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Mid-life Manifesto

The bad news is there's been kind of a trainwreck over here and my writing has been reduced to mostly lists and notes on the backs of envelopes. That whole Project Life thing I was so passionate about? Just in my head these days. But I saw this mini-quiz trending on social media this evening and thought I'd take a minute to ask the boys to answer the questions, unprompted. Their answers remind me so much of why I love them, their hearts and the way they use their words! 

The good news? While I may have turned the corner a little too sharp and landed on my ass, I'm up, dusted off and moving forward. And that feels pretty awesome. 

One of my lists just so happens to be plans for getting this blog back up and running instead of just being a platform for posting clips, because let's be honest, that gets, you know, old. 

Earlier this year one of my coworkers, jokingly (?) said I was a trainwreck in response to hearing I'd misplaced my debit card. And my phone. Also a few other key things, like,maybe my mind. 

"What's a nicer way to say 'trainwreck'?" 

"Hot mess?" 


Now though, I'm more at a lukewarm mess status. 

And I think I might stay there forever. I'm at that eff it, I'm 40 ... I may never be a person who folds all my clothes and does all the adulty things in all the right order. I may always be a person who tries to do too much and disappoints people along the way because you can't cash in on good intentions. I will probably always care too much, try too hard and fail even harder. 

Know what else? 

I'm done twisting myself inside out trying to match the pace, priorities and purpose of other people. And, I'm over being the only one rowing. From now on when I'm in a situation or relationship of any kind where I realize I'm the only one doing the rowing, I'm out. 

I love being able to be Sam and Jake's mom and have front row seats to their take on the world. I love being a writer. I love most of the people in my life. This is pretty good stuff. 

The best part of rock bottom is the part where the world stops spinning, you catch your breath and realize you get to chose which path to take next. I have no idea how this next phase of my life looks, but I kinda think it might be awesome. Plus, I'll take notes ... you know for all that writing I'm going to do someday! 

I just know I'm done apologizing for who and how I am. 

I'm not for everyone. 

And I'm finally done trying to be ... 

Oh, right - enough mid-life manifesto and on to the quiz I started this with ... plus, I just wanted to say hi and that I miss you guys. Thank you for all the check-ins and notes throughout the year! You are my favorites!




What is your name? Jake
How old are you?6
How old is your mom? 40
What is your favorite color? red
What is your favorite food? corndogs
What is your favorite animal? zebras
What are you scared of? real life
What is your favorite show? terreria let's play
What makes you sad? when people say "shut up" to me
What makes you happy? terreria
Where is your favorite place to go? the place that makes me happiest is home.
What do you want to be when you grow up? ninja, engineer, vet and video game worker
What does love really mean?that somebody cares about you and really likes you.


What is your name? Sam
How old are you? 9
How old is your mom? 40
What is your favorite color? gold
What is your favorite food? hotdogs
What is your favorite animal? giraffe
What are you scared of? heights
What is your favorite show? terreria let's play
What makes you sad? divorces
What makes you happy? terreria
Where is your favorite place to go? home
What do you want to be when you grow up? a ninja, videogame developer and movie maker
What does love really mean? It has a lot of different meanings.

Pssst: If you liked this column, I'd love it if you share it with someone else who might be encouraged by it too! 


So about last week

A nationwide breakdown in communication

*Edited to add: I usually post my columns here just as they ran in the paper. And, I have a lot of respect and appreciation for my editors. However, anyone who saw this one in print should know that I am mortified that the term "soccer moms" ran under my byline. File under: irony. See also: story for another day. Moving on ... 

November, 2016

By NATHALIE HARDY | Yamhill Valley News-Register

I have started and deleted several iterations of this column, in response to the recent election of our 45th president. However, it occurred to me — right on deadline, unfortunately — that the last thing the world needs is another person sharing an opinion. 

Instead, I thought, perhaps it would be better for me to focus on what needs doing in the wake. I have some huge favors to ask of you guys, because it appears there’s an awful lot of work lying in front of us, on behalf of one another and humanity as a whole. 

For the purposes of this column, I’m not interested in how you decided to vote. I’m concerned about how you’ve opted to treat people who didn’t pick the same candidate.

I’m worried about being so quick to label others one way or the other that we miss making progress on important things we need to agree on — like, say, civility. 

The last time we elected a new president, my older son was an infant. He mostly just cared about being warm and fed, as sleeping was not so much his thing. Back then, I was preoccupied largely with figuring out how to meet our most basic needs. 

My boys are in first and third grades now, and this time, they had some questions. Actually, they had a lot of questions. And I was not prepared for them, as it blew my mind to see how much vitriol they’d adsorbed from that being spewed about so casually by friends, family, people on the sidelines at soccer games and strangers at Safeway.

They’d already heard words I wasn’t prepared to explain. They were already confused about concepts I struggle to wrap my own mind around.

So I did what any parent would do, repeated back their questions to be clear about what they were asking, and of course, to buy myself some time to figure out how to respond appropriately. 

That’s what I need to ask you guys to do, too. Please, for the love of all the children paying attention, pause before responding to things that trigger strong reactions.

What is true for you? You should totally express that, but you should do it in a way that doesn’t force children into a false dichotomy.

Could we possibly stop contributing to a culture where facts are treated as opinions and opinions are treated as facts? 

You know what? Nobody gets a pass on that one. There’s no one side doing it right.

This election season has been marked by one of the biggest breakdowns in civil communication that I’ve ever experienced. If we want things to be different, we need to start seeing where people who disagree with us are coming from.

That doesn’t mean we have to be complicit with an idea we abhor. It just means we have to be willing to listen, and when we get our turn, to explain our counter position without resorting to hostility. 

By all means, pay attention, form opinions, care deeply and be as vocal as you wish. I promise to support you in that, whether or not I agree with you. But my support ends when your message gets lost in the bombast of your delivery.

We can be truthful without being cruel. And if we want people to hold space for our processing of events, and the emotions attached to them, we need to return the courtesy. 

In our country — and I continue to be a proud resident, despite my disbelief over some of what I am hearing and seeing — freedoms and rights come with a measure of responsibility that we are collectively slacking on. Remember, we are all responsible for the words we choose, the impressions we create and the conduct we display in engaging others — especially those we disagree with. 

If you’ve known me for even 10 minutes, you know I am passionate about a lot of things and don’t hesitate to call out something that seems wrong to me. But I’ll back it up every time. And I’ll do it without making your kid worry that the people they love aren’t going to be safe around me.

You’re welcome. Thank you for doing the same.

One last thing: I have this quote from William Martin’s work, “The Parent’s Tao Te Ching,” on my desk at work and fridge at home. Maybe it will resonate with some of you, as it does with me: 

“Believe this difficult truth. Showing respect in the face of disrespect, love in the face of hate, trust in the face of betrayal and serenity in the face of turmoil, will teach your children more than all the moral lectures by all the preachers since the dawn of time.”

Pssst: If you liked this column, I'd love it if you share it with someone else who might be encouraged by it too! 


Wearing the robes we weave

Wearing the robes we weave


October, 2016

By NATHALIE HARDY | Yamhill Valley News-Register

Pssst: If you liked this column, I'd love it if you share it with someone else who might be encouraged by it too!