Gratitude

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No one likes admitting they may have been wrong, or that they hurt anyone else.

I have reflected on past relationships, whether they were romantic, or otherwise, and I feel like there are times that I wish I could say, “thank you.”

I am grateful that people were in my life, for whatever time period or function they served. I felt supported, considered, and cared for.

I know that no one is perfect, and people usually do the best they can, in the situation and timeframe, and with the skills they have at that moment.

While some relationships were short-lived, or I should have broken them off sooner, I can still say “thank you.”

Thank you for believing in me, listening to me, trying to understand me, or allocating time or resources to my dreams.

Without any of you, I wouldn’t be the person I am now.

If there isn’t the ability to say, “I’m sorry,” if I didn’t show gratitude, I now say “Thank You.”

I hope that my humility, current and future success can help others do the same.

It’s Always Darkest…

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Have you ever had a time period in life where it seemed like nothing would work out, or at every turn something else was going wrong?

It seems like there are many online resources for “the law of attraction,” or other kinds of positive thinking mantras.

Is it that simple to think your way to success?

I think that yes, there is something to be said about positive thinking, or goal-setting behavior. But sometimes it really is the “right place, right time.”

I finally have two jobs now that will enable me to purchase my own home, and fully fund my retirement. I think the way these came about were an accident. I put a new resume online in October, and then all of a sudden, in April, two companies hired me! The timing of the part-time position enables me to work full-time in the morning/afternoon, and make it on time to the next one.

I wasn’t checking e-mail for either one, and then I saw recruiter messages and replied back. So, I don’t know if I would say that positive thinking, or “name it, and claim it,” perspective made it happen.

I do think that being open-minded, and changing priorities allows the universe and God to send exactly what you need. There is never anything wasted or forgotten by God. There are always lessons, wisdom, or growth in any life season. Don’t think that you will never get through a dark time, there is light heading your way!

Give thanks in all things, and always hope for tomorrow! It is never too late for a new beginning!

Nevermind

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Resolutions. It’s that time of year that we make them, hope to keep them, and uh…well, probably throw them to the wayside.

I was supposed to be writing in Bloganuary, for WordPress, and I can’t even say that I have felt motivated to post anything, even though it’s day number five of blog promts.

I can say that I have changed other behavior. I signed up for a food tracking app in December, and I have almost completed an entire month of logging in food and drink choices. I have lost 5 pounds. I have been drinking more 100% juice, less soda, and eating lower fat dairy products.

I have been spending more time with my family. I’ve been praying more and practicing more gratitude and meditation.

Were these “resolutions?” Maybe. But I didn’t plan to implement them by the January 1st deadline. I just wanted a healthier, more well-adjusted life. I have also been looking inward to what truly makes me happy, content, and full of peace, instead of having unrealistic expectations. I celebrate even the smallest milestone, and allow grace to myself when I slip up. It’s not about extremes and high intensity.

It could be because I’m tired of the roller-coaster of emotions, high stress relationships, and spending excess energy on fitting the status quo. I only need to impress and follow God, so other frivolous ambitions don’t fit the bill anymore.

I wish I had known these priorities in my 20’s and 30’s. I was so determined to “play the role,” and I’m sure people in my life then are collateral damage. It’s not exactly worth it to ask any of them, or reach out and apologize, (especially if they have moved on in life, and bringing up memories or wrongs would impact their mental wellness). Some of those people had demons of their own to fight, so no one likes being reminded of the past.

I’m in a much better emotional place than one year ago, and definitely from 5 years ago. It takes time to think, meditate, and exercising to feel good about yourself and who you are. It’s ok to not be perfect, or to not be ok sometimes. I wish I had known this when I was a teenager. Maybe the push to be assertive and competitive looks good on a resume, or to win awards, but at the end of the day, or even at the end of life, people only really care that you were a nice, considerate person. No one looks at trophies on the wall.

So I guess back to resolutions-thank people more, be more patient…drink less coffee? And quit turning the snooze button on my alarm. Oh, those last two-nevermind.

Thanks A Lot

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Thanksgiving is around the corner, and Christmas is barely a month away.

I am grateful this year.

I have had so many different experiences, various jobs, people as friends, and exposure to persons of influence.

I have also been friends with people who were homeless, individuals who will never step foot in a workplace, or people with chronic illness who struggle to have quality of life at all.

I’ve had mental health and chronic physical illness diagnoses, but when I wake up and can thank God, and have the ability to exercise, leave my house freely, have above-average medical care, and communicate with loved ones and friends-my life is a miracle.

I have worked for top corporations, been a part of committees, participated as management of companies, and been able to facilitate mental health treatment of others in various situations.

But what if I was a “nobody?”

A lot of people feel like a nobody these days. Lost in the shuffle. And they probably ask, “Where is God?” Where is God, when I just got divorced? Where is God, when I just buried a loved one a week before the holidays? Where is God, when I just got a diagnosis of cancer?

There is no easy answer to questions like these. It’s ok to feel sad, overwhelmed, angry. It is normal to feel disappointed, confused, and resentful. You wouldn’t be a normal person if you didn’t.

But there is a future for you. There is someone else who needs to hear your story. Somebody who will meet you and relate to your pain. People don’t live in a vacuum. We exist by comforting each other, encouraging each other. We succeed by acknowledging each other’s work, efforts, and relationships. When we become robotic, giving out platitudes, not understanding someone’s emotions, we cease to be compassionate and authentic.

Take time to be grateful today. But if you aren’t-or you meet someone who is struggling to be, experience grace. It will result in the difference from responding sarcastically, “Thanks a lot!” or humbly, “Thanks, a lot.”

Rise Up

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Sometimes life throws you a curveball. Like not even imaginable or expected. This happened to me this week.

I had started a new position at a worthy corporation. A violent crime occurred in our parking lot this weekend. I decided not to come into work for 2 days because I felt unsafe, and I didn’t see enough security measures to feel comfortable returning until the police had solved the matter. I got dismissed from my position for making this decision. Granted, maybe I was overreacting, but who wants to be in the literal line of fire just trying to pay your bills.

However, I heard twice this week the scripture, Isaiah 40:31 but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

What a timely reminder.

I had two to three months savings for emergencies, but I didn’t think that I would lose my job this soon. This just proves that you can’t put faith in man, titles, a job position, or anything material. I am glad that I stood up for my rights, and as I believe in God, I know that I will be headed in the right direction.

I know that I don’t always post scripture in my blog, but this seemed like a good situation to illustrate with one.

Also, I almost went into work on that night, to follow up on computer training, and if I had used that parking lot, I might have been injured or killed instead of typing these sentences to you today.

Never doubt the hand of God in your life.

You might not know where you are headed, but God knows what is best for you. I can’t say enough how grateful I am. Besides that, I can focus on writing more, continuing my business classes online, and possibly working from home again. Hopefully by the summer I can take more of my original pictures and go back to the plan of being a photographer.

If plans deviate again, I’ll know that God and my guardian angels are leading the way.

Embrace change. You never know.

Coffee Break

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Remember when you were a kid, and you hated taking a break, like if your parents yelled at you to come inside while you were playing, or if you were in the middle of beating a video game, and they said to turn it off.

Now that I’m a middle-aged adult (gasp!), I value taking breaks. I took a break from working this summer, and instead of going back to my job, I applied at different companies. In the meantime, I rested, exercised, read and reviewed books, took care of my pets, and spent time with my family. After five interviews, I landed a position at one of my dream companies. Now I can move forward with my career, after about 10 years of stagnation.

While I was researching jobs, and adding contacts to my LinkedIn account, I learned from a recruiter that it is ok to change jobs at any time when the position you are in isn’t a fit anymore.

This is something that people usually don’t think is ok. Unless you have to pay bills for yourself and your children, or other dependents (like for instance, you take care of aging parents), it is worth it to change jobs, or even careers if you have the opportunity to do so.

I lost a lot of time changing jobs in between my main careers of the past, (social work and teaching). I now have the education, experience, training, and marketability, in a time where many people are staying unemployed, working from home only, or going back to school. I’m ready to contribute fully to a company that values diversity, great benefits, and promotion from within. I don’t have to worry about my future, how I will take care of my retirement, or how I will ensure I have opportunities to use my education.

I know that every job has it’s caveats. There’s not enough flexibility in days off, or maybe you have to work holidays, or possibly the position is just boring and routine. But at least, with my new position, I won’t have to deal with drug deals happening at work (yes, I’m not kidding), or having to sell my soul for respect and the possibility of being promoted.

After so many years of climbing the ladder of success, and then, jumping off the roof once I got there, (ok, not exactly kidding), I learned that money, image, that “gold name plate” on the door, none of that matters if your health and well-being are being taxed all day, all week, all year.

I know that I’m preaching to the choir, maybe. But I learned from someone a few years ago, that at my age, I can’t afford to not start up another retirement fund, have health coverage, paid time off, and a decent savings account for emergencies.

I spent a long time running from myself. Fears of success, fear of failure, not believing in myself-none of that fits in my trajectory now. I have taken business classes, and continue to do so, I invest emotionally in my real friendships, I’m an authentic, realistic, encouraging person, and I’m responsible. In my 20’s and 30’s I did a lot of experimenting with my career and my financial resources. Now I’m ready to hit the pavement and get things in order so I can be a blessing to others and myself.

So yes, take a break. Take a break and talk to your significant other or spouse. Spend time with children. Listen to someone when they have a bad day. Let yourself ignore that to-do list, and maybe just go for a walk or read a book. Call up an old friend. Hug your grandparents. Thank God for what you have, and what you’ve avoided. Maybe living “on the edge” is only for the young.

As for me, I’ll be sipping my coffee, confident and calm.

Who Are We Kidding?

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Do any of us have the ability to tell the future?

No, of course not. We all have the ability to assume things, use previous experiences, stories from other people, statistics of how things happened in the past, or just plain ol’ stupidity and stubborness.

We need to accept that things are always evolving. Nothing is guaranteed. If you worry about something, it gives you the illusion of changing an outcome, but in reality, no worrying prevents anything, or prepares you for a change in plans.

Even when I thought I had enough education and training to never attend college again, here I am taking classes in finance, marketing and business. The pandemic altered consumer spending and supply chain organization, so it can’t stay “business as usual.”

All I can say is, never live as if life is complete and finalized, unless you are actually in hospice care and preparing to come to the end of life. You can have all the education or experience, and it won’t matter. I just watched the news tonight, and companies are now hiring people who are “coachable” without formal education, because they realize that 50-70% of candidates are eliminated if they expect a completed college degree in order for people to apply to their positions.

Even though I am a big, big supporter of education, there actually can be alternate routes to careers. You can be self-employed and offer a service or product, and if you have an appropriate way of filing taxes and marketing yourself, keeping track of expenses, and handling the ebb and flow of sales, you don’t need anything more than a high school diploma, start-up funding, and liability insurance.

You can attend college for a semester or so, drop out and still have enough skills to start at above entry-level at a job. You can work somewhere for 2-4 years, have good references with proof of leadership and become a manager somewhere. It doesn’t have to be the “way we’ve always done it.”

I welcome the change. I’ve been discriminated against for not having enough education, education in the “wrong” field for the job posting, and also being over-educated and then discriminated against that I’d quit and leave for a better paying job. (Ok, maybe that was kind of true, but I didn’t want to be told to apply elsewhere when I wanted to be eventually be promoted). I’m focusing on skills that are marketable, like being team-oriented, learning software quickly, being a self-starter, having organization ability, and attention to detail. I’m mostly working from home these days, but even being in charge of your own workload doesn’t mean I can ignore current trends or procedures.

I know it seems daunting, possibly even overwhelming, but it is important to invest in yourself, believe in your abilities, and be mindful of the future. You may not wake up tomorrow, but if you do-make sure you’re ready to face whatever comes your way!

The Road Less Traveled


Photo by Brendan Steeves via Unsplash

I used to drive on a section of highway like this for years while I was traveling from my college town back home for holidays. I loved watching the trees change color each season, year after year. It was a comforting, consistent staple when my life in college was a whirlwind of unpredictability.

The only problem with routines like this, is that you can end up in a rut. I know in my life, there’s that phrase “familiarity breeds contempt.”

I’ve been heading in a new direction in my career. Even though I previously worked in social services and was a teacher before, and it could be simple to return to subjects I know, it’s just not worth it with the changing work landscape.

The pandemic taught us (and as it is ongoing), that our priorities need to be about our health, family, work/life balance, and career resiliency. I’ve concluded that I’m better off taking new opportunities in the workplace than stick to the fields I’m used to. It definitely isn’t worth it to think your job is guaranteed.

This is definitely not the advice I was given growing up, or in academic advising in college. The rule back then was to stay with one company and move your way up, and have an expected retirement. Companies I worked for in the past in lower level management have filed bankruptcy, and the companies that remain have figured out social media presence and client engagement. Talk about a new path towards the future.

The only thing guaranteed is change. If you don’t adapt, you’ll get left behind. If you don’t study innovation, you won’t be prepared. If you don’t embrace diversity and awareness, you’ll end up in a position where maybe you’re terminated from employment, or worse, possibly in a lawsuit.

Society today is in a whirlwind of clashing opinions and values. The positive thing to do is embrace each other’s perspectives and integrate as a team. Our visions will all be clearer and optimistic.

Instead of being afraid of change, when there’s a fork in the road, we can collaborate to create a map and directions, and we’ll all get there-together.

Sobering Up

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Well, I can say that before in a previous life, I could be classified as an alcoholic. I’ve never had a DUI, I’ve never lost a job due to drinking and calling in sick, and I’ve never had someone tell me my drinking was causing a problem with family life.

I will say that I had a co-dependent, addicted family, and we all took turns blaming one another or covering for each other.

I’ve moved on from these types of relationships, and now live a “sober” life. I regret any actions from my past that were controlling and toxic. It is hard to rebuild your life from previous situations when people don’t believe you can change, or they hold grudges about the person you used to be. I know in 12 step programs they tell you to make amends, but they also say to utilize judgement of if it harms others to do so.

I think it is pretty selfish to find relatives or friends that I could have harmed or offended. Hell, they’ve probably moved forward or forgotten about the past. If not, I suggest they get a therapist to handle “unfinished business”, because it’s not my responsibility to manage their peace and well-being.

We are all agents of responsibility for our outcomes in life. We need to prepare for choices, the potential consequences, and alternative pathways if things don’t pan out as expected. We can’t depend on others to take care of us; even with best intentions, things can change. The important thing to remember is that if you have faith, research your options, and find resources and mentors, it works out for the best. It is possible to make the future better for yourself and the community around you.

If you feel down and out, look back on when you pulled through other tough times for inspiration. And if you don’t have a track record of success, give yourself credit for small victories you make every day on your path of recovery. Write down your ideal life, where you live, who is in your life, what career you will have, what hobbies you can perform. Make goals to create a roadmap. Adjust the goals each year, some may become less important or more important. The most significant part is-be true to who you are, not just what you can accomplish. When you believe in yourself, and live a life you deserve, the rest falls in place. You’ll never fail if you learn the lessons along the way.

So What?

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Why pursue your dreams?

Well, you don’t have to. You can just live an ordinary, boring, predictable life. And nothing is wrong with consistency and security. No one wants an existence frought with confusion or that is precariously next to a crisis every other week.

So you ask yourself-so what?

If you value a goal like paying off your mortgage faster than the term of your loan, or padding your kid’s college fund, the loyalty of a company, its paycheck and benefits answers your “so what?” But some people just don’t care about long-term goals like these.

I’m a creative, so for me, expression, freedom, and respect from peers in the art field are what matter to me more than if I’m at a company for 20 plus years.

But then there’s the reality of “so what?”

I want to buy my own house and get an SUV on my own.

I thought needed the help of a spouse before for dreams like these. I’m not bitter over our split anymore, but I realize that I never should have married him. I thought I needed an “us” to start my own business, buy a vehicle, and buy my own house.

This is not true.

I just took a new full-time position in a company that I love and have added plus of benefits and retirement for my “so what”fulfillment. I am old enough to need retirement, after I cashed in 2 of my own personal savings for business ventures. And I made sure I discussed with my employer that I’m taking Master’s level classes and that I am a photographer and writer away from work. He agreed and respected both my goals and my commitment to his business needs.

That’s part of my “so what” question. I have the best of both worlds-the ability to work for myself, and the ability to have income that will support my future.

When you ask yourself what matters to you, and you live for yourself, you become authentic. You will feel successful and know that you’re utilizing talent in a way that is respected to make the world a better place. You’re not put on this earth to just work, eat, sleep and die. There is a life to live.

So when people ask you why you’re doing things your way, or “why does this matter to you,” you can just respond- “Because it does. And it’s my life, not yours. That’s what.” Enough said.