Popcorn for Lunch

I had popcorn for lunch. Because I’m an adult.

I watched Julie & Julia. Again.

Hours later, I’m still here on the couch, watching football and finding kernels stuck to my shirt. And wondering why it’s been almost 2 years since I touched this blog.

And wondering if I’ll ever really get back to it.

And wondering why I’m still not writing even though I’m reading voraciously and dreaming about all the things I should be writing.

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Things I should be writing. Because the whole goal was to get my life back on track so I could make the time to write. So, now that I’m back on track, how do I make the time?

This is where I’m supposed to teach myself about work-life balance and learn that there is always time when you are truly passionate about something.

And I am. So I will.

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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. 

 

 

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.

Chaos Is Not My Thing

I’m feeling flustered. Frustrated.

I like order. Everything has its place. When I need to get things done, I make a list. I check off the list as things are done. This is how I keep my sanity. Checking off each completed item is fuel for my momentum.

I feel like my sanity is dissolving. There are too many things I need to do, that I’ve volunteered to do, or that I simply want to do. Never enough time. I’m spreading myself too thin and things are not getting done. I need to write more. I need to find a job. I need to pay the bills, decorate, clean the house, do the laundry, raise my children, blog more, exercise, fix up my blogs…the list is endless and I add to it daily. Daily.

What comes first? And how can you check something off a list that is never done?

So, I guess now it’s time to pull up my big girl pants and figure out how to solve this. Do I focus on one thing at a time? Do I assign a time limit to each item, so they get sufficient attention? And how do I avoid letting people down in the process?

I feel like I’m sitting in a dinghy in the middle of a turbulent ocean with no motor and one oar. The waves are crashing over me and I’m clinging to a boat that will soon capsize.

I need better schedules. Maybe less idealistic goals. More detailed planning. Setting limits would help.

 Today’s lesson: Don’t wait until you are drowning to look for the lifejacket.

I’m a Writer, Damnit

I’ve been hesitating.

I’ve been hesitating and reading about other writers doing the same.  They wonder if they’ve spent enough hours or written enough pages.  They wonder if submitting a manuscript to an agent qualifies them.  Maybe it’s when they have published their first work as a book or magazine article.  How do we know when we are officially considered a “writer”? 

When you are hired for a job, you have a boss and a title.  You can say I’m an accountant.  I’m a mechanic.  I’m a sales clerk.  The definition of your job is usually pretty clear.  However, when you are your own boss, or you work from home with your own individual endeavors, it’s a bit more complicated.  It’s up to you to define yourself.  With writing, who’s to say what qualifies as a writer?  It seems that each and every writer has their own definition. 

Well, I’ve decided.  I’m a writer.  I’m a writer, damnit.  I. AM. A. WRITER.

I have two blogs.  I write articles for Associated Content and I just signed up to writer articles for Factoidz.  Because of Twitter, I have met many other writers, one of which has included me in a collaborative ebook that he is publishing due on Thanksgiving.  On top of that, I have taken on a proofreading project for another writer. 

So, I officially feel like a writer.  Today is the day I am announcing it to the world.  Okay..to my twelve readers of this blog.  But, to me, you are my world.  You are my audience.  And whether you are a million members or twelve, small and strong, I’m glad to have you see my start.  And I hope you’ll stick around for when it gets really good.  I am a writer.  I’m going to call myself a writer and keep telling myself I’m a writer.  It is now my profession.  

All I have to do now is start making money with it. 😉

The Makings of an Optimist

Life is stressful.  It just is.  We have jobs, kids, friends, family, money and whatever else we deal with weighing on our shoulders.  We multitask, reschedule, overbook and overwork to get everything done.  It’s hard to stop and breathe sometimes.  Our bodies take stress in and it can affect us in different ways.  Headaches, backaches, stomach pain and anxiety attacks are only a few of the culprits. 

I have been on a quiet journey for a few months.  While trying to read more and write more, I have also been trying to calm my mind and body in the meantime.  Maybe we could say I am on a path to enlightenment.  Too cliched?  Ok, I am learning about meditation.  When I first began reading about it, I thought what can it really do for me?  I can barely sit still for several minutes let alone get my mind to focus on a mantra.  Isn’t this only for hippies and people who live for yoga?  Besides, I have kids, a dog and a cat, so there is no chance of me ever having a substantial amount of undisturbed silence to obtain any benefit. 

Wrong.  I was so wrong.  I am so wrong it makes me wonder why have I not done this before?  Meditation does not mean sitting and chanting “Ohm” for hours on end.  There is so much more to know.  You can meditate by looking at a candle, listening to ocean waves or even doing daily activities.  Positions vary from lying flat on your back to performing yoga poses.  The middle of your living room is a great place.  So is your back yard.  Or your desk at work. (You may not want to lie across your desk, though.)  The point is, meditation is not about one position and one practice.  The importance is in the results of your meditation.

The ability to breath deep and allow yourself to let go of your thoughts is a true gift.  The breathing can calm your body as well as your mind.  When we let stress affect us, it can make our muscles tighten and our breathing to become short and shallow.  By forcing a deep breath, you can feel your muscles begin to relax.  And somehow, some way, the more you do it, the more the calm bleeds into the rest of your day.  You are more likely to handle tasks with patience and skill.  You are less likely to be upset by coworkers, spouses or your children. 

My favorite outcome is I feel more aware of my own self.  I am starting to discover so much more about who I am.  I feel much more in tune with my body and mind.  When I feel frustration or anger building up, I am much better equipped to pacify my emotions.  Just one or two deep breaths can help me refocus when I feel like I am losing control.  Most of all, I relish the fact that I can learn to appreciate so much more in my life.  A mere smile from one of my kids or a trip in the car without an accident is enough to make me remember what is important in my life.  Each day, each moment can hold something precious. 

So, has meditation made me an optimist?  Maybe.  Or maybe it just showed me what I’ve been missing.

Just Breathe…

Today is one of those days where my mind is all over the place.  I took my son to get new glasses at the eye doctor this morning.  Dropped a wad of cash there because eyeglasses are not cheap.  Then came home thinking I need to check my bank account, write in my blog, clean up the dishes, decide what to make for dinner and oh, I want to start a new book.  And I can’t forget that tonight is the night my son has his weekly guitar lesson and while he’s there I will dash over to Target to pick up anything I need in a half hour or less.  So, while thinking of all these things, I’m letting the dog out and the neighbor’s german shepherd jumps the fence…again…and proceeds to chase my dog around while she’s trying to pee.  Really?  Again?  I get annoyed when the kids knock on the door when I’m in the bathroom, but this is crossing some sort of private time rule here.  Besides the fact that she has to go outside to begin with.  Then my dog is inside barking like a maniac while I’m trying to shoo the other one back to her yard, but instead she’s trying to mark her territory in every corner of my yard.  Did I mention my 3 year old is trying to take a nap?

Anyway, I digress, of course, because my mind is being pulled in a million different directions and I can’t stay focused on one little thing long enough to complete a thought and what I really need to do is…just breathe.  I just need to be still for a minute and take a few deep breaths.  Aaah.  It’s amazing what the simple act of concentrated breathing can do for you.  The minute stress is starting to weigh heavy, my muscles tighten, my breath becomes short and shallow and I can actually feel my blood pressure rising.  But, when I just take a minute to breathe a few lasting, deep breaths, I can feel it start to melt away.  My focus comes back and I can tackle one issue at a time.  The worry that is building a wall, brick by brick, is slowly being taken down.  The world is not ending.  I close my eyes and picture a comforting place to be.  The beach always works.  The ebb and flow of the waves soothes my mind.  I picture a cool breeze brushing across my cheek as I dig my toes into the sand.

 

Taking just a few moments to stop and breathe deeply can reset how your brain is reacting to stress.  Stressful situations are everywhere.  When the kids are running around the house, work is piling up on your desk, or you are stuck in traffic, you feel like it’s going to ruin your whole day.  Take a few deep breathes.  Rationalize the situation.  It’s not the end of the world.  The kids are having fun, the work will eventually get done and you will ultimately get to where you are going.  There are things in life you can’t control, but you can control yourself.  If you do not enjoy feeling like tearing your hair out, then maybe you should try this. 

Just don’t go to your happy place when you are in traffic.  Eyes on the road, please!