Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Dream Girl

What did you want to be when you "grew up?" For me, the answer was always "an archaeologist." Sure, I went through the stereotypical little girl "ballerina phase", and the "veterinarian phase." When I left high school, I was certain I wanted to be the first female president of the United States. But I never lost my love for archaeology.

Unfortunately, to be an archaeologist, one also needs to master college-level chemistry. This was not in the cards for me, no matter how hard I tried (three times, to be exact). So, I turned away from the hard sciences in favor of the social sciences, and went down the path to Sociology, and eventually Social Work and Public Health.

Today, nearly 30 years after I declared my intention to be President, I work as a writer and marketing strategist for a financial services company. A good job, but not my dream job. While I don't really have a ton of time to develop a dream career, I still have time to get a dream job.

My list of dream jobs is eclectic. It includes:

  • Travel writer
  • Prop master
  • U.S. park ranger
  • Museum curator
  • Landscape architect
  • Political strategist
At this moment in time, professional stability feels more important than dreaming. A stable paycheck, stable health insurance, stable place to go every day. So, for now, it feels likely that my path involves continuing my current work, maybe moving into middle management, and eventually retiring with a stable corporate retirement package.

Once I'm retired, I'll let myself dream again. I have a fantasy of becoming a National Park volunteer, which would allow me to taste what is is like to be a park ranger, and help me achieve my goal of seeing every National Park in the U.S.

If you could do anything you wanted, what would it be? Are you doing it now? Or do you have plans to achieve your dream sometime in the future?

Thursday, September 22, 2016

"Almost 60"


This week's blogging prompt invited me to make a list of the things I'd like to be doing in 10 years.
 
"In 10 years, I'll be 56. What do I want to be doing when I'm 56?" I mused.
 
After two minutes of thinking, the answer came to me. "I don't want to think about being 56. About being almost 60."
 
Yup. I don't want to make this list, because it makes me anxious.
 
I'm not typically a "hate my age" person. I love celebrating my birthday. I have an annual ritual of reflecting on the year I've left, and thinking about my goals for the next year.
 
But I don't want to think about being 56. Why not?
  1. I'm a late bloomer who is just coming into her own as an adult today, at 46. Thinking ahead to almost 60 makes me anxious about all the adulting I want to squeeze into the next 10 years.
  2. I still feel like a (nearly) newlywed to a husband who is (a) five years older, and (b) managing a chronic disease. Thinking ahead to almost 60 makes me anxious wondering how much of our lives will be taken up by the evolution of his condition.
  3. I am grateful to still have my mother with me on this earth, although I am nearly 350 miles away from her. Thinking ahead to almost 60 makes me anxious wondering about her overall health and capabilities when she is 10 years older.
Until I get into right relationship with my almost 60 year-old self, my list will remain blank.


What is on your list of the things you want to be doing 10 years from now?
 

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Not in My Wheelhouse

A wage earner since I was 11, I often describe myself as a Jane-of-All-Trades.

Skeptical?

Here's the list of jobs I've held over the last 35 years:
1. Newspaper delivery person
2. Babysitter/Mother's Helper/Live-in Nanny
3. Cashier and blue light special operator
4. Window shade and mini-blind cutter
5. Dining hall supervisor
6. Pizza joint/bar manager
7. Research assistant
8. Housekeeper
9. Gardener
10. Dorm front desk monitor
11. Cancer lab assistant
12, Women's health advocate
13. University administrator
14. Gas station attendant (and late night sub maker for drunk college students)
15. Prison administrator
16. Community organizer (multiple positions)
17. Community service learning coordinator
18. Membership association program manager
19. Sexuality educator
20. Grant writer (multiple positions)
21. Executive director (interim only)
22. Community health program manager
23. Public and community relations manager
24. Director of development

My last two positions have leveraged my work experience in the interest of developing and executing B2B corporate sales and marketing strategy.

I've worked all levels of government, and I've served on nonprofit boards of directors, twice.

I'm an accomplished professional.

And while I've had many different jobs working for many different types of organizations, I'm also aware there are some jobs I am exceptionally unsuited for. Jobs that are NOT in my wheelhouse include:

Air traffic controller
I have terrible eyesight.



Crime scene investigator
The gore wouldn't bother me, and I like the idea of helping to solve a puzzle. But, terrible eyesight coupled with my tendency to be five steps ahead of myself most of the time, which means sometimes details fall through the cracks.








Prison warden or parole officer 
My empathy is too deep to be hard enough to do this job well.














Snake handler 
I hate snakes so much I've googled "What's the point of snakes?" on more than one occasion.












Make-up artist 
I don't do make-up on me, let alone on someone else.













Waitress 
I don't manage divas very well. (I'm surprised I did as well as I did when I worked in community relations.) As a result, I KNOW I would throw food at the first diva who had a fit on my shift.














What jobs do you think you would be terrible at? Why?



Wednesday, September 14, 2016

The Soundtrack

BMG and I are in week four of a year-long project to write and reflect together, using the book 52 Lists as our guide. Each week we read a writing prompt, have a conversation about how we might approach the topic, and then we write.

The question this week is "What's the soundtrack of your life - right now?" 

Week three's prompt asked us to reflect on the "happiest moments in our lives." During our conversation about this week's prompt BMG claimed "It is unfair to make this the next prompt because we're already thinking about being happy, and therefore we're more likely to think of peppy songs."

My retort? "Don't take the easy way out."

The soundtrack of my life has NEVER included taking the easy way out. I grew up in a lower class family, without much measureable privilege. However, I've always been smart and a hard worker, and this is how I learned to make my mark on the world.

Reflecting on my life, right now, I can say that I'm at the mid-point in an erratic career, fairly newly wed, and trying to find balance - between my efforts to care for my health, to nurture my career, to strengthen my relationship with my husband and my family, and to make a meaningful contribution to my community.

When he isn't making me crazy, BMG, inspires me. Not because of his semi-charmed kinda life, but rather because he joyfully lives by the bumper sticker philosophy, 'No one ever said on their deathbed, 'I wish I had spent more time at the office.'"

With that said, here is my soundtrack:

Track 1 - Sunny Side of the Street, as performed by Ella Fitzgerald (my goal)


Track 2 - Fatso by The Story (part of my struggle)


Track 3 - All For You by Sister Hazel (I think of this as "our song," and it always reminds me of my inspiration, BMG)


Track 4 - Work That by Mary J. Blige (sometimes it feels like I'm pushing a rock uphill)


Track 5 - Working 9 to 5 by Dolly Pardon (I've decided to abandon my ambition to have a career in favor of having a life)


Track 6 - God is Trying to Tell You Something from the soundtrack to The Color Purple (I'm struggling between having fun and listening to the my call to community)


Track 7 - You Are the Universe by The Brand New Heavies (my goal)


Track 8 - Somewhere Over the Rainbow, as performed by Israel Kamakawiwo'ole (when I reach balance, I hope it will feel like this song)

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Happy


What are the happiest moments of your life, so far?

When I asked my 91 year-old neighbor, she said, "Having my three kids." Then she paused. "I've had times when I've felt happy, like at weddings and things. But my happiest moments were having my girls."

My list includes:
  1. My wedding, every single moment of it
  2. Nearly every memory of playing as a child
  3. Unwrapping the plush version of Camel with the Wrinkled Knees and "Angely" at two separate Christmases long long ago
  4. Seeing Rodin's "The Thinker" in real life for the first time
  5. Seeing Half Dome in Yosemite National Park for the first time
  6. Driving with BMG to Sanibel Island from the Fort Meyers International Airport in the convertible with the top down
Happiness, for me, feels like being full - of emotions like delight and joy. So full that I'm on the verge of being overwhelmed, and can't possibly take in any more.

Like my neighbor, there are many moments of my life when I've felt happy, but these are the moments, today, when I remember feeling happiest. 

Friday, August 26, 2016

Characters

Make a list of your favorite characters from books, movies and television shows.
 
This is the directive in the weekly blog post from The 52 Lists Project, a journaling guide from which BMG and I are drawing inspiration this year.
 
Here goes:
1. Raggedy Ann and Andy from the books by Johnny Gruelle
2. Melissa McCarthy's character in Spy
3. Matilda from the book by Roald Dahl (and the movie, and the Broadway show)
4. Aloysius Pendergast from the series by Lincoln Child and Doug Preston
5. Laura Ingalls Wilder from the Little House on the Prairie books and tv series
6. Owen Meany from A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving
7. Bilbo Baggins from The Hobbit and the Lord of The Rings series by JRR Tolkein
8. Sophia and Celie from The Color Purple by Alice Walker and the movie by Stephen Spielberg
9. Sherlock Holmes, particularly in the modern day tv series featuring Benedict Cumberbatch (BBC) and Jonny Lee Miller (CBS)
 
Are there any commonalities? I see two.
1. Many of these characters are quiet or unlikely heroes, or individuals with extraordinary but hidden talents.
2. Many of these characters are clever, and find ways to make their lives, or the world, a better place by using their pluck.
 
Now it's your turn. Who are your favorite characters, from books, movies or television shows? Do you know why?
 
*****
I struggled with this exercise. Which isn't a surprise to me. At Halloween, I've always struggled with coming up with a character or "thing" I wanted to "be". As an adult, I've said, "The only thing I've ever wanted to be is myself."
 
This may be because:
  • I read voraciously, and largely for entertainment's sake. Remembering specific characters requires a great deal of mental energy.
  • I've never put much energy into remembering movie names, TV episodes or dialogue, or even TV characters. And, like my issue with books, I tend to remember this type of visual entertainment for the feeling they create, not necessarily for a specific character or memorable incident.
  • I tend to be a big picture thinker, so I have books and movies that strike a chord with me, but not necessarily individual characters with whom I connect or identify. Over the last week, I've been scanning my favorite books from my Goodreads account, and trying to remember, "Did I love this book because of the story or the experience of reading it, or was there a specific character with whom I connected?" For example, I LOVE the Harry Potter books by JK Rowling. I have long said I wished *I* could go to Hogwarts. But, there isn't one character I am rooting for over another.
 
 
 
 
 

Thursday, August 18, 2016

My Energizers

What are the objects, activities or qualities that help you feel energized? This is the question in Week 32 of The 52 Lists Project.

As I considered the question, I found myself confusing "feeling energized" with "being soothed." While there may be overlap between the two, there are substantial differences,

On my list of things that energize me, are objects, activities and qualities that legitimately cause me to feel excited and motivated to spend time with others, or to continue to the next "to do" item on my list or turn the page to the next chapter in my book.

This list includes:
  1. A delicious cuppa coffee
  2. Healthy, delicious food in just the right portions
  3. Exploring - through travel, reading, discussion
  4. Researching new ideas and learning new things
  5. Crossing things off my list (because they've been completed)
  6. Honesty and authenticity
  7. Crying
  8. A great workout
  9. Healthy and respectful debate
10. Anger
11. A good night's sleep
12. Weeding
13, Grocery shopping
14. Helping others, although largely on my terms
15. Dancing
16. Binge watching or reading a great mystery or thriller series

And what about the converse? What depletes my energy?
  1. Engaging in social niceties
  2. Fried food
  3. Uncontrolled emotional expression, if it isn't paired with an effort to try to understand oneself better
  4. Managing others' irrational thoughts and behaviors
  5. Hoppy beer
  6. Nagging

What's on your list?