Last week I had the opportunity to go home. It’s true, what they say, you can’t go home again. Things are never the same as what you recall. Time doesn’t stand still. It isn’t possible for things to remain the same. However, home is still home; and there is comfort and memory and deep emotional attachment, both good and bad. Continue reading
Short answer: yes. Long answer: I’ve taken some time to enjoy my summer and I’m finally (and really) just getting started.
I have learned something REALLY IMPORTANT from this last life experience (and seriously, I really thought I had learned most of what I needed to know). Funny, I didn’t even realize I was doing what I was doing, but once it became clear to me, I could see it and was horrified. So get ready… this is big… are you ready? Here it is:
Sit with it a minute. Think about it. What is going on in your life that is causing you to “wait” for whatever it is? It goes something like this:
— When I lose those 20 pounds…
— When the kids go back to school…
— After we get back from vacation …
— As soon as I get a job…
Sometime in August, I realized I was waiting. Waiting for that new job to start living again. It’s not that I sit around all day doing nothing. I have had a great summer, but I’ve still been mostly “marking time.”
For me, it took having a discussion with my husband about making some home renovations, and every suggestion he had was met with “well, let’s wait till I find my job” from me. He’s trying to live his life, and I’m sitting here saying “Wait!”
Well, I’m not waiting anymore. I first started blogging about The Man and my life six years ago with a post about why we got married in the first place. Nobody can promise you tomorrow. You have today. So don’t waste it!
I have learned (as I’m sure, have you) that it’s tough… when there’s something going on that weighs on your mind more than anything else. You spend a lot of mental energy worrying about things that aren’t necessarily making any progress. For example, worrying about getting a new job doesn’t help me do it. Applying for appropriate jobs, perfecting my resume, writing a brilliant cover letter — those things help. Worrying does not.
I’ve joined a couple of groups of people going through a life “work” transition, but I admit, I don’t go. There’s something tremendously depressing about other people going through what I’m going through, and I don’t need to be depressed on top of everything else!
So, September 7 is my START OVER date. Pick yours. Make a plan. Get going with it. Don’t kick yourself while you’re down. Give yourself a break every once in a while. And don’t be a downer. People don’t want to spend time with downers. Enjoy this experience. Grow. Learn. Laugh. There is a reason we’re going through this. There is something we’re set up to learn. So enjoy. Embrace. And get ready — the next big thing is just around the corner.
Well that’s a loaded question! It’s been nearly a month since I started this journey and sometimes I feel like my whole world has expanded, and other times I feel like I haven’t budged an inch!
What I’m finding is that my feelings about progress are directly related to the amount of work I do to ensure I make some: whether it’s networking, blogging, planning, reading a helpful book or learning more about a topic. The only reason that’s relevant is that there are days when I just don’t feel like it — any of it. That sounds lazy, I know. But I know I’m not lazy. I think I’m just tired. It’s been a long haul, and I’m tired. So I’m trying not to let it get me down, and I’m letting my body dictate how much I get done. Continue reading
This is a subject that has already sparked fierce conversation. Brock Turner, convicted of rape (and numerous other charges) at Stanford University has finally been sentenced — and America was shocked to see him get what seems to be a “slap on the wrist.” Equally telling, it apparently took innumerable requests and public shaming by media outlets to force a release of Brock Turner’s mugshots by local police and university personnel.
I’m going to start off with some understanding, from the perspective of a parent of boy children. Times have changed. Sit with a minute. Times really have changed. I remember 20 years ago, when my oldest son was in very early elementary years, receiving calls from school about his behavioral issues. His father and I were in the throes of a sad and difficult divorce, and my son’s “behavioral” issues amounted to an emotional clinginess that meant he hugged his friends – a lot. It made other children uncomfortable. Not to mention my oldest grew up to be a football player – he was always a big-for-his-age kid. But there was nothing “bad” or “violent” or mean-spirited” about these behaviors. They simply made other kids “uncomfortable” (or for all I know, the teachers observing). Continue reading
Yesterday’s new record 93 degree temperatures were a challenge. It’s one thing when you spend the day in an air-conditioned office and go home to discomfort. It’s another thing when the heat hits on a Saturday and you have chores to do.
Last night marked the return of the Wednesday Night Market at Pike Place Market, running every Wednesday from 5 to 8 p.m. through mid-October.
According to market officials, in addition to some of the regular vendors that will stay open late for evening visitors, Pike Place will host local producers in tents in front of the regular market stalls just below the entrance on Pike Street (on the cobblestones).
It wasn’t a huge crowd that turned out for last night’s event (partly, I think because a good number of visitors waited at the Market entrance and the evening events took place further north down the cobbled street through the market. Continue reading
I grew up the child of a submariner. I won’t say a “Navy brat.” My dad was enlisted and none of us were allowed to be brats. But we were fortunate to have a wonderful life as a result of his service. My dad is blessedly still alive (and happily with my mom after 52 years of marriage), so every Memorial Day I say “thank you” — to my dad (and my mom) and those who have served, are serving, and help keep the families together during all that service. Military families are a special bunch. They move a lot. Spouses are alone a lot. Children don’t know who to believe is the “authoritarian” parent.My mom scared the bejeezus out of us. But then my dad came home and he expected every order to be obeyed. It’s tough when you’re 7. But we figured it out. I had two younger brothers while my father served. My third brother was born when he retired from the U.S. Navy. My dad wasn’t even 40 (if you’re doing the math, my dad may have fudged on his age a bit at enlistment, but what do I know). Continue reading
So, life is complicated right now. I’m starting a new chapter in my life (and haven’t decided yet what to title it). My oldest son has moved out of our home (again – don’t get me wrong, I’m happy for him — and us — it’s just that every time brings back those same maternal feelings of the first time. I’ll be sad for a few days when I pass his empty room, and I’ll be fine). Plus, I’m 51 and starting to experience those physical changes that happen during that time.
Still, I do my best to find joy and happiness every day in my life. I believe that happiness is a choice. I choose it EVERY day. Sometimes it’s small things, and sometimes it’s bigger things, but always, always, it’s a reaffirmation of life, love and renewal.
Today, I am reminded again of the fact that nature finds a way. And that there is a greater force than us, with a greater plan than we know.
Several weeks ago we were delighted to discover that the small, brightly painted birdhouse that William painted and we hung in the Japanese Maple tree in our small courtyard garden last spring had residents. A small songbird had made a nest and laid some eggs and hatched three baby birds. We have been delighted to hear them peeping in their nest, while their mother stayed in the dogwood next door, alerting and trying to ensure her babies remained safe.
All was going well until the housepainting started last week. I asked the painters quite pointedly to beware the nest in an effort to avoid disturbing the little family. I have even kept the cat indoors as she’d find those babies in a heartbeat. The painters did just fine until the last day when they took down their ladders. After they had gone, I walked outside to walk to the grocery store and noticed the bottom of the birdhouse was hanging — barely attached to the walls. I shook my head after a moment of indecision. I could hear my father’s voice saying “never touch it, or the mother won’t return.” I don’t know if the removal of the ladders might have clipped it, or if gravity simply had its way, but saddened and ambivalent, I walked away.
Later I had a phone call from my oldest son (the window of his bedroom is right behind the tree with the house and the nest). He was upset and agitated. Apparently the floor had fallen from the house and the nest and babies were now on the garden floor under the tree peeping like mad.
Ordinarily I wouldn’t worry too much, but the last few days have been cold, wet and windy, and the babies are very young (although nearly fledged). Still, they were fairly protected under the eaves of the house, and I’m happy to report that two days later they are still happily in what’s left of the nest. All three growing every day. Mother still
tending them on the floor of the garden, and they’ve “dug in” a bit — I’m sure looking to keep as much warmth as possible.
I know they’re only birds. But there’s something wonderful about the wildlife that takes up residence in our home. It feels like an affirmation of our hospitality. We are a loving, welcoming environment. I don’t know. I just know I want those birds to live.
Looks like they’re still in pretty good shape, and the weather is due to improve tomorrow. Here’s hoping.
What things give you joy? How do you continue every day to choose happiness? I’d love to hear your successes (and even the failures – we all have them). Please feel free to share.
Attended the Seattle area Content Marketing MeetUp tonight at WeWork in the Holyoke Building. First time I’ve been in that space and it was pretty cool. I remember when the HUB opened four or five years ago and it was an interesting concept. Now there are WeWork spaces opening all over the place. Funny, I was talking to one of the folks I met at tonight’s meeting. Remember 25 years ago, we used to office-share then, too. Only then it really was office sharing – you got an office, and got to use the copier, printer, receptionist, conference rooms (there wasn’t any WiFi back then!) Still… sounds familiar, no? Continue reading
Freshly back from our SoCal sojourn, I am back in Seattle and in the midst of reading “Pivot – the Art and Science of Reinventing Your Career and Life” by Adam Markel. It’s a mouthful, but it’s also a pretty easy read, and probably about time, too.
I had lunch with a good friend yesterday at Tom Douglas’s Bravehorse Tavern in South Lake Union (we had the Spring Asparagus Salad – try it, it was AMAZING). My friend asked me a few seemingly innocuous questions, like “if you could do ANYthing you wanted to, what would it be?” “If there was nothing stopping you from going after your dream job, what would it be?” It was funny. I sat there, perplexed and almost frozen. It took me a full sixty seconds to realize I didn’t have easy answers because I’d never been asked (even by myself) these questions.
At 51 years old, I have legitimately had about 5 jobs. Starting in college I was a word processor at a law firm. Then I became a legal assistant at a cable company. Then I became a legal assistant at a small law firm. I worked from there into the Director of Marketing position, and then Director of Business Development (24 years is a long time). Then I was the U.S. Sector Specialist for the Urban Development and Infrastructure team at a global engineering firm, and then I went in-house at a small hotel company as their DoM (which was supposed to be a corporate position, but didn’t really work out that way). Truth is, as I raised my kids (as a single mom), and made a ferry commute of 4 to 5 hours every day to Seattle for 22 years, I didn’t think about WHAT I wanted to do. I was too busy doing what needed to be done. And when the law firm job that lasted 24 years was gone, I didn’t really know HOW to think about what I wanted to do. I just knew I needed to DO something. I was excited about the change and opportunities in the engineering field, but the truth is, that was not a position that really allowed me to do the things I’m best at. It was all structured organization and boilerplate. Certainly do-able, but nothing to get passionate about, so when the opportunity to do something in hotels came along, I was excited again. But even that came with little to no deliberative thought on my part. And as it turned out, going into a small, upstart company on the verge of growth and an ever in-flux management team wasn’t the easiest thing to do. Truth is though, I wasn’t looking for easy. I was, however, hoping for something that would allow me to grow, learn and be part of something as it evolved.
Not everything works out as one might hope. So, this time, I’m taking the time to ask those questions. I’m evaluating my own abilities. And I’m going to to determine what I WANT. And I’m not going to say “yes” to anything that doesn’t fall within all those specifications.
In reading “Pivot” I’m already starting to feel my brain open up to possibilities that I hadn’t considered before. And if nothing else, that’s renewing. I’m the first to admit it’s a weird space to inhabit — for me. I’m quite used to be the gerbil on the run-around-wheel. I think my little legs may be tired (and I’ll probably know for sure after I’ve rested for a minute), but they always keep going.
So to rest and consider is odd, feels a little TOO self-indulgent, but I’m doing it. My friend gave me some advice yesterday. The words were quite terrifying “be very selfish. This is your opportunity. Take it.” Be Selfish. What horrid words. They are the opposite of everything I’ve been raised to respect in myself and others. They are the epitome of all I find less than impressive in others. But my lack of understanding them may be my greatest failing. In order to give to others, I have to have something to give from – that well of energy, passion, enthusiasm, happiness. Without that, there’s nothing to give. It’s like they say on the airplanes – if the oxygen masks drop, put yours on first, before assisting others. Well, you can’t help others if you’re dead. That may be a bit of an exaggeration, but the point is well taken.
So, I’m putting on my oxygen mask, and I’m learning to be a little more selfish. It’s a process. But I’m on the path. Have you gone through this process? I’d love to hear about your experiences. Please share your thoughts in the comments and let’s discuss.