So Onward

I have an idea of what I want to do with my life, where I want to go and how I want to be in this world, but getting there is hard.

I’ve had these thoughts before, and pursued my dream. While I may have achieved my goals, that didn’t ultimately bring me happiness. Still, time has taught me so much. It’s possible this time I could find success.

Today I have a better understanding of what holds me back, what I do to myself that leads to failure, or at the very least, failed expectations. I understand my mental health issues (well, still learning there) as well as the source of my insecurities — and the reality of others’.

The bottom line is, I won’t be happy if I compromise my future. So onward — commit to the future, commit to myself.

Take a deep breath and dive in.


Photo Credit: © Dan Nikonov — Fotolia

Commit

Advertisements

Tell me a little about yourself…

I just love job interviews.

AdobeStock_101524983Those of you who’ve been reading my blog for any length of time will sense the ‘tude there. I don’t love job interviews, in fact, like most people, I would prefer never to go through one again.

I’ve had some humdingers, too. The absolute worst was with a human resources intern, who apparently didn’t know the law. You can’t ask questions that will reveal age, and that includes the year you graduated from high school. At least, at that time and in that state, you couldn’t.

“Tell me everything you’ve been doing since you graduated from…what high school did you go to? Where the hell is that?” he asked.

“Are you kidding me?” I responded.

It didn’t get any better, and it lasted a whopping 45 minutes. I thought about putting an end to the misery early on, but given the number of inappropriate questions he was asking about my personal life, I held on. This was a phone interview, and I was betting it was being recorded. I took careful notes, and after our conversation was over, I wrote a brief and straightforward letter to the Human Resources Director letting her know I didn’t believe her intern reflected the best of their organization.

I never heard from that company again.

There are standard questions, and generally I know how to answer them, but sometimes I get tripped up. The one that always stumps me is, “what do you plan to be doing in five years?”

Kittens and popoversI’ve lived long enough to know two things: you can’t predict with any share of accuracy what you’ll be doing in five years, and employers are really asking, how long could we count on you sticking around? That brings up a host of questions you just can’t ask.

Then there are the “tell me about” questions. “Tell me about a time you had an innovative idea that saved lives and changed the world.”  “Tell me about a challenging situation with an outcome that included rescued kittens and popovers.”

The interview usually ends with, “do you have any questions for me?” and of course, you can’t ask for the information you’d really like to take home and ponder. “What are the best and worst things your employees say about your company?” or “Tell me about the unwritten policies.”

AdobeStock_92854227qI’m job hunting now, and I’m smart enough to know potential employers could read this post (as well as anything else I’ve written on this blog). To them I humbly say…rats, I can’t think of what to say. This blog reflects a part of me.

It’s not all of me, though, so I look forward to meeting you and learning more about the great opportunities at your renowned organization.


Image Credits: (Drawings) © Séa — Fotolia; (Cat) © Africa Studio — Fotolia; (Woman Running to Opportunity) © RetroStar — Fotolia.

Mission Accomplished (so stop trying to get it done)

I have a recurring dream…one I hear many people share with me.

Or some variation of it. It’s the “education” dream, the one in which it’s finals weeks and you haven’t been to class all semester. (I think my first time through college, I may have actually lived that dream during my final term.)

Nervous Pop Art Young Woman Biting her Nails. Vector illustrationMy dream is a little different. In it, I have once again returned to college. I’m working toward a second bachelor’s degree (although in what is never clear). Yet try as I might, I continually fail most, if not all, of my classes. I cannot grasp the subject matter, cannot conquer the topic. Sometimes, I wait too long to drop the classes, and I know I’m going to get failing grades.

There is a sense of repeated defeat, a feeling I should just give in to the fact I’m not meant to have a college degree.

Except…I have one, a bachelor’s in journalism. At some point in my dream, I stop worrying about my current failures. I’ve already succeeded. Why am I even putting myself through this mayhem?

I’ve never bothered to determine what is going on in my life that triggers this dream, although the message is pretty clear. Don’t be afraid of the future. You’ve already proven yourself in the past, and you have the tools to do it again.

I like that I resolve this issue so easily while I’m sleeping. I think it’s experience talking.

I was talking to my cousin today. He’s more than 20 years younger than I am, which puts him in his mid-30s, old enough to have gained some perspective on life’s trials and tribulations himself.

He recently removed himself from a situation that was leading to trouble, and I’m proud of him. He has not only lived through some challenging times, he’s put those difficulties to good use in his life. He doesn’t want to relive what is best left in the past.

I’m sure when I was his age, I’d learned a few lessons myself, but when I look back on that era of my life, I typically see repeated failures. How will I view what I’m living through now in the years to come?

Fotolia_120458963_XSHardly the question to fret over, I know. What I should be asking myself is, what are you learning from the past, and how are you applying it to your life today?

There are lessons I should be learning, steps I should be taking to conquer my demons. It’s not always easy to break convenient habits.

But I’m not going to repeat another class if I don’t have to do so. There are better ways I can improve my life.

Onward…


Image Credits: © ivector — Fotolia

It All Adds Up the Same

I’ve spent some time, not a lot, but some, imagining what my life would be like now if I’d made different decisions.

It happens most often at night, when I’m alone and not much is on TV, none of the books I have appeal to me and I simply cannot play one more game of solitaire on my phone. I sit and ponder. What makes me who I am? My experience, my heart, my intentions, my choices? I suppose all of it.

night-at-homeSome of my worst decisions have led to the greatest breakthroughs in personal growth. Would I be a better person if I had not done such a foolish thing? 

Or would I be making the same mistakes, leaving myself with a level of immaturity I can’t get past? Or is it those mistakes that led to the unwise behavior in the first place? How do our thoughts, actions, beliefs and fate all play together?

The consequences we face are sometimes unknown, unforeseeable. There are those seemingly small errors in our ways that lead to lifelong reminders of that one errant deed, and potentially catastrophic actions that pass by almost unnoticed…and we forget…until there is a gentle reminder, and we breathe a sigh of relief that it didn’t happen the way it could have.

There are those who face mental illness, and they sometimes make what seem to them like logical decisions based on misperception because of the way their brain functions. I’m not talking criminal behavior here, although that certainly does apply, but day to day actions that have an impact on happiness and quality of life.

whats-up-little-bugI could overanalyze this, because here’s the bottom line: as much fun as it is to watch a movie where someone is given a chance to go back in time and change the path of their life, that would be a huge gamble. What if I hadn’t married the man who betrayed me and married the one who got away instead? You probably don’t know the second man any better than you knew the first when you married him. It could have been an entirely different sort of disaster.

I am who I am. If it hadn’t been this mistake, it would have been another. I still would be me. And I’m okay with that.


Image Credits: © sapunkele — fotolia


Or

Perfectly Me

While my hand is healing, I’m bringing out some favorite posts from the past many of you may not have seen. This was first posted in December, 2015.

“If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. Then quit. No use being a damn fool about it.”
― W.C. Field

rollerskating girl
Not me. Not now, not ever.

I can’t roller skate.  Nor can I bowl,  or do a pull-up. I don’t expect to ever be able to do any of those things, and they’re no longer important to me. At one time they were, and that stayed with me for way too long. But I’ve gotten over it and accepted my limitations.

I didn’t stop trying to learn how to bowl until I was in my 30s, when finally someone told me it was acceptable not to have that particular skill.

He didn’t word it quite like that, however. We were at a bowling alley with a group from church, and he was splitting his time between reading a book and talking to others.  When I mentioned what a terrible bowler I was, he shrugged his shoulders and said, with a laugh, “Who cares? It’s not something I want to be known for anyway.”

Okay, a bit snobby. It did lead me to think, however, is this really me? Is it a goal of mine to be a better bowler, or is everyone else in my circle telling me it should be?

There’s a point where you ceaselessly persevere, and there’s a point where you say, is that even a skill I truly want to master? I had no real interest in bowling, I’d just been told over and over not to give up, I could do it if I tried.

But I couldn’t. I tried and tried, and my body would not cooperate. What’s more, I likely never would have gotten to a point where, even if I could hold my own in a game, I would have looked forward to it. I did not want to bowl.

Once I figured out that hanging onto a group of friends whose main activities I didn’t enjoy was fruitless, I was a lot happier. It took some time, but gradually I developed friendships with people whose faces lit up when they talked about doing the same things I wanted to do.

happy dance girl
Yes, I know, this isn’t a waltz!

That’s not to say I’ll always avoid everything I’m not particularly good at doing. I would love to be able to dance, an old-fashioned waltz, perhaps, but it’s fair to say even at my best I won’t be entering any contests. That’s not my goal, at least not at this point. Right now I’d be happy to keep the beat.

(I have learned something about dancing over the years…call it sexist, or call it practical, but as we all know, men lead. With a strong lead, even a woman who isn’t a good dancer looks good. So half my battle will be finding the right partner.)

I’m not limiting myself only to friends who share my interests, either. Some of my best friends (a-hem) are bowlers, and good ones at that.

I don’t have to be the best, or even particularly good, at any given skill to enjoy doing it. I have my expert talents, and I have those I fumble with.  It’s that mix of abilities and experience that makes me who I am, perfectly me.

Layers & Secrets, Part 3: You Will Always Be My Friend

Dear Friend,

I know you have a secret, and I’ve got an idea what it is. Whatever it may be, it doesn’t matter to me. You will always be my friend.

AdobeStock_108510898 [Converted]We’ve had ups and downs in our friendship, and I’ve taken the blame at times when I wasn’t at fault. I finally figured that out. But here’s the thing: I don’t blame you, either. Life is complicated, and the blame is widespread. You’re doing the best you can.

You’re a complex person. I like that.

When you want to talk, I’m here.

Your friend,

Belinda

Image Credit: ©geosap — Fotolia

Every Word, Every Drop

Once I was grocery shopping with my friend Pam and her then four-year-old daughter Macy, who was nearly jumping out of the shopping cart seat in excitement at every turn.

“Ooooo!” she’d say, “I want THAT!” Another few steps, “And that! and that!” In vain, Pam tried telling her they didn’t have the money to buy all those things. I decided to step in.

“You know Macy, there are lots of things I’d like to have, too,” I began. “I’d really like a new dress, and some shoes to go with it. Maybe some earrings. But I can’t afford it right now, so I just put it on a list for someday.”

“But I want THAT!” Macy insisted.

Pam sighed. “There are lots of things I want, too, and things Daddy would like,” she said, “but we can’t have everything we want.”

“I’d really like some new makeup,” I went on, maybe pushing it a little. “And a new car. Wow, I’d really like a new car. One with air conditioning.”

Macy was looking skeptical.  With her eyes narrowed, she put her hands on her hips and stared at us. “What you two need,” she said sternly, “is a piggybank.”

Piggy bank manager

We burst out laughing. Macy didn’t get anything she wanted that day, but she was the star of evening as we told the story again and again.

Since that time I’ve thought of that shopping trip and realized something rather important: Macy knew about saving money. As frustrated as Pam may have been with her daughter’s demands, when push came to shove, the kid had the answer. Mom was doing something right.

I wonder how many times parents get fed up with their children’s words and actions and wonder if they’re doing any good at all. They see other kids in the neighborhood seemingly doing so much better, maybe, or their nieces and nephews are the family stars. Is anything getting through?

It’s getting through. It’s all getting through. It may seem futile at the moment, but the words — and actions — are sinking in.

When I was about five, my parents decided to teach me a little about money. I’d been getting an allowance, a small amount, all in pennies.  They brought me to the kitchen table, where there was a pile of pennies on one side, and a dollar bill on the other.

I was told there were 100 pennies, which were worth the same as the dollar bill. I could have either the 100 pennies or the dollar bill, but it was important I understood they were worth the same.

No problem. Got it. Give me the dollar bill. I’d never had currency before.

My parents were certain that in my fascination with that dollar bill, I’d missed the lesson. I hadn’t. I’d grasped it quite quickly, in fact.

You never know what’s going on your child’s mind, but they’re hearing every word. That’s a comfort and a warning, I guess.

You can’t be there to make decisions for them, and they’ll make some mistakes, regardless of all your good words. But you’re laying a foundation and they’ll be building the house, so make it a good foundation.

Because it never stops making a difference. You never stop making a difference.


Photo Credits: (Piggy Bank Manager) © BCFC — Bigstock; (Two Girls) © zagorodnaya — Fotolia