Seriously? Is It Just Me…

Posts Tagged ‘life

With the passing of each year, it sickens me how fast it goes by with no more than the sound of a whisper. Yet ringing loudly in my ears, are the adults’ voices from my childhood mocking my naive frustration at how slowly my life was taking at delivering the requisite milestones of youth. However, the beginning of a new year symbolizes hope, change and opportunity which are all reasons I enjoy this time of the year. (It’s certainly not for the weather, yikes).

As most bloggers are writing posts on memories from the previous year, or what they anticipate occurring in the upcoming year, I decided that I would reflect on the things I won’t do this year. More specifically, the things that I often find myself forgetting to do until I’m reminded too late that another year is gone.

Therefore, this year, I won’t forget:

1. To find time every morning to meditate, reflect and pray. The day always looks a little brighter after spending a few minutes alone with God.

2. To tell those whom I love how much they mean to me. Unfortunately, I’m not good at verbally sharing my thoughts and feelings. Maybe a text or short email to them every once in a while could be the message that makes their day survivable.

3. To remember my dreams and goals. Life is certainly meant to be enjoyed not endured, and moving towards a dream makes the valleys not as pointless and the peaks even more hopeful.

4. To spend time enjoying my own company. Interestingly enough, living alone you tend to often be alone, but I’m usually watching hours of reality TV marathons instead of journaling, taking a walk, or enjoying an afternoon latte.

5. To be more thankful. This is definitely a thought process that can change my life, and I know it first-hand and through the effects it has had on others. I’m not talking about Pollyanna-ing life, but truly finding something to be thankful for every day, even if it’s that I didn’t oversleep. I know it’s challenging to be thankful when life is throwing me a round of one-two punches, but if I can see the small things that are good, it could help me take my blows like a champ.

Recently, I read a quote by Eric Butterworth — “don’t go through life, grow through it”. Sometimes it’s just the small changes that you strive for that make it worthwhile. Life is certainly full of ups and downs, and this year, I don’t want to forget the good things when I find myself having to weather the bad times. So I hope that your 2011 will be prosperous and full of the little things you won’t forget to do.

Oh, and one more thing…

I won’t forget that I’m too old to be climbing five foot brick walls wearing six-inch heels and a tight dress. I’ll just expect to be thrown over the wall by a guy I barely know as I expose myself to the crowd, just like I did on New Year’s Eve in 2010. Seriously!

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grinch

Cuddly as a Cactus

For the past few years, I’ve made it a habit to change my Instant Messenger avatar to the Grinch as my way of letting the world know how I truly feel about the holiday season. I have several reasons for dreading the month of December which thankfully isn’t the purpose of this post. However, despite my desire to remain cuddly as a cactus until the new year, I do find myself enjoying a few Christmas traditions.

One of those traditions is watching at least one variation of A Christmas Carol. While the original is a great version, I actually enjoy the knock offs more (who would ever have thought I would recommend a knock off of anything). One in particular is Ebbie, played by the Daytime Emmy snubbed Susan Lucci, as she works her way up the department store career ladder to find herself bitter, alone and…well a scrooge. Despite how poorly acted, written and shot this adaption of A Christmas Carol is, I always settle in to watch it, at least up until the part when Tiny Tim begins singing a painful version of “Angels We Have Heard on High”.

So why do I eagerly await the showing of this classic christmas tale? Well, because of the moral. At the end, when the Scrooge character wakes up full of the Christmas spirit, and realizes that he or she should have been giving not taking, that life is too short for frugality and resentment, and that this is the time of the year to spend with your family and friends, I can’t help but get teary-eyed. I hate to say this, but I am a little like Scrooge. I don’t enjoy this time of year, but after watching that movie I remember that being surrounded by people I love and who love me is a blessing.

This past weekend was another one of my favorite parts of the Christmas season; my girlfriends’ annual holiday party. We eat, drink fancy cocktails, and laugh so hard we shed tears. I wish I could tell you exactly what is so funny, or why such an electic group of women have so much fun together, but in my heart I know it’s simply the bond of friendship. Thinking back on the year my friends endured, I realized that:

  • One of us became a mother;
  • Another lost a very important person in her life;
  • A few of us struggled to find good jobs in a tough economy;
  • Two of us worked hard to raise beautiful and smart daughters;
  • Half of us fought to maintain a healthy relationship with our mothers;
  • Some of us endured a lonely night or two in search of the one;
  • And all of us were there for each other through it all.

So this holiday season I’m going to remember to smile a bit more as I cherish the times I spend with those I love and thank God for truly blessing us, every one. Seriously!

Smerry Christmas Ladies!

8 days of christmas

Our version of a friend contract!

Every year at Thanksgiving, as part of my family’s tradition, we go around the table and take turns saying one thing that we are thankful for. Then we toast each person’s statement by taking a sip of Manischewitz wine. No, we are not Jewish, but again thanks to my mother’s upbringing in the projects of New Jersey, she tends to channel a Jewish matriarch every now and again. Now, we all hate the super sweet grape wine, but the fact that it’s part of our giving thanks ritual, we refuse to give it up.

Of course, each year I’m always in such a hurry to make my required side dish that I forget to think through what I was going to be thankful for, which puts me in a panic because nothing ever seems to come to mind. When it’s my turn to give thanks, I ultimately give a general answer that involves being grateful for my family, friends and a job, which to be honest is still legitimate because without those things life can be pretty hard to manage.

However, as I’ve learned time and time again, one of the keys to finding happiness is to continuously give thanks to God for any and every thing. So this year, I started a gratitude journal where I would on a daily (er weekly) basis log the things that I was grateful for at that time. While not as consistent as I would have liked to have been, I did manage to write down quite a few things over this past year. So on this eve of Thanksgiving, I thought I would review my journal to see just how good my life has been over the past year. Here are a few things from my list that I thought would be beneficial to share:

  1. Thanking God for reminding me to be thankful.
  2. Thank You God for people who are comfortable rubbing on someone else to help relax them.
  3. Grateful that I’m not 16 anymore.
  4. Thanking God that I was able to wear my cutest shoes with no pain.
  5. Thank You God for rescuing the lost. I pray I’m next on your list.
  6. Thank You God for the incredible gift of a nephew.
  7. Thanking God for the beauty and calmness of candlelight.
  8. Thank You God for sisters!
  9. Thanking God for people who believe in me!
  10. Thankful for my mothers love, pride and encouragement.
  11. Thankful to live in a city that helps their own. Inspiring!
  12. Grateful for a Starbucks on every corner!
  13. Thanking God for the little things in life!
  14. The little things

  15. Grateful to see the light at the end of this tunnel.
  16. Thank You God for kind valets who let me park in their reserved spots.
  17. Thank You God for your confirmation message in the package of a great friend!
  18. Grateful for being able to laugh when I really want to cry.
  19. Thank You God for not getting angry at us because we don’t pray at every meal.
  20. I’m thankful for the unspoken love understood between two long time friends.
  21. Thanking God for not abandoning me when I was ready to abandon Him.

With over 250 items to choose from for this post, despite how difficult it was, I managed to end up being grateful for having so many things to be thankful for this year. May you and yours have a safe and wonderful Thanksgiving. Seriously!

This past week, I was in the fabulous city of Chicago attending a compensation event sponsored by my former/new employer, Bank Director magazine. My job was to blog and tweet on the various sessions, record a few video interviews, and conduct some low level market research on the use of smart phones in the banking industry. I know, sounds like a ton of fun, but I have to admit that I did learn a lot which I know will make my banker friends proud.

Of course, one can not fly the hour and a half to Chicago, stay in a four star hotel on Michigan avenue, and find themselves with a few hours to spare without doing some shopping. Oh, I was just giddy with excitement at the possibility of walking up and down the Magnificent Mile visiting my favorite stores including Aldo, Coach, and Burberry.”

Unfortunately, the shopping gods were not smiling on me this brisk November afternoon, as I was having no luck falling in love with that must have item (sounds a lot like my love life, maybe my ticker is broken). Nonetheless, I pressed on with my co-worker, who by the way was walking out of every store with an adorable handbag, before hitting our last stop, the go to store for all things shoes — MACYS!

As I was circling the tables loaded with the season’s latest open-toed boots and stiletto heels, I found myself face to face with a middle-aged black man who had apparently just bounced off the escalator. “Hey there”, he starts as I try to move past him. “You’re the size that I wish my fiance was.” I freeze in my tracks as I brace myself for the conversation that had nowhere to go but down from there. With a quizzical look on my face, all I could manage to do was nod once and raise my eyebrows in anticipation.

question marks

Seriously Confused!

Ignoring my look of concern, he continues. “We just got engaged and I told her I was going to have a hard time carrying her across the threshold.” He snickers as my look goes from concern to mortified. But he continues, “she’s about 40 pounds heavier than you, and she complains that I just want her to be the fun size”. At that point, it was very clear that this guy was full of nonsense. The fun size? I immediately turn around and walk off in the other direction never once uttering a single word at this guys ridiculous attempt at…what?

As I began checking out the sales rack, I wondered what was his motivation for those bizarre comments. Was he trying to compliment me by acknowledging that I had a nice figure, which seems odd to me since I have nothing in the way of curves? Was he trying to hit on me, but why start off acknowledging that he had a fiance? Was he trying to make fun of me by using his girlfriends snide remarks about skinny girls?

Just as I was giving up on my shoe search, I came to the conclusion that he was just an idiot who had suckered some poor girl into marrying him and she had no idea he was talking badly about her to other women. Mystery solved. Now if I could just find a pair of fun shoes in my size, seriously?

If you know me personally, then you are all to aware that I’ve decided to redecorate my master bathroom and, truth be told, it’s been the project from hell. First of all, I’m not skilled at interior designing and typically flounder when it comes to deciding what I want to do to a room. In fact, for this project, I literally stood in the paint department at Home Depot for 30 minutes staring at four paint chips that in hindsight all looked the same. I usually let my sister do my decorating for me, but given that she’s trying to raise a child, I figured it was time to do it on my own.

I did end up choosing a color, solely based on which one had the best name, and was convinced that over the next 48 hours, I could remove the wallpaper, paint the walls, and change out some hardware. I would hire professionals to install the new lighting the following weekend, and then I would be crowned Diva Decorator Extraordinaire. Watch out now!

As I bounded out of bed early Saturday morning, I was full of optimism and anticipation at the transformation from gold-leafed floral patterned wall covering to my hand selected smooth chocolate brown wall color. Full of energy, I get out my wallpaper removal tools which I have on hand because this isn’t my first time at the rodeo. My other painting projects went very smoothly so I had no reason to expect anything different for this room. Oh, but my life can’t be that easy.

(Take note for those who need a lesson in wallpaper removal.)

I start by scoring the walls, then spray on my blue chemical remover, pop on my Show tunes station on Pandora, and prepare to rid my walls of paper. I used my finger to peel off the first piece but it didn’t budge. Okay, so I try another area, no luck. Stubborn paper I see, so I use more spray, get out my scraper to pull up a corner, and only a tiny piece tears off. This is when the panic starts to creep in. Why won’t it come off? Spray, scrap, pull….tiny piece. Repeat. Spray, scrap, pull….tiny piece. What the (bleep)?

 

Wallpaper Madness

The Bane of my Existence

 

After numerous attempts, it dawns on me that the previous homeowners decided that hanging wallpaper directly on drywall was the best way to tackle their weekend project. I bang my head against the saturated blue wall fighting off the tears at the realization that this most definitely was not going to be a weekend project.

Over the past four weeks, I’ve been spending my precious free time cooped up in my bathroom pulling off tiny strips of wet paper and ruining my already fragile nails. Not surprisingly, I’ve had lots of time to pontificate about what the life lesson was in this situation. I was fully prepared to draft a post on how removing old stuck on wallpaper is similar to:

  • Going through the process of a personal life change. You want something better for yourself but it takes patience, endurance and dedication to take your life to the next step.
  • All good things are worth working hard for, and that sweat and perseverance are the backbone of achieving your goals and reaching your dreams.
  • Don’t take any shortcuts. Leave things and people in a better state than when you found them.

However, after over 40 hours of pulling gooey pieces of paper off my freakin’ walls all while trying not to leave large holes in the drywall and having only 3/4 of the room complete, I’ve decided that the real life lesson here is…this is what hell is like, so be on your best behavior and do what it takes to make it to heaven where this is no wallpaper. Seriously!

Women with falling leaves

See? Isn't this fun?

I love the fall, it’s actually my favorite time of the year. There is just something about the cool breezes and the emerging brown hues on the trees that makes my heart warm and giddy with anticipation. With the arrival of any season, you can’t help but sense the transformation of the landscape about to descend upon you. However the start of this fall season feels even more evident to me as it happens to coincide with a series of changes occurring in my own life.

When I was a young adult I loved change. In fact, I would continuously seek it out, whether it would be finding a new job for the summer, discovering new friends, or even just trying out a new hair style. The idea of something new to experience would create butterflies of excitement along with waves of hope that would wash over me as I looked forward to my future. I thought of myself as a young woman ready to take on the world — on my terms, of course.

And then I was forced to face a dramatic change that knocked me over so hard I wasn’t sure I would ever recover. I was 24 and thoroughly engrossed in the process of building the life of every young girl’s dreams. I was on the verge of marrying a good guy, focused on climbing my career ladder, and looking forward to starting a family. Just as they had told me, I was working hard to achieve my goals so that I could be rewarded accordingly.

Unfortunately, the man I chose wasn’t interested in building that life with me. Instead he left me heartbroken, bewildered and dumbfounded clutching on to the engagement ring that symbolized his broken promise of great changes never to come. At that moment, I found myself forced to transform my home, my heart and my future. In hindsight, my mistake was that instead of embracing this transition, I instead chose stagnation over risk, despair over hope, and anger over love. As a result, I resented change and since then avoided it at all costs.

As I find myself about to embark on this upcoming period of change, I’ve been reflecting back on the days when I thrived on it. And how now it feels more like a burden, a process that I must endure in order to settle back into a life without waves.

While change is never easy, it is inevitable. It happens whether you actively seek it out or whether it sneaks up on you when you least expect it. But more importantly, change is a good thing, a natural thing and a process that ensures that I continue to grow and become a wiser person with so much more to offer today than I did yesterday.

So as the fall season begins to change our surroundings and my life begins to experience some new found adjustments, I’m determined this time to dig deep inside and remember to embrace what life has to offer me. To once again thrive on the excitement and hope of the good that is yet to come…a season of change for the better. Seriously!

Well, we’ve finally come to the conclusion of my A Seriously Series on Who Let The Dogs In, and I’ve saved my favorite point for last.

6. Like to be alone.

Unfortunately, being single often carries a stigma that there must certainly be something wrong with you if you aren’t in a serious relationship or married. Even more so, if you are a woman all up in your 30’s and haven’t found a man yet (shame on you Society).

Bridget Jones Diary

All By Myself

I think most of us single women can’t help but reflect back on the oh so close to home scene in Bridget Jones’s Diary, where a flannel pajama wearing Miss Jones is all alone on a Saturday night drinking wine, smoking and doing a tortured rendition of Celine Dion’s “All By Myself”. (Classic scene — check it out on YouTube.) Sadly, it’s a stereotype that has become many a single girl’s nightmare.

While being alone night after night can at times feel painful, I’ve come to learn that it’s no where near has painful as staying in a relationship with someone who is not good for you. So often women will jump from one bad relationship to the next in a desperate attempt to never be single or alone. However, in my years of going solo, I’ve actually come to learn so much about myself and what I want, or more importantly need, in a relationship. You’ve got to learn to like yourself before you can expect someone else to like you.

Learning to be alone can be intimidating and frightening, but it can actually be a lot of fun. Since you really have no one to entertain you, it falls to you to figure out what you like to do. What do you want to eat? What movies or tv shows do you want to watch? What hobbies do you enjoy? What do YOU want to do?

Of course, there are different ways to be alone and I’m not talking about the depressed, bitter and angry version. This time on your own should be reflective, introspective and inspiring. Think about it, it’s quite difficult to determine how you can improve or grow as a partner if you never taken the time to truly reflect back on your past relationship. What went wrong? What role did you play? What could you have done differently?

Taking that time, and I mean time as in months not days, to be alone and come to conclusions that can benefit you and your new man going forward. Man hopping simply doesn’t accomplish that, it just takes the old habits and problems into the next relationship.

So the next time you find yourself leaving a relationship, take some time off to heal, reflect and set new goals for yourself. You’ll be refreshed and ready to give it another go when the time is right. Of course, if you’re aren’t too careful, you might end up like me and enjoy being alone so much the thought of being in a relationship makes you cringe. But that’s another series, seriously?


Soapbox Diaries from an Unplanned Single Life!

I hope you enjoy the random thoughts, observations and life lessons that I've learned along the way. It's called Seriously? because some days I just shake my head and say seriously, is this my life?


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