming! Singing! Snoozing in the sun.

I’m not sure if it’s the Vitamin D coursing through my veins at a higher level, if it’s the feeling of being more alive or if I just love to work up a good sweat…whatever it is, Summer is the closest thing to magic I’ve ever known.

The sun’s been out now for four days (but will soon be going into hiding for an upcoming storm) so I thought I’d share a few happy memories that have made up Summer in Godzone thus far!

Rock on beaches, BBQs and time outdoors.

Enjoy!

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30 Things I’ve learned about myself in my 30 years

30 Things I’ve learned about myself in my 30 years.

Since hitting 30 years old in July, I thought I better start reflecting a bit on life.You know, like mature adults do.

After sitting down thinking through 30 things I’ve learned about myself (and life in general), I came to realize that I know a lot more than I thought I did. I also realized that there’s a lot left out there for me to discover.

Something that has really hit home for me this year has been the fragility of life. For a while I felt like death was all around me – hovering like a bad smell that you just couldn’t shake. Losing one person after another in quick succession takes its toll on a person – and on a family.

Today though, I feel lighter. Happier. More in tune with life.

So here you have it folks, 30 things about me that you might or might not know.
I could’ve kept going on this list and expanded on each one of these things. I also could’ve been more cute and quirky.
But, I went for “Just Cass” here.

Enjoy!

PS I really wanted to put “I’m Sexy and I know it!” as #31 but have refrained…kind of! Wiggle, wiggle, wiggle, wiggle…

My Top 30

1. I’m a happy person by nature.
2. Momma taught me well – too well.
3. My most vivid memories always include food.
4. The maximum always becomes the minimum.
5. Music is like breathing.
6. My Dad was always right.
7. Photography is magic.
8. I cry, but I’m not a cry baby.
9. I secretly want to learn to two-step with an old, grizzled cowboy.
10. Kite surfing is next on my bucket list.
11. Grandma Roma is my soul mate.
12. My childhood best friends still have my heart.
13. I have crazy dreams that lead to brilliant stories when I’m awake – this is cool.
14. I love people.
15. Exercise is my religion.
16. I am team-focused and love winning (at work and at play).
17. Country music is in my DNA.
18. I need sunshine.
19. Family is everything.
20. People have amazing stories. I love to hear them.
21. I should’ve been a roofer. Or a golfer.
22. Education is what you get when you read the fine print, experience is what you get when you don’t.
23. I’m a T-shirt & jeans kind of girl
24. My little girl has taught me more about life in the past 5 years than I ever learned in the preceding 25.
25. I like being strong.
26. I was destined to marry a guy called Tex.
27. My girl and guy friends allow me to remain Cassie – simply, me.
28. If I could have one superpower it would be to speak & comprehend every human language.
29. I love Mexican Food. Okay, I love food full-stop!
30. San Diego & Auckland are both home to me.