Pausing Fast Forward

When we’re little we want so much to be grown up. As a little girl, you try on your mom’s shoes. You put on makeup. You can’t wait for the day when you can finally drive. What’s interesting is that when you finally become an adult, with adult responsibilities, you wish for nothing more than to be able to go back to when you didn’t have any worries greater than choosing the right bowl for your Cookie Crisp cereal so you could finally sit down to watch Superfriends on Saturday morning cartoons.

This whole scenario got me thinking about how I’m always wanting to fast forward to when things are different or settled. I wish my future self could somehow send me a message to tell me to just enjoy how things are now because the future comes with even more complications. Now, part of me knows that will probably be the case, but it doesn’t stop me from wanting to fast forward like I did when I was a kid.

What is it within us that causes this desire in the first place? Is it the uncertainty of our present lives? Is it the “grass is always greener” approach when thinking about the future? How do I turn this off? Would knowing the complications of my future life cause me to make different choices or is it already mapped out? It’s almost as if it’s an unconscious occurrence that I am powerless to prevent from happening.

The present me thinks back to the me of the recent past with a different perspective. I reminisce about enjoying a morning jog in the quiet neighborhood near my apartment. I cherish knowing that at the time in my past I had financial security along with a steady job. The problem then was that I wanted something more. Maybe it’s those wants that causes the future fast forward phenomenon to jump into action. Part of me now can already recognize that with change comes a lot of unknowns. My goal then needs to be to learn to find that pause button so I don’t miss something my future self looks back on as a fond memory.

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I Will Become A Reader

At the first of the year, many of us set forth with yet another New Year’s resolution in the effort to better ourselves. Many times this comes in the form of starting a new diet or fitness regimen. I too have made these pledges to myself only to see them fade out after about six weeks.

Last year, I finally checked something HUGE off my bucket list when I published my book, We’re All Rubber Bands: Finding happiness with who you are. What many people don’t know is that I had the book pretty much finished a year and a half earlier, but I just couldn’t figure out what to call it. I obviously got that problem solved, and now, here I sit, over six months later, a published author.

So…what’s next? Well, I’m glad you asked.

I got to thinking that I really enjoy the creativity of writing. It allows me to express myself and get those weird, random thoughts out of my head, but I haven’t done much of it since I moved back home to Arlington, TX. I do write, actually, it’s just in my personal journal. There’s something about putting a pen to paper that helps me get out of my head what is bothering me. It’s just that I still have so many other things I want to write about, so I’m definitely going to commit to writing and publishing blogs more often. Of course there’s a good reason for this. You see, I have a goal for the year!

This year I am going to become a READER!

I know many of you may think this is silly, but let me explain. I have a good number of books. I even have a tradition, for the most part, that when I buy a new book, I also buy a new bookmark. You’d think that because of this, I have a bunch of random bookmarks lying about. NOPE! That’s the problem. I have a ton of bookmarks, but they’re IN the books…usually about 30-50 pages in. Yeah, I start reading and then “SQUIRREL!!” I get distracted or lose interest, and then the sad bookmark just sits there begging to be moved to a page it hasn’t read over and over for years.

So…my goal this year is to read a minimum of two books every month. I will admit that I mostly read nonfiction, since that is what I enjoy writing, but I’m going to branch out and see what else is out there as well. I’m happy to report that as of today, I have completed my goal for January and half of my goal for February. I plan to start my next book tomorrow and have chosen a fiction novel to read.

One thing that I have discovered since starting this last month was that I am enjoying the quiet time. I’ve always been a podcast kinda gal, but it’s difficult to quiet your mind when someone is yapping at you about some topic you stopped listening to several minutes ago. Now, I look forward to the stillness that comes with reading.

I’m also excited to build a really great collection of books that I’ve read. I’m picturing a cool bookcase with all of my literary conquests displayed. I’ll even be sure to put my OWN book on one of the shelves as a tribute to all my hard work. Who knows…maybe one day I’ll need TWO bookcases!

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Scary dreams aren’t always nightmares

I have been very blessed over the last few months to be part of group that has changed me in ways I never expected. They have caused me to take an honest look at myself, and I have discovered strength I never knew I had. They have lit a fire in me that had yet to be ignited. Most importantly, they have helped me clear a path that’s allowing me to dream bigger than I ever thought possible. The truth is, my dreams are terrifying me, but just because a dream is scary doesn’t make it a nightmare.

I keep hearing the quote repeated, “If your dreams don’t scare you, they’re not big enough.” Many times we limit ourselves because we think that there is no way we could take it to the next level. That would require too much change or too much work. This limited thinking is what keeps us in a rut. It prevents us from achieving our true potential. It tells us that the status quo is all we can hope for and switches off the light shining on what we truly want in life. This fire I mentioned has been like a torch that is illuminating a new path…a different path than I’ve been on for most of my adult life.

For a while, I’ve felt the need to shake things up. I’ve gotten too comfortable with where I am and what I’m doing. I needed that nudge and the permission to dream big. Is there a risk of failing or losing something in the process? Sure! That’s a risk I’m willing to take. The difference is, I refuse to “what if” my life anymore. I would rather regret the things I’ve done than the things I haven’t.

I’ve had moments of second guessing myself. I bounce between being extremely excited and fighting back tears. Honestly, it’s a bit exhausting! I guess you could say I’m on a bit of an emotional rollercoaster, but I keep reminding myself that I’m the one laying down the track. I’m pushing myself way outside my comfort zone. As I make it back to the station after a few loops and drops, I’m able to refocus and trust that things will work out the way they are supposed to.

I know I’m not the first person to do this, and I definitely won’t be the last, but I’m not going to let fear hold me back this time. The unknown can be scary, but imagine what you could accomplish if you removed the fear factor. Imagine what dreams you could chase if you simply removed the tether holding you in place. Don’t let your mind convince you a scary dream is a nightmare in disguise. Your life is an occasion. Rise to it!

 

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Flights of Fancy

Today, while I was walking down the 13 flights of stairs to check the mail in my office building, my mind started wandering. About a flight down, I saw the same empty paper cup sitting on the railing. The two previous days I made the same trek, I walked by it figuring that someone from the maintenance crew would make a sweep of the staircase in order to remove any trash. I was wrong. Instead of walking by again, I stopped and picked it up to dispose of it once I reached the first floor. This got me thinking about sayings I’ve heard over the years that I do my best to try to live by. I thought I’d share some of them with you.

Always leave a place in better shape than you found it.
(This applies to staircases, jobs, and even Girl Scout campsites.)

You give what you get.

When someone shows you who they are, believe them!

Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right.

Do or do not. There is no try.
(Yoda was one smart Jedi!)

Criticize in private. Compliment in public.

A closed mouth gathers no feet.

Anything worth doing is worth doing right.

I’m always on the lookout for my next mantra. I would love to hear your favorites as well.

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So, I did a thing…

This has been a long time coming, but I’m excited to announce that on July 31st, I finally published my book, “We’re All Rubber Bands: Finding happiness with who you are.” This is a collection of some of my favorite blogs that I’ve posted over the years along with some additional comments following each chapter. As you will see on the back cover of the book,

Life can test you to your limits. Sometimes, it may even break you. We’re All Rubber Bands is about bouncing back to who you are at your core, learning to laugh at yourself, and finding strength with the beautiful, imperfect person that you have always been.

This has been a labor of love that has taken me many years to finally finish, and I’m happy to say that I was even able to self-publish it. I am excited to have created something truly mine, including the cover artwork. I have to say that it has been absolutely bizarre to see something I’ve done show up on websites like Lulu.com, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble.

As my earlier blog post mentions, it really does take a village. I wouldn’t have gotten here without the love and support of so many, and for that, I’m eternally grateful. It’s pretty amazing to be able to say you can mark something off of your bucket list.

The response so far has been pretty humbling in a fantastic way, so it makes all the work I put into it all the more worth it. I’m looking forward to a multitude of reviews and even have an idea for another book, which will probably take another few years to write. I’ve got a lot of exciting things in the works, and I am definitely looking forward to my next chapter. Here’s to turning the page.

 

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The Safety of the Street Light

Whenever I misplaced something growing up, my dad would always tell me that, “it will always be in the last place you look.” Gee…thanks, dad! After all, who would keep looking after they found what they were seeking? What about the person who is searching for something nowhere near where they lost it just because it’s easier? It doesn’t make much sense, does it? This is what is known as the Streetlight Effect.

This can best be described by a short story about a drunk man who has lost his keys. He is standing under a street light trying to find them when a police officer walks up and asks him what he is looking for. Upon telling the officer what he lost, they both begin searching together for the keys. After several minutes of looking, the officer asks the drunk man if he’s sure he lost them there. The drunk man points across the street into the darkness and tells the officer that he lost his keys over there in the park. The police officer asks him why he’s searching here, to which the drunk man replies, “This is where the light is.”

I pondered this for a while and wondered why is it in life we try to find the easy way out? Why do we search for answers in the wrong places? Why do we want the “get rich quick” scheme to work instead of focusing our efforts towards the target we’re trying to reach? It feels lately as if someone has discovered me crouched under a street light searching for what I seek most – happiness.

Sure, trying to be happy with what you have and what you’re already doing is a good thing, but trying and being are two completely different things. After all, wouldn’t you rather spend time doing some real soul searching if it meant you would find what you seek? Wouldn’t it be worth it to step away from the view and safety beneath your street light in order to find your keys to happiness? Remember what my dad said – you’ll always find what you seek in the last place you look. It’s a good thing I’m smart enough to grab my flashlight.

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My Spiralized Life

Not long after I started my current job, I was introduced to a nifty kitchen gadget called a spiralizer. In case you’re not familiar, this tool takes a vegetable, such as a zucchini, and turns it into long, thin noodles. It does so by turning it while it’s being cut. When you’re finally done, the resulting pile looks nothing like what you started with, but it sure can make for some good meals. This got me thinking tonight. My life is a lot like a spiralized vegetable.

I can go along for months or years feeling like my life is solid and stable. For whatever unforeseen reasons, every so often, my life can put me in a spin causing things to get all out of whack. It feels like I’m not sure which end is up and I’m just holding on for dear life. What I usually find is that after all is said and done, I come out happier and healthier on the other side. It’s a kind of personal metamorphosis. The trouble is, when the spiralizing is taking place, I’m never sure how long it will last.

I guess I feel like I’m in one of these topsy-turvy times right now. I know I will feel an awakening after it’s ended, but until then, I’m hoping that the view isn’t too dizzying.

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