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.

 

I Give Up

Love is a funny thing. Some people jump in with both feet. They are more than satisfied not knowing what will happen. Some people wade in slowly, testing the waters and then easing in a little bit at a time as their comfort grows. 

Me? I swan dive. Face first. Every time. Sometimes that water can be pretty shallow and I wind up nursing my injuries. But other times, the water is so deep, you wish you could hold your breath forever. And just as quickly as I dove in, I can jump back out if the temperature changes.

When I have a job, I’m absorbed. I do everything I can picking up tasks the second the first is finished. I find things to do that no one knew needed to be done. I organize. I clean up. Then I try to make things easier or better. And if I work from home, I am a slave to the “one more minute” theory. It’ll just take me one more minute to finish this email. Two hours later, I’m still working. 

Books. I devoured books as a kid. Then there was a long stretch of time where I didn’t read at all. I like to refer to this as the zombie-parenting era. In the past few years, I’ve picked them up again. My bookshelves are overflowing. My husband is complaining. Thankfully, he bought me an ereader or I would start stashing them in any open space. 

This is me. I get addicted. I obsess. 

The good news is…I know it. 

We try to hide the characteristics we don’t like. We deny them. We don’t let them come out. But I find that the more I discover about myself, the more I have to find a way to like that quality. Somewhere along the line I stopped trying to fight my personality and now I work with it. I no longer try to change everything, I embrace it.

There is only so much you can change. There are certain aspects of ourselves that are simply rooted in our personality. Figure them out. Learn about yourself. And then see the positive. 

If you are told to build a cabinet, it’s easy if you have wood, nails and a  hammer. But if all you are given is some dinner plates and a hot glue gun, you’re going to have to figure out a new plan. 

MacGyver did it. So can you. 

 

 

Hooray for Monday?

I realize that usually everyone hates Mondays. I’m generally one of them. 

But, this week, I can’t wait for Monday. I’m on the edge of my seat waiting for Monday.

Why? What spurred this moment of insanity?

A JOB.

A real, “get dressed nice and go to the office” job. Thanks to a call from a temp agency, I have a new opportunity for the next few weeks. They called last week with an opportunity at a nearby company. One that I had been applying to for the last few months. The company is being bought by another and is in need of a few extra hands to make some changes to their system. After a quick group interview last week, I was approved to start work tomorrow. 

It feels weird. I’m overly excited about it. I already have my outfit picked out. 

I am so thrilled to get to work that I already have these grand plans in my head that I’ll be their star employee and want to hire me for a permanent position. 

Too ambitious? 

Who cares? I’m going to work. And I’m going to work my butt off. Then I shall report back to the Twitterverse to report my success. 

Having a job is something we have all taken for granted at one point or another. Those days when you felt you were beaten down, defeated or just too exhausted. The times that you spent well over 40 hours toiling away even when you weren’t getting paid for it. Even the times that you simply did not feel like getting up in the morning.

But, for those of us who have been searching endlessly for a job and submitting resume after resume only to get another rejection form letter in our email boxes, Monday seems like a pretty good day. 

 

 

Brewing a Storm

Recently, I started writing something I didn’t expect to write. I was thinking and my thoughts seemed like an nightmarish movie playing in my head. I wanted to get rid of it so I did what I do to cleanse my thinking palate, I put it on paper….well, sort of. My thoughts poured out out of my fingertips, furiously typing to drain the storm cloud over my head. When I finished, I had what seemed like a few pages of a good idea for a book. 

Rainstorm Over the Sea by John Constable

I tucked it away in my documents folder for another rainy day. It’s been a few weeks and lately I’ve been feeling anxious to work on it. More ideas have been stirring on how to shape it and where it will all lead. The inspiration is brewing, but what I really need is another storm.

Every day brings different emotions in varying depths. Whether I’m up or down or pensive or dreamy shapes how my writing develops. However, never have I intentionally looked for a dark mood to come to create an intensive writing environment. This week will be my trial. In the past few years, I’ve made it a habit to wake up deciding to be happy. So, this week, I’ll decide to be sad. Sad and morbid with my heart heavy.

It’s a path I haven’t taken before, but I’m interested to see its effects on my project and my life. It should be a strange week, but hopefully a productive one.

I’d love some advice from other writers on how you “get in the mood” to write darker pieces.

I Bet You Think This Blog is About You

We all want to be happy, right? Even the most miserable, self-pitying rogue just wants to have a good day.  I think we can all admit to that. 

With that said, I’d like to file a complaint…with the complainers.  When you spend your time defiling others, whining about what’s gone wrong in your life and basically lamenting endlessly, you will never be satisfied in life.  It is the truth and I’m sorry, but the truth might hurt today. 

Let’s first clarify the difference between complaining and explaining your situation.  It’s completely acceptable to ask friends for advice or bend their ear a bit when you are feeling down.  When you have a great support system, they don’t ever mind being there to help pick you up when you’re down.  I must confess, I have some intangible quality that often gives people the capability to tell me their secrets and woes quite freely.  To be clear, I love this about myself.  I will gladly provide advice or just a shoulder to cry on to any of my friends, or even complete strangers, no matter what the problem.  It gives me a sense of pride to know that I have helped someone I care about improve their outlook.  And for those of you that read this that qualify as one of these people, I adore you all and will always be here to listen.

However, those of you that can only pick apart every aspect of your life need much more assistance than I can provide.  To you, when it’s sunny out, it’s too hot.  When it’s raining, it’s too wet.  When someone brings you flowers, they are the wrong kind.  Murphy’s law is your daily motto.  When you go on Facebook you say what a lousy day you had.  If you see your friends, you tell them your job is horrendous.  You are probably to blame for the insensitive comments at the bottom of web articles that pick apart whomever the piece is about.  None of this is ever going to get you what you want.   

If you want to get out of that rut you are in, you are going to have to make big changes.  You have to start your day finding something good to notice.  It doesn’t matter how big or small it is.  Wear your favorite shirt.  Eat your favorite breakfast.  As the day goes on, find the good around you.  Compliment someone’s outfit.  Read a page of jokes instead of the news.  Listen to your favorite music to put you in a good mood, maybe some Carly Simon. 😉  Instead of publicly announcing your dissatisfaction with everything, be public about your appreciation.  If you can put the negative aside, you will be more likely to appreciate the positive.  And for the times that you need to talk about the negative, find a trusted friend to listen.  Having a one-on-one conversation can provide stress relief and the sense that things are not as awful as they seem.  Don’t forget to return the favor when they need someone, too.

Even when things seem abysmal, finding a silver lining is going to be the first step to turning it all around.  We all have bad days.  No one has a perfectly happy life.  I am not June Cleaver and I never will be.  And that is not a complaint.  I like my imperfect life.  And I am much better off appreciating what I have than whining about another pile of dishes to wash.

So, if you think this blog is about you…maybe it’s time to make some changes.

Another Year Older?

It was 33 years ago today that I was born.  And 32 birthdays have come and gone and I’ve realized that while maybe I didn’t appreciate them all, I certainly do now.  Maybe I was a skeptic from the very beginning…

Is it really necessary to celebrate every birthday with cake and presents and lots of people?  Or is it better just to enjoy the day like it is any other and not think about being a year older?  If you have kids of your own, it might be easier to see why celebrating a birthday is special.  If you don’t, I think I can give you a few reasons.  I look at my kids and think how grateful I am to have them.  Their birthdays mean the world to me because it’s another year gone by that I have gotten to spend watching them learn more, do more, live more.

For me, it’s also a reason for our family to get together and see each other.  Our large family means we see each other at least once a month to celebrate a birthday.  If it wasn’t for birthdays, I don’t know that we would get together more often than just holidays.  I credit a large part of my happiness to the fact that I have a close family and I try to keep it that way.

Most importantly, it’s another year gone by that you’ve gained a little wisdom (hopefully), a little experience, and maybe something great has happened.  Maybe looking back on the past times in your life will inspire you to do something new in the next year.  Your birthday doesn’t have to be just another number.  It should be about you, your life from birth…

through childhood…

through adulthood.  We all experience good and bad things, but if we can take the lessons we learn and move on, we can consider ourselves successful in life.  You shouldn’t try to measure your happiness on a number or what job you hold.  We can’t turn back the clock to relive the ease of being ten years old, or the fun of being 21 again.  Finding the joy in your birthday is looking back fondly on what you did, but being able to look forward to what is to come. 

If Only He Knew

As school approaches and I ready my son for fifth grade, I think back to what life was like when I was in fifth grade.  The social realm really started to open up that year.  Liking boys and walking to the local Burger King with friends were top priority.  Cliques started to develop.  What you wore and how you looked started to be much more important than it ever had before.

I look my son and think, if only I could tell him.  His sweet, kind demeanor may be in for a shock this year.  I have already noticed the difference in the friends he hangs out with in the neighborhood.  We recently moved to a new home in January and he still feels a bit conflicted about which kids he wants to call friends.  It seems to me that he expects his “friends” to never say a bad word and be constantly knocking on the door for him to come out and play.  But, it doesn’t work that way, I tell him.

Sometimes they will say things to be hurtful.  Other days, you’ll be picked first to be on their football team.  I try to explain that so many friends will come and go over the years.  The best you can do is enjoy the fun and try not to take too much to heart.  Having a conversation with a 10 year old requires a short delivery if you want their full attention.  If only I could tell him all the great things I look back on now, and that I’ve forgotten the bad things. 

If only he knew all the things that I know now.  But then how would he ever learn it for himself?