Life Updates

Inspired…and Fired Up…

I read a post earlier today over at Recipe in a Bottle that has inspired me to come back to this blog.  I keep starting things and not following through on them.  I don’t want this blog to be another one of those things.  So, I’m back.  I’m still in my forties and still wanting more.  I am also still failing on a daily basis.  But, I can still work towards it.

I’ve accomplished some good things this year.  I’ve taken on some new projects that I am really enjoying.  A course redesign that not only brought in some extra income but has also renewed my enthusiasm for teaching.  I took on the troop leader role for my DD’s brownie troop and have been exhausted by it, but in a good way (usually).  I have realized a few things that I want for myself and am willing to work towards.  I’m still a financial disaster for the most part, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel, with credit scores improving, an inheritance that should be finally dealt with in the next six months or so and a pretty significant raise as well as the prospects of selling our place without taking a huge hit (we will lose a lot, but will not be cash short in the sale).  Overall, things are looking up, if not immediately, at least in the near(ish) future.  My hopes are to pay off most of our debt and be able to live within our means from here on out.  There is no reason we should not be able to do it.  It is just a matter of getting our footing before trying to climb up.  At least that is what I think.

I have also realized that I am not doing nearly enough of what I WANT to be doing in life.  So, I’m really trying to figure out how to make that happen.  I’ve realized a few things about myself in the past few months.  Coming as a surprise to me, I think I am an introvert.  It seems strange because I do speech and debate and I like to talk to people.  But, I’m also exhausted by it.  Teaching is one of my favorite things to do, but it also is exhausting because it requires a lot of dealing with people.  But, I love what I do, I just need to realize that I need the quiet time alone as well.  I am never going to be one who really loves to go out with a bunch of people all the time.  I like watching TV and reading. And that is okay.  I spend time with people for much of my life because of what I do professionally, so I don’t necessarily need it personally.  I mean, I have a small group of friends that I get together with every once in a while and that is good for me.  I have realized that.

I have also come to the conclusion that I need to clear house.  This is not a new realization. I have known for some time and I’ve been gradually clearing things out here and there, but I want to get more serious about it.  I feel like there are constant piles piling up…everywhere.  And even though I’ve unloaded a bunch of stuff, I feel like there is so much more stuff to go.  I want my house to be pretty, but simple.  I want to own the things I use on a regular basis and that is it.

So, there you go.  2016 is coming to a close.  I’m ready to continue the changes I’ve made and I’m ready to keep writing on this blog.  I hope you’ll all be good with that!  Thanks to anyone who is still reading after all my silent weeks…

 

Five Minute Friday, Uncategorized

Five Minute Friday – Whole

I am back to participate once again in Five Minute Friday over at Heading Home.  Right now, this seems to be the only consistent thing I’m doing each week.  At least there is one.

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This week’s prompt is “whole” – here goes:

Being a whole person is tough.  This morning at my MOPS group we did a personality test and discussion with colors.  I noticed that it was very difficult for a lot of us (including me) because the categories used to describe ourselves were limited in the “quiz” and we all thought it was only recognizing “part” of who we are.  We like to consider our “whole” selves when looking at our personalities and highlighting only parts makes us anxious.  Because we don’t like all the “parts” of ourselves, but when looking holistically, we are more comfortable.

I get it.  There are parts of me I would like to forget about.  But, when we finished the “quiz” and added up our scores and read the descriptions of what it meant to our personalities, we all agreed it was pretty descriptive.  So, what does this mean?  It means that all those parts – even the ones we don’t especially like to recognize, make up who we are.  And no one likes EVERYTHING about ourselves, but hopefully, we learn to like our WHOLE selves.  And unfortunately, we often focus on parts of ourselves and how to get rid of them….our weight.  Our lack of organization.  Our too rigid organization.  Etc, etc.  But, I really do think that when we focus on our whole selves, we can start to embrace who we REALLY are.  Not who we are in one aspect.  That is like saying we are our foot.  It is one small part of us, but it is not the whole of us and we have so much more to offer.

So, let’s look at our whole selves and celebrate who we are as whole people.  And, let’s do the same for others.

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I am not just these feet!  🙂
writing

Why Write?

I’ve asked that a few times.  That question is the reason my blog goes to the bottom of my list every time I get busy.  I don’t typically have a great reason for it.  I love the community that blogging creates.  I love that I see people “like” and comment on my posts over and over again and I feel like I’m reaching someone.  But, even minus that, I like to write.  I like the thought process.  I enjoy the result.  And this morning, I found this Medium article and it explained and justified and encouraged.

Although I would like to think that I will become one of those “famous” bloggers whose work is read by tons of people and whose faces you see all over the web and even on TV, I don’t write for that reason.  I write because I feel a desire to write.  I feel a desire to connect…with others, but more so with myself.

Lately, my biggest struggle is figuring out WHAT to write about.  And much of that has been driven by my feeling of a need to “brand” my work.  To have a purpose and a focus.  But, when I read this in the article, it made so much more sense:

“Elizabeth Gilbert discusses the concept of ‘creative entitlement’ in her brilliant book, Big Magic. In short, your own reasons to create are reason enough. Do whatever brings you to life. Follow your own fascinations. Create whatever causes you to feel alive. The rest will take care of itself.”

Yes…that.  Follow my fascinations (and they are many and often disconnected).  Do what brings me life.  Create what causes ME to feel alive.  It is like validation for my lack of focus and my love of random prompt memes.

And although my readership has increased quite a bit over the past year or so (thanks to those still following despite my irregular posts and especially thanks to those who take the time to click like or, even better, leave a comment), that isn’t what really matters in the end:

“Retweets, favourites and shares are arbitrary and the wrong reasons to create. This is your work, not an overly-filtered selfie. You should be doing it because you love it. When you look back on your writing in 5, 10, 15 years’ time, you won’t be obsessing over page views, you’ll just be glad you did it. Trust me.”

So, for all of you out there like me, wondering why you’re writing or for whom or letting your writing go to the bottom of the priority list because it isn’t “productive” work, remember that you can be writing for YOU and make it a priority because it is something you love.

Happy Sunday everyone!

 

Five Minute Friday, Myself - My One Word

Five Minute Friday – Time

I am posting this a little early because I will be traveling tomorrow and I don’t want to miss the Five Minute Friday this week.  This week’s prompt is time…join the party if it inspires you!

time-management

Time is my ever-present adversary it seems.  This week has been relatively quiet for me.  I’m off from teaching.  I didn’t have any workshops to attend.  I was home, by myself, most mornings.  But, I still feel like I didn’t have enough “time” to get things done.  I think that I’m constantly blaming time, when really is the “things” that are the problem!  It isn’t that I don’t have enough time.  It is that I have too many “things”.

So, that is why part of my mission this year of “Myself” is to simplify.  I want to give “myself” more time and those things less time.  I want to give my family more time and those things less time.  And I want to be better at focusing on one “thing” at a time.

Time is such a strange thing.  Our perception of it is drastically different depending on what we are doing.  I often tell my students that impromptu speaking is the perfect microcosm of how time shifts depending on perception.  When preparing for an impromptu speech for three minutes, the time seems to fly by.  We are wanting more time.  But, when we stand up to speak, those three minutes stretch out before us like a road to the moon.  They go by so slowly.  We can’t seem to fill those minutes despite our best intentions.  There is three minutes of preparation and three minutes to speak, but those two three minutes are dramatically different.

My hope is to create a world where time is a gift that I am able to truly relish.

Five Minute Friday, Myself - My One Word

Five Minute Friday – First

I’m joining Five Minute Friday as it returns for the 2016 year.  And accordingly this week’s prompt is “First”.

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Life is full of firsts, but the one thing we often don’t put first is ourselves.  At least most of us do not.  I am guilty of not putting myself first and it has caused me to become somewhat bitter.  So, this year, I’ve adopted my One Word as “myself”.

I realize that a lot of the reason I don’t prioritize myself is because I never had a real model for that.  My mom never put herself first.  She was a wonderful mom, but I never really knew her as “herself”.  I never really knew what she loved and didn’t love or what she was really passionate about.  She was always there for us as children, or my dad or even others – she was a woman full of compassion and caring and giving, but I felt like she got lost in all that giving and didn’t get nearly enough of what she needed in life because of it.  I want to model my mom in a lot of ways.  I want to be compassionate.  I want to be caring.  I want to be giving.  But, I don’t want to lose myself in the mix, as I feel like was starting to happen over the last six years.  So, I’m trying to readjust.

But, it is difficult.  This putting ourselves first thing is a threat in many ways.  What if we come off as narcissistic or selfish or ungiving?  I don’t see that as being a REAL threat, but sometimes those constructed threats are just as bad or worse.  But, I’m taking the plunge.  I’m focusing on me and what I want and need.  I’m trying to figure out who I really want to be and what I’m really passionate about and then figuring out how to make more of that in my life.  But, it isn’t easy.  And sometimes it feels a little exhausting.  Maybe even a little silly.

Putting ourselves first is important to our health, our well-being and our general happiness.  So, it is worth the trouble and effort and (unwarranted) guilt.  But, I have to keep repeating that as I take this challenge this year.

January Focus, Monthly Focus 2016

Welcome 2016 – January Focus = Simplify

I’m back from my trip and it was a great time.  I will probably have some pics this week on Wordless Wednesday.  I’m now settling in to a house where it looks like Toys R Us and Bags n Boxes have exploded multiple times and filling in my calendar for January in my new Erin Condren planner (which I love so far) and noting that it is already filling up quite a bit.  So many things for my DD’s school, workshops for work and family stuff with the Spring semester starting for me the last week of the month! The new year comes fast and furious it seems!

I’ve decided to follow in the footsteps of some of other bloggers and podcasters and rather than having New Year’s Resolutions, which I always seem to fail at, I’m going to have My One Word (which is “myself” if you haven’t been following along or have forgotten) and a monthly “focus” where I work on a habit or behavior I would like to establish and/or change.  So, I’ve decided that January is going to be all about simplifying for me.  With my house piled high with STUFF and my calendar filling up with STUFF and my feelings of overwhelm in the past, I think this is a great place to start.  I have a few specific areas of my life I would like to simplify:

  1. Things I own/have in my home.
  2. Things for my classes – grading, assignments, travel planning for the team, etc.
  3. Things I have to do – I want to simplify caring for my home, making meals, getting exercise, my schedule, etc.
  4. Money management

SIMPLIFY JANUARY 2016

I realize those are pretty broad, but I think that spending a week or so on each one this month will really help a lot.  I have some choices in how to simplify things – the first, and probably the most difficult for me, is to GET RID OF IT!  Whether it is getting rid of things in my home or getting rid of certain assignments in classes or delegating things to others for the team or my home or figuring out a system that simplifies HOW things are done for work or at home, I definitely have some choices.

So, I’ll be talking some on the blog about what I’m doing to simplify and hopefully sharing some of the resources I find with all of you.

Me Messages, Myself - My One Word, New Year's Countdown

Getting a Me Message…

So, I’ve been on this “myself” kick with it being My One Word for 2016 and all.  And I feel like I’m really trying to listen to what I’m telling myself and see the messages that are being given to me by me and the Universe and God and whoever else is on my side.  This morning, I feel like a message is being dropped on me like a ton of bricks and it only reinforces what I’ve been trying to formulate in my mind the past couple of weeks.

GETTING A MESSAGE FROM

So, what is this message?  Well, a couple of weeks ago when I was thinking about how to tell my DH and DD what I wanted for Christmas/the New Year was to “turn over a new leaf” as a family so-to-speak, I came up with this way of framing the message.  I told my DD, “I want to be a family that takes care of our things.”  And it seemed to click with her.  So, I told my DH the same thing and it seemed to click with him (he even made the bed and cleaned out his car yesterday!).  It was so simple, but so much more positive than saying what I wasn’t liking about our lives.  So, I’ve been trying to come up with three “core” things – the first is being a family that cares for our things.  I’ve been trying to figure out the second and third.  I know I want one of them to have something to do for “doing for others,” but I have not figured out the phrasing yet.

So, anyways, this morning I came across this article from James Clear and I felt like it was a message that I was definitely on the right track and I need to apply this same positive message to MYSELF.  Who do I want to be as a person?  “If you want to change your life, change your identity,” he says.  And I realized that last night I commented on a blog post that I could relate to her “trying to figure out who she was,” and that I’ve been struggling with my identity for quite a while now.  I don’t know if it is so much changing my identity as FINDING it, but it is key to achieving anything.  “The limitations in your life are framed by the box of your mind.  If you want a new life, then start building a new identity,” the article goes on.  Yes.  I have limited MYSELF in the box of my mind.  I have limited myself by NOT having an identity.  So, that was the FIRST message…

Then, immediately after that, I bump into this article on Mydomaine.com which at first seemed unrelated, but then the opening paragraph says, “…as anyone who has set out to achieve something knows, believing is more than half the battle. Believing can translate to achievement, and that’s some magic right there.”  Yeah, believing you ARE who you WANT TO BE is the biggy.  After knowing your identity, you have to believe you are just that!  And then you can live it.

So, what does all this mean?  What do I want MY identity to be?  How do I start living that identity out as MYSELF?  Those, my friends, are the questions I hope to answer, and answer confidently in 2016!  I’m pretty excited as I feel like this is such a simple, but also complex thing to realize.