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.
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.
It was a beautiful (if hot) sunny Seattle day on Sunday… a perfect (okay, maybe too hot) day for a parade… and what a parade it was! Moving from Westlake to the Seattle Center, Seattle’s Pride Parade marched down Fourth Avenue amidst music and dancing and a lot of crowd interaction.
Strategically positioned at the corner of Fourth & Denny, we were in prime position for photographs and a great view as the parade turned up Denny towards the Seattle Center (not to mention — confetti!) We enjoyed the music and sassy announcing (upon the Chipotle big burrito’s arrival “I totally want to ride that big burrito… Oh! That didn’t come out quite right.” Right!
Parade Marshalls Jane Abbott Lighty & Pete-e Petersen were warmly greeted by the crowd in their zippy red fiat, and kudos to Seattle’s biggest companies for proudly supporting Seattle’s LGBT community, including: Amazon, Microsoft, Cupcake Royale (baby, we were baked this way!), Seattle Storm, the City of Seattle (including Mayor McGinn!), Zico, Delta, Alaska Airlines, Seattle Childrens, PopCap Games, UPS, Holland America, KeyBank, Whole Foods (Label foods, not people!), Wells Fargo, Price Waterhouse Coopers, Starbucks, Group Health, Verizon, BECU and Macys (and that list is not even exhaustive)!
Congratulations, Seattle! I was proud of YOU, too.
Early June always sees the return of the Downtown Seattle Association / MID Annual Meeting, taking place again this year at Seattle’s Fifth Avenue Theatre. It was a pretty good turnout for this not-inexpensive event, but the attendees and the networking afterward make it totally worthwhile. Continue reading