It is What it is

Hey all you cool cats and kittens…

…truth time: I never finished Tiger King. I have the last episode left. I’m the worst with TV. I haven’t finished Glow either. Or Nailed It. Or anything I start except Brooklyn 99. Also the kids got me into Naruto. It’s fun except I love every character except Naruto. But my London friends are super proud that I’m finally into anime besides Sailor Moon and Dragon Ball Z.

Anyway, how’s life? You good? Has your new normal of teaching kids at home and zoom calls and NEVER GOING OUT ANYWHERE EVER AGAIN been treating you well? Here’s an update; this fucking sucks. It’s not all terrible. I’ve been catching up on my fitness at home, the kids and I binge watch the Simpsons, pro wrestling, and anime because we are the coolest people ever. My company is graciously paying me during this time so I’ve been working from home. I’m cooking more, and turned my Snapchat into a cooking show.

Feel free to follow along while I make chicken and other stuff.

It’s not all sunshine and rainbows. Money is tight. We’re not broke, but there’s nothing extra and summer clothes may have to wait. The dad isn’t helping, and even if he could he wouldn’t because we do not align on how we prioritize the children. Not to mention his sister caused some issues that impacted my finances and after numerous issues involving her, I’ve had to make the decision to go no contact as it relates to the kids. The kids obviously cannot go to see their grandma this summer due to the virus and also until we get confirmation that no contact will remain intact. This sucks because the kids love their paternal grandma and she’s an awesome person who deserves to see the kids, but it’s not in the cards this summer and I feel guilty because I want them to have a relationship with their grandmother, great uncles, and American cousins.

At home, we haven’t killed each other yet, but some days it’s getting close. My mom is recovering well from her health issues, but now we have to push through to get her back to day to day normalcy, which is hard and stressing me out. I feel super selfish, but we are most definitely not going to Vegas, barring a miracle. I was so excited and now it’s not happening and I’m really sad. But I feel selfish. People are losing their homes, people are dying, losing their jobs, I’m struggling to stay caught up and I’m bummed about my vacation. It’s a dumb, first world problem and I’m awful for being upset.

However, I keep reminding myself that we’ve been through tough times before and we’ve made it through as long as we stay positive. Before I got my job with my company almost seven years ago, we were on the verge of losing everything because I was unemployed and the dad wasn’t contributing. I had to pawn all of my jewellery and my DVD player to keep us fed and housed. But, I persevered, kept looking, found work and recovered. If we keep practicing social distancing, we will be able to return to work and I can get caught up and things will feel normal again. It sucks because everyone is struggling and your mental health takes a hit when you feel alone and like you’re the only one who’s stuck and can’t get ahead. But we’re all feeling it right now; we just need to keep doing our best and push ourselves to do things to make us feel normal. So, whether it’s work from home, exercise, Netflix, or meditation. The more we embrace new normal, the better things will be when life returns to normal and we can hug our friends again.

I hope you’re all doing okay. I know this super sucks but it’ll pass soon enough. Until then, find your happy, whether it’s cooking, exercising, or watching anime while drinking White Claw. Whatever works for you. But stay safe and stay home so we can all see each other again.

After Hours

How are y’all doing?

Remember when we thought 2019 was weird? Welcome to 2020, where so far, Australia was on fire, we lost Kobe Bryant and his beautiful daughter, some dude wants to sue the NFL because J.Lo and Shakira are hot, and now the planet has basically shut down because of the plague. Okay not the plague, but COVID-19 is something that should be taken super seriously. Wash your hands, take precautions, stay home, and don’t be a dick that hordes everything. Make sure you’re exercising social distancing. I’m grateful that my company is taking care of us during these uncertain times. I’m also a super extroverted person, so being self quarantined is the absolute fucking worst.

It’s day nine of quarantine. I was put on lockdown before my work closed due to a nagging cough from airborne allergies. It’s been great. I work from home, I homeschool the kids, I spend time with my cats, who hate us so much for being home all damn day. They’re so confused as to why humans are home all day every day and never leave. They pretend they’re mad but secretly love the attention.

Actual footage of my cats paying someone to reopen my work

I’m a social person who talks A LOT. So, naturally being at home all of the time with no social activities or places to go or shopping to do make MHC go something something. I’ve replayed (& completed) Breath of the Wild. I’ve binge watched eight seasons of the Simpsons. I’ve read news articles. I work out twice a day, homeschool the kids, and my mom is in isolation because of her age and health so is basically under the stairs like Harry Potter (if he had an apartment with a bathroom, a TV, and a fireplace). I’ve whined that I can’t play Animal Crossing because I’m concerned about finances & I don’t want to waste money on games. I played a game where you turn a potato into a Disney character. I can TOTALLY keep this up for weeks!

No seriously, I can. I’ll be kind of batshit insane, but we gotta put in this time. None of us are invincible and the only way to protect immunocompromised people like my mom or my middle daughter (who has severe asthma) is if we suck it up and stay at home. I know it super sucks, but we gotta. Yes, it’s an inconvenience and not fun, also I’m pretty sure my cute little charts are going to lose and we’ll just become Lord of the Flies, but we all need to do our part to stop other people from getting sick, as well as keeping ourselves safe.

There’s a lot of uncertainty too. Financially, will my family be okay until I go back to work? When am I going back to work? When do the kids go back to school? For purely selfish reasons, will the world be back to normal by August so I can go to Vegas? Will I be able to afford to go to Vegas? Is the Lululemon 10k cancelled? Am I a selfish person for wondering if I can go on vacation when people are getting really sick and my mom is in isolation? Are the kids going to end up killing each other and will their relationships be damaged by the 24/7 interactions? I’m sure a lot of parents feel the same way, and when you’re a single, sole support parent, there’s a lot of uncertainty right now about financials and work and keeping everyone healthy and sane, without going insane myself.

Unfortunately, it’s out of my hands. All I can do is do my best to keep everyone healthy and sane and keep my own sanity while clawing at the door like a cat wanting to do normal things like going shopping or to the movies. I also hope everyone else is staying safe and sane. These are weird and scary times and we need to be cautious, but also kind to each other during these tough times. It’s hard enough to navigate this uncertainty without making it harder on others by being an asshole. So, be good to each other, use all the cool technology we have to stay connected while socially distant, and be safe.

Famous Last Words

I realized this month that if people asked me what I’ve been up to, they’d realize my life seems outwardly boring.

I’ve kind of retreated into a bubble of family, work, fitness, friends. It’s been really nice. I took the kids on a mini vacation to Banff. I’ve finally gotten a chance to explore this amazing place I call home and spend real quality time with my family. Everyone had a blast and we made some amazing memories. Also, I drove four hours by myself on a road trip and lived. I feel so much more confident about driving, which is nice. I’m really trying to get my work life balance in order, so that I can be mentally healthy and successful. So far, it’s working out okay.

My view from the hot springs

My family has always been my number one priority, but I always had to work ten times harder to support us so I wasn’t getting the time we needed as a family. Now, I’ve learned to balance those things so that I’m getting that quality time in, while also doing okay at work. Because I’m happier at home, I’m doing better at work. Also, because I’m doing better at work, I’m stress eating less. Thanks to better eating and intermittent fasting and Deadboys Fitness and Capital City Athletics, I’m down 10lbs in two weeks! That’s 1/6 of my goal! Tonight at the gym during the WOD, my working weight was my 1RM from three months ago! I’m getting stronger! Things feel attainable: success at work, success at the gym, happiness in life. I feel like the luckiest person; I have an incredible family, the best friends who are willing to run 10km with me, an awesome gym family, and a beautiful home. Life is dope.

Speaking of friends, my friends has inadvertently helped me set some long term goals of my own. One of my best friends is engaged! She and her awesome fiancé are getting married! I love these two; they’re just the best couple. They’re loving and patient with each other, and really changed each other for the better. I’m so happy for them and the next step they’re about to take. I used to think the perfect couple didn’t exist until I met them, but they are just so perfect for each other and I know they are going to have the most incredible life together.

But this means a wedding, even a small one. Six years ago, I got myself in shape because I wanted to look good at my friend’s wedding. This is no different. But, this time I’m not just trying to get in shape for the sake of wearing something. I’m getting in shape to wear this damn dress.

I bought this dress to wear to a holiday party with a guy I was dating at the time…and then broke up with because he sucked at communicating and I was sick of dealing with it (and then took him back again because why not date your own stalker…twice, you know, in case you were wondering about where my taste in men used to be like. Everyone is better off now, and there’s no hard feelings, but I need to preface that I got this bomb stress in the wake of some very stupid decisions). This beautiful wool dress (in size six) has travelled with me across the country, survived being put in the dryer and revived with fabric softener and warm water, but has never been worn. Ever. Why? The last wedding was a summer wedding. This is a winter dress. It’s four sizes too small right now, but I have two years to fit in this damn dress. The goal is that I can wear it around Xmas time. That’s 10 months to lose four sizes and finally take this baby out for a spin.

The other goal is that I am NOT going stag to this wedding. Fuck. No. I’ve gone out on a couple of Tinder dates, but I’m slowly but surely putting down my walls and getting to the point where I’m ready for a serious relationship. It’s been a long time and I’ve run away from good guys because I was so scared to get close to someone, because what if I do and then I’m ghosted again? Every time a guy talked about anything more than a casual coffee, I’d Usain Bolt out of there. You can’t get hurt if you don’t get attached.

Me when anything gets serious

The thought of putting myself in a position to fall in love with someone only to find out they’d never talk to me about what’s wrong, never be really honest, and then just cut me out of their life like I never existed was too much. But thanks to therapy, and really getting to know and love myself, I’ve been chipping away. Go on a few dates, not take rejection to heart, allow the conversations, and make sure to end things properly so everyone gets closure. And for once, I really like my appearance regardless of my weight. I’m comfortable in my skin, with my family and my job. I finally feel like a catch…most days. But loving oneself is a work in progress. But, I am not going to this wedding solo. I’m going to make myself more open to dating. I’ll work on reading signals better, because right now dudes, unless you walk up and say “Hi, I am interested in you. Would you like to go on a date?” I will not understand. I do not get flirting, or dating. Or any of it. But I’m gonna have to learn, so if there are any quality mans whisperers who would like to help me understand all of this, help a sister out. More importantly, I’m finally confident enough to actually engage with people like a human being, without fear of rejection or abandonment. I almost know my worth.

My life may seem boring, but it’s happy. My family is healthy and happy. I’m emotionally healthy and happy. I’m finally getting my body the way I want so I can rock the Lululemon 10k for the third time. I feel good about my job. I live in a beautiful city in a house I’m proud of. Almost all of the pieces are coming together, even if I only catch up with friends once every two months. All of the trying times and stress just prepares you for what’s next, and for me, what’s next is a really happy time in my life, with all of the things that matter most working out in the best way possible

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Daylight

Welp, its time for the holidays, which are the busiest time of year for all of us. Since I’ll be busy working and enjoying time with family, and ending the decade with friends, I figured I’d post my annual photo essay reviewing my 2019 (excluding photos of the kids). It’s been an eventful year; moved to a new home, went on some fantastic adventures, made new friends, and did a bunch of kick ass stuff! I hope you had a great year as well, and you achieved many goals and dreams. Enjoy the photos and hopefully I’ll have more stories to tell in 2020!

We saw Ariana Grande and it was the best day until we met Becky Lynch

Changed my look for the first time in forever

City and Colour!

Bridges

Second 10k in the books y’all!

I went a friend/coworker & we killed it. Our schedules didn’t allow us to train as much as we could. We didn’t finish as fast as I’d hoped, but we still worked hard and got our medals and Doughnut Party donut and banana and feel pretty good about ourselves. I was worried we wouldn’t enjoy it, but some other friends are gonna work towards a 5k race with us in the fall, and we’re going to go back next year! I’m so excited that my friends are getting invested in my weird fitness stuff. Maybe someone will finally want to Crossfit with me! No? Anyone?

We almost didn’t finish together. My friend got a cramp in her calf (maybe we should have paid better attention in the warm up haha). I noticed after 1.5km she wasn’t with me anymore. So, I turned around & found her. She gave me shit because I had talked so much about wanting to beat last year’s time, etc. But we signed up together. We should do it together. Maybe I’m missing the point of the whole fitness thing, but it was really important to me that we pushed ourselves and finished together. We would have funny stories (like when my glasses got all foggy from sweat and I couldn’t see) and a sense of accomplishment. Now we’re going to do something in the fall together, but more friends are coming. Everyone is going to work together to become better.

I’ve been very fortunate in my four years in the land of cows to meet some great people that I can call friends. Some of us work together, some don’t. Some I brought from Ontario because they’re the best. But the best part is, in their own way, everyone is super supportive of everyone else. It’s so freaking nice to be surrounded by positivity. My friends are supportive and always pushing me to be better. My coworkers are always driving me to get to the next level. My gym family keeps me motivated even when I feel like I’m too uncoordinated or out of shape to try. When you’re surrounded by the right people, you are elevated to become better too.

I have never in my life felt so motivated in both my personal and professional life and it’s because I have a great support system of friends and colleagues who challenge and inspire me. Last year, I finished the 10k and didn’t decide to do anything else. Now I’m training for another race so we can all feel accomplished together. It’s nice to know you’ve got great people in your life, who actually want to see you succeed. I’m fortunate because I have people like that here, back in Ontario, and even in cities I’ve never been to. If you don’t feel like your friends/family/coworkers are on your team and want to see everyone succeed, then it’s time to evaluate if they belong in your life, because everyone deserves a tribe of people who want to see you succeed just as much as you want it for them.

You Need To Calm Down

Ever just freak out about money?

I do. A lot.

I’m not gonna go on the internet and cry about how I’m a miserable broke asshole. Mostly because I’m not. I work hard and maintain an okay standard of living. I’m not going to buy a beach house any time soon, but I’m doing okay. However, I’m trying really hard to improve my credit, pay off one of my credit cards, reduce my debt to income ratio, and put myself in a better position. While I am fortunate enough to receive some child support, it’s often late for weeks at a time, and the dad doesn’t seem to care enough to make sure that he’s contributing. But it is what it is. The important thing is that the kids live in a comfortable home & that I’m taking care of things. I think we’re doing okay.

I always feel guilty about spending money on myself. I bought some new makeup and felt really guilty, even though I used my freelance money. But still, I always feel like money is tight and I’m not being responsible and I could do better with my finances. Then I’ll stress, like somehow my makeup collection is ruining me financially, despite my only buying stuff every six months or so. But I’m always guilty, like how dare I want something. The kids need stuff. New glasses. New clothes. Food. Lodging. Slushies. I’ve got to provide. Makeup doesn’t provide.

Also, for the ladies (& fashion forward gents), my makeup collection.

I think right now I’m stressing more because I saved up all year to take the kids on a legit vacation, and not just flying them to see their dad. We’re going to Toronto to check out the sites and attend WWE Summerslam, so my children can live out their dream of meeting Becky Lynch…and I can also meet Becky Lynch (& Seth Rollins) hahaha. It’ll be nice to use my vacation time for an actual vacation. But that means cutting every corner, scraping every penny to cover bills, which gets harder when you’re doing it on your own because you’re basically a sole support parent as your support payments are hit or miss. This means every penny is accounted for, and everything, from the hair appointment I cancelled to save cash to my granola bars for lunches, makes me feel like a shitty person.

I guess I feel this way because I’m the only person who has to think about the collective & everything is on me. I’ve got to keep the family going. I’ve got to make sure the bills are paid, the food is on the table. I’ve got to make sure that everyone is taken care of. I’ve got to fly the kids out to see their dad every year. I’ve got to make sure the car follows the proper maintenance schedule. I’ve got to keep everything together and I scrape and claw to get a vacation together and feel badly because that could have been used elsewhere. Because of this, I end up thinking that anything I might want is bad or wrong and I’m a horrible person for buying my cup of tea or buying makeup with money that I make outside of our budgeted income. I spend so much time worrying that I end up stressed out and exhausted.

What people expect from me

Am I the only person who feels like this?

Actually me

Maybe this is a sign from the universe that I need to be smarter with my money. I’ve already spoken to a financial planner about how to reduce my debt and really make my money work for me so I can feel more secure about my finances. Continue to do smart things like keep the deductibles for my auto and home insurance in the account with my insurance so I’m not caught with my pants down in an emergency. But mostly, calm the fuck down. It’s okay to indulge a little, just don’t be stupid. Stick to your budget. Put away savings. Plan your budget in a way that will help you maximize your earnings. Easier said than done, but I’ve mastered slowing down on my impulse buys. But most importantly, if I’m so worried about money all of the time, it’s up to me to make changes to feel better about my finances. Whining and sacrificing and panicking has never improved anyone’s situation. Nor has complaining and blaming everyone else. What will help, is actually taking time to make financial management a priority. I thought I did well, but I could do better, and I will be better, one nickel and dime at a time.

Bad Guy

Life is weird man.

You never know who or what will jump out of the woodwork when you least suspect it.

I’ve had a pretty tranquil life these past few months. I’ve found my groove at my new store. The weather is lovely so I’ve been enjoying my backyard. I’ve gone on a few dates here and there, no one has been someone I’d consider an option for a serious relationship, but it’s been nice to get back out there. My 10k training is going alright. I set a PR for my clean and jerk at the gym. I’ve been spending more time with friends, which led to one of my platonic friends spamming me on Tinder a bunch of times, because why not?

My friends everyone

The kids and I are gearing up for one of our two vacations this year and it’s been pretty chill. Life is good. So, of course, some weird ass thing has to happen.

Yesterday, an ex boyfriend reached out to me on FB messenger (I thought I blocked all the exes that ended on bad terms, but apparently one slipped through. Damn). He wanted to apologize for the circumstances that led to the breakup, despite us breaking up several years ago and both of us moving on. I hadn’t even thought about the dude in years, and for a second, I was transported back to a very ugly time in my life that I had no desire to relive.

For those of you that have the urge to reach out to someone you’ve hurt in the past, so you can apologize and feel better about yourself; don’t. There’s a few people I was toxic towards in my life during a period shortly after my divorce and they had to sever ties. Since I became a healthier person, I recognize that I was a douche and dragged them down with my depression. But I don’t want them to have that dredged up when they’re living their best lives, so I don’t invade their lives with apologies that they don’t really want or need. Let people live their lives in peace and live with your guilt.

My first thought was “What kind of egotistical prick?!” I mean, how much of an ego must someone have to think that years and years later, I give a flying frog’s ass about you, your guilt, etc. As if my life will magically be made better by you seeking me out to apologize. My next thought was that it must have taken a lot to own up to some shitty behaviour. But mostly fuck you and your ego. People who feel the need to apologize years and years later to clean their slate are narcissistic as fuck (unless it’s part of a rehabilitation program) in my opinion because you’re literally invading the happy life someone built to remind them of the shitty times it took to get there and rub their nose in it like a dog that peed on the floor. No one wants or needs it. I respect that everyone needs to heal in their own way, and maybe some people need to make that apology. Maybe some people want to hear it. But for me, if you hurt me, you don’t get to invade my life long afterwards and get your healing through me. Write a letter and burn it. Find a symbolic end. But keep your apologies and bullshit away from me. You’re not in my life anymore for a reason. The reason is that I do not want you there.

I did reply as politely as possible that I accepted their apology and requested that they please not contact me again. The person in question agreed to comply, but I added him to my long block list just in case. I’m sure he felt better, but I didn’t feel any differently. I felt nothing once the shock subsided. That door was long closed and needs to stay that way, much like most doors I’ve closed. Doors that you closed should remain that way.

Maybe I’m way off base. Maybe some people find value in those long overdue apologies. If you do, I hope you get them. But, it’s just not something that hives with me, and I have long accepted what’s happened, forgiven you, and moved on. I hope they have as well, and there’s no ill will, but I also probably never want to hear from you ever again.

You Should See Me In A Crown

I never realize how boring my life is until it gets shaken up a bit.

I work. I raise humans. I go to the gym. I go running. I sometimes go out with adults. I continue to search for a “hard working conservative ‘Berta oil mans,” because that is obviously my type.

Follow me on Instagram for more gems @mhc2617

That’s my life in a nutshell. It’s honestly the most mundane life in existence. I’m about to plant a garden. I colour with chalk with the kids. My life is not interesting. Then, we had a shakeup at work and I was pulled from my comfortably boring life into a new location, with a new staff, and everything is different and you all know how I feel about change!

I’m always afraid of messing up. I love my job, and I want to do well. But I’m not good at coming in hot right out of the gate and I’m always afraid of disappointing everyone. I want to do well & be a role model to my kids and my colleagues and then I stress myself out. ALSO DID I MENTION I HAVE HAD NO CAFFEINE IN A WEEK AND I MAY POSSIBLY BE REALLY INSANE?!

Yes, change couldn’t have come at a better time, when I’m taking part in my annual “caffeine free, alcohol free, fast food free” May (with the only exceptions being Mother’s Day & McHappy Day). So, I have no vices to use to cope with stress. I have…tea.

Don’t get it twisted; David’s Tea is the absolute best place on Earth & Lavender Buttercream Tea is magical. But, as someone who stress eats, I can’t just go get some fries and feel better. I could, but I’ve made a commitment to seeing this through to myself, just like I made a commitment to be the best manager/cell phone boss lady. If I can’t put down the fries for 29 days, how am I gonna build a team and be awesome? I don’t have my vices. I’ll actually have to deal with the stress on my own! What could possibly go wrong?!

Well, literally everything. But, that’s not a good attitude. I need to learn how to actually cope with anxiety in a healthy way. Fries are never the answer. So, I made sure I got to the gym. I set a PR for my clean and jerk. That made me happy. I boosted my team’s morale. Came home and did yoga. I can’t keep going to the quick fix. Fries won’t help me be a better leader. Fries are just delicious. What WILL make me a better leader is actually being a better leader. Working on deficiencies. Getting team feedback. Feedback from colleagues. That’s what’s going to make me a better leader. Also, being confident. I was chosen for a reason & if I want to get to where I want to be, whether it’s personal or professional, I’ve got to carry myself like I deserve it. Then work to earn it. That’s the only way. But believe you can and you’re halfway there. Or something like that.

So, chin up buttercup, you’re gonna be fine, and while fries are delicious, you’ll never get to where you wanna be by stressing out and eating fries.

For The Last Time

It’s funny how everything changes.

Last year, I felt very out of place in my own life. I felt like a fat banana, and like someone too awkward and not fit enough to be part of my gym community. This year, I feel empowered by the same people and I find that I want to go to the gym because I love being there, and go running because I finally enjoy it.

I felt out of place at work. I felt like I was the smart kid in class that everyone talks shit about after they give them the answers to number six. Now, I have an amazing group of humans that work with me. I love the leadership team, and I love the staff I have in my store & across the hall. I hang out with them outside of work; we play video games & eat dinner. I even convinced my ASM to run a 10k with me (she hates me now)! But I genuinely love working with these people and I feel more empowered to be successful. My personal performance has improved, and my ASM and I are a great team, as are my best friend/coworker and her ASM. We have such a fun dynamic and I’m so proud to be part of it.

I no longer feel like a weird loner in a big city trying to find where I belong. I’ve found it; I found my home. I found it by being brave enough to drive. I found it through my work, both management and through my published articles. And I’ve found my tribe of people through my job, my gym, or because they moved here from home. But I finally feel like, for the first time in years, I’ve found my place.

It’s weird how something will happen and you’ll realize everything has just kind of snapped into place. For me, it’s been this last week. We celebrated St. Patrick’s Day at the house and it hit me that I finally lived somewhere I was proud to invite company over. I asked my social circle to do a fitness thing and people actually wanted to do it. The kids brought home great report cards. I was invited to a gym event and I went and had a great time. That’s when it hit me; I’m no longer a participant in my own life watching it happen around me. I really love my life and finally feel like it belongs to me. Even my cats seemed more at ease lately, and put up with me taking selfies with them. That also may be the CBD oil.

Things won’t improve until you take control and improve them. And your situation won’t change, whether it’s your financial situation, your relationship status, your job, until you stop letting yourself be a participant in your own life. I needed to stop just accepting the things I didn’t like about my life and change them. Once I did, the positivity and joy arrived. Somewhere along the way, I forgot that change doesn’t work unless you do, and some of that change I didn’t even realize was happening until I saw how certain decisions change how you see your life. You won’t even see change overnight. You’ve just gotta keep pushing until you can’t see the negative because you’re too focused on the good and that’s when the breakthrough will happen.

Sometimes all you gotta do is change how you look at life. Fake it until you make it? Instead of “how am I gonna run 10k again?” It’s “this year I’m gonna make sure I get my Doughnut Party after I finish.” Instead of “ugh I have a fuckton of yard work,” it’s “my yard will be dope.” Instead of “that workout is too hard,” it’s “my legs are gonna look so good in a few months.” You get the idea. By changing the mindset, I could do the work to make changes. So, next time you feel negativity seeping in, look back at how you’ve grown and don’t let yourself undo that progress.