Monthly Archives: January 2014

Today…

Today, waking up to the warmth in my room, I felt positive and energized, ready to grab the day by the horns and get to it. Work has, so far, been very productive and I’m feeling encouraged. I’ve realized about work that right, I’ve “topped out” as I have the position that no one else really wants. Knowing this gives me knowledge that my predecessor already possessed…that she couldn’t move ahead without somone else being taught, kicking and screaming, the details of her position. Instead, she opted out and left the training to someone else, for someone new…ME! The irony is that a year ago, I would have found this news of minimal growth overly disappointing. On the plus side, my comfort with this position and the various tasks it entails allows me the freedom to sneak in a blog or two on occasion (hence yesterday’s book review on My Literary Desserts page.)

I feel today like I could take on the world. I’m broke as all get out until payday, and can’t wait to get home again. Cook up something delicious and spend time with my son. Granted, he has a girlfriend now who chats him up all night on Skype, but even his presence brings a serene comfort to my world and my sould. There is nothing like it. My oldest son is the same…no girlfriend but a solid quiet presence who’s inner strength amazes me every time I look at him. The two of them, my sun and moon, bring such comfort and balance. They’re wonderful…every bit as perfect as I imagined them, all faults included in my description of perfect. In so many ways they are like me, and in other ways, my polar opposites…comfort, love, stability, and balance! We are a good blend.

Onward and upward, not letting the small things get to me, taking each challenge in stride, overcoming the sad news that I may have topped out in my job, and so comforted by the boys who will be home when I get there. It’s the little things, and as a smile passes over my face, I look forward to the rest of today and the excitement and challenges tomorrow may bring!

On me…

 

Having grown up the oldest child in a single parent household, I was given a handful of responsibility at the wise old age of 8! As the oldest child, I spent many mornings getting myself and my sister ready for school, walking together to catch the bus at the friend of the family’s house, and making sure that as we left the bus, that my sister had what she needed. School was easy, for both of us, then home to await the return of our mother…never leaving the house or yard until she returned. We weren’t unsafe in our ultra-rural town, and our neighbors watched over us. We stayed inside, cleaned the living room, made sure the kitchen wasn’t a wreck, and that our laundry was downstairs. But I was 8!

I’m thinking, in the scheme of things, that 8 is where this all started. “This all” is a high level of accountability, responsibility, expectations, and a stubborn streak that never allows me to give up. “This all” has been the biggest positive and negative in my life. “This all” to which I hold myself each day makes me someone people can count on, come to for help, depend on, and rely on. “This all” has made motivation and drive second nature for me, and introduced me to lots of people with those same goals; and to lots more without those goals. “This all” has been helpful most of my life…my mother is proud of me, a strong young woman, educated, well spoken, well respected, a good mother who holds her children to those expectations. My father things I’m the coolest, smartest, most talented woman to come down the pike since his own mother…and believe me, that is a huge compliment!!

“This all”…

Notice that “this all” doesn’t speak to the emotions, feelings, love. Granted, the love for my friends and family is a given, comes naturally, is like breathing air. But having grown up the oldest child in a single parent household, I never saw the model of a relationship, and that is where “This All” has become a hindrance in my world. I’ve been married for almost 23 years, to a single child of a single parent household…no sharing space, no sharing time or toys, no sharing of morning routines or after school rituals, just him…no expectations, no need to be motivated, no push to drive or excel but only to exist. To me, this is very sad…on a number of levels. He said it wasn’t overly lonely and that he was ok to just “settle” as it was what seemed to work in his house. SETTLE…red flag. 

On my side of the window, “this all” serves me well in getting it all done – full time job, household managed, chores complete, meals cooked, one kiddo graduated and the other within a year of completion. His side of the window – he works part time which is more than enough. K is doing her job, I’m just going to rest for 12 hours here on the couch and flip through the television channels. On my side, there’s no excuse for 12 hours on a couch unless you’re dead or really sick (and by sick, I mean a small child who is tucked in his blankets and wants to watch cartoons and movies with mom/dad). His side – Snoring now. My side – anger because there is still so much to do and accomplish and get done. His side – he twitches in his sleep. I continue the quest; keep working on laundry, dishes, whatever needs completion. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel…almost done, almost there…His side – he awakens “I’m really hungry.” My side – REALLY??? I mean “I’m going to start cooking momentarily” through a rage that nearly kills me to stifle.

This weekend, THIS ALL got the best of me and blew through my household like a dam blown apart during a tsunami. THIS ALL took hold of my voice and cut loose, very calm and honest, straightforward and with direction, clear of what changes had to evolve for anything to go any further in “our” life. It’s on me now to manage the hold that THIS ALL has over my life. It’s on me to stand by my convictions for the first time in ages. It’s on me to hold true to who I am and what I want. It’s on me if this all sounds selfish but I am married with two boys, not the single mother of three. While I cannot undo damage already inflicted, I can move into the future making better choices for myself and my children. THIS ALL, while it may be the undoing of my marriage, may reestablish the beginning of my life…at 42…the oldest daughter of a single parent household.

And out of the darkness….

And out of the darkness a new light shines … a new day, a new smile, a new voice, a new thought, a new confidence, and a new comfort level that has been lacking in my life for so very long. Even numbered years are often eye openers for me, leading me to a higher level of thinking and processing, forcing me to re-examine certain elements of my life and my world. I keep coming back to the same thought…when my heart is in writing and photography, even though some of those edges are still a bit jagged and in need of polishing, why is it that I’m not doing this full time?

Now granted, my bank account strongly disagrees with what I want in this world, to travel and write. But what if, just what if, I could transition, one piece at a time, into writing full time, taking pictures full time, and incorporating that passion into a paycheck. I’ve got a great mind for details, can put words to almost anything, have penned a few published articles, and receive much encouragement from friends and family. All those positives yet here I sit, at my safe little desk in my cozy little office…but that time is rapidly approaching for me where flip flops become my dress shoes and my camera bag becomes my accessory of choice along with a notepad or tablet to jot down ideas.

The more I think about it, the more I smile. Onward and upward, moving forward for the first time in a long time towards my heart and passion, towards beaches and adventure, sunshine and smiles, meeting new faces and seeing new places and locations, and documenting each fresh footstep left behind. Yes, as a smile crosses my face, I’m just on the brink…the time is coming…so many ideas, so little time!  

The angle rounded to whole degrees for which a rainbow appears (the critical angle)??

42 is the correct number, though per my father, I don’t officially reach that number until 1030pm tonight, at which time I will still be laughing it up with friends at Chili’s OR already home in a margarita coma! Either way, 1030 will be a hit as I round another turn on the ball field of life. 42nd time around, surrounded by those that I love; those who have always been and will always be my biggest fans.

However, I just wanted to share my bizarre 42 factoid…being a fan of rainbows, I thought it was a lovely connection to my age for this season!

Birthday Bonanza!

From what I’ve gathered I am one of the few that as an adult still enjoy my birthday, still enjoy being queen for the day, and always figure out a way to rally my troops for a fun night out! This year, we have at least 12, headed to a local Chili’s Bar & Grill…the restaurant has been called/warned to expect a large crowd around 7pm! And with $75 in gift cards it could prove quite a night!! My friends are a little loud, definitely silly, and always fun to be around. None of us have a lot, from a financial standpoint, but our friendship and laughter brings us much joy and has been a true blessing in my life.

I’ve tried to figure out why, as an adult, my birthday is such a big deal for me. Yes, I admit that part of it is simply being the center of attention, but there’s something else. It’s knowing that I have survived another year, overcome obstacles last season that I wasn’t sure I could get over or around, rose above situations when I just wanted to duck out, and continued moving forward in my life. I didn’t take shortcuts to get where I am, and while my current view could be improved, I’m happy and healthy and blessed. That’s a pretty good birthday to me…I can look back with a smile, look ahead with energy and enthusiasm, and look around my present and just glow with happiness, love, pride, and a heartwarming admiration and thankfulness for all that I have and am.

Onward and Upward

Lost in my own oblivion of more writing, organizing my house, managing my life and those of my kiddoes, I’ve found that I failed to look outwardly just long enough to miss a key element of someone else’s need for change. The someone else I’m referring to is my niece, who having just turned 18 on the 5th, signed herself into Rehab. Yes, as in “They try to make me go to Rehab but I wont go, no no!”  While I knew there were some herbal remedies floating in her repetoire, I had no idea that we had surpassed green and gone on to something else. Her crowd is just varied enough that it would have been difficult to make an actual call on the severity of party favors…

She decided yesterday or maybe over the course of the weekend, to take charge of her life. She had a straight conversation with her mother (my sister) and really put herself out there. She was completely honest, laying before my sister the menu of herbal and other party favors that have become a regular part of her life. She closed by telling her mother that it was time to get it together, to stop all this sillyness, and that she/my niece wanted to sign herself into Rehab. Six months…she will be just over two hours from us all, can have visitors on Saturdays. I can only hope that the goal of this program and that my niece’s determination stay in line with each other; that the brave choice leaves my niece feeling accomplished, clean, sober, healthy, happier; that this program allows her not only to continue her education but also to further herself, her artistic abilities, and her employment and professional plans.

I’m very proud of this young woman, the decision she has made for herself. Selfishly, I admit that I am sad that she is leaving. Although we don’t spend enough time together, her presence and spirit are always with me, and there is something very calming and familiar about that. However, despite my “sad” feeling, there is also such a glowing sense of pride and admiration for the bravery it had to have taken to make this life changing decision…to move from everyone and everything you know and commit to something like this. My sister and I BOTH admitted last night that we would never have had that kind of courage.

So onward and upward for my niece…time to kick out the bad and focus on the good; to find ways of coping with weaknesses and letting her strengths shine through (and she has many, just needs the courage to take the bright path). Onward and upward…north to Augusta!

30 Things to Stop Doing to Yourself

This is a great article…definitely worth a read!!

 

30 Things to Stop Doing to Yourself.

A Decision Made, sort of…

 

As the mother of two boys, it has been my pleasure in being that solid and stable personality in their lives. As the mother of two boys, my life has been dedicated to working hard, putting myself aside, and putting on hold so many of my own dreams and goals to nurture theirs. As the mother of two boys, I’ve watched little boys become young adults and now, am preparing to launch them into the world as young men who have come of age and are ready to begin their own lives. As much as I’m positive I will have empty nest syndrome, I’m facing this challenge as just another opportunity to grow, learn, experience, and move forward in my life.

Moving forward, my constant and unending quest for 2014 is still in full effect. I’ve done much thinking as of late and have made some solid decisions. I know that while I love my current position, moving upward and onward is probably not going to happen. I know that while I love my current position, the money is not enough to sustain myself or my household, not to mention the occasional emergency or car repair. While I love my current position, staying bogged down in my small town is not the Happy Ending I am looking for. While I love my current position, I’m smarter than just pushing papers around my desk. The solution is…finding another option!

Option A – Take the opportunity provided to me by my current position to further my education in this field, and study to become an LCSW. Great money, lots of excitement, and a true opportunity to assist others in overcoming their daily struggles…assisting others to overcome some of the same boundaries that hold me captive but that as an outsider I have always been stellar at helping others jump over. I started out in this field until a crazy college Psych professor spent an entire semester touting the value of the female menstrual cycle…I wondered, just how Psych-Otic I would become in this profession!

Option B – Step away from mental health all together, minus making my own better, and jump into a dream field of writing, photography, travel, and sunshine! I’ve looked online and must admit, the opportunities to become a famous and fabulously traveled photojournalist are pretty much not out there. Now, since I live in a very small area, writing for weekly papers or a local paper is an option, so I just have to be brave enough to submit something publically. Will I get rich, probably not…would I be happier doing this? Absolutely! But I can dream and hope that someday it is me writing from the base of Mt Everest or admiring the temples of some foreign land or strolling lost castles of Europe. Oh, just imagine! 

Option C- Maintain my current position, go to school for LCSW, and work on the writing and photography. This is probably the most grown up option as my kids are not out of the house, thus I cannot move to a smaller apartment and concentrate on myself. (I call this my “girl apartment” where books and art and creativity rule the roost, no televisions allowed aside from a DVD player showing my favorite musicals and movies, and music galore)  Also, in the event that the fame and fortune of writing and snapping pics doesn’t work out, I should have a plan B (i.e. grown up job).

Option D – Make my most unexpected move which is simply to throw this all away and either disappear on some random walkabout that I track via photos and writing or, open my dream bookstore. I’ve got the name already chosen, a possible site assuming I stay in New England, the perfect business partner and pastry maker, and a whole group of gals that will visit my store as regular customers, not to mention create my first reading/discussion group!!! The trick of course is the funding…business plans, business loans, employees (ya, using my kids), locating a solid vendor and book company from which to order including Amazon.com. I’ve got all the ideas in my head, only need to make it real!

Considering that months ago my head was blasting various thoughts and ideas, that my eyes were crossed with possibilities, narrowing it down to these four options seems very reasonable to me. I almost feel like I’ve had this conversation in a past blog, but my options for sure were not as bright as these four seem. There’s a part of me that wants to maintain them all, make them all work somehow into a blended balance of hard work, smiles, joy, and inner peace. My kids will support whatever I choose to see my sarcastic and saucy business side come shining through and no doubt help me, if they are able…setup, dreams, designs, projects, etc. My friends would support whatever direction I decide to go.

On paper, this all looks so easy to me…like I could just pick up a pen and start writing to make this all a reality. Maybe it is that easy, just decide and do it…I tell my boys and their friends this all the time. Let the options be researched and explored, let the creative blend of them all be my solution and my guide, let my happiness allow for growth and direction, let my sadness be lightened by the small joys that make me so happy, let my life and career take a direction that brings me financial stability and the ability to shop on occasion, and that those around me benefit from every gain I make…that’s what I want, that’s my best option!

2014

As one year closes and another begins, I’m moving forward. I saw a great quote about not looking into the rear view mirror but rather just driving and forging ahead, one step or mile or milestone at a time. Appropriate I think…as a parent, wife, sister, friend, coworker. The past is just that, the past, unable to be changed or altered without a high power time machine. The future is full of possibilities, opportunities, and growth. Growth, moving forward, connecting and reconnecting, becoming more involved and feeling more alive.

I’ve stated many times that my goal moving forward is to be happy, write more, take more pictures, be more involved, feel happier, become more active. For me, that is the 2014 plan…and believe me, the inward focus on myself is a huge step for me. I’m not being selfish, and my children will still be my primary focus; I want my kids to have known a happier, more fun and outgoing side of me, to have seen me out taking pics and going on adventures…and incorporating that future me begins now. And at the end of their time at my house or at the end of my life, I don’t want people saying “Wow, she was such a good worker, so dedicated to work, really gave all her heart and free time to work.” I don’t want those compliments…I want family and friends celebrating my life, my adventures, my hairbrained ideas, and memories that make them smile and laugh with loud music, lots of margaritas, and maybe a few of my most fabulous photos. If that is my funeral, I’ve lived a good life…ashes to be scattered into the winds so that my soul continues to travel even when my body cannot; forcing my sons to take a wild adventure together as my last dying wish…I can just imagine their reactions, oh my goodness…”Even in death she is still telling us what to do. But it wouldn’t be Mom without one last favor!”

Now, that story being told, I’m not planning on going anywhere in 2014. I will be around for a long time…I guess I was just thinking out loud and laughing as I wrote those lines. 2014…even years are always good to me. 2014…42 years old this year. 2014…not to be confused with the wild vicious bogs and quicksands of 2013. 2014…big decisions for my oldest son, and the year my younger son graduates. 2014…more time with my sister, our promise to each other, more sister time and adventures and drives and karaoke (music, remember that topic?) 2014…I’m excited for this year to begin.