Tag Archives: Change

Gremlins

Every now and then, life offers an opportunity to see how far you’ve come. It provides the chance to test your resolve and to see if you will fall into the old habits of behavior, or whip out your shiny new learnings and do something different. Lissa Rankin, a blogger, public speaker and motivational person calls this dealing with your “gremlins.” Gremlins are those nagging doubts, insecurities and ineffective patters of behavior that we all have.

Something happened the other day that sent me for a loop and got my gremlins all in a tizzy. I had a relationship for a couple of years with someone that I cared about a great deal. Things went south, and I ended the relationship that we had because it had become toxic for both of us. Since then, she has reached out in her way, but what she was doing wasn’t working for me and left me feeling upset and frustrated.

Time for Something Different

I received a message from her a couple of days ago, and I decided that it was time to establish my boundaries with her. This is something that I really struggle with but have been working on in all of my relationships. Her response was really awful—attacking and hurtful. The strength of the anger in the note made me jump back in the chair when I read it.

Me vs. Gremlins

It took me a little while to process it, and though I really wanted to, I decided to not respond. My inner nurterer wanted to reach out to her as I know she’s hurting. I didn’t because it’s not ok to violate my boundary, and it’s not ok to attack someone like that. She’s now at an age that she needs to learn this lesson. I also felt a need to smooth things over and I didn’t because I don’t want to get back onto that emotional roller coaster that we once called a relationship. Maybe at some point we can try again, but it’s clear in my mind that the time is not now.

A New Chapter

I tend to internalize things and slowly, I’m learning that it’s not always about me. It’s my responsibility to set boundaries and if someone has an issue with that, it’s their issue. As a child, we don’t have much of a choice with many of our relationships. As an adult, I won’t apologize for making sure relationships feel good. I’ll do what I can to fix things and if I can’t, then I’m learning to let go.

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Living in the Now

I’ve always been a future-oriented person, with a strong inner belief that today’s sacrifice makes tomorrow better. When I went to college, I drained my savings in my first year. I worked a lot of hours, working full-time plus over every school break trying to save enough for my next semester. With the help of some financial aid, I managed to make it through my second year. In my third year, my grandparents helped with my rent so I wouldn’t have to take a semester off to work, as even the financial aid didn’t fill the gap of what I needed.

I remember my grandparents’ visit in my senior year of college. They stayed at a hotel near campus, and invited me to stay with them. It was a treat. I fell asleep before them but woke up and heard them talking. My grandmother was telling my grandfather how worried she was about me. I never let her know I heard that, but it stuck with me. For years, I have been afraid of going back to that place where I didn’t know how I was going to pay my bills and swore that I would work hard to be sure that would never happen to me again. I was willing to do whatever it took to be sure that wouldn’t ever be my life again.

I sacrificed a lot to get through college, and went into my working life with the same attitude. I would do whatever it took to do well, to prove my worth to my employers. I’d lose large periods of time, only working and going home, but I was sure that it would make my future brighter.

It didn’t. It just made me a willing sacrifice for others to take advantage of.

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When I got laid off last fall, I was determined to take a few months off to enjoy myself. I devoted myself to doing things that felt good, and focused on me: my health and my volunteering. It felt great. When my friends would ask me, “What are you going to do? Aren’t you worried about the future?” I answered no, that I wasn’t giving it much thought. It was scary when I did think about it, so I decided to not to and instead focused on enjoying my time. 

I decided to start my business late last year and thought of it as channeling energy into my short-term future. My goal with the business is to generate income to live on doing work that I find mentally stimulating and interesting with people that I enjoy. I am not trying to map out my long-term future, but to ensure my short-term happiness.

It feels wonderful. Where I used to spend much of my day either planning for the future, or doing things that didn’t feel good because it would help my future, I now spend my day doing what feels good now. It has made all the difference in my happiness.

My future may not be defined; it’s uncertain, and yes, that can be a scary. But I know that that tomorrow will be ok, and that it will come, regardless of how much time I spend worrying about it. I choose to live NOW.

Midlife Awakening

I woke up one day and realized that, while I have a great life, it’s not the life I want.

Ok, so it didn’t quite happen that way, but it sure feels like it! I was spending a lot of time ‘self-medicating;’ I was doing things that felt good and would relieve the stress of the work I was doing. I didn’t enjoy my job, but I tried to convince myself that it gave me a lot of financial freedom, and that I could do work that I enjoyed outside of work. And I did, but it was never enough.

When I received the gift of freedom, I decided to take advantage of it and to explore me. I never really gave myself the opportunity to consider what I wanted to do with my life, but did what I thought I was supposed to do. And I did enjoy it—for a while. But when it no longer worked for me, I kept at it because, silly as it may sound, I didn’t realize I had options. And because I was scared. I’ve learned that I was getting further and further from me, while making excuses that it was the right thing to do. Here’s some of what I’ve learned over the last couple of months.

 Success is in the eye of the beholder

What most people consider traditional success feels toxic to me: the 9-5 grind in a large corporation to get the generous paycheck. Over the last couple of months, I have the as if I’ve been through a detox program to wring out every last bit of corporate ‘ick’ from my system. Oh, I’m sure there are great companies to work for, however, my last few selections are not among the greats. Maybe this is the Universe’s way of making sure I truly know that I need a change. Ok, Universe, I get it! :o)

I love my freedom

I want to be filled with passion and do things that I love with people that I truly enjoy. I want to be as passionate about the work I do as I am about my volunteering. I’m still working through how that happens. Does it mean starting my own company? I am in the process of doing that, so be on the lookout for a shameless plug! Does it mean taking a job at a nonprofit, or maybe working short-term contracts and taking blocks of time off after the contract is over to re-energize and do things I love? I’m still working through this, but will be sure to explore different options and I learn and grow into the me I want to be.

 Happiness is underrated

I stayed in corporate because I felt I should. Yep, there’s that word again: should. My definition of success was a 9-5 job heading into a large office building. Certainly, that’s one definition, but not the only one. I’m really enjoying all of the volunteer work that I’m doing. I’m spending my time helping people and animals, and while it doesn’t always include a ‘thank you,’ I’m feeling happier and more energized than I have in years. My entire day circles around ‘what can I do today to help others?’ And I dedicate time to this, ever single day. It just feels good and I’m happy.

I’m listening more to my body as well. I am hiking several times a week and it feels so good. It’s what I need for my body and my spirit. When I am tired, I nap. When I’m hungry, I eat. When I feel like being alone, I do that and when I feel like socializing, I pick up the phone and call a friend. I am no longer living as I feel I should, but as I want, and it’s made such a huge difference. I’m happy. And that, to me, is success.

Onward

My future is uncertain right now, and I’m learning to be ok with that. What I do know is that I don’t want to map out the next twenty years right now. I’m learning to live in the moment, listen to my heart and my body, and consider my wants instead of my shoulds. It’s a great lesson that I never learned until now, and I’m so grateful for this time!

So, today I will go and hike with a rescue dog. Then I’ll work on some of my ‘to do’ list for the business and do some writing.

I’m so very grateful for my life.

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Tug is available for adoption through Lost Paws in Phoenix, AZ.

Get by with a Little

What would you do if I sang out of tune?

Would you stand up and walk out on me?

Lend me your ears and I’ll sing you a song,

And I’ll try not to sing out of key…

~ The Beatles

It’s nice to have a fan club: people you can rely on to support you and to give you that little boost when you need it. Especially when you don’t ask for it. Change is exciting, but the waiting can be hard, especially when the direction isn’t clear. It’s a process and requires patience, which of course, isn’t one of my strengths. Maybe that’s part of my lesson: change happens on its own time. And as I wait for my future to unveil itself, I need to focus on all of the parts of my life that are wonderful.

Sometimes, it’s nice to hear that little birdie whisper in your ear to say that you matter.

Thank you. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.