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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?

I Am Approaching Bankruptcy

May 11, 2011 5 comments

No, not the financial kind that involves dumping the house.  If I controlled our finances, that could happen, but my husband is smart and I am smart enough to listen to him.

I am approaching email bankruptcy.  The spam is smothering me, my inbox is intimidated me and the number of unreads are unimaginable.  If I leave it unchecked for one day, it feels like the spiders in my least favorite movie, Arachnophobia (because I hate spiders), pouring out of the drain.

I have had the same personal email account for many years (too many to remember) and have used it fo silly sweepstakes, mailing lists and online shopping.  Those uses lead to a bunch of other emails I never wanted.  Unfortunately, only some of it goes into my spam folder and I am much too lazy to go in and unsubscribe to every one.

So I am considering the unthinkable – strategic default.  Walking away.  Giving up my identity and starting over.

Will I feel cleansed or lonely?  Will I miss a great sale?  Will I lose touch with someone important?

I need guidance, I need personal stories.  Have any of you gone through email bankruptcy?  Was it for the best?

Categories: Humor, Life Tags:

10 Lessons from a Girls Weekend

April 11, 2011 12 comments

The following lessons may or may not have come from actual or alleged events.  You can’t prove these things happened.  I destroyed the pictures.  Enjoy the lessons and take them to heart!

  1. There are three slots on an ATM – the one you put the card in, the one you get a receipt from and the one that dispenses the money.  These slots are not interchangeable.
  2. When a friend gives you directions to a bar four times, it is time to pick that friend up from said bar.
  3. When attempting to rent a stack of chick flicks, it is easier to ask how to open a rental account than to guess other people’s’ account information.
  4. Short bar patrons are not souvenirs.  Even if she is 4′ 10″ one should not try to put her in their pocket.
  5. Yoga on patio cushions is dangerous.
  6. There is a brief window where karaoke sounds good: after listeners have had enough to drink to miss the mistakes, but before the singers have had too much to drink and sit down on stage.
  7. If you’re going to get on your hands and knees to bow to your new friend at the bar because she has six kids and multiple grandchildren, wash your hands afterwards.
  8. Playing ‘hide the car’ while a friend is in a store, never becomes mature old.
  9. If eye flirting with a guy at the other end of the bar doesn’t create a love connection, throwing ice at him probably won’t either.
  10. There is a fine line between a classy woman and a two scoops of crazy one.

They are rather confusing...

Mechanical Bulls, Mullets and Friends

March 29, 2011 16 comments

This last weekend, after having sushi with friends, we decided to go the Saloon in town.  I love saying this, because I am hoping it conjures up images of me living in Texas and wearing some sassy boots.  I really do live in the suburbs, but we do have a saloon with a mechanical bull.

After running up a bill that was more Sapporo than sushi (and it was a lot of sushi), we headed over to the Saloon.  As some of you may know, I am all for an adventure.  Before we even left the parking lot of the sushi restaurant, my husband was making me swear I would not ride the mechanical bull.  We were placing bets in the parking lot on who would ride and my husband kept reminding me that I am already a frequent visitor to the chiropractor and a bull ride would not help.  I do not think it is appropriate to bring up my aging, frail body on my birthday.

Upon arriving, I felt like the bull was calling my name, my friends were trying to talk me into it and my husband was giving me the look of, ‘I will not give you sympathy or pay for the massages’.  We decided two other friends would ride, but I would at least get on for a picture.  Only I couldn’t even get on by myself.  Maybe it was the Sapporo or the high-heeled boots, or the Sapporo, but it took the help of a friend to even get me on – it was clear riding would not go any better.  Rather I was a passionate spectator.

The only thing that could steal my attention was the 80’s band setting up.  One of the guys had a mullet and the female lead definitely rocked the 80’s – hard!  I was instantly enamored!  I was the first one on the dance floor – inappropriately early.  I drug my tolerant friends and two perfect strangers out with me.  Is there anything better than listening to an 80’s band in a Saloon, with fantastic, indulgent friends?

Well yes, let me suggest some improvements:

  • They didn’t know any Bon Jovi songs.  There should be a law that states that if you have a mullet, you know Bon Jovi songs.
  • I am too old to dance with such enthusiasm (think hamming it up – combination swing dancing and jazzercise) in high-heeled boots.  My shins, calves and ankles are still recovering.  I should have taken the boots off earlier.
  • If you can’t remember how many beers you had at dinner, don’t drink seven captain and diets at the saloon, even if you are making up for Lent.
  • When everyone wants to leave, do not explain to your husband that the two nice women you met on the dance floor can bring you home later.
  • We should have used a camera that didn’t create the devil eyes, but it’s almost fitting because I felt like the devil had strapped me to a mechanical bull and done his worst the next morning…

Yes, my friend in the picture had to help me up AND hold me up, I would have surely fallen off the back!

5 Reasons This Is A Great Weekend

March 26, 2011 4 comments

It is only Saturday morning, oh… wait… wow, it’s noon?!  How long have I been on this computer?!

Anyways, it is only Saturday at noon and I have already proclaimed this a great weekend.  Despite the rain (I am a sun girl) and the fact that I was awake from 4:00 am to 7:00 am, it is still a great weekend! 

  1. Wine and cookies!: Yesterday was the Feast of the Annunciation which means a church sanctioned break from Lent!  I didn’t know about this ahead of time, but at 6:00 last night I got a text from a Lenten authority who told me I could drink wine.  Within a minute (no joke) I was sipping a glass of wine.  I followed that up with cookies – both freshly baked and the Girl Scout variety! Bliss!
  2. A schedule free day!: The only reason I could lose track of time today is that today is a rare Saturday where we don’t have kids sports (thanks to the rain), birthday parties or pressing errands.  I am in my jammies, reading, writing and enjoying some leisure time.
  3. My kids: With less rushing around, I have gotten extra hugs, and a very special, “I love you mommy soo much with my whole heart”.  That is my daughter’s interpretation of I love you with all my heart.
  4. Creative Ideas A-Flowin’:  I have been working on a pet project and I could not sleep in the wee hours of the morning because ideas were popping into my head.  I got up and mapped everything out on paper.  I feel  much further along and ready to start making it a reality.
  5. Dinner with friends: I am going to sushi tonight with friends to celebrate my upcoming birthday.  My husband and I have both been traveling a lot too much for work and are looking forward to an evening with friends.  When I started Lent, I gave myself one free pass for my birthday so I will be enjoying beers with my sushi tonight. (Like all things in my life, Lent is a guideline and last night was simply an offical bonus!)

I guess it’s my chosen positive perspective today – happiness and positivity.  I could dwell on the rain and the lack of sleep, but they are both opportunities to find other sources of happiness!

I am heading back to my fabulous weekend – go make yours great too!

Categories: Life Tags: , ,

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?

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.

Let My Friends Help You

February 1, 2011 9 comments

One of the most amazing things about writing this blog is the other writers I have met either virtually or in real-life.  I cherish their friendships and talents.  I also love learning things from them that help make my life easier.  A few such lessons have stuck with me lately and I wanted to pass them on to you:

  • Coping with messesI am a bit of a neat freak.  I have OCD.  Sometimes when the kids make a mess I literally think steam is going to come out of my ears like a cartoon character.  Kelly over at Dances with Chaos takes pictures of her kids messes to laugh and blog about.  Even if you don’t write or blog, taking the picture to laugh about (or blackmail your kids with) really helps bring the situation down from DEFCON 1. 
  • Know your role.  Blessing over at Working Mom Journal talks about our role of inspiring our children.  What a great reminder of thinking past homework and toothbrush enforcer.  Blessing shares 9 elements of how to inspire your children.
  • Tools to get you through the work day. Rene over at Grown Up for Real shared with her readers the Little Pink Book, career wisdom for women.  It’s short articles and videos for all of you, who like me, need career and life-enhancing tools.
  • If all else fails, just keeping up is a good day! Angie over at The Little Mumma reminds us that parenting is a bit like Groundhog Day and our accomplishments from yesterday don’t count for today, so just keeping up is great!

Do you have a helpful tip or sage advice?  I am listening and always in need of wisdom!

Categories: Life, Parenting, Working Tags: ,

I Beat Murphy’s Law… For Now

January 14, 2011 21 comments

Do you ever feel like:

  • Murphy (as in Murphy’s Law) is a big mean guy swinging a heavy bat – usually at your face or gut?
  • The moment you get off the rollercoaster of life, you step onto a merry-go-round?
  • Just when you get on a good healthy eating and fitness kick, you get sick, injured or somebody sends you a box of chocolates?
  • You can have a quiet work week and then everything hits on Friday?
  • Nobody drops by unannounced when your home is immaculate and you are put together, but your new neighbor drops by the day you forego getting dressed to re-organize and deep clean your house.
  • The simplest of mistakes can have the biggest impact?
  • You forget the one thing at the grocery store that has no substitute?
  • Your kids only sleep in when you’re already awake?
  • The movie you’ve been dying to see was on TV the previous night?
  • The 50% off Border coupon expired yesterday?

I had a week like this.  But you know what?  That Murphy guy is nothing but a bully.  I turned on him, stole his bat and beat his ironic ass – we say bottom in this house- into the ground.  I have been in pajamas (figuratively and literally) all week, just trying to survive.  But now, the sun is shining, I have taken a full shower (with a razor and everything) and am re-claiming my happy life!

They say that what goes up must come down.  But what comes down and breaks, can be fixed with superglue and a martini!

What are your brushes with Murphy’s Law?  How do you bounce back?

Seven Deadly Sins Challenge – Wrath

December 5, 2010 1 comment

Okay, we’re almost done with the Seven Deadly Sins Challenge, I  am admittedly losing interest in the challenge so I am changing the rules.  (My ADD hard at work) Instead of listing seven things that annoy me, I will just share one annoying story.

Last week I was coming out of the gym in the rain.  I jumped in my SUV and was sitting in the car, in park, talking to my husband.  A women attempted to pull in to the spot next to me, but she was on her cell phone.  I have no issue with people who drive and talk on their cell phones, if they are capable of it.  Clearly, this woman was not.

She pulled into the spot at such a bad angle I thought she was going to hit one or more cars, but she stopped in time.  I assumed she would hang up her call to evaluate how to fix her botched parking job, but instead she threw her car in reverse and kept right on chatting.  Her side mirror was approaching my side mirror fast.  I told my husband, “Hang on babe, some bimbo is about to hit me”.  This is of course sent him into a panic, but I assured him I was in no danger, other than losing my temper or laughing hysterically (I really couldn’t decide which way it was going to go.)  Sure enough her mirror hit mine.  She stopped, looked at the mirror, looked at me and DIDN’T HANG UP THE PHONE.  She merely kept trying to straighten her car out.  I am now relaying this story to my husband, trying to contain my laughter.  She was still in motion and it was raining so I waited a second to roll down my window.  She now was in forward again and heading back towards my mirror, I opened my window and pulled my mirror in quickly.  I did this because a) I wanted to see if she had scratched it (she had not) and b) I didn’t want her to hit it again.  When I moved the mirror, she waved and mouthed thank you while continuing her call.  Really?!

I normally succumb to road rage but the whole situation was so silly, I couldn’t help but laugh.  She then finished parking on her eighth attempt, jumped out of the care and ran inside.  She did not make eye contact, attempt to apologize or even wave.  I decided in the spirit of the holidays, I would just let it go, be a mature adult and bad-mouth her the rest of the day!

Was it annoying?  Yes, but also funny.  Did it lead to wrath?  No, because my parents taught me to be kind to those less fortunate than me and based on her driving skills, she will have other bouts of bad luck!

Do you have any funny road rage stories?  My friend recently rear-ended a guy who ended up asking her out on a date!