challenges

Just Disturbing

the threat. The hoax. The stir. The anxiety.  And everything in between. It was a late evening during a weekday and an email popped in from the school about a threat. One that was being worked by leadership. No worries just a heads up.
Then the text messages fly in. The social media posts hit. One of which is below. So many families opting out of school for safety. Some arriving late. What to do? Thankfully we had a preset dental appointment so we would miss the crazy of the morning.

9:30 we arrive at school with a tardy note in hand. It’s an unusual site. 6-7 cop cars and suvs representing various law enforcement. The sound above is actually a helicopter. What is going on? We pull into a spot to park in case we arrived during a lockdown.
We call a few families to see who is in school who is not. As we sit and adjust to the chaos we hear a boom! Maybe it was the echo of a dumpster slamming shut but it was all we needed to hear. After that boom, we immediately thought gunshot and left the parking without a moment to spare.
School could wait for the next day. My child was anxious. My child was unsure if school was safe. Heck I was like what just just happened. I wrote a note the next day to excuse her for being out of school. I was honest. I noted the above. It wasn’t excused. It wasn’t a valid reason. Are you kidding?
That day I’d say more than 70% of the school was out based on vehicles in the parking lot, parent confirmations and minimal traffic before and after school. Would you think the day should be excused? Would you have sent your child if you faced the scenario I did?
I have been scratching my head about this topic for weeks. I finally jotted down this post. There were many other crazy social media posts of concern. In the end I think what is this world coming to. I value each day and hope I never have to witness a mass shooting or catastrophe at a school. Although those are my wishes, I know deep down it’s possible especially in today’s climate.

perspective

The Middle Seat

I was on a flight squished in the middle of two strangers. Like sardine in a can. It was an evening flight making the cabin dark. The exception to the darkness was the glow of phones instead of reading lights. This kind of made me a giggle a bit.

I closed my eyes briefly and reflected on my day. My week. My past few months. It’s been a whirlwind but I didn’t expect anything less as I’m on the road to the big 5-0! Today I woke up to the chilly fall air. I had a tennis match with a new partner: I had no expectation other than don’t freeze to death. 

I layered up my clothes before heading out into the tundra. I mean it was 40 degrees which is cold for me. My new partner was nervous. I was cold. It took us a few volleys to get in unison. The gelling is what I like to master. I’ve been told I need to lead on the court but normally I don’t. For me tennis has been about relaxing. Changing up my routine. Meeting new people. Having fun. What I didn’t realize is others were expecting me to lead. Somehow I missed all the cues.

I scratched my head until my team coach chimed in with, you are strong and lead in every other aspect of your life and the partners you are paired with expect nothing else than the same on the court. I scratch my head again. Can I still do all the things I mentioned above and lead? Why yes I can. Once I modified my attitude we began to play better. Communicate more clearly. Win or in some cases or battle to deuce, deuce, deuce and so on. We hung in there for hours. Ultimately losing in the end but that’s okay because we get mimosas at the end. It’s always a happy ending if you look at it that way!

This little tennis match got me thinking when I sat in the middle seat. How much have I led this week? This month. This year. What is still left for me to conquer before 12/31. I love when I get a chance to shake things up and sit in a middle seat. A chance to be idle and drift into that creative space of thought.

I opted to take out my phone and glow. I figured I already had a night light to my left from a laptop and decided a little glow from my iPhone would be a fine accent. Off I went to type away on my teeny tiny keyboard.

It’s a million dollar year for me. It’s been a bunch of firsts. It’s many many new adventures and beginnings. It’s milestones. It’s new friends mixed with old. It’s another year winding down. Just like that. In the blink of eye, 2021 rolled in and began to fade. 
as I pause my writing in my middle seat, I closed my eyes and focused on some deep breathing. Something I enjoy at the gym but find ways to mix it into my days as well. During those calm moments a weightlessness feeling appears. It allows my mind to relax.

Signing off from my middle seat. The squishy uncomfortable spot that nobody wants to pick. The fear of who you are stuck with as neighbors. Today I had the courage to greet others. A new perspective of flying that you may never experience. Eew! Yuck! Nasty! Who in the world thought that was okay?

I am also thankful for my mask on this flight as it’s somewhat masking the stink of the putrid lingering fart. A nearby passenger just fully unloaded something and they might have left a skid mark in their pants. I am so very thankful I was finishing this note instead of doing deep breathing when he/she chose to glow or blow in their own special way way up high in the sky where fresh air space is so limited. No manners!

challenges

Spinning My Wheels

In case you missed it, I am currently doing CrossFit style and strength training inside a regular gym instead of a box. It has its challenges, but one of the benefits is the option of other classes. Two of my gym buddies wanted to try spin classes early in the morning once or twice a week. I’ve been to the class twice. So far, it’s not my favorite. The coach seems fine. The people in the class are friendly and hardworking. My main issue is I compare it to my time biking outside. I love my road bike and going places. I love seeing the countryside go by. Going up and down actual hills. Seeing concrete progress as I rack up miles. I have the same feelings about a treadmill.

Still, I stick with it. I try to be patient, step back, and see what I can learn from this experience. I am not excited about standing up on my road bike. I tend to be a little bit lazy. I don’t like staying in big gears on the hills. Spin class makes me stay in the resistance, even upping it little by little.

The best part of spin is working out with friends. But honestly, for the most part, it is forgettable. I’m not remarkably sore the next day. Life goes on.

The only thing that has really stuck with me is a quote from the instructor: “if something isn’t working, change it.”

I’m guessing she meant on our bikes. Adjust the resistance. How I’m sitting.

Instead, it hit me over the head that this is just about life.

If something isn’t working, change it.

I can’t just walk out on the challenge. I can’t throw in the towel. I can’t change the way people act. I can’t change the past.

I can change my mindset. I can change my focus, my efforts, my energy. I can change my own actions.

What’s not working for me? For you? What can you change?

Don’t just sulk. Don’t just fret. Don’t just complain or gossip.

A simple message for today. How does it apply to your life?

If something isn’t working, change it.

challenges

Problem Solving

Scenario 1: it’s 7am. You have an hour drive. You need to be on time for practice. You realize your bag is in your friend’s car. No time to retrieve it. Nobody is awake. Your team is expecting you.

Do you panic?

Do you curl up in a ball and cry?

Do you go back to sleep and say fuck it?

Do you expect somebody to resolve the conflict for you?

None of these options actually solve the problem. They just allow for self pity and postponement of the let down.

Scenario 2: It’s Sunday. You have the house to yourself. Football is on the TV. You have a chores list to do. You need to meal prep for the week and do the laundry.  You might even need to pay some bills or do some paperwork.

Do you lounge around all day?

Do you try to manage a little fun with your chores?

Do you do anything or just let the TV suck you in?

Do you expect others to pick up your slack when they return? What would you expect if your responsibility was to do the above? In today’s world many expect others to do for them. An entitlement of sorts.

What these folks don’t see is their inability to self motivate. The personal drive or push it takes when things are hard. Only a strong mind is capable of such. The weaker crumble. 

Do you see yourself as capable of self motivation? How do you manage your mind?

Scenario 3: You have a softball game midweek (Wednesday).

You have a work product due Thursday.

You have a formal event Friday and a party Saturday. A full schedule except Monday and Tuesday. A busy week. No time for error.

Do you screw around Monday and Tuesday because nothing is on your schedule?

Do you not turn in work project because you stayed out too late at softball?

Do you lack the foresight to plan ahead?

Can you see consequences down the road for poor planning?

I can see all of the bad that can happen in the scenarios above. I can see the shit storm ahead of time. Some can’t. Some live for today and seriously lack foresight. Those same people tend to lack problem solving skills which create an irony. 

I can avoid issues because I have foresight. I can also problem solve in a pinch. This seems to be both a blessing and a curse as some days I wish I had no accountability.
Those who struggle with foresight normally end up in sticky situations. A need for problem solving is right in front of them. It’s almost like a mountain of poop. A mountain one just stares at. Should I start scooping the poop? Can I even get to the end of the pile? Should I even try? If one can’t see the finish line it’s hard to muster up the courage and strength to push forward. The finish line is the reward. The triumph.

I just spring into action to resolve conflicts in my path. Those who struggle in this area hide or hit pause. They can’t leap forward without guidance or if they do move it’s normally in the wrong direction.

Is this genetics?

Is it laziness?

Is it the person has been spoiled and lacks independence?

I see the lack of foresight on the home front, the work front, the consulting front. It’s never ending. I often think of the root issues but in the end I just move on because one can never change another but one can lead by example. 

I always hope my lead inspires others. Maybe not everyone but some. For today I end this thought post with one word: goals.

I’ve never met a person with a goal of being lazy.

I’ve never met a person who who had a goal to intentionally let others down.

For those reasons I say some may need help with problem solving. If you have the skill set to help others see the finish line, show them the way. They might need to feel that success to move past the fear of rejection, failure, disappointment or whatever is stopping one from seeing the bright light of the finish line.

Remember a goal for this post is to help others get to their finish line. Help another solve their insoluble problem.

adventure

Going Dutch

My daughter and I recently hit the road and headed to Texas.

It wasn’t too far into our trip that I declared “I don’t want to eat at any chains on this trip.”

If you’ve followed the Chicks for a while, you know we try to support local and small businesses as often as we can, so no chains seems right up that alley. But it was early the next morning when I had to add an asterisk to my “no chains” rule. I made exceptions for chains that didn’t have locations anywhere near our home. And so, bright and early, I started a trek to a coffee chain I had heard about called Dutch Bros.

Dutch Bros. is one of those chains with a cult following. There are secret menus. Collectible sticker days. IYKYK kind of stuff. Thankfully, at 5:30 am there was no line, so I had plenty of time to quiz the bubbly young woman at the order window.

I’ve weaned myself from coffee sweeteners and even cream for the most part, so this would be a treat. My favorite holiday drink is a peppermint mocha, so I ended up with a Dutch Bros. toasted peppermint bliss cold brew. My second drink was an Americano with soft top. If none of these make sense, check out the Dutch Bros. website. I also accidentally ended up with a hazelnut truffle mocha.

All were deeee-lish. Positive messages on the windows and the drink tops. And the woman at the window was a total gem! Win all around.

Yes, it was a chain, but still something completely new and different. Get out and explore and try new things, wherever you may be!