Self-Care and Practicing What I Preach

by Julie Cohn

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Changes, saying goodbye, letting go, and acceptance. My journey of self-care and practicing what I preach.

Some of you come here for my awesome recipes, some come for my insightful travel tips, and many of you come for my monthly self-care guides. Whatever your reasons for visiting my little blog, I appreciate the time you spend here and I try to make your visit worthwhile.  I know many of you have been asking for a new self care guide and I had every intention of doing a new one for you, but life kind of got in the way. Also, what kind of person would I be to share tips for self-care while not doing my own self-care and  “practicing what I preach?” How could I ask you to take the time for your self when I was not willing to do the same.  I needed this time for reflection, self-care, and recharge.

Changes, saying goodbye, and self-care

New Beginnings and Bitter Goodbyes

I’ll be honest…the past year has been a doozy. The past few years have been a doozy, thought too, right?!? For me, I’ve been keeping a secret, perhaps because if I said it out loud, it would finally become real and I was not ready for it to be real.

For the last almost 25 years, my family lived in Arizona (except for a short move to California in the middle). Arizona is where we raised our son, where twenty-five years of friendships were built, and where all our family memories were made. Arizona was home. 

Last summer, we made the life-altering decision to move back to the northeast to be closer to my husband’s famiy and friends. It was a frantic whirlwind move, much quicker than expected. We sold a house and bought another in five weeks, packed our entire house and life, and moved cross-country. Three weeks later, my son moved to New York City.

There were definitely benefits to the move–we are closer to my husband’s family, closer to old friends, and close to my son who was now in a PhD program in New York City. For the most part, I’ve enjoyed our time being with people we love, and it is nice to only be a few hours by car instead of five hours by plane from our son. Upstate New York, for the most part, is beautiful in the spring, summer, and fall. The glass is half full. 

But, for me, personally, there have been a few drawbacks. I miss our friends and the life we established in Arizona. I grew up in the northeast but am a west coast girl through and through, so miss the weather (yes, even the hot summers), lower humidity, the scenery, and the laid-back west coast “vibe” of Arizona and California. I miss the big beautiful (modern) house we lived in and I miss our community/neighborhood with real sidewalks and walking paths surrounded by beautiful desertscape. I miss our hikes in Sedona, my favorite coffee shop, our favorite Polish bakery that we went to every Christmas for 22 years. I miss the incredible sunsets and the smell of the desert.  I miss silly things like my local grocery store and I miss not being able to get the same brands on the east coast that I could get out west. I have no immediate family in New York and miss being closer to my sister. I desperately miss “home”. 

This city girl is now living smack dab in the country in rural upstate New York, a huge adjustment. Our new house is cute but old, with many problems (more on this in another update) and we’ve had to content with old house problems, repairs, and bats, mice, skunks, and bears. Oh my!  Also, if I am being honest, as someone who dislikes snow unless I am skiing in it, the winters here suck. 

I love being close to our family and friends, but I lived in the northeast for many years and had no desire to go back. Don’t get me wrong, New York is beautiful and I love visiting…I just never intended to live here again. There are those who grew up here and love it and cannot imagine living anywhere else. I respect their perspective and it exactly because of this that I hope people understand that it is exactly how I feel about the west coast. 

Here’s the thing…and I am only now finally able to acnowledge this part “out loud”. I made this move for the sake of my family. If I had a choice, we would still be on the west coast. But when you are part of a family, you don’t always get to make the decisions and when you love people, you make sacrifices. I can only hope that someday I will be able to get back “home” again. Sure, home is where the heart is but I left part of my heart in Arizona.

The most frustrating aspect of this is that I was expected to “just move on” without acknowledging my homesickness. I was expected to just be happy where I was, regardless if it was where I wanted to be. Women are supposed to go where their family goes, without complaint. Women are not supposed to complain at all, and women are not supposed to have hopes and dreams or places they would rather live. We live to serve our husbands, our children, and our families, and any personal wants are deemed selfish and petulent.  If I spoke up and express my sadness and loss, I was labeled difficult and entitled. I was expected to be strong and adjust to this new life without ever looking back on the people and places that touched our lives (my life!) the past 25 years. I was not allowed to feel, or want, or need.

I’d like to note that every move I’ve had for the past 26 years has been out of my control., but I digress.

Fine. Great. Whatever. 

So..while dealing with post-Covid life, a husband retiring from his career, a huge cross-country move, a son going to grad school, family members struggling with depression, extended family drama, a friend who turned out to not really be a great friend, and saying goodbye to all of my friends including a wonderful group of women who inspired, nourished, and supported me every day, I’ve had to swallow my feelings and put on a happy face. 

Self-care is healthcare.

Self-Care and Practicing What I Preach

As a strong, independent person who has little control over many aspects of my life right now (a life I only get to live once, by the way) this has been a bitter pill to swallow. 

So, yes, I needed a minute or two to gather my strength, dry my tears, and pull up my big girl panties to move forward. For the sake of family and peace, I am doing just that because, at the end of the day, if I want to keep my family together. I have no other choice. Some days, plastering that smile on my face is exhausting.

As a glass half-full kind of gal, what I can control is my perspective, my view, and my work. I can be happy where I am right now, taking each day a day at a time by creating snippets of happy moments.

Yes, I am okay, I really am, despite all the whining.  

In an effort to look forward, not back, I am ready to share some of my newest snippets of happy with you! Some of the highlights include:

  • My travel agency has grown by leaps and bounds and I am proud of the work I do and the roster of clients who work with me again and again. I work long hours and it is often stressful, but I am building something amazing. I love my clients and love creating the marvelously unique custom itineraries for them.  
  • I had an incredible trip back to Mesa earlier this summer and can’t wait to share my foodie adventure with you!
  • I had several trips to the Northeast, including Maine and Cape Cod, and will be sharing my travel tips with you.
  • The fresh produce here in upstate New York is extraordinary and I have enjoyed cooking wholesome healthy Mediterranean diet meals. I have also been enjoying way too many upstate (and downstate) New York treats, but am working on balance.
  • I had two ankle injuries last winter that sidelined my walking schedule (and I gained 10 pounds back), but I have worked hard to get back to the pace I was in Arizona and am back to walking six+ miles a day.  The humidity has been a beast and I am still struggling to lose all the weight, but am crushing it! Other than those pesky extra pounds, at 56, I am in the best shape of my adult life, stronger and more resiliant.  
  • I made a decision this summer to fulfill a lifelong dream of climbing Kilimanjaro (plus a safari). I’ve started the training process to accomplish this in February 2025 and have a kickass group of women joining me to complete this mission. (If this is something you would be interested in doing with me, let’s talk!) 
  • I am planning several Camp Bloom women’s self-care trips (Napa, Catskills, Smoky Mountains, Mexico?) with the sole purpose of experiencing beautiful destinations with a group of strong, inspiring women and building friendships owith mutual respect, encouragement, and support. Ready to join us? 
  • After a rough first semester, my son is thriving in his PhD program, making friends and enjoying New York City. A mom is only as happy as her kiddo, so his happiness is mine. ♥
  • And finally, I have a new fall self-care guide coming out!! 

Stay tuned as I share all these happy snippets in future blog posts and keep an eye out the next few days for an awesome new fall self-care guide to get you on the path to self-care this fall. 

PS: Something to note: I never intended for this blog to be a one-way street. Some of my most popular posts have lots of comments, questions, and interaction, which I love. Those of you who are anxiously awaiting my self-care guides, I ask that as you take and use those guides, please give something in return…yourself. Share your struggles and frustrations, your hopes and dreams. I know I am not alone in my struggles and neither are you and the only way we can get through this thing called life is together. Okay? 

Thank you!  ♥

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