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Why now?

standard April 4, 2012 2 responses

Why now?

Why does the cat always wake me up mere minutes before the alarm is set to go off? Too early to want to get out of bed, too late to actually go back to sleep.

Why now?

Why does it take me hours to find my focus only to find it just around lunchtime when my stomach growls, demanding food, demanding sustenance. And then, when I find the focus again it’s time to collect the children, time to feed them, play with them, be with them.

Why now?

Why do brilliant ideas come to me as my hands are deep in the soapy dishwater with children clamoring for attention to the right and to the left of me? I tell myself that I’ll remember, that I’ll write everything down the instant I have a moment of quiet. Of course in that first instant of calm the nugget of brilliance has long evaporated, gone like the last traces of water from the dishes on the drying rack.

Why now?

Why do I crave a run long after the sun has gone down and it’s no longer safe to pound the pavement in our dark, poorly lit neighborhood with no sidewalks? Why do I never want to leave the house when the sun is shining and cars could easily see me?

Why now?

Why do the children move especially slowly on the mornings I’m actually in a rush? Why are they so accommodating and easy to rouse, dress, feed, on the days when I have all the time and all the patience in the world?

Why now?
Why the light at the crosswalk? The line at the store? The empty tank of gas? The silenced alarm clock? The hot water that runs out? The child with a fever? The sore throat? The tax payment that’s due.

Why now?

We fight “now” all the time. We want it to be later, then, after, when it will be easier, done, when there will be more time. We want it to be before, earlier, when it was all so much easier, happier, not yet tainted by reality. But now is really all that exists. Now, at the crosswalk, in the kitchen, on the pavement.

“Why now?”  a hushed whisper from that dark side of our brain will always wind its way across our minds, breathlessly suggesting that we should be discontent with now, that now is less than, sub standard, to be disregarded. But really, why not now? Now is good and perfect. Now is everything. All you have to do is not ask “Why now?”, stop fighting now, stop letting longing for the past or hope for the future interfere with our enjoyment of today.

Awesome illustration from the equally awesome Dresden of www.creatingmotherhood.com.

What does the phrase “Why now?” say to you? It’s the latest Kick in the blog prompt, so come share with us!

Resolve or solve?

standard January 6, 2012 Leave a response

I took a moment during the plane ride home from Chicago to think about new year’s resolutions.

Kiss more, laugh more, be silly more often. Cook from scratch a few more times a week, try to clean a little more often. Get organized already. 

The things that could improve on came fast and hard, eagerly supplied by the ever present Egmos who so loves to show me my shortcomings. More things that I could stand to work on popped into my head.

Gripe less, think more positively. Stop procrastinating so much. 

My list grew, and as I sat there, pen in hand, looking down at this list that focused on all the ways I was failing myself and my family, I pondered a phrase I’d glimpsed on Pinterest about choosing to solve rather than resolve.

Tempting concept, right? And yet, it’s flawed. Resolutions tend to be about ways to improve yourself, solutions tend to be about how to change the world around you. If there’s one thing I’ve learned this past year it’s that you really can’t change the world around you, you can only change how you perceive it.

That said, I’d rather not start the year out by focusing on all these negatives. All things considered, I think I’m doing pretty darn well. My house is a mess, my kids aren’t always clean, I might not always complete my to do list, but those are just details. We laugh, we smile, we hug each other. We fill each other’s buckets on a daily basis and we spread that love, respect, and support all around us. What’s a little dirt in comparison to that? 

In light of that I’m scrapping that first list of resolutions and embracing this one simple one that’s inspired by how I’m choosing to see this past year.

What’s your New Year’s Resolution?

(Have a resolution to share? Come share it at the first Kick in the Blog prompt post of the year!)

Who am I? And what do I want?

standard September 22, 2011 2 responses

After the spring and the summer that we’ve had it’s little surprise that I feel a little bit like I’ve lost myself.

I’ve been mom, caregiver, wife, friend, shrink, coach, cook, chauffeur, cleaner, and played a million other roles including social media marketer and professional blogger. I’ve divided up my time and my energy among the people who needed me and the people who were paying me.

All you have to do is look back through two months worth of blog archives to see the effect of all that division.

Sponsored post after sponsored post. Posts that say “I don’t know what to say.” And silence, long stretches of silence.

I kinda lost my voice in the chaos.

Worse, I think I lost my focus.

Back in April I was so sure of where I was going and what I wanted to do. Then, life intervened as it is wont to do. And I rallied. I really, really did.

But back then my goal was survival. Pure and simple. Get through the days, the weeks, the months. Pick up my head and keep moving forward.

I did it, we did it. Survival happened.

So now what?

Do I go back to what I thought I wanted to do? Do I consider other prospects that have surfaced?

What do I want?

Which leads me to the question: Who am I? Who am I now?

Because some days I have to admit I no longer know.

A few weeks ago I think I saw the light at the end of the tunnel grow a bit brighter and I started to feel the need to clear my plate. I’m pretty sure my subconscious knew that I’d be facing this dilemma sooner rather than later.

I set myself one goal for September: finish the edits to the book.

And then I forgot how atrociously boring editing can be. Yes, I could probably get through the whole book in a couple of days, but my focus is so fried that I’ve only been able to get through an hour or two every day this week. Then I get bored and let myself get sidetracked.

So new goal for September:
Finish editing the book and figure out again who I am.
(Just remind me every so often that I’m not going to figure it out on Facebook. K? Thanks.)

On Tuesday I attended a great session on personal branding given by Laura Lowell. She covered the usual truism about how your personal brand is you and how it carries over wherever you go, be it online or off. But then she rocked my socks by explaining the best way to actually define what that brand should be.

1) What do you do?
2) What is important to you that you care about?
3) What do your customers need from you?

Answer those three questions. You’ll find your personal brand at the intersection of the answers.

Things change. That’s the only constant in life. I know I can’t answer any of those questions in a way that will be true forever. But for now, I can work on figuring out who I am and how I turn that into what’s next.

At least I think I can. Facebook and Pinterest are pretty distracting.

Have you discovered my new writing prompt blog, Kick in the Blog? This post is a response to the latest prompt. Who are you? Come link up your answer!


I love to have coffee with my friends

standard July 26, 2011 11 responses

For the longest time after I quit my job and most of my friends fled this too-expensive-to-live-in-state, I bounced around from coffee shop to coffee shop, working a few hours here, a few hours there, and never feeling entirely at home.

I loved the coffee and the ambiance, the wifi was usually good and free, and I had few if any complaints about the tables or chairs.

What I lacked was friendship.

Coffee shops are essentially a meeting place for friends. They gather around hot drinks to share gossip and news, to chat about silly inane things, or to have deep conversations held in hushed tones too low to hear over the general hustle and bustle. For sure there are also plenty of people who huddle behind their laptops working feverishly, hoping no one will call them on their abusive use of the table space, but the real function of a coffee shop is to stop time so friends can connect between the racing minutes of their day.

For the longest time I had no such friends.

My friends were inside the computer, and while I technically was hanging out with them in the coffee shop, it wasn’t enough for me.

I don’t know what possessed me – gregarious and outgoing when at ease, but shy beyond belief when out of my element – to decide to check out the mom’s group at my daughter’s preschool, but the morning of the first meeting arrived and, because Egmos* wasn’t able to come up with a good reason not to go, I pushed the door open and stepped into the group of moms milling around the breakfast buffet.

I made one connection that day. The next time I went, I made another.There were days when I didn’t hang out with anyone and days when I discovered new kindred spirits.

By the end of that year I had signed up to be on the steering committee of the group. Even more importantly I had a host of new friends, friends who would spot me at my table at the coffee shop and would stop to chat for a minute.

At first I almost resented these interruptions of my work, and then I grew to love them.

A wave, a smile, and a nod towards the empty chair in front of me, and my friend would slide into the seat, putting down the coffee, eyes shining and full of stories. I’d close my laptop and pick up my own cup, and for a blessed moment, I’d be connected to someone real, someone there, someone who, despite living their very different life, could utterly relate to mine.

These coffee moments have given me back a piece of who I was in college. For a moment, it’s not about the kids, the work, the husband. For that instant it’s about us, sharing ideas, thoughts, or stories about our days, just being in the moment, just being alive and feeding our souls from the connection.

The impromptu coffee dates are never very long, but they fill my mornings with love. After the visitor of the day has moved on to the rest of her chores and errands, I open up my laptop, and, feeling a bit more alive, a bit more in touch with myself, I can dive back into my work, smile playing on my lips.

*Egmos: my own personal Evil Green Monster of Self Doubt who resides in my head and makes me miserable when I let him.

This post was inspired by the second Kick In The Blog prompt “What do you love to do?” Clearly there are a lot of other things I love to do, but this year, I’ve really savored these short coffee moments. These friends have been a saving grace in the middle of a lot of challenges – my little islands of normalcy in the middle of the chaos.

If you’re ever in a blogging rut or in need of a little bloggy inspiration, I hope you’ll stop by Kick In The Blog to see what prompts I’ve posted.

Come give your blog a kick!