Category Archives: Self Help

Practicing the 3 D’s

In the summer of 2016, Hubs and I had just moved to Colorado and settled into an apartment in Boulder while searching for a home to buy. We had decided prior to moving that I would take a break from paid employment. We didn’t determine how long this break would be, however.

We busied ourselves with the job of finding the right house, exploring the wonders of Boulder, and shopping for new furniture (we had a massive garage sale before leaving Wisconsin, greatly reducing the amount of stuff we had accumulated over the years).

Then once we found and moved into our new home at the end of August, we busied ourselves with unpacking boxes, finding the perfect placement for our new furniture and wall art, and familiarizing ourselves with life in our new townhome community.

Over the following several months, while starting this blog, joining a new church, settling in to a new weekly volunteer gig, and making new friends, I found myself referring to this period in my life as my “gap year”. And I wholeheartedly admit that I have milked this time for all its worth. If you find yourself financially able, unsatisfied professionally, and middle aged, I highly recommend taking a “gap year” to sort yourself out. 

The big epiphany here, for me right now,  is that my “gap year” is beginning to exceed it’s time limit. In other words, I have come to the conclusion that it is now time for me to expand my horizons. 

I’m going to start my job search, folks. In earnest.

Making this decision brings to mind words I found written in pastel colored chalk while on a morning walk in August 2016, while still living in Boulder.

Desire. Determination. Discipline.

I do believe these big and important words were submerged in my subconscious this past year. I had a great desire to pursue blogging. I had the determination to go ahead and start this blog. And I had the discipline to pen posts on a regular basis-3 times per week, with the exception of the weeks when we were out of town or hosting company in our new Colorado abode.

Now is the time for me to move these big, important words from my subconscious to my brain’s frontal lobe on a daily basis.

Do I have the desire to find employment? Yes.

Do I have the determination to find employment? Most certainly. In fact, once this post is published I will immediately be checking for jobs on Indeed.com. Fact is, my ulterior motive for creating this post is to enhance my personal accountability for this endeavor. 

Do I have the discipline to find employment? I like to think I do. I believe the fact that I’ve made the decisions to get my arse in gear, make a daily to-do list upon waking each morning, and then complete each task before the day is done (top on the list is searching for jobs and filling out applications), exemplifies my self-discipline.

 

The music of a melancholy Monday

Yes, unlike my usual upbeat self, today, Monday, I am feeling blase, minimally motivated, and melancholy-ish. There’s no good reason for it I’m healthy, Hubs and I have a nice home to live in, the spawn are fully functional adults, busy with their own lives far away from here. Maybe that’s it.

September is a month I have always loved. And here I am, smack dab in the middle of it, and I just don’t have the same enthusiasm I used to at this time of year. I see all the pictures on Facebook of those friends and family of mine with their kids sporting their new duds on the front stoops of their family’s home for the first day of school. Some of those kids are smiling (not surprisingly, the younger they are, the bigger the smiles), some have that look on their faces that communicate they are cooperating with this photo shoot under great duress.

Weird thing is, it turns out as much as I was pining for the “empty nester” years whilst my spawn were spewing hateful insults at each other and gifting Hubs and I with gray hair, I do terribly miss those days. Funny how that is.

On those odd days in which I’m not feeling so perky, I rely on my music. Not only am I drawn to a great melody, solid drum beats and guitar riffs; I am a sucker for a great lyric. Some just stick with you. You know what I mean, right? They resonate with you at your core. They make you think of someone you love or have loved. They make you feel less alone in the world. They make you feel better.  Sometimes they even inspire you.

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This is the part of this post where I am going to do a little sharing.

Here’s just a few song lyrics that resonate with me right now, today. Monday.

“We can never know about the days to come, but we think of them anyway”-Anticipation by Carly Simon.

Honestly, I probably do this too much.

“Some people are just meant to be a memory, to be called upon to remind us how we’ve changed”-Coming Back to a Man by Dawes

Sad, but true. Relationships we have throughout our lives provide some good lessons. 

“We are the lucky ones, some people never get to do all we got to do”- Now and Forever by Carole King

How I feel about my marriage to Hubs. We most definitely are the lucky ones. 

“If it makes you happy, it can’t be that bad, if it makes you happy, why the hell are you so sad?”-If It Makes You Happy, by Sheryl Crow

Good question. The answer often alludes me.

“You can build a mansion, you just can’t live in it. You’re the fastest runner but you’re not allowed to win. Some break the rules, and let you cut the cost. The insecurity is the thing that won’t get lost”-No one is to Blame, by Howard Jones

My way of expressing the frustration I have with myself as a writer. 

“When the road gets dark and you can no longer see, Just let my love throw a spark and have a little faith in me”-Have a Little Faith in Me, by John Hiatt

My way of saying, stick with me people. I am part hot mess and part optimist. But my determination to be light in the darkness will never wane.

“Don’t stop thinking about tomorrow, don’t stop, it’ll soon be here. It’ll be here, better than before. Yesterday’s gone, yesterday’s gone”-Don’t Stop, by Fleetwood Mac.

I’d love to add the line “and don’t forget about today” but I’ve no clue where it would go. Guess I just think while it’s important to put some focus on tomorrow, the future that holds so much promise, not living in the present prevents you from finding peace in your soul. 

That said, I will leave you with this video. Because underneath the melancholy of today, I’m still an optimist.

Don’t Stop

 

 

Jar of Happiness

I got the idea of the “happiness jar” from the author Elizabeth Gilbert. I honestly can’t recall if I read about it in “Eat Pray Love” or if it was in a magazine article. Either way, thank you, Elizabeth.

When Hubs and I moved to Colorado, I was determined to utilize my free time, which I hadn’t had much of in my previous life as a social worker in Wisconsin, to improve myself. I have always been a big reader with a curious mind so in combination with reading various self help books (Bad Ass by Jen Sincero is the best one), I decided I would create my own “happiness jar”. Here it is:

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With the happiness jar,  each day, you write down the thing that made you happy that day. Then you pop it into a vessel of your choosing. The idea is that you will open up your jar on 12/31 and read your blurbs about what made you happy each day throughout the past year. It’s a way to reflect and take stock of all the good things that happened, both tiny and gigantic, many of which you may have long forgotten about.

The most beautiful thing to me about this practice of mine is that it forces me, each and every day, to remain as mindful as I can be, so at the end of the day, I am able to record at least one thing that truly brought me happiness. On some days, I find myself writing down 2 or even 3 things. Those are the best days!

Instead of waiting till 12/31, and because I’m going on about this in this post, I’m going to share a couple of random happiness notes from my jar. I promise I won’t choose them selectively. I will be super random. So here we go….

2/16: Got one follower on my blog and wrote a new post today 🙂 Made quesadillas and listened to Santana too.

Sounds like a decent day to me! You can’t beat quesadillas and Santana! And getting a new follower!

6/8: Enjoyed helping people at FISH today. The time flew!

FISH is the food bank I volunteer at once a week. And I get so much more than I give when I’m there, it’s kind of ridiculous. And no, that doesn’t mean I’m coming home with free food. It’s the feels. The appreciation. 

5/19: I made the house smell like chocolate chip cookies today.

Say what?! How on earth did I do that? Must have been that new aromatherapy oil I had just bought. Nevertheless, the scent of chocolate chip cookies would make me happy any day of the week. 

6/21: Spent the day interacting w/nature and great FCC peeps. Good for my spirit. That was this day:

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Hubs and I met up with folks from our former church in Wisconsin at Rocky Mountain National Park , to volunteer. We spent the day pulling invasive weeds out of the ground. It was so beautiful that day. I felt honored to be able to spend a whole day visiting with old friends, while doing something helpful for the environment, amidst this awe inspiring scenery.

After plucking these 4 little notes from my happiness jar, I’ve just reinforced my decision to continue the practice of jotting down what makes me happy as I go through my days this year.

What’s in your happiness jar? I’d love to hear about it.