New Changes

For quite some time, I have been working on ways to relieve some stress in my life and quell the anxiety that has rattled me since being laid off. I don’t like not having a plan. I don’t like not knowing what’s going to happen with the bills. I’m the kind of person that needs to have a plan and a back up plan and it seems that all that has gone out the window.

Recently, I blogged about an accident that totaled my car. And without a job and bills piling up, the stress was beginning to suffocate me.

Then, a temporary job came along. And just like all the other times that we were almost in trouble, something came along to help. Maybe not solve the problem entirely, but enough to get us through to the next moment.

In all this chaos, I’m starting to feel a strange calm under the worry. The kind of calm that tells me that even though things aren’t how I planned, things will work out. It will get better. It’s been a long time since that feeling has surfaced. I’m wondering if I can keep it around.

When I was a teenager, I loved not knowing what would come next. I loved not having a plan and making last minute decisions. Worry never crossed my mind when I didn’t have enough money to fill up my gas tank. I don’t ever expect to get back to that feeling, but I would like to remind myself that the worrying is pointless. It only hinders the attempt to achieve a goal.

We do what we can do. We try our best. We may not always get the turnout we are looking for, but we keep moving and we keep working. Everything is temporary. Everything is always changing. If you let worrying slow you down, you’ll never get where you’re going.

 

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Done Waiting

It was 2 weeks ago that I posted about how I need to step up my game. In writing and in life.

So, did I do anything? Am I all talk and no walk?

Yes, I did and no, I’m not.

Wait…you get that, right?

I started with a movie. I took myself to the movies. I went to a matinee to see Hangover 2. There were about ten other people in the theater, so I got to stretch out and get comfortable. (I’d like to add that matinee is prime time because if you heard a whole theater laughing, you may have missed half of the jokes as they were layered in one after another.) While I usually bring my own snacks in my oversized purse….ssshhhh!…this time I bought myself a snack and drink there. Hey, if no one else is gonna splurge on me, why don’t I do it? I spent two hours in worry-free bliss, relaxing and laughing.

A few days later, I treated myself to some new summer clothes. Nothing extravagant, but a few bright colored things from Old Navy perked me up a bit.

This week, I took my kids to the local zoo. Not a big city zoo, but a local one where we can still walk around and enjoy the day outside. The kids had a great time and I was at ease allowing them to run around and watching them ooh and aah at every little creature.

Tuesday. Tuesday was a big day. I took my son to the Philadelphia Museum of Art. My quest to spend more time in the city has begun. A bit nervous on the drive in, we made it there with no problem. I only freaked out mildly when I found out I couldn’t park in the usual parking lot in front of the building.

WHERE DO I GO?!!

Street parking…ugh. We found a spot, and the bonus? I didn’t have to pay for parking. Score one for me.

And even though the residual effects of the stress tainted my stomach for the next two hours, I managed to suck it up and make the most of the day with my son. We strolled. We admired. We wondered. He received several compliments on his hat; he has a fedora he loves to wear. There’s something elating about seeing your child beam at random compliments. We even marveled at our favorite room…The Armor Room.

All in all, I think I’m on the right track. The past two weeks gave me a boost and I feel like some life has been breathed back into…well…my life. I’m definitely going to take myself to the movies more often. And finding things to do outside with the kids will be a priority, as well. There are a bunch of playgrounds nearby. Maybe that will be next week’s fun.

What are YOU doing to live a little more? Let me know!

What AM I Waiting For?

I’ve felt a bit stalled. And stale. With my writing and with my life. I’m busy hunting for jobs. I’m running errands and cleaning house. The fun factor is very low right now. Not that life is all games and nonsense, but my personality requires a certain level of me that’s running on empty. And when I feel like this, I gravitate to this:

I was lacking in inspiration last night, and a very cool Twitter friend, Jason, gave me a hand. We played a little word association game to help each other get some ideas going. And in the process, I ended up being inspired by inspiration. The ridiculous word combinations reminded me to have fun with my writing.

I also felt a little push to my outlook on my life, as well. I’ve been feeling like this summer is going to be a big deal for me. Like things are going to happen. Nothing grandiose, but maybe some serious change that will be for the better. I’m also vowing to be more of me. The girl that wants to enjoy what she does whether it’s working, being at home, or going out with friends. Or even by myself. I want to go into the city more…that would be Philadelphia. I realized it’s a shame that I’m not enjoying what the city has to offer when it’s so close. Maybe I’ll get over that whole “I hate driving in the city” thing.

I want to write more. I want to have a good balance of work coming in that will include jobs that allow me to use my personality to enhance my writing. I’d like to pick up a gig as an advice columnist. I give a lot of advice. And it’s usually well appreciated. I have an ability to talk to people and see a problem from every angle. Maybe even start my own advice page to see how it goes.

So, off into the wild blue yonder…errr…interwebs? I go! And then into the yonder stuff. I’m not waiting any longer.

The Madness of Mushiness

I’m feeling unnaturally thankful today.  I thought it would be good to put it in print so I can read it on those days when people are driving me nuts and everything feels like it’s going wrong.  If you are reading this, you are human (well, hopefully) and know what those days are like. 

I spent a week spinning with vertigo.  It’s almost gone, except for when I go to bed and turn over, but I am so grateful to not have that feeling walking around.  It forces me to sit still and not do anything…at all.  I was bored and anxious because I couldn’t get anything done.  My kids need me.  My husband needs me.  Being out of commission is not an option.  And frankly, I like being needed.  I feel like my strength has been renewed and life is good again.  I almost enjoyed the household chores…almost….really close to enjoyed.

My son had some issues the past couple weeks with a few kids in the neighborhood.  I was glad to find out they were not singling him out, but disappointed that there are a few bullies in our midst.  What I found out is that my son, at 10 years old and a bit softhearted, is sometimes more mature than I give him credit for.  I am so thankful he can actually listen to our advice and learn how to deal with situations like this.  He is thoughtful, intelligent, creative and I am incredulous at what an amazing person he is becoming.  I can’t imagine what life would be like without him.

As for my 3 year old girl, she is stubborn, mouthy and too smart for her own good.  We have recently been struggling to potty train her.  The problem is, she can go, has gone and knows when she has to go, yet she refuses.  She thinks it’s funny when she’s scolded.  She screams like a howler monkey.  She’s beautiful, intelligent and she challenges me in every way.  I honestly don’t know how I am so lucky to have these two children in my life.  Looking at them makes me want to smile and cry at the same time. 

My husband is ridiculously perfect for me.  He is the exact opposite of me and keeps me balanced.  Our house, that we moved into this year, is more than I could have hoped for our family.  And even though I am still without a steady job, I am truly hopeful that I can find something that will satisfy my thirst for writing.  I have met so many people on Twitter that I can’t even keep up with their greatness.  Let’s not forget the family that has given me, and helped to mold and support, the modest and wonderful life that I have.

I don’t know why I’m getting those extra thankful feelings today, but I’m going to hold on to them tight.  They are filling me up like morning coffee fueling the caffeine rush.  Ok, so this post is mushy, but I wrote it for my own selfish purposes AND for you to read and be able to count your own blessings.  No matter how big or small your reasons for being thankful, take a minute and think about them.  They might even help you put a smile on your face for the day.

If you’re feeling thankful, feel free to comment and let me know what is making you smile today. 😉

FTW

The Big Wheel

A lot of people are finding it hard to be happy these days.  With unemployment at an incredulous rate, the economy getting worse by the minute, and disasters occuring all too often, I can see the difficulty.  However, lately, I am finding it hard NOT to be happy.  And I am one of the currently unemployed.  In fact, I don’t think I have been this happy since receiving my Dukes of Hazzard Big Wheel for my fifth birthday. 

Every day, I have found more reasons to love my life.  I have never trusted any person like I trust and love my husband.  My kids, despite the occasional outburst, are amazingly intelligent and wonderful children.  My family is loving and supportive.  We moved into a new home in a neighborhood that I love.  The list goes on and on. 

My point is, no matter what your situation, you can find a way to really appreciate what you do have and magnify it.  Being happy with your life can start a chain reaction of unexpected events.  If you are unhappy, it’s important to find ways to make the changes to get what you want.  Take every small win as a success.  Did you make an amazing dinner?  Chalk that up as something to appreciate.  Did someone tell you that you look good in that shirt?  Enjoy the compliment. 

So many think it’s just easier to be miserable with so much going on.  But the truth is, your life as a whole is much easier if you can be happy with what you have.  Sure, who doesn’t want to hit the big lottery winnings?  What are the chances of that happening?  Anyone can be depressed about what they don’t have, but wouldn’t it feel better just to take a small win and celebrate that for a minute?

Boys vs. Girls

When I had my son ten years ago, I was young and optimistic about knowing exactly how I wanted to raise him.  Ten years have gone by like a cool breeze on a hot day and I can honestly say that he has been a fairly easy kid.  As a baby he ate well, slept through the night and barely made one sound of discontent.  I probably could have left him alone for half the day and he would have cheerily played with his toys without bothering one precious item in any room.  Now, he’s well mannered, kind, intelligent, funny and very easygoing.  Pride is bursting out of me for the boy he has turned out to be.  I can only hope that his teenage years will be tolerable as I always expect the worst since kids pull so far away from their parents during that time. 

However, three years ago, I had a beautiful baby girl.  Little did I know that my first hint at her indignance was a hospital photo holding up her hand and distinctly giving the camera the finger.  Yes, the middle one…for all the world to see.  To this day, I regret not getting that one printed for proof that she began her life as a rebel.  While she was also a fairly easy baby, it was clear to see she was going to be a handful very quickly.  She more often squeaked than cried, earning herself the name “Baby Bird”.  Also proven by the way she opened her mouth and waited for someone to put food in it when hungry.  Once mobile, she was ready to cause maximum damage.  If I would leave the room for mere seconds, I could hear giggles and the pitter patter of her running feet, as I dashed back in to find that she had turned off my laptop.  The laptop that I used for my job which I then learned to save everything after any update. 

As she learned to speak, it was evident that her nickname was once again proven when she parroted everything said within a four room radius.  And now at three, I’ve dubbed her the “swearing police”, scolding us when someone says anything she finds offensive, such as “stupid”.  Let’s just say my choice of words of frustration has been cut off at the knees.  With a full vocabulary and excellent speech, she suddenly sounds like a teenager with the comebacks that come out of her mouth.  I’m amazed at her ability to neck roll an insult back at a parent with breakneck speed. 

I’m not saying all girls and boys are the same.  I’m not even going to say any girls are the same as mine.  What I will say is that my guess is, there are quite a few girls out there giving their parents a run for their money.  And as teenagers, we may want to consider locking them in a tower until the age of thirty.  All I know is my parents must have been out of their minds…they had four girls.

Paying Attention is Affordable

In today’s economic state, a lot of us are trying to find ways to cut back on spending.  We are eating out less and taking “stay-cations” to save money wherever we can.  While parents are more accepting of making these sacrifices, sometimes our children are not so enthusiastic.  So, how do we get them to jump on our bandwagon willingly?

The most affordable answer is to pay attention to them.  One of my son’s favorite rainy day activities is to make our living room a movie theater.  We close all the curtains and make it as dark as possible.  We pick out a movie and turn up the volume on the TV, and if you have surround sound it makes it that much better.  Grab some pillows and blankets for maximum comfort.  And don’t forget popcorn, gummi bears and whatever snacks remind you of the movie theater. 

Ask your children to think of an at home activity that they love.  You might be surprised to find that they don’t often care what the activity is, but that you are the one participating with them.  Sending them off to play video games might keep them quiet, but picking up some crayons and drawing on paper with them will always be much more rewarding for both of you.