It was a busy afternoon at my house. Frontier had to be sorted. Eggs and meat were being picked up. My husband was figuring out what was wrong with the Bravada. Levi was dancing in and out of the house, playing with his toys and his new friend. It was busy. Then, I cooked dinner while bringing a print job out as it finished. Talked more. Navigated around the small fry more. Dodged the husband in the kitchen while cooking as he would come in to wash his grease laden hands. Then, we ate dinner. Then it was calm. Then a face appeared through my back door. It looked familiar, but different. The night was such a blur of activity, I introduced myself. Then I blinked. Then I looked. Wow. It wasn’t just a familiar face but a good friend!
How perceptions change.
So, this good friend and I go to the back porch and chat. Our club received a new solicitation from the city, wanting to explore zoning issues with buying clubs. I had emailed back, explaining what we knew of other club problems and how we tried to mitigate that before it became a problem. Thus far, I haven’t heard back from the city. They want to see operations this next week.
My friend was restating how her conversation with her husband went. She explained, “Then, I think of what you say, about making sure we don’t operate out of fear.” She proceeded to explain a brilliant plan of educating and encouraging through empowerment instead of using a knee jerk reaction to guide policy.
I was puzzled. I mean, I know I think these things, but I’m not always sure how much gets out of my head and into conversation. Do you know what I mean? Isn’t it amazing sometimes when people parrot back your words and you sound darn right smart?
Okay. I don’t mean to sound arrogant. I think I’m clever and funny, but so what. I was really just amazed. These words my friend stated, even as she added I had said them, I was thinking that it was some of HER typical wisdom. (Because she’s a smart cookie.)
My mother has done that to me a few times, and my husband did once too. Michelle had this idea or said this thing. Usually, I can’t even remember the incident. I know what they are saying lines up with my values, but with all my wonderful memories, I don’t recall saying specifically in their interpretation they words the parrot back.
I wish we could get more of that feedback — you know, how we affect people, how we touch their lives, realizing we have relevance. Do you know what I mean?
I met someone, a nurse, yesterday who has (had) Grave’s Disease! She’s been dealing with it for 11 years. Her experience, in the brief time we chatted was very different from me. It made me realize. There is no known Portland Area Grave’s Disease Support group.
There should be.
(I don’t have time.) Maybe I’ll think up an awesome idea whilst asleep!
I do watch television. Most nights, even. After having a 5 year drought from TV, which I immensely enjoyed, it’s a little strange now to see certain values in television. On one hand, you can argue I’ve simply diversified my mediums. But, on the other, it’s strange having succumbed to the boob tube.
Every season I pick one show I will watch, guilt free. For a while it was Desparate Housewives, Heroes(season 2), parts of the Event or Chuck, and now I find myself watching the Voice! These judging shows are perhaps the most entertaining with ther formulaic conclusions and control.
This particular show bragged to be different. It showcases 4 starts who are in their early to mid thirties (egads my age!), who have all had about 15 years of success in the music industry. They are tasked with picking a team, blindly, based on their voice to compete against each other within their teams and throughout the larger group. Eventually, America is brought in for the judging and results are furhter narrowed. Tomorrow is the finale episode where we find out who wins.
What I have enjoyed about this show is it’s nostolgaic flashbacks and ability to allow me to generally fold laundry while it plays. Plot shows don’t give me the same flexibility. With these singing shows, I can close my eyes and halve Levi’s pants in perfect piles while gettign a simlar affect. Seeing is more important for some other shows.
But, really, it’s the nostalgia that’s got me. They are singing the songs of my youth and choosing modern songs that are reminiscent of my youth. The judges have sang “We are the Champions” and now tongiht “Under Pressure“. I flash back t o Vanilla Ice, 8th grade, french rolled pants, and black and white patterns.
I usually recognize TV in its importance for allowing me to unwind, but flash backs to youth are an added bonus.
My husband said, “Didn’t they already get that?” referring to marriage open to all forms of couples. This was a year ago now. I told him no. It felt like a monumental stepping stone that my husband, who was born and raised in an Evangelical Christian household, felt indifferent about the idea of gaysmarrying.
Elizabeth Gilbert, on her website, champions gay people for wanting marriage. She explains, while describing her new book Committed that with the failings of the institution gays are the only ones excited about marriage.
A friend likes to remind me of a few points when we’ve discussed the concept over the last decade. He reminds me that Christianity likes to boast love. Think about the Golden Rule instructing its followers to love and be guided by love through your actions and how you treat others. Think about the New Covenant in which, as Christians, we are instructed to operate. The irony, I interpret, is in the details we are weighted down by in order to sanctify a few points.
So, over the weekend, the state of New York said gay marriage is okay. I believe that makes it three states now who will allow people in same sex relationships to take matrimonial vows.
My rationalization over the years, in considering my dumbfounded state over not allowing gays to marry is wrapped around state property. I always thought one reason marriage was governed by the state was a way to collect more tax or have more control over property. I’m not sure how true this is from state to state, but I can imagine a state getting more out of two than out of one. So, if that’s the case — you’d think in this cash strapped economy that states would be all over allowing more people to marry.
Ultimately, though, the argument for me is a secular one. We claim we are a state that is based on this separation of church and state. We have this high ideal in order for people to realize their own beliefs and practice their own beliefs without (much) interference from said state. Yet, in one of the most personal, difficult, and important choices a person has to make — the state is incredibly involved. THe state is involved from beginning to end when it comes to deciding who our life partners are. Control given over years of supposed necessity and kept with quiet acceptance among its followers.
So, we’ve allowed the state to control our marriages, and then, out of fear we throw a fit if there is push back to the laws when others want to marry. Similar arguments happened when black and white people wanted to marry (gasp) each other. Why are we surprised when people stand up and say, “Hey this isn’t fair! This law doesn’t fully encompass me, and I want it to?”
Good job New York. Please set the state of enlightenment to the rest of the nation so that we may better realize our ideal of freedom and choice.
I’ve been writing about this topic of self-awareness for the past few weeks. I’ve been writing at my amazement in varied maturity levels between all decades of ages. I’ve been writing about my surprise when I meet someone older who hasn’t heard ea lesson I thought was pretty elementary.
This movie (book) showcases this. This woman needed to find herself. She had found her passion in writing, but she hadn’t found her. Her friends had found themselves in varying degrees, and here she is about the same age, maybe a little older or a little younger, and she still hadn’t found herself. So, she does a dramatic thing to find herself.
What does it really mean? I incorrectly assume people are always on a road of self exploration and raised self awareness, simply because I am. If you accept the premise that we are all inherently selfish because that is what we know first, then it is no wonder people think sometimes their way is often the way of others. Enter worldwide conflict. As I stated previously, many of my friends often exhibit this level of self awareness and exploration in their daily patterns, habits, readings, work, etc. So, I am surprised when I learn about someone who gets a good career, presumably something they want, live what appears to be a full life, and then does an about face stating they don’t know themselves.
I enjoyed the story. It was cute. It was brave. But, for me, it was completely surprising.
This is my 33 year old confusion. What will I say in 10 years? Where will my life be in 10 years? Will I have my dream career? Will I have continued to hone my strengths and skills and cultivated my family? Will I accept where I am gracefully or will I question everything? Will life have thrown so many curve balls that I will no longer be able to make sense of it? Is this simply 33 year old arrogance turned into questioning?
Where do you sit on the self awareness spectrum? Have you been able to link your past experiences together to figure out why you are where you are? Do you want to make sense of it all or are you more comfortable taking every day as it comes? Help broaden my world view, please.
It’s that time again. It’s the time of night I have patterned into writing. I prefer doing things in the morning. I prefer drinking coffee, reading, writing, exercising, eating yummy breakfasts. But, that’s not the pattern I normally operate.
This is the pattern with which I normally operate. Lately, and now I am going to blame fluctuating thyroid levels, it has been go to bed (yes, before midnight which is much improved over previous months), wake at 4am (ish), help husband get his lunch together, go back to bead (not helpful but also touches on the other thing I like to do in the morning — S.L.E.E.P.), then hit snooze after an hour a few times until I get up. Then, I torture myself by leaving just enough time to get ready, which leaves limited time to deal with the always impending kiddo meltdown of sorts. The pattern continues where we rush off to work and school.
Things calm down once we are in our places. But, fulfilling some allotted time frame is important, so we end up coming home late. Whereas the husband complains he never sees us. Then it’s make dinner, play/read, get kiddo ready for bed, have some quiet time with husband. Wish husband off to bed, and t hen it is 11:00pm when I have time to write.
I’ve always been like this. A night owl and a morning person. I like having nap-times so that I can operate in both realms. I have historically gotten six hours of sleep. Yes, I am aware Dr. Oz will tell me this contributes to shorter life span. Alas, that is the way it is. Because I like to receive input (as defined as my top strength), I have difficulty saying no. I feel like I would miss out on something important. As such, prioritizing sometimes is difficult for me, and I put off doing obvious things like sleeping or eating breakfast. And, these are all things I enjoy!
Maybe I’m too hedonistic, and I have too many pleasures. Maybe I just try to do too much. Remember, I coach myself, if everything is important than nothing is.
I’m not sure how to begin this post. Should I begin it in my traditional method of starting in the middle as a friend noticed, and continue around through my pontifications? Should I start with the evolution of thought? Should I state my pontification and work where the words take me? I think the latter approach will suit us tonight.
I have been fascinated lately with self-marketing. Many I know, through varied means, have had to market themselves. Whether it’s to bolster their own hobbies, support a business, or learn and cultivate their own image — all these people have begun the journey of marketing themselves.
Now that I’m in my 30s, I feel like I have entered this new wave of self-awareness. I’m connecting, more, the patterns of my teens and twenties into something sell-able. I beginning to learn the lessons taught while I was in my twenties as new questions emerge. I’m figuring out what my strengths are, what skills I have to support those strengths, and I am clarifying this vision of who I want to become in the interim and in the end. It’s really an amazing period to be in.
I identify myself as a teacher, as a leader, as a wife, as a mother, as a sister, as a daughter. Each role has its own responsibilities. In all roles I find myself looking to that “inner Zen” (as a friend refers to it) when faced with challenging situations in order to focus, center, and measure true needs. I find myself thinking more about the image I project, trying to meter those times when I want to let loose because suddenly the network with whom I work has grown. The random person in the car next to me might not actually be so random anymore. This is a good reminder of the Golden Rule and of doing unto others what I’d have done unto me.
Sometimes, though, I purposefully do not project myself with the thoughts of grace, comfort, relaxation, cool int he forefront of my brain. I hope this image is the predominantly projected image. I hope that’s how I am portrayed. I want to be viewed as fair, objective, and even handed. Most times.
Sometimes, though, that is not the image I want. Sometimes I need to be, for example, the Momma Bear. Which brings us to Point three: the obnoxious man with the dogs.
Levi and I drove off the freeway onto the surface street. We angled up towards the shoe headquarters as Levi begin taking apart his bag. “We’re almost home,” I remind him. He pulls out his blanket and sheet as we approach the 3 block away marker from our house. As we ride down our street, he begins roaring and putting the blanket over his head. He has now identified himself as a scary monster and is quite excited to scare his father. This is very interesting to me, as for months he has not wanted his father to simply get him out of the car. Please do not ask me why this simple act of getting him out of the car whilst we return from work and school is something that only a mother can do. But, in the eyes and life of a four-year old this is how it must be. So, tonight, I was overjoyed that my dear 4 year old was excited about the prospect of his father getting him out of the car in order to showcase his life as a scary monster.
We approach our driveway, and I begin to turn in the drive when I realize there is an extra car in the way — meaning no room. So, I back out, and adjust myself on the street in front of our home. I pause, get my phone to alert my husband to our arrival. Parking on the street has made it unclear, in my mind, if he could hear us approach. I wanted my husband to come out so the scary monster could greet him. This was quite exciting.
My husband came out of the house, and I began climbing out of the car. I unlocked the doors, and made my way around to the passenger side as my husband greeted and unbuckled the scary monster. The scary monster disembarked from the car and ran down the sidewalk to greet our mutual friend. I had my head inside the car while I reassembled bags, picked up dropped items, and simply began to collect myself and our things.
I hear something that sounds like, “Don’t touch the dog!” I had only seen our friend and my four year old, no other man. So, I raise my head and look down the two houses from where the voice came. Sure enough, there is a mid-30s or early 40-s man dressed in a white button down shirt, short cropped hair, trendy baggy pants, and sporting a tan. He is also yelling at his small dogs to come.
I stand. I walk firmly over to the sidewalk and calmly boom, “Is there a problem?”
Suddenly, his demeanor changes, and he replies no. He states that he was trying to avoid a problem and continues to lamely call his unleashed dogs.
Segue: Portland is a good dog city. Meaning, as many people with kids have dogs only. Portland has been billed as a good city for the Creative Class, and it seems the Creative Class needs their dogs. Like much of American Society, dogs have become integral parts of families, and the term “to the doghouse” is loosing its initial context. Generally, though, the dogs in this city are quite well behaved. We don’t often find dog excrement, for example, in our yard. (Dog owners kindly put it in our trash though if we take a day or tow before we bring it back to the house.) We don’t have to worry about dogs in the park, as owners are usually quite attentive and aware. The dogs in this city are simply … nice.
So, this interaction was puzzling and quite confusing. Why would this man need to yell, possibly, at my four-year old and at these dogs? This was not a question that will be answered tonight.
My friend, though. The one who Levi went to greet, she confirmed my suspicions of this man. He was yelling at my son. My son who excitedly came home and did not notice this man jaywalking across the street approaching, oddly, my friend standing in front of her house chatting with her brother on the phone. My son had radar vision for our friend, one of his favorite playmates.
I guess I appreciate that this guy didn’t want his dogs doing something harmful to my child. What I don’t understand is why he felt it was necessary to yell at my child. My child was unaware of these adult subtleties in mood.
Back to image. I am glad I assessed the situation similarly to my friend. I was validated in that, and she did her own bit to passively let this guy know he wasn’t quite in the right. But, I wanted to convey an image of “paying attention adult, mother” who was questioning why this guy was yelling at my kid. I wanted my voice to be loud, to be stern, to reassess the situation. And, it worked. His demeanor changed and he moved along. There was no issue.
Okay, that’s a lot of talk about one little incident. I’m not sure I would have had the same self awareness 20 years ago to be able to that. 20 years ago I was a burgeoning teen. 20 years ago I probably thought I Had all the answers. 20 years ago was a long time, and life has changed a lot in in the interim. Now, I have 20 plus years of reflection, assessment, and character studies to support these projected images.
She was nearing retirement age. Some days she could be sweet as honey, offer amazing wisdom and insight, and simply be a joy to be around. On those days, I looked up to her, and part of me considered her a mentor. I enjoyed her particularness. I happen to think in many ways we’re not particular enough in our society. But, on other days, that particluarness was overbearing with the combined affect of her attitude. She was rude, mean, and wouldn’t listen to reason. Often she was called with crude insults to emphasize the cruelness of her nature.
She is no longer my boss. I’ve since heard she retired and has moved on — probably best for all! But her personality combined with her age amaze me.
I feel like I’ve been given lessons in life. Back up. When I sold books door to door, one of the coaches we had tried to ingrain in us the belief that life doesn’t give you probelms. People complain about problems and nothing ever gets done. Rather, he coached, life gives you teachers. You will get the same teacher until you learn the lesson. In my life, I have found that too be true.
For example, I worked in varying positions in the “customer service” field. I’ve been a cashier, a shoe sales person, sold books door to door, and worked in hotels. I’ve had other jobs that have dealt with customer service, but were perhaps considered a higher echelon — you know, desk jobs. Every job, you get rude people. Right? I wish I could think of a specific example, but alas a concrete situation escapes me. So, I found I would get certain grumpy people or bits of rudeness until I was able to figure out how to correct my own actions in order to assuage their grumpy attitude and conduct our transaction blissfully.
Similarly, in dealing with other relationships, I feel like life gives similar lessons. Often, I assume, my elders have been given those lessons to. So, herein lies my surprise. When someone 10, 20, or 30 years my senior acts with the immaturity of a 20 year old. I pause in disbelief. “Did they really just act that way or say that thing?” Then, I worry.
I feel like I’ve learned certain lessons, right. You don’t treat people certain ways. You expect certain things and not others. You speak in certain ways to bring the most people to the table. You assume certain things but not others. Such as treating everyone with base respect because they are human, expecting that people in business will keep their moods in check, the presumption of entitlement is going away, or assuming everyone is out to get you.
Okay, that’s the beauty of life, right? We’re all so different and always at differing stages. When I do a sort of reality check, I realize those whom I call friends aren’t like that. They seem to have embraced similar lessons that life has handed them and have approached them with courage, maturity, calm.
I keep meeting these people. People I am surprised haven’t learned certain life lessons. So, what’s my lesson? What’s my teacher saying.
I am sensing my teacher is encouraging me to stay humble. My teacher is encouraging me to remember my own respect towards others. My teacher is asking me to be patient. My teacher is asking me to wait 10, 20 or 30 years and then to a retrospective look and see how far I’ve really come.
A friend came over. We had drinks. My conversation gets easier the more I drink. Regardless, I always have a good time. I challenged her to do the blog-a-day challenge. Here are the guides I use to challenge and refresh me.