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Posts Tagged ‘balance’

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?

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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?



Treading Wine

January 28, 2011 19 comments

I know what you’re thinking – “Paige, don’t you mean treading water?”

Do I ever mean water over wine? Not unless we’re talking about laundry and I rarely talk about laundry.

For the last several weeks I have been struggling to tread wine.  You see, if I was struggling to tread water, I would have simply gotten out of the pool (or lake, or ocean).  But wine is complex, sometimes surprising, occasionally corked, but usually delightful, just like life.  So therefore, treading wine is worth the struggle.

So what I have been struggling with that has kept me off-balance (and writing very little) for the last few weeks?  I think I have it mostly figured out (how’s that for confidence and conviction?).  I have shared on occasion that I haven’t always been happy in my job.  The thing is, I love what I do and I am good great at it.  But I am a perfectionist and it had gotten out of hand.  I had gotten to a point where nothing felt good enough.  My confidence was slipping and my self-critical side needed a beat-down.  It had started to spill in to my personal life.  Everything felt hollow and I had stopped trusting my own instincts.  Very few people knew how it was affecting me, because, like my dramatic diva of a three-year old, I can put on a show.  The irony is during this time, I received a promotion, a raise and several accolades and still didn’t feel like my work was good enough.

But I am very fortunate, I am surrounded by smart, caring people (and a few paid professionals) who have helped me get things under control.  By examining my perfectionist tendencies, I realized that perhaps I am a wee bit… off-balance, unrealistic and um… crazy.  As I thought about the standard I was holding strangling myself to, I had to laugh.  It was absurd and not the level I hold others to.  My higher self-bar was not because I thought I was better than the average person and could deliver more, it was because of that pesky perfectionism.  This may confuse you since I talk about mold in my shower and all of my follies, but there are parts of life where I feel safe being “normal” and parts where I wasn’t giving myself that same luxury.  (Trust me, the mold is still in the shower and I think the whole house needs dusting).

So I have perfectly cured myself in about two weeks.  (When you’re done laughing, feel free to continue reading).

Welcome back, need some water or a kleenex?

In lieu of an instant cure, which I was dismayed to discover does not exist, I am being more thoughtful about my goals, my decisions and my feelings.  I am letting myself off the hook a bit.  I am taking risks again and know that sometimes I will… eek… fail, and gulp… that’s good for me.   I am also reminding myself that my job is only one facet of my rich, tannin filled life.  I am treating myself the way I would treat any of my precious friends and family members: with support and encouragement.

I know that I will have to keep an eye on that bothersome perfectionist side and I may have to occasionally smack her around, but just being aware makes me feel so much better!

So I am again successfully treading wine and enjoying it.  Not to mention that cabernet-colored skin is more attractive than some of my spray tan debacles in an effort to avoid my natural pasty white color!

Thanks to a Mad Women who inspired me to share the hard, not always funny, parts of life.

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?