Always Learning, Always Changing

Last week actually flew by.  I find it a little crazy how some weeks can drag and others move so quick I feel like I didn’t accomplish as much.  But last week not only flew by, I accomplished many things I had been putting off.

I finished Day Job to Dream Job, finally.  Although it didn’t really give me any definite course of action, it made me think.  

I posted in MyWeeklyMenu Facebook page.  Simple posts, thus I am not sharing them, but it’s a start.  I also gave my tech designer and husband concrete ideas on how I want the site to work.  That’s more accomplished on this dream since it was my entrepreneur project during my study abroad course 2 years ago!

I walked.  I have been going to Physical Therapy now for about 5 months.  I’m undecided if it’s helped, but I am able to walk. I walked my 2.5 mile route both Thursday and Sunday.  This week I want to hit 3 times.  Focused on completing a half marathon before the end of the year.

I engaged with my staff.  I love my staff.  But lately I haven’t taken the time to listen and coach them.  Last week I kept to our touchbases and actually brought some topics to the table.  It feels good to make others a priority.  

I blogged.  I cleaned out the mudroom.  I helped build a deck.  I organized our closet.  I researched what to do with old vinyl records. I made time to talk to my daughter who was having a hard time.  I took my husband to lunch for Father’s Day because he’s been an awesome Dad to my two kids.  I took a nap while watching Sunday news shows.  I went to yoga – 3 times.  I went to a baseball game to spend time with my sorority sisters.  Wow!  I did accomplish a lot!  

So at 50, or almost 51 at this point, I’m still doing.  I’m still living.  I’m still finding out who I am. That’s what I am coming to find; no matter the age, as humans we are still exploring, always learning and always changing.  Just because I have hit a certain age, doesn’t mean I have stopped evolving.  That I have stopped growing.  In many ways I still feel like that scared school girl, unsure of so many things.  But that school girl was always headstrong and focused on achieving things: a spelling bee, a part in a play, a dance solo, a high grade.  I’m still that over achiever, but with a half century of experience in life, I now only set out to achieve what matters to me.  What makes me warm and fuzzy on the inside.  So today I am going to keep this flow of energy and accomplishments of the last week moving!  Maybe next week I will have changed the world!  One can dream!

Focus – the Future is ALWAYS out there

I know.  It’s been about 4 months since I took thumbs to phone and posted to this blog.  I could come up with dozens of excuses: vacationing in Guatemala, Mom visiting, teaching, depressed; just a few of the excuses.  But let’s face it, when you really want to do something you do it!  So I guess I just really didn’t want to focus on this blog. Not sure why, but I just couldn’t find a voice. I couldn’t find my focus.  Today I am dusting off my life lense and putting my future in focus.  

I turn 51 in just a few weeks.  Being 50 has definitely changed my outlook.  I no longer think of changing jobs, but instead of changing careers. I know longer feel guilty for missing a meeting or two, people can get along without me.  I stand my ground much more when it comes to my values.  I spend hours thinking of ways to help improve life for my mom and kids.  But mostly, I have realized there is no reason to stop planning a future.  It is always out there. Whether you are a toddler, teenager, recent college grad, a divorced single parent, or a retired senior, tomorrow is another day and that my friends is every reason to keep the future in focus.  The second we stop is the second we cease to truly live.  

My future is going to have me working at many things I have only daydreamed about.  Instead of dreaming, I am going back to planning.  Figuring out what makes the most sense for me.  I am not a huge risk taker, so I will need time to focus in on what I not only want to do, but can do successfully within my frame of mind.  What am I good at?  What is my passion? 

I am doing what I do – studying others advice and trying to put it all together to create my own story.  Today I am reading “Day Job to Dream Job.”  I’ve been reading it for months and it’s only a little over 200 pages.  As I said, I haven’t had much focus these last few months.  But today I am changing lenses resetting and putting my future in focus.  If that holds true, you can bet my thumbs will be typing on this blog again soon! 

“Hate and bigotry wrapped in religious freedom is still hate and bigotry.”

So Indiana passed its version of the religious freedom restoration act.  I have yet to find a simple definition of what exactly the new law allows and does not allow.  With that said I may not have a full understanding, but that also tells me our government should be more transparent and have a summary posted for all to read.  Yes I know there is the exact bill, but even those of us highly educated need lawyers to decipher legal mumbo jumbo so the exact bill is useless unless I hire a personal attorney when I want a complete understanding of a law or bill.  

Any way that was not my point.  This law, from what I can find in the media is to protect an individual’s religious freedom.  I am all for allowing all individuals to worship OR NOT worship a higher being as they see fit.  I thought that was clear in our constitution.  So why do we need these new religious freedom restoration acts?  And yet at the same time we condemn and want to outlaw Sharia law?  Isn’t that hypocritical?
Here is how I see it.  Worship if you choose.  Christians, Jews,  Muslims have religious laws that those of another religion don’t agree with.  I get not wanting Sharia laws in our states and federal government, but I also don’t want Christian laws, or Jewish laws.  A business, is a business.  It is not a person – sorry Mitt.  A business should never follow any type of religious law, but only laws that can be applied to all individuals regardless of their religious beliefs.  So what then is the purpose of this religious freedom restoration act?  I don’t see any problems of individuals worshipping as they choose in Indiana.  But now if they are sued, they can cite their religious beliefs as a defense.  So doesn’t that apply to individuals following sharia law?  I doubt that is what Indiana legislators had in mind, but isn’t that what they are doing?  You can’t just create a law to protect Christian religious beliefs – yet I think that is all they really want to protect.  
I respect everyone’s right to worship as they please.  But religion does not belong in business.  It does not give anyone the right to not follow the laws of society as a whole.  It does not give you the right to disrespect or treat me differently because I don’t follow you religious laws, whether they are Christian, Jewish or Muslim.  If you own a business take religion out of it.  I am sure your God will forgive you for having healthcare that provides birth control or abortions.  I am sure your God will forgive you for providing dinner or flowers at a wedding between two females.  My God will be rejoicing that you are finally living by his teachings – which is to stop judging, stop thinking your beliefs are better than mine, stop condemning others for thinking and believing different than you.  
A quote in my friends Facebook post says it all:   “Hate and bigotry wrapped in religious freedom is still hate and bigotry. “. I don’t know where the quote is from, but it says it all.  
This fifty year old straight woman believes that religion can be a good thing.  When it is a personal choice and it is respectful of others and is left out of government, schools and business.  Keep your faith in your house of worship and in your home.  I think we need a law for us non religious folks – the freedom of no religion reformation act!  If I owned a business could I decide not to serve you for believing gay people do not have the rite to marry?  I’m sure that is not protected by this law as it is not a religious belief – just a personal belief.  Now isn’t that unfair… 

 

The right words, the right time.

Maybe one day my chidhood dream will also come true!

sara barnard

Fourteen years ago, I wrote a story about a girl.

I was thirteen at the time, and writing stories was what I did. And not just about girls. Planets that spoke to each other, mice who lived in the Underground, magic meerkats and friendly boats. Writing was my thing; it was beyond a hobby and more than just something I enjoyed. It was how I understood the world. Words had all the magic and possibility anyone could ever need. Put them in the right order, and you could create a world of your own. And maybe, if you got them just right, that world would be a place that would mean something to other people.

I’d written countless stories by the time I was thirteen – the first at age 6, in which the acknowledgements page listed all our family pets by name, including the guinea pigs – of varying length…

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Children and Parents – who defines who?

One of my son’s best friends got married last month. My son was a groomsmen with another good friend. These were the boys that I watched grow up. These were the boys that played football, video games and had bonfires in our woods. It seems just a few years ago I was wondering how many more nights I would have to be awake to ensure they were all safe. Now I rarely see them and I miss them!

When I became a mom, I was lucky, but I didn’t know it at the time. I moved just weeks after my son was born to Puerto Rico, where his dad had a great opportunity for his career. I wasn’t crazy about having to leave my own establishing career, as I had just recently been promoted. I struggled with my feelings of being a stay at home mom. But in hindsight, those years of being a stay at home mom were some of the best of my life!

Being home with them, I was given the gift of watching them grow. I was able to see them change and discover who they are. See them interact with each other and then with their playmates. One from the beginning wore his heart on his sleeve, the other, even now, keeps her feelings private and internalizes more.

When we moved back to the states and I went back to work, they were both their own person; my daughter being the outgoing one, making friends in our new neighborhood, and my son the shy one, holding back until he had time to know the other kids. Our neighborhood was filled with kids their age, so their were plenty of peers to add a spice here and there into their developing personalities. Their dad and I both had them join activities we enjoyed as kids. For my daughter it was dancing. For my son it was soccer. Too bad we only attended one dance recital and only one season of soccer. She preferred art and he preferred roller hockey and American football.

When I became a single divorced parent, I watched the hurt and the forever changes that took place in them. My son became angry and his temper grew. My daughter covered it up and only in recent years am I seeing the effects it inflicted on her outlook on life.

What I have found throughout the parenting journey, is that not only do we influence who our children become, they also redefine us. They are directed by the spirit we give them, Yet as parents, our lives are continuously changing by seeing our reflection, good and bad, in their daily behaviors. We see their potential, and make a mental note to ourselves when we should have done things differently. We see our weaknesses, because we so desperately want to erase that gene before it spreads into who they are. Yet who they are is a recipe that can not be duplicated. They are a mixture of the good and bad, our dreams and our nightmares. We want to save them the heartache from a friend, but without, they would not understand true friendship. We try and shelter them from disappointments that break their heart, but yet provides understanding of true happiness.

I find it so incredible to see a part of me in them, but yet they are uniquely different and their own individual person. In my daughter I see who I would like to be, the adventurer. Yet she is also who I am, stubborn and knowing all! My son has my temper, yet also has this contagious laugh if you get him in the right mood. A laugh I never had. Each of them is unique and clearly unlike anyone else in the world.

So now that they are both off on their own adventures, I miss them. Yet I am thrilled to watch them engage in the world. My parenting journey is not over yet for every human being continues to change throughout life. I can’t wait to see how their lives continue to shape me into a better mom and a better person.

Ranting, Karma and figuring out my Funk!

So yesterday I wrote a blog post.  First time I wrote it directly in my iPhone WordPress app.  Normally I use my notes app and then copy and paste.  But I thought why do that when I could just type it right in and skip the whole copy and paste step.  When I went to publish, the app crashed and as of today is still crashed.  I’ve checked from my laptop and the post never made it to the server.  I guess that post will forever be lost. And I guess that’s a good thing.

It must have been Karma.  Although it was honest, it was a bit raw.  See yesterday my husband told me I was depressed.  Now I willingly admit I am in a funk, but depressed?  As I asked for reasons why he thought this, he told me that I complain about even my extracurricular activities like Sigma Kappa and my latest endeavor teaching.  And of course I rant daily about my job.  This got me thinking and those thoughts became my now lost post.

I have to admit, I have been complaining a lot about my volunteer work as well as grading. But in reality, I may not enjoy every aspect about either role, I find that those roles and responsibilities bring me far more joy than sadness or frustration.  And they both bring me a sense of pride and accomplishment.  As I wrote my post yesterday, I came to realize it is overwhelmingly my job that brings me little joy, pride or sense of accomplishment. In my post I ranted about my dislike for my boss and more importantly, the shallowness of what I do on a daily basis, which is to create wealth for a wealthy company.  So maybe Karma was trying to keep me from being so raw about these feelings I have for a place I spend 60 hours a week in the daily grind.  But also the place that provides well for me and my family.  It may not have been the wisest thing to do, posting my raw emotion and disdain for corporate America.

Although yesterday all I wanted was to recover the post and publish it, today with a cooler frame of mind, I am ok that it is lost in iPhone/Wordpress Lost Appland.  I had to vent, and I did.  I had to air my frustrations and I did. But it is probably best that it is not for the world to read.  I see it as writing down all those negative feelings you have, then shredding the paper and throwing it away.  It’s gone and today my focus is on what to do next.

The problem I see is that my passion is to help others, to make the world less divided.  And my job, except for coaching and developing my people, does none of that.  ( I will admit, I love my team!  Came in this morning to a Christmas Gift that was just generous and thoughtful – a Pandora charm – The Wise Owl and a gift to my beloved Sigma Kappa Foundation! they do bring me joy and when I leave I will surely miss them!)  That is really why I do my volunteer work with Sigma Kappa and why I decided to teach – because I want to feel like I’ve made a difference in someone’s life.  I complain because I don’t have the time to really do these two activities well because so much if my time is spent increasing the bottom line of a cash rich company.  But the reality is I have bills.  Bills I created that need to be paid.  So how can I make a living while also doing something that brings me happiness. That makes me feel like I am contributing to the world in a positive way.

In 6 days I will have 12 days away from work.  I am going to do what I am good at and that is lay out a plan.  (I am a planner at heart – thus why I am good at my job). I will need to first come up with all the options. Can I find a job making less, but enough to get by and will that make me happy?  Do I stick to my 5 year plan or can I shave off a year or two by being extremely frugal?  I am not sure today but I hope to have a much  clearer picture by the new year.  Remember my values post, I value responsibility and couldn’t just up and quit without a plan.

The world is an amazing place.  I want to ensure that I use this life I have to create even more amazing things.  And making corporate America wealthier is not an amazing thing.