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The Summer Sabbatical

July 20, 2011 18 comments

My summer sabbatical was not planned.  I never thought my last post would have been June 1st.  In fact, my one year blogging anniversary came and went without any fanfare and trust me I am a fan of fanfare.

So why the unplanned sabbatical from my blog?  Hmm… not sure.  All I can tell you is that in the beginning I was busy living.  The last weeks of school are hectic, than summer swept me up in all it’s sparkle, sunscreen and sangrias (actually, it has been mostly rum, but I love to abuse alliteration).  Both of my kids have summer birthdays, so there are parties, presents and pinatas (actually, there were no pinatas, but again with the alliteration).  I have been enjoying the little moments, the everyday joys of summer.  Before I knew it, I looked up and I hadn’t written in over a month.

Then it became daunting.

I felt like I would need a spectacular re-entry and was at a loss.  I would get pings from my dear bloggy friends and readers and I would hide.  (I actually tried to respond to some tweets and am having Twitter issues).  Every time I read the brilliant writing of those I follow, I would feel like I was in a deeper hole.  Whether you’re a writer or not, I bet you have been there; procrastinating a paper in college, putting off a work deadline or avoiding thank you notes (of which I need to do for both my kids).  The longer you put it off, the bigger the task becomes.  

A friend asked me this week, if you’re not writing, where are you putting that time?  Well, that’s a post in itself, besides enjoying small summer moments , I have been more serious about window shopping for my passion and purpose.  I have been more focused on exploring new career options and have taken a big step.  I am enrolling in the September session of the Life Launch Program through the Hudson Institute in lovely Santa Barbara, CA.  I have some hunches on what I want to do next and I hope the program will help evaluate those hunches.

I told a friend that I didn’t think I would blog about the program and my thoughts behind it.  I felt that this blog was about Paige, the crazy, cocktail-drinking mom striving for balance through humor.  But looking for passion and purpose, trying to balance our personal identities with our parent personas, actual feels like a perfect fit.  I am convinced everybody has that moment (or several moments!) where they say ‘how did I get here’ and ‘do I want to be here’?  Let me be clear – I want to be here, in my home with my children and husband, but there are other parts of life that can be tinkered with.  I think about my friends who gave up high-powered careers to raise their families or those who work 80 hours per week, we all have those days where we ask ourselves if we should have chosen differently or wonder if it’s time to chart a new course. 

Therefore, it is my plan to continue to share with you my journey, my experiences and my thoughts, because we are all multi-faceted, unique and amazing people who fit in more than one bucket, whether that’s parents, working professionals or cocktail-loving crazies.  I hope you’ll share with me your questions about your chosen path, your future journeys and dreams yet to be fulfilled.  Crazy loves company.  Yes, I will still share parenting stories, but my seven-year old son is in the all farting, all the time stage, so I plan to spare you. 

Do you feel like you’re fulfilling your life’s purpose?  Are you passionate about how your spend your days?  Do you have another goal on the horizon?  Do you live a double or triple life to fulfill multiple passions?  Do you put lime in your rum?  How do you get a little boy to stop with the incessant potty talk?!

I am still on sabbatical, but there is sure a lot to discuss and now that I am here, it’s good to be back.

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Window Shopping for Purpose and Passion

May 26, 2011 7 comments

I have been a little MIA here lately.  I have written many posts… in my head.  Trust me, I have some brilliant thoughts at 3:00 am that I never put to paper (or keyboard) the next morning.  So what have I been doing instead of blogging?  Why am I up thinking at 3:00 am? 

I have been shopping.  Well, window shopping actually.

I have put a lot of energy into window shopping for my purpose and passion.

I am a happy person.  I love my life and feel blessed with the things in it.  I have a wonderful husband, two adorable children, a stable and rewarding career… but…

…I feel like I am wearing a shirt I love that doesn’t fit quite right.

…I feel like I am meant to do something else, something more in line with my passions and strengths.

…I feel like my happy life could be happier.

I feel like I am searching for my “purpose”.  Yes, I am a mother and wife, those things are paramount.  But when I take away relationship titles, who am I?  

Is this just a career search? I don’t think so, but I could be wrong.  I have a career, but does it speak to who I am?  I am not sure.  Does it capitalize on my strengths?  Not all of them.  The time we spend working is significant, shouldn’t it or couldn’t it represent us?

In search of quieting the questions in my head,  I have invested more time in my work while researching new careers.  I have been trying to gauge how much I love my job and if it is the right one.  I have been searching for the ideal job that fits multi-faceted me.

Then something great happened, a chance conversation.  A wise friend, who I respect very much, recently shared with me that he is trying to figure out what is next for him after he wraps up his current corporate gig.  He explained he might put more effort into a few small companies he runs, he might do philanthropic work, or he might do something totally different.  It sounded like he might dabble in several things.

As I reflected on our conversation, it hit me that I was trying to get all of my passion and purpose in a few places.  I realized that I have more than one purpose and I need to figure out how to prioritize them, not combine them.  I am the queen of multi-tasking, but you can’t multi-task life.  I think life is meant to be enjoyed and lived in separate streams.  Career, motherhood, charity work, friendships, hobbies – they are each deserving of their own time.  And I deserve to enjoy each of them without distraction (on the ideal days – don’t get literal with a woman with young children).

The other important thing I am figuring out is that I need to focus on the details and let go of the big picture.  No, I didn’t write that backwards.  I would like to better appreciate the happiness and passion I already have instead of trying to connect them to one purpose in life.  I read a quote by MeiMei Fox that I love:

The key to happiness is not enjoying every single moment of every day. That’s an unrealistic expectation that sets you up for disappointment. The key is to celebrate every tiny but glorious, extraordinary and surprising experience you have.  She goes on to provide the critical reminder that:

“When something miraculous takes place — and by miraculous, I mean any of the seemingly small yet phenomenal events that unfold all the time, from your child laughing in your arms, to your best friend calling in tears to tell you her mother has cancer — stop. Put down your smart phone. Watch. Listen. Taste. Touch. Show up.”

I sometimes often forget to stop and show up.  I over multi-task, I miss the passion, the purpose that already exists.  So I am still window shopping from time to time, but I am trying to spend more time just experiencing.

The restless feeling hasn’t completely left me, but now I interpret it as excitement and anticipation for the many blessings that I will experience in the moments, days, months and years ahead.  My personal challenge is taking them one moment at a time.

Do you feel like you know your purpose?  Do you experience life?  Do you show up?

What Was I Thinking?!

March 23, 2011 8 comments

What?  Where is Wine Wednesday you ask?  Well, let me tell you-

Lent is hard!  The Girl Scout Cookie deliveries, the dinner parties with margaritas, the wine book club meetings, the post t-ball practice beers (wow, yes, we have a drink for every occasion) and I CAN’T HAVE ANY OF IT!

We went to a dinner party on the first Sunday of Lent and I lapsed into vice exchange.  For those of you not familiar with this proven phenomenon.  If you give up one vice, you find another.  On the first Sunday of Lent, I traded booze and sweets for a pound of tortilla chips.  Okay, a pound may not be accurate, two pounds!  I woke up the next morning parched and feeling like I had been drinking out of the ocean.

So I did the logical thing- I gave up tortilla chips too.

To summarize: no sweets, no booze, no chips = STUPIDITY.

What was I thinking?!

But I will not quit, I will not edit my Lenten promise.  But I may be in a straight jacket by Easter!

So, no, there will be no more Wine Wednesdays during Lent, because frankly, I am not that big of a person to write about things I love, but cannot have.

I am, however, an optimist and on the bright side: I have lost 5 pounds!  Go ahead and place your bets on how fast I will put that back on. (Hint: Easter Sunday would be a safe bet)

Re-Pay It Forward

March 10, 2011 26 comments

Do you ever have those moments in life that you wish you could do over and be a better you?  Here’s one of mine:

My cousin, Lisa, is like a sister to me.  I love her so much my heart wants to explode.  So naturally, when she was in labor I had to be there to support her.  I was stuck at work all day and couldn’t leave for the hospital when I first got the call.  When I got off work, before I started the 45 minute drive to her hospital, I stopped at the grocery store to get her flowers.  I was excited, I was nervous and I was in a hurry!!

As I stood in line to checkout, the woman in front of me had 4 cans of green beans, but there was something wrong with her form of payment.  They had to go get a manager, it took ‘forever’.  I am ashamed to say I was rolling my eyes and tapping my foot with impatience.

As she finished her transaction and walked away, I realized the problem was with her food stamps card.  I will never forget how horrible I felt.  Had I not been so absorbed in my life, and realized what was going on, I would have gladly paid for her green beans to expedite things or… I could have just been more patient.  That woman will never know that I wasn’t rolling my eyes at the form of payment and I can never make up my rudeness to her (something I will never forget).

But there is still a lesson to be learned and a way to create something positive out of my negative behavior.  I use that day to re-pay it forward.  You have likely heard of paying it forward, buying the next person’s coffee, paying the next driver’s toll fees.  I love those gestures, but also practice small acts of patience and kindness with strangers.  I need to make amends to a stranger for being rude, so I make sure to treat other strangers better. 

  • I wait patiently when someone is trying to park their car next to mine (it’s a big SUV and seems to intimidate people). 
  • I pull the lever so the next person has a paper towel in the airport restroom. 
  • I help people get their baggage up to the ticket counter.
  • Helping people who are lost (directionally – if they are lost in their lives, I probably would only hurt the situation).
  • Holding the elevator doors when you know the person is just around the corner even though you can’t see them and can get away with letting the doors close. 

Since I can’t ever apologize to that woman in the grocery store, I try to pass on other goodness that I hope will come back to her.

I also know there will be other moments when I am distracted, stressed or simply not being the best Paige I can be, so I re-pay it forward for those moments too.

How do you show kindness to strangers?

Being a “Prefectionist”

February 9, 2011 4 comments

This sums it up:

"It says on your resume that you're a prefectionist."

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
I am a perfectionist that makes a lot of mistakes!
 
 
Credit: Bizarro.com
Categories: Balance, Humor Tags: ,

3 Signs I am Drowning and How I Fixed It

February 8, 2011 13 comments

I am still treading wine, but drowning more than drinking.  I just returned from two back to back business trips.  I realize many people travel every week for work, across countries and continents – they’re amazing, I am not.  I am tired and my body hurts from lugging my ginormous (technical term) laptop all over the place in heels.  I was ready to spend some time at home and get back to normal, then my old pal Murphy (as in Murphy’s Law) showed up…

My little diva has been sick for the past couple of days with a 103.5 fever and sleep disrupting killing cough.  I have tried to catch up on work and home life while “functioning” on 2 hours of sleep over two days. (Why was this so much easier when the kids were babies???  Don’t say I am getting old – I am fragile and can’t take that right now!)

Here are the signs that things were slipping in my world:

  1. There was soy sauce and wine on the table, I meant to put soy sauce on my brown rice…
  2. I put a carton of milk in the dryer – of course  I didn’t turn it on (because my husband walked up)
  3. I lost my son’s homework, my daughter’s valentine’s and my… (I can’t even remember the other thing!) all in one day! They were all found, including the thing I don’t remember losing, by somebody else.

There are plenty more examples, like my inability to string a sentence together to save my life, but I think you get the drift.  I have hit the proverbial wall and it is not made of cheese, chocolate or wine corks. 

I told my friend this morning, “I just need to get organized and catch up on everything and I will be fine”.  This sent her into hysterical laughter. I am pretty sure my friends only keep me around for the entertainment value.  She gently reminded me that being “caught up” might be too ambitious and I would miss all the fun in the meantime.

So guess what I did? 

At  12:05 I was sitting in my home office, in my pajamas, unshowered and decided to meet a friend for lunch.  This gal is rarely in town and was 10 minutes from my house.  I looked at my work email, my to-do listsssss (did you catch the emphasis on the plural lists) and walked away.  I set a new record for fastest shower and walked out the door at 12:10. mostly clean, no make-up and a big smile.

I have to tell you a spontaneous lunch out is incredibly therapeutic.  The to-do listssss continue to grow, but I am no longer drowning, because really, what is more important – expense reports or lunch with a great friend?

I knew you’d agree.

How do you keep your head above water?

I looked nothing like this at lunch today, but I was happy.

Why I Eat Cookies

January 31, 2011 13 comments

Today has been a roller coaster!  I was scheduled to be on a plane right now headed for another business trip.  Then, an hour before I was due to leave for the airport, my meeting and trip were rescheduled. 

I am thrilled to stay home because I just got back from a week-long trip on Friday.  It was long days of meetings and social events in the evenings.  By 2:00 every day, I was ready for a nap – so I had a cookie instead. 

Once home, I was still tired and didn’t feel like I had enough time this weekend to get everything done.  I ran around until I was close to sleeping standing up – so I ate cookies to keep going.  Sugar is my caffeine.  By last night I had accomplished all I could and enjoyed a bottle (yes, a bottle) of wine, which then affected my judgment so I ate another bag of cookies.

When I got up this morning, I was melancholy about my trip.  I had been home less than 72 hours and needed more time with my husband.  What you’re expecting me to say next is “and I really needed more time with my kids”.

Except I don’t. 

From the moment I walked in the door on Friday, my little pumpkins were lunatics.  They set new temper tantrum records.  My husband was so sweet to share with me that they were great until I came home…  It is so odd, I was sad to part with them this morning, I gave them extra hugs and kisses and truly didn’t want to leave.  But now that I get to stay home, I would like to hide in my office, eat cookies and read a book.  What award do I win for that?

But I am congratulating myself on knowing where I am at and understanding what I need.  I need cookies.  I need rest.  I need cuddling with my kids.  I just don’t want the other stuff like discipline, homework, laundry and bedtime rituals.  Hmmm… I think the business trip might be more restful than parenting…

So I have decided today is I eat cookies day (and it is clearly not ‘I am a literary genius’ day).  You are welcome to join in the celebration.  This is guilt free indulgence.  Will I eat cookies in lieu if my parenting duties? No.  But will the cookies make the duties easier? You betcha!

Next time I will make this brief, I’ll quickly tell you about the isolated times when I don’t eat cookies.

What do you do to take care of yourself?  How do you cope on crazy days?