hustle, mental health

Balls Dropping

The first mistake was a little puzzling. An email I missed. I read it, then forgot about it. The day the task needed completion, my colleague reached out to me to see when she could pick up her request.

A shock went through my body. Suddenly a very full day had a complicated work task dropped in the middle of it. I pushed through and completed it satisfactorily, but maybe not as thoroughly as I would have otherwise.

A couple of days later, my boss emails me to ask if I had made the classroom signs she requested.

The same shock and disbelief followed. Really? I totally forgot a work task again, and this time for my boss?

I won’t bore you with the details…suffice it to say I dropped ball after ball after ball this month. There were loads of things I honestly just forgot. To the point where I was concerned about myself. This is pretty uncharacteristic of me…sure, I may procrastinate at times, but to completely forget again and again?

This leads to the question…what caused this? Could it be menopause? General aging? Stress? Lack of sleep? Loss of focus due to the wearing on of the pandemic? Or maybe it is the family crisis that hit a couple of months ago. Who knows.

It really doesn’t matter. I don’t like the feeling of being incompetent. I don’t like tasks biting me in the butt out of nowhere. So much of my job is supporting others, and I feel physically ill when I let others down.

It’s just a mystery. I’m trying to just observe it, notice it, and not beat myself up over it. Easier said than done, but I am trying.

I’m back to making more lists. Slowing down when I can to read emails and take notes in meetings more carefully. Hopefully this was just a brief episode in life that blows over, and I’ll be back to my usual remembering self from now on. I’m just documenting here to share life’s ups and downs, hoping I’ll look back on this as just another bump in my road.

mental health

Sincerity

It was a stupid week. Too much going on to even think about, much less write about. Everything was coming at me faster than I could understand. Get up, go to the gym, get dressed, try to accomplish as much as possible at work, errands and events after work, home, reset, repeat. It was a blur.

Finally, Friday. Dragging as I made it to work. The bell rings, another day begins. Hundreds of kids rolling in on the big yellow buses. All the drivers waiting for me to open the front door to the school. The seconds tick. Tasks are unfinished. Everyone looking for me to get it all going. I’m 30 seconds late. Just keep moving. Execute, execute, execute.

The whoosh of the cold hits me and I brace. Before I even get the doors propped open kids are flooding by, behind my back, at a full sprint. I feel like a jammed object in the middle of a flood. Getting in the way of progress as everything rushes by. I wish I could just let go and float along with them all.

But, instead I have to account for all the buses that have arrived and get everyone heading on their way to their next destination. Walk, look, check off, walk, look, check off. Not really in one of my bright, bubbly “good morning!” moods.

I get to the front bus, the daycare bus, and make a point to stop and say hello to Hector. An older man. He is always first in line. He is kind and affable. He made it a point to ask me my name about a month into school. He greets me by name every morning and asks me how I am. This day, on the Friday before Valentine’s, I wave and say “Hello, Hector!” before I’m turning to pivot and head back down the long row of buses. He calls to me by name and I walk back, sort of impatient. He’s standing at his bus door with a box of chocolates.

“Take two of your favorites,” he says, handing me a variety pack of Lindor truffles.

Um, what??!?!?

The productivity part of me says, I don’t have time for this right now. I’m holding up bus drivers who have schedules. Routes. Execute, execute, execute. But then he just talks to me about how much he likes seeing me every morning. How he enjoys our little chats. He wanted me to have something sweet for Valentine’s Day. He was in no rush, despite the masses of kids and tasks that were waiting on him. He looked me in the eyes, genuine. Sincere. I stopped and let those precious seconds sink in. I chose a red wrapper and a blue wrapper (IYKYK) and smiled, handing him back the box. Then he waved, put on his seat belt, and rolled out.

In my life’s flood of fakery and rushing to the next thing, Hector stopped time with this simple gesture. He reminded me how it is possible to just be present and sincere, and how much that means. In my rush to get things done, I miss so much. People don’t need 18 roses or a fireworks display. A simple gesture complete with sincerity can change someone’s whole day. What can you do to stop time and sincerely connect with someone else today?

mental health

Chad, Again

Last week was Veteran’s Day. It’s become a recent tradition for some in the CrossFit and fitness communities to complete the hero workout Chad. I have done this one once before, right as the COVID-19 pandemic was starting. That seems like a decade ago in so many ways…work, family, fitness, friendship, life in general.

I skipped it last year but this year it pulled on me over and over again. I finally chimed in to my fitness group to see if anyone wanted to complete it the weekend after Veteran’s Day. I can’t decide if I was surprised or not that some of my friends said yes. In many ways this workout feels like a “one and done” but my friends are also crazy like that. We couldn’t all be there, but we had some cheering for us in spirit.

I was glad I had written about my first experience doing this workout in detail. I went back and reread my thoughts before I started. I remembered it being grueling. I remembered rushing to try to get to work (on my couch). Much of the rest I had just let go of.

This time was different, doing at a gym. This time was different, doing it with a vest…a little lighter than last time, but a weight I would not take off (no matter how much I wanted a break!)

This time was different, though, since I had friends to do it with.

Friends made the experience a bit less challenging. Was it still long and tedious? Absolutely. In fact, it may have taken me 45 minutes longer this time around. Some of that I attribute to a lower level of fitness. But some is just because we chatted between the rounds. I lost count a bunch of times. But I kept going. We were going to finish this.

Friends make hard things a little easier. This was the main lesson I learned this time around. Hard things don’t stop being hard. But the hard path isn’t as lonely. It makes me think about VFWs and other social organizations. Sometimes we need a place where we are truly and deeply understood.

Life has been challenging, lifey, whatever you want to call it lately. Things feel heavy. In some ways, time is moving very slowly. I’m not at all comparing my challenges to veterans, but I knew I had to complete this workout for myself as well. Getting something done is hard these days for me. My mental soundtrack has been less positive.

These and other friends inspire me to just keep going. Keep showing up. Keep moving. Every day won’t feel great or be the best. Some of the challenges will seem unending. But if I just keep putting one foot in front of the other, I will eventually reach the goals I have. Days will get brighter. Get up, show up, never give up.

mental health, nature, Teddie Bear Adventures

Lazy Rainy

Today I woke to be lazy. I hit snooze on the alarm. I didn’t wake until a friend texted. I was too late to catch up with my morning crew so I opted for a lazy day.

It was a cold dark morning. The chill in the fall air. A stronger breeze than normal. The rain was here as well. I needed a heavy jacket to go outside. My sweats seemed like the perfect attire for the day.
Each trip to walk outside with the dogs was a little different. A little colder each time. The rain picked up. The cooler air meeting the rain created an icier effect on your hands and face. The crisp cold air set the tone for my lazy day with every trip outside.

To be truthful I did work the day, just in my sweats. I seemed more productive but I may have taken a few extra breaks in the day to observe the chilly weather. This gave me extra time to snuggle my pups and they enjoyed it because they felt the change in temperature. They were happy to be towel dried when they came in from their potty breaks and found the blankets on the couch for their snuggle time too.
I took a rain check on my evening plans to snuggle up with a blanket and just relax. 

As you can see I had a good buddy to snuggle with. Of course my other buddy was wanting to have a snuggle spot too.

These two pups keep me in check. They are there when it’s time to be lazy. They are there for snuggles. Lots of unconditional love going both was with these fur babies.

I didn’t think I had a favorite time of year but I am enjoying the crisp and cooler air combined with the comforts of home and time with my pups.

awareness, mental health, perspective

Paths, Loss, and Lessons

How do people lose sight of what they have right in front of them? People, possessions, relationships, amongst others.

Life is full of choices and paths. Sometime we take the right path while other times we don’t. Some paths are smooth while others are bumpy. No two paths are ever the same.

Bumpy roads lead to some of the best life lessons. The important part of life lessons is when one actually learns from said lesson. Unfortunately, many miss the bigger message when it’s right in front of them.

I am at a loss sometimes when people can’t see what’s right in front of them. They don’t see the indirect messages or clues. They don’t hear the direct communication. They just see themselves.

Then I hit pause. Is it that they don’t hear or they choose not to listen? Is there a difference? Why yes there is a difference and it is a choice.

Listening is a form of art. Listening means sharing in the pain or glory of others. Listening means giving of yourself. If somebody close to you isn’t listening to you, they are making a choice. They are choosing themselves over you.

To me they chose the wrong path. The path that ends in loss. The loss could be big or it could be small. No matter the size it’s loss. For those who suffer a loss or get lost in themselves and forget about what’s in front of you, I hope you realize the lesson that you should learn.

Never take life or people for granted. They may be here today and gone tomorrow. Don’t miss your opportunity.

This post was written in honor of Suicide Prevention Month (September 2021).